Wednesday, August 10, 2005


A few odds and ends until I get enough time and patience to finish writing about the medieval festa in Rotecastello……

In Perugia a movie is shown in its original English language form every Monday. I guess this is due to the large number of English speaking students in the city. A schedule used to be listed online, but seems to have disappeared. Consequently we’ve never been….until this past Monday.

I picked up a small booklet in the hotel restaurant last week giving information about July and August activities in Perugia. The information was given in both English and Italian. Although somewhat difficult to read, I eventually discovered that the English language movies for the summer were listed. “Star Wars Episode lll”, “Sin City”, “Million Dollar Baby”, and the two that really caught my attention, “War of the Worlds” (Spielberg and Cruise) and “The Merchant of Venice” with Al Pacino. We’d try to see “The Merchant of Venice” while we were in Louisville in the spring but it left just a few days after we arrived.

We asked Bob and Rosemary if they knew where the outdoor theater was, and they said yes, they were planning to go too. Normally the movies are shown at a theater in the center of Perugia, but for the summer they’re shown in an outdoor amphitheater. I’m sure under normal summer conditions this is a great idea, but given the recent drop in temperatures, “War of the Worlds” was an even more chilling experience than we expected.

On Sunday while taking Bob and Rosemary back to Perugia we attempted to find the best parking lot for Monday evening. Sunday gave us the advantage of a relatively traffic free centro, and after three tries, we finally found the route that took us to the lot Bob thought would be the best place to park. Tiny curving streets combined with one-way streets make finding your way in the city a real challenge.

We drove into Perugia on Monday evening, had dinner with Bob and Rosemary then walked towards the park a little after nine. I had worn a tee shirt, a sweatshirt, and had brought a ski vest along in case I needed it later. I thought about bringing a ski band for my ears, but didn’t….and regretted it later.

When we arrived we discovered two rows of chairs had been set up in front of the amphitheater itself, and decided that something with a back would be much more comfortable. Although cushions were supplied we had brought our own, anticipating having to sit on stone in the amphitheater. The cushions not only provided a soft seat, but also helped to keep us warm.

Bob was smart enough to bring a large blanket….large enough to cover the four of us, and we all huddled under it, trying to keep warm. Not only was the air cold, but the wind just wouldn’t die down, making for a very cold night. I think the expected low was in the 40’s. Brrrrrrrrr. Great weather for sleeping inside snuggled under the covers, cold for sitting outside for three hours.

After a somewhat amusing monologue by two guys apparently in charge of the set-up, the movie began around ten. Bob had warned us not to expect quiet, and he was right. Apparently lots of people just come there to be social, and because they were Americans, we just couldn’t forgive them. Had they been Italian, we might have been (slightly) more tolerant, but the talking and laughing was very annoying. Luckily most of the movie was loud enough and intense enough that it wasn’t too distracting.

The movie stopped suddenly in the middle of a scene, and of course our first thought was “oh no!” Turns out it was intermission, complete with popcorn! I didn’t mind the intermission, but wished whoever was in charge had picked a better place to make stop the movie.

The movie was enjoyable…nothing spectacular, but good. Of course the special effects were amazingly real. Bob and Rosemary had recently read the book and said the movie was a good adaptation, with the exception of the family. Rosemary pointed out that H.G. Wells usually didn’t have much character development, and the addition of the family helped to personalize the terrifying experiences and gave the audience someone to care about.

It was one thirty before we got into bed that night…..waaaaaay past our usual bedtime, but it had been worth it. We plan to go back in two weeks to see “The Merchant of Venice”, and it’ll be interesting to see if we freeze or if summer decides to make a comeback. Oh, and I almost forgot….we saw a great shooting star while watching the movie….and there should be more to come in the next few weeks.


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