You know what the problem with the Alamo Drafthouse is? That they haven’t branched off into every neighborhood in the country. It’s one of the coolest theaters out there, in terms of the physical building itself as well as in its ideals for how the theater-going experience should be handled, both by the employees and by the cinephiles themselves. (The special events and exclusive Mondo posters don’t hurt, either.)
And so we as an audience need to give the Drafthouse the respect it deserves and follow the advice that their PSAs impart. And this time, we get an important message from Before Midnight stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy taking time out of their informative conversation about who was the smarter Tolstoy sibling, Leo or Nicholas. Unable to concentrate, Delpy breaks character to speak directly to whatever member of the audience is talking on their cell phone. And by speak directly, I mean reprimand in French, and then in English. “Get the f--k out of this place, or just turn off the phone!”
To me, this is probably their best one yet. The separation between the “film” and “video” aesthetics – for lack of a better phrasing – is really effective, and makes Delpy look even more frazzled once the darker hues are removed and the letterbox bars go away. Hawke’s reference to the fourth-wall breaking of Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose to Cairo is fun, and I love the way it ends with everyone laughing. And even though it’s humorous, their point is made in full. Turn your phone off or forgo your privilege of sitting in the theater. It’s good advice Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, or whatever point in the mid-evening you happen to be watching a film.
In case you missed it, here’s James Franco’s completely insincere-sounding PSA from a few months back.