Saturday, October 6, 2007

Lights, Camera, Action!

Before I arrived here, my guidebook advised that Cali was not a cultural hotbed and was lacking in movies and such. This is both true and skewed. There are plenty of movies to see in Cali. The question is, do I want to see them? (Get your mind out of there...not those movies. I mean, I have internet...let's not get creepy. KIDDING!) Let's go to the movies...

When you go to the movie theater in Colombia, you stand in line, pay someone sitting behind a plexi-glass panel with a hole in it, get snacks, sit in the dark, etc just like in North America. A few subtle differences:

1) There are assigned seats and you get to choose them at the plexi-glass window. This takes a ridiculous amount of time so it is advisable to arrive early...like at the airport. (This practice is apparently pretty common in Europe and actually not all that bad of an idea.) You can also pay more money to sit in the "preferred" seating, which is in the very back. All theaters I've been in have been stadium seating so this isn't actually too bad.

2) You get frisked on your way into the theater. Thoroughly.

3) You are ushered to your assigned seat. If an attendant is not immediately there when you enter the theater, one will find you and check that you are indeed in your assigned seat. Also, if no one else is in the theater and you want to move to another seat you will be shot. Okay, not really, but it is not allowed and a flashlight will end up shining in your face.

4) Movies that say "Proximente" (or "Coming Soon") are. Eventually. I saw Lucky Number Slevin (7 Número Equivocado) this week. I believe this movie came out in the States a year ago and is definitely already on DVD. It should be noted, though, that other more current films, such as The Bourne Ultimatum (Bourne: El Ultimatum), The Simpsons Movie (Los Simpsons), and Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard (Duro de Matar 4.0) have been here since I arrived in August. Also, I have been unable to find anything resembling a schedule of when movies will or will not be there.

5) Most everything is subtitled. Fortunately for me, they are subtitled in English. Which means if something funny is said, I laugh first, followed by the "readers." Or not at all if the humor doesn't translate. In that case I'm always thankful we watch movies in the dark. Also, cartoons are never subtitled and always dubbed in Spanish. I guess it's easier. (?)

I love that even simple activities like this can become serious misadventures. Coming next week...brushing my teeth.

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