Because of my Indian heritage, I’ve grown up seeing a lot of Bollywood and Tollywood movies (Telugu movie industry). So that involves your typical bright, colorful, flashy dance sequences that come when you least expect them. The long, tear-jerking plots that tug at your heartstrings and have you practically screaming at the protagonists at the end. And it also includes the intermissions.
I distinctly remember the first time I watched a Bollywood film in a theater in India. When my uncle and I first walked in, we didn’t immediately purchase the typical movie snacks, which I, accustomed to American movie theaters, thought was strange. As the observant individual that I am, I also noticed that a lot of our other fellow moviegoers were lacking the traditional popcorn as well.
Nonetheless, we went into the dark hall, found our seats, and sat down. While it wasn’t the best movie that I’d ever seen, I found its premise intriguing enough. It was a science-fiction superhero film about a young lad with extraordinary superpowers. Krrish, if you’ve ever heard of it. But about two hours into the movie, when I was biting my nails at the impending climax, the movie stopped. The theater lights came on, casting light onto my startled expression and smiling uncle. People started getting up and heading towards the exit.
What is going on? I thought in wonder and bewilderment. The movie isn’t that bad. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind sitting though what’s left of it. I looked once more in my utter confusion at my uncle, who was standing at this point. Seeing my pitiful befuddlement, he laughed before saying, “It’s the intermission.”
We headed outside and purchased two piping hot samosas and a small bag of popcorn at the snack stand. Seeing that we had a few minutes before the movie resumed, we paced a little in front of the entrance to the hall. And after sitting for a solid two hours, I felt the creeping soreness in my legs slowly disappear from the increased activity.
I was still in wonder at this essentially forced movie break before milling back inside with the rest of the audience. The rest of the movie was pretty good-fight scenes galore, heroic internal struggles, a self-destructive evil genius, a bit of CGI, the predictable romance, and of course, the happy ending. But that wasn’t really what caught my attention. It was the intermission.
It made me think that an intermission might not be such a terrible idea in the American cinema experience. I mean, yes, it momentarily removes you from the action but look at what it has to offer!
For one thing, you’re actually consuming all of your snacks while watching the film. In Western films, people often have the habit of purchasing copious amounts of popcorn directly before the movie begins. But of course, there’s always the endless string of trailers before the actual movie begins. You want to hold off on your consumption of the warm, buttery popcorn you’ve just purchased until the movie starts, but you can’t. The temptation is too great. And before you know it, you find that you’re half way through your popcorn and the movie hasn’t even begun.
In contrast, the intermission removes this problem altogether. If you purchase your refreshments halfway through the movie, then you’ll always be sure to be both munching and watching the movie of your choice.
There’s also the benefit of a convenient bathroom break. Rather than suddenly having to leave the theater at a crucial point because you have to use the restroom, an intermission would provide the shining opportunity to do so. This way, you wouldn’t be frantically rushing to the bathroom or missing any of the movie.
As if that weren’t enough, the intermission also provides the merciful opportunity to stretch your legs after hours of sitting. Remaining in one position for extended periods of time induces cramping, numbness, reduced blood flow, and a certain degree of stress. The few moments that we spend pacing or standing during an intermission allow for increased blood flow, thereby alleviating these symptoms. Thus, the intermission not only enhances the movie-snacking experience, but also is physiologically ideal.
Therefore, I believe that we should seriously consider reinstituting intermissions because they improve our refreshment experience, provide us with an opportunity to use the restroom, and alleviate any symptoms of cramping or soreness from prolonged sitting. My staunch position? BRING BACK INTERMISSIONS!