Saturday, February 21, 2009

Order vs. chaos

Way back in 2001, I saw my first movie at a Turkish theater--some forgettable war flick with Jude Law. Three things surprised me about the experience: 1) The smoke break intermission halfway through, for which the film was stopped mid-scene. 2) The sloppy squat toilet and all the chic young Turkish women who didn't seem to know how to use it correctly either. 3) The assigned seating.

When I go to movies in Istanbul now, what surprises me is that people actually sit in their assigned seat. The idea of a queue often seems like a foreign concept here--sure, people take a number at the bank or utility office, but then they usually butt in front at the window anyway. But everyone searches dutifully for their sıra and koltuk numbers at the cinema, to point where at a Friday afternoon matinee, with 80 percent of the seats empty, a woman came and sat down right next to me. Why the ticket sellers sold two seats right next to each other for such a scantly attended screening is another question altogether.


Nomad said...

I have had the same experience. The intermission break explanation is fairly simple. It is a behind-the- scenes battle between INTERMISSION (how much they can make the cinema can make on popcorn, candy and drinks) AND FILM SCREENINGS (the number of films they can show in a single day). More intermission time means less time for another show. It appears that the intermission idea wins out. Turks, as a rule, do not venture out to films after 10 here in Izmir so it is probably not too easy to fill the seats.

The thing that bugs the heck out of me is 40 minutes of advertising prior to the film. Sometimes the same ad appears twice! Banks and Carlsberg ("Probably the best beer in the world"- Doesnt "probably" sound a bit half hearted?)

The cruddy drum beating maniacs clip ( guy walking on trash cans) tells us that this is Dolby sound, which means you jump at every explosion and strain to hear anything else.

That threatening warning about piracy. (You wouldn't steal a car, would you?) Uneasy shifting of butt cheeks of all the petty criminals in the cinema.

Long ago, I went to "Titanic" and had to sit in front of a middle aged couple that discussed each point-(what a large ship! What a beautiful dress she is wearing! He is a bad man!) and the wife "tsked tsked" from the moment the ice touched the bow of the steamer to the blue blue face Leo DiCaprio. (It WAS the Titanic, after all, was she expecting an unexpected conclusion?)

Anonymous said...

I think the Jude Law film was Enemy at the Gates. I'm guessing war movies aren't your favorite genre anyway ;-)

I am all for intermissions!


renai said...

The intermission drives me mad. Does this still exist in any other country in the world? I went to watch a movie once and I was the only person there! At interval I knicked out to the toilet and when I returned they just started playing the movie again. It was great. The advertising is excessive, to say the least. And I find it's always beer or alcohol which is surprising to me.

New York Muhtari said...

maybe I have too much of turkish blood in my veins, but intermission is wonderful.. When you sit through a 3 hours movie, don't you want to go the restroom or buy popcorn... and I go to movies a lot in NY, but knowing that I have to go there way early in order to get a good seat and on top of that watch half an hour upcoming movie commercials is not making me a happy camper... Now I watch @ home @ Hulu... and loving it.