Going to the cinema has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I remember when I was very young and RC Cola offered a deal for six bottle caps to get into the Saturday morning matinee at the Donelson Theater. My brother and I saved up, contacted our friends and set out for a morning at the movies.

When my sons were small, Sunday afternoons alone or with a friend in the dark quiet of the movie theater was just what I needed for relaxation. Even though I am an avid reader, there is something about being entertained with little to no effort that can be very appealing.

Hot summers in Boston with no air-conditioning pushed me to the cool, dark cave of the cinema to enjoy the air-conditioning and the latest in filmmaking. Whether it’s hot weather or cold, sitting in the theaters dark, usually with not many other people around, staring at the screen can really take you away.

Why don’t people go to movies anymore? I guess with the wide assortment of movies available on TV, internet, Netflix, Hulu, DVDs, etc., combined with movie screen like TV’s in peoples home makes it feel like an unnecessary effort and expense. Yet for me, it’s an entirely different experience. In the theater, dark and void of distractions, I can really let myself step into the big screen and become a part of the film. It takes over all of my senses and emotions.

Watching Casablanca at the Cinema Rif
Watching Casablanca at the Cinema Rif

In Tangier, we have the Cinemateque RIF. It’s a historic art deco theater which hosts film festivals and has an archive of films all its own. We sometimes see the latest Hollywood films, as in First Man, recently, but generally, there are foreign films of French, Spanish, and Arabic origin. The cinema also hosts a monthly series of English films on Sunday evenings, most recently Francis Ford Coppola films.
Cinema Rif
Cinema Rif

Over the years, I have enjoyed my share of Hollywood films, but have become bored with the predictability of most. I steer towards indie films and foreign ones now, which may lack the special effects of Hollywood, but have deeper, more interesting, emotionally charged topics.

The last time I went to a matinee in the United States, it cost almost $25 for the ticket, small popcorn, and a drink. That is probably another reason people don’t go anymore. The cinema here costs 50 dirhams or $5. The café inside doesn’t sell popcorn, but you can get a glass of wine, beer, or tea. If you really want popcorn you can buy it from one of the street vendors outside for 20 cents a bag, sorry no butter.

As winter approaches in Tangier, I’m looking forward to my movie nights at the theater.

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3 Comments

  1. The Cinema Rif is ok, but quite small, only 2 screens. I like going in the cooler months, but in the summer it gets quite stuffy because there’s no air conditioning.

    Megarama at the Tangier City Mall is much larger, with 9 screens. Almost all the movies are in French. Only a couple English screenings during the weekend. They sell a very tasty medium popcorn for 20 dirhams.
    They have really nice bathrooms, and it’s air conditioned in the summer.

    A new Megarama with 4 screens is due to open early next year. Megarama Goya, which is a couple blocks down the road from McDonald’s Porte. (there’s also a brand new Domino’s Pizza there)

    I find that Megarama is better, but Cinema Rif shows more movies in English or with English subtitles. Megarama is not a good option if you don’t understand French, except for the few English screening times on Saturday and Sunday. Megarama is also at least twice as expensive, but with nicer facilities.

    In the United States, I would often smuggle in some snacks and a beverage, because it’s well known that American movie theaters make most of their profits off the concession stand. My local cinema in the US charged only $4 for matinees. As long as I snuck in my own food, I got a great deal!

  2. What did you think of the movie today? I really enjoyed it! Both Cooper and Gaga acted really well, and the music was pretty good too! Sam Elliot is always fun to watch in any movie. The ending was pretty sad though, but it serves as a warning to what can happen. Fun fact: Bradley Cooper, who both starred and directed the movie, is a recovering alcoholic in real life. He’s 14 years sober, and I definitely get inspiration from him as I deal with my own recovery.

    • Karen Mills Reply

      Loved it. This is the second time I have seen it. I saw it in October in Italy. Now I can’t wait to see the 1976 version. I’ve seen it many, many times, but always a favorite.

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