The Wheelbarrow of Temptation

On Friday night I found myself at a film premiere – only the UK premiere I’ll admit, but a premiere nonetheless.  I say ‘found’ as I didn’t know I was going to a premiere and failed to spot any celebrities or added red carpet (though, the place could have been heaving with soi-disant celebs without me being any the wiser – however, I do like to think I might have noticed extra red carpet).  I only discovered the first-ness of my viewing experience when a short announcement was made just before the film started.  I have subsequently discovered that the film I went to see last Sunday was also a UK premiere.  It would seem that unlike the easily excited folk of London, the people of Cambridge take a much more measured approach to the first viewing of a film – as I have just learned, you can go to a premiere without even knowing.

You might wonder as to (a) this rash of UK premieres in the relative cinematic backwater of Cambridge and (b) the sudden surge in cinema-going by yours truly.  Luckily, the same short clause (no, not a diminutive Santa) will explain both incidents: the last 10 days have been the Cambridge Film Festival (the 31st such, in fact).  As part of my strategy to keep the arts in the UK going, single-handedly if necessary, I felt it was my duty to attend a smattering of the festival’s filmic offerings and consume some artisan ice-cream, though it quickly became clear that I would not have to carry out either of these plans on my tod (apparently rhymed for a fin-de-siècle American jockey) as the cinema was packed on each occasion and many of the flavours of over-priced ice-cream ran out well before the festival did!

Cinema going has the advantage that the audience are, on the whole, significantly younger and more attractive than accompany my more regular dalliances with the Arts, but this is coupled with the downside that the auditorium is much darker and so you can’t see them as well (the Lord giveth, and He taketh away).   The Cambridge Arts Picturehouse also allows you to take a drink (alcoholic, if such is your heart’s desire) into the auditorium – and even to take real glasses (of the drinking as well as vision-correcting variety) with you and they offer a range of rather decent cakes.  All very civilised, though sadly they do still feel the need to offer the more traditional cinema-fare of popcorn – a noisy, odiferous snack which I had always thought lacked any redeeming features.  However, on my recent visit to the Gilbert Scott, they provided sea-salt and black-pepper flavoured popcorn as a bar snack and this ‘gourmet’ popcorn was decidedly moreish, so I have subsequently found myself unable to tackle the subject of popcorn via blanket condemnation (though I still so treat blankets – I refuse to have them in the house, and view them as an obsolete bedding technology since the development of the duvet).

I took in three films during the festival – each of which had at least one of France or Time Travel as a theme. I also maintained this thematic unity in this week’s visit to the theatre – a little Molière for anyone keeping track (though I have no pr0of that Network Rail are regular readers).

My first premiere (which feels like something is being squared) was the French comedy “Romantics Anonymous” which was extremely funny – I have rarely laughed as much during a film.  It was also pleasingly brief – the viewer is provided with a decent amount of change out of 90 minutes – rather than being padded out as so many films (and, indeed, blog posts) are.  However, as is becoming a bit of a leitmotif of GofaDM, I did feel the subtitles were slightly dumbed down – and I last studied French in 1982, so I would hardly be considered a fluent French hearer.

My second film had a start time of 2230, and so I found myself in the curious (and very unusual) position of leaving the house at 2145 to go out for the ‘evening’.  This just feels wrong!  A feeling which may have been compounded by the fact that I had earlier been to a matinée performance at the theatre (the aforementioned Tartuffe).  This movie was the second UK showing of “Dimensions” (the first was the day before), a microbudget movie set (and largely made) in Cambridge.  The lack of budget was not particularly obvious (I’m also not sure quite how small microbudget might be) and certainly the credits were as long as with a normal film, though an awful lot of the people mentioned did share the same surname (which might explain some of the budget savings).  The film was interesting and entertaining – and I notice that the folk of Cambridge in the 20s and 30s were significantly more attractive and better-dressed than they are today – though I did manage to guess most of the major plot twists rather early on (I feel the opening credits give too much away).

My final film was “Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen’s latest offering – which I absolutely loved.  The film was great fun, everything ended as it should and the music was wonderful.  I was also left with a very strong need to visit Paris again – and overheard conversations on leaving the cinema suggest the Paris tourist industry will do rather well out of the movie – though I think I may wait for the Spring-time (yes, I am a slave to cliché).

I must say that I rather enjoyed my flick-fest – and have resolved to see the inside of the cinema more often in future.  This coming week I think I shall go to see the new take on Tinker, Tailor etc – and I hope that the cinema will be offering stoned fruit (by which I mean fruit that bears a stone, rather than a drug-addled homosexual) so that the audience can join in – or perhaps I should bring my own plums to be sure.

Ah, I suppose you’ll be wondering about the title.

** Spoiler Alert **

The phrase came to me while watching Dimensions in a scene involving a wheelbarrow (and temptation) and I loved it so much that I just had to use it.  I think it may be the title for my much anticipated autobiography – a searing exposé of my life and loves.  It is only waiting on the 6+ figure advance – and, for the avoidance of doubt, all of those figures should lie to the left of the decimal point and should be in base 10 (or higher).

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