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You know life changes when you have kids, yada yada. My life has changed but I don’t know if it’s entirely because of the kids. It’s also because of the need to save due to a variety of factors, of which having kids are one. Thus, when spending money, one is forced (by one’s husband) to prioritise. One of the things I gave up and don’t really miss much is going to the theatre for movies. First, I gave up going with friends because our friends would always pick a show on Hong Kong Island and the theatres there can cost double the less fancy ones our side do. Then, I realised if I’m pinching pennies, watching something on big screen I could well watch at home was not how I wanted to spend those precious pennies. And on the subject of value of money, I could no longer think of movies as timepass, and I found that most movies are not great enough to justify the time and money spent on them. So yeah, if I watch a movie in the cinema, it’s normally an action film or something panoramic.

That shouldn’t stop be from watching movies at home, except I rarely do because I don’t have the time and when I find that I do, I can’t remember which one I want to watch to download it. That’s where the Oscar movies come in, because those names stick in the mind. And this year’s crop of Oscar films sounded quite interesting. And of all of them, the one I really wanted to watch was one of those that received comparatively little attention – Selma.

Yes, all this to say I finally watched Selma, a gem of a film that deals with a crucial moment in the American civil rights movement. It was bound to be an inspiring storyjust by virtue of having Martin Luther King in it, but it was also a wonderfully crafted film. There is an early moment in the film showing a bomb blast which is just one of those times when I am forced to concede awestruck the potential of the film medium. V who was dozing off woke up and exclaimed admiringly (but then fell asleep soon after), but I was dumbstruck and riveted from that moment onward.

To watch this film now, with Obama in the White House and the gunshots of white policemen against black men that we see on the news every other day ringing in my ears, is a deeply poignant experience. It shows how the promise of Selma has been fulfilled and yet how much remains to be done. In Hong Kong, where the government is peddling a farcical blueprint of universal suffrage that had our young people out in the streets in protest courting police batons like the black people of Selma did all those years ago, the voice of MLK asserting the importance of a genuine right to vote reminds us that this is a fight worth fighting.

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