Five Stars Posted on February 2nd, 2010 by

Some of the most surprising differences in life here versus in the States are from the more common things that you normally don’t think about.  One example would be movies.  Acquiring and watching movies in Tanzania is quite different than in the States. 

Movies can be bought in small electronic shops or just off the street.  Unlike in the States, where movies come in fancy plastic cases, DVDs here come in plastic sleeves inside a flat folder of thick paper.  And unlike in the States, movies here are sold in bunches.  When you buy a DVD you get anywhere from ten to thirty movies.  What I find most surprising is that they somehow fit twenty-odd movies on one DVD.  The grouping of the movies has little reason to it.  They could claim to be grouped by comedies, action or other criterion but in actuality tend to be mixed.  A DVD of comedy movies might contain ten comedies, two dramas and an action movie. Once you have made your selection, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank to pay for the movies.  Buying one DVD with perhaps twenty movies costs only about $2.30.  Yes, with two dollars and thirty cents you can buy more than twenty movies.  How is this possible, you ask?  Let me illuminate…

Think back to the last movie you watched.  What was the first thing that came up on the screen?  Piracy warnings.  What was the last thing?  Credits.  Both of these things are removed from the movies here.  All of the movies are clearly pirated and many appear to have been recorded in a movie theater as you can hear the audience’s laughter in the background.  I can now understand why writers, producers and other are so concerned about the copyrights of their films. 

Though the majority of films are of good quality, some of them are less adequate.  As I said previously, some have been recorded and the sound tracks have external noises in them.  Many of the films are accompanied with subtitles, though not always accurate ones.  For example, the subtitles in the Disney children’s film Up contain quite a few swear words that are definitely not in the movie.  Other movies have subtitles that convey the same meaning as what is said but in very different words.  One movie I watched was originally in English but had been dubbed in some East European language and had subtitles that were terribly confusing and clearly had little to do with what was happening on screen.  Despite these viewing difficulties, the overall watching experience has been positive.


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