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Yvonne Teh, film editor

 

Despite the warnings in the previews, protests from other cinemagoers and against common decency, some people still talk (sometimes to themselves) in cinemas. All it takes is one chatterbox to ruin the entire experience.

I wish I didn’t feel the need to shush people because of this but, over the years, I have developed a strategy for getting noisy audience members to zip it.

First, I try out my Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia “Asia the Invincible” death stare. If this doesn’t work, I throw a hissy “shhh” in the offender’s direction. And if this still doesn’t work, I take the polite route and mutter an “m’goi leh” (please).

Usually, after this, the viewer will quieten down.

But I often wonder why they can’t just watch the film quietly in the first place. Is it because they truly don’t realise that other people can hear them or find their noise annoying? Or is it because they think nothing of hearing other people talk during a movie?

Sometimes I suspect it’s the latter because some errant parties have looked at me quizzically after I’ve called their attention. A few have even looked hurt – as if I were the rude one.

On occasion, I boil over with anger, although I do feel some guilt over having to act like a law enforcer (in this case, the law is “silence is golden”). Still, I reserve true cinematic rage for those who continue to talk even after I’ve asked them nicely.

It’s actually pretty rare for me to lose my temper and scream, “Shut up!” There have only been two instances when I lost it and actually grabbed somebody who was making annoyingly loud comments.

Ironically, one of those two noisy viewers – they have both been adult males – happens to be a good friend of mine who is also a movie buff. It’s fortunate that we have remained friends. However, I’ve vowed never to watch a film with him again.

 

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