For Better or For Worse; Cinema Experiences

Maria Goretti was a film that stood out to my Grandma when I asked her about her cinema experiences. It wasn’t something she did often as a child and teen but she remembers taking the train in with her friend to the cinemas in the city. She couldn’t remember much more than that, so it made it hard to find out more of what cinema experiences were like back in the 1930’s and 40’s.

I’ve been to the cinemas a lot. I’ve been the only one in the cinema but I’ve also struggled to find a seat battling it out with the troublesome child that doesn’t sit still and just doesn’t stop talking! There’s nothing more annoying than a child running around at the front of the cinema distracting you from seeing a movie that they child shouldn’t even be in where you are stuck looking up at the screen and having your neck starting to cramp and being separated from your friends because there isn’t even enough seats. That was probably my worst cinema experience of all time, I love kids and I love working with them, but those kids were lucky to be alive leaving that cinema. I defiantly wasn’t happy! If someone can explain how 3 year old children were capable of entering a cinema that was a MA15+ movie, who the hell let them in and why on earth would their parents take them to such a movie. This makes me seriously consider Hagerstrand’s 3 constraints.

Hagerstrand was an urban planner who created the theory of time geography emphasising the way people live their lives through time and space. Hagerstrand had 3 constraints that we are able to relate to this week’s topic of cinema experiences. His constraints are: Capability, Coupling and Authority, each focusing on  how if and who you are with when using a space.

Capability in terms of cinema experiences, questions how you are going to get to the cinema, the transportation you will use which cinemas you may attend. Coupling is about who you are going to go with if you go with any at all and authority is about whether or not you are legally allowed to attend the cinema in terms of your age, how you are going to pay for the cinema experience and if you are allowed by your parents/guardians if they still play they sort of role in your life.

On Thursday the 25th of August around 3pm, I went spontaneously to the movies to see War Dogs with a friend from uni (Coupling Constraint). We paid $9.50 for a student ticket down at Hoyts at Warrawong Shellharbour which I was rather happy about! We took my friends car to the movies (Capability Constraint of transport), because I didn’t have mine with me at uni that day. Obviously being university students over the age of 18, we were legally allowed to see the movie because we are over the MA15+ requirements of the movie and we had paid for our ticket (Authority Constraint). The seating was set seating, but because there weren’t many people in the theatre, we sat wherever we wanted. As we walked up the stairs to the better viewing we noticed there was a group of 3 young adults that were sitting in the first row up the top, then a few rows behind them there was an elderly man, we were meant to be sitting behind him, but decided to sit further up the back. We were one row from the last and I felt comfortable where were sitting until a young couple sat behind us. Everyone based themselves in the center and I noticed that I did the same, I looked up to the projector room and ensured that I was sitting right in the center. For as long as I can remember, I have always sat up the back where possible, feet always went up on the seats, and I would always smuggle in snacks because I wasn’t going to pay $5 for a bottle of water or $4.50 for a packet of lollies, it just seemed ridiculous when you could walk 50 metres to get the same snacks for half the price.

I really took advantage of the need to go to the cinemas this week for uni. I went a second time with a group of friends from work. This was a very different experience, we saw Sausage Party on a Monday night at 8:30pm paying $16 for a student ticket. We sat down the front and I actually felt so much more comfortable sitting there, compared to up the back like I normally would, I felt as though I was at a better level of the screen. There was only one other person in the cinema that sat directly up the back in the centre, he was in his 30’s or there abouts. Knowing that there was only one other person in the cinema, it allowed me to feel more comfortable in the fact that I could laugh as loud and as much as I wanted.

There are plenty of cinema experiences that I could personally reflect on, but it’s important to recognise the 3 constraints that are relevant to this week’s reflection and that they link with your own cinema experiences.



Whittemore J 2003, Time Geography: Torsten Hagerstrand’s Works, viewed 31 August 2016 <>.