Monday, September 19, 2016

Idiots abound everywhere

So here I am in New York City, at some of the most sophisticated art house cinemas in the country, and the same boobs are sitting around me as I’d find on cheap night at the multiplex back home. How is this possible? Aren’t New York art houses the discriminating home for true cineastes? This is New York after all, America’s culture capital...... Here’s a little diary of my misadventures with boors, who obviously and sadly exist everywhere and anywhere, Sunday afternoon. I purchase a 3.45 pm ticket at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas for a revival of famed New Wave director Claude Cabrol’s 1992 Betty starring Marie Trintignant. Almost from the start there is a couple in the row behind where the guy proceeds to talk throughout the movie. This isn’t a whisper – bad enough – but a low tone of talk. When he does this the second time I turn around and sharply stare at him. He catches my glance and stops. For awhile I think my tactic worked because I don’t hear anything out of him. But, after about another 15 minutes he starts up, in a lower tone so it isn’t quite as annoying. Then he stops but periodically starts up, not quite loud enough for me to make the effort to tell him to stop or leave the theatre if he wants to yak. Then there’s the couple sitting to my immediate left. Every once in awhile the guy clicks on his smart phone to check ESPN Sunday football scores. The second time he does this, I turn to look at it and his wife waves her hand at him to turn the screen off……So what was the film itself like? It’s the story of a sociopath who always gets her own way despite ruining the lives of people around her. At first we are sympathetic to Betty because of some of her brutal and exploitative life experiences starting form childhood. But we see how this character charms and sucks in people around her, using them for who own ends. Did I say sociopath? An alcoholic, which she is, also fits the bill.....A few hours later and just a few blocks away, I catch another New Wave revival, Eric Rohmer and his 1967 La Collectionneuse (the Film Society of Lincoln Center is featuring all Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales). Here, I don’t have any annoying audience neighbors. Though I did note that the guy at the next ticket window was with The New York Times and seeking a Times employee discount. And, an audience member in the row ahead and several seats to the right was speaking loudly about “why is no one in the theatre talking to one another,” among other things. And the couple in front me of seemed to be playing games. First they sat side by side and then she moved one seat left, seemingly to his chagrin, but still reached out her hand to hold his. Some minutes later, after several grimaces on his part, she moved back…...As for the film? It’s an interesting depiction of desire and power, with a young woman Haydée (Haydée Politoff) the object of attention by two older men who are both repelled and attracted to her in a comedy of their own self-delusions.

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