Last Night: It Dafoes Reason


Where to begin? Every once and a while an evening so bizarre comes along that it just defies reason (the title will make sense to you eventually).

A dear friend of ours, who after 16 months had still not made it to the cinema here, asked if we'd join her for a movie last night. It was the last evening of the Haifa International Film Festival, and she didn't want to miss the festival once again.

So, even though my plans for the evening largely consisted of scouring the walls of our shower, we agreed to joining her for her first theater experience in Israel.

She ordered the tickets in advance, as tickets sell out - especially on this final evening. In fact, we were going to see "The Wedding", a Polish film, but it had sold out, so instead she chose "In Her Shoes", showing at the Haifa Auditorium at the same time.

Now, the idea of getting tickets in advance is twofold:

1. You're ensuring you get a ticket when it might otherwise be sold out.
2. You're saving time later in the evening so that you don't have to go through the process of buying them right before the show.

So much for that.

We got there at about 8:10, after a ride with a taxi driver who proposed marriage to our friend. We made our way through the people milling around outside (and watching what I suspect was a fairly popular Israeli band - everyone seemed to know the words) to get inside and pick up our tickets. After being cut off while we were in line for our security check (yeah, sorry, but that's pretty typical behavior here - I hope I can break that habit when we leave here!), we discovered the box office was actually back outside. So, out past everything again, to stand in line at the box office - with three of us it was easier to defend our place in line (anyone who denies the validity of this statement in Israel seriously has their head in the sand). When we asked for our tickets, we discovered that, despite calling to reserve tickets at 4pm, our tickets were for the 2:30pm showing earlier that day. When the ticket kids explained this to the boss, he actually started yelling at our friend, telling her that there was no way you could have bought tickets after the movie had shown. Which she agreed with, and forcefully stuck to her guns that she had in fact bought them AFTER that showing had occured.

The guy was really rude, went off to "help us", basically walking away hoping we'd just never find him again. Seriously.

So, after waiting about 5 minutes, we went back to the ticket booth kids and asked what was up. Good ticket boy, versus mean manager boy, offered to help us find mean manager boy and a solution. He found mean manager boy, who used his cell phone to wave us away. Good ticket boy took us to the ticket-takers and they basically said we could go in, but seats being reserved, seating wasn't guaranteed.

Oh, and there was a 1 hour closing ceremony before the movie started.

Eh? That was definitely not advertised. So much for our early evening. But by this point we were getting pretty determined to see the d*&@ movie. So we went inside, got seats, hoping no one would kick us out and sat down to wonder what the heck was going on.

And then we realized that mean manager boy had whatever thread of proof that existed that we had a right to be here at all. So, out went our friend to figure the puzzle out a bit. She missed a riveting awards ceremony in Hebrew (think the most casual, laid back Academy Awards show you could conceive of - in our jeans and sandals we fit right in). She came back to tell us what had happened, and since someone had taken her seat while she was gone (what right did we have to stop him?), she had to squat in front of us to tell us what happened(we were in between sections of the theater, so there was a wide aisle), some well-intentioned but completely incompetent usher came to tell her to sit down because there was an awards ceremony going on (yeah, right, we were whispering and so far back I'm pretty sure no one noticed) - and since this decided whether we were staying or not, she could just shove off, except she kept repeating herself so that our friend couldn't simply finish her sentence and find a seat. Silly usher girl drew more attention to herself than anything. But we did discover that there was very viable proof in the theater's records that we had indeed ordered the tickets at 4pm. Twits.

So, at this point, we decided to stay, at least a while longer - until our friend hit her breaking point and decided to leave. At this point we were there as her moral supporters. We watched the end of this rivetting ceremony to discover that the guest of honor, Willam Dafoe, had also sat through this painful, agonizing event - except that he had translation! So they brought him up to present some silly prize - I know it wasn't the biggest because some people had received boxes and others only received a certificate and he was just handing out a certificate. So yeah, they bring him up on stage, immediately thrust him into a corner behind a big bush of flowers - all I saw was the toe of his shoe. The award winners jabbered a bit, and then they all got off stage. Ceremony over.

Sorry, but what's the point of bringing in Willam Dafoe if you don't use him? Really now? Still, it was somehow comforting to know he'd had to sit through this, too.

And then, at 10pm, the movie finally started. (I don't know about you, but when I go to see a movie starting at 8:30, I usually think the movie will be over shortly after 10pm, not just starting!)

Thankfully, it was good. "In Her Shoes". I recommend it (not to kids, though). This must have been the most convoluted way to watch a film!!


And your poor, dear friend still hasn't been to a cinema in Israel.

Goofy in. Goofy out. Ask any civilized computer geek! What will they think of next. I suppose there is wisdom in never attending something so one cannot complain about the experience. Yet, I laugh at these
simple strange events.

Well, no, we did watch the movie with her. Sorry, was that not clear?

One positive thing: the film festival movies HAD NO INTERMISSION. (of course that means it isn't really an Israeli movie experience!)

What!? They had Willem Dafoe and they didn't have him do anything creepy? What the heck's the guy for? Agh! I was frustrated just reading this story!
p.s. I am an aggressive line spot keeper. I didn't discover this until I went to Gambia and, usually, didn't fight for a spot, unless I felt it was important. Then I discovered some instinctual drive that said, "I have to be somewhere and this is ridiculous!"

Well, here you HAVE to be an aggressive line-spot-keeper, or be prepared to be walked all over like a dirty doormat (not that I have any experience with that feeling - and sometimes, it just ain't worth the battle, I don't know the nuances here of when fighting is appropriate and when the vanquisher has already been established). Oh, they do that when you're walking toward them on the street, too.

As for Willam Dafoe - I know! Did you see the Life Aquatic? Didn't like it too much, but his character was great! (duh. . .)

I actually *forgive me* liked fighting through lines in India. It was crazy, but it gave me something to do while the rest of the world jabbered in Tamil, of which I had little comprehension and thus little interest. Plus, I was bigger than 95% of Indian women and 65% of Indian men, so when I just pushed to the front, I got there.

Yeah, I like Willem Dafoe's role in The Life Aquatic J.
I actually liked the film. Have you seen I (heart) Huckabies? I loved that film. Andrew, funny guy, said he didn't like it because existentialism refuses to adress God. But, I thought it was hilarious!

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This page contains a single entry by Mara published on October 26, 2005 9:23 AM.

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