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Written by Matthew Pejkovic

I get invited to numerous screenings. It is a perk of which I am very grateful, and for the most part sharing a movie theatre with other cinema lovers – most of whom are respectable of one another’s space and attention given to the film in front of them – is a pleasurable experience. No loud munching of popcorn. No crumbling of food wrappers. And –most important of them all – no feet pressing against the back of my seat.

Which brings me to an incident not long ago at a screening in Sydney.

I showed up a little early, so I can snag a seat before the inevitable crowd comes rushing in. Everything was on track: got my spot; notepad is ready; people have begun to take their places; and the anticipation was high for perhaps the most anticipated blockbuster released this year.

Before the film commenced, I noticed a pair of feet situated on my arm rest. After overcoming the brief shock of encountering such a breach of personal space and inexcusable stupidity, I turned to face the young lady who decided to use my seat as her footstool.

Conflict is not something I seek out. But in this case I was compelled to say something. Yet I decided not to let my temper get the better of me, and instead shot a look of contempt at the culprit, upon which she promptly moved her feet, without an apology.  

It was during this time that I noticed that she was a guest of a notable member in Australian journalism, and it is one thing to get into a slagging match: quite another to do so with the involvement with a minor celeb.

So I let it go. Begrudgingly, yet I had a film to review and would not let the rude gesture of some stranger distract me. Even when, half way through the film, I turn to find her stinking’ feet back on my arm rest. I just had to sigh, and wonder: is the increase of tosser behaviour at the cinema the main catalyst towards a decrease of cinema attendance?

Before I was invited to watch films at the cinema, I stopped attending. Too many bad experiences. Too many mobile phones going off; too many loud conversations mid movie; and, too many feet pressing against my seat.

And still, nothing has changed. Only a few weeks ago, I was left squirming in my seat due to the doofus behind me pressing his feet into my back. The only thing that makes it tolerable is that I hardly pay to watch films anymore. Unfortunately for others, this is not the case, and a movie ticket these days is expensive.

So what now? How do we encounter the scourge of moronic cinema behaviour? Or, are we doomed to put up with such conduct as long as there are gatherings of people? It is sad to say that the latter appears to be the most realistic.          


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