Mela and I went on a French film date Thursday evening (June 10) and caught "The Perfect Date" in Shangri-La Plaza. The movie was really good! (You-have-to-watch-it! type of good!) Perfect sisters'-night-out na sana if not for the incident with some cinema staff before the movie. Just to make kwento, this is a sort-of detailed flow of what happened then:
~7:00pm - I fall in line for tickets to "The Perfect Date." I am (I think) the 20th person in line already by that time.
It's the annual French Film Festival in Manila and French movies are shown for free until June 13. For order and to ensure comfortable movie-watching, Shangri-La cinema issues out tickets an hour before the movie. You have to fall in line and they give only one ticket per person. Those who are able to get one are ensured a seat as long as they arrive on time for the movie. Otherwise, their seats would be given to "walk-ins". The movie was at 9 but as early as 7, there was a line already.
~7:30pm - Mela arrives and joins me in line.
8:00pm - Tickets to the 9:00pm movie ("The Perfect Date") are given out. We get our tickets, then head to the foodcourt for quick dinner.
~8:40pm - We walk back to the cinema, thinking, "early enough to still get good adjacent seats."
~8:42pm - We get to the cinema entrance. The cinema usher/guard/ticket receiver refuses to let us in because "wala nang upuan, dahil late kami, at nagpapasok na sila ng walk-in."
Of course we protested! Wala pa kayang 9:00pm! Then the guy tells us it's 9:05pm, per their time and the movie started already. My time is synchronized with theirs (from the ticket issuance earlier) and it's still far from 9:00pm. Maaga pa nga kami sa lagay na yon eh. By this time a number of other "late" ticket-holders arrive and join in the protests. "Paano naubos ang upuan eh may tickets kami. 'Di ba kaya nga kayo nagbibigay ng tickets para eksakto sa upuan yung makapasok?" "Sinasabi lang nila na 9:05 na dahil pinagtatakpan lang nila yung mali nila. Nagpapasok kaagad sila ng walk-in." "I've been going to this film festival the past 2 days at hindi naman ganito. Basta dumating ka before the screening time, may seat ka. And only after the movie starts do they allow inside the walk-ins."
~8:47pm - The cinema staff goes inside the cinema, to probably talk to his superior about what was happening outside and to find out what to do.
~8:50pm - The guy comes back and says firmly na hindi na talaga kami pwede papasukin. We protest some more and ask to talk to the manager (as we knew that the guy we were talking wasn't in the position to really make any decisions). The guy goes back in.
~8:54pm - The guy comes back and tells us that they'll let us in, but only those with tickets. We won't have seats though. "Ayaw man lang tayo harapin nung manager."
~8:55pm - We enter the cinema and seat ourselves on the steps. (The moviehouse was full, even the reserved VIP seats were taken already.) We get to catch a couple of movie trailers before the actual movie is shown.
9:00pm - "The Perfect Date"
Here's what I think happened: The cinema staff let walk-in people in after the trailers started, not after the movie itself started, as was done in the past and as they should have. When they realized their mistake, they covered up by telling us that their time was 9:05pm (when it was just really ~8:40pm) and by telling us that the movie started already when it was just the trailers that were still being shown.
Anyway, I hope lessons are learned from this, especially on the part of the Shangri-La cinema staff and management. (Hi, Ms. Laureen Tecson! My sister e-mailed you about this already.) On my part, I should have took photos of what happened, especially of the protesting that took place, to better document things.
This was dinner, by the way - crab puffs(?) and noodles in chicken soup from a 'shabu-shabu' stall in the foodcourt.