November 16, 2009 | Category: Uncategorized

Seven Times

A while ago now, I was stood behind two women at a bus stop. I wasn’t particularly listening in, but being that close meant I couldn’t avoid hearing what was being said. The first asked the other if she had seen a movie that had just been released yet, perhaps a week earlier. The other enthusiastically responded, “I’ve seen it seven times!”

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a movie twice in a short space of time, particularly if you really enjoyed it. I can imagine seeing something three times over the few weeks of its release if it’s either particularly good or perplexing, but seven times? That’s just a failure of imagination.

Appreciation of cinema, as with any medium, is best enjoyed over time, allowing the passage of time and changes of context to enrich it and take your enjoyment in new directions, or to see it as something of its time. That’s true of music, art, tv, sport etc. Just about any hobby is best enjoyed in perspective.

An uber-obsessive, single-focus like that is almost childish; the attitude that seeing a two hour movie seven times in roughly a week is a form of lamentable one-upmanship.

To anyone who thinks that seeing something seven times really is fine, I say watch something else. Watch something worse, if need be. Watch something completely different, or something that makes you uncomfortable. By taking in a greater variety of your chosen medium, your context — your very understanding — becomes richer. When you finally see that film again, you’ll be seeing it with a new perspective and that’s far more worthwhile than obsessively watching the same thing in the same context time and again.