Bitty Ruminations 78 – The movie experience

Posted on June 27, 2013

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This post doesn’t talk about anything that hasn’t been talked about in recent times, but it just has to be said. Again. And again. And again. How can people be so insensitive, so rude, so inconsiderate of the people around them? My worst horror, these days, are the smartphones the size of paperbacks, which, when used during the movie, shed a pool of light that spreads across at least two rows. As far as possible, I try to get seats in a corner, so that the distractions are minimised, but it still doesn’t help much.

It’s worse if you’re not really the confrontational type. You’re stewing at the other person’s behaviour, and you’re stewing at your own inability (or unwillingness) to do anything about it. At least David Edelstein gets “studio-hosted screenings.” No such luck in India — at least in Chennai. I like that, actually. You see films like anyone else, buying a ticket, and you feel freer to speak about them. With studio-screenings, you may run into someone who asks you to voice an opinion, and that’s always awkward. But at least those screenings will only have people who are really interested in watching the film.

I wonder sometimes how it has come to this. Surely the world wasn’t all please- and sorry- and thank you-spouting people in the time of our parents and grandparents. Why, then, don’t we hear of such loutish behaviour from those times? Or are people speaking up only now? Or has the tech-aided ADD-ed world caused a brand new breed of louts? Or has the freedom of trash-talking, without repercussions, on the Internet led to the notion that one can say or do anything anywhere? Whatever it is, it’s enough to get a man thinking about switching professions.

PS: It’s worst with serious English films in Chennai, the ones that involve a lot of dialogue. You can understand people getting bored, but why don’t they walk out? What compels them to stay and waste their time seeing something that they’re so obviously not interested in seeing? Surely it’s not just the air-conditioning.

PPS: I now yearn for a time the only nuisance in theatres was the annoying know-it-all, who, during, say, Troy, will feel compelled to explain to his neighbour what this scene and that one has to do with the larger picture in The Iliad. “Machi, Agamemnon is the brother of Menelaus, da…”

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