02 October 2007
Omar et Rosalinda lived semi-secular lives and loved Hollywood. Understandably so, because they grew up when America was firmly grounded in post-war Philippines. They brought us kids (in our pyjamas) for late night shows in a cinema (we called it the 'theater') a few blocks away from where we lived. Our favourite was Yul Brynner and we were mesmerized with movies such as Taras Bulba, The King and I and the Battle of Neretva. We also watched Sean Connery in many James Bond movies and Omar Sharif in Dr Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. We slept through movies such as The Lion in Winter and Mary Queen of Scots because of the heavy British accents and the never-ending dialogues. I would love to see these two movies again since I am now so accustomed to this mode of speaking in the almost two decades of living in Brunei.
I remember that the cinema had soft red leatherette chairs as we sat in the 'Lodge' section. We had those seats courtesy of a prosperous uncle who owned the cinema. The chairs were big enough that we curled up in sleep when we were burdened with too many dialogues. However, we watched the war movies with eyes wide awake. The late night double shows started at nine and finished at twelve midnight. Double shows - meaning, there were two films back to back. So, it could be Guns of Navarone 'doubled with' Mutiny on the Bounty at the price of one.
Post movies, we, the children re-enacted the scenes in rowdy mock battles - brothers and sisters with our imaginary weapons battling each other and falling down on the ground, wounded but unbowed. That explains why the girls never had dolls for toys - otherwise, we would have made warriors of them or perhaps doll-played the downfall of Mary Queen of Scots?