Conversations With My Mom: The Red Circle
Mom: Do you remember when you were a little boy, your dad's best friend owned a movie theater, and we lived next door to it?
Me: Do I ever.
Mom: The ushers were instructed to let you in for free whenever you came by.
Me: Those were the days.
Mom: I don't think you even liked movies until that point.
Mom: Yeah, the theater — it was called the Globe — played mostly old Tamil and Hindi movies, and once in a while they'd show a classic foreign movie or some kung-fu film. Soon, you were slipping off and going to the movies several times a week. Unbeknownst to us, of course.
Me: Do you remember some of the movies?
Mom: Well, there was the time — you'll get a kick out of this — you saw two shows daily of this one movie, all week long. You must've seen the movie ten times. And then, we found out — to our horror — that it was a blue movie!
Mom: We had to spank you, of course.
Me: Of course.
Mom: And I remember the first foreign film you ever saw. It was a little gangster movie from France called Le Cercle Rouge.
Me: I fell in love with that thing. I think I even drew a little comic book about it.
Mom: The local newspaper didn't print film reviews in those days, it was all word of mouth. We didn't know anyone who had seen the film but we read your comic book one evening, and the movie sounded like it might be fun, so your dad and I went to see it.
Me: Did you like it?
Mom: It was beautiful. It had almost no dialogue, it wasn't like your usual gangster movie at all, it was really quiet, and because there was so little dialogue you got all hypnotized by the pictures, by the visuals...[dreamy pause]...I haven't seen it since then, have you?
Me: [thinking fast] No, I haven't.
Mom: Is it on video or DVD?
Me: Nope. [bare-faced lie]
Mom: Let me know if it ever comes out on DVD, okay?
Me: I will, but I wouldn't hold my breath. You know, there are many many great movies that will probably never make it to DVD...
Mom: What a shame...[sighs, then heads for the kitchen to feed the dog]
[I watch her until she turns the corner, then I step over to the computer and fire up Amazon. It's been two weeks of hell looking for the right birthday present for my mom, and would you believe it, this one fell right into my lap].