Photo showing littering inside Jakarta movie theater launches online discussion on cinema etiquette

How often have you come across people with seemingly no regard for others at the cinema? A photo showing trash left by a moviegoer in Indonesia has launched a much-needed discussion on cinema etiquette, especially as we’ve begun to head back into movie theaters.

The photo, which was posted by singer-songwriter and musician Oslo Ibrahim yesterday, shows empty water bottles, popcorn and nachos boxes, a plastic wrapper, as well as crumpled tissues scattered around two seats, presumably left by two people who went together. 

“It’s useless if you speak half-English half-Jaksel, it’s useless if your bag is so expensive that I don’t even know how much it costs, if your behavior in the cinema is like this,” Oslo wrote in the tweet referring to the Jaksel (Jakarta Selatan) lingo, a practice of mixing Indonesian and English which has been synonymous with “woke” and privileged upper-middle class citizens from South Jakarta.

While it’s important to note that pretty much anyone could have done the egregious deed, Oslo explained that he took the photo himself and that the tweet was written in reference to the people who had been seated there, who had been not too far from him in the theater and fit the above descriptions. 

As of publication time, the tweet has been retweeted nearly 30,000 times and garnered more than 98,000 likes and had more than 2,500 replies. Many in the replies and quote retweets responded by sharing their less-than-pleasant experiences in the cinema.

“Same energy! Last night when I was waiting for Eternals’ post-credit scene, this person [sat with their legs on the seat in front of them]… When I passed by them they really spoke fully in English,” one user said.

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Some people wrote about others who used their phones inside the theater, when putting your phone on silent and setting the screen brightness to low is just basic manners. We mean, if you really have to check it in case of urgent matters, you can still do it discreetly so as not to disturb your fellow audience members. 

“Just like when I watched Venom recently. This person arrived late, which disturbed the audience. They were blocking the screen because they were standing for quite a long time when they could have just sat down immediately. They were a man and woman who were on a date, in the middle of the movie the woman played with her phone and mindlessly raised [the hand that was holding the phone] high, and opened Instagram with her screen’s brightness set high. I was really upset,” another user wrote. 

“There was also someone next to me [in the theatre], her phone was the latest iPhone, her style was trendy, her phone’s flashlight was on for several times during the movie, she put up both of her feet on the seat in front of her, she filmed every good scene, and she was so noisy because she often talked about things that were unrelated to the film,” the user said.

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Another had shared their experience of having a kicker behind them.

“One more thing please, refrain from kicking the seat in front of you, because it really sucks. I recently watched Eternals and the person behind me kept kicking my seat, it was really annoying, I couldn’t even focus on the film. Whenever I looked at them, their face appeared as if they hadn’t done anything wrong.”

Then there are those who thought that bringing a main course into the cinema would be a good idea. 

“When I watched Avengers: Endgame, I saw a bunch of youngsters bringing nasi Padang [into the theatre]. I’m serious, nasi Padang. Maybe they were hungry since it was a three-hour movie,” the user said, referring to the super fragrant Padangnese rice meal that’s often wrapped in banana leaf for takeaway purposes.

With the photo having been taken on one of their treaters, Cinema XXI has since thanked Oslo for raising awareness about cinema etiquette.

“Thank you so much for your attention and for reminding others about the importance of keeping the cleanliness of the theaters for our common comfort. We hope for assistance and cooperation from all of our audiences to keep our cinemas clean,” the tweet reads.

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May we suggest streaming movies at home for those who have absolutely no sense of courtesy for others?


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