Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The cinema, Italian style

Saturday, February 26
This afternoon we head to Lucca to see an American movie dubbed into Italian, Il Grinta, True Grit. Lucca’s four or five theaters show movies only at night, usually starting a little after 8 p.m., and the last train back to San Salvatore leaves at 8:39 p.m., so it is nearly impossible for us to go to evening events in Lucca.

Someday I will buy a Vespa and we will be able to venture out on our own, but for now we are at the mercy of the train schedule, and we feel fortunate that the train runs as often as it does, since we are among a small minority of Montecarlese who use the local train. We get on and off at our station five or six days a week, at least twice a day, and we only see other locals using our little station once or twice a week. We are in a farming area, and everybody else uses cars or motorbikes to get around.

On Saturdays, the theaters do have earlier showings, at 3:45 and 6, so we opt to go at 3:45 p.m. This is definitely not the time Italians like to go to movies, and we are among a grand tota

l of five people in the audience. This is not the smallest movie crowd we have experienced here, though.

During my 2005 spring vacation in Italy, Lucy and I hopped on a train to Arezzo. While exploring the city, we stumbled on a modern new theater and decided to see an afternoon showing of Son of the Mask. We were the only two people at the showing. The movie was pretty bad, and when it was only two thirds done, the film stopped and all the lights went on. We waited for about ten minutes, and then someone came in and told us it was over. We argued for a bit, because even though we couldn’t understand all the film’s dubbed Italian dialogue, it was obvious that the plot hadn’t reached the climax. But then we considered how awful this movie was (later I found out it received eight nominations for Golden Raspberry Awards, including worst sequel, worst actor and worst director), and we decided to go. On the way out, we mentioned that the film wasn’t over, but we didn’t mind leaving anyway. Again we were told that it really had finished. No, we said, it didn’t, but it was OK. Just as we got to the door, the manager came hurrying up to us and said, yes, we were correct, the film wasn’t over. He was sorry, please, we must go back and watch the rest. We didn’t want him to think we were upset, so we returned to watch the rest. After all, how could the theater personnel live with themselves if they thought that they had offended 100% of their afternoon customers?

Il Grinta is a much better movie, though despite our three weeks of lessons here, we find most of the complex dialogue incomprehensible. Previously, this might have disappointed me, but I have lowered my expectations of myself after having seen a dozen or more movies now in Italian. I have become accustomed to not understanding the dialogue. We pick up words here and there, but by the time our minds translate the meanings, another ten words have passed by, some of which we might have understood, but we were too busy processing the previous words. We really like short sentences, like, “Ho scelto l’uomo sbagliato.” I chose the wrong man.

Before taking the return train, we join the passaggiata around the city for a couple of hours. On another day, I’ll try to describe an Italian passagiata, but it really has be seen to be appreciated.


  1. Nice picture if Lucy. She has gloves on so it must be cold?


  2. Did they at least give you free popcorn?

    Darling picture of Lucy - you guys will be ready for the Tour d'France


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