From Reading Room/8:

The Ghost at the Roxy Cinema
Juan Marsé
Translated by Mara Faye Lethem

Back to the issue 8 page

Cine Selecto in the district of Gracia, summer of 1941, an exuberant, racy crowd, orchestra seats giving off the rancid odor of cheap, homemade soap and onion omelet and in the music pit a funk of stewed armpit.
            Onstage selected variety acts: a group of chorus girls with hips like chests of drawers and muscular calves wearing the blue uniform of the Women’s Section of the Falange, holding hands and leaping to the sound of a sweet sardana in front of the mountain of Montserrat painted in silver glitter on the jiggling back curtain. The band in the pit take great pains with their interpretation of the sanctioned sardana, and the middle-aged and not-very-enthusiastic chorus girls leap with their little black pleated skirts and their little blue shirts and their red berets, and now the audience, their deepest, most vernacular heart strings plucked by the artistic/patriotic merits of the scene fall into a lyrical and respectful silence with their eyes misted up by nostalgia, which doesn’t stop them from ogling the robust thighs and bouncing busts of the artists on stage.


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