In village shops across the Luberon you can pick up a photocopied leaflet; black and white and patterned with film reel. It’s the programme for a roaming cinema that comes to villages across the Luberon: Cinema La Strada.
Wary of French films with subtitles, let alone those without, I went on my first outing to this ‘cinema itinérant’ this week. Monday is the turn of the Salle des Fêtes (‘village hall’) in Maubec and the film was Anna M. As we arrived, the local football team finished practice and their barbeque billowed delicious spicy smoke across the car park. The Luberon mountain loomed dark against an inky sky and the village of Maubec snuggled against it, drowsy and still.
Inside we paid 5€ into a tin kitty and helped ourselves to tea. It’s free seating here, but there wasn’t exactly a scramble as we chose our hard plastic seats among four short rows lined up in front of the portable screen. Lights down and I forgot I wasn’t on a squishy velvet seat with on-tap popcorn and surround sound. I was hooked by the romance of this little cinema bringing its wondrous film reels to sleepy villages across the Luberon. And soon we were lost in film; a great French tradition.
I reckon I qualify as a proper Francophile now, having watched a French film, in French, in France. Mind you, the plot of Anna M is not complicated and I think I got the gist: mad girl gets madder, madder still, has baby and feels better… or does she?