Friday, December 23, 2011

Missing the Movies in Panama?

by Expat Focus Columnist Stephanie Angulo

Just because you move abroad doesn’t mean that everything in your life is suddenly 100% different. You will find yourself partaking in many of the same activities you did back home, like going to the movies. The hubs and I have always been avid movie goers and didn’t let moving to Panama, a Spanish speaking country, slow down our movie date nights. Waiting in line to see midnight showings of Lord of the Rings, all the Matrix movies, and Ironman 2 barely scrapes the tip of the iceberg. Since our big move in January of this year, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks to enjoying our movie theater experience in Panama.

If you’re considering moving to a non-English speaking culture, or have already moved to one, these suggestions will help you know what to expect before you sit in front of the big screen, otherwise you just might not want to watch another movie in a theater abroad again.

1. Go with the subtitled movie. If you’ve moved to a non-English speaking country, some of the movie listings are subtitled and some are dubbed. Although you might be proficient in your new language, movies are typically better with the original voices. We also find that the locals are more likely to choose the dubbed movies so they don’t have to read the subtitles for 2 hours and possibly miss action on the big screen. We notice that locals going to a subtitled movie tend to talk more or read out loud, so if you choose to go to a subtitled movie, follow my next suggestion.

2. Be careful which times you pick. If you have chosen to watch a subtitled movie, don’t watch it in the evenings, weekends, national holidays, or school vacations. I know it’s starting to sound like those blackout dates for credit card miles rewards, but trust me on this one! We noticed that all the locals who couldn’t get tickets for the dubbed movie times will go ahead and buy tickets for the subtitled movie times. Then they will proceed to talk through the entire movie no matter how many times you nicely ask them to stop. Sometimes I don’t think they realize that there are other people who do understand English sitting amongst them.

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