Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A film night for the kids

I had an idea this morning upon exiting the gate of our property and seeing all the children across the road as their mothers encouraged them to greet me in Tetum. Why don’t we hold a film/DVD night for the kids in our immediate neighbourhood? We have at least six appropriate films to choose from (Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the doco March of the Penguins, and the Hayao Miyazaki films: Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle). I thought we could ask “our family” if we could hold it at their place as they have a bigger TV and we could borrow a DVD player from my “malae” colleague (also it would be inappropriate to have it in our house; the kids would see our possessions and deduce quite correctly, that we live very different and prosperous lives). All the children in our immediate neighbourhood are related to one another so we can limit who we invite to this one extended family; although of course Daniel has since pointed out that word will soon get out and the hundreds of children who live in Rai Kotu will descend en masse on “our family’s” home! Still, it’s worth asking Senyor and Senyora what they think.

As to the films, we have a small dilemma in that although spoken in English or Japanese, they have subtitles available in Bahasa Indonesia. But, most of the children probably cannot read yet and if they can, probably aren’t fluent in Bahasa as it is slowly being phased out of the school curriculum (to be replaced with Portuguese!). But the subtitles are not available in Tetum (and never will be)! Mmmmm. Daniel thinks the kids would be just as happy to watch the images and I probably agree with him.

My first task is to research the classifications of each film on the Internet to see which film is appropriate to which age group. The problem is even if we invite a certain age group, others older and younger will probably turn up anyway! (It’s very hard to restrict certain groups from viewing even the television because doors and (if they have them) windows are always open in Timor and people crowd around watching.)

I’d also like to show the Australian film Hating Alison Ashley to the teenagers in the neighbourhood as there is not much creative cinematic output available for young adults in Timor (I would like them to see some Australian screen culture too).
However, I am torn about my idea: on the one hand I’m enthusiastic and on the other, I worry that my neighbours will then start to take liberties with my private space and time and this is what I fear the most (it would be perfectly reasonable for them to do so, it’s a communitarian culture not an individualistic one like mine which values privacy). We have kept pretty much to ourselves since moving in to our home and I worry that once we start to do something like this, there is the expectation for more. If we go ahead with the idea and it is successful, I wouldn’t mind running a film night once a month but I don’t want people to start knocking on my door for chats and “can I borrow?” What do you think? Post me a comment.
Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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