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Why I like to sit in the front row centre (and you don't have to)

Have you ever deciphered the events of a film presented wildly out of focus? Or tried to discern nuances of on-screen shadow in a theatre otherwise lit up by people's mobile phones? Or have you ever had to see past the distraction of fellow viewers' loud eating and talking, or of your own anxieties, stresses and fixations, to enter fully the world of cinema?

If so, then you will know that filmgoing is an exercise of the mind as much as the eyes and ears – a process that requires the viewer's imagination to meet the film halfway. Just as we constantly make adjustments and compensations for the inevitable imperfections of the particular circumstances (internal and external) in which we watch, conversely the so-called perfect viewing is a mental construct – a conceptual abstraction and desideratum rather than any measurable reality.

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