Movie Theater Experiences

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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Lost Highway
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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#876 Post by Lost Highway » Tue May 01, 2018 2:09 am

I’ve once experienced someone getting dragged out of a cinema. It was during a secret screening of Vertigo in 1980 at the Munich Filmmuseum at a time when it had been out of distribution since the 60s. For that audience it was the only opportunity to see the film, a sort of holy grail of cinema back then. There was a woman who laughed loud and hysterically at just about anything in the movie. After verbal persuasion didn’t do the trick, only leading to more noisy interruption, a couple of patrons took it on themselves to physically remove her from the theatre to the applause from the rest of the audience.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#877 Post by Jonathan S » Tue May 01, 2018 4:39 am

Colpeper wrote:... certain disputed illnesses, such as "autism" or "Asperger syndrome", which, conveniently for those who want to use those labels, are vaguely defined.... I can't help feeling that users who wish to claim behavioural privileges for having a disputed medical condition are seeking to evade some of the responsibilities which we all have towards one another. Of course, I'm not talking here about the genuinely disabled, with indisputable physical or mental handicaps, who do indeed merit special privileges.
I dare say that all medical conditions have been "disputed" by someone at some time, but the fact is that autism, including the part of the autistic spectrum known as Asperger syndrome, is a recognised and protected characteristic under UK law, the Equality Act (2010).

Asperger syndrome is far from "vaguely defined"; to be diagnosed formally, the person must exhibit strong evidence of profound lifelong difficulties across a triad of impairments. Being grossly impaired in one area but with normal functioning in another rules out such a diagnosis. It's also very difficult in most regions of the UK even to receive an assessment on the NHS due to underfunding; in my case, it took over a decade of persistence to be referred to a specialist, despite the fact my GP knew I'd become unable to work, socialise or sleep naturally, and I'd gone up to twelve years without one night away from home.

If that isn't evidence of a "genuine" disability, I don't know what would be. No other diagnosis or effective treatment has ever been offered to me by the medical profession. Those of us with a formal diagnosis of autism or Asperger syndrome do not see either as a "convenient" label. The condition causes most of us to live with lifelong inconvenience, though some are better at finding coping strategies than others, especially when (thanks to increasing recognition of autism) they are diagnosed early enough and reasonable adjustments are made for them. Whether "behavioural privileges" should be claimed as a result of a diagnosis is another matter and I'm not arguing the rights or wrongs of the BFI cinema incident.

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Sloper
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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#878 Post by Sloper » Tue May 01, 2018 5:46 am

As someone who's recently been diagnosed, I'd second everything Jonathan S just said. It took long-term unemployment, months of unhelpful medication for depression, persistent suicidal thoughts (which I came perilously close to acting on), and me gently but repeatedly nagging my GP, to finally get referred; and then there's the months on the NHS waiting list, followed by a very, very extensive (though not fool-proof, I'll admit) assessment process. And yes, while it's helpful to finally be told what's 'wrong' with me, it's also depressing to realise I'm not just going to get 'better', as I used to hope I would - and that my long drawn-out professional and social failures were more or less inevitable. The unemployment figures for people on the autism spectrum are shocking. It also doesn't help when you see shit like that 'Are You Autistic?' documentary that Channel 4 aired a few weeks ago, in which the one expert who was asked to define the condition said 'well it's lots of things', thus perpetuating the idea that it's a vaguely defined disorder. They also kept talking about a 'lost generation' of undiagnosed aspies, which seemed misguided and tasteless given the traditional connotations of the phrase... That and the BBC Chris Packham thing from last year (no offence to him) seem to be made by neurotypicals for neurotypicals, primarily in order to make the neurodiverse seem less frightening and more accessible (hey, we're just like you, but different, yeah? *big awkward smiles*), rather than to shed any real light on the issue. It is, of course, a complex topic, and it may be that in a hundred years we'll understand it in different terms, but it's a real thing, and we do need to try and understand it. Personally, I don't want special treatment, I just want to be able to function in some tiny corner of society, rather than feeling like I belong on a different and currently non-existent planet.

Also like Jonathan, I'm hesitant to make a judgment about this incident, in case there are facts we haven't heard about. But what the hell, I'm on the internet and I have an opinion... I do sometimes get annoyed by people laughing too loud in cinemas, even at 'appropriate' moments. Some people have irritating laughs. But if they're reacting to the film (rather than just ignoring it and laughing at something on their phone), and the film is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (not exactly Night and Fog), I'm not such a precious little snowflake that I would complain about it, let alone call the over-enthusiastic spectator 'retarded' and 'a bitch'. I doubt that audiences in 1966 responded to this film with reverential silence. It sounds like the people demanding special treatment here were the ones expecting a cinema to resemble their own living rooms, not the one expressing her enjoyment of the film.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#879 Post by knives » Tue May 01, 2018 9:56 am

ASD is not vaguely defined and it is just a sign of your ignorance to assume that someone who has been medically diagnosed as such is with a dispute medical condition.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#880 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue May 01, 2018 10:20 am

Please don't mistake me for wanting to align myself with Colpepper; I don't. The idea that these diagnoses only exist so antisocial people can exploit them for a social license to behave inappropriately is an ugly sentiment.

But: autism spectrum disorders (including what used to be called asperger's) are indeed vaguely defined. They are real, legitimate diagnoses and are included in the DSM. The problem is that, while the symptoms are in fact quite specific, they're not very exclusive and are found across other disorders, both singly and in combination. Like Borderline Personality Disorder, autism spectrum is a bit of a catch all. This no doubt accounts for some of the difficulty in diagnosing it.

I don't think the vagueness of the definition should be used to delegitimize autism spectrum disorders and those diagnosed with them. That vagueness more represents the limits of our current knowledge. It may be that many of the spectrum disorders are misplaced and should be categorized elsewhere, and we'll realize this through more research. Or maybe not.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#881 Post by Jonathan S » Tue May 01, 2018 10:55 am

Mr Sausage wrote: ...But: autism spectrum disorders (including what used to be called asperger's) are indeed vaguely defined. They are real, legitimate diagnoses and are included in the DSM. The problem is that, while the symptoms are in fact quite specific, they're not very exclusive and are found across other disorders, both singly and in combination. Like Borderline Personality Disorder, autism spectrum is a bit of a catch all. This no doubt accounts for some of the difficulty in diagnosing it...
Asperger syndrome is still used as diagnostic term by the NHS in the UK (though I suspect it will eventually fall out of use, partly due to the mounting evidence that Dr Hans Asperger was a willing Third Reich collaborator).

Many conditions, including physical ones like cancer, share their symptoms (individually and in combination) with other conditions. However, ASD is not necessarily difficult to diagnose today. Although, like Sloper, I underwent hours of detailed face-to-face assessment (in addition to hours of preparatory evidence-gathering), the specialists later told me they were almost certain of their diagnosis within five minutes of meeting me. The greater difficulty, at least in the UK, is of adequate NHS funding for specialists and of lack of awareness among GPs and other health professionals, even some of those working in mental health.

However, it is true that often (and certainly in my case) ASD, particularly when unrecognised and unaddressed, leads to a range of comorbidities, such as depression and anxiety, which bring their own complicating symptoms. These are not inherently part of ASD, but a frequent result of the daily struggle of trying to cope with living on what feels to us like the "wrong planet".

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#882 Post by Randall Maysin » Tue May 01, 2018 11:03 am

I remember when I got my 'official', or at least extremely expensive for my parents, Asperger's diagnosis, the tests for assessing the ability to read people's facial expressions, voices, and body language struck me as inferior. The drawings and voice actor audio clips etc. used seemed way too crude and simple to really be relevant to how I actually experience other people in social situations, whether I interpret them 'accurately' or not. Needless to say I bombed this area of the testing. Is this a problem in Asperger's assessment tests?

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#883 Post by knives » Tue May 01, 2018 11:29 am

Mr Sausage wrote:Please don't mistake me for wanting to align myself with Colpepper; I don't. The idea that these diagnoses only exist so antisocial people can exploit them for a social license to behave inappropriately is an ugly sentiment.

But: autism spectrum disorders (including what used to be called asperger's) are indeed vaguely defined. They are real, legitimate diagnoses and are included in the DSM. The problem is that, while the symptoms are in fact quite specific, they're not very exclusive and are found across other disorders, both singly and in combination. Like Borderline Personality Disorder, autism spectrum is a bit of a catch all. This no doubt accounts for some of the difficulty in diagnosing it.

I don't think the vagueness of the definition should be used to delegitimize autism spectrum disorders and those diagnosed with them. That vagueness more represents the limits of our current knowledge. It may be that many of the spectrum disorders are misplaced and should be categorized elsewhere, and we'll realize this through more research. Or maybe not.
For sure the overlaying issue does cause a lot of misdiagnosis and other issues (that's actually a huge part of my day to day job; recently for instance I had to reject a kid from ASD services because it turns out he was misdiagnosed when he actually had a receptive language disorder). I think I'm on the same page as you, but to clarify since I suspect I'm the closest thing to an expert here (though I'm definitely not an ASD expert with most of my work being with emotional trauma) ASD is a pretty tightly defined thing despite the catch all nature (which is suggested by the spectrum part of the name) as its parameters are actually quite limiting with surprisingly little gray areas despite how wide it is. You can almost look at it like cancer (which is an excessively cruel comparison since ASD by and large are able to live without ASD as a burden). Cancers can easily be misdiagnosed not just among each other, but also in terms of other diseases. Not just that, but the gray line between cancer and cancer like is sometimes hard to tell (I'm getting a face full of that now as my mother has LAM which in the US is defined as cancer like while in Canada and the UK is defined as a cancer), yet no one would deny that there are clear cut cases of cancer with most cases being a straightforward yes or no.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#884 Post by Sloper » Tue May 01, 2018 11:37 am

Mr Sausage wrote:It may be that many of the spectrum disorders are misplaced and should be categorized elsewhere, and we'll realize this through more research. Or maybe not.
Indeed - this is kind of what I meant by my 'a hundred years from now' comment above. It feels like an issue we're groping our way towards understanding, which is both exciting and frustrating. ASD can be defined in terms of 'social interaction and social communication difficulties across a number of settings and restrictive/repetitive patterns of behaviour across a number of environments', all of which 'must be present in childhood and cause significant problems in current daily life', to quote the wording on my official diagnosis. But you could argue that, technically, everyone experiences social difficulties and restrictive/repetitive patterns of behaviour from childhood to adulthood, and that the resulting problems are always 'significant'. So it is sometimes hard to know how to respond to those who say that 'everyone is a bit autistic'. For all I know there may even be some truth in that statement - we may be looking at a spectrum that embraces every person in the world - and you often have to go into the specifics of people's daily lives to understand what it means to be at one end of the spectrum rather than the other. This can make autism hard to define in an abstract, generalising sense. I know people who think that the autism spectrum is a very small one, and that basically if you're not Rain Man then you're not autistic - you're just a bit shy. Some of these same people think that depression is really just unhappiness, and that people with dyslexia are just not that bright... I guess I try to temper my impatience with a sense of how hard it is to get your head around these relatively new and sometimes quite fluid ideas, let alone to start figuring out how such conditions should be treated and accommodated in social, educational or professional contexts. Universities are, in my experience of working in them, still pretty clueless about all this stuff, despite trying to sound like they're not.
Jonathan S wrote:ASD is not necessarily difficult to diagnose today. Although, like Sloper, I underwent hours of detailed face-to-face assessment (in addition to hours of preparatory evidence-gathering), the specialists later told me they were almost certain of their diagnosis within five minutes of meeting me.
Yes, they said something similar to me - they were very confident in making the final diagnosis, though it was a complicated one due to certain childhood issues.

For instance, to respond to Randall Maysin's post: I completed some tests where you have to gauge the emotions of actors who are deliberately 'performing' a specific emotion, or of characters in film clips. The latter were mostly from period dramas, including the Jodhi May version of The Turn of the Screw. I hadn't seen this before, but since I know the book very well I knew exactly what emotions were at play in any given scene. Besides that, my lifelong use of films, plays and books as substitute 'friends', my familiarity with the techniques actors use to convey emotions, my confidence in analysing texts (including film texts), and the rigorous social 'training' I got from my parents as a child, meant that I achieved almost perfect scores on all these tests - far higher than the 'neurotypical' average, let alone the autistic one. I'm not even sure how seriously to take this, since like Randall I'm suspicious of the efficacy of such tests: a very low score may indicate something, but they really need to subject you to an experience that more closely resembles an actual social encounter.

However, it was interesting to talk to my assessor about how easy it was to interpret the nuanced performance of an actor (for instance, if they're playing a character who is anxious but pretending not to be, like Mrs Grose at the start of Screw), but how paralysingly difficult it is to 'read' the more complex performances of real people in real life - when you have to connect with the person in front of you, rather than analysing them. It was nice that the assessor was able to take all of these factors into account, rather than just adding up points from questionnaires and basing the verdict on that. They use the questionnaires and film-clip tests as preliminary measures that give some sense of whether a person might be 'on the spectrum' or not, but the real assessment that follows is grounded in a series of much more detailed and personal discussions, and in as much additional written or statistical evidence as you're willing to provide. I was impressed by this; it wasn't the box-ticking exercise I was afraid it would be.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#885 Post by zedz » Tue May 01, 2018 4:34 pm

My completely banal experience of a disruptive laugher was during a screening of the documentary Kedi, an extended YouTube cat video set in scenic Istanbul. The middle-aged guy sitting next to me laughed or chuckled every time he saw a cat. Every time. Over eighty minutes in which practically every shot is a shot of a cat. I thought the novelty would wear off after ten minutes, or twenty, but no, come minute seventy it's: shot of cat; "hurh hurh hurh"; new shot of same cat; "hurh hurh hurh"; shot of different cat; "a-HURH HURH HURH hurh hurh hurh." It was really incredibly annoying, but you can't begrudge somebody enjoying a movie.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#886 Post by Drucker » Tue May 01, 2018 4:42 pm

zedz wrote:, but you can't begrudge somebody enjoying a movie.
Counterpoint:

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#887 Post by colinr0380 » Tue May 01, 2018 5:48 pm

I'm just thinking of that cinema scene in Dancer In The Dark.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#888 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue May 01, 2018 6:44 pm

Apropos of none of the posters above or the BFI situation, but it is an amusing paradox that the Venn diagram of people who evangelize for the sanctity of the theatrical experience over home or phone viewing overlaps dramatically with those who can't fucking stand watching a movie with other human beings.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#889 Post by MichaelB » Tue May 01, 2018 6:54 pm

One of the reasons I miss the Scala Cinema so much is that they had proper audiences - we were all there to watch the film (electronic distractions weren't an issue in the 1980s) and react to it, the more audibly the better.

Although I do remember my little brother looking worried about getting out alive when we were watching Django and the priest being fed his freshly-severed ear triggered cheers and applause at a volume normally befitting a cup-winning goal.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#890 Post by Lost Highway » Tue May 01, 2018 6:58 pm

MichaelB wrote:One of the reasons I miss the Scala Cinema so much is that they had proper audiences - we were all there to watch the film (electronic distractions weren't an issue in the 1980s) and react to it, the more audibly the better.
The Scala was practically my living room for much of the 80s but there is a difference between audibly reacting with a film or reacting against it. I rarely encountered disrespect for a film or the audience who enjoyed there.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#891 Post by HitchcockLang » Wed May 02, 2018 2:45 pm

Lost Highway wrote:I’ve once experienced someone getting dragged out of a cinema. It was during a secret screening of Vertigo in 1980 at the Munich Filmmuseum at a time when it had been out of distribution since the 60s. For that audience it was the only opportunity to see the film, a sort of holy grail of cinema back then. There was a woman who laughed loud and hysterically at just about anything in the movie. After verbal persuasion didn’t do the trick, only leading to more noisy interruption, a couple of patrons took it on themselves to physically remove her from the theatre to the applause from the rest of the audience.
I once witnessed a couple of teenage boys forcibly removed from a theater as well. It was during a screening of--you'd never guess it in a million years--The Rocky Horror Picture Show! It was a midnight screening which encouraged outbursts and audience participation, but these kids apparently weren't yelling the things that everyone else wanted them to yell, so they were kicked out. Seemed a bit ironic to me.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#892 Post by lacritfan » Fri May 11, 2018 2:00 pm


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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#893 Post by Lost Highway » Fri May 11, 2018 2:41 pm

As we are shaming celebrities, I once sat behind Natascha McElhone during a BAFTA screening of McQueen’s Shame. At BAFTA talking is an absolutely no-no and she chatted all through the film with her companion like they were the only people there. At least it was during a film I didn’t care for.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#894 Post by John Shade » Sun May 13, 2018 11:09 am

I wonder if Gerwig just thought the theater was empty...

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#895 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed May 16, 2018 2:41 pm

Jonathan S wrote:Many conditions, including physical ones like cancer, share their symptoms (individually and in combination) with other conditions. However, ASD is not necessarily difficult to diagnose today. Although, like Sloper, I underwent hours of detailed face-to-face assessment (in addition to hours of preparatory evidence-gathering), the specialists later told me they were almost certain of their diagnosis within five minutes of meeting me. The greater difficulty, at least in the UK, is of adequate NHS funding for specialists and of lack of awareness among GPs and other health professionals, even some of those working in mental health.
Sorry this reply comes so long after the discussion had ended; I read your post while out and couldn't respond, and only now realized I never did. I feel better not leaving this hanging.

Asperger's is difficult to diagnose formally because so many other things have to be excluded first. Hence the hours of formal assessment you needed to undergo. I'm not surprised your doctors had you pegged quickly, tho', as asperger's really is a 'know it when you see it' condition.

You can use film noir as an analogy: everyone knows it when they see it, but constructing a formal definition of it is notoriously difficult because a lot of the things central to it are not particular to it, and don't necessarily result in noir when combined (especially when other things are present). It'd be difficult to peg this or that movie as noir just given a list of its elements, but you'd know if it was noir within minutes of seeing it. You don't have this problem with musicals, because their defining elements are very particular to them.

Also: I don't understand what point you're trying to make in your first sentence. Any condition that shares its symptoms with other conditions, physical or otherwise, becomes harder to diagnose because those other conditions need to be ruled out first. And any condition that shares enough of its symptoms with enough of a range of other conditions becomes more difficult to formally define. I don't see how this is up for debate; it's just the nature of things.

Tho' to reiterate: Autism spectrum is still a real, genuine disorder and not something invented to give people a license to be socially irresponsible, as was claimed above. I still don't want anyone to mistake me for trying to give credence to that.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#896 Post by knives » Wed May 16, 2018 3:33 pm

Just a caveat to you that aspergers (at least in the US) doesn't exist anymore because it doesn't live up to a scientific standard. Due to that it is important to keep it separately thought of from ASD.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#897 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed May 16, 2018 3:49 pm

knives wrote:Just a caveat to you that aspergers (at least in the US) doesn't exist anymore because it doesn't live up to a scientific standard. Due to that it is important to keep it separately thought of from ASD.
It was my understanding that asperger’s couldn’t be supported as its own separate condition, so it was amalgamated into autism spectrum disorders on the high functioning end.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#898 Post by knives » Wed May 16, 2018 3:58 pm

That was part of it, but the main reason given is that the original studies from Hans Asperger and later some American woman whose name I can't remember don't stand up to scrutiny.

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Re: Movie Theater Experiences

#899 Post by Colpeper » Wed May 16, 2018 7:53 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Tho' to reiterate: Autism spectrum is still a real, genuine disorder and not something invented to give people a license to be socially irresponsible, as was claimed above. I still don't want anyone to mistake me for trying to give credence to that.
Since this refers back to my post of 20180430 above, I too should make a belated response to the subsequent discussion, if only to clarify my point, which inadvertently upset some.

Leaving aside the case which sparked the discussion, in which the young woman at the centre may very well have been more offended against than offending,
it's true that I:
- counselled caution in ascribing to a medical condition behaviour that a group deems "anti-social"
- described the ASD conditions as "vaguely defined", by which I meant (and should have said) subjectively assessed.

However, my statement was not meant to imply that everyone to whom the ASD labels are applied actively seeks those labels, nor that they are simply anti-social.

The dispute is not whether there are genuine problems to be addressed, but rather whether it's wise to characterize so many disparate problems as illnesses.

In short, I think there are dangers whenever we try to apply medical interpretations to behavioural patterns, the classic example being addiction.

One danger is that we may then discard other interpretations, such as societal causes instead of medical causes. Another is that the good instincts that lead most people to want to assist the disabled carry with them risks if the disability is a subjective one. I don't doubt that most of those deemed ASD, ADHD etc. have actual problems and need sympathy, assistance and study. Nevertheless, the subjective nature of these categorizations might mean that some may find them convenient for themselves, or their children, particularly if, despite the complexity of the subjective assessment, other interpretations are even more complex.

On a completely different level, my own affliction, tinnitus, cannot be tested for objectively and, if there were advantages to be gained by being believed to suffer it, then I would understand anyone calling for caution in adoption of such advantages.

I thank Jonathan S, Sloper, knives and Sausage for their detailed responses and I apologize to them if my post suggested that I don't take such problems seriously.

Finally, thanks Knives for the caveat about Asperger, which is the kind of thing I meant by "disputed". That psychiatry is more prone than physical medicine to major changes in prevalent approaches is no surprise to anyone who has seen Frances.

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