Monday, November 12, 2012

Civil Mall and Skyfall

On Saturday last week, Kit, Alfie and I saw that the new James Bond film was showing in Kathmandu. None of us ever having seen a movie in a developing country, nor having visited the Civil Mall in Kathmandu, it seemed like a great idea, and it genuinely was.

As soon as we walked through the doors into the Civil Mall, we were no longer in Nepal. In my opinion, we were in Singapore - we were surrounded by Apple and HP stores, with gleaming glass and escalators surrounding and populating a huge tall atrium. The clientelle were primarily Westerners and some rich-looking Nepalis - certainly not representative of most of Kathmandu! However, Civil Mall clearly represents the aspirations of the Nepalis and they certainly did a good job building it.


(I know these are just photos of a Mall, but I took them about a week later, since 'why would I bring my camera watch a movie?' seemed a sensible statement at the time... rather like neglecting to bring it to the swimming pool as well!)

On the top floor, along with a restaurant and a bowling alley, was a very modern-looking cinema foyer in which we bought 3 'platinum' tickets (they were cheaper than 'premium') for 300Rp each and, after being frisked, bought some very cheap popcorn for only 55Rp. The snacks were insanely good value compared to the UK, but strangely there were no sweet snacks available and the popcorn was salted! Luckily, I like this stuff so was in my element.

The 500-seat screen was as modern and comfortable as I could expect from any cinema in the UK or USA. We had great seats near the entrance and right in the middle. Once the film started, it was clear that the picture and sound were of the best quality, and I could genuinely relax and forget entirely that I was in Nepal! In fact, we felt slightly under-dressed compared to those who had dressed up to go out...

I sat back and enjoyed the film, popcorn and mango juice but we noticed with amusement that every time a cigarette was glimpsed in-frame (even in the background), a message appeared at the bottom of the screen warning us that 'smoking is injurous to health and causes cancer'. True stuff! Also, there was suddenly, in the middle of the film, an intermission and most people flocked out of the cinema when this happened! However, only 10 minutes later, the film re-started with over half the seats empty and it took some time before the door  stayed shut and people had returned.

And the film itself? I thought it was pretty good, for a James Bond film, and there were some fantastic moments especially the motorcycle chase and the superyacht. I particularly like the choice of Adele for the Bond theme - a perfect match. I won't ruin the story here, but I think I would turn down the chance to pay to see it in the cinema again - it's just not really stimulating enough! But a great way to while away an afternoon, and I am sure to return.

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