Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Firsts ... Part Three


There is a small shopping center about seven miles from our cabin where one can purchase all the necessities. There is a Home Depot, a 24-hour supermarket, Radio Shack, Staples, a small dry cleaner, a card shop, a beauty parlor (I have always loved that term) a video store and those twin peaks of exotic culinary experience in America: a Chinese and an Italian restaurant. It also has a small independent movie theatre, a fading fixture in the modern strip-mall landscape. When I googled for movie theatres within a 20 mile radius this one didn’t even show up, neither does it appear on any of the major movie guides. I suppose it’s a bit of a rebel as movie theatres go, out there on it’s own with no multiplex mega-corporation behind it. It’s an aging space, the ceiling panels are stained and some are missing, the seats are of many origins, some, red some white and others in between. The staff is an eclectic, colorful mix of local characters with a genuine projectionist whose girth makes it difficult for me to imagine how he climbs up into the small projection booth for each feature, but the popcorn is hot and it’s actually a very well programmed theatre. All of the big films play there and during the summer there are screenings in the early afternoon. After Labor Day, when all of summer residents have returned to wherever it is they live from September to June, the winter schedule resumes with a show at 7:30PM and maybe a second show at 9:45PM on the weekends. I thought this was as good a place as any, and better than most, for His Holiness to have his first cinematic experience. “Cars”, a g-rated Pixar production was playing, and if there is anything he likes it’s cars. As we were buying our ticket the high-school girl in the glass box warned us that 130 summer camp children had called ahead and would be sitting in the theatre, which has a capacity of 150. Far from being a concern for me, I was thrilled because HH loves being around other children and if there was any possibility of him being a bit frightened by the big screen sounds and action, it would be dispelled by the presence of those squirming campers.

When we arrived the theatre was empty, so I walked around the theatre with him, getting very close to the big screen at the front of the room then looking back to the small square of light in the upper left corner of the back of the house. I tried to explain to him what a projection booth was, about how a man was sitting in the room placing large spools of film on a projector, then watching the movie along with us to make sure nothing went wrong. As I was giving HH his tour of the space, images from “Cinema Paradiso” were running through my mind. I remembered the little boy in that film, the projection booth, the theatre and the impact it had on his life and the life of the village in which it lived and died. HH watched most of the film sitting in my lap. He probably spent as much time watching the other children as he did the images on the screen and at one point he let me know that he wanted to eat what they were eating – popcorn. So we ambled into the lobby and bought some popcorn and he tried a few bites then handed the box to me and returned to watching the events unfolding around him in the dark crowded room filled with light and sound into which his Papa had brought him. Eventually he pointed to the door and we left the theatre and went home and to bed.

The next day we talked a little about the experience of the night before. He commented briefly on the music and much more passionately about the pasta he had eaten before he went into the movie.


Blogger Chloe said...

art is never going to compare to food.
HH is right. :)

2:55 AM  
Blogger Signora B. said...

This reminds me of the time I took my oldest for her first movie adventure.She had to bring her 'Blankie' and I loved every minute of watching her reaction to the movie "Mary Poppins" and the people around her.
It sounds like a fabulous summer for you and HH. Enjoy........

3:56 AM  

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