19 November 2012

Cinema Splendor

Be patient with me today. I will not be showing off my camera skills in low light because I have none, other than simply to crank up the ISO speed. Rather, I am only trying to show you something of my favorite little movie theater, Cinema Splendor . . . which I have taken to calling Cinema Paradiso. I am not sure that I can show you just how tiny and cozy it is with photographs.

Cinema Splendor is operated by a French expatriate, M. Sirdey. I have only had the opportunity to chat with M. Sirdey once because I am always late for the movie. Consequently, I do not know such information as how long he has operated the theater, which cannot have been all that long.

When you first go to Cinema Splendor, you are continually wondering if you are on the right track, a common feeling in this city when you are trying to find a place you have never been before. In the case of Cinema Splendor, this is because it is located behind quite a large nightclub uptown called "V.C. & Friends." You have to walk through the nightclub to get to the theater. Once you get out the back door of the nightclub, you turn right and are confronted with these blue-lit stone steps:

(Take a second to let your brain get oriented.) These stone steps lead up to the open air waiting area or open air lobby, if you will. You can lounge around in that outdoor lobby in the comfortable chairs there and have a cocktail from the club's bar if you like while you wait for the movie to start.

When it is showtime, you go past that tree, up the steps, and into Ms. Sirdey's little theater after paying the lady who stands by the steps. For the admission price of $80*, you also get one soda and a bag of popcorn.

The theater is quite well appointed, as you can see. I do not know where he found those theater seats, but they are like new and comfortable. Those are vintage movie posters on the wall. Noise from the nightclub does not present a problem. It is always empty when the films are being shown except for a bartender and a couple of hard core drinkers sitting quietly at the bar. The young people here do not even start to think about going to the clubs until 10:00 p.m., at which point they think about it for an hour or more and do not hit the clubs until sometime well after 11:00 p.m.

One can sign up to have the schedule sent by email. Here is a sample schedule from last week. Click on it to read it if you like:

The truth is that I seldom consult the schedule. M. Sirdey has such great taste in films. If I feel like going to see a movie, I just go and watch whatever he is showing.

There was a problem last night, however, when I ran into that Japanese dog movie, "Quill." Sure enough, the damned dog died at the end of the film. I therefore had to stay in the theater while the credits ran in Japanese and compose myself before I stepped out and faced the people in the lobby waiting for the 7:30 showing of the film. I can report that by the time I did leave the theater and walk out there, I was cold steel once again.

*US$6.06; C$6.07; A$5.87; COL$11,066.83; R$12.55; €4.76; £3.82; ¥491.96; 192.36 Rubles; etc.

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