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19 May, 2005

Crouching Lightsabre, Hidden Boredom

Dubai cinema etiquette is among the most deficient in the entire world. From wailing babies at late night showings of adult-targeted films to loud mobile phone conversations in quiet scenes, it's no wonder the DVD pirates do such a roaring trade. The peace of one's own home makes the shaky, blurry picture and often Chinese-language audio track all worthwhile.

But when it comes to a film so turgid and tedious as that featuring Ewan McGregor with gingery face-fungus and a stupid animated troll unable to grasp English syntax after decades of practice, interruptions become quite appealing. The twenty-minute "love you love you love acha hay tika hay" mobile call in the next seat was far more entertaining than trying to work out which - if any - of the cast were actually played by humans rather than robots.


Blogger snow white said...

Alternatively, you could have been at the other high spot of Dubai culture ... the Julio Iglesias concert. While we admire the Spanish schwinger for landing a multi-page Hello feature on the eve of the gig, he managed to avoid looking at the camera in every single picture. Apparently he will only allow himself to be photographed from the right hand side.

19 May, 2005 22:59  
Blogger Vance Jefferson said...

Interesting site.

How about posting some pictures of the place?

19 May, 2005 23:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahaha @ ring tone

20 May, 2005 02:32  
Blogger Keef said...

While we are used to the (lack of) phone etiquette in cinemas, our visit to Mercato yesterday to see Star Wars was marred by something completely different. BetterArf had entered the cinema somewhat earlier than me (I needed a toilet break). She found her seat occupied by a kid, asked him to move, and was told that he was waiting for his mother and didn't know where he was supposed to sit. After a while the mother turned up, berated BetterArf for harrassing her son ('he's only ten!'), and took their proper seats.

Sometime into the movie, after taking a few phone calls on her high-intensity phone, the mother started yelling at the guy sitting behind her son. I couldn't hear what it was about, but she left the cinema for a while and came back with some security guys. They spoke to the guy in the row behind us, he left the room for a few minutes and then came back.

As we left the auditorium, we saw him, and he showed us his free tickets for another movie and explained that the mad woman had accused him of touching her kid's hair. It seems the management are up to speed on this particular lady, and deem it easier to give out free tickets to her victims than to stop her patronising their establishment altogether.


21 May, 2005 00:28  
Blogger secretdubai said...

That is the most bizarre story ever! What nationality was she?

21 May, 2005 01:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is her nationality relevant? I think we can all agree that neurotic, overprotective mothers transcend cultural boundaries; they are annoying in any language.

21 May, 2005 03:37  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Why is her nationality relevant? I think we can all agree that neurotic, overprotective mothers transcend cultural boundaries; they are annoying in any language.

True! It is relevant only so far as some nationalities are treated better than others here: some can get away with far worse behaviour than others. For example, I wouldn't think twice about asking another expat to be quiet in the cinema, or to stop smoking in a non-smoking area, but I would almost certainly not ask a local to.

21 May, 2005 04:01  
Blogger Keef said...

Begins with L

21 May, 2005 13:56  
Blogger Keef said...

Second letter O (5 letters altogether)

21 May, 2005 13:57  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Oh dear ;)

21 May, 2005 14:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all... BRILLIANT title! I killed myself laughing at that alone!

You are SO right about the Dubai cinema experience. It is an exercise in infuriation if ever there was one!

21 May, 2005 14:26  
Blogger adnan said...

You should just drive down to sharjah. Sure, there is some traffic to deal with, but you won't have to worry about being interrupted given that most screenings are usually empty.

23 May, 2005 13:53  
Blogger Bu3askoor said...

Isn't that the truth! This is exactly why i hate going to the movies. I went as far as thinking of bringing a stunt gun in to punish those annoying people lol

25 May, 2005 14:25  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

There exists considerable statistical discrimination against nationals in the Gulf; See
saudi-cab-drivers-harmed-by-their-own-rights: The Emirates Economist
and the links therein.

The reason is that the obvious one noted in these comments: they have a preferred legal status. Some of those then abuse that status, to the detriment of the general perception of that group. Stereotypes of groups are often true, and invariably the stereotypes are not inherent genetic differences but differences in institutions that are beyond the individual's control.

It's one of Chilton's maxims, borrowed from John Stuart Mill. We're all the same; unexceptional. Only the institutions that surround us are exceptional; sometimes, exceptionally bad.

In some cases sellers (or buyers as in the case of Saudi taxi drivers noted in the link) can discriminate and choose not to trade with someone identified as a national. In other cases, as in the case of movie theaters, you can't.

By the way, to deal with the talking and mobile phone problems, there shouldn't be any problem with the new 21 screen theater offering the same film with different rules of behavior. Right? It would be good for business, if the complaints in these comments are the tip of the iceberg. And I think they are.

27 May, 2005 13:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok I realise that this is an old post... what happened to the 'phone jammers' they had in operation at some of these cinemas?

There was a whole year of peace until they allowed phone service at Grand Cineplex again!

06 July, 2005 17:02  

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