Original Version Cinemas in Montpellier

So you want to watch a movie, but don’t want to see it dubbed into French? This may be easier than you think as there are several cinemas in Montpellier that show films in their original version. This can be slightly problematic if the film contains a language other than your own native tongue, but you can always try to interpret the French subtitles at the bottom of the screen.


The biggest obstacle, that I’ve found, to enjoying films in French cinemas is differing senses of humour. I’m not sure whether it’s a lost in translation issue or just a sense of humour failure on my part, but I have more than once been confused by timing of some outbursts of laughter. For example, and I hope this isn’t a plot spoiler, the bit in a Streetcar Named Desire where Marlon Brando has clearly been beating his wife, more than one person laughed. Of course I can’t categorically state that they were French people, but the scene was not funny to me in the slightest or to anybody that I was with for that matter.


So, anyway, where should you go to see films in VO (version originale). Diagonal is my personal favourite as it’s just about the films and if you buy 15 visits at a time you can go whenever you want over a two year period for less than €5 a show. Utopia is another cheap option, but with only two screens to Diagonal’s six is more limited in what they show. It is also out of town a short tram ride to St Eloi on line 1 and then a walk so really needs to be planned in advance. It is definitely worth a visit, for the old fashioned tickets if nothing else.


If your French is any good try one of the showings at Cine Club Jean Vigo which uses Centre Rabelais on the Esplanade as it’s venue. They have a speaker to introduce the film and a discussion group afterwards. Last year was around €7 per person, but they’ve not announced the new season as yet. I hope they do it again as it’s not often you get to see 1920′s silent cinema on the big screen.


For those who prefer a popcorn fuelled experience, the Gaumont on the Comedie has all the snacks, drinks and sticky floors you could wish for. There’s even an open air cinema in Antigone for a couple of weeks every summer. This year’s begins tomorrow and will be showing Rear Window, King Kong and Grease among others. It also has the bonus of being free, but you do have to wait until 10pm for the sun to go down. Get there early to get a seat, and take a cushion as they are fairly uncomfortable bleachers. And let us know if you experience any untimely laughter.

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