Our favorite night out: dinner and a movie. Add to it a friendly couple, and you’ve got a classic double date. The night was lovely, dark, and -15 degrees Celsius. Thankfully, the bulk of the trip was underground. We met our friends in the Metro, running to get into their car before the doors slammed shut. As always, in my panic, I chose the door too early and got stuck in a car by myself until we got to the next stop.
It’s not too long before we’re above ground again and we, four figures, tromped like decked-out marshmallows; hats, hoods, and scarves to our noses, down the busy sidewalk until we reached our destination: 35 Millimeter, our go-to theater that sports foreign films in their original language with Russian subtitles. You know what that means! American movies are in English! This night’s showing, Inside Llewin Davis. Only the 3rd time seeing a movie in theater this year, we were all happy it was one by our favorite directors, the Coen brothers.
We entered and purchased our tickets (want a center seat? towards the back? near the front? in comfy seats? As if you’re going to a ballet, buying tickets for a movie asks you to consider your seating. Cheaper, undesirable seats or double your money for mid-center, cushioned heaven. We bought our usual: 4th row, to the right of center, just 250 rubles each, that’s less than our American standard movie ticket by, at least, $2 –living large in Moscow.)
What’s the natural next step in theater going? Not concessions. We bring our own or purchase a latte and cheese cake at the “while you wait for your movie to start” cafe. You see, you can’t enter the auditorium until 5 minutes prior to the beginning of the film. At that time, we all get into line and shuffle into the single entrance. Our seats are easy to find. They’re a little too close to the huge curved screen, as always, but we prop our heads up with our scarves and get comfortable.
The movie begins right on time, the first 15 minutes packed with dubbed-over trailers; the voice they chose for Julia Roberts is about 2 octaves too low. There is also a trailer for a french film which, of course, has to show somebody’s behind. Finally, they show us the trailer for the movie we are about to watch Inside Llewin Davis.
“What movie will we watch?” asks the Russian teen beside my husband.
“That,” replies Chris and points to the screen. It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones who find it confusing to be watching the trailer for the movie we’re about to view!
Watching a film from your own culture in a room full of people who are from a different culture is like having an inside joke with the director played out for 2 hours. You laugh when no one else laughs and you forget that no one else is in on “it.” Eventually you feel that it’s kind of rude to be laughing so much, you should probably stop, but you don’t.
As the credits roll, we shuffle back into our lines, now exiting the auditorium slowly. We tighten our boots, snap-up our down, wrap our scarves around our faces like mummies, and off we go to part 2: dinner. There’s a pretty fancy mall about 1/2 a mile from the theater, so we waddle there and find the food court. Over Burger King and KFC, we do our favorite part of the night, at least it’s mine, discussing the film. Favorite scenes, growth of the characters, that Odyssey reference, and the look in her eyes. . . it goes on and on. Until, there she is. We’re snapped back into the reality of where we are.
Her big brown eyes and dirty hat–a beautiful pre-teen gypsy girl cups her hand for some money. Experience tells us she isn’t going anywhere until we give her something, anything. There is always that moment of hesitation, what’s really best? This time, we choose to smile, hoping she feels less like a beggar and more like a girl, and give her the coins we have in our pockets. Satisfied, she hurries off to another table and then, eventually, to her parents. We’re ready to go home, too, so we put our coats on for the 3rd time tonight and tighten up our boots, and wrap our scarves around our faces-a 5 minute affair. The Metro swallows us whole then spits us out a few blocks from home, where we go to bed, grateful for an evening out Moscow-American style.