Saturday, December 21, 2019

Movie Memories

My reminiscences about Christmases past in my classroom, led me to recall a movie which I used to show to my classes during the holiday season.  (As an aside to Meredith, a former student who is a faithful reader of my blog, this was WAY before you were my student.)

Long ago, before there were DVD players or even VCR players, if wanted to show a movie in class I would sign out a projector from the AV department and rent a film from the public library.  I would attach the reel of film on the front end of the projector, thread the film through the projector, hoping that it didn't get jammed, and attach the end of the film to the reel at the rear.  Afterwards I would have to rewind the film, and then repeat the process to show the movie to the next class.


(image taken from the web)

The apparatus looked something like this.



I remember many of the movies which I used to show my classes.  There was the documentary about the conquest of the Aztec Empire in which Kirk Douglas narrated as a Spanish soldier recalling those fateful events.  There was a movie about the Amazon River... perhaps a National Geographic Special.  (Remember those programs which aired from time to time on network television before there was a National Geographic Channel on cable?)
The scene where a school of piranha fish devoured its prey always grabbed the students' attention.

My favorite was a beautiful film called "Piñata".  I would reserve it far in advance so that I could show it before Christmas.  It was filmed in Mexico, and, as I remember, the story was told without words.  There was just a lovely musical soundtrack.  It was about a little Mexican boy from a poor family living in the countryside.  He would hike the long distance into town where he would go to the marketplace.  There he would admire one of the piñatas. It was the piñata of his dreams.  Finally he had saved enough pesos to buy it.  He arrived at the marketplace just in time to see that someone had bought the piñata and was carrying it off.  He followed the person to the home of a wealthy family.  He climbed the wall, peered into the patio, and watched the privileged children break the piñata.  He sat on the sidewalk in despair.  Then the shell of the broken piñata was tossed over the wall onto the curb.  The little boy took it and went to the market to buy the materials needed to repair it.  Unfortunately he only had a few pesos left with which he bought a meager handful of candies.  Back at home, he patiently restored the piñata until it was as good as new. He put the few candies inside, hung it from a tree, and invited his friends to take turns trying to break it.  When the piñata was broken, magically a never ending stream of candy rained down upon the children. 

It was such a sweet, delightful movie.  I have looked on YouTube hoping to find it, but with no luck.  I would love to see it again.  

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