2010 Audi Festival Of German Films


The German Film Festival kicks off at the Palace Centro Cinema on Wednesday and runs for a week.  There are 20 films on offer and judging from my own experiences with German cinema, there should be plenty of great stuff on offer.


Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon is sure to be popular given that it won the Palm D’or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and earned an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film.  It’s released nation-wide on May 6 so more discerning filmgoers might give it a miss and see it in general release.


I’ve been very busy over the last week and haven’t spent too much time going through the program.  You can view it by clicking here.  Tickets are $16 for most sessions and I’m hoping to get along to at least a couple of films.


The Tribal Theatre: Death Of Cinema Etiquette?


Last Friday night, I went along to The Tribal Theatre on George Street to check out a screening of the 1968 horror classic, Night Of The Living Dead.  I never ever thought I’d set foot in that cinema again.  Not because I didn’t like it but because it closed its doors in November 2008.  It was formerly known as the Dendy and I did a tribute piece which you can read here.


It was recently reopened and is screening a mix of both current and classic releases.


The session I attend was fairly full with a pretty young audience.  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a poor display of cinema etiquette.  The audience laughed throughout much of the film.  Three different patrons took it upon themselves to yell out silly jokes throughout (which even my dad would find lame).


There was one scene in the film where an hysterical woman is slapped by another man.  This scene received a very loud round of applause including many cries of “yeah” and “wooooooo”.


I was tempted to walk out because it certainly ruined the film-going experience.  I go to the movies to see a movie.  Not to listen to the commentary of someone who’s specialty subject is the bleeding obvious.  Not to put up with loud, unruly people.


If this is the sort of demographic that the reopened Tribal is going to attract, then I know I won’t be seeing too many more movies there.  I’d rather go to Myer Centre (and that’s saying something).


I debated this (heatedly) with two friends after the screening and here are some of the things we discussed…


Were people laughing because times have changed and we’re now desensitised to this kind of horror?  Perhaps.  The film was given an R rating back in 1968 and I assure you that it wouldn’t be given the same rating today.  It’s much tamer (in terms of blood and gore) compared with horror films I’ve seen in recent years.


That said, it’s disappointing that the audience were so disrespectful.  I thought it was an excellent movie.  It’s hard to believe that a film released over 40 years ago had the guts to (1) feature an African American as the hero, (2) include a twist ending that might leave audiences unsatisfied.  It’s not as violent as one of today’s horror films but I found it just as suspenseful.  The fact that it’s in black and white makes it even scarier.


Maybe people go to these sorts of films to have a laugh?  The audience was young and many would not have an appreciation for this classic.  I can only assume that’s why they were going.  Why else would you pay money to see a horror film which you think is laughable?  Why didn’t they all walk out?  Did they see this as some sort of funny Ed Wood type experience (not that they’d know who Ed Wood was)?


I have to say that as much as I hated the audience, it was an “experience”.  It has fired me up enough to warrant this blog.  It’s given me much food for thought regarding cinema etiquette.


It’s true that cinemas in Brisbane have their own demographics.  I much prefer going to the Palace or Dendy cinemas rather than the Event cinemas.  Sure they’re cheaper but you usually attract a quieter, more respectful audience.  I hope I don’t sound “snooty” but I’m just voicing my opinion.  You’re less likely to find someone (1) speaking loudly to the friend sitting next to them, (2) texting on their phone which has a blaring bright display panel, and (3) kicking their feet into the back of my seat.


The bottom line is that I’m taking a “to each their own” stance on this.  If the Tribal keeps playing to sold out sessions on a Friday night, good on them.  There must be an audience for the films and experience they offer and it’s always nice to see a cinema in Brisbane doing well.  You won’t find me there though.