by Melinda Gallo

Expats taking on Italian habits

Dave and I love going to the movies. The one time I took Dave to an Italian movie theater, the man in front of us was talking on the phone for a few minutes during the film. A few Italian kids tried to get him off, but he pretended not to hear them. Some Italians do talk during the film and can't seem to whisper. It's one of those habits that I have a hard time with.

Going to the Odeon theater, I thought our encounters with this type of behavior would be rare. Yesterday, we went and a group of expats from different anglophone countries were behind us.

At this movie theater, there are no trailers. When the lights go out, the movie begins. The beginning of "The Inside Man" displayed wonderful photography accompanied with intriguing music. The women behind us continued to talk. I was somewhat patient and I thought that as soon as an actor begins talking they will be quiet.

I was wrong. When an actor came on and delivered a witty line, the women behind us repeated it and commented on it. I became increasingly frustrated and tried my hardest to pay only attention to the movie. At times, the movie was so wonderful that their voices faded. Dave didn't hear them much, so I assumed it was just me.

The minute the lights went on during the intervallo (intermission), the two or three rows of women began talking about the film and giving their opinion on what was going to happen next and worse, how it was going to end.

They continued to talk loudly and I continued to get upset. I told Dave that wanted to change seats and he was accommodating. I looked back hoping that I could find an empty seat anywhere in the middle area, but there was nothing. So, we stayed where we were.

There was one man in the mix who was seated behind us and down a few seats. When the lights went back out, he continued to talk in his normal voice to his neighbor. After the intervallo, the movie generally just picks up where it left off. There's no delay between the start of the movie and any action that may occur.

Because of all my vented frustrations, I turned around and shushed him. He continued to talk, so I said, "Can you please be quiet?" He wasn't concerned at all and proceeded to talk. I wanted to throw my water bottle at him, but after a few more seconds, he finally shut up.

The women behind us continued to comment on what was being said during the movie in a normal voice, not even trying to whisper. At one point, the one woman behind me who had the loudest voice remarked on how she got how what was presented made sense to her.

I couldn't wait to get out of the movie theater as I had the worst time ever. I think the next time I go, I will choose my neighbors more carefully. I should've known that when they were talking through the entire introduction, they wouldn't be able to refrain themselves from talking during the entire movie.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!