Well, my first try at seeing a movie at the cinema was very interesting. The film association on campus was offering free tickets to Sherlock Holmes 2 for any students. So I went to their office and put my name on the list. The two girls there didn't speak much English, and I knew even less French than I do now.
I was able to communicate my name and Hellen's name so that we could go to the cinema the next Tuesday evening. They said the showtime was 19:15 and the film was in English with French subtitles (Hurray!!). All I would need to do is show my student ID.
So Tuesday rolls around and Hellen has an oral exam in French the next day, so she decides to stay home and prepare. I walk to the cinema that's about five minutes from our home, Le Francais.
Le Francais Cinema
There are two people at the ticket counter. One is in training and the other is training her. The trainee actually speaks some English! So I'm trying to tell her that the film association put my name on a list to see Sherlock Holmes for free. She tells me that my student ID only makes the film 5.50 euros, not free. I keep trying to say that it's through the association.
She says "Which association?" I draw a blank. All I can think is "Film Association"... actually, I still don't know the proper name of the association.
Our of nowhere, the trainer says "Ah! something, something, something" - in French. She runs out of the booth, goes to the concession stand and grabs some papers. She comes back with a list of names! Hallelujah!
But my name isn't on it.
I start to get really frustrated, I half jogged to get there on time and was now standing in a warm entrance with my forehead sweating and my winter jacket suffocating me. I think the trainer just took pity on me, because she took over the computer for a moment and printed me a ticket for free.
Relief comes in the moment of sitting down in the waiting area. Then... the smell of popcorn hits me. I have to buy some. It was relatively painless to get a small popcorn, but it cost me 3.50 euros.
Instead of a queue forming by the entrance to the theatre entrances, something like a mosh pit starts up. I join in because it seems like the thing to do. At 19:45, on a TV screen above the entrance, the red box next to Sherlock Holmes 2 turns green. Everyone surges forward to get through an opening about three feet wide -- all 50 people trying to go through at once and hand our ticket to the man collecting them there. I make it through pretty early and follow the crowd to theatre 3. I take a good seat, with a railing in front of me, instead of seats. Another swarm of people come and pretty soon the cinema attendants are counting seats.
Only three left. Three more people enter and are pointed in the directions of the three seats. A few more people enter and take seats on the stairs. But, it's a wonderful theatre with a huge screen and tiered seating for those who can get it.
The movie starts... Narrated in French. I think, "It's got to switch to English soon and French subtitles, they only did this for the narration. Once the actors come on, it'll be in English..."
I was wrong. The whole movie is in French. And toward the end of the movie, a headache is spreading from the base of my neck upward because I am focusing so hard to decipher any words that sound similar to English. I know funny things were said, and I understand the basic plot, but I did not get more than ten words.
So that is my incredibly long and slightly interesting experience at a French cinema.