The cinematic experience of a budding cineaste in the Philippines can be quite disappointing and traumatic if he has not prepared himself for the drudgery caused by other people whose ultimate objectives in going to the cinema are to be entertained, to feed their carnal fantasies, to be humored by the supposed comedy, or to escape from the harsh realities of this world.
But of course, a cineaste also wants his theater experience to be corporeal, to appeal to his primitive senses, just like ordinary viewers. He is an avid fan of melodramas and he also finds slapstick comedy quite amusing from time to time; but unlike ordinary cinema goers, he wants to extract substantive spiritual material from the film that will complete his ‘cinematic experience’. Without this, he leaves the theater as empty as when he entered lacking this spiritual or, let’s call it intellectual, adventure that leads him to feel dejected, deceived, robbed, or worst, sodomized.
The following is a list of 11 people a cineaste will meet in a cinema that he should try to avoid by all means.
1. The sleeper. This person goes to the cinema to enjoy an afternoon nap. He’s not at all annoying if all he does is sleep, but often times this act is accompanied by sleep talking, somnambulism, and snoring coupled with an abundant stream of saliva from his open mouth. Aside from the disturbing noise, the bodily discharge is gross and supports the spread of diseases.
2. The Telephone Operator. The first telephone ring. He’ll ignore it or cancel the call. Another telephone ring. Cancel. He’ll say, “I’m sorry” with an apologetic look on his face as if you can see his lame attempt on acting. Third ring, and this time the sound of the ring becomes so difficult for him to bear that he’ll succumb to the temptation and answer the call. From here, he’ll start to forget that he’s in a cinema. He’ll occasionally laugh until he’s carried away by the conversation with the person on the other line. The talk, regardless of the importance, is now imposed on the cineaste.
3. The Businessman. He can be a telephone operator at the same time doing anything that is traditionally done in an office, say, working on a balance sheet in his laptop, replying to emails, or booking plane tickets for his next business trip; but these activities can cause overly conspicuous glare that is too distracting for those sitting behind him. So, like the Telephone Operator, he’ll transact business on the phone while following the plot of the movie, after all he is good in multi-tasking. Ignoring the fact that the cineaste is incapacitated by his exaggeratedly focused mind to do multi-tasking such as watching a movie while holding back an urge to pour his iced-cold soft drink onto the businessman’s balding temple.
4. The Prima Donna. She is somebody who thinks that the cinema is her home theater. She asks the cineaste to transfer seat as she wants to have that seat where she can have the best angle. She may answer and make calls; walk around the theater at whim; scold the attendant who failed to show her the way; and make complaints that the sound is not good, that it’s too soft or too loud, that adjustment has to be made. She’ll even ask the manager why the cinema is too dark, or why there are people around watching the movie with her, because all the while she thought that the reservation she made was a reservation for the entire cinema complex.
5. The Lovers. They think that the dark will hide their clandestine love affair, hide them from the prosecution caused their forbidden love. They find refuge in the anonymity cloaked by darkness inside the cinema. They think that only darkness can comprehend the love they have for each other, that the world outside is just too dumb to understand their undying devotion for each other. And so they embrace, kiss, torridly kiss again and again resting only to gasp oxygen, neck, pet, pinch, and caress each other with complete abandonment. For them, only the other person exists. They both ignore the better judgment of their minds that they are watching a box-office hit on a full house. Much to the chagrin of our cineaste, the display of love in such lavish scale took away his concentration that he totally forgets the thematic realities of the movie he is watching.
6. The Exhibitionists. They are like lovers in the first place, but for Exhibitionists, kissing, torridly kissing again and again resting only to breathe, petting, necking, pinching, and caressing each other are for teenagers who are just starting to experiment on and to realize the blissfulness of love. This kind of cinema goers has raised the ante a long time ago. This list will not anymore delve into the acts done by Exhibitionists inside the cinema (which are already a public knowledge) and which our cineaste can only describe as prurient, unhinging, perturbing, and salacious.
7. The Frustrated Director/Film Critic. He has watched the film several times, researched on the motivation of the director and his previous works, analyzed the film using Marxist-Post-structuralist approach with a focus on Neo-colonialism specifically the methodologies of Gayatri Spivak. He knows all the characters in the film including the names of all the 732 extras used in the concluding battle scene. Commendable. That is, if he keeps these information to himself. But the problem is he delights in hearing his intelligent and witty self talk.
8. The Candy Man. He’s a chain smoker, definitely, but since he is sensitive enough not to smoke inside a theater with a central air conditioning system he resorts to sucking hard menthol candy. Sucking hard candy will not suffice to dull his craving for nicotine; he then compulsively crumples the plastic wrapper to ease the tension. Without realizing it, he has produced a rhythmic sound that can be soothing for him but not for the rest of the viewers, especially not for our cineaste.
9. The Big Foot. This kind is endemic in the Philippines, a result of an utter lack of sense of culture. He’s a cross between the Prima Donna and/or any of the other kinds. There’s only one observable act that he does that gives him the name – he places his feet on the seat in front of him unmindful whether somebody is sitting.
10. The Excursionists. They come in groups, and this sense of a group dehumanizes and camouflages the individual members. They laugh to their lungs’ content; they make running commentaries about the film; they throw pop corn. Individually, each can even act like a cineaste, but the spirit of the group inebriates them to a point that they become nuisance who think that a cinema is a perfect place for a retreat, a class reunion, or even worst, an excursion.
11. Another Cineaste. He is the worst kind. He keeps quiet all the time inside the cinema, maintaining that air of superiority while sneering at the humble cinema goers thinking that this group of faceless and uncultured proletariats is incapable of any intellectual acuity necessary in understanding the spiritual dimensions of the film.
He is suspicious of anyone that acts like the way he does, so he ends up writing a list that categorizes movie goers into eleven kinds and leaving the worst category solely for that person who acts like the way he does the entire time while inside the cinema.