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 -

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 -

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


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