Growing up in Tocopilla, Chile, going to the movie theatre was an audience participation event.
The villains needed to be booed. The heroes needed to be cheered for their victories and cheered even harder through their losses. Otherwise, how would they win?
The flicks were never a regular event, but more of a treat. As a teenager, on Bowen Island, I was occasionally allowed off the rock to venture to the now-long-gone cinemas at Park Royal. ďWhy be inside when you can be outside exploring,Ē my British parents, who were far from jaded by Canadaís wilderness, would say.
But thereís something magical about cinema. It might be because its one of the few moments in our busy schedules that we sit down, relax and concentrate on one thing for an hour or two.
In Squamish, I have to admit I havenít been a big movie-goer. Itís not that it has lost its lustre, but I am a bit of a snob when it comes to flicks. That said, I donít want to see this townís only cinema close its doors.
In the long winter months, which are just around the corner, Garibaldi 5 Cinema brings colours to our grey days. For teenagers, itís a social hub ó a meeting place or a good first date.
Metropolitan Theatres Corp., the U.S.-based company that owns the cinema, is up against a dilemma that small theatres throughout B.C. face: the switch to the digital era. Itís costly ó approximately $150,000 per screen.
My hope is that creativity, the substance the industry is based on, saves the cinema. One of my favourite theatres is in Hood River, Ore. It shows old flicks, new flicks and all the obscure ones in between. The seating is made up of couches and hot pizza, straight from the oven, is served at oneís seat. Oh yeah, and thereís beer.
In April, the province introduced a policy that allows movie theatres to serve alcohol. Itís not the answer to Garibaldi 5 Cinemaís problems, but with a little bit of imagination it could be part of the solution. That and stir in a bit of indie charm. I would be a more frequent customer, lured by the golden ale and the visual feast of Bollywood or the latest documentary.
The kid in me wants to continue hissing at the villains and rally for the good guys. Itís one part of us all that never becomes old.