The first cinema experience

I walk into the building, hand in hand with my mum. I gaze around. To the left, adults crowd around, fixing their eyes to a small screen of movie trailers. To the right, a dispersed group of rogue children run rampage amongst the various game machines, all unsupervised, behaviour unrestricted. In the middle, a large section of parents, grandparents and middle aged children all congregate impatiently, all ready to splash money on their unappreciative children. We collect our ticket and popcorn and make our way towards the cinema. We both sit, the smell of popcorn masks all other odours, I slump back into my chair and eventually the movie begins. A screen the size of a 100 TV’s surrounds me, the speakers blast out a sound that captivates me, and story …..well I don’t really remember the story, but the ending was good, so it must’ve been a good movie. I leave the establishment; I’m satisfied, impressed, and excited to tell everyone of my new experience.

This was the first time I visited the cinemas.


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The experience of going to the cinema is an enjoyable for all. It combines a love for fiction and storytelling, and the aspect of relaxation all in a well recognised social environment. The cinemas are a place where all ages can come together to experience all different genres of fiction. In my own regard, the idea of attending the cinemas is foreign to me. The development of new streaming technologies, and movie websites, has left many, including myself, questioning the option of going to the movies, when all your favourite films can be found on a computer in the comfort of your own home. For some, a trip to the cinema is a common occurrence, an event that takes no time or planning, however for others there are many constraints, which limit the amount times, an individual can attend the cinemas. As seen in Hagerstrand’s paper…. These constraints fall under 3 categories, capability, coupling, and authority.

Coupling constraints refers to the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people. There are time factors internally- in the cinema- and externally- outside of the cinema- that have a huge impact on whether or not you can attend the cinemas. In regards to the cinemas, the audience must analyse both the delegated time slots, and the running time of movies to assess the availability of attending. A movie with a long running time, or a late time slot leaves poised to decide if pursuing the movie experience is truly worth all the effort. In the case of our own lives, the movie set times impact how we plan our day, and inevitably we work out these plans around the awareness of watching a movie. Personally, growing up in a country town 60kms from the nearest cinema, careful time planning would have to be taken to watch a movie, and so in many cases we would not go. Possibly this is one of the reasons I don’t have a keen interest in the movies, it was rarely feasible to attend.

The coupling constraint would be the biggest factor that reduces how often we attend this establishment.

Capability constraints refer to the limitations, on human movement due to biological or physical factors. The capability constraints have aspects that are closely related to those of coupling constraints and these both supplement each other in many ways. For an audience attending the cinema, you will need some form of transport to reach the destination, and if you have limited or no transport, than the chances of going to watch a movie are very low. However, if you have some kind of capability constraint that impairs you, but you are willing to take the time to reach the cinemas then more time planning must go into your coupling constraints. For me, reaching the movies wasn’t difficult as my parents had a car and were willing to drive, if the circumstances satisfied.


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An authority constraint is an area that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups. For an establishment like a cinema, there are no realistic constraints that apply in this case. It opens at around 8:30-9am and closes around midnight, depending on the running time of the movie in the final time slot of the night. Not many people would consider seeing a movie in the early hours of the morning, unless however, it is a special screening or a premiere.

For many a decision on whether or not to attend the movies does not fall under any of these constraints. Surely these problems exist when making the decision, but most of the factors that affect the decision making process are certainly social. As similar in my case, many are overwhelmed by the high capabilities of streaming services and thus do not need to attend the movies. For others, it can depend on what movie is showing, if their friends are attending or if they are in a financial state to afford it. These constraints are issues, however the socio-economic issues far outweigh these constraints.



  1. Corbett, J, 2001, Torsten Hägerstrand: Time Geography, UC Santa Barbara

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