Sunday, July 8, 2012

Days of Miracles & Wonder

Searching For Sugar Man (trailer)


It's described on the IMBd website as the story of two South Africans  who "set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez." After picking up two awards at Sundance and backing from Sony Pictures, Searching for Sugar Man is slated for worldwide release this month.

Coming to a theater near you?

Unfortunately it's likely never to hit the big screen in Temple Valley. The last movie theater to grace the streets of this neighborhood has long passed away along with a lot of its overwhelmingly gentlemanly clientele who would cram into its darkened cavern featuring a strictly grownup genre dubbed "Pink Film.

It was a place where imaginations of all sorts ran wild. On summer afternoons the pink theater was transformed into a treasure house of animated classics that was filled to the rafters with the laughter of little ones. Their eyes riveted to the screen, kids would sit on the edge of their seats and reel over the antics of their favorite cartoon characters and more.

Then everything changed and maybe not all for the worse. As advances in technology gave rise to the video cassette recorder (and later the DVD player), movie houses across the world came crashing down and Temple Valley was no exception. Now the computer age has ushered in an entirely new world of cinema. Today within a blink of an eye after a Hollywood movie's theatrical release I can legally download it for my viewing pleasure practically anywhere around the globe via a host of services like iTunes, etc. If that's not amazing enough, it all takes just a fraction of the time it once might have taken to stand on line waiting to buy the ticket just to get inside the moving picture show. I'll probably be watching the search for Sugarman play across my home theater's tiny screen in half the time it took to find him in the first place. After all, as the man in the movie trailer says, "these are the days of miracles and wonder."


  1. This story reminds me of a tug-of-war I engaged in with a tuxedoed young man with stringy long hair in a shag haircut outside of the Kichijoji train station. I needed some Kleenex, which he was handing out in pink packages. Had no idea they were for a "pink" establishment. In retrospect, wonder if he thought I was a radical feminist trying to make a point. All I wanted was a small, free package of tissues. In retrospect, also wonder how limited the young man's work opportunities must have been for him to take a position like that, requiring him to wear the ill-fitting, ill-kept tuxedo; and also wonder about the young women hidden behind those walls...where they were from...and what kind of men would frequent such a place...

    Would not want a child in my care (or any child) to enter such a theater, even on cartoon days!

    Your stories happily remind me of my period in Inokashira-Koen, a tiny community, just south of Kichijoji and Edgar Lee Masters' "Spoon River Anthology".

    1. "Would not want a child in my care (or any child) to enter such a theater..."
      Me either. I suppose times were different or maybe it's that kind of neighborhood. I haven't got it all figured out. I'm no real expert on the Pink Film genre either but I think more than a few top directors in Japan, like Yojiro Takita of Okuribito (Departures) fame, cut their teeth in the soft porn film business. I guess you can never really tell where the road of life will take you but hopefully it will take me to Inokashira-Koen. It's on my list of places to visit. I'll also have to look for Spoon River Anthology. The neighborhood bordering Temple Valley still has a book store but it would really really be a miracle and wonder if they had it.

  2. SPR is more about the interlocking characters who live in the fictional community, not with the sense of place of TVT. The poems are all their epitaphs. With more thought, TVT reminds me of childhood conversations about a favorite cousin about SPR referencing our own hometown.

    Inokashira is very quiet, with a little more activity on the Kichijoji side. Miss the green grocer & restaurant family...

  3. The film looks v. interesting too - thanks for head's up...