About That Projectionist

by Dr Jaime Hsu Fang-Tze


Photo by 將將 王 from Pexels


For some of us in Asia, our very first cinematic encounter could likely be in a religious celebration where an outdoor projector and screen were set up in front of a temple. It is usually a middle-aged man who embarks on a journey with all kinds of projection gadgets and forms his one man itinerant cinema. Sometime in front of a template and sometime in a cemetery – the projectionist would set up the machine that can beam out the brightest light a seven-year-old kid could have even seen while elegantly organising the celluloid strips from an aged canister. The coward's anticipation gradually escalates, and a great sense of satisfaction manifests with a round of applause when the image is projected onto a make-shift screen even before the film starts. When the movement of cinematic images on the screen was further animated by the summer breeze touching the projection screen, the audiences were equally engaging as the dialogue between protagonists intensified. The memory of the projectionist’s face might be translucent and coloured by mouldy magenta as a strip of old celluloid film, but there will always be a projectionist who lights up an evening like a magician with dreams, with folk tales, and with stories that go beyond what a cinema can express.




NAF programme title:
Last Film Show