Picture the scene – I’m trying to be more engaged with the world / do more in London / watch more films at the cinema. I’m flicking through the London Film Festival brochure and everything I want to see is sold out (Anything with Blanchett or Fassbender.) Instead, I find a film that sounds interesting – Happy Hour. It’s foreign (Japanese) – it’s about four women’s lives – it has the suggestion of happiness (probably ironic) – and booze (happiness and booze being two of my specialised subjects.)
I book a ticket. I feel mildly excited and satisfied. On the day of the screening – a blazingly beautiful sunny October day – I turn up at the BFI. In front of me in the queue is an idiot. He moans to the woman at the counter that ‘the computer didn’t warn me that my two films overlap – so now I’ll miss one of my films. The computer should have warned me one of the films is five hours.’
After he has had his moan, I roll eyes at the woman on the counter. I make a hilarious comment about what a douche the man is for blaming a computer for something that is entirely his own responsibility! Seriously, can you imagine? It’s the computer’s fault?
I take my seat in the cinema. I am already slightly hungry – the screening starts at noon – but not to worry. My seat is not very comfy. It’s too close to the front and I have permanent neck ache from working-from-home on a chair that cost £20. I am overly-sensitive to smell and the man to my right is wearing stale-sweat clothes and needs a hair wash.
The film starts. It is a quiet, slow film. Very slow. There are hints about unhappy relationships and marriage, which sound intriguing. About an hour in, the four ladies go to a ‘Physical / Body Workshop’. In the scene, a group spend time trying to communicate non-verbally. They do things including sitting back-to-back on the floor while attempting to stand up together. And also walking slowly round in a circle. I checked my watch three times during this scene – I think it lasted 35 minutes though it felt like 50.
After this scene, the group go for drinks – aha! Is this the Happy Hour of the title? We’re nearly two hours in? There is talk of adultery and there is a row during the scene and I think again, aha! This is the heart of the matter! But then the group go their separate ways and nothing has really happened.
It is only two and a half hours in, when still nothing has happened, that I realise THIS is the five hour film, the title Happy Hour is heavily ironic on both the Happy and the Hour front – and more to the point, the biggest idiot in the BFI that day is me!
So yes, reader, I walked. If anyone out there has seen the entire thing, please, do tell me what happened! Because I kind of need to know, but I cannot sit through the second half, I simply can’t. The only film I’d be willing to watch for five hours is Bridesmaids. (Actually I’d watch an extended five hour cut of the food poisoning scene in Bridesmaids, but that’s just me probably.)
Anyway, like I said, if you have seen it all the way through, please do drop me a line…