Future Voices: Cinema goers should abide by code of conduct - and keep schtum

Cinema City, Norwich.

Cinema City, Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Many people love going to the cinema.

It is a wonderful pastime which engages the mind and, if it is the right film, also engages the soul. I, too, love going to the cinema. But I also hate it with a passion.

When I enter the cinema I change: My general open-mindedness vanishes and I become a strict and militant observer of not just the film, but also my surroundings.

I simply cannot enjoy the film when phone screens are flashing to the left and right of me, some obnoxious family is munching on what appears to be a fat-drenched three course meal ahead of me, and a couple chat endlessly behind me (the man thinks he is the next Lee Mack. He is not).

I had a recent experience watching Arrival, an excellent film, where I had to shout down to a group of three girls to put their blasted phones away.


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They were, get ready, taking pictures of themselves… with the flash on. Can you get more vacuous and supercilious?

Maybe, but they are up there for me.

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My friends awkwardly burst into fits of laughter, which they did well to keep muted.

'Don't ever do that again,' they pleaded.

However, after leaving A Cure for Wellness, where the people in front of us were constantly checking Facebook on their bright phone screens, the same friends said: 'Damn, I really wanted you to say something to them actually.'

I can't win.

You have to ask yourselves, though - who is sad enough to have to check their phone so often?

Add in the factor that you would have to be mind-bogglingly arrogant to do so at the cinema and it seems impossible to even consider, to me at least.

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, who host BBC Radio 5 Live's film programme, are the arbiters of such misconduct and have thus compiled the famous Code of Conduct. They echo the above, stating:

• No mobile phone usage. At all.

• No eating… Nachos cause special offense and are of the devil.

• No talking… no-one has paid £8.50 to hear your director's commentary on the movie. Just sit down and shut up.

A link to the Code of Conduct can be accessed here (advised).

Brush up on this sacred text, test yourself on it, and be a good person. Enjoy the cinema in a way that others can enjoy, too.

• What do you think of the Code of Conduct? What, if anything, annoys you when you go to the cinema? Comment below.

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