Is the use of mobile phones that different from that of cigarette smoking in the middle of a film screening?
I have been a cigarette smoker since my teens. It’s a dirty habit but a dream of mine has been to smoke during a film screening in a cinema; to spark up a Camel Blue right in the middle of a film and feel like a cinephile in Paris in the 1960s.
Of course, this small dream of mine is not only unhealthy but downright selfish; lots of non-smokers would rightfully complain and find my complete lack of respect very insulting.
The act of smoking in movie theatres has thankfully been banned, but it has been replaced by a contemporary equivalent: the use of mobile phones. This has escalated to a point where it is impossible to control; more and more people are taking pictures of the screen during the film, people are constantly forgetting to switch their phones to silent mode, many have even taken to answering their phones without bothering to leave momentarily, not to mention the many imposing social media platforms…
some cinemas have taken a radical stance against the use of mobile phones during screenings, and have even launched social media campaign promoting their position on the matter. Others have actually gone the complete opposite way and encourage spectators to share their viewing experience on social media at all times.
While it is easy to read the latter stance as a way to cope with the changing times and attitudes of the filmgoing audience and to appeal to a younger audience, it is hard to endorse it. The use of the mobile phones is not only a nuisance; it is an act of ignorance. The fundamental ideology of the act of answering a phone during a film screening is the same as that of a smoker blowing smoke right in your face; it is the act of selfishness and arrogance, the act of someone who couldn’t care less about your needs and who feels a sense of entitlement over you.