Emma Fagan…

Growing up, I was certainly no stranger to watching movies illegally in some shape or form. It was common pratice for friends or family members to get their hands on a pirate copy of the latest blockbuster usually with the added appeal of rows of silhouetted heads! Although at the time I had no real knowledge of or respect for the creative process as such, it never gave me any pleasure to watch a badly copied film just because I was getting it for free or getting to seeing it before everyone else.

These days though, the practice of “video pircacy” has almost been replaced by online illegal downloading and what makes it even more tempting for those who commit this crime is that films can now be illegally downloaded quickly and in excellent quality.
However this still holds no attraction for me. When it comes to viewing a film, my love of movies is synomious with my love of cinema, in the literal physical sense of the word. I believe films were meant to be seen in a cinema theatre, where the magic happens! I recently saw Chistopher Nolans “ Intersteallar” in the Savoy and I was aboslutely blown  away by it. Of course there will be many viewers who wont react the way I did; Nolans film has certainly divided the critics but good, bad or indifferent, it angers me to think that someone would complain about spending €9.50 for 150 minutes of top class acting (mainly McConnaughy), emotion and dazzling effects. How is that “not worth it” and how can one justify sitting at home watching all that for free?
As a member of the IFI, I can see a film for as little as €6.90 at certain times of the day.  Thats just my personal choice. When it comes to movies, I’m quite traditional. After hundreds and hundreds of visits to the cinema, the excitement and enchantment has never waned for me and I will always argue that its the only way to truly appreciate a film. Of course, there is nothing wrong with ligitimately downloading and streaming films and there is so much value online too. Volta rent films for as little as €2.99 upwards and a months subscription to Netflix is around €8 per month.

In the Decemeber 2014 blog, Peter H. Morris mourns the loss of a number of video stores in Galway. In November  2014 Laser DVD on Georges St, a veritable Aladins Cave of films, closed its doors after 25 years. When I wasnt curled up in a seat in the cinema, Laser was always my next port of call. Now the loss of our tradtional video shops cant be wholey down to illegal downloading. The ease at which films can be legitimatly streamed and downloaded less expensively and without the hassle of having to return them has certainly helped to muscle in on these rental outlets but I wonder would our video shops have been around a little longer if it hadnt been for the  huge upsurge in illegal downloading?

I know that some of my friends and family would download a film illegally in the blink of an eye but I also know that they dont understand why its illegal. Like many, they see it as something that everyone does and only the big Hollywood studios suffer. In Novembers blog Tom Byrne uses the example of Little Jimmy stealing DVDs. I ike to compare illegal downloading to stealing a beautiful piece of art from a gallery. A work of art takes time and deserves to be appreciated as does a movie but while a piece of art may only be created by one person a movie requires hundreds and or maybe even thousands of skilled creative people to bring it to the stage where we as film goers get to see it in all its glory . I believe that anything from €2.99 to €12.99 is not too much to ask for this pleasure whether you want to watch an Irish independent film or the latest blockbuster from Peter Jackson.