popcornDo you remember the first film you saw at the cinema?

This was the question asked by a pair of vox-pop reporters for a series of short videos shown during a film festival in my home town of Cesena.

Most young respondents recalled Disney or Pixar animations; one older guy remembered seeing The Wizard Of Oz, another recounted how he was dragged reluctantly to see Visconti’s The Leopard when his parents couldn’t find a babysitter.

Hearing these experience got me thinking about my own ‘firsts’ at the movies.

Dad was sound asleep during this scene from Where Eagles Dare.

Dad was sound asleep during this scene from Where Eagles Dare.

The first film I saw with my parents was Where Eagles Dare – a WWII drama based on Alistair McLean’s novel with the unlikely pairing of Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton as Nazi impersonators undertaking a mission impossible task of freeing prisoners held in a Colditz-like fortress.

This movie was memorable not for the action packed set pieces but for the fact that my Dad fell asleep half way through and had to be prodded awake by my Mom when he began snoring.

The first film I saw without parental guidance, with my elder brother, was Walt Disney’s Fantasia.  A massive disappointment it was too.

The subtleties of Fantasia were lost on me.

The subtleties of Fantasia were lost on me.

Now I can appreciate how sophisticated it is to marry animation with classical music but all I wanted at the age of 8 was slapstick comedy  and funny voices.

Surely Baloo can't be.....dead1

Surely Baloo can’t be…..dead1

The first time I cried in a cinema was for another Disney production – The Jungle Book.

Near the end everyone thinks Baloo the bear has been killed after literally getting a tiger by his tale in the form of the evil Shere Khan.

Eulogies are spoken as he lies unmoving and I was in tears until he made a miraculous and, with hindsight, inevitable recovery.

The first X-rated movie I saw was Shampoo, a lame comedy in which Warren Beatty plays a randy hairdresser preying upon his foxy female clients.

A blow dry scene from Shamppo

A blow dry scene from Shamppo

Me and a couple of equally naive friends were desperate to see some naked flesh and raunchy sex. As it turned out there were more blow-dries than blow jobs and we left the movie house feeling unaroused and short-changed.

The first film I walked out of was Peter Greenaway’s A Zed With Two Noughts. By then I imagined myself as a bit of a movie buff who could appreciate this arty obsession with death and decomposition.

Enough already.

Enough already.

Instead, I just found the movie cold, void of any emotional qualities and stomach-churning.

The enough already scene came where snails started crawling over dead bodies and film equipment.

I haven’t revisited the film since to see if I was right, it might be interesting to see if after another 25 years experience, I see Greenway’s intentions in a new light.

Do you have any movie-going firsts that stick in the mind?

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