jeudi 20 janvier 2011

A is for Adverts

A is for Adverts

Il faut de tout pour faire un monde — It takes all sorts to make a world

Ad agencies obviously like saving money. A lot of the TV ads you see in the UK are just dubbed for France (or vice versa). Some don’t even bother with the dubbing, so you get ads for cars and perfumes in their original language. The hope must be that the product sells itself. And we’ll draw a line under the Autoglass (UK) or Carglass (France) jingle that is as awful in both languages.
There also seem to be an awful lot of ads for ham in France.

My favourite ad here is for the supermarket chain Casino. It comes on most evenings, just before the news. It features two members of the public who live near each other, but apparently have never met. One goes round to the other’s house to cook a meal. The cook has to lug all the ingredients to the other house in their shopping trolley, cook a meal in a strange kitchen with unfamiliar cooker and utensils, while the host looks on, occasionally offering to chop a carrot or something. At the end, after many “Ohs” and “Ahs” about the lovely food, the person who did all the work cries happily “Next time it’s at my house”. My problem is, why didn’t they hold it at their house in the first place to save everyone a lot of time and trouble? Answers on a postcard…

We still have a little local cinema here. We get all the latest films, and a large selection of foreign-language films — anything from Hebrew to Japanese. We quite often get to see films long before they appear in the UK — we saw the latest Woody Allen several weeks ago.

When it comes to English-language films, you generally get a choice whether to watch it in the original version, ie in English with French sub-titles
(the 5pm performance), or dubbed completely into French (the 8.30pm performance). Every month a leaflet appears telling you what’s on over the next four weeks, but you generally have to be quick as most films only run for a few days.

The good thing about the cinema is you get absolutely no adverts. No trailers. No ads for the Star of Bengal, Coca Cola or Budweiser. Nothing. You go in, pay your €5.50, choose your seat, sit down, greet a friend or two, and watch the film. There’s not even a twee announcement asking you to turn off your mobile phone.

The process is slightly more complicated for the French members of the audience. They enter, they discuss animatedly the merits of various seats. They sit down. They get up. They move seats after more discussion. They sit down and enjoy the film.

The cinema is run by a local couple. She sells you the tickets; he stands a few steps from the box office and duly tears your ticket in half, while exhorting you to enjoy the film. At the end, as you all file out, he hopes you have enjoyed the film.

Now that’s what I call cinema.

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