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Scenes set in movie theaters


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How many scenes can you recall that are set inside movie theaters, which characters watching movies?

A documentarian has written to me asking for "a scene from a film that captures the transcendent power of film, in which a character experiences almost a religious moment in a movie theater. I wondered if you had any suggestions for a clip like this. I would prefer the film be older, so purchasing the rights to use the work will be less expensive, but my main objective is to find the right film!"

I suggested The Long Day Closes, Sullivan's Travels, and Son of Rambow. I'm going to add Good Bye, Dragon Inn.

Others?

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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How many scenes can you recall that are set inside movie theaters, which characters watching movies?

A documentarian has written to me asking for "a scene from a film that captures the transcendent power of film, in which a character experiences almost a religious moment in a movie theater. I wondered if you had any suggestions for a clip like this. I would prefer the film be older, so purchasing the rights to use the work will be less expensive, but my main objective is to find the right film!"

I suggested The Long Day Closes, Sullivan's Travels, and Son of Rambow. I'm going to add Good Bye, Dragon Inn.

Others?

First thing I thought of was Hugo, with the two kids sneaking in and watching movies together. Does that rise to the level of "transcendent power"? Hmmm...

EDIT: I also keep seeing in my mind's eye those images of Barton Fink watching clips of Wallace Beery wrestling movies. But those were in a screening room, not a movie theater, right? And what, exactly, is going on in Barton's mind at that point? I'm thinking it's a realization of something not to his liking ... but it's been a long time since I watched Barton Fink.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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It's gotta be Nana watching The Passion of Joan of Arc, in Vivre sa Vie.

Chiming in to say this also. Maybe the end of Be Kind, Rewind. Purple Rose of Cairo.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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This probably doesn't fit the bill, but I keep thinking of that scene in The Shawshank Redemption where the inmates are watching the Rita Heyworth movie. Is it just a bunch of repressed guys lusting, or something more? It sort of prefigures the scene later in the movie where Andy plays "The Marriage of Figaro" over the prison PA system and it stops every man dead in his tracks.

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The last scene in The Purple Rose of Cairo definitely qualifies.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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In the spirit of the Godard scene referenced above, the Dardennes short film (3-4 minutes) In the Darkness (Dans l'Obscurite), part of the collection called To Each His Own Cinema (Chacun son cinema), is set entirely in a theater, complete with the holy moment.

I think it's available on You Tube, if he's unfamiliar with it and wants to check it out.

Edited by John

All great art is pared down to the essential.
--Henri Langlois

 

Movies are not barium enemas, you're not supposed to get them over with as quickly as possible.

--James Gray

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This discussion begins and ends with Godard's My Life to Live, when Nana cries while watching Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc.

For shizzle.

But that also reminds me of Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis, when Chantal Goya and company watch a Swedish erotic film and she has such a lovely expression and mannerism about her. Apparently the screen was blank and Godard told her it was a romance like Gone with the Wind and that she should look at it sweetly and with admiration and imagine herself in the heroine's place, snuggle up cutely to Jean-Pierre Léaud, et cetera. Some sneaky directing there, that made for a peculiar finished product.

Edited by Pair

Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, Υἱὲ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐλέησόν με τὸν ἁμαρτωλόν.

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complete with the holy moment.

Speaking of which, how did we forget the holy moment?!

I keep thinking of anti-transcendent moments in movie theaters. Lisandro Alonso's Fantasma, which owes a great deal to Goodbye, Dragon Inn and takes place entirely in a cinematheque in Buenos Aires, shows a non-professional actor watching himself perform up on the big screen for the first time. but he mostly looks bored by it all. And there are a couple scenes in Ozu (I'm thinking of The Only Son and maybe Tokyo Story?) when a young adult takes his parents to a movie, where they, also, seem quite bored. In those cases, cinema is at one remove from reality, an escape from intimacy and experience rather than something inspiring or illuminating.

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Does that take place in a movie theater? I guess it does show a screen at some point.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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.... "a scene from a film that captures the transcendent power of film, in which a character experiences almost a religious moment in a movie theater.

First film that comes to mind is Interview with the Vampire, when Louis experiences his first sunrise after living two hundred years in darkness, while watching F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu.

Louis: Then out of curiosity, boredom, who knows what, I left the old world and came back to my America. And there, a mechanical wonder allowed me to see the sun rise for the first time in two hundred years. And what sunrises, seen as the human eye could never see them: silver at first, then, as the years progressed, in tones of purple, red, and my long lost blue.
Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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