The best part about seeing a film when you're travelling is if you luck out and pick a good one to go see, you get sucked into it and when it's over, you walk out of the lobby and are suddenly reminded that you are in another city, not your own.
I saw two films when I was in Buenos Aires. My friend Matias and I had to arrange to get a cab to take us all the way out to a shopping centre in the Bs. As. 'burbs to see Beowulf: La Leyenda (in 3-D IMAX! With IMAX-sized Spanish subtitles!) The tickets cost 14 pesos - or about $4.75 Canadian. You could bring beer into the theatre as well...beer and IMAX goggles, plus the trailer for Soy Leyenda!
On my last weekend in town I went to the Palermo multiplex down the street from the massive Alto Palermo shopping centre to take in a trasnoche screening of Gone Baby Gone. A trasnoche, film-lovers, is a movie-going tradition on the weekends in Buenos Aires - shows start between 1 and 1:30 a.m and are PACKED! You have dinner at 10, maybe an ice cream afterwards, then you roll over to the trasnoche, and THEN you go out clubbing. You can get popcorn either sugared (the local preference) or salted (no such thing as buttered popcorn in this town either way). And no Diet Coke - round here it's called Coke Light. Got to see some amazing Argentine commercials plus the trailer for P.T. Anderson's upcoming Habrá Sangre. Except for kids films, all international movies are in their original language with subtitles en Castellano. Argentinian films for the most part play in their own cinemas.
I couldn't find any of the massive theatres that used to exist in Buenos Aires in their original state; the Monumental, right down on Lavalle (the pedestrian tourist trap) used to have 3,000 seats (you can get a glimpse of it in its former glory in my previous post, at the start of one of the 60's Sandro trailers I linked to) but is now a run-down movie pit - they were playing Supercool, Michael Clayton and El Asesinato De Jesse James Por El Cobarde Robert Ford, plus two films that haven't even come out in North America, a thriller by Andrew Lau starring Richard Gere and some John Travolta / Salma Hayek period piece...
I learned something about Toronto while I was travelling as well, a lesson that left my city in the general deficit column. A small Romanian film like 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days wins the Palme D'Or, and that fall it quietly pops up in Toronto and plays at the Cumberland for a couple of weeks, before winding up at the back of the Carlton for a couple more weeks. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, the very same film plays at every multiplex downtown, often with giant ads for the engagement in the lobby, and when I went over to the Palermo on a Saturday night at midnight, the 1:30 a.m. show was already sold out. What are we to make of this?
(See my modest set of Buenos Aires movie theatre pictures here...)