One of my favorite things to do in Oaxaca is to watch movies in Spanish (no subtitles). I can even watch more drama than I can usually tolerate because the task of translating usually occupies my brain enough to reduce my anxiety over the fate of a character.
I went to see the film Little Boy. It is a moving story that covers World War II, Japanese Internment Camps, faith, hope, and magic.
The theater was practically empty. The occupants were just me and one class of, I’m guessing, fifth graders. When one of them sneezed the other twenty or so classmates each offered their own version of: “Salud.”
The movie was six minutes late in starting, so the students begin to whistle for the show to start (as they might do at a rodeo or some other outdoor performance). The movie still does not go; instead a commercial about the importance of drinking water daily comes on. At last, the trailers begin. What we call Spare Parts is renamed Los Inventores (The Inventors). Ten minutes more, just as the children are about to whistle again, the movie starts.
I found the material difficult: depictions of life stilled by the a-bomb, gory battle scenes, and racism. I also found it uncomfortable to see this history with people not from the US. I couldn’t help wondering what these children thought of us, if they could fathom internment camps, if they should.
Talking to M—I reported that my Spanish is getting good enough for me to understand the story enough to cry.