Going to the cinema is something that we used to do quite regularly back in the UK. We tended to avoid the big cinema complexes and opted for the more art house options in our local area. I always begrudged spending £10 + on a cinema ticket in the UK. In Kampala there are a couple of cinema options. Its not easy to find out information about them though. There’s the Facebook pages but i’m not convinced they’re uptodate. Best bet is to go the mall and take a picture of the listings board and share with your friends! Someone told me last week that in Uganda there are no copyright laws. That may just be heresay but there is certainly a thriving pirate DVD trade here. I’m not talking dodgy dvd hawkers on the side of the road (we have them too) but whole shops dedicated to any film or tv series that you could hope to watch. There seems to be a pattern that shortly after the new releases hit Cinemax in Acacia Mall they emerge in Funz Entertainment a few doors down.
The National Theatre in Uganda runs an African Movie night once a month. We’ve been meaning to go for a while and finally managed to get there. It’s just 10 000 UGX each (around 2 quid). Going to the cinema for Ugandans is a social experience. It’s not like the UK when we’re instructed sternly to turn off our mobile phones, not to rustle our sweet packets and certainly not to talk. In Uganda it is perfectly acceptable to answer the phone mid way through a film, to have your phone on and be browsing the internet during the film. It’s fine to have a conversation with your friends during the film and it’s also perfectly ok to arrive 30 minutes, even an hour into the film. #ugandatime! When we last went to the cinema the audience were heckling the film, shouting and wolf whistling at the screen, especially if there was any hint of romance on screen.
Cinema going in Uganda is an interactive experience. Alex went alone one day and came out enraged after a particularly interrupted film screening. I’m not sure he managed to pick up much if any of the plot line due to the constant interruptions throughout the screening. His tales were of frustration more than amusement and I think he may have made a few enemies that afternoon! So we’re mixing it up a bit here, occasional trips to the cinema ready for the funny frustrations that come with it combined with watching films with friends back home.