Dubai diaries: Cinema saves the world

david@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 8, 2021

With everyday life not letting up even for summer and numerous events bombarding our news feeds, including but not exclusive to the enthralling Olympics confounding all expectations, perhaps a visit to the cinema hasn’t been top of everyone’s agenda. Though, maybe with the upcoming cache of absolute blockbusters clawing to make their way onto the big screen, such a mindset should change. Like the big perfectly spherical and completely un-Styrofoam looking boulder chasing Indiana Jones in Raiders of The Lost Ark, a pent-up roster of pandemic delayed films is heading our way and we are in for a treat. From Free Guy this coming weekend to Ghostbusters: Afterlife to The Many Saints of Newark and the latest James Bond, there are seemingly an infinite number of big-hitters looking to entertain and tempt cinema lovers back to the theatre.

While we have been fortunate in Dubai to be allowed to return to cineplexes for over a year now, the stream of pictures has been hit and miss at best. A single big ticket item almost every week has been just about sufficient, yet the avalanche of movies currently teetering on an entertainment ledge ready to consume us in Tinsel Town moments is too great to ignore. So gear up for a visit to the flicks...it’s actually good for you.

“Thank you, doctor, what do we owe you for this advice?” Good one, snarky, but watching a film really is beneficial to your health. Not my words; those of a world-renowned university. University College London’s Department of Experimental Psychology (Division of Psychology and Language Sciences) last year found a “direct link between watching a film and the impact it has on brain function, social connections, productivity and creativity.” I can feel the skepticism from here, so will elaborate as you unroll your eyes. The study used biometric devices to observe changes in participants’ body functions as they watched a feature. Heart rates were found to be between 40-80 per cent of their maximum, which “the British Heart Foundation calls the ‘healthy heart zone’, for about 40 minutes of the screening.” Alongside the physiological responses, the psychological were also interesting. “Focused activity and the shared social focus have proven long-term benefits on overall brain function, memory, focus and productivity,” the research added. “Despite the fact that these people are all strangers to one another, their hearts begin to beat in synchrony while watching the film together. When people demonstrate synchronised physiological responses like this, they also show stronger social and emotional bonds.” Therefore the next time you’re booking a ticket for what you may think is a couple of hours of throwaway fluff, you’re actually doing your part in staying healthy and improving society. And if a loftier excuse to drag people to Jacka** Forever exists, I’m yet to hear it.


David Light

David is originally from the United Kingdom and has been a journalist in the UAE for 12 years. A keen lifestyle writer, his work centres on motoring, dining, travel, film and local and international entertainment. When he is not at his desk, David enjoys taking a motorbike out for an early ride, delving into a historical biography or exploring new languages and countries. Email him about any of his stories or to reach out about one of your own.