The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

When did rain become bad weather for movie watching?

with 20 comments

There was no von Trier around to spice up the reporting from Cannes this year.

They had us for a while when we heard about Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron, but once I heard that it happened in a movie and not at a press conference, my interest for the event evaporated.

The discussion about the absence of female directors in the competition ran out of steam pretty quickly. It’s not as much that the festival deliberately is discriminating against women (at least I don’t think so); it’s just a reflection of the state in the film industry. It’s sad and frustrating, but it’s not going to change anytime soon.

No von Trier, no scandals, no drama. You could always talk about the movies of course, but when you’ve learned about the twentieth movie that you’re not going to see in a year’s time, if ever, you want something different for variation.

So what are Cannes correspondents looking for a topic for a topic supposed to do?  They pull the same old card as we all do when we’re in desperate need for something to talk about: they bring up the weather.

Labeling the weather
Apparently they’ve had a bit of rain down there. This has given the reporters the opportunity to muse over the bad shape of the red carpets and the struggles of the film stars to keep their appearances spotless while moving with dignity as they cover the distance from the limos to the theatre entrances. What if their hair will get ruined? The humiliation!

What I don’t get though is how they label the weather. What I understand from all their complaining, they consider think that the raining is bad for the festival.

Bad? You’re kidding me!

Exactly when did rain become a bad weather for movie watching?

If you ask me, it couldn’t be any better! What more is there to ask for?

If you want bad movie weather, you should look at what we’ve had in Sweden the last week. Blue skies and sunshine, only occasionally broken up by fluffy little clouds that went away as quickly as they appeared.

All day long I’ve been taunted by the weather looking out of the window of my badly ventilated office room, counting hours and minutes before I would be released from my indoor prison.

Once I’ve slipped out of the grip of my job, the one thing I’ve had in mind has been to get home and walk straight to the self supported hammock we have standing in the garden. I could easily spend hours in it, staring into the sky, listening to the evening concert of the black birds, inhaling the smell of freshly cut grass and admiring the crazy tricks the swallows make in the air – just as impressive as a good film stunt. I might pick up a book and try to read a few pages, but it doesn’t take long before I’ll lose the focus and let my thoughts drift away. And when the sun was about to disappear, I would pull a blanket over me so I could hang on there a little bit longer, greeting the first stars as they arrived.

The northern view on light
You see, up here in the north we’re a little bit crazy about our few, precious, magic summer nights. We endure a winter, longer, darker, wetter and grayer than you can imagine. We’re craving for light and when the light finally arrives, we’ll crawl out from the shadows and into the sun to become human again.

We breathe the light, we drink it and we absorb it through our skin. We’re as eager and greedy as vampires getting their first sweet bite after a long period of starvation.

We watch movies here too, but in any other time of the year than during the summer. There’s no lack of nights of cold, rain and snow and when we slip into the theatre, it’s a way to escape the harshness of the place we live in. It greets us warmly with a big hug, whispering soothing words in our ears. “Let’s forget the world outside. Come with me and I will give you two hours of magic and wonder, temporary sunshine on your mind”.

However the idea to spend a warm and beautiful summer day in a theatre or in front of a TV is absurd bordering to repulsive. Why would someone do such a thing? It sounds more like a punishment than a treat.

Closed theatres
When I grew up, it was normal practice for all the cinemas in town to shut down for a few weeks when the summer vacation season peaked. No one wanted to see movies at that time of the year anyway, so there was little reason to keep them open.

When the theatres reopened in August it was a sign that autumn was waiting around the corner and a new film season would begin.

When I first heard about the tradition on the other side of the Atlantic to launch big titles in the middle of the summer, I couldn’t believe it. It was such a crazy idea. I attributed it to the same craziness that caused them to have 100 TV channels instead of two or roasting marshmallows over open fire. Such a strange, strange people!

Little could I imagine how quickly the world shrink and how things would change. We have more TV channels than anyone possibly could watch, my daughters have grilled marshmallows for as long as they remember and the blockbusters are released in the summer here at the same schedule as in US either we like it or not.

Sunshine or not, Prometheus won’t be put on hold until September. All I can do is to suck it up or send a prayer to the weather gods to send a few of the showers from Cannes to us so we can get into the mood to go to the movies.

Alternatively they could adjust the screening times and schedule them to start a little bit later at night, starting at 10 PM, when the sun is resting below the horizon and film watching feels doable again.

In any case: if I slow down with my review writing in the next couple of months, you know what’s up. I’m probably in my hammock, enjoying some astonishingly bad weather.


Written by Jessica

May 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm

20 Responses

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  1. Lol. Yeah, I’ll be wearing my Wellington boots to the seaside. That’s sounds like Scottish weather you spoke of.

    Mark Walker

    May 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    • I think Scotland is even a little bit rainier than Sweden, from the week I spent there last year. But yeah, I think we resemble quite a bit and I imagine you too would take good care of your few sunny days a year.


      May 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      • Absolutely, we are total sun worshippers here. But like the comedian Billy Connolly says… If you don’t like the Scottish weather, wait 5 mins. [it’ll change] 😉

        Mark Walker

        May 27, 2012 at 10:48 pm

  2. It’s perfect weather for movie watching, but it’s terrible for people watching and that is really why most of the spectators go to Cannes.

    Bonjour Tristesse

    May 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    • That is totally correct. I keep forgetting about the real purpose of Cannes.


      May 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

  3. Well, in Colorado we get sunshine around 300 days a year…there’s no shortage of it so it loses it’s specialness. Plus in the height of summer it can get terribly hot so the free-AC refuge that is the movie theatre is as good as a swimming pool without the skin cancer.

    Anyway, the director of my film festival would always say he wants sunny skies on opening night when all the directors are coming in to see how wonderful Colorado is and then rain the rest to push people indoors to watch the films. Naturally this year we had rain on opening night and clear weather the rest of the weekend.


    May 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    • I can definitely see why you’d like to slip into a theatre when the heat peaks over where you are. But when we just follow the US rythm for movie releases even if our climate is different, it feels a bit strange.


      May 27, 2012 at 10:31 pm

  4. The thing with most parts of America is that once it hits June, July and August it gets so brutally hot the theater is the perfect respite.

    But I totally get what you’re saying. It’s funny, I hate summer. I hate it. I hate hot weather. Can’t stand it. I am a full-fledged supporter of the cool days of autumn. And yet……I know that autumn would not be anywhere near as special to me if it wasn’t for the fact I had to survive summer. So as much as I’m going to hate this summer that’s right around the corner, bring it on.

    Great post. I want to sit in a hammock too.


    May 26, 2012 at 6:29 am

    • The hammock is very nice in the long, bright evenings when the air is cooling down. At noon it can be unbearable to stay there a sunny day.
      What’s most important to me is that there are seasons at all. The variation over the year. I’ve never been attracted to the idea of living somewhere where it’s basically always the same, around the equator. It’s nice for a while but I’m pretty sure I’d miss autumn, winter and spring.


      May 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm

  5. Jess, you should thank God you don’t live down here in Adelaide Australia. It’s not uncommon to have three or four consecutive weeks when the temperature doesn’t get below about 36 degrees Celcius! A few years back we had two weeks of 40+…..

    Then again, it’s pretty cold here at the moment, so we’re all inside around the heater!

    Rodney Twelftree

    May 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    • I’m not sure I’d enjoy that tbh. If I lived in that heat, I imagine how I’d run between airconditioned rooms, never spending much time outdoors at all.


      May 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm

  6. Wow, if the weather for the last few days had not given me that totally summer feelin’, this text certainly did. Nicely written!


    May 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

    • Thanks!
      They say we’ll get some good movie weather now for the rest of this week, but I still linger in my summer mood…


      May 28, 2012 at 7:58 am

  7. “They had us for a while when we heard about Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron, but once I heard that it happened in a movie and not at a press conference, my interest for the event evaporated.”

    Probably the funniest paragraph I have ever read!! 🙂

  8. I love rain. I love movies. I love watching movies with rain in them. I love watching movies in the rain. I love watching movies in any weather. I love doing anything in the rain.

    George Watches Things

    May 29, 2012 at 5:49 am

    • I love rain in the right time and the right place. Rain outdoors when I’m watching movies indoors is an excellent combo.


      May 29, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  9. Very interesting post! Cold/rainy weather is the perfect weather for watching movies but I think it’s terrible for an event like the Cannes Film Festival, which is as much about glamour as it is about movies and rain is not glamorous!


    May 30, 2012 at 4:51 am

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