…and as the movie ends and the closing credits appear, the names scrolling by are less real to you than the characters in the film. Like the rest of the audience, they are avatars. Non-player characters. Vague backdrops to the dreams, visions and hopes that populate your aching head.

Why I love the troll

Last weekend I posted the following on Facebook:

“Tonights “Troll i Eske”: Drive. Masterful direction, great photography, subtle acting and gripping story. All resulting in a very suspenseful and emotionally powerful movie. Go see it!”

Oh yeah, it was a good movie alright. If you don’t feel inclined to take my word for it, know that Roger Ebert liked it too. But hang on. “Troll i eske”? Well, it’s Norwegian for Troll in a box. OK. But who is the troll, and why is she hiding in a box?

Troll i eske is simply the greatest thing cinema in Oslo has to offer, and if you happen to live there, have any interest in movies at all but have never met the troll – know that you are missing out!

This is how it works. Every now and then there is a Troll i eske-showing at Cinemateket. You don’t know which film they’ll show, what genre it belongs to, or where it comes from. All you know is that it’ll be a high quality movie that hasn’t premiered yet. You buy the ticket, and until the moment the projector starts, the troll is still hiding in her box.  And I love it.

So what’s so bloody great about it?

The excitement

Going to a cinema is still something special, no matter how expensive your equipment is back home. It’s different from lying down in your sofa, popping in a dvd and fast forwarding through the trailers. It’s a bit like going to a show or a play. You are part of an audience, all waiting to experience something larger than life. And when you don’t know what you are about to experience – only that it’s going to be great – then the ritual gets exciting.

The organizers at Cinemateket have yet to disappoint in their selection, so at this point I simply trust that Troll in eske is a guarantee for a quality movie.

The unexpected

My last few visits have given me a relationship drama, a silly comedy and a dramatic thriller.

Two of those I wouldn’t have gone to see at the cinema if it had not been for Troll i eske, and it’s quite likely I would never have gotten to see them at all. There are genres that normally don’t do a very good job at attracting my attention, which is too bad because there are of course many excellent films to be found in most genres.

Thanks to the troll, I get to see great movies that I otherwise would have missed.

The snobbery

You get to tell people that you have already seen that hot new movie, even before it has had its premiere. You’re so great you get to see movies well before mere mortals get the chance. You are first with the latest and greatest in the world of cinema.

The purity

Take the movie Drive as an example. Whatever you do, don’t head over to Youtube to watch the trailer. It gives away far too many key scenes, plot points and spoils much of the character progression.

Before the movie began, having just sat down in the comfy seats at Cinemateket, I had no idea the movie even existed. I am completly convinced that I had a much richer movie experience not knowing all I would have known about characters and events had I seen the trailer.

Not knowing what movie you will see means you probably haven’t checked it out online beforehand. Going to see a movie that haven’t had its premiere yet hopefully means you haven’t been bombarded with trailers. It all helps in having a pure, untainted cinema experience.

The respect

People who talk. People who text. People who chew their candy and sip their drinks far too loudly. People who get up and stand in the way of the screen like lemmings as soon as the credits start rolling.

The Troll i eske audience is not completely void of these people, but there are far fewer of them than in the average multiplex crowd. A common quality of Cinemateket-goers is that they respect the cinema as an institution. Ultimately, that results in a more pleasent movie experience.

Got your attention? Here’s the link to Cinemateket. Become a member (cheaper tickets), have fun and give my regards to the troll. I look forward to meeting her again!