On the early afternoon of Saturday, January 3rd, 1981, my mother took the 7-year old me to the “Atlas Belgrano” cinema in Buenos Aires (near the corner of Cabildo Avenue and Juramento street) to watch the recently released “The Empire Strikes Back”.
How do I know? I kept the program.
Back in those days, in Argentine cinemas, you could get a program of the week, including some local advertising and the classic names of sessions: “matinée,” “vermouth,” first and second night, and on Saturdays, “late night” or “trasnoche.”
That movie cemented my Star Wars fandom member status forever. I remember that session as it was yesterday.
In particular the asteroid field scene, by far my preferred sequence across all 11 movies of the whole saga, hands down. Still get the shivers when I listen to the music score. I remember seeing it for the first time that day.
To be honest, it’s one of the greatest moments in science fiction cinema of all time. A triumph. Magnificent. Not even some of the train wrecks that followed (prequels and sequels) could deter me from the saga after that scene.
What. A. Masterpiece.
I don’t remember if we went for an ice cream at the “Heladería Venecia” after the movie, though. January is scorching summer in Buenos Aires, people. Don’t go visit Buenos Aires in January. But ice cream in Buenos Aires is as good as in Rome; of course, because most of the same “gelaterie” in Italy used to have a branch operating in Buenos Aires during the northern hemisphere winter. But I digress.
Also, Argentine VAT was already 20% back in 1981. Christ.
BTW I kept the program in the pages of my copy of the Spanish version of the novelized version of “The Return of the Jedi” by James Kahn.