Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Going to the movies in Istanbul

There are so many things here that used to seem strange to me, but after nearly eight months living in Istanbul, I can hardly remember why. One of these initial strange things was going to the movies. Not surprisingly, we get a lot of Hollywood movies, in the original language with Turkish subtitles (except for animated films), sometimes released at the same time in the US but usually out months later. (For example, last week's new releases were Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, My Week with Marilyn, Jack and Jill, The Help, Drive, Safe House and Star Wars Episode I in 3D.)

Going to the movies here is pretty much the same experience as at home, save in two respects: ticket buying and intermission. When you buy tickets here, you have to choose your seat; the only place I've seen that in the US is at the ArcLight Cinema in Los Angeles. And, you can also make a non-binding reservation for tickets; so what we find usually happens on a Friday night is that most of the good seats have been reserved but some people don't end up following through, so when the tickets are cancelled 45 minutes before the movie starts, we're usually able to scoop up good seats.

The other oddness is that there's an intermission during every showing, a little more than halfway through. I guess it's a pee break, but I still find it strange, especially as it interrupts the experience if you're into the movie. Having said that, it more or less stops people from wandering in and out of the theater during the movie. :) Pin It

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