Familiar strangers

One of the most memorable cinema experience of mine is when I and my brother went to see the second movie of the Transformers series named ‘Revenge of the Fallen’. We are both big fans of this series and watching them on the release day is kind of our ritual. Back to that summer day of 2009, we were so exciting to know the next part of the story that my brother had to try so hard to get a pair of tickets on the debut day. However, my class clashed a bit with the cinema schedule and I did not inform my brother about the problem. Therefore, we had to leave for the cinema, which was 20 minutes driving from our house, a little bit late. My brother is a really disciplined person so of course he was a bit annoyed by the freaky little brother, me. Combining with the fact that we did not want to miss any second of the movie, he was driving a little bit quickly than normal (not speeding anyway). When you do something in a different way than your habit, something will get out of control. As a result, he unintentionally crossed the red light and a police officer stopped us. We had no choice but to spend an extra 20 minute working with the officer about the incident and when we arrived at the cinema, the movie was about to start. I can undoubtedly say that my brother would have killed me if we had came late but fortunately, we came just in time. One interesting thing is that on our way to our seats, the guiding aisle lights turned on following the rhythm of the film’s theme music, which excited my brother and made him forget the idea of killing me, which enabled me to stay here right now writing this blog. The film was not as good as our expectation, and the fact is that I remembered nothing except for explosions end explosions. I have not watched it another time anyway.

Transformers director Michael Bay

My cinema memory can be looked at the view of Hagerstrand’s three constraints (Corbett 2001) as follows: First of all, about the capability, we had to struggle significantly to get to the cinema on time from the case that my brother had to drive faster than he usually did to crossing the red light to compensate the amount of time late due to my clashing class. Secondly, the ‘coupling’ constraint can be related in terms of my miscommunication with my brother about the clashing class. If I informed him in advance, he could manage to deal with the problem such as ordering a pair of tickets at another time that fit us. Finally, to explain the ‘authority’ constraint, I might think of the foul that my brother committed. When the red light is on, ordinary drivers have no authority to cross the line to keep moving. Another relation can be if we did not have the tickets, we were not allowed to enter the cinema.


The above explanation leads me to discuss about the viability of cinema. Looking at the difficulties that I and my brother suffered, the cinema is so uncomfortable. In order to go to a movie, audiences have to arrange their time, think of their dressings, travel over distance, order tickets to fit their schedule and so on (food and drinks in cinema are also expensive). However, what compensates for all those drawbacks is the experience cinema brings about. Besides bigger screens, louder sounds or better resolution, we also enjoy sharing our attention with others. That experience is called the ‘joint attention‘, which promotes our relationship to socio-emotional development (CoPA 2007). For example, true Marvel fans when watching the movie Deadpool will realize several Easter eggs  (Cooper 2016) that only true fans like them can understand. When all those fans get excited about understanding the hidden gem in a scene, they all say ‘Ohhhhh’ simultaneously and that is when they feel connected to strangers. This experience is the value that keeps cinema alive.


Cobertt, John 2001, Torsten Hӓgerstrand, Time Geography, Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science, viewed September 24th 2016, <http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2t75b8sj#page-1&gt;.

Cooper, T 2016, 12 Deadpool Movie Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed, Dorkly, viewed August 26th 2016, <http://www.dorkly.com/post/78352/deadpool-movie-easter-eggs-you-might-have-missed&gt;.

CoPA 2007, Joint attention and social referencing, Community of Practice in Autism, viewed August 26th 2016, <http://www.infantva.org/documents/CoPA-Nov-JointAttentionSocialRefer.pdf&gt;.

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