Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Tonight at Fundacao Oriente: "2 Filhos de Francisco"

One of Cinema Lorosa'e's biggest hits of the season in the districts: "2 Filhos de Francisco" is a charming family musical film. In Portuguese with English subtitles. All proceeds directly support our free Outdoor screenings in Dili and the Districts. All sessions begin at 8pm at Fundacao Oriente, tickets include popcorn and are $15 adult, $10 for kids under 15, and are available from Katuas Hotel and Restaurant next door.


 Next week: Thursday, December 15th - "Red Dog". Let's just say: if you like dogs, you'll LOVE this!


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Cinema Lorosa'e continues indoors during the "wet"

Cinema Lorosa’e is moving indoors during the wet season. We are presenting a program of international films at the Fundacao Oriente Theatrette every Thursday. All proceeds directly support our free Outdoor screenings in Dili and the Districts. All sessions begin at 8pm at Fundacao Oriente, tickets include popcorn and are $15 adult, $10 for kids under 15, and are available from Katuas Hotel and Restaurant next door.


Outdoor screenings: over three months our team has screened in Dili and throughout the districts to over 45,000 people! The response especially in the districts has been profound, with evenings of a few thousand people on a soccer field enjoying a film together a wonderful sight. 

Next year we will continue the program, but with more focus on the districts, and plan to screen 4 nights a week in the districts and once a week in Dili, from May through to November. In the meantime we will bring the best of World Cinema to Dili. 

  

Thursday, 24 November 2011

November 25-27th: Soccer-themed weekend

This weekend: "Africa United" at Sunset Fair tonight. NO Government House screening on Saturday, because of rock concert. But on SUNDAY we'll be showing "Barefoot Dream" = the Korean movie about soccer that was filmed in Timor-Leste. Now that's a MUST SEE! We are loving our soccer this weekend! And BOTH FILMS are in TETUM with English subtitles.




In "A Barefoot Dream", Coach Kim Won-Kang is a former soccer player who failed to manage his business - post soccer career. After his business goes under, Kim Won-Kang travels to the small country of Timor-Leste to coach a youth soccer team. The Timor-Leste youth soccer team has been in existence for only one year but will go on to win two international youth soccer events with the help of Coach Kim Shin-Hwan. Based on true story of former soccer player Won Kwang who went on to coach a youth soccer team in East Timor. Filming began November 2009 in East Timor, then moved to South Korea, and finished shooting on January 28th, 2010 in Hiroshima, Japan.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Wrapping up our tour of the districts: Lospalos and Trilolo (Baucau)

Dark clouds mass over a sacred house (Uma Lulik) in Lospalos
As the rainy season started to establish itself at the beginning of November, we set out on our final trip to the districts: Lospalos, in the eastern extremity of the country, and a tiny village near Timor-Leste's second city, Baucau. 

Lospalos is renowned for its especially fine sacred houses - "uma lulik" in Tetum - which are at the heart of Timor-Leste's traditional animist rites and which have become a cultural icon of the country itself. The imagery of the Timorese sacred house is so strong that echoes of this traditional symbol find their way into modern architecture - as well as being represented in designs for tourist souvenirs such as t-shirts and jewellery. 

The  Uma Lulik "look" grafted onto a modern building 
Over 2,000 people gathered at the local soccer field, to watch that Cinema Lorosa'e favourite, the Brazilian movie "Dois Filhos de Francisco", always a hit in the districts of Timor-Leste and an opportunity for a community sing-song, as the music in the film is so popular. And, as usual, the most frequently asked question after the show was "When are you coming back?".

Happy Lospalos youngsters
Next stop: Baucau.  When we checked in with the local authorities in this charming coastal town, we were asked to take Cinema Lorosa'e to a remote village in the district called Trilolo, rather than screen in Baucau itself. The people of Trilolo had actually never seen a film on a big screen before, or even on television, as there is no power supply to the village. Spectators gathered even as we were setting up the equipment; when the giant screen was inflated to its full extent, the children squealed with delight and amazement: "It's touching the sky!" one said.
  
Cinema Lorosa'e's Angelo entertains the public with a "setting up
the equipment show" 
Willing helpers impatient the get the show started
"It's touching the sky!" - the people of Trilolo pose for
photos under the giant screen
An excited crowd of 2500 adults and children improvised whatever seating they could, using floor mats, squatting on their heels, or just sitting cross-legged on the damp ground, shrugging off the heavy dew as they settled in to watch the Jackie Chan film“Karate Kid”, another winner in Timor-Leste with its blend of action and responsible martial arts philosophy. 



The audience cheered all the way through the film and begged for another movie, saying they would be happy to stay up all night. But we had to make an early start to our journey back to Dili  and it was with heavy hearts that we packed up the equipment and left our friends in Trilolo behind. 

This year, we've travelled all over this spectacularly beautiful country, surprising communities in some of the  most remote corners of the land with a sudden chance to be entertained for the evening.  This is surely why movies were invented. We've been able to share the laughter and the thrills of films like "Karate Kid", and the collective feelings of sorrow aroused by the movie "Balibo", which deals with one of the darkest moments in the country's history.  Now, as the mountains of Timor-Leste are wreathed with cloud and the rains start to pound down in earnest, we can only hope that we'll have the opportunity next year to continue bringing movies to the masses with Cinema Lorosa'e. It is the best job in the world. 


A special thank you to all of the Cinema Lorosa'e sponsors for their support:  Sun Theatre Yarraville, TOLL, The Magic Sound Company, UNMIT/"Ba Pas", Turismo Timor-Leste, The Office of the President of Timor-Leste, Timor Telecom, Rentlo Car Hire, the Embassy of Brazil in Dili. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

This weekend's screenings: November 18-19-20 "Africa United" in TETUM!

We're very excited to be showing the movie "Africa United" all this weekend in a specially-dubbed TETUM version (thanks to the Magic Sound Company). It'll be playing at the Sunset Fair on Friday, and Government House on Saturday and Sunday. Don't miss it!

In this uplifting, family-friendly adventure, a handful of children are determined to make their dreams a reality against long odds. Dudu (Eriya Ndayambaje) is a young boy with energy and imagination to spare who is best friends with Fabrice (Roger Nsengiyumva), who is a few years older and has an impressive talent for soccer. Dudu and Fabrice live in a village in Rwanda, and when the schedule for 2010 World Cup soccer tournament is announced, Dudu suggests he and Fabrice should attend the big event in person. While neither realizes just how far they have to go and Fabrice knows his mother would never approve of such a thing, they decide to give it a try in hopes of seeing some of the games in person and giving Fabrice an opportunity to show off his footwork to some of his heroes. Dudu and Fabrice set out to cover the 3,000 miles on foot, and they pick up a few fellow travelers on the way, including a boy running away from his life as a child soldier (Yves Dusenge) and a young girl who had been forced into prostitution (Sherrie Silver). The journey becomes all the more difficult the further they go, and en route Dudu's friends learn he has a secret with life changing consequences. (Mark Deming, Rovi - http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/africa_united_2010/)


Thursday, 10 November 2011

This weekend's movies: "Planet of the Apes" and "Avatar"

This weekend's screenings take us into worlds of fantasy, action and adventure: "Planet of the Apes" (Sunset Fair on Friday, November 11th and at Government House on Sunday, November 13th) and "Avatar" (at Government House on Saturday, November 12th). Both movies are in English with Bahasa Indonesia subtitles. 

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"  was directed by Rupert Wyatt and stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Andy Serkis. It is loosely based on the original 1968 and 2001 classic movie series. In this new version, a single act of both compassion and arrogance leads to a war unlike any other -- and to the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The Oscar-winning visual effects team that brought to life the worlds of Avatar and Lord of the Rings is breaking new ground, creating a computer generated imagery ape that delivers a dramatic performance of unprecedented emotion and intelligence, and epic battles on which rest the upended destinies of man and primate. 



"Avatar" follows Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a war veteran who gets called to the depths of space to pick up the job of his slain twin brother for the scientific arm of a megacorporation looking to mine the planet of Pandora for a valued ore. Unfortunately the biggest deposit of the prized substance lies underneath the home of the Na'vi, a ten-foot-tall, blue-skinned native tribe who have been at war with the security arm of the company, lead by Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). Because of the planet's hostile atmosphere, humans have genetically grown half-alien/half-human bodies which they can jack their consciousnesses into and explore the world in. Since Jake's brother already had an incredibly expensive Avatar grown for him, he's able to connect with it using the same DNA code and experience first-hand the joys of Pandora while giving the scientific team, led by Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) and Norm Spellman (Joel David Moore), some well-needed protection against the planet's more hostile forces.On a chance meeting after getting separated from his team, Jake's Avatar is rescued by Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), a Na'vi princess, who brings him into her tribe in order to give the humans a second chance at relating to this new environment. When word gets out of his increasing time with the alien species, Quaritch enlists Jake to do some reconnaissance for the company, as they'd like to persuade the tribe to move their home before taking more drastic measures to harness the treasure hidden below. Yet as Jake becomes one with the tribe and begins to understand the secrets of Pandora, his conscience is torn between his new adopted world and the wheelchair-bound one awaiting him when the psychic connection to his Avatar is broken. Soon battle lines are drawn and Jake needs to decide which side he will fight on when the time comes.

The revolutionary motion-capture system created for the film allows the facial expressions of actors to be captured as a virtual camera system enables them to see what their computer-generated counterparts will be seeing in the film. (Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi - http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/avatar/


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A day at the races... and Maubara-Lissa, Liquica and Maubara

Over the past two weeks, Cinema Lorosa'e has had some last-minute schedule changes for the best-possible reason: we were invited to screen at some special events. As our reputation spreads throughout the country, there's a growing feeling that a movie screening is a great way to end a day's work - or sport. So last weekend we were excited when the call came from the Timorese Horse Racing Association, the  ACPCC-TL, with an invitation to show a film after the inauguration of Timor-Leste's brand new race track in the border town of Batugade.  

Horse racing is a strong Timorese tradition; often to reach remote areas across the rugged mountain landscapes the only way to travel is on horseback, so equine handling skills come naturally. At the inaugural event for the Batugade Hippodrome (billed as "the Ascot" of Timor-Leste,  after the famous race in England) both the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, and the President, Jose Ramos-Horta had their own horses competing  in the races.  


President Jose Ramos-Horta (right) presents a cup to
a young Timorese jockey, as ACPCC-TL
President Fernando Encarnacao looks on
(Photo courtesy ACPCC-TL)



When his ceremonial duties were over,  President Ramos-Horta also found time to watch the movies: the premiere of an appropriate short film about a young girl who is a jockey, followed by the evening's feature, "Gulliver's Travels".  We were glad that the President had the opportunity to see the screen - which is on loan from his office - put to good use. So many people gathered to watch the movie - around 5,000 - that it was simply impossible to count them. 

It's impossible to photograph a 5,000-strong crowd in the dark!
The previous week's screening also coincided with Ramos-Horta's schedule: this time we were invited to show a movie in a tiny mountain village called Maubara-Lissa, where the population of 7 other nearby villages was gathering for an impending visit by the President and the Minister of State Administration. We were originally planning to hold our screening in Gleno, Ermera, but all of the local dignitaries there were occupied with the Maubara-Lissa event,  so they suggested we join them there instead, to provide entertainment for the crowds.  This community and its neighbours don't often receive high-level guests like the President and government ministers, so they were busy preparing a warm traditional welcome for them, to offset the chilly weather in this location, which sits at an altitude of 1,500 metres.  

A ceremonial parade through the symbolic archway erected to welcome
the special guests
Rehearsing the formal greeting ceremony for the VIP visitors
Young women practice playing the "babadok" traditional drum 
An eerie - and chilly -  mist descends on Maubara-Lissa
Despite the freezing weather, a crowd of 1,600 shivering people braved the cold to watch "Balibo", the movie that has moved and thrilled thousands of Timorese people during the Cinema Lorosa'e season, eager to watch  this true-to-life cinematic portrayal of pivotal events in the country's history at the time of the Indonesian invasion. After seeing the enthusiasm of the cheering crowd, the Sub-district Administrator requested that Cinema Lorosa'e visit more remote areas instead of the big city because, he said, "the people in districts have no other entertainment and it is a more effective form of disseminating information". 

Huddled in their traditional hand-woven "tais", people brave the cold to watch "Balibo"
The people of Liquica also echoed the comments from the authorities in Maubara. After watching our screening of two short films, "Tour de Timor 2010" and "Vagabond", followed by that Timorese favourite, "Karate Kid", the crowd begged for more, reluctant to move when the show was over. 

Enthusiasm in Liquica: "Events like these should happen more often
in the Districts, not only in Dili!"
Maubara: a pretty coastal town with a centuries-old Dutch fort
Our next stop was Maubara, for a screening of "Balibo". Some of the events depicted in the film actually took place here and were re-enacted on this location when the movie was shot, so we were not surprised when a very emotional crowd of 900 people came to watch it in the town square.

Three generations watch "Balibo"  
After the Maubara screening, many of the local people expressed their appreciation to us for the opportunity to see this important film, saying that it was a good way for the new generation to get to know some of the country's  history. This has happened almost everywhere we have travelled. Sometimes, the journeys are exhausting, driving for long hour after hour over very bad roads, unpacking, setting up, de-rigging, loading the car again and setting off for the next remote corner of Timor-Leste.  But then, you see the happy faces, the emotions, the excitement of the crowds and it's all worthwhile. We've seen some of the country's most beautiful scenery, participated in events of national and international importance and experienced the joy of achieving Cinema Lorosa'e's most important objective: bringing movies to the masses. 

Extraordinary scenery on the way up to the hills in Liquica district 


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Movies at Government House this weekend, November 5th & 6th

NOTE: THERE IS NO SCREENING AT THE SUNSET FAIR THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH BECAUSE THE EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO PUBLIC HOLIDAYS.

We're screening as usual at Government House, though, on Saturday and Sunday at 7pm. This week it's "Hotel Rwanda".


"Hotel Rwanda" tackles one of the most horrifically ugly events in recent history, when the Hutu extremists of Rwanda initiated a terrifying campaign of genocide, massacring hundreds of thousands of minority Tutsis (who had been given power by the departed Belgian colonists), while the rest of the world looked on and did nothing. Don Cheadle stars as Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager at the fancy Les Milles Collines hotel in Kigali. Paul is a Hutu, and a very successful businessman who smoothly greases the wheels, making powerful connections in all strata of Rwandan life. His wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo of Aeon Flux), is a Tutsi. She urges Paul to use his influence to help local Tutsis, who are being harassed and beaten with increasing frequency, but Paul will only use the political capital he's built up to help his own family, if and when they need it. Soon enough, the violence escalates, and the Hutus begin their genocide of the Tutsis. European guests and staff at the hotel are flown out of the country, and Paul is left in charge. He finds that his conscience won't allow him to watch as the innocent are slaughtered, and before long, the hotel has become a well-appointed refugee camp. Paul is seen as a traitor by some, putting his life in danger, and the predicament of his "guests" grows more precarious every day, but despite good intentions on the part of a journalist (Joaquin Phoenix) and a UN peacekeeping colonel (Nick Nolte), the rest of the world is not eager to intervene and stop the massacre. Hotel Rwanda was directed by Irish filmmaker Terry George (Some Mother's Son), who co-wrote the script with Keir Pearson.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

What's On in Dili - November

PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO SCREENING AT THE SUNSET FAIR ON 
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH BECAUSE THE EVENT IS CANCELLED DUE
TO A PUBLIC HOLIDAY

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Oecusse - Cinema Lorosa'e At Sea


When the Portuguese first arrived at the island of Timor in the sixteenth century, they made their historic landing  in Oecusse. Cinema Lorosa'e set foot there for the first time last week, for two nights' screenings in this most remote district of the Timor-Leste. Surrounded on three sides by land borders with the Indonesian territory of West Timor, Oecusse is most easily reached by sea, so the Cinema Lorosa'e team loaded the van onto the ferry that runs twice a week between the Oecusse capital Pante Makassar and Dili.


After an overnight journey of more than 12 hours, Cinema Lorosa'e unloaded the now-famous van from the ferry onto the wharf at Pantai Makassar and went to check out the screening location: here, as is often the case, the community football field.


There's not much entertainment in Oecusse, so the people there were thrilled to learn that they would be able to go to the movies for two nights running. We decided that it was really important to get the word out to as many people as possible so that they could all come to the screenings. Not many people in Timor-Leste's remote areas have access to media, so we often work through the local District Administrators who use their formal and informal communication networks to get the information out. In Oecusse, the Timor-Leste Police and the United Nations Police also pitched in to help, the latter making sure that there was an announcement on the UNPOL community police radio. The Church, also, are very supportive of  the Cinema Lorosa'e programme wherever we travel. The day before the screenings were scheduled, if just so happened that there was a great celebration for a local priest's 25th anniversary of taking his vows, attended by all three of Timor-Leste's bishops. So an announcement was made to the guests at the huge party and the word spread even further.

Having resolved communications issues, it was then down to arranging transport for people from the outlying villages, and most importantly, the local orphanage at Topu Honis, 6km away from the capital.  Enter Australian expat, Mark Heywood, whose wife Veronica is from Oecusse - the couple worked all of their connections for Cinema Lorosa'e and  mobilised any vehicles they could lay their hands on. The orphans were literally trucked in for the event.  


And so it was that the first night's screening saw an audience of 4,200 cheering people crammed into the  soccer field to watch "Balibo". Heywood and his family set themselves up in style with folding chairs, snacks and - as any self-respecting Australian would require - an "eskie" full of cold drinks to last throughout the movie.



After the drama of "Balibo", on the second night we screened the musical movie "Os 2 Filhos de Francisco", which, since it was first supplied by the embassy for the Brazilian Cultural night at the "Sunset Fair",  has turned out to be one of the most requested films of the season. 


It is certainly a fine movie, but initially we wondered why - and how - people in some of the most distant corners of Timor-Leste knew enough about it to request that we screen it. Then we learned that many people had heard the film's songs on the radio it was the music that lay behind the popular demand for the film, which they'd never had to opportunity to watch. That explained why the 2,900-strong second-night crowd enjoyed a community sing-song as their favourite tunes were performed before them on the big screen. Incidentally, fans of Brazilian music can buy the original soundtrack of the movie, which tells the story of Zeze de Camargo and Luciano, two of the major sertanejo-style Brazilian stars, and features songs from  Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethania, Ney Matogrosso, Nando Reis, Wanessa Camrago, Chitaozinho & Xororo, among others.


After the show, many people approached Cinema Lorosa'e's Maria Alves to give their thanks for the event and especially for screening "Balibo"; they said that it gave the people of Oecusse the opportunity to learn more about what really happened during the Indonesian invasion of Timor-Leste in 1975. 

Heywood was also impressed with the technical quality of the screenings, the sound and the sheer size of the inflatable screen, which amazed his children. "My kids loved it! It's a brilliant idea, it's great to be able to sit out and watch a movie... something we never expected to do in Oecusse. But that screen! I can't wait for you to come back."

Heywood's wish for a return visit by Cinema Lorosa'e was one shared by many people in Oecusse. As one local journalist put it: "We sometimes feel that we are neglected. I appeal to you on behalf of the people of Oecusse: do not stop this project. Please come back. Don't be like the others who promise to return and then they never do". 

And that remark still echoed in the minds of  the Cinema Lorosa'e team as they gathered on the deck of the ferry for the return to Dili, to watch the beautiful hills of this enchanting district recede into the distance.





Tuesday, 25 October 2011

This weekend's movies: We're feeling sporty, with "Goal" in Dili and a special screening at the horse races in Batugade

We couldn't resist the opportunity to hold a special movie  screening at the Timor-Leste border town of Batugade this SATURDAY (October 29th, programme TBA) because everyone will be there for the inauguration of Timor-Leste's new horse racing track (see http://fotos.sapo.pt/atauro_oan/fotos/?uid=HOC5wo3JJlcmogiKV39e).  Horses and racegoers from other Indonesian islands and neighbouring West Timor (Indonesia) will be joining the newly-formed Timor-Leste Racing Association for the opening ceremony and 2-day race event. 

So that means that our Government House show on Saturday will be CANCELLED.  But it's business as usual at the Sunset Fair on Friday (October 28th) and at Government House on Sunday (October 29th), where we'll be screening "Goal" - which is going to delight Dili's many football (soccer) fans. (English with Bahasa Indonesia subtitles).

Coming up in Dili in November:  "Wallace & Gromit" (subt  Bahasa Indonesia),  "Hotel Rwanda" (subt Bahasa Indonesia), "Planet of the Apes" (subt Bahasa Indonesia), "Avatar" (subt Bahasa Indonesia), and a return to the football theme with "Africa United" IN TETUM. Watch this space for programme details.



"Goal" tells the story of  Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker), a footballer who is given the chance of a lifetime. But he must leave his family, his life in Los Angeles and everything that he knows to travel halfway around the globe to England and into a completely foreign world – the exciting, fast-paced and glamorous world of international soccer.

As an underprivileged Mexican-American immigrant growing up in the poor section of Los Angeles, Santiago seemed destined to follow his father’s path in life: laboring at menial jobs to earn just enough money to support his family. Naturally gifted, his amazing talent on the soccer field was wasted in recreation league games while he could only dream of playing on the world stage of professional soccer. But when a British scout (Stephen Dillane) discovers his talent and gets him a tryout with one of England’s premier soccer clubs, Newcastle United, Santiago must choose between his father’s fate and his own destiny.

Now alone in a world where soccer is a religion and players are gods, this underdog must prove that he’s got the talent and determination to make it amongst the best in the world.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Movies this weekend in Dili: "Thor" and "How To Train Your Dragon"

The Cinema Lorosa'e team is on its way back from three nights' movie screenings in the remote Timor-Leste exclave of Oecusse, where more than 3,000 people turned up to watch the shows. More on this later. However, because they will still be en route on Friday, there is NO Sunset Fair movie this week. 

But we'll be back on the case on Saturday and Sunday at Government House. On Saturday, we'll be screening "Thor" and on Sunday "How To Train Your Dragon".  Both evenings the show starts at 7pm.

The epic adventure Thor spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the mystical realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As a result, Thor is banished to Earth where he is forced to live among humans. When the most dangerous villain of his world sends its darkest forces to invade Earth, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero. (C) Paramount Pictures.


In "How To Train Your Dragon", the son of a Viking chief must capture a dragon in order to mark his passage into manhood and prove his worthiness to the tribe. The movie, directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois' is an adaptation of Cressida Cowell's popular children's book. Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse provide voices for the DreamWorks Animation production.(from http://www.rottentomatoes.com,  Jason Buchanan, Rovi)


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Ainaro, Same, Aileu... and a "Balibo-a-thon" in Dili

Click to enlarge

After our recent trip to Timor-Leste's border territory close to neighbouring Indonesia to show "Balibo" in Balibo, last week we headed west again: this time to the high mountains of the country's interior, to Ainaro, Same and Aileu. This is the part of the country where much of Timor-Leste's famous organic coffee is grown, and where the highest peak, Mt. Ramelau punches through the clouds to soar 2,963 metres above the majestic scenery of the surrounding districts. The climate in this part of Timor-Leste is markedly different from that of the coastal strip: it's cool - even cold, at some times of year - and the wet season comes early. The signs of seasonal change were already evident in Ainaro, which was shrouded by fog on the day of the screening. 

The weather did not deter the people of Ainaro. Excitement was running high as we set up our equipment. Local youngsters offered to help us to put up the big screen, impatient to see the start of the evening's programme.  A 1,400-strong crowd packed into the Town Square to watch the Jackie Chan movie, "The Karate Kid". At the end, nobody wanted to move: the moviegoers asked for the Timorese short comedy film, "Vagabond", written and directed by Bety Reis, to be shown again. Encore!

Ainaro youngsters literally "learn the ropes" of outdoor cinema
as they help the Cinema Lorosa'e team set up the big screen
 

Ainaro kids don't mind cycling in the dark to go to the movies

Full house in a rather damp Ainaro town square

The local authorities in Ainaro were so happy with the event, they said that they hoped that Cinema Lorosa'e would return for more screenings. Then it was time to set out for a drive through stunning mountain scenery for the show in Same. 

Creative engineering: a mountain stream is channeled by a bamboo acqueduct

Beautiful Maubisse: a hill station for hikers aiming to climb Mount Ramelau

Rocky mountain roads take their toll on the tyres 
In Same, the screening took place in the basketball court at the Catholic school with a crowd of 900 people. We travel with a selection of films and usually let the community choose what they'd like us to show. In Same, we had suggested "Bend It Like Beckham", as soccer is hugely popular in Timor-Leste. But Jackie Chan is even more popular, following his 2008 visit to the country, and the people of Same requested "Karate Kid". Local authorities also approved of the choice of movie; Timor-Leste has had its share of trouble from so-called "martial arts gangs" - often young people are drawn to the "art" of fighting but are not indoctrinated in the philosophy and strict discipline to go with the moves. Same's community leaders said that they liked the film because that it shows the proper practice of martial arts and acts as a vehicle for Jackie Chan's message of peace; a good example for Timorese youth. 


One of the key objectives of Cinema Lorosa'e is to offer wholesome entertainment to young people who sometimes suffer from boredom in remote rural areas in this developing country. As Timorese youth leader Jose Kai Lekke Sousa-Santos puts it: "It offers the opportunity to behave like youths from all over the world, to go on dates, to go out with friends to a film, to do normal activities that youths their age enjoy the world over. Most importantly it gives them a different option to the dangers of street drinking and violence".


These thoughts are echoed by Kirsty Sword Gusamo, who besides being the wife of the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, is Chair of the Timor-Leste National Education Commission, Chair of the National UNESCO Commission and Goodwill Ambassador for Education, amongst a host of other roles:
 "Cinema offers a window on the world, a world of culture and values that promises to transport the families of Timor-Leste beyond the everyday experience of life. As an institution dedicated to promoting tolerance and a culture of peace, UNESCO and its Timor-Leste National Commission wholeheartedly supports the initiative of open-air movie screenings, particularly for the least accessible communities of Timor- Leste".

On the road to Aileu
As we took the winding mountain road to our next destination, Aileu, the clouds started to build up. But the threat of rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of the young people here. We were somewhat  apprehensive about the effects of an impending downpour on the projection equipment but we went ahead anyway after the youngsters of Aileu promised to help us scramble to protect it should the heavens open. But that promise came with a condition: we had to screen the Brazilian film "Os 2 Filhos de Francisco", a Portuguese-language musical movie. The country-style songs from the film are especially popular here, although the community had never had a chance to actually see the movie. So we threw caution to the winds and set up the apparatus on the community soccer field, which was soon filled with a 2,600-strong crowd. 


Hoping the rain will hold off in Aileu

Throwing caution to the winds: "Let's set up anyway"

Full house, despite a "heavy dew"
The expected downpour did not materialise although the audience was certainly bathed in a heavy "mountain dew"; the equipment was unscathed. Judging by the comments after the show, the people of Aileu were not put off by the uncomfortable weather: they begged us not to leave, to stay one more night and to keep the Cinema Lorosa'e programme running in the future. When we receive feedback like that, it makes all of the long, hard miles on the road, the packing and unpacking of equipment and the relentless schedule totally worthwhile. 

And it certainly was a long haul back to Dili, where we arrived at 2am on Friday (October 14th) ready to set up for our  "Balibo-a-thon" - three straight nights of "Balibo" screenings at the Sunset Fair and Government House.  It seems that Timorese and expat residents alike simply can't get enough of this marvellous film.


"Balibo" draws a crowd at the Sunset Fair 
  
We're wearing out the disc! "Balibo" is extremely popular here in Timor-Leste

Standing room only?

After a busy "Balibo" weekend, there's no rest, with preparations to be made for three nights of screenings in the remote Timor-Leste "exclave" of Oecusse: a district situated in West Timor, surrounded by Indonesian territory on three sides. We'll be taking Cinema Lorosa'e to Oecusse by ferry - our first time at sea - and giving a rare treat to local people with movie shows on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings (October 18-20th). It's a long voyage, so this week there will be NO Cinema Lorosa'e screening at the Sunset Fair, although we will be showing "Thor" and "How To Train Your Dragon" at Government House on Saturday and Sunday (October 22-23) respectively. 

Then we'll be off to the districts again, this time to Ermera (October 25th), Maubara (October 26th) and Liquica (October 27th) before heading east to Los Palos (November 8th), Foiluru (November 9th) and Baucau (November 10th). We'll wrap the Cinema Lorosa'e season up with a trip to Tutuala on November 14th and a special screening at the orphanage at Laga. Every weekend, there will be the usual screenings at Sunset Fair and Government House. Watch this space for programme details.