Cinema Paradiso

The new MSF tuberculosis specialist doctor in Mankayane is a film nut. Just like the story in the classic film “Cinema Paradiso”, he worked in his uncle’s cinema in Andhra Pradesh and fell in love with movies. Since he arrived in March, I have developed a serious action film habit.

First of all, we watched Avengers: Age of Ultron wearing 3D glasses. It was terrific fun, all computer generated imagery and some very funny lines. Hawkeye, the archer, says, “The city is flying and we’re fighting an army of robots…. And I have a bow and arrow.” Well, it sounded better on screen.

Next up was Furious 7, the seventh in the Fast’n’Furious petrolhead films. It was a totally over-the-top, but gripping movie. It didn’t take itself too seriously, with some amusing tongue-in-cheek asides. I hope this doesn’t spoil it for anyone, but there is a scene where the Vin Diesel character has been grieviously wounded and it looks like he’s dying. His former wife, Michelle Rodriguez, confesses to him that she can now remember their wedding. He wakes up, saying, “It’s about time.” Again, you had to be sitting there in the dark amidst the popcorn to appreciate it.

Finally, we went to see Mad Max: Fury Road. This was the road movie to end all road movies. I have never seen so many spectacular collisions and explosions. Apparently, many of them were for real, not computer generated. I thought Max, underplayed by Tom Hardy, was one dimensional, but Charlize Theron was superb as Imperator Furiosa, a one armed warrior driving a battle rig. I even had a soft spot for the bald, anaemic War Boy, Nux. My friend thought I looked quite like him after my recent haircut (see next blog). Crazy names – Cheedo the Fragile, Rictus Erectus and (my favourite) Toast the Knowing. There were over 150 stuntmen/women and virtually all the vehicles were trashed by the end of the film.

What’s next? My new friend is obviously an action junkie, so I doubt it will be Mall Cop 2 (though I would quite like to see that).

We go to a posh shopping complex called “The Gables” where there is a multiplex cinema and a Woolworths (the brand lives on). There are lots of rich people strolling around the fancy shops. I quite enjoy people watching there while having lunch.

Ceremonial Axe
Ceremonial Axe
A few weeks ago, I was waiting for my colleague (who had gone to the toilet) when I saw a Swazi man in full traditional regalia, carrying a ceremonial axe. He walked up to an automated teller machine and was having trouble getting his bank card out of his bag. He put his axe against the wall, but it slid down, so he put it between his legs. I offered to hold it for him while he did his transaction and he agreed. My colleague came out of the lavatory and looked shocked as he saw me looking like Mad Max holding the axe. The Swazi gentleman took his cash from the machine and I handed him back his axe. I wish I’d thought to get my friend to take a photo of us together, but here’s a picture of a similar axe from the National Museum.

By Dr Alfred Prunesquallor

Maverick doctor with 40 years experience, I reduced my NHS commitment in 2013. I am now enjoying being free lance, working where I am needed overseas. Now I am working in the UK helping with the current coronavirus pandemic.

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