Week 5: Cinema in the 1950’s

This week the discussion focussed much on the current era of cinema and film. After a reflective conversation with my grandmother I learned the vast differences that existed in cinemas of the past. In the mid 20th century, cinema was a new age medium of social life that attracted an affluent and successful audience. Cinema going was an occasion where people would wear suit and tie and fancy dresses alike. The occasion was very formal, traditional and was seen as a target for a wealthier demographic.

Today, cinema going is incredibly informal. It is a place where you can take the family, friends or a date to relax and enjoy a variety of films that are often preceded by copious amounts of advertising. The cinema is not a place where people feel the need to dress formally or in a particular manner.

The most plausible reason for the dramatic change in the cinema experience can be explained by a theory composed by Swedish professor Torsten Hagerstrand.

Corbett refers to Hagerstand’s three constraints of Time Geography, capability, coupling and authority. When considering such concepts in modern day terms it is possible to determine the viability of modern cinema, both in terms of production and attendance.

Hagerstrand argues that these constraints affect the day to day interactions of humans due to the implications they can have on an individual. The Swedish professor coined these terms in 1969 and stated their respective societal influence on space and time.

  • Capability constraints. These are limits on human movement due to physical or biological factors. For example this would be the time/distance limitation on walking as opposed to travelling in a car. Quite simply, a person cannot be in two places at the same time, nor can they predict the future or change the past.
  • Coupling constraints. These are restrictions on the autonomous allocation of time. This includes the need to be placed inside a particular time frame at a specific point in time, such as being at work. In addition to this, Hagerstand argues it is necessary to cross paths with people on the same space/time schedule to achieve a desired task.
  • Authority constraints. These are limits on when activities can or cannot take place, or where they must or must not be located, imposed by external parties. This includes imposed sanctions for entering public property. A persons space/time schedule is unlikely to pass along a place that has restricted or prohibited entry.



About alexdebs

Third year Bachelor of Communications and Media studies student at the University of Wollongong. I am an aspiring journalist with a passion for sport, music and travel.
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