Last week as part of our French Film special I mentioned briefly in my review of Venus in Fur that a solitary man had come and positioned himself next to me and a companion during our screening. He was mid 40s, slightly overweight and with thinning grey hair, a dark blazer over an unbuttoned shirt. An academic perhaps? I didn’t spend long looking, more interested in his act, which wass in itself was strange – normally the observed rule in a half full cinema is to leave at least three or fours seats of proximity.
Oblivious to the laws of the screen, he sat himself down next to me, breathing heavily, as the opening trailers began. I contented myself with the film for a time, lapping up Polanski’s artistic vision for a while. This was no problem for a while, and the film continued in spite of the mild invasion of personal space (more of a passive occupation, imposing some trade sanctions perhaps). The seats in the Phoenix were, it has to be said, incredibly cosy, but this was no excuse for what ensued about half an hour into a full length feature.
Without warning, a terrible, almost monstrous shudder emerged from my left shoulder. Tearing my eyes away from the screen, I looked over at the man, He was fast asleep, head tilted to one side and eyes screwed shut, no longer registering the meta-theatrical scenes before him.
This put me in a strange position. Do I move to wake him? I looked over at my companion, they had heard the rumblings too and were equally bemused by his slumbering. It was not polite to subject your surrounding cinema goers to the flaws in your sleep cycle, and what’s worse, it was ruining the whole timbre of a fairly strange piece that relied heavily upon creating a specific mood and atmosphere.
All we could do was laugh, well, snigger. He managed to subside from the snores eventually, and resumed his restful doze. As it turned out, he emerged from unconsciousness as the film ended its ‘epilogue’, a two minute escapade between a clothless lead actress and a titular strip of fur. Seeing a man go from no awareness to complete enrapture in the space of a few seconds was indeed almost as enjoyable as the film itself. Have you ever fallen asleep during a film? Were you woken up at any point? Why not contact us at our email?
My own personal admission was falling asleep during The Desolation of Smaug, but given the fact I’d been running interviews for a week beforehand almost makes it justifiable. Almost. My friends later told me that I didn’t snore, so at least I have that in my favour.