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The Ciné Files: Films UnlimitedGuess what? Last month, I saw ten new releases without paying more than 20 euros. Next month, I’ll probably do it again. How? I have an unlimited movie pass. The pass is a wonderful service for movie-buffs, offered by both of the two major cinema chains in Paris - UGC and MK2/Gaumont/Pathé.
The idea is simple: pay a monthly fee (18 euros/month at UGC, 19,80 euros/month at MK2/Gaumont/Pathé) and see all the movies you like at any cinema within the chain. See them, back-to-back, once-per-day, or not at all. No matter how often or how little you go to the movies, you always pay the same monthly fee.
I signed up for one of the cards with a friend of mine and have no regrets. It has, however, entirely altered the way I see movies.
For one thing, I see a lot more of them. I buy the Pariscope every Wednesday and highlight the films to see during the week. If I have two spare hours, there is usually a theatre somewhere nearby playing something I’m interested in.
Every Sunday, I see two pre-determined flicks with my card-carrying friend. It has become a tradition, and with just those two films alone – for a total of eight films per month – we have more than paid back the price of the card. In fact, it only takes four films per month to get your money’s worth.
Plus, French theatres tend to have a lot more foreign films than their American counterparts. In one week, I can see an independent film from Morocco, a huge Hollywood blockbuster, and an average-sized French comedy. This is perfect for language dorks like myself. Still perfecting your French? Going to the movies is a great way to get in some relaxing practice. Working on a third/fourth/fifth language? Find flicks from that part of the world and avoid the French subtitles.
On the flipside, sometimes I just want a little piece of America in my new home away from home. As corny as it may seem, watching a big Hollywood production often seems to do the trick, although anything in English will do. Having the card allows me to go to even the cheesiest of American films without feeling guilty for not waiting for it to come out on DVD.
But the best part of having the card is my new movie-going attitude: if I don’t like a film, I have no qualms about leaving halfway through, much in the way I wouldn’t mind turning off a bad movie on television. And that’s another thing: I have no television. It’s nice to have a way to zone out once or twice a week without feeling like I’m burning a hole in my pocket.
The two competing chains offer different styles of films – UGC focuses more on new releases and the MK2/Gaumont/Pathé alliance features a variety of different films. See for yourself which group you prefer, as both offer a wide selection of films each week.
The only catch? You have to commit to a year-long subscription to the card. But once you pass the year mark, you can cancel at any time. Obviously, this means committing to a full year in Paris. Yes, you have to make that small sacrifice for unlimited movies. But really, you can live with that, can’t you?