Is Film Watching an Addiction?
If you define addiction as an overcome passion for something, then yes, many people are addicted to film. If you class addiction, more correctly and formidably, as something which causes withdrawal symptoms, then yes, film is very much still an addiction.
When going on holiday, I’m of course greatly excited, but my conscience never fails to tell me “No films for a whole week!” Though these symptoms never lead to genuine physical reactions (such as a drug habit would induce), I still have mental desires for the beautiful medium so much that it does affect my mental health (something which, in turn, does actually affect physical conditions).
A film can be comforting, mentally relaxing and ultimately soothing – if you stay clear of Michael Haneke pictures! It takes us into a fictional panorama, which allows our minds to drift and wonder for at least 90 minutes, and a day or two after (if the film you are watching has meaning and depth – undeniably a rarity in todays marketplace). It’s this form of escapism that allows for a fresh start once the credits roll. When this ability is reduced we may become frustrated and itching for a new realm – in the paradoxical sense.
“Our lives are a metaphor for story”, Robert McKee wrote in his treasure ‘Story’. And so, story, and the medium of film, can act as a metaphor for our lives too – something that we hope to reach out and grab on a trip to the cinema. This is cinema acting as the influential medium that it so transparently is.
In conclusion, a more correct term for the moviegoer’s addiction may just be pure obsession. But, within the obsessive mind, the latter does have the ability to lead on authentic symptoms of withdrawal.
If there’s something for one to become obsessive over, the cinephiles lifestyle is certainly an easy, tranquil and rather inviting place to start.
Your opinions? Do you crave film?