Apparently this is going to be something I have to rant about every year until we move and/or become fluent in German and/or G is old enough that this won’t be an issue anymore.
In case you didn’t know, Andy and I met while working in a movie theater in high school, way back in the summer of 2001. Back then, we saw almost all the movies, partly because they were free (nice) and partly because we had the time.
As we got older and had real jobs and busier lives, we didn’t see nearly as many movies, but still quite a few. We liked to see as many as we could.
Once G was born, our movie consumption was cut drastically. Once she turned two and we lifted our ban on screen-time, we started seeing movies again, but obviously it was a lot of kids’ movies. But that was fine. It was something we could do and enjoy as a family.
It’s way more difficult for us to do this in Switzerland.
There’s the language barrier. Since we don’t speak much German, we have to look for the limited English prints.
There’s the fact that we get movies later than the rest of the world, sometimes significantly so. Last summer we watched Inside Out in Paris because it didn’t open in German-speaking Switzerland until October 1st. And this year, while I’ve been seeing all my American friends with and without kids enjoying Finding Dory, we have to wait until September 29th for it to open here.
There’s the age issue. They have much stricter rules about children watching movies here. They will not sell you a ticket for a child under the age of 4. Period. End of story.
Almost the end of the story.
Because in addition to that four-year-old minimum across the board, every canton and/or movie theater can set their own minimum age requirements.
All of these factors have culminated in today’s complaint:
We want to take G to see The Secret Life of Pets because that’s the children’s movie that opens here this month. (Ice Age: Collision Course came out last month; Secret Life of Pets this month; then Finding Dory in September.)
So I pull up the Cineman website to check showtimes and this is what I find:
The first thing I check for is language; I need it to say “E/d/f.” Then I need one that is not in 3D because the minimum age for a 3D movie is 6.
So there is one showing in Basel that meets these requirements and it is at 9 PM.
This isn’t a huge blockbuster movie that requires a million showtimes a day, a la Harry Potter. This is just an animated children’s movie. And you’re showing it once a day at 9 PM?
Why even show it at all?
So I checked Cineman to see what our options would be in, say, Zürich. Andy’s off work for vacation this week (because we should have been leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow), so why not make a day trip on the train to Zürich and, among other activities, go see a movie?
Same theater chain, different canton. Minimum age of 6, even for 2D showings.
G is tall and she can pass for older than 4, but I don’t think she can pass for 6. And if they doubt us, they can demand to see her ID card, which would obviously betray us immediately.
I’m just so frustrated. It’s annoying and illogical and dumb.
Oh, and as for Finding Dory? We could actually go see a special “sneak peek” of it on August 10th at an outdoor theater. It would start after 9, but that makes sense, since it stays light so late here. But it’s of course in German. I don’t know that I want to keep G up so late and spend CHF 30 to go see a movie that I can only half understand. (Although CHF 30 is cheap for the three of us to see a movie here…)