On Friday night, I watched a movie with a friend. We’d decided that seeing as we rather enjoyed making up stories and fantasy locations together, that we should watch “Bridge to Terabithia”. So we arranged to set an evening aside and watch the film, and chat about various things as we watched (we had both seen the film before).
There was only one snag. She lives 4,000 miles away. Now, flying out to meet up was, as you could imagine, prohibitively expensive. But we hit on the idea of meeting up virtually through the internet. We both had a copy of the film, we both had an instant messaging client (long distance phone calls would have been far too expensive), and so all we needed to do was set a time to start.
Of course, being in different time zones meant that it was always going to be a late night for me. There’s six hours difference between us, so 8pm her time would be 1am for me. Never mind though; it was a weekend after all, so we thought “to hell with sleep” and got watching in the wee hours of the morning.
I won’t go into detail here about the film. It’s a superb but tragic tale of a teenage boy whose life is changed when a free spirited teenage girl arrives in his rural school. Together they create an imaginary fantasy kingdom in the woods next to their homes. I won’t spoil the ending, but have some tissues to hand.
The best thing about this whole event was the fact that we were able to have a clear, amusing and thought provoking conversation about the film and other related topics while watching, without missing much of the action. We never had to talk over the top, and having the chat dialogue side by side with the movie meant that my focus was never diverted. It really was the next best thing to being sat on the sofa together watching it.
Those of you located in remote areas with friends who live far away; I would highly recommend organising some sort of group-watching session. If you have access to cheap phone calls or VOIP technology like skype, try it out. I don’t know if it would enhance the experience or detract from it, but I’d love to hear from people who have tried it.
The Internet reduces the whole world to a single point. It’s a remarkable feat. Use it.