Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nature Calls

I just had the most intense cinema experience of my life, in the Sun Pictures outdoor movie theatre.

Since the wet season is starting, pretty much all tours and destinations north of Broome are closed down for the season. So, to get to see at least some of it, I went to see the movie "Australia", which was shot in the Kimberley region just north of Broome. Now, there's nothing special about the movie, but that movie and that cinema is just about the best combo I've come across ever since I tried putting potato chips on bread. You should try it once. Both the cinema and the chips.

The cinema is "the world's oldest picture gardens", which may be true, or maybe it's just something the Australians like to think, like they often do, and when they discover there's something older, better, faster, taller somewhere, they just add "in the Southern Hemisphere", and then they're usually right. Anyway, the place is from 1912 or so, and it hasn't changed much in the meantime. Everything is built in slightly termite-chewed wood, on the walls there are old movie posters, you sit in beach chairs on a lawn, and the popcorn tastes just perfect.

The movie, however, is brand new. Nicole Kidman is in it, but she is bare noticable compared to the main star of the movie, namely the landscape of the Kimberley. It's an easy plot. An English lady comes to Australia to see to her husband and her property. The husband dies, so that the lady can fall in love with a cowboy. WW2 begins, the Japanese are bad guys and the Aboriginals are good guys, and there's a happy ending. Fair enough.

While the movie is basic, watching it outdoors in Broome is fantastic, because:

* When the movie begins you discover that the screen has lots of geckos on it, running around and feasting on the flies that are attracted by the light from the movie. Some flies are caught by large bats instead, and the bats seem even larger when they're projected onto the screen as they fly in front of the light beam of the movie. And if that's not enough wildlife for you, you'll find that lizards and snakes wiggle their way through the grass just in front of you during the parts of the movie when the audience is quiet enough.

* It turns out that the cinema you're in also is IN the movie! Suddenly watching the movie is like looking into a mirror, except the people in the mirror are wearing 1942 clothing, and they look straight back at you. Surreal! (The movie was shot in the very same cinema.)

* The highlight of the movie was during a scene where Japanese war planes are on their way to bomb the town in the movie. I have no idea how they did it, but just then a large plane flew 50 meters above our heads, making a deafening sound! The cinema is right next to the local airport, so it could of course happening, but the timing was just unreal!

An evening to remember, for sure.

There's much more to tell, but the short story for now is that I flew back to Perth from Broome, and I am now doing the southern part of Western Australia. When I'm done with that I'll go to Tasmania. You see, I've managed to secure a place on the VERY limited access Overland Track there, starting on December 24. I am very excite!

I'll get back to you soon. If I don't fall down from the Bicentennial Tree tomorrow, that is. Google it. #8D)
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