martedì 17 aprile 2012


When I moved to Paris almost 7 years ago, I found out an amazing thing about cinemas in this town: the existence of cheap fidelity cards to see movies.
These cards allow you to go to the movies anytime you want, any moment of the week, for only 20 Euros/month. It is heaven on earth, basically.
The tricky thing was that there were two different kinds of cards: one for the cinemas of Gaumont/Pathé/MK2 circuit (plus some independent movie theatres) called Le Pass, and the other one for the cinemas of UGC circuit (plus some independent movie theatres) called UGC Illimité
The choice was super easily made, for me: I HATE UGC cinemas, and so I didn’t even have to think about it. The reason why I hate them, is that I think their theatres are ugly and the movies they show not very good. Few years ago, for unknown reasons (at least unknown to me), MK2 decided to quit the Gaumont/Pathé circuit to join the UGC one. It was a very sad moment. I’m a huge fan of MK2 cinemas and their movies, and so the idea that they had passed to the enemy was unbearable. I didn’t change my mind, though, and I kept my pass. The reality is, everybody is choosing the card based on where the cinemas are (meaning near the place where they work or live). In my case, I was lucky: the cinemas I prefer are placed in suitable locations and accept Le Pass.
It is really, really rare that I go to see a movie in a UGC cinema.
Yesterday night, unfortunately, I did. 
You can entirely put the blame on a man, his name is Ewan McGregor. I couldn’t see his latest movie, Perfect Sense by David Mackenzie, when it was out in cinemas a couple of weeks ago and I was about to losing it: my only chance was to go to a UGC cinema, the only one programming it at a decent time (that means not at 11 am on a Tuesday morning). My friend Manù, who has a UGC pass, accepted to come with me and so off we went, looking for the mysterious UGC Orient Express!

When you think about this name, of course you imagine something very exotic, or at least very nice. Well, FORGET ABOUT IT! The marvellous UGC Orient Express is located in the worst place of Paris: the Level -4 (!) of the AWFUL complex called Les Halles. When we arrived, we were shocked by the look of it. More than a cinema it looked like the entrance of some repellent public toilets. Everything was black and bleak. The ceiling was so low that you were afraid it was about to crush down and the space was so tight that people making the queue for tickets and people making the queue to enter into the theatre were obliged to share the same space, creating an unpleasant confusion and the sensation of being guinea pigs in a cave waiting for some weird experiments.
And I want to say something to UGC people to start: when a friend of mine wants to see a film with me, my card reserves a big discount to him/her and so he/she pays just 4 or 6 Euros (instead of 10)… but nothing like this is foreseen by the UGC card. Thanks very much, guys!
So, I spent 10 Euros to be welcomed into the most horrible space ever created by a human being and I had the stupid idea of going to the toilets as first thing. Alejandro Gonzàlez Iñárritu must have shot there some scenes of Biutiful, I swear. I can’t even describe the state of the corridor and the smell of it. When I arrived at the door of the female toilet, a woman told me she was cleaning (???!!!!) them and so I should use men ones. I was furious. I opened the door and a man was pissing in front of me. And no, he didn’t look like Ewan McGregor. Far, very far from it. When I managed to get out, I entered into another cheerful black corridor and I finally reached Salle n° 1 (what can possibly be the n° 7???). Black as well, of course. Everything was so damned cheap in that place. Manù and I hesitated: should we laugh or cry? 
Luckily enough, the film started, Ewan McGregor appeared on screen with his lovely beard, his sweet glaswegian accent and his chef uniform. And life was – oh - so wonderful again!
Actually, the movie wasn’t bad at all. The plot was very intriguing: a mysterious epidemic is spreading around the world and people loose step by step all the senses. It is also the moment the two main characters are falling in love with each other, so, well… it’s complicated. And also quite dark, gloomy and distressing.
When the movie was over, we thought the general atmosphere of the place was absolutely perfect to maintain intact the oppressive sensation generated by the picture.
And yes, we would have loved to loose at least one of our senses: the one of smell.
Ewan, you definitely owe me one!!!

6 commenti:

  1. I cant beleive you didn't know the Orient Express, the place is so strange and hidden, and has the most extravagant programmation, I kind of love it for being horrible, and also because I've seen there films that weren't showed anywhere else. I wrote a post about it a thousand years ago I am sorry that you hated it, (you were taken by surprised) normally sometime one can hear the RER trains, that's why it was called the orient express ( I guess). hé hé, one need a certain dose of humour to enjoy the ride there :D.
    Always happy to read you

  2. Strange and hidden are the words, dear Valerie. I had the feeling it was also falling into pieces. And the smell was so bad! For sure an amazing experience. I didn't hear the RER trains, though, maybe in the Salle n° 7... hahahah! Thanks for reading me, my dear!

  3. Magico e esotico Orient Express, io ci ho visto "Nine", con la metro che faceva vibrare la sala ad ogni passaggio. Uno dei momenti più decadenti della mia vita!
    L'amica con la carta UGC

    1. NINE, che già è orrendo, in quel cinema... NO! Pietà!!!!

  4. Attention a les puces!


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