the theatre with the tiny toilet

Last Friday I was lurking on Facebook and landed on this gem:

Tampa Theatre status via Facebook

My initial response was, “What?” You would be correct in guessing that this Le Herisson is the French movie adaptation of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, aka Noel’s favourite book of 2011. I reviewed it here a few weeks ago.

The Hedgehog a film by Josiane Balasko

I’m not exactly what you would  call a planner when it comes to social engagements. Which leaves me entertaining myself often on Friday nights. So, while my sister was out celebrating and my parents went to dinner together I put on real clothes and drove to Downtown Tampa to see The Hedgehog at the fantastic Tampa Theatre.

This brings the total of movies I’ve seen there up to 4 – The Wizard of Oz (we dressed up), The Creature from the Black Lagoon 3D,  The King’s Speech, and The Hedgehog.

Because of confusing parking attempts I purchased my ticket at 7:28 pm (the movie began at 7:30). I was quite excited about seeing the movie which the man selling tickets noticed. He asked me if I was a teacher. It threw me off for a moment so I rather enthusiastically told him no, that I read the books a couple of weeks ago and was really pumped about seeing the movie.

The atmosphere of The Tampa Theatre is fantastic. They sell fancy wines AND silly movie candies. So I got a small glass of Merlot and some Twizzlers (I wonder what a Freudian would say about that?) and settled into my balcony seat just as the organist sank into the stage and the opening credits began. Sadly, noise travels in that theatre like a VIP so I was afraid to open my Twizzlers for a bit.

Now, I pretend to be pretentious when it comes to entertainment, but I’ve only seen like three movies with subtitles. I don’t mind reading movies, I just haven’t really gotten into the groove of foreign films. So, this is still a new experience for me. But Le Herisson was easy to keep up with without reading the subtitles because they very accurately followed the book.

A gentleman a few rows in front of my audibly gasped when about 2 minutes into the movie Paloma (the 12 year old narrator) admits that she will commit suicide in something like 165 days. I giggled.

I told you in my review that the novel was a challenge for me in regard to vocabulary and I learned a bit about art and philosophy and that Renee was my favourite narrator of the two in the book. However, the movie really endeared Paloma to me and was less about the amazingly intellectual ideas and more about the people.

It really was fantastic. Paloma ran all over the building with an old camcorder, a silent witness of the ins-and-outs of French daily life “in a fishbowl”. What was particularly cool to me was how they expressed many of the ideas of the novel subtly. For instance, the quote I shared about seeing people instead of yourself mirrored. Well, in the novel Paloma says that of her new Japanese neighbor, that he really sees people. In the movie that idea is translated into a scene when he and Renee leave the building and pass another resident. The woman is polite to both of them and wishes them a good evening. Renee is stunned that she was not recognized and Mr. Ozu comments that the woman has never seen her before.

The screenplay adaptor had a very steady hand in deciding what to include and what to hold back making the movie a very elegant piece. And the ending. Whew.

Here’s the thing: the end of the book left me in a funk for days. I call it my “post book letdown”. The movie turned this tragically melancholy ending into something a bit more hopeful. Near the beginning of the movie Paloma mentions that it’s not important how you die but what you are doing when you die. At the end she asks Renee what she was doing and answers her own question by saying, “You were ready to love.”

Still very sad. Still very melancholy. But an important thing of Paloma to see, to learn from. And just enough to change her mind about her impending suicide.

Unfortunately, it’s not playing at The Tampa Theatre anymore, but maybe the library will have it soon. I definitely encourage seeing it. As well as reading the book of course.

Anyway, Happy Friday and I hope this weekend is full of lovely adventures for you.

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