Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Watching Penguins on a Rainy Evening

Since it had been raining throughout the day yesterday, Subhamoy and I went to watch "March of the Penguins" along with my parents . Amlan has already gushed about it so movingly that nothing I write will be able to match up to it. So I am not even giving it a try. The movie is beautifully filmed and the narative along with the background score adds layers of emotion and warmth to what will otherwise appear to be a very bleak, dark and cold landscape . My mother was particularly touched by the cries of the mother penguin on discovering her chick dead after a blizzard.
I believe the experience of watching a good film and enjoying it is as much a function of the immediate surroundings and the company in which it is watched as it is of the quality of the film. Those of us who were stuck in the BITS auditorium (back in 1998-2000) during the RAF screening of the Deepa Mehta movie"Fire" might remember the dissapointment of trying to watch a sensitive movie with a bunch of hormonally-driven-juvenile-delinquents who insisted on letting the whole world know what they thought of the action (or rather lack of it) on screen. The fact that we enjoyed March of The Penguins (or any of the 25 odd movies we have watched in the past) at the Old Greenbelt Theatre is partially due to the fact that:
1. It is not a commercial theatre playing commercial block busters, which keeps the punks in movie character costumes at bay. It also means that there is no great rush at the ticket counter and there is no concept of sold out shows.
2. Even though people might discuss the story while the movie is running, no one is loud and annoying. People don't laugh out aloud at the most inopportune of moments or bellow out obscenities followed by more obnoxious guffaws...believe it or not this has happened to us. There is certain amount of educational and emotional maturity in the crowd that frequents this theatre to put it delicately.
4. The person in the seat next to you is there to watch a film(watch being the operative word) and not to set new world records in ingesting the greatest amount of junk possible in a 90 minute period.
5. Patronising the local theatre and having the money go to the community instead of an evil chain theatre corporation has a certain feel good factor to it.
6. Even the wallet appreciates the fact that movies before 6 PM are just 5 bucks and as a frequent movie goer you get to watch every 7th movie for free. They also offer student discounts.
7. It is practically next door which means I can walk in five minutes before the movie begins.
8. This is the cutest reason of all...the theatre has a board which has little scraps of paper pinned on it. It works this way, if you have a grouse you take a scrap of paper and scribble your woes on it. The staff (its a one man show basically) then scribbles a reply and puts it back up. There is a certain homey feel to the operation. The Grumpy Grandma who sits at the ticket booth is as much of an institution herself as the old projector that sits in the lobby.

So bottomline (come on I don't just post pointelss drivel do I) -go find your local theatre and patronize it. Oh yeah another thing, Subhamoy left his wallet in the theatre and is now pennyless and ID-less. The projector operator apparently found the wallet and took it home with him. He will be back on Thursday so we have to wait till then (he does not have a phone at home apparently)!!


Sagnik Nandy said...

i remember the Fire experience - me and ajit sharma spent a fair amount of time after the movie trying to explain to sukanya that not all men are bastards due to how ppl reacted during the movie

as far as patronizing local indy chains - the one in SD close to my house - charges more, doesn't give student discounts and there is no place to scribble your rants :((

Anyesha said...

Sagnik: Actually if I remember correctly one paticular specimen of the male species emboldened by his behaviour during Fire went on to repeat it a couple more times. He even accquired a stupid laser pointing device.
Since Indy chains in SD suck, just move to the east coast...simple isn't it!!!

vashok said...

So was it intentional that there is no point number 3??? I am really curious....

Anyesha said...

Ashok: No, that was not intentional...I am getting old and my counting skills are getting a little rusted...that's all.

Amlan said...

One of the things that I will miss most about Seattle is its independent film circuit. All the way from watching $3 movies up at the Crest to the aged grandoise of the Egyptian. Of course among my other favorites were the Harvard Exit and Broadway Performance Hall. Which of course reminds me how much I am going to miss the film festivals. Running down Broadway in between movies from the Egyptian to the Harvard Exit... Oh well!