I grew up watching a lot of films that were totally inappropirate for my age. There was no control. There was a VCR and a lot of Betamax tapes we just called beta for short. I was lucky: my family was very well off and I actually owned a VCR. The beta tapes, as far as I was concerned, just magically appeared in the living room. This is where and how I saw ET, Stand by me, The Great Race and Victor, Victoria. Not in a cinema. On a TV, countless times. Before videostores came to town. I remember coming back from school every day and watching Star Wars followed by The Return of the Jedi. The magic that made them appear was also responsible for leaving The Empire Strikes Back in German, which I was not thrilled about since my vocabulary was not that great. There was of course no subtitles on these movies (yes, this is how got most of my English.)

The first videostore that opened in my neighborhood in Zagreb in the late 80s had ONLY pirated VHS tapes. And all the other ones that cropped up all over town later on, also had ONLY pirated versions, of appalling quality. Even when the originals made their way into these videostores, the newest titles could still be gotten on pirated tapes. I would say “under the counter” but it wasn’t under any pretenses at all. For the longest time, I truly did not understand what the problem was. Now I do.

But it is also why the entire debate over whether to go see Ender on the big screen or not is pointless for me. Deciding to not spend any money on it when I would not have done so anyway, what would be the point? I loved the book. I have read his essays. They made me sell my copy, and I own all the books I truly love. If I discover I have another copy, I will sell that one too. And donate the money towards helping the gay community in Croatia. I stopped reading the author, I stopped recommending him to others and I do not give money to cons who would have him. I do not have doubts there.

I do however have doubts about expressing my point of view, as I feel it might generate interest. This post – which I wrote just to link to a very good one written by American author Stina Leicht – might just make more people want to watch the movie rather than not. But then I think – this might just be Croatian thinking. The same kind of thinking that was oblivious to the difference between the legal and the pirated tapes in videostores twenty years ago.




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