Teresa Garratty: What got to me most when I went to see The Handmaiden at the cinema

Posted on June 22, 2017

Gather round kiddies and prepare yourselves for yet another tragic tale of CINEMATIC proportions.

No, you haven’t got deja vu, it’s actually happened again.

Another trip to the cinema has turned into a catastrophic balls up that even the likes of Theresa May couldn’t possibly fathom.

It was all meant to be so easy. Buy ticket, sell vital organs in order to pay for extortionate popcorn, relax and watch subtitled film.

In fact, it was meant to be SUPER easy as the film in question was The Handmaiden, which is made by Korean film maker Park Chan-wook. See where I’m going here? Korean film = foreign language film = guaranteed English subtitles. What could possibly go wrong….?

PEOPLE. That’s what went wrong.

Here’s what happened, we fell at the first hurdle. In our vain attempt to purchase tickets we made the mistake of checking it was a subtitled showing. We even chuckled to ourselves arrogantly, as we were certain it had to be.

This was the manager’s ( I repeat, MANAGER’S) response…

My brain couldn’t process the information. Her answer was a square peg, my prior knowledge; round holes. It just didn’t make any sense!

We tried to explain our reasoning. The research, the logical steps we had taken that all lead up to this point. The film HAD TO BE subtitled.

What sorcery is this?! Did everyone except us learn Korean over night? There was only one possible (and not to mention absurd) answer to the riddle that lay before us. The film must be dubbed in English. That is the only way in which this foreign language film could be shown in England, without English subtitles…right?

By this point I had exhausted all intelligent conversation and could feel the eyes of strangers burning holes into the back of my head, so we grudgingly stepped out of the queue with raised blood pressure, heart palpitations and ZERO tickets.

But I wasn’t through. I know this plot line and when it looks like all hope is lost, the heroine does something extraordinary and turns things on it’s head…

We encountered a small girl who’s job seemed to consist of partially tearing tickets and pointing people in the right direction. To her credit, she was interested in our plight, eager to please and didn’t hesitate to…oh…check with her manager.

With the film about to start within the next few minutes we decided to do the manager’s job for her and asked if we could be refunded within the first 5 minutes if the film didn’t have subtitles. She agreed…at least I think she did. To be honest, she just seemed to repeat things back to you like a parrot in a suit.

So, in record time we purchased our tickets, ditched the popcorn (stress makes me queasy) and sat down to behold this glorious sight:

There it was…in black and white…and yellow. Subtitles as far as the eye could see! We could now kick back and watch the film in peace. At least, that’s what we should have done, but I’m an over thinker so I stewed a murderous rage with every fibre of my being for the entire duration of the film.

Unfortunately, when the film had finished the manager had switched shifts so I couldn’t unleash my torrent of revenge onto her. Instead I complained to the new manager, a 12 year old boy in a suit three sizes too big who kept offering complimentary tickets like they were some magic wand that excused the fact that his colleague knew absolutely nothing about the films they were showing and had lied to get rid of us.

That’s what got to me the most. Being treated like an inconvenience. A piece of dog turd to be scraped from the shoe of society so that the “manager” could herd the rest of the cattle through the gates.

It might seem overly dramatic but these little things make a big difference. Having a shit experience and blagging some free tickets on the way out for the next one simply isn’t good enough. (I took the tickets of course. I was angry, not stupid)

Anyone should be able to buy a coffee, catch a train or go to the cinema without having to fight for it. These are the things that make us feel human, like we’re worth something. That’s not too much to ask is it?

Read more of Teresa’s posts (with cartoons!) by clicking here.

Teresa is a freelance film maker, photographer and full time cynic. At school, she was voted “Most likely to end up in a lunatic asylum”, a fate which has thus far been avoided. Her pet hates are telephones, intercoms and all living things. Follow her on Twitter as @TGarratty

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