Henshin! The nostalgia wanes and reality sets in.


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Henshin! The nostalgia wanes and reality sets in.

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Overcrowded movie theaters, expensive popcorn, and escapism entertainment made for the best days as a child of the 20th century. Surrounded by an ever growing crisis of climate change, the rising political tensions domestic and foreign; nearly every issue fades away as the lights dim in a theater, directing all attention to the action set pieces of the latest blockbuster hit. Unfortunately now, there are no lights to dim, no popcorn to smell, the once intense reverberating sound and art of audio mixing, is now forced to protrude from broken TV sound bars. The magnificent subtle nuances of orchestral scores, become muffled by the yelling of neighbors. As basic and selfish as it may seem, Covid-19 served as a reminder of the unobtainable nostalgia and senses that surround my past, the art of escapism through film. In 2020 I witnessed the passing of loved ones, relationships dwindle, and ironically the comfort of escapism...has now escaped me. Movie theaters were closed, the discomfort of the slightly course and rough woven stitched seats, became a desperate dream, a return to normalcy. The artificial smell of buttered popcorn, along with the overpriced snacks, became memories of an easier past.

I wrote Henshin, as a manifestation of the changes of Covid-19. It isn't necessarily that films can never be enjoyed again, but the ability to truly escape, is gone. We view, smell, feel and see things differently now. The bombastic sensation within a theater, sharing the laughs, cries and emotions with other children, is now replaced with a constant checking of watches to return again to the world. The smell of artificial flavoring may be gone forever. Loved ones will never carry us out of a theater again. The inconvenient sounds of crowds, machines, and other viewers, are now replaced with conventional house noises. Undoubtedly film will return, theaters will open up again, but the once wholesome experience from the past has changed. The families laughs have now turned to cries, quoting movies with one another has turned to editing eulogies, smells are now memories instead of new experiences.

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This item was submitted on June 28, 2021 by Emmett Burnton using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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