A Cinematic Assault of the Surreal

posted in: Feminism, Fitness, Humour | 0
Ready For Our Surreal Date

The following story took place on Wednesday night of this week:

I desired to see a film, Pina, a documentary about Pina Bausch–a German modern dance choreographer. My dear daughter Tabitha (who also loves dance) was my date.

I arrived home from teaching Zumba at UBC at 6:05, grabbed a quick supper and off Tabs and I drove at 6:30 to the theatre. We parked the car and slipped into a grocery store just down from the cinema. We were buying contraband: a small bottle of pop to share, small bag of peanut M&Ms for me and a small bag a ketchup chips for Tabs (all to be hidden in my small back-pack style traveling purse).

We arrived at the theatre only to be told by the outside ticket-booth sales woman, that Pina was a film society film thus she could not sell us tickets. We had to see the ladies at the table inside the door. Odd, but OK. I just really wanted to see the movie so off we went inside the theatre.

 Once inside the table was hard to miss. Yes, there they were all right, like something out a surreal experience: 2 little old ladies at a card table, selling red paper ticket stubs from a little steel-grey cash box. Inside my head I screamed, NOOOO! Not cash only!
 But guess what the two little old ladies said? “Cash only,” of course. In this world I never carry cash. RATS!

Tabs and I headed back to the car and drove to the nearest ATM to be charged an extra $1.50 for withdrawing a twenty. We drove back to the theatre and quickly ran across the parking lot.
 Once inside the theatre doors we realized to our horror, that the theatre had changed in our absence. Something was missing… it was as though we were living through a surreal nightmare: the 2 little old ladies and their cash box had vanished.

There was no way I was missing Pina. I had wanted to see the movie for so long.
Tabs reluctantly followed me into the theatre, past the empty spot were the theatre staff usually stand to take tickets. I found the door that said, “Film Society” in letters above it and opened it.
As I walked down the dark Isle I was approached by an  older man, “Tickets?” he said.
“The ladies and their table has vanished. I cannot buy tickets,” I said.
“If you give me the cash, I can let you in,” he said.
I handed him a twenty. He said if I met him outside the theatre after the show he’d give me the change. All this took place in dark hallway where we could barley see one another.
 Tabs and I agreed to this odd arrangement and forged ahead into the crowded, dark theatre. It was crowded all right–the film society crowd: a surprisingly homogeneous mature audience.
We found 2 seats near the front.

WOW! The film was magnificent. The choreography so beautiful and intense. It was art. The dances were funny, frightening and beautiful all at once. Tabs and I longed to try some of the moves right there and then.

And then snack time. Time to pull out our theatre contraband. Big mistake. Apparently no one eats at film society films. Me and my peanut M&M’s and Tabs and her ketchup chips did not go over so well. The grey haired Mr. Cranky-Pants in front of us kept turning around and glaring at us.
Well for G’s sake–the bag does crumple and crackle a bit every time one tries to select an M&M or a ketchup chip!
And then the cranky-pants turned around and yelled at us in a low, theatre, bark style yell: “Would you STOP doing that!
Well now, that frightened the Tabs. I whispered in her ear, “He probably has dementia.”
Needless to say, poor Tabs and I sat paralyzed, our hands frozen: mine in side my M&M bag and Tabs’ inside her chip bag.
So there we sat, hands in bags, unable to see beyond the old fart’s girl friend’s giant bouffant–unfortunately, the subtitles were at the bottom of the screen, directly in front of her giant hair.

We waited until a fairly intense part of the sound track to quickly remove Tabs’ hand from her bag, crinkle the top closed and stuff the chips back inside my back-pack style purse. I managed to quietly slip the odd M&M into my mouth at opportune times: like when the old fart was distracted by someone walking in front of his seat to use the bathroom or when the on screen music was dramatic and loud.

The movie was amazing. I love dance. I love art. Simply to see so many dancers’ bodies of all ages–that was the real killer.
In our society we see naked bodies or partially naked photo-shopped bodies all day long. And guess what? They do not look human. In this documentary, one sees nothing but real human bodies in movement–dancers from twenty to sixty years of age.
 So, there I sat, observing the strongest, fittest bodies on earth and they were strange looking. Strange because they were real. They were human and they looked nothing like the photo-shopped bodies my poor Western eyes have been viewing for the last decades.

Go and see this movie my friends. See it to revel in the beauty of dance as an art form but also see it to revel at the human body as an art form.
It is a gift you will give yourself. View what real, strong bodies look like on screen. They look NOTHING like the plastic crap we see daily in the Western media.


This is a sample from Apologize: a modern dance Tabitha and her cousin Anemone Choreographed together–music by Timbaland.

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