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Virginia Woolf on the magic of going to the cinema

By Lucy Bolton, Reader in Film Studies, Queen Mary University of London
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These cinema-starved times have made me pine for the magic of the movies on the big screen. The convenience and comfort of watching DVDs and streamed films at home are, of course, wonderful. Lockdown is inconceivable without them. But the experience of being in the cinema is not possible to replicate from your sofa. The sensory overwhelm and immersion is what makes a trip to the cinema a truly particular experience, and I’ve been contemplating what it is that makes it so special.

The writer Virginia Woolf wondered the same thing after a trip to the cinema in 1926. How might watching…


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