One of the most pleasurable things to do in Brazil is attend the movies. Going to the cinema is largely a upper-middle class Brazilian activity. The majority of films are of the American big budget variety. Surprisingly, there have been occasions in which I have watched a movie in Rio de Janeiro before it opened in the US. For example, “The Inside Man,” starring Denzel Washington played at the Roxy in Copacabana before opening in the US later the next month.
My favorite theater is the Roxy in Copacabana. Before leaving I usually check their website to see what is playing. Currently, the cinema is screening: “Attracted to Crime”, “CHICO XAVIER”, and “A Possible Dream”.
When you get to the theater be sure that next to the title of the movie you see the letters “LEG”. “LEG” stands for “legendado”, or subtitles. This means the characters speak ENGLISH! There are Portuguese subtitles. Going to the movies is a good way to learn some Portuguese while enjoying yourself.
Now here is the strange thing. They often change the titles! For example, “Attracted to Crime” is “BROOKLYN’S FINEST” starring Wesley Snipes and Richard Gere. The actual title as listed on the website is “ATRAÍDOS PELO CRIME.” When you go to the box office you ask for tickets according to the Portuguese title, such as, ATRAÍDOS PELO CRIME, and then choose a seat on the computer keypad they give you. You just punch the seat you want on the interactive screen.
Many Brazilians talk during the movie and are ALWAYS LATE, so I suggest sitting in the back to avoid distractions. Their theaters are small so it is not far from the screen relative to American theaters.
Half the time Brazilians do not sit in their assigned seats anyway or the theater does not assign them.
Which brings us to the next issue. Unlike Americans, Brazilians are used to being close to other people; most likely this attitude derives from the high population density of their cities.
I have gone to the Rio Sul Cinema, a mall located five minutes bus ride from Copacabana, on a Wednesday when there were only 10 people in the theater. Being an American I was on time. Well, I sat down with my popcorn and soda and, then, here come these old Brazilian women who look around at the empty theater, see me, and then, yep, walk over to my row and say, “Com licensa”, which means “with license” or “excuse me”. I let them in my row and they sit right next to me! This has happened numerous times in Brazil. In fact, anytime I have gone to the movies alone in Rio I have had somebody sit right next to me. Usually, it is an old lady or two or three!
If you are a woman and worried that some man is going to sit near, do not worry. Women outnumber men significantly in Rio. Most Rio men have a wife or girlfriend and go to the movies with her. Again, movies are an activity for upper middle class and retired people. The unattached person or people who will sit next to you will be an older woman or women. Trust me. There are no seedy characters in these theaters because the cost of a ticket, 16 reais, or $8 is very high for the average Brazilian. The people in the theater are usually conservative, clean-cut types, families, and the elderly. Most have a decent level of education because they understand English to some extent. They are there for the movie, not to bother you. But I do wonder about some of those older women………
Anyway, here is their website: