Text – Alain Ollier
When the universe seems hell-bent on throwing a wrench in your schedule, sometimes the only thing you can do is curb your rising frustration and go with the flow. And Paris is the perfect city to let the unexpected pop up and surprise you, like when I happened upon a cutting edge cinema experience when all I was looking for was a traditional, Friday night movie.
My friend Caroline rang me at the very last minute to check out a one-off event, Rachel, by S. Bitten (part of the International Documentary Festival) at the the Centre Beaubourg. When we got there, however, the show was already (obviously) sold out…
What now? 18h37, and NO plan B. We relied on the indispensable Pariscope (weekly magazine that lists everything happening in Paris for the coming week), to lead us to the right show. We were led to the newly renovated Forum des Images, situated in the bustling Forum des Halles… But again, arrived bare minutes late for the 19h classic, L’Ange Bleu by Josef Von Sternberg.
First show sold out, late for plan B, what could be next? The young clerk, wearing a popular goatee, the pointed soul patch, told us about the Salle des Collections. With over 5 000 films to choose from, this innovative area of the Forum is dedicated to movies on demand that you can view on personal flat screens. Amazingly, he told us that movies here are 100% free after 7:30 pm!
We took advantage of our short wait to browse the vast selection of movies available. Our research led us to Mort d’un pourri, a must-see political thriller from the ’70s, with legendary French actors (Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet,…), a fantastic director and one of France’s best scriptwriters, Michel Audiard. And oh, I forgot: Stan Getz is on the soundtrack.
After walking upstairs, we were the first to get in the projection room. The décor looks like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Low lights, orange and purple coaches, little private nooks…
So, how does it work?
1. You are given a headset.
2. You enter the room
3: You plug your headset into the socket situated in the couch.
4: You pick your movie.
5: You follow the simple instructions on the screen.
6: You relax and enjoy!
Waves of people, singles and couples, kept coming in the room and heading discreetly to their assigned tables. As we were enjoying our movie on our personal flat-screen, we looked around and contemplated this particular scene: numerous silent groups, all having a individual audio experiences, with their bodies betraying their emotions now and then…
At the end of it, Caroline and I were thrilled to have discovered this unique personal self-viewing movie forum. I might go again tonight.