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Cinema in a strange land

Cinema in a strange land

June 06, 2019

It's currently June 2019, and I'm sitting in my house in Brighton watching the film Donnie Darko.  I have a supreme soft spot for this piece of unique cinema, not just because it's genius, but really and truly because it formed a small part of an amazing unplanned trip to San Francisco back in 2001.

I travelled with my flat-mate at the time just six weeks after 9/11.  The whole world was on alert, bomb threats to the golden gate bridge were being reported, and I found myself wandering the streets over Halloween celebrating the loud, colourful culture that this amazing city brings out in waves at that time of year.

One evening we decided to visit a random cinema and see a random film we'd never heard of, so we found ourselves scaling what seemed like an endless hill, buying butter coated popcorn and sitting watching Donnie Darko.  What a bizarre film to see without warning.  Now, even a screen shot and a whiff of Hugo Boss Deep Red perfume and I'm back there in my mind, heading up Nob Hill for a new experience without a plan.  Good times.

San Francisco Trams

That trip also fulfilled a life long dream for me to visit the boardwalk of Santa Cruz where the cult film The Lost Boys was made in 1996/97 - a movie that totally changed my life as a young teen on the cusp of goth-dom.  Such a cool town, must go back some day - definitely one for the list of travel goals if you have them.

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

I've been to the cinema in a few other random places - seen Lord Of The Rings movies in Wellington NZ and SLC Utah, fell asleep at art house films in a beanbag cinema in Sydney Australia, and watched some crazy Bollywood show in Delhi which had more audience participation than Rocky Horror in Brighton!

There's something cool about the little differences in how such things are done in different countries that makes it that extra bit special.  Such as buttered popcorn - just doesn't happen here in the UK.  And hot food like cheesy nachos - it's all ice cream and chocolate here.  In SLC I was blown away by the height of the seats in the audience - I felt like I was almost sat roof height it was bizarre.  In Delhi people sing the songs, dance in the aisles and shout what seemed like abuse at the screen.  Food wasn't on offer, no screen snacks, just a strange sense of unease and mania.  If you've been to a strange cinema I'd love to hear about it to add to my bucket list - just comment away!



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