Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tribulations of a Moviegoer / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

Tribulations of a Moviegoer / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado
Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado, Translator: Adrian Rodriguez

There was a trend in Cuban born some years ago that redefined the
concept of film: el murcinema or murcinélago. In other words,

Maybe some of the filmgoers who don't visit the neighborhood or
countryside movie theaters don't know it, but there they are: those
hanging rats, that like unpleasant nocturnal surprises are hung over our
heads, with their threat of rabies, or a splash of excrement-feces,
sprayed in order to fertilize us like plants.

My experience with a big screen infested with these flying mammals, was
in the Guanabo movie theater. At the end of the film I looked for
somebody to warn and I found the same lady who sold us the tickets. I
told her that the theater had a bat infestation and she acted as if I
was saying that in Murcia, a city of Spain, there were a lot of lakes;
she opened her hands in supine harmony with the express of indifference
on her face. It wasn't necessary that she say anything else. Her, "So
what?" slapped me on both cheeks.

That's why I became a home filmaholic. This has a disadvantage, you have
to wait and "digest" a lot of sociopolitical pro-government propaganda
in the national television network before you can actually watch the
film. We can turn the TV on, at the time frame assigned to the program
you want to watch, but because there's no respect for the schedule or
there is not good timing for it, any way you have to endure the icy
winds of this long political winter of Cuba. Then we have to kill time
playing "True or False" waiting to enjoy the celluloid.

Some people say that the cinemas with bats are not new in our country;
that from many years ago the temperatures of the movie theaters are not
controlled because of their defective air-conditioning systems. The
bathrooms are in totally bad shape and lack hygiene, but the authorities
are blind to these facts, and if they do pay attention, it is to close
it down. The ones that are the showroom of the Cuban seventh art, and
where the festivals and different activities are celebrated, don't
suffer this lack of maintenance and disrepair. I guess that somebody
already made an inventory of the great amount of closed down movie
theaters in all the extension of our archipelago. What nobody can really
count is the amount of people who stopped going to the movies for these
reasons, not even the cultural and recreational pleasures that part of
the Cuban society can be enjoyed because of the inefficiencies and
indolence of the government.

Translated by Adrian Rodriguez

June 19 2011

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