Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Corinne Wakefield: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

While sitting in the British movie theater watching The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie by Luis Buñuel, I observed that there are many differences between American theaters and the British theater that we visited. One of the many differences that I saw was that nearly everyone in my line of sight was motionless throughout the entire film. Had it been an American theater that I was sitting in, I can guarantee that a large handful of people would be antsy and start squirming around in their seats. Part of that may have something to do with the fact that I found the seats in this particular British theater to be exceedingly more comfortable than those found in American cinemas.
Another very big difference between the two theaters is that no one is allowed to eat or drink during the viewing of the film. A huge part of American culture is our food and when and where we eat. It is assumed that if you are watching a movie in an American theater, you will get yourself one large popcorn and a medium soda and eat while you enjoy watching the movie. Although I have grown up eating and drinking while watching a movie, I can understand why food and drink isn’t allowed in the British theaters. I believe that one reason is the fact that it is just too damn messy. The ground gets sticky and people don’t clean up after themselves (unless that is just an American quality, which may very well be the case). It may also cause a distraction for other viewers of the film. If someone is eating in the theater, the noise that is makes when they chew or when they open a rapper may take someone else’s attention away from the movie.
The last difference that I noticed may not be as big as the others that I have stated, but it made a difference to me. This difference is how comfortable the seats were in the British theater. It seemed to me that any number of people could easily fall asleep the second they sit down in those chairs. I know that I was very close to taking a nap even before the movie had started just because the seats were so soft and relaxing. In American theaters, the chairs aren’t necessarily uncomfortable, but they were not as cushy as the British theater’s seats.
Although I observed many differences between American and British theaters, there were also similarities that I noticed. One of the similarities is that the basic layout of the theaters are very similar in the sense that the screen is up in the front of the theater and the seats are layered in rows facing the screen at a slant. Another similarity I witnessed was that when the film was over, the lights in the theater turned on and at that moment, people started to get out of their seats and walk out of the theater.
It seems to me that there are the same amount of similarities and differences for the most part, but that is only after having gone to one British theater and one British film. I may very well see more variation at other cinemas.

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