Afternoon at the Movies

Katie Johnsen
November 2, 2015
The other day some friends and I were in St. Germain and upon passing a cute movie theatre, made a spur of the moment decision to stop in. We choose Woody Allen's newest movie, "L'Homme Irrationel" because it was the next showing and starred Emma Stone and Jaoquin Phoenix. Ten minutes before the doors opened, there was already an organized line of stoic and smartly dressed movie-goers - cinéphiles - formed on the sidewalk, poised to pounce on the best seats. We purchased our tickets and sauntered in a few minutes later, finding 3 pretty good spots near the front center. The row right behind us was about center center of the theatre, a prime location, and a French woman had staked her ground there. It was a rainy afternoon and so I had thrown my hair up into a top bun, which seemed to picque the interest of this woman. At first I was flattered, and then I was caught of guard. Our interaction went as follows: - Ton chignon est practique, non? (Your chignon is practical isn't it?) - Ah, oui, merci, très practique quand il pleut! (Oh yes thank you! Practical for the rain!) - Si practique que mon amie n'arriverai jamais à voir l'écran! (So practical that my friend will never be able to see the screen!) - ....... I was in the mindset of accepting a compliment, feeling very proud of myself and my ~chignon~ for attracting the attention of this chic French cinéphile. So when she threw me that curve from left field I was so taken aback I had no idea how to react. So I quickly turned back towards the screen and translated what had just happened to my friends. Should I take my hair down?? Should I leave it? I decided that I didn't come to the movies to make enemies so I submitted and casually lowered my curls. A few minutes later, two tall men shuffled past us into the center of our row, again in front of the chignon-hater, who was apparently sensitive to height too. With an exasperated "ugh!" and "ce n'est pas possible!" her and her poor amie stood up and moved seats entirely. All before the previews were over. The French cinema was certainly proving to be very entertaining. Although in English, the film turned out being quite French indeed. It followed a washed-up and unmotivated philosophy professor (Joaquin Phoenix) through his tenure at a liberal arts college, where Emma Stone is one of his students, who rediscovers his purpose in life through a extremely bizarre murder plot that is full of a dry and nuanced humor.  While my friends and I were laughing at the ridiculousness of the film, we noticed that the French viewers found the philosophical and ironic jokes the most amusing. Overall, even though the film was in English, it was an telling cultural experience that I would repeat again. I think next time I'll see a French film. And, more importantly, wear my hair down.

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Katie Johnsen

<p>Hi, I&#39;m Katie Johnsen, a 3rd year student at the University of Virginia. I am a Media Studies and French double major studying abroad in Paris this semester in the Business &amp; International Affairs program. I enjoying writing, photography, and exploring new places and people, and am excited to share my abroad experiences with you!</p>

2015 Fall
Home University:
University of Virginia
French Language
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