The quiet life

Much against the critics’ advice, I went to see Eat, Pray, Love.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book and, going against public opinion, I also enjoyed the film. It’s a great travelogue, beautifully shot and stars Javier Bardem (he always makes a film worth it). Sure, it has been given the saccharine Hollywood treatment, but that’s not what got my goat most about the evening. It was the person next to me, audibly munching their way through a huge tub of popcorn for the first 45 minutes of the film.

How did the noisiest food in the world end up being the snack du jour in British cinemas? Don’t get me wrong I do like popcorn, but I really think it should be banned from cinemas. I want to watch films in monasterial silence, not listening to someone scrabbling around for their next crunchy mouthful.

Having aired my grievances to a few well-travelled friends, though, it sounds like we Brits may have got off lightly. In South Korea, apparently, dried squid is popular with film-goers and while it may not have popcorn’s noise-factor the aroma is meant to be an acquired taste. I’ve also heard that Columbians enjoy a cone of crispy giant ants and Indians are fond of a cheese and chutney sandwich.

Perhaps we should follow the example of the authorities in Malaysia, where several snacks are now prohibited from movie theatres. Apparently Malaysians used to munch sunflower seeds throughout films, but the sound of people cracking open the shells with their teeth coupled with the mess they made has put a stop to them being sold. And they’ve also outlawed pickled fruits due to their pungent vinegary smell. Maybe we should start thinking about banning noisy food in cinemas, that way we can all watch in peace.

Have you ever eaten something weird and wonderful in a foreign cinema? And, more importantly, do you think popcorn should be banned from our own theatres? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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