2024: A year of the kinos

2023 had been a great year for my movie watching. I clocked close to watching a 100 movies in the kinos, ranging from silent movies from the 1920s and indulging in the Barbenheimer hype on the first day. I didn't have this kind of access before moving to Berlin, in India watching a movie meant fitting into the latest Bollywood release cycle with a few pop-American movies thrown in. So for the most part of my life, access to world cinema was only through the internet, watching on a small screen with abysmal audio output. Though watching movies on a computer kept my cinema fantasies alive, it restricted my understanding of the intricate elements that make a movie truly immersive. Going to the kinos often showed that a mediocre movie becomes better when viewed in the kino while a great movie transforms itself into an altered state of consciousness that requires careful calibration post-movie to reintegrate into the world. I have been forgiving with most of the movies I watched in the kinos and when a bad one like Ridley Scott's Napoleon hit me I chose to have a nap instead.

Though most of my viewings in 2023 were the latest releases my plan for 2024 is to deviate from this a bit. The indelible movie experiences from last year were the older movies that I watched during the retrospectives in the Berlinale and the East Asian movies shown fortnightly at the Yorck kinos and the various festivals at Babylon Berlin. Movies that I watched previously enjoyed on the small screen or classics I saved for later viewings are the ones that I want to explore on the big screen, as that was the medium they're intended for. Another goal is to be more mindful about watching movies, prioritizing quality over quantity, I'd rather watch a movie I love five times than cramming four mediocre movies in the mix. This would further be supplemented by my informal film studies revolving around cinematography and editing, while also venturing into decoding special effects and understanding what makes a performance shine.

At some point last year I lost interest in film criticism as it reduced my movie watching exercise into constant intellectual masturbation, dissociating from the actual experience of being in the kino. I will try keeping movie criticism to a minimum while allocating these intellectual resources towards film philosophy and the contribution of cinema to our collective unconscious. If I achieve even 10% of my film viewing goals I'd consider it a success. Let's see what 2024 brings and see you at the movies!

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