Cinema Barberini: Fight for Your Right to Watch a Movie!

[Week 18] Obviously not a big market for original-language films.
[Week 18] Obviously not a big market for original-language films.
Last week, the boy and I watched our very first movie in Rome! And how appropriate that it happened to be The Hunger Games: La ragazza di fuoco. After having learnt on Saturday that oh hey, the movie’s showing in English now, I decided to head down to Cinema Barberini— the closest cinema to us— to see it as soon as possible. We had a choice between 11:30 on Sunday or 20:00 so to the morning show we went.

We arrived promptly at 10:50am, a decent time considering one must always leave ATAC allowance— good thing too, the tram never came so we walked to the bus. Being early was always the plan, as we still needed to purchase tickets and buy popcorn. We could’ve bought tickets online but for a surcharge of 2€ each, really? For a 6€ ticket? No, thank you.

Anyway, Cinema Barberini apparently doesn’t open until quarter past eleven. Why they would do that considering there are morning film showings is beyond me. I realize I should have checked their opening hours, but the movie was scheduled for 11:30am so I assumed, logically, that they would at least allow thirty minutes for people to buy what they need to buy. Logic was my fatal flaw. When the boy and I arrived, there was already a small crowd of people loitering around Barberini, maybe ten in total including us. By the time eleven rolled around there was a veritable horde. And of course, everyone was pushing towards the glass doors— my exact location. It was Italian queuing at its finest.

I’m sure my steely-eyed determination was amusing to the boy, but I wasn’t about to let some random people who arrived after we did get to the ticket counter before us. By eleven fourteen, the floodgates were opened and woe to heaven and earth. Good thing that I was born and raised in Philippines, I’m no stranger to these types of scenarios. When it’s a question of survival of the fittest, you can rely on a Manila girl. We were fifth in the line, after two Italian couples, a father-son tandem, and a Japanese girl. We got our Hunger Games tickets— the lady didn’t even asked what seats we wanted, perhaps she didn’t care— and were off to the popcorn queue.

Of course, here was yet another line-that-isn’t-a-line. It’s a quintisential Rousseauian experience in which there was no proper queue, rather, an unspoken agreement between the people— a respectful camaraderie that the father-son tandem kept attempting to break as they inched closer and closer to the front. We saw you, and we judged you. C’è una fila! What kind of thing is that to teach your child who couldn’t have been older than eight? In any case, the line held firm and they waited their turn. Our snacks consisted of a small and large Coke, and a small and large popcorn for 12€. Rather exorbitant, for not freshly popped corn.

And then we got to our theatre. It was acceptably large and split into three sections: a huge middle one and the smaller outer ones. We were in seats L18 and L19, practically the center of the cinema if not for the Japanese girl who was a seat away. If we were given the option we would have chosen more insulated seats as the cinema was practically empty— but again, when serviced by someone who doesn’t care about their job what can you do but sigh and fork over excessive amounts of cash for a pair of movie tickets.

I won’t talk about La ragazza di fuoco, but suffice to say that the movie was so engrossing that I momentarily forgot where I was. This second film was definitely more faithful to the book. Was I in Rome? Was I in Panem? Is there a difference? These philosophical questions are perhaps better tackled another day.

Would I go back to Cinema Barberini? Yes, because I have no choice. Moreover, my queuing skills need to be kept sharp and this seems to be the best place to do it.

Week 18 p2

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