Katie Larkin describes her viewing experience of Passages at the Irish Film Institute to celebrate this year’s International Cinema Day.
September 2nd marked this year’s International Cinema Day, where cinema tickets all over Ireland were reduced to the special price of €4. This day also marked my first solo trip to the cinema, which while daunting, was more enjoyable than I had anticipated. It was great to see so many cinemas across Ireland take part in the initiative and to see so many punters involved in the day; for a small price in these trying times, it was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Located in Temple Bar, The Irish Film Institute (IFI) had a large array of new screenings available for the day, and the affordable ticket price sold me straight away. I was drawn to Ira Sachs’ new film Passages (2023); the film that follows the lives of two married queer men as their relationship reaches a crossroads when one of them begins an intense love affair with a younger woman. The film is dynamic and captivating, with a strong use of detailed aesthetics and bold cinematography to portray such a riveting story where the protagonist is both the audience’s and its peers' enemy. A definitively modern tale, the film benefits from an array of topics including sexuality, bisexual panic, familial struggles and transgressing gender roles, whilst also shedding light on European stereotypes. The director plays with love, lust and betrayal in an artistic manner as it follows the primary character’s impulsive behaviour throughout the film.
Upon further reflection, I believe that it makes the most sense to attend the cinema alone: consumption of a film is contingent upon the interpersonal relationship between the director and their art, and the viewer is essential to producing the meaning of the film.
While I highly enjoyed viewing the film, I found myself greatly valuing the fact that I chose to screen this film alone. Upon further reflection, I believe that it makes the most sense to attend the cinema alone: consumption of a film is contingent upon the interpersonal relationship between the director and their art, and the viewer is essential to producing the meaning of the film. I really felt that because I was alone, I was able to focus on the film without referring to someone else's opinion or presence. I would be lying if my impulsive decision to attend the cinema on my own for International Cinema Day didn’t daunt me. However, once I entered the designated screen, it didn’t take me long to realise that the majority of people in the room were also alone. This realisation made me reflect on why we often rely on other people’s company to consume and enjoy art. Taking a small step out of your comfort zone can be worth it, and I urge anyone else to try it - whether on International Cinema Day or on a regular weekend.