Yesterday at cine a mil (see yesterday’s post) I went to Before the Devil Knows You’re dead. Creepy. And also apparently a friend of mine in Concepción (the south) rented this movie from Blockbuster a month before it was available in the theater. Someone should probably look into that. Pretty sure that someone is not me.
Anyway throughout the creepy movie, and the fairly well-done subtitles, which I simply cannot help but read, and that is kind of irritating, I kept on looking for things that would seem anomalous to Chileans. For one thing, the older brother has a breakdown in the car where he’s shouting and ranting and raving about his frustrations with his father. He comes to tears, or near there. I could not imagine most Chilean men pitching this particular fit. It must have looked so strange, so overdone, so overwrought. And yet to me and the boyfriend, it rang totally true, a moment of sheer acting genius.
Another thing that caught my attention involved Marissa Tomei’s character. First of all, she’s 44? I would like the name of her geneticist, her trainer and perhaps her plastic surgeon. At any rate, at one point, she is leaning on the kitchen counter, and eating yogurt with a spoon.
I wondered what this looks like to Chileans. First of all, the yogurt cups in the states are absolutely vanity-sized in comparison to the ones here. Apparently yogurt sizes are smallening in the US, as the waistlines are biggening, (Marissa Tomei’s tinly litheness notwithstanding) but even so, a US-yogurt is more than a third again as large as a Chilean one.
Additionally, there’s the issue with the spoon. Most yogurt here is batido, or stirred, so it’s very liquidy. This means that you peel back the corner of the top, tilt your head back and drink the stuff. There’s a technique that involves elaborate folding of the foil top to use as a spatula to scrape out the remaining 8 calories of yogurt that you paid for, but for the most part, yogurt is drunk, not eaten. We even use the verb tomar (to drink), not comer (to eat) to describe the act of consuming yogurt.
So I tried to imagine something as ridiculous as someone standing with a giant tub of yogurt, spooning it into her mouth. Something that would look as strange to an American movie-viewer as this might have to a Chilean, if they weren’t still scarred from how much sex and drugs there were in the movie, and that there were 13-year-olds everywhere, or if they were not already privy to the giant food portions and our strange eating habits. I mean, we eat sanwiches WITH OUR HANDS, for goodness sake.
Eventually I came upon the idea of a person standing with half a watermelon balanced in one hand, attacking it with chopsticks with the other.
Looks strange, huh? Maybe it could be a theme for my next get-together. Watermelon is already showing up in the market. And so are my beloved nisperos (loquats). But that’s not the point of the story. Then again, it never is.