At the end of the last tutorial me and Lisa made an arrangement for when/where/ go to the movies and what to see. A very easy and nice negotiation! We decided to go to the movies on Friday, because she had no classes in this day and I finished mine in the early morning. Then we made a fast research on google to see which are the cinema in Wollongong (it was fast because there is just a cinema, the Great Union in the city centre!) and we looked at its program schedule.
– Oh there is ‘Lucy’ at 2.30, it could be perfect!
– Yeah, it could, and time is very good
– Ok then, this is our choice!
Fast and loose.
I know, it is quite weird to go to the movie so early. But our choice was the consequence of many constraints. Torsten Hägerstrand theory on the time-space path is absolutely simple and powerful, it can describe very easily our constraints, indeed. The first constraint described by Hägerstrand is the Capability, which referes to the limitations on human movement.
Wollongong is a quite big city so it is necessary to use cars or public means to move. Thus, we were subjected to the availability of public means (unfortunately we have no cars). Consequently, if you are subjected to the availability of buses, then you have to take care to the timetable. And this is our second constraint regarding the time, which Hägerstrand describes as Coupling. From Monday to Friday buses run up to 10 pm and they are available every 10 minutes, while on the weekend they run up to 6pm and they are available every 20 minutes. So, planning something to do is better during the week days! Besides, I had to take two buses, so I had to plan accurately my trip. That’s way I moved from my house one hour before. Finally a third constraint concerning limits to access, Hägerstrand’s Authority. When we arrived to the movies and bought our tickets, then we had to wait in the foyer until the staff finished to prepare the theatre. We sat at the banches and waited it out, looking at the people around us. The cinema was quite empty, there were just some couples of old people and two or three guys queuing for their ice cream. A few minutes before the film started, a group of young people entered, wearing some black and green costumes and with some decorations on their faces. The logo on their backs made us understand they were from a dancing company. Maybe they had finished their training and they just wanted to relax at the movies!
At 2.30 (or some minutes later) the theater was opened and we were able to enter. I looked at my ticket searching for the details of my seat, but there was nothing about. “So strange”, I thought, but then Lisa enlightened me that we could sit wherever we wanted, no restrinctions. I was so surprised because in italian cinema you have no possibilities to choose your seat, it is just stated on your ticket and you have to respect it carefully. Anyway, we decided to sit in the middle and nobody was sitting next to us, great! So, I put my leather jacket next to me and I found immediatly a good position on my armchair, it was so cosy! Then some people started to enter and the majority of them sat in the background. They were a bit noisy due to their pop corn or chips (I don’t really like people eating in the theater, but I don’t care).
The theater was very dark and the audio laud, It seemed to me to be part of that big screen, an incredible emotion! Italian theatres are not so dark and the audio is not so laud, indeed.
When the film started, I forgot all the noises and people around me. It was a very nice film, a tad unreal and imaginary, but absolutely engaging!
I don’t really know what will be the future of the cinema attendance in the next years. A very interesting case study made by Pearl & Dean, demonstrates that the impact of Cinema is 3 times more cost effective than the TV and 8 times more impactful than the TV (the complete case study available here). Thus, advertisers are more interested in investing on cinema than on Tv. Nonetheless, if we look at some cinema audience analysis, we could argue something different. As the scholar Stefan Hall claimes in his essay on audience study in Cinema
Like the fabled beast of mythology, audience study in cinema remains a mostlyelusive creature, often talked about but seldom confronted directly.
If we have a glance to the recent cinema audience stats, we can notice the strong impact that new technologies have on cinema attendance: in the last decades cinema attendance faced many problems related to the economic crisis and the effects on new technologies such as televisions, dvd, blue-ray and the Internet. The chart below shows peaks of world theatrical attendance from 1930 to 2010.
Thus, in my opinion cinema attendance will fall off more and more. Time and space constraints, indeed, are playing a crucial role because they are reducing the possibilities for people to go to the cinema and relax. Consequently, tickets price will increase and a lot of people will not be able to afford due to the crisis.
That’ a negative perspective, I know, but I do believe that this is an overwhelming process, unfortunately.
Torsten Hägerstrand, “Time Geography”, http://www.csiss.org/classics/content/29
Stefan Hall, “The Chimera of Audience Study in the Cinema”,