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A funny film

They decided to have a quiet, normal evening. They ordered a delivery curry, and Marcus went to the newsagent’s to get a video, but it took him ages: everything he looked at seemed to have something about death in it, and he didn’t want to watch anything about death. He didn’t want his mum to watch anything about death, although he wasn’t sure why. What did he think would happen if his mum saw Steven Seagal blast some guys in the head with a gun? That wasn’t the kind of death they were trying not to think about tonight. The kind of death they were trying not to think about was the quiet, sad, real kind, not the noisy, who-cares kind. People thought that kids couldn’t tell the difference, but they could, of course. In the end he got Groundhog Day, which he was pleased with, because it was new on video and it said it was funny on the back of the box.
They didn’t start watching it until the food arrived. Fiona, his mum, served it up, and Marcus wound the tape on past the trailers and adverts so that they would be ready to go the moment they took their first bite of poppadum. The back of the box was right: it was a funny film. This guy was stuck in the same day, over and over again, although they didn’t really explain how that happened, which Marcus thought was weak — he liked to know how things worked. Maybe it was based on a true story, and there had been this guy who was stuck in the same day over and over again, and he didn’t know himself how it had happened. This alarmed Marcus. Supposing he, Markus, woke up tomorrow and it was yesterday again, with the duck and the hospital and everything? Best not to think about it.
But then the film changed, and became all about suicide. This guy was so fed up with being stuck in the same day over and over for hundreds of years that he tried to kill himself. It was no good, though. Whatever he did, he still woke up the next morning, except it wasn’t the next morning. It was this morning, the morning he always woke up on.
Marcus was really angry. They hadn’t said anything about suicide on the video box, and yet this film had a bloke trying to kill himself about three thousand times. OK, he didn’t succeed, but that didn’t make it funny. His mum hadn’t succeeded either, and nobody felt like making a comedy film about it. Why wasn’t there any warning? There must be loads of people who wanted to watch a good comedy just after they’d experienced nervous breakdowns. Supposing they all chose this one?
At first Marcus was quiet. But then he couldn’t stand it any more, and he turned the film off with the remote.
‘Could we watch the rest of the film now? It’s funny. Come on, don’t be silly!’
This was great. He was trying to save his mum from watching a man committing suicide for hours on end, and she was calling him an idiot.
She was driving him mad. ‘He’s spent the last five minutes trying to kill himself. Like you did. I didn’t want you to watch it.’
‘Ah.’ She reached for the remote control and turned the TV off. ‘I’m sorry. I was being pretty thick, wasn’t I? I just never made the connection at all.’
Marcus wasn’t getting his mother at all. Right up until recently he had always thought she was … not perfect, because they had arguments, and she didn’t let him do things that he wanted to do, and so on, but he had never admitted she was wrong. Even when they had arguments: she was just saying the things that mothers were supposed to say. But at the moment, he couldn’t understand her at all. Now, when he had been expecting her to be twice as miserable as she had been before, she was completely normal.

ВОПРОС 1: According to the author, children can tell the difference between …
1) action films and vividly dramatic films.
2) somebody’s tragic death in reality and light-hearted killing in action films.
3) comic themes and serious death-related problems.
4) adult issues and children’s ones.

ВОПРОС 2: Which of the following statements is TRUE, according to the text?
1) Marcus hoped the story line was based on an unreal event.
2) Marcus found it exciting to be able to experience the emotions of one and the same day over and over again.
3) Marcus was frightened by the possibility of having to relive once again the sad events he tried to push to the back of his mind.
4) Marcus finds it difficult to relate to the main character’s problems.

ВОПРОС 3: The attitude of the author towards the film may be described as …
1) disapproving.
2) positive.
3) indifferent.
4) ambivalent.

ВОПРОС 4: According to the author, potential viewers should have been …
1) warned against getting the video, in the first place.
2) told the whole plot of the film in advance.
3) warned that the film was X-rated.
4) warned about a tragic twist in the story line.

ВОПРОС 5: The thing that struck Marcus was that …
1) his mum quite liked the film.
2) Fiona had problem understanding the plot.
3) the film made his mum even more depressed.
4) she couldn’t tell the difference between fantasy and real-life stuff.

ВОПРОС 6: Fiona’s sensible reaction to the film’s events proved that ..
1) she was being pretty thick.
2) she didn’t care about her son’s feelings.
3) she was fully recovered after her nervous breakdown.
4) she had a thick skin.

ВОПРОС 7: Marcus couldn’t understand his mum because …
1) her behavior was unpredictable.
2) she allowed him to do things he wanted to do.
3) she was just saying the things that all mothers were supposed to say.
4) she was being rude.

ВОПРОС 1: – 2
ВОПРОС 2: – 3
ВОПРОС 3: – 1
ВОПРОС 4: – 4
ВОПРОС 5: – 1
ВОПРОС 6: – 3
ВОПРОС 7: – 1