Monday, December 21, 2009

The Salty Grandmother

Recently, there was a European Film Festival held here in Dar es Salaam, with a variety of films being screened over a two week period. I had found a flier about the festival beforehand, and decided that some of the films look interesting and worth checking it out. The first film that I selected - The Heir - was from the Netherlands. I should have had a little more of an inkling about what the quality of the film would be like from its description (below)..... but alas, I had high hopes. And although I should have known that any movie about a black market in cheese was unlikely to be a winner, I still dragged Julie and Imee with me to the theater (hey, the movies were being shown for free).

The Heir
Vico, a young African, inherits an Alpine pasteur in Gruyere. He comes to Switzerland with the firm intention of selling the land. Amused to discover the local black market in cheese, he manages to defeat the plans of a local bigwig who is too sure of his white man's superiority, does his best to become an "armailli" (Gruyere-style dairy farmer) and saves the village from disaster. With a tiny grain of African sand, the well-oiled mechanism is thrown out of kilter... A humorous and offbeat look at a clash between two cultures that reveals Switzerland in a new and unexpected light.

We arrived just in time to get in line for tickets. For whatever reason, although the films were being shown for free, you still had to get a ticket with a seat number on it. Actually, each ticket had 2 seat numbers on it - apparently you are only allowed to go to the movies in pairs or even numbered groups of people. And of course, we were three. So....the woman in the ticket booth told me, after handing a ticket to Imee and Julie, that I would just pair up with one of the people behind me. And so, I made a new friend (embarassingly, I cannot remember his name). He was a young college student studying IT, and we became movie partners. I assumed that once we got into the theater, we would be able to sit wherever we liked (especially once it became clear that the theater would not be completely full); however, my movie partner insisted that it was very necessary to sit in our assigned seats. And so we sat together....and it was actually quite pleasant (thankfully his English was pretty good so we could actually communicate!).

I decided to get popcorn and, in an effort to practice both my Swahili and my Tanzanian manners, offered some to my movie partner. Or, at least, I thought I did. I couldn't quite remember the word for "popcorn", so I used as close of an approximation as I could come up with...."Karibu bibi". Which roughly translates to...."You are welcome to grandmother". And so I accidentally offered my movie partner some grandmother. Luckily, he was kind enough to correct me, and, as an added bonus, had a great sense of humor about the situation. About 15 minutes into the movie, he leaned over to me and said, "Your grandmother is really salty!".

An additional fun fact about our movie.....
* It was in French with English subtitles. Except, they forgot to turn on the English subtitles. So everyone in the audience missed what was said during the first 15 minutes of the film.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, the joys of living abroad. We always manage to somehow get the language all wrong, don't we.