Today I sat down with one of my regular customers at work to discuss his recollections of his first cinema experience. His name is Brett Pierce. 47 years of age and a painter by trade, Brett’s favourite activities include ‘punting’ and consuming large quantities of his beverage of choice, which is the delightful repulsive amber fluid many Australian males (and females) refer to as VB.
Born and raised in the leafy eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Brett recalls his first memories of film and the excitement that entailed from the trip to the cinemas as a young boy.
Brett: “My first experience at the movies was as an eleven year old going to see the Charlie Bronson movie The Streetfighter with a friend of mine and his mother. It was an exciting time as this was the first time I had been in the city of Melbourne unsupervised by an adult as my friends mother had dropped us off at the cinema and went shopping, telling us that we would meet back up at a certain time to see the film.
The movie was great and remains one of favorites till this day. Over the years I must have seen it over twenty times and it reminds me of that period of my life”.
Brett’s first memories of cinema very much mirror my own. A young male with his mates allowed on an adventure in an unknown environment. The energy and excitement of the event, all most too much to bare. The chemical reactions occurring through sugar stimulation and the brief freedoms entailed add another layer to the ingrained memory of my first cinematic experience.
During our brief chat I could see Brett’s joy that came from sharing this experience with me. The smile, the laughter and the tone in his voice all strengthened as he shared each word. His thoughts transported back in time.
He continued his story with two anecdotes about a run in with the ‘boys in blue’ and a conversation he had with one of Australia’s (he is actually a Kiwi but we are blessed to claim him ours) most prestigious actor Russell Crowe.
Brett: “A funny thing happened when we were crossing the road to meet my friend’s mother in the park. A police on horseback was in the distance and my cheeky mate flipped him “the bird”. The copper rode up very unpleased and tore strips off the both of us. I imagined getting locked up and having to explain the incident to my father”.
Brett’s memory of the incident, to me highlights the incredible role of memory recall and the connection it has when discussing media and audiences.
After a few more complimentary beverages Brett told me about the time he introduced Russell Crowe to his favourite film of all time.
Brett: “Years later I was amazed that I was working at Russell Crowe’s apartment and told him about the film The Streetfighter and that he had never seen it before. This was just before he was set to start shooting for the film Cinderalla Man so I bought him a copy of it on DVD, and gave it to him before he left. Still to this day I am wondering whether he liked it as much as I did”.
In an age where we are spoilt for choice when it comes to media, this simple chat discussing cinematic experiences with a fellow human being makes me a little fearful that the connection and memories that are created by cinema are slowly dying.
In 20 to 30 years time in the BCM240 class of 2043 a student is asked to do the same task we are doing this week the answer could just well be.
Student: “What are you first experiences of going to the cinema?”
Respondent: Cinema? (Sighs deeply), “Haven’t you heard of the Pirate Bay”.
What are your first cinematic experiences? Feel free to comment below or tweet me at – @fluke_aus.
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing