Have you ever been on a date in Central Park? Isn’t it a typical dream date destination? Like the Eiffel Tower….ok I might have taken that too far.
There is, none the less, this fantastical feeling about New York and Central Park. The horse and buggy rides (is carriage ride more romantic?), a lazy hot summer day picnicking in the lawn or just sitting by the Alice and Wonderland statue. It’s like a dream. I imagine that these feelings manifest themselves in my mind because of Hollywood’s influence. So many movies use Central Park in a pivotal movie moment.
Speaking of movies, how about a drive-in movie? Dream date destination? Romantic? I think it is! Again, the movies and TV come into play here. I think of Sandy and Danny (Grease reference) smouching in the backseat when I hear drive-in theater. It’s that element of bad-ass winning me over here. The park has charm but a drive-in movie has sex appeal.
So what happens when we eliminate the car, add French people and place it all in Central Park? Well folks, let’s just say my Friday night involved just that. Don’t get any ideas…I was not on a romantic date. I was however watching a French movie under the stars, on a blanket in Central Park. It was just like the movies 😉
Friday night the popular summer attraction, Films on the Green, kicked-off in Central Park. The series of free outdoor French movies (with english subtitles bien sûre) has been successful for the past five years. Organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and NYC Parks, it is a fun event for anyone passing through the city during June and July.
I made my way to Central Park as dusk began to fall. Unfortunately, the rain clouds were also falling. Although the weather was “up in the air” people still made it to the lawn with blankets, wine, sweatshirts and umbrellas (just in case).
After a brief word from the coordinator (who gave a valiant effort at a few French phrases), the film began promptly at 8:30pm. The movie, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (OSS 117: le Caire Nid d’Espions), was a James Bond meets The Pink Panther style comedy by Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius. It was very French; Duh! No, but seriously, French movies are a lot different from American flicks. For one, story lines are a bit disorganized and jokes are more slap-stick in French movies. French movies almost feel indie in a way because the mega Hollywood movie houses are not crafting specific outcomes to achieve desired ratings. That is not to say French directors have no interest in good press. It just doesn’t seem to drive such cookie-cutter creations as I tend to notice in America.
The James Bond satire was funny (I definitely laughed out loud) and clever. The characters’ personalities were the driving factors keeping me interested (oh and Jean Dujardin himself of course) rather than an intensely twisted plot. There were no crazy surprises and everything was rather elementary but I enjoyed my evening. Good film or not, going to these outdoor screenings is a treat and fun summer experience that I recommend. It brings you back to the days of drive-ins and dating, and who doesn’t like to feel a bit French every once in a while.