So, after our brief ‘Born Free’ uncaging at Christmas, we find ourselves back in national lockdown, stuck in our own version of ‘Groundhog Day’. And whilst cinemas remain closed for the foreseeable future, our personal screenplays continue, with a variety of genres on offer throughout the day.
With both my husband and son now at home, it feels like I’m in an arty French film. You know, the worthy type, with its worldly insights and skilful camera work panning in on the main character who’s consuming a peach in real time. Sadly, worldly insights in our house are limited to teenage grunts and middle-aged moaning, and my current storyline consists entirely of people either eating or demanding food. Let’s face it, this category is less ooh la la excitement and more mon Dieu boredom.
Grunting Teen hankers after an action movie. He’s not impressed with this black and white silent version of life. He wants a return to a 4 D cinema experience with full Dolby surround sound. Unfortunately, with gyms and climbing walls closed and contact with non-household members a distant memory, he’s now become a reclusive cave-dweller. Or possibly an extra in a period drama. For once again the streets are becoming nineteenth-century quiet, with those new-fangled automobiles being replaced by two-wheeled transport or lycra-clad legs.
At least, this lockdown, the schools seem better prepared with their in-house entertainment. It’s a daily musical medley of maths and media studies, choreographed by chemistry and produced by PE. The downside is that accessing online learning through a mobile phone has become impractical, so the holiday-we-never-had refund has now been spent on a laptop.
This adds further fuel to the Nearly-Beloved’s evening litany of complaints in front of the box of horrors. He is a particular fan of the Zombie Apocalypse nightly news with its fear-inducing death count. Sci-fi images of Covid-19 flash in front of our eyes but there are no Guardians of the Galaxy coming to our rescue just yet.
The whole situation is a bit of a thriller actually, getting the viewers wondering. Who is the perpetrator of this pandemic? Who is violating the viral code? Who has released the new variant? And where the hell are the good cops when you need them?
What we want is a decent Western, gun-toting, vaccine-carrying hero to ride into town to save us. But what we’ve got are some cartoon characters, so badly dubbed from the original version that their words and actions are never in sync.
No wonder then that my film of choice is always a mood-lifting romcom. Oh, to laugh at my troubles and be swept off my feet by a knight in shining armour. Obviously, this is as likely as a politician’s promise. But at least I can draw comfort from the fact that we are not in a war film. No bombs or shells are exploding around us. And though we may be under house arrest, that’s got to be an improvement on a prison camp.
There may be no A-listers in this current performance and it certainly isn’t going to be a box-office hit. But sometimes films are so bad they’re good. Besides, I always choose one with a happy ending…