Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Cinematic non-experience


Image Courtesy of Kake Pugh

We read a fair bit about how popular cinema continues to be, but it feels like the industry is resting on its laurels. Given how little the visitor experience is evolving it is hard to believe that there isn't a big slump coming.

This moan is on the back of a trip to see The Damned United last night. Great film by the way.

The cinema was overpriced and screwed you on drinks and sweets. There was the horrible foyer with nothing to do while you waited. The weird budget airline style 'premium seat' option (which everyone jumped into once the lights were low) and the over-riding smell of BO.

I know the Holloway Odeon isn't the jewel in the crown of British cinemas but shouldn't an industry that is so concerned about piracy, be thinking about some innovative ways to keep people coming back and not just downloading a hooky copy from the internet?

I heard Peter Greenaway talk at the ICA recently about how cinema is constrained by the technological strictures of the past - a group of people traveling to sit in the dark watching a film of a set duration on a screen that is always the same shape. I don't have a problem with the theory of cinema going. I do have a problem with the failure of cinemas to evovle the experience. Where are the nice little touches, the value adds, the stuff that will make you recommend the cinema and not just the film?