Nick Ahad: Farewell to multiplexes – it’s time to support local independent cinemas

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I really do admire those folk who eat only locally sourced food, who drink Fairtrade coffee, wear nothing unless they know its journey from production to their backs and have never stepped foot in a chain-owned coffee shop.

I wish I was like that, but convenience often beats principles. I’m not proud of it, but the Arts View is a place for honesty. One area in which I have become determined to make certain that I follow my principles is in my cinema-going.

I did at one point, I’m somewhat shame-faced to admit, own an unlimited viewing card to a chain-owned multiplex. I paid a fixed fee every month, got to watch as many films as I wanted. But it wasn’t worth it.

I realised that the quantity of movies I was able to enjoy didn’t make up for the quality of the experience. Nothing could compensate for having to watch movies with people on their mobiles throughout, popcorn being consumed like it was crack and the consumers addicts, and a genuine sense of people who could be selling burgers as easily as they were selling movie tickets. The lack of care for crafted stories on the screen by the folk purveying them was palpable.

So a couple of months ago I cancelled my direct debit and decided only to watch films at independent cinemas. Or at least, not at chains. Since then I’ve been to the beautiful Hyde Park Picture House far more often. I returned to the haunt of my childhood, the Keighley Picture House and last weekend I went to one of the most wonderful film facilities we have in Yorkshire – the IMAX cinema at the National Media Museum in Bradford.

The tickets are expensive – £15 for one adult for the nice seats – but it’s worth it as a special trip. The sound and image are unreal. Or rather, almost real. Which is exactly what you want when watching a movie like Everest.

The IMAX takes you, during this extraordinary movie, on to the slopes of a killer mountain. It is the closest you’ll get to being there from the safety of a padded leather chair.

So, go – and support your local indie cinema.

There is also a much more serious point I want to make about the movie I saw at the IMAX. In the movie, based on a true story, there is huge peril, rich American climbers face death, some of them die and people move heaven, earth and foreign embassies to save their lives.

It did strike me, while watching the truth-turned into a movie, that the life of one rich Texan is considered worthy enough to make a two-hour movie about and yet we let people die in the sea. It was a jarring moment, watching a true story of people spending many thousands to save one man who climbed a mountain for fun, while knowing the true story that we are letting people die when they flee towards us, scared for their lives.

How are their lives worth less than the ones we see on the big screens of our cinemas?