A FRIEND once told me that watching films more often is a sign of growing older, since it is the cheapest, easiest, and most convenient form of entertainment available to adults.

Because I am a graduating student who suddenly had a lot of time in my hands before graduation, I turned to watching films as a temporary pastime. In two weeks, I watched four films in theaters, three on DVD, and two on cable TV. Normally, I watch two a month, and that depends on the availability of good movies. When nothing looks interesting in cinemas, there’s always the video rental shop around the corner.

Thus, I am inclined to believe my friend, but I also argue that going to the pictures isn’t as cheap as it used to be. I remember paying P35 to watch Disney flicks in a mall theater. But now, the cheapest rate is P100, and that’s not saying much because some mall theaters tend to have technical defects. People who can’t afford to see movies in theaters resort to buying pirated DVDs at the risk of getting caught in a raid.

Still, watching films is easier than reading a book—one just needs to sit down and let the film unfold. It doesn’t require too much brain activity, unless the film calls for a higher level of comprehension.

Films also entertain well. It’s a time killer, but a good film makes the hours spent worth it. Once, when I had to wait for my photos to print for three hours, I was lucky to catch the Fellowship of the Ring. Three hours spent wisely, indeed.

But do adults rely on films as a form of entertainment solely because of these three reasons?

Supling ng liwanag*

It’s sad to think so because it’s partly true. An employee who works five days a week would be too tired to go somewhere far for a weekend getaway. Out of town trips with the family also cost too much. So the most definite answer is the cinema, where an animated film is suitable for both the kids and the parents.

The Filipino adage, “washing away problems through entertainment,” can also be accepted as reason for this so-called claim. If your boss bit your head off at work, you would need a distraction that would last for a few days. So if you opt for a movie like V for Vendetta, you could pretend that you are V, the masked terrorist who fights for freedom, and your boss is Sutler, the English dictator who meets his bloody end through you.

But films are there not only for the reason of giving somebody something to entertain himself with. When real life happenings get more unbelievable than fiction, people turn to films to have something to relate to. Most films even make it a point to uplift the spirit or provide a role model for people to take after.

Films can also be a means of exercising one’s mind. That’s one of the reasons why some filmmakers bother to make moviegoers think even after watching the film. Like written literature, films enrich the mind and give one a wider perspective in life.

So, sure, more frequent visits to the cinema can be called a sign of aging. But it does make the aging process more enjoyable, more challenging, and definitely worth experiencing.

For love of the craft


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