I have just come back from watching two back to back movies in the Locarno Film Festival. I watched Friends With Benefits and Attack the Block. Daniel Craig, Kabir Bedi, Harrison Ford were there. I was supposed to stay for one more night, but the tickets were not available, so returning to Zurich to have a peaceful Sunday looked like a sensible idea.
The hallmark of Locarno Film Festival is the largest Open air theater where they show two movies(usually the high profile ones) in the night. At the centre of Locarno (Piazza Grande), an enormous screen is erected and thousands of chairs are put on the street overlooking it. On the houses on both side of the street, speakers, cameras and lightings are done, which make for an absolutely marvelous viewing. I was here last year also* and seeing the excitement and atmosphere the last time, being here again was an opportunity, which I was not ready to miss. So what, if none of my other colleagues and friends share the same excitement for watching the movie in an uniquely electric environment. I packed my bags, booked the tickets, and took off directly from my office in Zurich.
But this time, atmosphere was unique (read bleak) and I am sure, very few unlucky ones have got a chance to experience this. It was cloudy. And as soon as I set foot in Locarno, it started raining. Quite heavy. It was pretty interesting to see many people taking their umbrellas out and others in the raincoats, jackets watching a movie in the open air, with the rain coming down. I neither had an umbrella nor a raincoat. Retreat was not an option for me. So, I pulled my jacket above my head, put my bag on my thighs and watched both the movies. Rain sometimes stopped, but for the most part continued in a small nonchalant drizzling manner. Neither too heavy to leave everyone gasping for breadth nor too slow to not get you wet. By the end of it, I was quite drenched. I was a shivering-Cold-Fool. Water was dripping from my hair. My socks were wet too. And on the giant screen, Mila Kunis(Black Swan), sexy and gorgeous, and Justin Timberlake were cuddling each other on the bed.
You do not get an opportunity everyday to watch a movie in the rain. May be, if I had someone else for a company I would have made an effort to borrow/buy an umbrella or a raincoat. But it felt like too much of an effort for just myself. And I like the rain, anyway. Watching a movie in the rain is not an everyone's idea to spend a night. I guess, that it was for an insane-me, and a few select like us, who were all watching the movie with an umbrella over their head.
Last Time – I went to the Festival unplanned and despite my best efforts, was not able to find a single room to stay overnight. As the last show ends around 1:30 AM, staying overnight was THE thing to do, but it would be nigh impossible to get a single room in the entire city, I had not envisaged. So, what did I do? Left the show early and went back to Zurich? No, sir and madam, No. I watched both the shows (Cyrus and Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale). I met the Producer of the movie Bheja Fry, Sunil Doshi and talked with him while having dinner together. He told me about his work and about the creativity of people like Rajat Kapoor and Vinay Pathak, with whom he had worked a lot and enjoyed working. When the lights of the theatre were on again, it was around 2:00 AM. I roamed the streets of Locarno, slept for a bit in the park, went to the Casino to spend some time. I thought of staying in the Casino till the time it closes, around 4:00 AM. But, I had to leave at least an hour earlier, because I had started winning and I thought of leaving before my luck ran out. I walked to the station hoping for a train to Bellinzona, from where it would be easy to get a train back to Zurich. And Luck was smiling. A train was leaving just in time and I hopped on. I reached Bellinzona around 3:00 AM, but the next train to Zurich was only at 5:30 AM. I slept in the waiting room for about two hours and woke up just in time to find my train waiting. I was about to take my bag and leave, when I noticed a couple of policemen coming my way. I also noticed, a sort of beggar (yes, in Switzerland), sleeping on the floor of the waiting room. The policemen woke up that man and began asking questions. Then, one of them, noticed me and asked for my passport. I tried to tell them, that my train is leaving, but, it was too late. They began checking my passport, verifying all the details, and by the time, they were done, the train was done and dusted. I got out of the waiting room and saw those green hills on the far side of the railway station. I sat outside, admiring the views, waiting for the next train which was after 1 hour.
Both the times, it was DIFFERENT. UNIQUE. BEST WORST EXPERIENCE or WORST BEST EXPERIENCE (I have no idea what this means).