Thursday, January 29, 2009

One of the perks...

One of the perks of living in the Penh is cheap DVDs.
Yeah, I know I shouldn't ...but I do ...
There are no genuine DVDs, pirated copies are sold in the markets, malls and in little shops all over town for between 1 and 2USD a disc. Everyone has their favourite sellers. We have three places all in rather high profile areas and all willing to exchange if the copy is not up to scratch (no pun intended).
Until now we have only ever bought the odd children's DVD on sale at The Warehouse or Kmart -$39-95 or $24-95 or even $19-95 (except maybe on birthdays) just didn't fit the household budget and besides, renting from the library was nearly free.

We don't have the luxury of an English language movie theatre, although there is a film festival every year, a French cinema, Khmer theatres playing mostly horror flicks at the same decible levels as a jack hammer and Meta House (which plays mostly documentaries and independently made films). Apparently the major distribution companies, the ones that move those blockbusters around the world, won't put Cambodia on their route until the levels of piracy reduce and with the majority of the population earning less than a US dollar a day (and many still below the poverty line) it is doubtful one would be able to make enough income to stay open for long.

The last six months have seen us amass a fledgling collection of movies from classics to blockbusters, obscure treasures to wonderful watchable modern animations, dramas, comedies, horrors and international movies plus a rather robust collection of television series. M has been an avid movie watcher since his first cinema experience before he was two and barely able to see over the back of the seat in front. He has an incredible encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry and an amazing recall of lines, detail and themes after only one sitting. He has the same insatiable hunger for the written word devouring book after book sometimes complemented by a screen version or two of the novels he reads. He is lucky enough to have landed in the middle of a class at school filled with similar minds and weekends are often spent at each others houses in darkened rooms, prone on beanbags and matresses watching the latest offering from Hollywood or a hunted down 'classic' fuelled by coke zero and peanuts.

A few weeks ago I totally fell for the cinematic poetry of WALL-E and EVE, a 21st century version of Romeo and Juliet. It is definately a keeper with layers that could still be peeled and an important environmental message quietly wrapped in beeps and very human expressions and suggestions in lovable robot vernacular.

Last week I sat enthralled by the animated detail of Horton's surroundings and was tickled by the Seussical prose in A Horton Hears a Who! There's nothing like a Seussicle to make you smile.

This weekend J bought home the big screen so M and I watched Lord of the Rings.

And still waiting in the drawer is the award winning Slumdog Millionaire and Oscar nominated Water, the last in Deepa Mehta's elements trilogy, the visually beautiful, controversal ode to female resistence set in the widow slums of India.

I am thinking a little research on home projector systems is in order! If we start saving now we might just be able to afford one before we leave for another post!


Simple Answer said...

We also can get cheap DVDs. And if we did purchase these bootleg DVDs, we would probably get Slumdog Millionaire. And if we did watch it, it would probably have cut out part of the screen, hence part of the subtitles. Still, I think, if we did buy such a bootleg DVD, we would really enjoy the movie!

Tanya said...

our copies are so good youd swear they were real. even the cases often look real! ESL Subtitles can be pretty funny though.

Connie said...

When you live in a place where $20 is equivalent to a month's wages... well, is it any wonder people pirate?? I'm all for fair compensation, but it doesn't cost $20 to produce the materials, burn a DVD, or even package it pretty. Even count in the cost of making the movie. If 'real' movies had been exported at a fair and reasonable cost for overseas viewers, pirating probably would not have become such a good business.
I love how, in certain places, you see sequels for movies that were NOT produced in Hollywood, or Bollywood, or... ??. The industry has taken on a life of its own.