Yesterday I went to the cinema.
Wow, you're thinking, so what?
But this is Germany and this is the modern world where most films today are shown on one of eight + screens in a huge multiplex where buckets of popcorn are seemingly as obligatory as the litres of coke and the 20 minutes of ads prior to the main feature.
Yesrerday however, was different. The film was "The King's Speech" and the cinema was the "Casablanca" in Bochum (just a 30 minute* drive from us) which is an independant local cinema like back in the good old days when there were only three screens and the biggest always had THE film of the moment showing and the other two had something far quirkier. This cinema even had a projectionist - I know because I saw him, winding the film onto the spool thingummy as we went to find a seat. Mark Kermode would approve of this cinema. What's more, the film was in English with German subtitles. Heaven. This rarely happens here, the Germans dub, everything it seems, and I just can't bare to watch an actor whose voice I know, acting his heart out with someone else's voice laid over the top.
"The King's Speech" is an amazing film, all about the problems the Duke of York (as he was at the beginning of the film) had with his speech, he had a dreadful stammer that previously would not have been a huge problem within the Royal Family, but due to the discovery of radio and its impact on the world, a person in such a powerful position could not be viewed as being 'weak'. The film catalogues the meeting of Prince Albert and Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist whose unorthodox methods and lack of formal professional training ensured the future King's retinue disapproved.
Colin Firth has been a popular actor since starring as Mr Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (way back in 1995) and is regarded by many (myself included) as a bit of a heart throb - possibly due to the 'wet shirt' incident in P&P** but also quite probably due to his self depreciating manner, swoon.
Last year we had high hopes for him winning an Oscar for his performance in "A Single Man", which was such an unbelievably stylish film (thanks to Tom Ford of Gucci fame for directing) but he lost out to Jeff Bridges. This year is surely Colin's year, he acts the stammerer with such perfection that you truly believe he isn't going to be able to speak the words he is required to.
A great film, although what the locals in the audience thought of the scene where the news broadcast of the Kings coronation is shown to the young princesses and then the second item is a clip of Hitler egging on his troops, one princess says to her father, "what's he saying daddy?" "I don't know." answers the King, "but he says it rather well."
We howled with laughter, but refrained from goose stepping out of the cinema.
Excuse me, I'm off to watch back to back episodes of P&P, now where's that corset?
* on a Sunday, in perfect weather - i.e. no scary rain or snow (not scary for me - the locals have an irrational fear of getting their cars wet &/or dirty).
** sorry, I forgot myself for a moment there...just wiping the dribble off the keyboard...
Word of the day; das Kino - the cinema