Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Going to the movies

Fellini, Sophia Loren, Rosellini, The Bicycle Thief, Marcello Mastroianni, Antonioni, La Dolce Vita, are just but a few of the icons from Italian cinema. I have seen many of the classics, and I loved every second of them... but that was when I was living in the States and I had a fabulous subscription to Netflix! There were several multiplex theaters in the area where we lived, and a couple of theathers that showed only independent and foreign films. Those were the days!
I love going to the movies, I love to seat in a dark theater and be surrounded by sound effects. I love to watch the story develop larger than life in the huge screen, I want to be inside the movie. I have to confess that I dislike everything else about theaters, the popcorn, the soda, the noise other people make, their cell phones... but I still love going to the movies... or I used to...
Going to the movies in Italy is an interesting cultural experience, as many things are different than what I am used to.
All movies are dubbed into Italian, yes they are! The first movie we went to see here was Shrek the Third (Shrek Terzo) and believe me when I say that we laughed every second of it, not because we understood much, but because it was funny to hear italian instead of Cameron Diaz' or Antonio Banderas' voice. Everybody tells me that the dubbing is excellent, that the Italian actor that dubs a particular actor, let's say George Clooney, will always dub George Clooney. I just do not understand enough of the language to perceive such subtle differences.
When you buy your ticket, you will be assigned a seat. As far as I know, no one in my town or in the theaters in Varese pay attention to this. I have yet to see a crowded theater, so I am not one to rely on for experience about these matters.
I am pleased to report that Italians do not buy huge buckets of buttered popcorn, nor do they think it is a must. Hurray!
There is always an intermezzo or an interval half way through the movie. The first time this happened I thought that there was something wrong with the movie, and that someone was trying to fix it. No, there is always a break of 10 or 15 minutes for everybody to move around, talk to other people, comment on the movie, predict the ending (?) and/or go to the bathroom. This break can happen anytime, even in the middle of a suspenseful scene. I still do not like these breaks, they make me loose concentration, I come down to reality fast, and I hit the ground hard! I want to be inside the movie!!!
There are so many expats in this area, that two theaters in town have one night a week when they show movies in original language! Not dubbed! Yes! I take advantage of this treat often, and it is always nice to meet all the other "others" at the movies. I went to see No Country for Old Men last week, and we will be there tomorrow for The Kite Runner. Brand new movies! I guess they need some time to do all the dubbing, wait, no, they are not dubbed... Oh well.

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