Wednesday, May 22Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Turn Off Your Phone

Nebiu Samuel discusses the possibility of a theatre mode for iPhones and his take on cinema etiquette.

We’ve all been there sitting in a darkly lit room, waiting to lose ourselves in a film when suddenly a light appears a few feet away shining someone’s face so brightly you’d almost think they’d seen the face of God. But sadly, no it’s someone using their phone while in a cinema. Considering how long mobile phones have existed you would have thought that this would have stopped but people still do it. However, it has recently been leaked that Apple may have a solution to this problem. Among some of the rumoured new features in the next iPhone update set for January 10th is a theatre mode which would disable sounds, block calls, messages, and reduce screen brightness.

Now, as appealing as some of those features may sound, I doubt in reality it’s going to stop people from texting, answering so-called ‘urgent’ calls or recording the twist ending of films on Snapchat while simultaneously providing an expletive filled commentary to the anger and bewilderment of their Snapchat followers (people actually do this, I’ve had so many films and plays spoiled for me this way). People who are bold enough to use their phones in a cinema or theatre clearly aren’t going to bother to use a theatre mode since it stops them from doing the very thing they feel they have a right to do in a cinema. Furthermore, the feature in many ways seems redundant as there isn’t much reason for someone to have their phone on while in a cinema if they can’t make calls and receive messages and the same effect can be achieved by just turning your phone off. Now if you’re reading this and are guilty of such offenses then let me just remind you if it wasn’t already clear to you at this point…DON’T DO IT!

If you need help with some other dos and don’ts of cinema-going allow me to introduce to you Wittertainment’s Code of Conduct courtesy of the BBC Radio 5 Live film podcast (which I highly recommend if you enjoy film reviews). No eating of anything harder than a soft roll with no filling. No slurping of drinks- you’ve already drunk a 5 litre of diet coke, you really don’t need the melting ice too, you are not six years old. No talking in a cinema – you have come here to watch, not to discuss, more importantly, no-one in the cinema has paid £8.50 to hear your director’s commentary on the movie. No rustling of super high density, rustle-o-matic, extra rustle bags, no kicking of seats and no shoe removal: this isn’t your front room. A cinema is a wonderful place where people can go to forget about their worries and lose themselves so turn your phone off, raise your head and enjoy the film. And hello to Jason Isaacs.