For this weeks task, I went back to Patricia to ask her about her experiences with the cinema in her country of origin, Brazil.
When asked about a very memorable cinema-going experience she said: “Jaws is one of the only memories I have of watching a film because it was that damn scary! I closed my eyes as tight as I could and blocked my ears, so I had to ask my sister what was happening when there was a scary part.” She also said that she sat right up the back because she thought it would be embarrassing being seen looking terrified. I thought this was absolutely hilarious because being my mother, she still does exactly the same thing! We have a little tradition between myself and her to watch horror movies together at home and she still covers her eyes and ears like there’s no tomorrow and then asks me to recount what happened constantly throughout the scary parts. I also like to sit up the back of the cinema, but not because of saving my pride, but more so the fact that I feel more of the atmosphere. For me, going to the cinema is more of a 360 experience rather than just watching the screen itself. She added that she thinks her experience with ‘Jaws’ is so vivid because it was the first time she saw such great special effects. I couldn’t help but chuckle at that comment because, well, they were pretty bad.
One particular question that I was dying to ask was her thoughts on the movies being dubbed back then. She said that Dubbing to her was normal. She in fact said that she didn’t even realise that the movies were even dubbed into Portuguese. She said that she knew that the actors were not Brazilian, but to her it was not obvious that the Portuguese was in fact dubbed. I thought that was incredible because to us, it is so obvious when movies are dubbed into your own language. Generally because they are dubbed so poorly. Patricia did follow up by saying “Now I think dubbed moves are disgustingly horrible. I just can’t watch them anymore”. I guess I never considered the fact that in the days of no internet and very little international connection, dubbed movies were actually considered done very well.
Another memory that Patricia commented on was the fact that going to the cinema was quite expensive and that the closest cinema was at Copacabana which was about 40 minutes away from her suburb, which made going to the cinema quite a special occasion. This memory links well with Hagerstrand’s capability constraint. I find this memory hard to identify with because being from Sydney, I seem to be surrounded by Cinemas. I mean for me, it’s between Cronulla and Miranda which are a comfortable 20 minutes away from me, and it usually comes down to ticket prices and which seats I find more comfortable.
One aspect of her Brazilian cinema-going experience that I found incredible was the fact that the films were on continuous rotation. So if you were disorganised and got to the movie say 15 minutes late, you watch it from that point and then once it finishes, you watch the beginning when the movie starts again so you can fully understand the movie. This memory links with Hagerstrand’s coupling constraint, because for Patricia sometimes they had no idea when the movie started so they just had to turn up. Obviously in this day and age, this is not a problem because we have access to the movie timetables on our phones, computers and basically anywhere with an internet connection, hence why we are expected to be at the movie at the starting time listed.
For Patricia, the whole culture around going to the cinema was not a formal occasion, but it wasn’t casual either. She said that they dressed nicely and that she usually went on a Sunday. At least once a month but sometimes twice, so there was a sense of regularity. Whereas, for me, my cinema-going behaviours is quite casual and I can go for months and month without going to the cinema because there are many other ways to get the movie for free. Some aspects of the cinema have not changed however with Patricia commenting that popcorn was the food of choice and that she never went with her parents as a young teenage girl. I can obviously relate to this because popcorn for me is vital in the cinema experience. If you don’t have popcorn, then it is like something is missing. Now we have a lot more food choice with Choc-tops and ‘Lolly bars’, whereas Patricia said they simply just had popcorn.
A link with Hagerstrand’s authority constraint is Patricia’s answer to who could enter certain films shown. She said that they were very strict on who could watch certain films depending on the classification. She said that she had to show her student card all the time and that it was very hard to enter if you didn’t have an identification. This is something that I found quite interesting, because you would have thought that this wouldn’t have changed OR have got a little more strict. But from my experiences, it has been the complete opposite. Now, the staff hardly ever check for any proof of age, and sometimes there hasn’t even been anyone at the doors! This does change the experience a little bit for me because I do envy the feeling of a certain movie being an exclusive and special experience. It does take away that sense of exclusivity now that most age groups can enter any movie that they like. Personally, the cinema-going experience of today has definitely changed since the days of Patricia for reasons that I have explained above. There are still some similarities but, all in all, it has attained a much more casual label. With new elements such as Gold Class, perhaps the cinema culture is attempting to reinvigorate itself and bring back the classiness and exclusivity that it once had.