When was the last time you went to the cinema to watch a film? What did you actually see? I don’t watch all that many films but my wife and daughter love them. Except for my wife (and many others) to go to the cinema isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
If you’ve read my blog for sometime, you will know that my wife is deaf. What you might not realise though is that there are very few showings of films with subtitles in the cinema (movie theatre) here in the UK. Take for example: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”. This is a film I am sure Rebekah would love to go and see. At our local cinema in the city centre, this is being shown 3 times a day and the subtitled version, just once at 3:15 tomorrow afternoon.
Can I ask why films aren’t shown with subtitles as “the norm”? How hard is it for the guy in his little booth before pressing play on the DVD (or whatever format the film is in) to press his little subtitle button? Are they scared that the likes of me and you (hearing people who don’t need the subtitles) will actually complain? So what! I am sure that if the guy accidentally left the film on mute people would complain. So why can’t deaf people have equal access that they deserve?
“Subtitles can be turned on or off, like a DVD player or Sky box.”
I am sure this is when the cinema companies will shout back and say that they have a “loop system in operation”. I don’t care whether you have a loop system or not. (Ok the law states that in any public building you should have a loop installed but that’s not the point.)
To watch a film should be a pleasurable and relaxing experience. Having a loop system installed will help some deaf people who have some residual hearing but it still doesn’t provide the same access that subtitles would provide. Some deaf people are too deaf to hear a loop – some people I know don’t even wear hearing aids because they are “too deaf” for hearing aids. How can they switch a non existent hearing aid to ‘T’?!
My wife and daughter only went to the cinema a few weeks ago to watch Tinkerbell – a subtitled version. Except, oh no, the guy forgot to switch on the subtitles. Ok, they got their money back but that’s not the point! Why can’t subtitles be “the norm” and so in just the same way the DVD operator or whatever the job title is, remembers to switch the volume up will also switch the subtitles on automatically because that’s his/her job!? Why can’t deaf people have the access to entertainment just like the rest of us?
I would be interested to hear from some of the UK cinemas. I have tweeted them directly in this post, so feel free to reply in the comments below.
If you require more information, look here at this.