Shiver screen: Drive-in movie celebrates first sunrise in four months

driveinwatch
0 0
Read Time:2 Minute, 32 Second

They roared in on snowmobiles towing covered sleighs designed for carrying children rather than making them. A few arrived on kicksleds and a majority made sure to grab a cup or thermos of hot chocolate at the concession stand to go with their popcorn.

They then settled into seats where the cushioning consisted of a layer of snow and – with a blissful absence of previews and ads –the opening credits of “Ice Age: Continental Drift” blared out for what’s believed to be Longyearbyen’s first drive-in movie.

“I was just sitting at home one evening bored and I got the idea,” said Lise Hagen, a kindergarten teacher who volunteered to be a polar bear guard during the movie.

Her eyes were on the screen for enough time to keep up with the plot, but every few minutes she wandered a hundred meters or so away from the lights and sounds of the theater behind Huset to see if any uninvited viewers were trying to sneak in.

driveinarrive
Two moviegoers arrive on a snowmobile shortly before the film starts. The theater, located at the side of a highly used snowmobiling trail, meant viewers had to cope with engines and fumes during the show. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople

Hagen suggested the idea to Silve M. Hagen, project leader for Aktiv i Friluft, which organizes a variety of community-oriented outdoor activities. She said the screening took place last Tuesday to coincide with the first sunrise in Longyearbyen after the three-and-a-half month polar night.

“There’s nothing happening when the twilight is gone, so if you want to find something that’s a tradition you need a special thing,” she said.

The audience didn’t have to cope with indoor nuisances like ringing cell phones or the odor of someone who snuck a tuna fish sandwich past the ushers – or even the type drive-in distractions such as tots getting to watch the teens in the adjacent vehicle doing what currently has the euphemism of “chill.” But there was the roar and fumes of snowmobiles to cope with since the theater was essentially in the middle of one of the main “roads” into town.

“The film setting is pretty hard when it’s cold outside and with the snowmobiles,” Hagen said. “It’s a bit loud, but that’s all part of the fun.”

The evening actually wasn’t that cold – especially for February – at a few degrees below zero Celsius and mild wilds. But sitting still for nearly two hours – the 88-minute film stopped playing several times to equipment glitches organizers attributed to the outdoor use of the equipment – left young viewers like local elementary school student Ronja Skaug “a little cold.”

Still, she said given the choice between watching a movie from the warm and cushioned seats of Kulturhuset or outside the building that was the movie house for decades until a few years ago, she’d opt for the snow and fumes.

“Because it’s outside all can come,” she said.

 

 

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%