Outdoor Movies in China: An Excerpt from 'Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress' by Dai Sijie
If you look hard enough, you can find outdoor cinema all over the world. Sometimes you don't have to look too hard, as with the drive-in theaters that populate US countrysides. Outdoor movies manifest in different ways in different places, from ritzy film festivals in New York and the United Kingdom, to entire villages gathering around a giant inflatable screen in rural Africa. One thing stays the same: the magic and wonder of a movie under the stars. The follow is an excerpt from "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" by Dai Sijie which captures the thrilling experience of the outdoor movie: The basketball court turned open-air cinema was crammed with spectators. They were still showing the old North Korean film The Little Flower Seller, which had moved the four sorceresses in the Little Seamstress's house to tears. It was a bad film, and seeing it a second time was not likely to change our opinion. But that didn't dampen our spirits. For one thing, we were glad to be in town again, even a town no bigger than a pocket handkerchief. Memories of city life came flooding back and, believe me, even the smell of beef and onions savoured sophistication. What is more, Yong Jing had electricity instead of the oil lamps we were used to. I wouldn't go so far as to say that our visits to town had become an obsession, but at least having to trudge across the mountain to see a film meant getting four days off from labouring in the fields, from carrying human and animal dung on our backs, or from toiling in the paddy fields with water buffalo whose long tails whacked you across the face. The other reason for our high spirits was that the Little Seamstress was with us. By the time we arrived the film had already started, and there was only standing room left behind the screen, where everything was in reverse and everyone was left-handed. But the Little Seamstress didn't want to miss this rare treat. As for us, we were content to watch her lovely face bathed in the luminous colors bouncing off the screen. Now and then everything would go dark and her eyes would shine like spots of phosphorous in the gloom. Then suddenly, when the scene changed, her face would light up, flush with colour, and blossom with wonder. Of all the girls in the audience, and there were at least two thousand, she was certainly the prettiest. A sense of masculine pride stirred deep inside us, surrounded as we were by the jealous looks of the other men in the crowd. About halfway into the film, she turned to me and whispered in my ear. Her words pierced my heart. It's so much better when it's you telling the story. from Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. Source: GlobalPost -http://www.globalpost.com/webblog/china-and-its-neighbors/the-basketball-court-turned-open-air-cinema8230.