Once upon a time in the cinema

Once upon a time in the mid-1980s, cinema landed in Australia and worked its way into the average lifestyle. Cinema is considered a Heterotopia, you step into an alternate world of film, advertising, overpriced drinks and popcorn.

However, the value of cinema has shifted over the years, thanks to the advancing technology and streaming services, putting the ‘cinema experience’ in our control.

Time Geography

Torsten Hägerstrand developed the concept of Space-Time Geography. This revolutionised the study of individual movement and behaviour in time and space. Hägerstrand discovered three constraints that influence the experience of physical life paths.

Three constraints
  • Capability (limits on human movement due to physical or biological factors)
  • Coupling constraints (restrictions on the autonomous allocations of time due to the need to coordinate with other individuals)
  • Authority constraints (limits imposed by external parties)

Auto-ethnography of my cinema experience

You could say I am your average millennial having Netflix as apart of my routine. It is now rare for me to attend the cinema unless there is a film I am desperately wanting to see.

I forgot what it was like to attend the cinema. Luckily, for me, the new Tarantino film Once upon a time … in Hollywood 2019 was being released on the 15th, I wanted to see this on the big screen. I avoided watching any trailers, I wanted to maintain a fresh perspective and eliminate any pre-assumptions. I already knew I was in for a ride with a Tarantino film.

Sunday night, nothing but the staff and a tumbleweed or two.

The cinema experience began with the decision to watch the film. I discovered the coupling constraints when coordinating with friends and trying to work around each other schedule. The plan was originally for the Friday night, but, altering factors caused us to postpone to the Sunday night. This required each member to reorganise their Sunday plans to make the 6:30 pm screening.

Space-Time Prism = the set of all points that can be reached by an individual.

Perfect night in (out)

Originally, my Space-Time prism was tight, I was rostered on till 5pm, had a half-hour drive to get home, have a shower then another half-hour drive to the cinemas and pop into Woolworths to purchase Old Gold Dark Chocolate. This one and a half-hour gap gave me anxiety, but luckily, I was able to finish work at 4pm. Having my Space-Time Prism expand, anxiety had left and I could enjoy the film in a better mindset.

We seem to measure distance by time…

In terms of capability constraints, I experienced no issues. I used my own vehicle to take my brother and I. The parking lot is free and the film is rated MA 15+, with us all being over the age restriction by 10 years, we experienced no authority constraints. 

Overall experience

Having ghosted the cinema’s for a long time, I had almost forgotten what it was like. Being on a quiet Sunday night, when most families are at home, we had the cinema to ourselves. I found value in the price for the comfort of recliners, huge screen and great sound. The cinema rules also played a significant part in the experience – turning off your devices – there were no distractions, we were truly engaged in the film, and the experience didn’t finish once the credits rolled up, it continued for the drive home as we reflected and tried to wrap our head around the classic Tarantino film.


Corbett, J 2001, Torsten Hӓgerstrand, Time Geography. CSISS ClassicsUC Santa Barbara: Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science, viewed 24 August 2019, <https://escholarship.org/uc/item/2t75b8sj&gt;.

Once upon a time … in Hollywood 2019, motion picture, Directed by Q. Tarantino.

Author: yanks

half optimist half pessimist half realist

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