Back to Africa

I keep meaning to link to this great post Bunmi wrote about the decline of African movie theaters, and one entrepreneur’s efforts to revive some of them, against the tides of the market.  This, in particular, struck a nerve:

In The Strand report, Sissako and the BBC’s Martin Vogle explore a run down cinema house in Bamako, which Sissako is trying to resurrect and they come across evidence of porn films shown towards the end of that cinema’s life. It recalls for me that last scene in Cinema Paradisowhere older Toto finds out the late Alfredo had left him a montage of all the kissing or explicit scenes they had been cutting out of film reels during his childhood.

There is a persistent rumor that I’m inclined to disbelieve, but that I’ve always hoped was true, that the movie theater in my hometown was, for a brief time, a burlesque hall.  If showing burlesque, or pornography, keeps theaters alive and in decent condition until a time when the residents want that communal and lonely experience of sitting in a darkened room with strangers and going away from themselves for a while, I’m all for it.  I may not be attached, communal television-watching, I may not care as much as I probably should about albums, but I remain deeply sentimental about going to the movies.