Night vision technology vs. the eye-patch — harrrrrrrrr!

This year Toronto’s festival-goers have developed a curious ritual. At the beginning of every film, before the string of sponsorship trailers, there’s a stern panel of black-and-white text warning the audience about penalties for video piracy, preceded by an announcement that “night vision technology” may be used during the screening to detect anyone trying to pirate a film with a camera. Which brings on a chorus of mock pirate yells from the audience — “Aaaaaaargh!

Once something like this gets established, it’s like virus that just keeps replicating. In the vast press screenings at the Cannes Film Festival, as the lights go down and the hushes, inevitably someone yells, “Raoul!” The joke dates back to a screening where someone looking for his friend, Raoul, in the darkness of the theatre simply yelled his name. Years later, Raoul! still gets a laugh every time.