Virgin Territories by Vera Graaf


Vera Graaf's adventure tale VIRGIN TERRITORIES takes you to the mysterious isle of Virgin Gorda in the outer reaches of the British Virgin Islands. It's the 1970s, a time of pristine beaches and reefs, of sleepy villages, where people bury their ancestors in the backyard and where everyone believes in jumbys, duppys and other island ghosts. It's a place where the evening's entertainment is posted on the trunk of a tree, and where no one has ever seen a movie.

Into this idyllic setting stumbles a young American couple, naive and with a little money to burn. Determined to leave their irresponsible hippie life behind, they open the first movie theatre on the island. After some intense encounters with the overzealous West Indian bureaucracy, and in spite of the experts' warning to stay away from such a venture, the Argus Cinema opens its doors with great fanfare in the spring of 1974. From then on VIRGIN TERRITORIES becomes a bouncy joyride, taking its protagonists Michael and Vera from the dizzy heights of small-island-success (when "The Sound of Music" is shown) to utter shame and soul-searching ("The Godfather" is deemed too cruel and bloody). In between there are spirited encounters with islanders and the couple's visiting families, followed by mysterious ghosts that start haunting their back yard. And, sadly, there are the movie theater's diminishing fortunes that, in the end, lead the couple after barely a year of operations to close the Argus Cinema for good. Inspired by Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw in "The Getaway", our couple, instead of simply shuttering the place, decide on a dramatic getaway that inscribes them forever in the annals of the island as "the Godfather and the Godmother".

About the Author

Vera Graaf is a writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker, born in Germany and living in New York City. She spent the 1970s in the Caribbean, first as a hippie on the beaches of St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies, then, with her life partner Michael Zimmer, owning and operating a movie theater on British Virgin Gorda.

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