SHARJAH // It may have been decades before their time, but children attending the opening of Sharjah's first film appreciation club were enthralled as they were taken back to the silent movie era with a screening of early Hollywood's comic duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
The Magic Lantern, a club which began in Switzerland in 1992 to enrich children's knowledge of cinema, showcased its first film - the 1928 silent picture Two Tars - last night as part of a series of six films from different genres at the Al Qasba. It has been brought to the UAE in association with Swiss Art Gate UAE and Emirates Foundation.
Twenty five children aged six to 11 flashed their exclusive club card for a movie experience from a different era. Giggles filled the mini-theatre when local actors introduced a classic Laurel and Hardy gag through a slapstick comedy show.
"Do you know what Magic Lantern is about?" Ali al Sayed, an actor from the Dubomedy group, asked his audience. Seven-year-old Owais Mosli was quick to respond with: "Maybe, it's about magic."
But it is more than that, said Alessandra Romanelli, who coordinates The Magic Lantern clubs based outside Switzerland. "We try to teach children how to watch a movie and become an active public rather than just being slaves of images they are exposed to."
Films representing different eras and emotions have been selected to provide a wide range of information on the history, techniques and direction involved in filmmaking.
"The local actors will provide the background to the movie that we showcase to try and underline that period of cinema, like with Laurel and Hardy, how the transition from silent to sound happened," Ms Romanelli said.