Thursday, April 5, 2012

Watching films in Montevideo

Spending a few days in the suburb Libertad, we were back to Montevideo at another host Daniel. Before we talked more about the stay with him, there were more about this city. We dropped by her international film festival, which the tourist information center did not even know about that. According to Felipe, our friend who met us there, Montevideo has the fifth largest film archive in the world. People could pay a monthly fee to be a member of the film club in the city, then they could watch films in some cinemas for free or at discounted price. He as a member recalled his childhood spending hours watching films. What an enjoyable childhood was that if we could do the same in Hong Kong. We got the brochure and read through like the one for Hong Kong film festival. The scheduling and structure of the brochures ( were quite similar: having themes of particular director, actor/ess (it was Julia Binoche), gala of international films, short films, cartoons, documentary, theme of humanism with Amnesty International etc. Member of the film club only paid an extra of U$130 (about HK52) to watch most films for free and other at U$20. I would be a very happy person if I grew up in a city like this which encouarges film-watching so much. Children can also become film experts from early their early age.

The film we watched was a documentary about a group of mother and family members of political prisoners who were detented and disappeared during dictatorship in this country in 70s. They were transferred between the military governments of Argentina and Uruguay, which co-ordinated with each other (or two birds make a flock). These mothers and families kept demonstrating for justice. We asked Felipe if it was a widespread movement in Montevideo, he said no. Only once a while they shouted out and people supported them. However, to claim responsibility of the military official in the past would imply uplifting the current defense department. Therefore it was a systemic issue that the government should claim an overall remembrance policy. So far not much was done and time kept depleting the chance of facing it directly, when effort needs to pump in continually educating younger generation. I imagine that it would be the same inside mainland China as its dictatorship would not even admit responsibility. Hong Kong became the last base for non-government organization to keep commemorizing although it has become ritualistic (better than none). When shall be our chance of getting justice for June 4 massacre ?

Our second film was supposed to be “Monkey sandwich” by a choreographer Maria knew. She looked forward to the film. However, all thing happen in South America, especially when one puts expectation. The spanish subtitle was 3 minutes ahead of the german/english film that the audience was upset that they kept going forward and complained to the staff. some left. how they solved the problem was to stop the film at the middle (hey, we could still understand !). Either we could get refund or go to see another film. We sneaked into another theatre and it was a hollywood movie of Moore playing as a terminal cancer patient and how she was tackling life before death. At the end we could not sneak into another theatre for another festival film (punk movie by Macedonia). We both were quite upset in this cinema experience: Maria could not watch the film she wanted; I was tortured by the hollywood formula that always it was a happy ending and Whoopie Goldberg playing god (again, I recalled more than once that she was playing something like that).

Only the salted-fried chicken kidney and beer helped us settle the upsetness that night. Anyhow watching films here was a part of life here and that made us like Montevideo more.

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