Dem nuh nice like we
Dem nuh sweet like we
Mi seh wi nice arready
Trash an Ready, Super Cat
There’s a scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers when the battle for Helms Deep is on and Legolas the Elf gets on a shield and surfs down some stairs to go and save his pardner Gimli the dwarf. I was in a cinema in London watching this with a Trini friend. And our immediate gut response was to bawl out ‘Ooooh goooooud.’
The viewers in the audience didn’t share our enthusiasm and turned around in the dim light to give us withering looks of English disapproval. You see, the Pit in us came out. But I mean to say, why else would Peter Jackson put a scene like that in the film, if not to get viewers to tankalanks at the screen?
Later, after the film was finished, we wistfully imagined what it would have been like to watch it in Trinidad. In a cinema like Globe. So when I got the news that Globe is up for sale, part of me mourned for the part of my heart that will always be a Globe fan. It’s funny how cinema culture although we’ve had such a long history of interaction with this, that it’s only recently that our own film-makers have begun to dare to put us inside the big screen.
But I wonder if that is because the way we watch films puts us in the action. We react as if we ourselves are in the scene. Active observers. It is the call-and-response nature of who we are.
The characters speak to us. And if they don’t we register our disgust. Curse them with the same emotion as we would curse our own neighbours and children and lovers. The film, instead of just being some lifeless imported thing that comes to us for our passive enjoyment, becomes a larger-than-life representation of our own fantasies, disappointments, longings.
Part of the willing suspension of disbelief for us is that we have to be ourselves in the moment. It’s a chance for some us, too, to un-star the star. For the block joker to have a moment of popularity shouting ridiculous things at the screen for the entertainment of the entire theatre. For the badjohn to declare he could shoot gun better than that. The village Ram to give a professional analysis of the star boy’s sexual prowess.
Give me Globe any day over that other place where the mangrove used to be. Look, it’s part of who I am. I can’t stand a quiet cinema. I want to hear people commenting on the film. I want to get a sense of involvement in the moment. I want to buss a loud steups. I want to shout out ‘tata’ or other profane protestations at the end of the film. Even if the people in Hollywood can’t hear me, I want to register my joy or disgust. Some films are extra enjoyable if you go and see them in Globe.
So they want to sell the place. I don’t have two cents to rub together or else I would have bought it myself. To have Amitabh Bachchan nights and Bruce Lee nights. In my anti-capitalist naivete, I can stand on the sidelines and say it’s a crying shame without having any clue whatsoever about the costs involved in keeping such a building and business going.
It’s another piece of our history that may disappear from our landscape because we lack the interest in preserving things of value. If a cinema is a thing of value. And the name Gokool Meah will slip into the great void of memory that is called Trinidad’s past. I guess it’s easy to get caught up in the whole bring-back-the-old-time-days argument. But it’s more than that.
What if, for another generation of Trinibagonians, the Globe could be a place where young film-makers can see their work come to life on the big screen? And the film reviews would come from Pit. True and visceral and immediate. The film-maker calls and we respond. And the film-maker knows if to keep singing or change her tune.
Back in the days of westerns, steelbands named themselves after their on-screen heroes. Imagine if future steelbands or steelband apps or whatever were named for characters in films made in T&T. Where the willing suspension of disbelief would cease to say that we were not deserving of being inside the big screen. We could be inside and outside too. Shouting our own selves on. Believing in our own magic.
A saga boy starboy, a soucouyant romance trilogy, a tale of forbidden love where star-crossed lovers run and giggle through the verdant Caroni plains. I would pay good money to go and see that and make plenty noise for heroes and sheroes who look, sound, act and feel like me.
First published in Trinidad Guardian March 23, 2013