Foreign But Not Exactly Strange

The Movie

By Henry Boy (

I was giving this article the deep and conscious planning that it deserved – opened a cold beer and scratched my chin for well over 30 seconds and I realized something. There are going to be many potential offshoots from the main story here. So what I will do is put those potential offshoots in bold italics and I will leave you, the reader (Notice how I put reader in singular. I’m putting out a little prayer that maybe someone got lost within the hyperlinks that they actually ended up reading this dribble.), to think about what I might want to say if I followed these offshoots. Think of them as potential hyperlinks to other stories.

Anyhow, enough of the preamble. I’m sitting at my hotel bar waiting for my date to turn up, sharing a laugh with the waiters as we watch a ‘working girl’ get impatient waiting for her contact for the evening to show up. I’m into a Carlsberg and spicy peanuts when in comes my date looking splendid (Philippine women certainly has their fair share of good looks). Bottoms up on the beer and out to the taxi hustle (see last issue’s story for taxi tactics).

To the cinema, through the crowd and to the ticket desk to see that the movie is literally just starting, so we dash up the stairs and into the second night’s screening of the Matrix. Even in the dark it was easy to tell there was a lot of people there so we jumped into seats just two rows back from the walkway and herein lies the error of our way.

Filipinos have a different concept of movie going.

If I turn up at the cinema in more than, say, ten, fifteen or so minutes after the main feature has started then I would go do something else for a while and catch the next session. Even better, if I can, I will telephone the cinema and ask what time the screenings are or check the adverts in the newspaper. I mean, who would want to walk in, sit down, and start watching a movie that has been showing for ten, fifteen, or more minutes? Maybe if it was the second time seeing the movie, but Matrix had only just been released.

So, as we watched what was a pretty damn fine movie, this endless stream of people dribbled into the cinema. I mean, they dribbled in all throughout the movie. Some started watching the movie halfway through; others had the unusual pleasure of watching how the movie ended before watching how the ending came about!

Others, many of them actually, decided to leave during the movie. I’m hoping that the ones who left had actually been there since the previous session and where getting more value for their pesos by watching part of the movie again. This sort of makes more sense to me, but the ones turning up at all times during the movie, well I found myself shaking my head.

I love good movies and I like to watch them how they were made to be experienced, from the start to the end. Perhaps I am being too conventional here, perhaps there is something to be said to this staggered approach to movie viewing, but why do I doubt it?

So as the last of the credits rolled down the screen and my date and I made our exit I looked back to the audience and marveled at the people settling in to watch the first half of the movie that they had already seen the last half of.


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