By way of contextualizing info, I’m currently in Liwonde, Malawi. It’s the second time I’ve been here, doing fieldwork once more (indeed, I posted some observations last time, but my Net access is poor enough that I hope you’ll pardon the lack of hyperlinks — just go look for Malawi tags instead). I’m primarily interested in what films, television, and music are here, how they got here, what’s popular, and what people think of the media around them and think of with that media.
Part of my fieldwork therefore involves hanging out in marketplaces and talking to folk who sell DVDs, CDs, VCDs, etc. I like to see what’s available, usually buy something to make the store-owner comfortable with me, then chat about what people like, whether what I bought is good, and so forth. Indeed, given all my work on parataxts and extratextuals, I’m especially fascinated with how Hollywood and Nollywood are sold in a town in Malawi.
Well, the other day I found a gem. Alongside the usual suspects of CSI, Prison Break, wrestling, and 24 that I got used to seeing two years ago, the latest show to hit the stands is Lost. Yet, I should explain that action does extremely well here — the “video shows” (rooms that fit anywhere from 20 to 50, and that play movies and television on tiny televisions for an admission price of about 3-5 cents) exhibit a lot of Nigerian soaps, but when it’s Hollywood, it’s nearly always Van Damme, Schwarzenegger (and I don’t mean Twins!), Stallone, Cruise, Snipes, Seagal, and friends. With that in mind, it was interesting to see the copy on the back of the DVD package for Season 5 of Lost (spoiler alert):
“Phil and the gunmen showed up, and Jack plotted his course toward the swan. Phil spotted Jack and started shooting at him. Jack shot back and the rest of the group provided cover for Jack by driving him by in the van and shooting. Sawyer snuck up behind Phil and held him at gunpoint, ordering him to tell everyone else to drop their guns. Sawyer told Jack to do his business. The drill wouldn’t shut down. Jack held the bomb over the hole, looked back at Kate and Sawyer looked at Juliet. Jack dropped the bomb and … nothing happened. ‘This don’t look like LAX,’ Sawyer said. Metal objects started being pulled into the hole. Jack was knocked about by a metal box, Chang was trapped for a moment by a piece of scaffolding and Miles helped pull him free. Phil was about to shoot Sawyer, when another piece of scaffolding knocked him over, then a series of metal pipes shot toward him, with one of them hitting Phil in the chest, presumably killing him.”
Just in case you wondered what genre Lost was, we now have an answer, for Malawi at least: it’s full-on action.
Maybe later I’ll type up the waaaaay cooler notes for Season 1.
Apologies, in the meantime, if formatting is messed up here. I can’t access the rich text editor in WordPress here, and my knowledge of html is strictly limited.Tags: DVDs, Lost, Malawi, packaging