A Night at the movies


Text: Miguel Arsénio | Photo: Azul


Before revealing what this second Blue Note is about, it might important to explain what does the “classic” adjective means to a local. Like many other expressions that end up having their place in oral tradition, “classic” comes from unknown origins, but ends up being used extensively by Ericeira’s youth, during the first years of the 90’s and from then on no longer ceases to exist.

Using the adjective to describe everything that remarks a timeless circumstance, the local lingo reserved “classic” just to describe something that, being so exceptional, achieves an almost sacred status in the townsfolk’s imaginarium. From then, any conjugation was made possible and “classic” was used to describe the most renowned people (“Hilário is classic”), days with perfect waves (“Pedra Branca was classic”) and the rituals of Ericeira’s people.

It’s in this particular case that the expression fits into what the Monday night sessions, at the legendary Cine Estúdio Ericeira movie theatre, were. In the memory of the generation that missed the older movies nights at the old Casino, Cine Estúdio Ericeira was the only place in town where you could watch Hollywood’s latest films and other not-so-recent movies. Located in the center of Ericeira (inserted in a mall) and right beside the Tiro-o-Taco games room, Cine Estúdio since its inception finds most of its audience in young public, that did the “recreational double” by spending some quarters on the arcades as well as purchasing the movie ticket.

Naturally, the cheap price of the Monday sessions (by 21h30) resulted many times in large audiences or even sold-out sessions (Titanic sold so many tickets that James Cameron might as well thank Ericeira for some of his own home crystalware). There was a strong sense of familiarity during those Monday sessions, as most of the moviegoers knew each other by their names or nicknames. Among the “jagozes” that studied in the Mafra High School (nowadays named after José Saramago), for example, this routine of going to the movies on a Monday night was so common as buying the preferred newspaper or following your favorite football club.

By now you must have already figured how Cine Estúdio Ericeira is such a beloved subject to me. It couldn’t be any other way, mainly when discussing the place where I lived some of the most amusing nights of my life. Although this mostly occurred due to the quality of the movies and, in particular, the comedies, the truth is that wasn’t the most important aspect: most of the magic that I recall from Cine Estúdio is related mainly to the audience’s reaction to each film. If a movie was capable of earning the public’s interest through its virtues, everyone would comply with silence and attention (that was the case of Shawshank Redemption). But if, by chance, the weekly feature was conversely bad and uncapable of generating any interest, the Ericeira crowd would be absolutely unforgiving with all the jokes and jests directed to what was going on the screen (the worse the movie, the better was the session regarding that). It seems that these “aggressive and free” kinds of sessions already have a specialized market, however the phenomenon in Cine Estúdio was purely spontaneous.

Equally spontaneous were the comments that targeted the boredom caused by the worst movies ever screened in Cine Estúdio Ericeira. Is there anyone capable of getting rid of the image of an open umbrella at the theatre, while Robocop 3 was presenting itself as one of the dumbest sequels ever conceived? Everything contributed to transform this and many other terrible movies into the most remarkable experiences in Cine Estúdio Ericeira. Classic.

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