When I first started college, my declared major was in communications, not anthropology. I loved film and was very interested in working somehow in the industry, although I wasn’t quite sure in what capacity. My very first college application was to Emerson College in Boston, MA, the only college or university in the US dedicated exclusively to communications and the arts in a liberal arts context. I was accepted but my parents had a look at the tuition and financial aid package (or lack thereof) and nearly had heart attacks. They begged me to go to a college or university in Indiana, at least for my freshman year (you get a break in tuition if you study in the state where you are a resident), and then we could revisit the idea of Boston. So after visiting a few institutions in Indiana, I ended up enrolling at DePauw University, largely because of its Media Fellows program.
The Media Fellows program is a type of honors program for students planning a career in mass media. My high school was small and didn’t have either a student-run radio or television station, so I had no real hands-on experience in any type of media – just a lot of ambition – when I applied as a high school senior. I was rejected from the program, and I can only guess it was due to my lack of experience because I’m fairly sure my high school GPA was high enough. While I was invited to reapply once I was on campus and had enrolled in communications classes, I felt so angry about the rejection that I decided against enrolling in ANY communications classes my freshman year and took other subjects instead. Second semester of my freshman year, I discovered anthropology and fell in love. I sometimes wonder how differently my life might have turned out if the Media Fellows program had accepted my application….
Anyway, although my plans for a career in film petered out, my love for watching it never has. In the UK, I became a subscriber to Lovefilm DVD service and received an unlimited number of discs per month, two at a time, mailed to me. Unfortunately, the reality was that I paid for a service that wasn’t used all that often. Although the turnover time for receiving new discs was pretty fast (a couple of business days at most), working full-time and needing to use our weekends for cleaning and socializing meant there just wasn’t much time left for watching films. So I rarely watched the DVDs I had paid to rent.
Of course now my situation is very different. I’m unemployed and at the moment, I have oodles of free time on my hands. Luckily, Lovefilm has branched out into other parts of the world and there is a Lovefilm.de here in Germany. I’ve already subscribed and received my first discs.
Here’s the good news: almost any big-budget Hollywood film that I’d like to watch is available to rent, and these all come with the OV “original version” option so I can watch them in English. Here’s the bad news: any film that isn’t originally in English seems to only come in that language and German. I learned this lesson the hard way when I received “Coco Before Chanel” and “Broken Embraces” and could watch neither. My options were French and German, or Spanish and German, respectively. I had to immediately send them both back, and this made me very sad. (Especially since it took a full week for them to arrive in the first place…sigh…) The other frustrating thing is that smaller-budget independent films seem in general more difficult to find.
My other worry once we moved here was that I wouldn’t be able to go to the cinema anymore. The big cinema in Würzburg city center unfortunately doesn’t seem to regularly show English language or “original version” films, but luckily there is a cinema just outside the city limits that does. We went on Sunday of last week to see Alice in Wonderland in 3-D. A bit about the experience:
Firstly, I got a bit of a shock when we got out of the car. The cinema is located in a very rural area and surrounding it is all farmland. A bit like Indiana, and yet…. The windows were cracked as we pulled into the parking lot, and I remarked to the Mr. that I could smell something funny. When I opened the car door it took my breath away: the overwhelming stench of cow manure (we think) just about knocked me off my feet. Now being from central Indiana you might think I’m used to “farming smells,” but this was like nothing I had encountered before. Apparently all the fields are covered in manure and the smell dies down after a while but initially is pretty intense. The Mr. thinks farmers in Indiana must do this, too, but I swear I’ve never smelled anything like it before. It was intense and made me realize that the small towns in Germany the Mr. refers to as “cow villages” really are that because they stink like cows. Huh. Don’t think I could handle living in one and smelling that all the time, to be honest. He found my reaction and gagging hilarious.
Anyway, once we got inside (and the scarf around my nose removed) we discovered a very, very long line to buy tickets. We only had 15 minutes before the film was starting, and I was a bit panicky that the theater would be completely crowded. The interesting thing was that there were maybe six or seven films all starting at 11am, and three of them were OV English language versions. That was a nice surprise as I had thought only Alice in Wonderland was playing that day as the OV film. Luckily, we found the theater itself was almost empty and we got great seats. We also discovered that there were no advertisements or previews before the 11am start time, so we missed the first ten minutes or so of the film. At least we’ll know for next time.
All in all, I’m fairly happy with my film-watching options here in Germany. Now if only I can figure out how to set up a slingbox at my parents’ for more television-viewing options….