Annabel's Story

Every now and again we receive a response to The Rebuttal that reminds us how important it is that we continue to speak out and confront our audience.  Sometimes you will agree with us and sometimes you will not. But the following response reminds us of why we must never remain silent and why we must MAINTAIN THE RAGE!

With thanks to Annabel for taking the time to respond to our article ‘You’re Aving a Lean’ We urge you to copy and paste this response to as many people as you can! To Annabel, can we just say – You are the reason we exist!

Hi Gary,

Read your article in the Rebuttal about the Cinemas and wholly agree – we must Maintain the Rage – although in my case its a rage way past being a rage – a weariness that comes with experiencing too many broken promises.  I’m 3 years off  60 and only a few times (I can count on one hand) have I been to the cinema with my children. The last time was ‘The English Patient’ and I’d read the book beforehand so I knew the script.  My husband is almost too scared to go to the movies with me in case the film isn’t captioned – a few times he’s been the one to walk out when I’ve been prepared to stay on simply so that he could enjoy the movie.  He says there’s no pleasure in it when he knows I’m falling asleep beside him.  My kids say they spent their childhoods (1980’s) watching French movies on DVD and learnt to read that way so now captions don’t faze them.  Even then it was hard to find suitable movies with captions which a family could share.
I sent a submission by email as requested to the Australian Human Rights Commission which was a bit late and was meant to be about the other cinemas (Hoyts etc), and not Dendy (in Canberra Dendy shows the films) so now it is called  ‘a complaint’ and I am expected to meet with Dendy Cinemas and resolve this complaint as an individual…’d think the HRC would have enough oomph to deal with the issue for me on my behalf, or thats what I thought I paid taxes for.
Dendy advertise Captions as if its a great amazing new thing they are doing and when I first saw their advertising cards on the counter I was naturally excited, until I did a website check and found that the films that were captioned were the kind I wouldn’t bother to see….soapies and American chick flicks, put on at strange times, Wednesday at 10 am, Monday night late, times I can’t share with my family or my husband who keeps normal working hours.
This week ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is captioned on Monday night at a reasonable 7 pm….whee. Thats a huge change this week as usually week by week there is nothing closed captioned….The one time Dendy advertised ‘2012’ the movie as captioned on a Friday night it wasn’t, so my husband and I  came back the next night as the cinema manager told us this time it would definitely be captioned.  Again it wasn’t – so we walked out and demanded to see the manager and our money back.  He offered us the same movie CC that following Monday night at 10 pm!!  We went along and I advised my Auslan instructor at TAFE who knew many Deaf in Canberra that a movie was on that was CC.  We thought Dendy were trying to keep their bargain and we had to support them despite the late hour.  At the movie there were about 20+ youngsters watching and none appeared Deaf (no sign of Auslan), so there was obviously a hearing market even at that late hour. I think most of the Deaf in Canberra had to go to work the next morning which was why that time wasn’t taken advantage of.
If you’re anything like me with a Uni degree and some intelligence you also want a chance to see the serious films…The Single Man, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Last Station, The Hurt Locker, thats just what’s on this week at Dendy, but chances are zero that these will be captioned and so you wait for the DVD. I’ve watched the website for over a year and Dendy only caption one film a month. This is misleading advertising at its best!
I went to see ‘A Hurt Locker’ by myself last week, as I was desperate to get out and feel normal, but as I couldn’t hear the dialogue I came away feeling cheated. I’d paid full price even though the guy at the counter knew I was deaf.  At least he did try to advise me – he said there was nothing on with CC which is better than some attendants who promise CC or partial CC when there’s none!  At least the sound-vibration effects were good and kept me awake.
I’m not asking for equality – that is a joke – the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Sight impaired will never be equal – not as long as our economic system demands profits and bigger turnovers ….but surely if producers are already making CC or Audio supported films – why can’t the cinemas order them as well as the normal film.  How much difference is the extra rental cost of CC to the cinema??
Cinemas can advertise CC movies in less popular times or times when popular movies attract fewer customers.  I’m prepared to pay a bit more and have a less equal choice of times just to get some choice at all.


2 thoughts on “Annabel's Story

  1. And while they’re maintaining their rage, I’ll do my best to get it fixed. I’m sorry you are going through those difficulties, and I have had the same experience too.

    I don’t like watching TV with my friends because the subtitles distract them so much that the conversation often becomes about the inaccuracy of the subtitling rather than the movie.

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