Monday, February 07, 2011
Pirate DVDs in Kenya
We watched The King's Speech last night. I had looked for it in the local cinema listings but then heard a rumour that it might not come to Silverbird Kenya (they seem to generally prefer American flicks), so, since the film has already won multiple awards, I decided to chance my arm at buying a pirate copy from one of the hawkers. Add this to the fact that the TV my husband bought recently is fairly similar in size to a cinema screen and I thought, what the heck - it'll be a cinematic experience anyway!
As promised the film made fab Sunday night viewing and we tried our best not to mind that towards the end (never mind the stutter) the King's Speech and all other dialogue was very definitely out of sync with the various actors' lips. I thought that Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen (or Queen mother) was fabulous, almost stealing the show but in fact, they were all good. We loved it. I'll be interested to see how the pro-Mrs Simpson film that is being made now (by Madonna?) turns out - as Mrs Simpson was one character who, understandably, didn't come off well in the film. And hang on a minute, was it our pirate dvd or did they keep calling Edward VIII, David?
After The King's Speech - my husband said,
'Funny how you can get a movie that ends with the Second World War being announced, into a feel-good flick?!' But that is beside the point. We were just pleased for dear old George VI that his speech went off alright, even if the content of the speech was all about girding one's loins and trouble to come etc.
What never ceases to amaze me - is how easy it is to get pirate copies of new release films, either at the, shall we say 'informal', dvd rental shops or just from sellers on the road. The Kings Speech cost me 250 shillings (I didn't haggle. Our local dvd hire is 150/- per time) and if the copy is not good quality, then Nairobi salesmen assure you that if you return it, you will certainly get a replacement copy - gratis of course.
In fact, we have long been devotees of the dvd hire shop, once watching the entire collection of The Wire and various other series in order to tide us over the 6-9 month period that we were too tight to pay for DSTV/Satellite (the subscription is horribly expensive, it still pains me to make those monthly payments).
My daughter once strong-armed me into buying a dvd in England that she couldn't live without; 'St Trinians 2'. I nearly died when I got to the counter and they wanted 15 pounds 99! Never again! Our UK visitors have cottoned on to the fact that, along with kikoy towels, sarongs and beads, pirate dvds are the bargains to look out for and over xmas bought up pirate copies of various current films while in Nairobi (The Town etc).
I was slightly horrified when my husband's (near to retirement age) UK boss was out here toward the end of last year. He spotted a local hawker with a bunch of films fanned out in his hand, asked the price and said, 'Seems like an excellent bargain to me! What do you recommend I buy?'
My husband, mind suddenly blank and caught out on the spur of the moment said, 'Er, well, 'Get him to the Greek's' quite good!'
Since 'Get him to the Greek', while amusing, is nothing short of soft porn - I imagine that the UK boss would have been watching this movie through his fingers, or else clamping his hands over the eyes of his wife, or worse - his post-teenage kids. While uncomfortably sitting on the sofa, he must have been thinking to himself, 'I can't believe the bugger did this to me. How on earth can I get him back? Terminate contract?'
Let's hope there will be no boardroom reprisals!