April 16th, 2003


Cinema 2003

Yesterday I went to Gävle to watch "The Hours". A movie I've been very curious about. Now, I suspected that I would get it on DVD later on, and that it wasn't vital to see it on the big screen.. But.. I guess I wanted to see it, and wanted to do something..

Not sure if that was a good idea..

I love cinemas.. Everything about cinemas.. One year, January - December, I managed 121 visits to a cinema.. The year before and after that year, wasn't that bad neither. Probably visited a cinema close to 300 times in those 3 years alone.

I knew most of the ones working in the cinemas around here..

I've spent endless amounts of hours in the projection booth, and during some time.. I did went with one to learn for it.. and be able to work as a projectionist (as a second job during evenings).

When I go into new cinemas.. I'm always checking it out.. studying it..

I've been to cinemas in 3 countries.. Sweden, UK, USA.. Sandviken, Gävle, Uppsala, Stockholm, Karlholm, Söderhamn, Östersund, Halmstad, Karlstad, Örebro, Västerås, London, York, Waco.. Seen movies in places with only about 20 seats.. all the way up to places with 1,500 - 2,000 seats..

Seen movies where one out of the two projectors weren't working, which meant all reels had to be shown on one projector, with a 5 min gap between them.. Seen movies in 3D.. Been to state-of-the-art THX cinemas and better.. and.. much worse..

Whatever.. I love cinemas..

But.. yesterday.. I really started to have mixed feelings..

The movie was supposed to start at 18:15 (6:15 pm). Well.. it's a multiplex, with 7 screens. Now, they didn't even let us in, until about 2 mins before the movie was supposed to start. Once upon a time, they started letting people in about 15 - 20 mins before the movie.. The commercials started 8 mins before the time listed, meaning the movie started approx the listed time (At least when it wasn't a really short movie. At least then, a friend of mine, started the commercials at the listed time, to make people leave the cinema later, and kinda make them feel as if the movie was longer and better value for money. If you're used to a movie starting at 18:30, and leaving the cinema at 20:10, if you leave the cinema and it's only 19:50, you do get a sense of it being "early". With the added 8 mins etc.. You can at least extend that to about 20:00 which doesn't feel that early). Now.. the listed time seems to be the same as the start of the commericals.. It's happened gradually. Before.. since the commerial-reel is 8 mins long.. it started 8 mins before.. then it was 5 mins before.. and gradually.. it's become 0 - 1 min before.. Obviously to make the advertisers happy. Why show it (why pay for it), if people would turn up a couple of mins before the set time, and miss most of the commercials? That way.. the commercials had just started when we were let in.. (now.. they were late.. Guess they usually let people in about 5 mins before). You endure the commercials, some trailers... a short reminder that people should turn of their mobile/cell phones. The curtains are closed.. Takes about 1 - 2 mins before the opens, the lights dim and the movie starts.. About 12 mins after the set time..

Then, a company of 3 adults and one kid comes in. It's a small salon, with only about 80 places. I guess, 8 rows.. with row 1 closest to the screen. Since I prefer to sit close to the screen, I'm in row 2. I'd preferred row 3, but that was filled. The entrance is at the same height as row 1, which means you enter and then walk up the stairs to get to your place.. With a loud voice.. one of them laughs and says it's so dark etc.. one of the others laughs with her etc.. they stumble around.. not knowing what to do.. all time she continue with a loud voice saying it's so dark, that she doesn't see.. going in front of the first row.. which means in front of the screen to about everyone on the first 6 rows, since the screen starts only about a foot above the floor. I think it takes 2 mins between they come in.. give up trying to find their seats and sits in the front row, and settles down..

No more than 1 minute later.. another company of 3 turns up. They're better at it, and fairly silently sneaks right in and sits down on row 2, towards the edge. Still a touch disturbing.. A minute or two later.. another person, being with the first company being late, comes in.. and after some silent shouting where they were, find his seat.

Finally.. about 5 - 7 mins into the movie, you could, undisturbed sit down and concentrate on the movie. Well.. If I hadn't been so off concentration by that time, and pissed off enough to think about going to them and demand they pay me the 85 SEK I'd payed, and leave, since I figured the experience of the movie was ruined anyway.. But.. I guess it was about 10 mins into the movie, before I could put my mind into it. Even if I'd seen what happened etc.. it's a huge difference between seeing what's going on, and be into what's going on, and obviously.. the first 3 - 4 mins of a movie is among the most important, since it puts you in the mood and pulls you into it. Setting the mood, the story.. presenting the characters. Only the ending is more important than the opening, in a movie, when it comes to the story as a whole, from a storytelling, technical point. Obviously, it's always possible to discuss that, since.. if you don't get into the movie from the start, you're not gonna be around for the ending. At least with your mind.

I love, at least when I'm alone.. to be early at the cinema.. go in and find my seat... sit down.. calm down.. and just relax.. maybe close my eyes and empty my mind. Prepare for the movie.

Now.. of course.. I could as well complain about the cinema.. in the first place letting people in that late.. In UK, at ODEON Cinemas, they do list "Door opens", "Show start" and "Picture start", but they don't do that here. Here it's 18:15, which supposedly is when the movie should start, but now seems to be the time when "Door opens"/"Show start" I think the doors should open at least 15 mins before the movie starts. I also think it's stupid to have the doors at the front, closest to the screen, rather than in the middle or from the back. Then it's not as much disturbance if people arrive late, and it would be possible to sneak in a couple of people being late. But.. still, it's a touch insensitive of them to let people in once the movie has started. Once the movie has started, the doors really should be "locked". Both for the benefit of the people having started to watch the movie, as well as for those being late. I mean.. they come to the cinema stressed up for being late.. they miss the start of the movie, and haven't calmed down until a couple of mins later.. and missing the opening. How would it be possible to get into the movie then. OK.. now there might be a slight difference between a drama, such as "The Hours", which is based a lot on the mood, and a James Bond-movie or something.

Still.. What the heck is people thinking, arriving that late? I mean.. if they had arrived 18:17 or something, when the movie is listed as 18:15, but.. they arrived at about 18:27.. a full 12 mins after that time. What? Oh.. we go see "The Hours".. we're 12 mins late.. but.. hey.. we'll see the remaining 95 mins of it (or whatever). No problem. Wonder if, if they rent a video, if they fast forward 10 mins, and start watching as well?

OK.. if you sit switching channels on the TV, and come upon something seeming interesting and start watching (even if I usually don't do that neither). But.. if they figure it's ok to start watching a show/movie on TV 5-10 mins late, it's because it catch their eye. It's a difference to be that late for something they don't know anything about, which might or might not catch their eye.
Of course.. one of the late arrivals, hadn't shut off his mobile/cell phone neither (Of course.. he/she was late and missed the reminder they show before the movie starts).

Dunno.. Loved to go seeing movies in a big, pretty movie theater. Today I'm not sure. The movie theaters aren't that big, nor that pretty, and a lot of the audience totally insensitive. Spoiling all the charm of going to see movies.

No.. not gonna stop doing that, but the next time, I'll make sure the movie is "fucking loud, man!" (Robin Williams in "Good Morning Vietnam"), and with mind-blowing visuals.. :(

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