Sunday, October 24, 2004

Celsius 41.11

I wanted to see Celsius 41.11 today. I saw Fahrenheit 911 and I figured I needed to be fair in my documentary viewing pattern before the elections. Also adding to my desire to see it was the fact that the Washington City Paper didn't list the movie at all. One had to scan the movie theater's listings to find a mention of the documentary. Considering the fact that even the IMAX movies playing at the Air and Space museum are listed in the paper, I knew this had to be an editorial decision and I hate when people think they just "know better" and decide for the rest of us. If they don't list it, I want to see it.

So I show up at the theater probably 15 mn before the show. It's the first show of the day and the theater seems empty when I arrive. There is no one at the box office and to my surprise, the doors are locked. There are signs advertising the on-going Arab Film festival but not a single soul and no sign anywhere. This is very unusual and I pounce on the door to alert anybody inside that it is time to open the theater doors. Still nobody.
Curiouser and curiouser.
I am about to leave when someone else shows up. He wants to see the latest film with Charlize Theron but can't remember the name of it. He asks me and I don't remember. I still want to help him so I go through the list of the movies playing at the theater and all I can tell him is "It's not "Hero", it's not "WMD", it's not "Taxi", I'm not sure about "Friday Night Lights". He does not seem happy and then I stopped and just tell him. "You know, I don't think it matters, as the theater appears to be empty." He is as surprised as I was. The first show is suppose to start in less than 5 mn and there is no one in sight.
Finally I see a young man coming out from the nearby shop. "What's going on?" I ask. "There is a water problem and they had to shut down the theater", he replies, "everything has been shutdown." "Do you know for how long?" "No. I just came to deliver something". I leave to go to the nearby post office, a rare post office opened on Sunday and came back about 10 minutes later. The theater has its door opened now but someone is here to turn people away. I joke "Why do you need to have running water to open a cinema?? I promise not to use the bathrooms. " The young guy who introduced himself as the manager smiles. "This is a city requirement. We will be opened tomorrow." I'm not completely done. "Tomorrow is a work day. Would you be playing Celsius 41.11 next weekend?" I don't know why I asked this. I can always come at the last show at night. Even on a week day. He smiles. "Yes, it will probably be playing." "Do I need to take tickets in advance?" I ask remembering the lines for F 9/11 and the multiple "sold out" shows. His smile broadened "No. Not at all. Nobody comes to see this one". I smile back.


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