Life-Changing Cinema

Last weekend, in a rather pleasing downpour, the blog bully and I went to see The Sound of Noise at New People Cinema, which is the year-round programming home of the San Francisco Film Society, located in San Francisco's Japantown. I had never been there, largely because the films deemed worthy of being shown all seem to be relentlessly depressing. I may be mistaken. After all, I have not seen them, but I do read about them and I cannot say that the descriptions fill me with yearning to hand over twelve bucks.

This time, in an exciting departure, the film was one I'd seen at last year's festival and loved. It's clever and funny and also inspiring of foot-tapping, which is a thing the blog bully seems to enjoy. I was quite excited to see it again and to share the joy, since I had seen it alone the first time around. Before the feature we were treated to what seemed like approximately three dozen (though I think it was just four) previews of capital "F" Films that, true to form, seemed ...anyone?... relentlessly depressing. There was one that was supposed to be "erotic" and "visually stunning" that seems to involve a great many extremely miserable (though lavishly dressed) prostitutes of a bygone era. Then there was one that made me feel like maybe "cinema" as such is just an elaborate joke and that perhaps no one really enjoys it at all, but smart, fancy people pretend to enjoy it just to see if we'll play along. I call this one The Freezing, Freezing Horse. There were others, but really The Freezing, Freezing Horse is sufficiently emblematic.

(This is apparently the official trailer, a fact that makes me almost weak with mirth, but I will try to find something more akin to the preview we saw, which is to say longer and even windier. I know, I know. I am a Philistine.)
Ah, here we go.

Look. I'm not saying the thing is devoid of austere beauty and the like, but it also makes me want to kill myself in less than two minutes, which, I suppose one could say is an artistic accomplishment in and of itself. I just feel that if I want to be exceedingly depressed and meditate on bleakness, I could, say, spend an evening alone lying on the concrete floor of my garage. For free.

Just to cheer you up, here is the film we actually went there to see: See? Delightful, no?

But here you are waiting to hear what changed my life. And I'll tell you. The bathroom, that's what. Are you female? Do you live here? You should go to a very depressing foreign film (because, really, in spite of it all, hooray for art) and avail yourself of the ladies' room. The toilets look as though they may have the power to transport you back to your house after the final credits. So many buttons! I am not altogether sure how I feel about a heated toilet seat in a public restroom, but how I otherwise feel about a heated toilet seat on a cold and rainy night is A) surprised and B) good. And if I had a toilet that was equipped with bidet technology featuring heated water? Well, let's just say I would be well contented and very clean. I suspect that Japan is awash with high-tech toilets, but I've never been to Japan. By all means, if Japan is convenient to your home, just go there. Otherwise, you might find it easier to go to Japantown. Among other benefits, the buttons are identified in English.

Oh! I almost forgot. The movie theatre is also very nice.