Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

I made my first trip to Trinidad's first American-style multiplex, Movie Towne (the "e" is, um, silent) a few weeks ago, but it was only this evening, on my second visit, that I decided to note my impressions. The reason, perhaps, had to do with the film in question. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (aka Harry Hits Puberty) was the movie I saw on my first trip, an appropriately grand piece of entertainment that seemed to fit right in with the experience and somehow not worth the mention. This evening's film, however was not a Hollywood blockbuster (though every other film on was) but an Australian drama, Rabbit Proof Fence. Adapted from the book of the same name and based on true events, the film tells the story of three half Aborigine, half white girls who were taken from their Aboriginal homeland in the 1930s, as part of a policy of forced assimilation of "half castes" by the Australian government among white Australians.

Not the sort of film you usually see at a local cinema (intelligent, non-American, etc.) and one of the reasons I'm inclined to be charitable to the Movie Towne enterprise. Yes, it's tacky, gaudy, overdone Americana, an architectural and stylistic nightmare, and yes, $35 for a film ($25 on Tuesdays) when most of our Trini lives a double's cost us $20 takes some getting used to, not to mention $9 popcorn. But consider: a parking lot that is actually part of the cinema in question. The ability to purchase tickets beforehand. Comfortable chairs. Theatre floors that aren't eager to have your footwear become one with them. Toilets you don't have to hold your nose to go into. Comfortable chairs. And yes, the chance to see an Australian film about Aborigines in the 1930s. And a very good one at that. More films of this calibre, non-American or American, and I just might be willing to part with $35 more often.

posted by Jonathan | 12:05 AM 0 comments


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