We get into the darkness of the cinema room while a woman on screen is playing a cabaret scene. She is has a red feathered dress on, and moves expressively, in de midst of actors, objects, music, and an attentive audience. She goes on to an acrobatic moment, as another actor pulls her up in the air with a rope. She falls down like a thunder, people scream, but her howl of pain is louder, whilst ininterruptedly cursing the man who let her fall. The opening scene sets the pace and tone of the film: fast and riotous. I instantly knew i would like it.
I feel the scent in the air. It smells of wood and upholstered chairs, which is the smell of my favourite movie-theaters. The room is half full: just perfect. My body is all cosied up by the cushioned chair and i feel i’m in a sort of refuge, a safe place where i can travel different times, other dimensions, or, putting it simply, space out. Get out of myself, as if ‘myself’ were a piece of clothing i could undress for a while.
On the big screen things are intense. Theater Davai is a french itinerary theatre company, travelling from village to village to earn their living by performing Chekov’s farse “The Bear”. Cast and crew are eccentric; they speak loud, party hard, live passionately and love the same way, like a big family from medieval times, living parallel to most socially imposed norms. There are rehearsals, reencounters, parties, escapes, love stories, arguments, and shows. Nothing is taken lightly. And it is hilarious.
There couldn’t be a better place to watch ‘Les Ogres’ than The Movies, at the Haarlemmerdijk. The cinema itself looks like a movie-set dating back to the 20’s. It is the oldest running movie-theatre in the city and it opened in 1912 under the name Bioscoop Tavenu (Cinema Tavenu). Tavenu is currently the name of the cinema’s restaurant, a highly recommendable place for a proper meal in Amsterdam. The general atmosphere is warm and cosy, in a charming art-deco style. This cinema is worth a visit even if just for a cup of coffee.
‘Les Ogres’ are imaginary figures, monsters, giants, trolls, according to the dictionary. By the end of the film a baby-troll is born, the conflicts get appeased, and Theatre Davai moves on to the next stop, as frantically as they arrived. I get out of the room feeling reborn too. I usually like to sit at The Movies’ cafe for a while (or for hours), quiet, processing the emotions that arose, in a delicious contemplative mood. I feel like i just underwent therapy, in the same way Aristotle put it: catharsis. The atmosphere of this cinema helps prolonging this inner silence, the calm after the storm. This feels like a continuation of the film watched, like if i were in an antecamera which guards me, before i get released back to les ogres of daily-life.
Might you want to visit The Movies, click here.
Let me know, in the comments, if you’ve been at ‘The Movies’ or your impressions on ‘Les Ogres’ in case you watched it!