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Old Time Movie Going in Pétionville
by Ralph Reid
As I was growing up in Petion-Ville in the mid 70's, I do remember how special movie going was. Now that I think of it I started going to the movies by myself when I was just barely 7 years old. There were 3 movie theater in Petion-Ville: Cabanon-Aurore Cine, Etoile Cine and Concorde Cine. To those theatres, I did usually go unsupervised. Drive-In movies, also were popular like the Deluxe Auto Cine in Delmas, and three other drive-ins in the Delmas and Airport areas.
The most popular movies were of the Karate action type, with the Legendary Bruce Lee. I also remember a lot of French movies with stars like Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, and Romy Schneider.
I remember the karate movies were only played in certain theatres that cater to low income patrons. Other upscale
theatre like the Imperial and the Triomphe played mostly French art movies and dubbed American movies.
One series that was also very popular was the Joselito series: about a young Italian or Spanish boy wonder singer.
I remember also watching Elvis on the screen - Then I could not understand why the dialogs were all in French and the singing in English.
One movie that stuck in my mind was "Midnight Express" the story of an American imprisonned in Turkey. For some reason this movie stayed on the maquis of Triomphe Cine for more than 2 years if I remember. Something about it stroke the Haitian psyche. I remember a local movie distributor say once that the Haitian audience loves political movies - another long time running movie was "La raison d'etat" and "All the president's men".
For the longest time, I was fascinated with movies and Hollywood... no wonder I ended up right here in Los Angeles.
Copyright © 1998 Ralph Reid - Windows on Haiti