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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cinema Nights



Want to really test your Italian?

Going to the movies while traveling in Italy is indeed a great way to practice listening to Italian and to enjoy a bit of normal, not touristy, everyday activity. I make a theater visit a part of every trip here. It’s usually a reminder of how much more I need to learn, but at least I get to measure my progress in this way. On movie nights I don’t challenge myself terribly much. We usually choose a film based on how easy the dialogue will be. Therefore, action films are good. Not too much speaking. Children’s films are also good for me. Movies I’ve already seen in English are definitely better, but I’m not allowed to choose those anymore. With these criteria in mind, some of the films we’ve seen have been 300, The Mummy Returns, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The cinema experience itself I find to be much the same as in the U.S. – but still slightly different. In the theater in Castelletto we buy our ticket, but then we go into the bar at the theater for an aperitivo of wine, beer, or spritz before the film. We enter the theater in the Cineplex where our film of choice is being shown, but we can’t choose our seats; we have assigned ones stamped on the ticket. We have popcorn, and boxes of candy, and too many previews before the film starts. That part’s just the same as here. The film starts. I try to concentrate. Don’t think, don’t translate in my head, just listen. Be in the moment with the film. The audience laughs. I have no idea why. This throws off my concentration. I try to pay attention again. I pick up an entire section of dialogue. Yay! Then I stop to think about what I just heard and miss the next few minutes. Between listening, trying not to blink or look away, and trying to get my share of popcorn all at the same time, by the end of a film I have had quite a mental workout.

We go to a restaurant after. I think I can relax now, but it isn’t so, because now comes the post-movie quiz. This is where, during pizzas and wine, I am asked trivia questions from the film, to test my comprehension while it is still fresh in my mind. Why did the character do that? What was so-and-so angry about? Where did he say the something-or-other was? I get almost every question wrong. Well! I say… we’ll just have to try again…

For rainy days or nights, comprehension practice, and just plain fun, movie nights are always some of my favorites.

Here are the two nearby cinemas. I'd google the address to see exactly where they are. The one in Verbania can be reached easily on a bus route, (buses don't run in the evening however!); the one in Castelletto really is best reached by car; there is a large and convenient parking lot at the complex.

In Verbania:
Cinlandia
Via G. Castelli, 2, 28922 Verbania

And in Castelletto, near Arona:
Metropolis Multisala
S.S. 33 del Sempione, 28053 Castelletto Sopra Ticino
http://www.metropolis-area.com/

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