Cam in Film: The Noise Problem

Chris Thomas 1 February 2014

Whether it’s a phenomenon specific to this part of the world or part of a much wider trend, there is a blight on the cinema-going population of Cambridge. There is a small but very, very noticeable group of people who have no idea how to watch films in the cinema. It’s not a difficult concept: you sit down, shut up, then have two hours of entertainment beamed directly into your eyeballs. Nothing that should cause an issue for any human being with half a brain cell. And yet, it turns out that there are people for whom this simple series of actions is impossible.

The main problem is the second ingredient in the formula: shutting up. For some unknown reason, every screening in Cambridge is ruined by some moron who struggles to grasp the idea that people might actually want to listen to the film rather than the soundtrack that accompanies whatever it is they are shovelling into their mouths. For example, one considerate moviegoer sitting behind me in a Cineworld showing of Gravity diligently waited for the tension building near silence of the first half hour to begin before going to town on his chosen in-film snack, apparently a black bin bag full of broken glass.

The problem is not limited to the blockbuster-heavy multiplexes of the world. At the risk of sounding like a snob, you tend to expect better from the Picturehouse audience: it’s theoretically full of serious film buffs going to see serious films. However, the same sonically offensive snacks are sold at the box office of the Arts Cinema. They’re just organic and cost about twelve quid. Picturehouse goers also have to contend with the fact that beverages such as wine are allowed, causing incessant glugging.

So, what do we do about this issue? Firstly, popcorn has to be banned. The stuff produces more noise than Concorde taking off. Mark Kermode, a long-time campaigner on this issue, is a strong advocate of serving only soft buttered rolls. There needs to be stronger action: bouncers, airport style x-ray machines and sniffer dogs should be introduced. We must ensure this menace is kept out of our cinemas.

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