Cinema silence — yet another myth

2010-11-08 00:00

WHERE are the moviegoers with a predilection for escape from their mundane lives? Where are those who enjoy the experience of sitting in the theatre, munching popcorn as silently as possible, while watching a film?

Extinct, is the only answer I can find. Today’s young cine- customers seem to be there under duress. They chat to their friends on MXit, while I sit behind trying to dodge the glare from their cellphone screens.

Often it’s the suffering boyfriends or girlfriends, obviously dragged there to earn brownie points, who spend their time playing games on their phones, or catching up with their friends on Facebook.

Some know it’s a multi-billion United States-dollar production, so it’s definitely a must-see, but it’s not quite as important as what Robyn is wearing to the dance on Saturday, or whether Ryan managed to score with that hot chick, or which Nintendo Wii game Scott got for his birthday.

What about the VIPs who’ve taken time out of their busy schedules to attend the movies, but must take all their calls.

“Hello,” loud whisper, “I’m at the movies, yes, it’s okay. No not that one, it’s the new one, you know.’”

Yes, we know, because we’re actually trying to watch it. Are they being called out to an emergency? Has the organ donor just been located? Who knew there were that many neurosurgeons in town?

The movie houses keep trying to improve our experience with flavoured popcorn, coffee and shortbread, but something needs to be done about the chatterers. A few movies ago I was forced to listen to a woman murmuring between sighs into her mobile phone “No I love you more ... no I miss you more ....” until the person behind her swiftly kicked her chair. She left in a huff, exclaiming loudly about the rudeness of luckless people who clearly didn’t have anyone to love or miss them more.

Cinema Noveau tends to cater for the more discerning moviegoer, or so I was led to believe. Until one day, nestled down into my chair, armed with coffee and shortbread, I was disrupted by an elderly woman and her rather archaic beau who arrived late and sat down noisily behind me.

Within seconds she’d begun to explain to him who was who and what they were doing. Initially the hairs on the back of my neck began to quiver in agitation, then I began to listen to what she was telling him and spent the rest of the movie laughing to myself.

The only explanation I could find was that they’d walked into the wrong movie and she was determinedly making the characters do what was expected of them. I missed the entire movie and although I’d initially contemplated throwing a shortbread finger at them, I decided that perhaps they were a little more interesting than the movie and I do hate to waste good shortbread.

Perhaps it’s time to bring back the usher, the young conscientious torchbearer who can flash his or her light into the faces of loud talkers and MXit gigglers as a warning before eviction. Then again, who’d notice the torch from the glare of the cellphone screen?

Maybe the usher could twitter them instead: “TO &$% fon.”

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