When my husband was a little boy, spending the hot summer months in a mountain village of the French island of Corsica, there was plenty of entertainment. Those were the days when children had a freedom of movement that is rarely experienced today.
Days were spent swimming in the mountain river, meals were happy and busy, the afternoon siestas were long, building up strength for the long evening ahead. Family dinners, village balls, and now and again, his favourite … the cinema on the village square.
Of course there was no real cinema in this tiny village with a population of 200 in the summer and 50 in the winter. But once every couple of weeks, during July and August, the cinema would come to the village …. by car.
A local man who was passionate about films, toured the mountain villages, showing old films on a dodgy projector. Sometimes a huge bed sheet would be hung between trees to form a screen, but more often they used the side of the least decorative house on the village square and simply shone the light against its wall.
Everyone in the village would know that it was cinema night, but not necessarily which film was to be shown. They brought their own chairs and cushions, a shawl to protect shoulders from the evening breeze, and the film would become a collective experience, one that everyone saw and could comment upon and dissect for days to come.
The charm of another era, before we knew what a computer was, let alone internet.
Today, with a huge heat wave sweeping over France, if you are visiting Paris, you may like to know that there is an open air cinema festival running from the end of July until mid August. You can watch a film at Montmartre, on the place des Vosges, or even in front of the Invalides. Read about the programme right HERE.
It won’t have the charm of a tiny village in Corsica, but hey, it’s Paris, you’ll be fine!
images 1&2 from film Cinema Paradiso