10 Commandments of Cinema Etiquette

10 Commandments of Cinema Etiquette

Remember how Woody Allen’s character from Annie Hall decides not to enter the cinema hall because he missed the opening titles? That’s the level of dedication a movie watcher should have

Going to the movies is an activity-filled with great possibilities. The possibilities of getting introduced to new ideas, getting transported to a whole new world, of getting introduced to yourself. But such possibilities are becoming rare. Not because of the decline in the quality of the movies – although sometimes it is for that reason as well – but mostly because of the decline in the quality of the audience. While there are many things about cinema that is not in our control directly, one thing that is in our control is the cinema etiquette. So keeping that in mind, here are the 10 Commandments of Cinema Etiquettes to help improve our cinema experience. 

  1. Thou shalt not arrive late at the cinema hall.

A movie is designed to be viewed from the very first frame to the last, just before the end credit starts to roll unless the credits are also designed specifically. So there's no reason for anyone to not enter the cinema hall and take their seats before the movie starts. In this regard, you should be like Woody Allen's character from Annie Hall. Remember how he decides not to enter the cinema hall because he missed the opening titles? Yeah! That's the level of dedication I'm talking about.  

  1. Thou shalt not talk about the movie during the movie.

If you are one of those "cinephiles" who feel the urge to constantly tell your movie-going partner the significance of a particular shot during the movie, stop that urge. I know the temptation can be real. But toughen yourself up and stop any attempts to give in to that vicious urge. Besides, your girlfriend isn't really interested in YOUR director's commentary. She will figure the movie out on her own. Also, no repeating of dialogues. You don't need to announce to everyone that this is your second viewing of the movie.

  1. Thou shalt not talk during the movie anyway.

When in a cinema hall, the only line of communication that matters is between the movie and the audience. If you have some important stuff to discuss with your movie-going partner or discuss some important business on your cell phone, please excuse yourself from the hall. It is disrespectful towards the movie and the others to be subjected to any unwanted loud volume conversation. 

  1. Thou shalt eat food according to the movie.

The food counter at the cinema hall offers a variety of food [At least the menu implies so]. But you should be mindful in your selection of which one to eat. Eating samosas work fine during any movie. But if you decide to eat Nachos during 'A Quiet Place' then maybe you are not paying attention.

  1. Thou shalt not order food on your seats.

A cinema hall isn't a restaurant. The primary purpose is to watch the movie. Anything else that hinders that activity shall be avoided at any cost. Ordering food on your seats may help the cinema concessionaire in terms of business, but it harms you and fellow audience members. The persons serving you the food always time their entry to make sure they ruin an important moment of the film for everyone. It's okay if the film gets ruined for you. You get the food in return. What about the others? They don't even get the food. So to make sure this unfairness doesn't happen, stop ordering food on your seats.

  1. Thou shalt not use mobile phones.

There's no reason to entertain yourself with your cell phone during the movie. Feel like checking the news or the IPL score? Don't do it. And stop that urge to announce on Twitter and Facebook that you are watching a movie. Here is a secret folk. No one cares. By the way, taking pictures of a running movie or recording a portion of a film for your Instagram story falls under movie piracy. Don't do it.

  1. Thou shalt refrain from any and all non-movie viewing activities.

The primary activity to be conducted in a cinema hall is that of viewing of the movie. Anything that doesn't cater to that activity should be dismissed and be encouraged by others to be dismissed. Such activities involve family quarrel, business meetings, drug dealing, or sex. Holding hands is okay. That, in fact, is encouraged.

  1. Thou shalt keep thy kids at home.

A kid is an innocent creature, in theory. When that kid creates a ruckus during the screening he/she becomes the subject of vicious curses pointed directly at them by hundreds of angry audience members. Save your child's innocence. Take him/her out. Besides, if you bring your kid to watch 'Gangs of Wasseypur' then maybe you are the one at fault. 

  1. Thou shalt maintain harmony with your surroundings.

Buying a movie ticket doesn't mean buying the cinema hall. It's a ticket for a single 'seat'. It is a cushion onto which you plant your buttocks for the runtime of the movie. The most additional area of the seat you are allowed to use is the floor area right in front of you and your right armrest. Not the left one. That belongs to the person on your left. If you are left-handed, you still use the right armrest. That's how it works. Do not extend your legs through the gap between the seats in front of you or do not rest your chin on the front seat and absolutely no kicking. Don't do it.

  1. Thou shalt keep thy patriotism to thyself.

You have spent more than 200 rupees to buy a comfortable seat in a cinema hall to watch a movie that you wanted to see for a long time. Now, you are in the hall. It's an exciting moment. Don't let this moment be ruined by some schmuck who doesn't want to pay respect to our beloved National Anthem by not standing up. He is going to rot in hell anyway. Don't worry about him. You should only concentrate on your part; making sure you follow all the rules of National Anthem singing ritual like the posture, the stance, the position of thumbs, the clarity of voice, etc. etc. Keep it real!

So those are the 10 Commandments of Cinema Etiquettes. I hope people follow them diligently and evangelically and for a fairly simple reason. On any given movie – even on a low budget movie – there are at least around 150 people in total working to get it made for us to see. Some of those people work for a week, whereas some work for more than a year. All they ask for – apart from the ticket price – is our undivided attention till the movie is running. I don't think they are asking too much.

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