Saturday, 4 April 2009

Off to the flicks we go!

"Where have you been?" I said to Lester, after he disappeared for a couple of hours the other day. He had been last seen talking to Bruno, which does not always bode well. They are like a couple of lads when they get together, and tend to wander off to do boy-o things. Like going on the hunt for manure, or investigating the entrails of Bruno's ancient tractor, or discussing how to retrieve the wood from under the bridge out in the middle of the river, etc.
"We went into Plaisance", he said, "Bruno took me to the market and we had a coffee in the bar, then we went into the post office, then the bank, then we had a look at what's on at the cinema."
I frowned. "I thought you were over at Bruno's".
"Well, we were, then he said 'let's go and do some shopping for some more fruit trees in the market - it's on today' and you know I want some more fruit trees (do I? He's already planted 30) so I went with him. Did you listen out for the phone?" (I do secretarial duties when he isn't in the office in case the office in the UK call him.)
"No" I said, feeling left out of an adventure which I wouldn't have minded going on myself. " What's on at the cinema?"
"A sci-fi. We're going tomorrow night."
"Oh, are we!"

So we went, collected by Bruno who parked at the bar in Prechac on the way, so we could have a drink first. And a bag of French fries. Cooked in a van parked outside of the bar.
"It's really great, being able to eat like this" Bruno said, as he unwrapped the nicely wrapped parcel of fries onto the table. " You know, we only have restaurants here, or we have to cook ourselves. It is good that we can buy food like this. It's a new thing here. "
Lester and I looked at each other, remembering the fast food culture of the UK. Another reminder of how different the two cultures are. However, the fries were nothing like the chip-shop chips back in the UK; these were seasoned, and crisp and very more-ish.

Nous arrivons au cinèma: "Oh, an English film: Nicolas Cage, no less, in Prédictions" I said, thinking 'Great! French subtitles!' Oh but where is the queue? Perhaps everyone is already inside, time is getting on. Ooh, a bag of popcorn perhaps? Or some sweeties?

No. No people. No popcorn. No sweeties. The cinema would be the equivalent to an updated village hall, only better: more cinema-like, less Women's Institute. It was lick-spit clean, freshly painted, and cosy. Not like those huge cinema complexes of our pre-France days, where one was encouraged to gourge oneself senseless of loads of junk-type food while standing in the queue, or going straight inside if one was lucky, after first having found the correct screen out of several others. Straight in we went. No nibbles. Plenty of choice for seating: apart from one other, we were the only three. Oooh, the seats were soooo comfy. And clean. No litter anywhere. Around the walls were posters of coming films. No adverts. There were no adverts anywhere.

Film starts. Directly it starts. I nudge Lester "Where are the adverts!" I whisper in his ear, in a curious way missing the loss of the minutes of my life having to watch the pre-film stuff relevant to UK cinema showings which sort of prepare one for the film to come.

Nicolas Cage is on screen. Mmm. Subtitles? Mmmm. No! Looking forward to hearing his lovely deep drawling voice, I am momentarily thrown into confusion by the foreign language which is emitting from his mouth. It takes me but a few seconds to realise that he has been dubbed. I thought it was the influence of the French fries, it being a while since I last ate out of a chip packet.

Was the film good? Well, it was a fun evening. And the film had me rivetted, mostly because I was trying to make out the story line. It was one of those films with a lot of chases, crashes, spooky houses, and make-you-jump moments but not in a hairy-scary way.

However, I had to do a search on the Internet this morning to find out what it was really all about, and it is called 'Knowing' when spoken in English. Probably if I had heard it in English, I would most probably understood it more. But I am in France, and I will go to the cinema in Plaisance again, the main reason being that the evening was such a simple, pleasurable experience. No adverts, and no seduction for buying naughty foodies, seemed to strip away un-necessary excess. We went to see a film, and we saw a film, and we had no extra clutter to get in the way.

It was another grand evening in France.