Thanks, Mr. Allen (an English version of the previous post)

2 abr

After the showing of Woody Allen´s Midnight in Paris, some people decided they had the right to have their nostalgic dream and publicize it.

Well, I am also a son of God and had my dream as well, only, in it, it was not midnight and the city was notParis.

It was my own town, João Pessoa, Brazil, in between afternoon and evening, on some indefinite date in the early Fifties, and, just like the character in Wild strawberries, I did not know whether, within this magic dimension of time, I was old or still a child.

Who was it that took me by the hand into this remote period of my life? I wonder if it was Dante´s Virgil, or Charles Dickens´ three Christmas ghosts, or maybe Frank Capra´s angel Clarence…

I only know that, of all a sudden, there I was in front of Astoria Movie House, on República Street, close to the old Sanhauá Factory, not far from the bridge with the same name, the one that connects João Pessoa to next town, Bayeux. The movie showing was Beau Geste, but I had no chance to buy the ticket.

Making sure I had contemplated the façade of the old Astoria, my guide – whoever he was – made me walk up the street, heading for the Praça da Pedra (Stone Square) and, there, we turned right, and went on, along that narrow and curving street, São Miguel, to the old São Pedro Movie House, and the film on was Walt Disney´s Fantasia.

We took a look at the movie posters, saw the boys exchanging comics in the sidewalk, and proceeded in the direction, not of the cemetery – thank God – but back to Praça da Pedra; from there, we went on República Street up to the end. At the point this street meets General Osório St, there it was what I knew was there: the façade of Filipeia Movie House, full of posters, the biggest one being that of My darling Clementine, the film showing that day.

Do you think we stayed for the afternoon show with Henry Fonda? Not at all. My guide dragged me General Osório St downward, as far as Guedes Pereira St, where we turned left to Brazil Movie House.

I was crazy to see the movie on, the hitchcockian Shadow of a doubt, but, again, my guide did not allow. We moved back to General Osório, now going up in the opposite direction. Next corner, the guide did not even need to point to: we turned right to Peregrino de Carvalho St and, soon, there we were, in front of the grand and beautiful Rex Cinema where, with some display, it was being shown Samson and Dalilah

I hardly had time to admire, in the posters, Hedy Lamarr´s perfect face and Victor Mature´s swollen chest, we went down Duque de Caxias St, turned left at Ponto de Cem Reis Square, and there we were, standing before the not less grand and beautiful Plaza Cinema, where a long line extended as far as the sidewalk of the neighboring Pronto Socorro Hospital, waiting to see nothing less than Gilda.

Impatient with my delayed appreciation of Rita Hayworth daring pose, my guide took me by the arm and we followed through 1817 Square. We then crossed João Pessoa Square, took Trincheiras St and walked a long way ahead, until we got to Capitão José Pessoa St, already in the Jaguaribe Neighborhood. There we turned and went straight ahead to Jaguaribe Movie House, which was showing King Solomon´s mines, with Deborah Kerr and Stuart Granger.

From there we went on through Capitão José Pessoa St, and, next corner, turned left to Floriano Peixoto St and got – do I need to say? – to São José Movie House, where the film showing was The Robe. As known, it was the first cinemascope and lots of people were waiting to see the novelty.

But not us. We took back Floriano Peixoto St and, always in straight line, crossed several corners, until we got to Primeiro de Maio Avenue, where we turned right, and, following close the long high wall of Cabo Branco Sport Club, crossed Vasco da Gama St and stopped at the frontal yard of Santo Antonio Movie House. I felt like getting rid of my guide and getting in to see Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly Singing in the rain, but it was not possible. In my guide´s impatient face it was clear that there were still other movie houses to visit. Yes, I knew there were at least four more, Gloria, Bela Vista, Metropolis and Torre.

Why see so many Cinema façades without getting in to what really mattered? I must have opposed my guide´s incomprehensible purpose with some vehemence, and, for sure, it was such opposition that gave a sudden end to the dream.

I woke up nostalgic, realizing that, for decades, none of these movie theaters existed any more. Nostalgic and confused, unable to have decoded my vague and mysterious guide´s message.

Dante, the poet, Scrooge, Dickens´ old man, and George Bayley, Capra´s honest househusband, did understand their respective guides and profited from it. Not me.

  Anyway, as the dream of the Midnight in Paris character does have sequels, I am waiting to dream again. If I do, I promise to tell.

Meanwhile, I thank Woody Allen for the motivation.

Uma resposta para “Thanks, Mr. Allen (an English version of the previous post)”

  1. Silvia Alexander abril 3, 2012 às 2:14 am #

    Fantastic nostalgia of our past cinemas….pity they are no longer there. They brought much happiness to many.

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