Munich Film Festival II

Jun. 27th, 2017 11:28 am
selenak: (Orson Welles by Moonxpoints5)
[personal profile] selenak
The Infiltrator was part of the Bryan Cranston retrospective and basically came across as a well-made routine thriller without anything being either bad or having anything innovative going for it. I.e. if you've watched thrillers about undercover cops working to bring a drug cartel down, you can predict all of the story beats. (Other than one spoilerly bit ).) It's entertaining and does what it sets out to do, and needless to say Cranston is reliably good in the part, but I wouldn't say it's a must.

City of Ghosts, otoh, was a fantastic documentary, directed by Matthew Heineman, about the citizen journalist group Raqqa is being slaughtered silently (RBBS). Before I watched it, I was unfamiliar with the phrase "citizen journalist" , but it's really a perfect description, because before the IS came to Raqqa, only one of them was a journalist, the rest had professions like high school math teacher or engineer. Nonetheless, they took incredible risks getting out photos and film evidence of the atrocities the so called Islamic State visited - and still visits upon their city. The surviving founders of the group had to flee but they still have some members in Raqqa, trying their best to continue getting material out. I'm always hesitant to use the phrase "real life heroes", but these people are truly heroic, and one thing that galls me especially is that when they've made it alive to Germany and safety, they promptly run into one anti-refugees march by the godawful AFD in Berlin.

The documentary starts during the "Arab Spring" in 2012, for which the Assad Regime going after Raqqa school children was one of the local triggers, and ends last year. We follow the core group of RBBS; Heineman is an invisible presence, he lets them narrate their stories, and when there's background information/exposition, such the way the IS uses the media for recruitment changed radically from the very early static speech videos to the Hollywood style big production videos that came into use after the fall of Raqqa, the activists are doing the explaining (subtitled, for the most part, everyone talks in Arabic) while the audience sees excerpts of the videos in question. BTW, I'd never seen an IS recruitment video before, and I have to say, the exact copying of action movie gimmicks and aesthetics (complete with following-the-bullet shots, soundtrack, etc.) is nearly as unsettling as the content. It's not much of a comfort that RBBS was able to puncture the IS self image enough by getting videos and photos showing the true state of Raqqa out to counteract the IS claims about it that the IS forbade any satelites in Raqqa and ordered the inhabitants to publically destroy theirs, so they regain control of the imagery. But it's something.

If the excerpts from the IS videos go for action movie gloss on violence, the mobile phone camera made videos of the RBBS are shaky, abruptly cut off, full of (inevitably) strange angles - and shocking in quite a different way. For example, the first time we see executions, the abrupt deaths and the already dead bodies lying around are bad enough, but without either the camera or any narrator pointing this out, what is as gruesome is what you see in the background. Yes, these are heads on pikes on what used to be the town square, not cheap movie props in the latest zombie splatter, but real human heads.

There's a lot of survivors guilt among the activists; one of them had to watch his father being executed in punishment, all of them are directly threatened by the IS who calls for their deaths, one lost his brother who was among the refugees who drowned in the Mediterranean, and when he talks about his dead brother, he says he still sends him messages per Facebook (as the account hasn't been taken down). "I am broken, my brother. Broken." And yet, and yet, they still continue to risk their lives. There's also a lot of comraderie we see, being physically comfortable with each other, and the rare moment of pure joy, such as everyone having a snowball fight in Berlin. You feel for them, and admire them - and hope the movie will be seen by as many people as possible. Maybe it will remind them that 95% of the victims of IS terrorism are Muslims - and said victims won't, shan't be silenced, are doing their best to fight back.

L'Intrusa, directed by Leonardo di Costanzo, is, like The Infiltrator, "based on a true story", with organized crime in the background, but the contrast couldn't be greater. While delivering a tight narration, there's nothing routine or slick about this movie, which is set in Naples and manages to avoid every single cliché. The fact you don't see the Vesuvio or the bay anywhere is just one of them; L'Intrusa is set in one of the poor quarters. The central characteris Giovanna, who has organized a miixture of daycare centre and social centre for kids and teenagers to offer them a life off the streets. When the film starts, the centre is well established and has been running for years, has been embraced by the neighborhood - but then something happens that puts Giovanna in an unsolvable dilemma. One of the small to mid level gangster's wives - Maria - and her two children have come to the centre, claiming refuge. Giovanna, Maria's daughter Rita and Maria are the three main characters; the supporting cast is also individualized, from Giovanna's right hand woman Sabina to the widow of a man Maria's husband has shot to the little daughter whose father was beaten to a pulp by Maria's husband right in front of her.

L'Intrusa never shows on screen violence. It doesn't show the Camorra doing what the Camorra does, but the after effects are present everywhere. This was a deliberate choice by the director, who in the Q & A said that if you depict Mafiosi "from the front", i.e. put them in the centre of the narration, even if you position them as villains, you end up making them in some ways sympathetic or even glorify them. "So, in my films, I only come at them sideways" - i.e. they're not there on screen, but there's no mistaking the terribile effect they have. Now, the centre is a film full of life and joy, with a community acting together, and it's rare and very attractive to see that. But it's not utopia, and in fact the need for it directly grows out of the unseen horrors around it. Not surprisingly, more and more parents object to Maria's presence. Giovanna gets accused of prioritizing the perpretators over their victims. The aunt of the little girl who has seen her father beaten into a pulp demands to know how she should justify to her sister letting her niece interact, let alone play with Rita, what that would do to her niece. Things come to a head when Rita and some of the kids argue, a normal kids' argument, with the parents drawn into, but Maria isn't just any parent, and so when she says "if you touch my daughter again etc.", the awareness that this is the wife of someone who casually kills people, even if he's currently arrested and hopefully won't get out of prison any time soon, makes this a direct threat to the other kids.

Otoh, Giovanna's argument is: if you ever want to break the cycle of violence, you need to make sure that the Marias of the world don't raise their children to follow their fathers' footsteps. That these children learn other values, learn something different. If she turns these children away from the centre, this will not happen.

As I said: it's an unsolvable dilemma, and the movie doesn't simplify it. It even adds to the stakes because Maria at first comes across as arrogant and rude (it's not until well into the film when you see her alone that you realise she's shattered and scared as well). Not to mention that she starts out by deceiving Giovanna, and there's early on not much to justify Giovanna's hope that Maria actually wants a change for herself and her children - nothing but the fact Maria is here instead of being with her rich sister-in-law, who in the movie shows up twice in a big car to retrieve Maria, in vain, and evidently lives the well funded Mafia spouse life. Basically: you understand where everyone is coming from.

Something else I learned in the Q & A was that most of the actors were lay actors, actual Neapolitans whose main job is in social service (though no one played themselves), with Giovanna being played by a woman who is a dancer and dance choreographer. "Because Giovanna doesn't say much, she's so stoic, she expresses herself through her body language," said the director, "I wanted someone who could do that, that's why I picked Raffaela Giordano." Who indeed is able to express much by the way she looks at people, by her movements, and who looks like she's closer to 50 than to 40. Everyone looks "normal", i.e. like people you could meet on the streets, not like well styled actors with a daily workout. But none act amateurishly in the sense that you're taken outside the story or feel they're talking stiltedly; given Rita and the other children are a big part of the story, that's especially amazing.

Favourite detail: one of the projects the kids in the centre work on, and the one Rita falls in love with and participates with, is building a robot they name "Mr. Jones" out of old bicycle parts. You can bet that in most other movies, Rita and her baby brother would have changed placed in age and it would have been a little boy fascinated with the robot.

In conclusion: probably my favourite movie so far, and highly reccomended

(no subject)

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:13 am
jekesta: (hexagons)
[personal profile] jekesta
1. All of my posts turn into angry rants about things I don't have words for.

2. Day Seven: A song about drugs or alcohol



It's so good this song exists because I can't think of ANY OTHER SONG I like about drugs and alcohol. There are much better categories of things people write songs about.

3. Richard Littlejohn apparently genuinely thinking of Oates as a guy that just fucked off when the going got hard makes me laugh every time I think about it.

4. It's my mum's birthday, so I've spent the morning making an afternoon tea of cake and jelly and sandwiches. Every time I make party food I plan it with logic and sense but when I'm making it I'm like 'just FOUR THOUSAND sandwiches? PEOPLE WILL STARVE' and I double everything. There is so much food in my fridge now and there are only going to be five of us.
umadoshi: (Deadline Russian cover)
[personal profile] umadoshi
New DW Communities

[dreamwidth.org profile] drawesome is "a friendly community of fan-artists who enjoy drawing. We hope to inspire and motivate each other to practice and hone our drawing skills in a stress-free, supportive environment."

[dreamwidth.org profile] comicsroundtable is "a fannish community for comics discussion, reviews, and general chat."


Fannish/Geeky Things

Neat Twitter thread on Wonder Woman costuming, written by a costume designer.

"Wonder Woman Actor Says Chief Is Actually a Demi-God". [io9]

"Dungeons & Dragons Wouldn’t Be What It Is Today Without These Women".

"More Murderbot Adventures from Martha Wells". [Tor.com]


Miscellaneous

"Disney Princesses Reimagined Years Later As Queens By Daughters And Mothers". "The main idea was to portray the relationship between a true mother and daughter as the same princesses a generation apart to show the similarities, the features that are alike." (Related ~10-minute YouTube video, which I haven't watched.)

"Report Finds Diverse Movies Outperform White Ones At Every Level".

"Declawing: A new study shows we can’t look the other way".

"Host a Silent Reading Party in 7 Easy Steps". [Book Riot]

"Why Honeybees Are The Wrong Problem To Solve".

"Invention Saves Wildlife From Drowning in Swimming Pools".

"Sitka artist designs slinky dress from 20,000 salmon bones".

"How I use comic books as a learning tool in my social studies classroom". [March 2016]



On Atlas Obscura:

--"Most of the World’s Bread Clips Are Made by a Single Company".

--"Jupiter Is Even Weirder Than We Thought".

--"Laurel Dinosaur Park: This dig site outside D.C. is known for its exceptionally high density of baby dinosaur fossils and dinosaur eggs".

--"The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool".
elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
[personal profile] elf
Ok, we're back to lists. Not that I have a lot of options here; I don't listen to a bunch of loud music, and most of the songs I like aren't loud. But there are a few. I'm including songs that I don't think need to be loud all the way through, but have a section that I prefer to be at top volume so I can scream along with it and not year my own voice.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go | Ballroom Blitz | Shut Up and Dance | It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) | Cum On Feel The Noize | We're Not Gonna Take It | I Wanna Be Sedated | Immigrant Song | Fat Bottomed Girls

...okay, maybe I do have a lot of options. Not as many as some of the others, but I'm not running out.

I have no idea what show or movie this was made from, but it's awesome )

Meme list
outstretched: (PKMN ♥ [green] Dressed to the nines)
[personal profile] outstretched posting in [community profile] betaplease
Fandom: Pokemon Gameverse (HGSS, Kanto focus, with frequent mention of other gens/regions)
Characters/Pairings: Green/Red. Supporting cast includes Professor Oak, Kris, Silver, Leaf, Daisy Oak, Red's Mom, Red's Pikachu, Green's Eevee, and a whole plethora of OCs. The fic takes place 13 years after the events of the games, so the characters are all a little older.
Rating & Warnings: The fic is rated T. Major themes are trauma recovery, difficult/fraught family situations, near death experiences, second chances, the ocean, and forgiveness. Overall, the fic is meant to be uplifting rather than dark.
Estimated Fic Length: 30-35k, probably? Four out of the five parts are written and it's 25k so far. I mostly need a beta for parts 3 (7k) and 4 (8k), and maybe part 5 when it's finished. Though if you wanted to look at the first two parts I wouldn't say no...
Notes: You can read the first chapter here if you'd like a preview. I'm looking for a beta with knowledge of the pokemon universe, who would be willing to give feedback on everything ranging from wordiness, word choice, spelling, and grammar to pacing, character voices, repetition, and anything else you'd like really. I adore constructive criticism, please critique me to within an inch of my life! But please don't be mean about it, that's all.

I'd be more than happy to beta your fic in return! I mostly hail from anime fandom (you can see the list of anime I'm familiar with here), I also know homestuck even though that fandom is dead, and I live in pokemon fandom too, of course. Alternatively, if you only want spelling/grammar/etc. help and a knowledge of the universe isn't necessary, I'm willing to lend a hand. I'm especially useful if you need medical fact-checking, as I am a health professional.

You can leave a comment here, or my e-mail is passerine.cloud@gmail.com. Thank you very much for considering!
elf: Twitchy alligator from Die Anstalt (Twitchy)
[personal profile] elf
Well, here we go, a topic where I don't have a whole playlist to throw around, and if I did, I wouldn't want to. I don't have a lot of people I want to forget in my life; the people I've known who were entirely negative, I want to remember whatever made me despise them so I can avoid it in the future.

So I'm stuck trying to figure out... are there songs I associate with the racist sexist step-uncle in Arkansas? With the kids who harassed me for being terrible at sports? With the teacher who gave me detention for reading in class? (I wasn't reading what everyone else was, because I'd finished it.) With the evil ex?

Wait, yes! There's a song that I like very much, that is so tangled with the evil ex (it was on one of his mix tapes) that I can't listen to it without unpleasant memories. :( Which is as close as I get to "a song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget," I think.

This song is far too mellow for the associations I have with it. )

Meme list

Orphan Black 5.03

Jun. 26th, 2017 07:58 am
selenak: (Allison by Spankulert)
[personal profile] selenak
And my show love is back! Woo hoo! That was a fantastic episode.

Read more... )

Fandom post

Jun. 26th, 2017 12:49 pm
meicdon13: (Default)
[personal profile] meicdon13
Animated Movies/Shorts

Big Hero 6 (8/10) → I am forever bitter about Tadashi. I thought Disney wouldn't be able to manipulate my feelings but I was wrong.

Moana (9/10) → The only thing I didn't like was that long-ass Shiny song. Lowkey wish it'd been traditionally animated but *shrug* what can you do.

Cartoons

Samurai Jack S05 (9/10)Things I didn't like. Spoilers. )

That being said, I very much enjoyed S05 overall. I was worried about the ending—after making people wait so long for it, it felt like one of those things where nothing would be good enough. But the bittersweet final scene felt right, though I think the show would've benefited more from 2-3 more episodes because the final battle/s felt rushed.

Harry Potter trends on AO3

Jun. 25th, 2017 06:05 pm
beatrice_otter: Luna Lovegood, Hermione Granger, Cho Chang (Girls of Potter)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
I read Harry Potter fic, even though I'm pretty sure I've never managed to read any of the novels all the way through, or watch any of the movies start to finish.  Whatever, that's fandom.

Anyway, I periodically go through looking for new fic on AO3, and the best way (imo) to do this is to click on the Harry Potter works tag, sort by date, and then put "kudos>100" (or whatever other kudos threshhold you choose, today I picked 1000 because it's such a huge fandom) so you only get stuff a lot of people have liked.  (If you just go "sort by hits" or "sort by kudos" in a fandom as old as Harry Potter, you only get the oldy-goldies, which I've mostly read already or know I won't like.)

I also have AO3 Savior, a greasmonkey script added on to my browser that allows me to blacklist tags and such.  Items tagged with stuff I don't want to see show up in Works lists as blocked, with reason for blocking.

I went looking for Harry Potter fic today.  Apparently, a VERY high percentage of popular fic right now has either character bashing or Voldemort sexytimes.  Also!  I have "*/Tom Riddle" and "Tom Riddle/* both blacklisted (the asterisk tells it to block anything there, so I don't have to go through and list alllll the possible Tom Riddle pairings).  But apparently, if I want to block threesomes with Riddle, I have to ALSO blacklist "*/Tom Riddle/*"

Why do so many people want to write and read about Voldie sexytimes?!?  I do not get it!  I'm not judging, you do you, but gah.

(The bashing is, alas, a Harry Potter trend of longstanding.  Thank you to everyone who a) realizes that that is what you are doing and b) tags it properly.)

Reading meme

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:46 pm
flo_nelja: (Default)
[personal profile] flo_nelja
Un mème pris à [personal profile] malurette


Hardback or paperback:
Plus souvent broché quand je ne suis là que pour le texte, mais quand les illustrations sont meilleures, une version reliée fait toujours plaisir ! (ou quand c'est la seule édition, bien sûr)

Borrow or buy:
Acheter, souvent d'occasion. Il y a des exceptions, bien sûr, mais cela reste, justement, des exceptions.

Fantasy or Sci-Fi:
Fantasy, globalement. Même si en pratique je lis les deux, je suis juste moins difficile pour la fantasy.

Love-Triangle or love at first sight:
Aucun d'eux ne sont des tropes que j'aime, mais s'il faut choisir le triangle amoureux est plus réaliste. Et puis vu la façon dont ils sont opposés, ici, cela semble un peu posé comme "sait depuis toujours qui est le bon, ou a besoin de réfléchir pour savoir", et oui, le second.

Wall shelves or bookcases:
Les bibliothèques me suivent en cas de déménagement, les étagères non...

Bad plot with good characters or good plot with bad characters:
Ouch, pas évident. Je pense que dans les deux cas, ça dépend de bon à quel point. ^^
Ca dépend aussi de si "bad characters" veut dire personnages que je ne peux pas supporter, ou personnages mal écrits et pas crédibles.

Harry Potter or Percy Jackson:
Harry Potter, même si pour ce que j'ai lu de Percy Jackson ça s'améliore lentement.

Booklr or Bookstagram:
Je suis sur tumblr, et pas sur Instagram, donc...

Contemporaries or Fantasy:
Fantasy.

English books or books in your native language:
Wow, une question qui n'est pas faite pour les anglophones, alors que le sondage est en anglais, je suis impressionnée.
Quand la langue d'origine est l'anglais, je préfère essayer de lire en anglais, mais quand c'est n'importe quoi d'autre je lis en français, et ça fait quand même une majorité ^^

Buy in a bookshop or buy online:
En ligne pour l'anglais, en librairie pour le français.

Amazon or Book Depository:
Amazon a une version française, mais parfois on se retrouve à acheter des livres depuis book depository de toute façon

Buy because of the cover or because of the description:
En général, c'est plus "parce que j'ai lu des critiques", mais pour les rares fois où j'achète un livre sans en avoir entendu parler avant, c'est pour la description.

Alphabetical shelves or color coordinated:
Tri thématique et par taille de livre

Different sized books or matching sizes:
Dans la même série je veux les mêmes, c'est sûr, en dehors ce n'est pas un critère.

Wait to marathon a series or read as they’re released:
Ca dépend si cela sort régulièrement, dans ce cas je peux lire au fur et à mesure, ou si j'ai l'impression que ce ne sera jamais fini. Ca dépend aussi de à quel point chaque tome est auto-contenu.

Movie or TV adaptations:
Ca dépend de la taille du livre. Je n'ai pas de préférence en soi, mais je peux en avoir pour chaque livre précis.

Reading indoors or outdoors:
Ces temps-ci, surtout dans les transports en commun.

Coffee or Tea:
Chocolat

Bookmarks or random objects to mark your page:
Tickers de métro

Be your favourite character or be their best friend:
Mes personnages préférés sont souvent tragiques, être le meilleur ami est un peu plus sûr. ^^
(Oui, je sais que la question est : est-ce que je préfère être awesome ou avoir des amis awesome. La réponse est la même, ha ha)

Physical or e-book:
Les fichiers ont des avantages, mais je préfère les livres solides, quand j'ai le choix.

Read in bed or on a chair:
Chaise

Audio book or e-book:
E-books. Ca me stresse d'écouter un livre, je ne sais pas pourquoi.

Series or stand-alones:
Comme les séries demandent plus d'investissement, je leur demande plus de critères de qualité/thèmes qui m'intéressent personnellement avant de m'y lancer (sauf en BD où je préfère clairement les séries, mais les BD se lisent plus vite, justement).

Reading in the winter or reading in the summer:
Tout le temps !

(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2017 02:15 pm
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (cosmia)
[personal profile] skygiants
I have never read Dhalgren or indeed any Samuel R. Delaney. However, as of yesterday I have at least had a Dhalgren Experience, thanks to [personal profile] aamcnamara, who turned up a local theatrical-dance-music-light-'architectural puppetry' performance of something called Dhalgren: Sunrise this weekend.

Dhalgren: Sunrise is comprised of bits of text from what I assume is Dhalgren the book, accompanied by dance, light, and music, almost all of it improvised. Also, some of the music was performed on imaginary instruments. "That must be a theremin!" I thought brightly to myself on seeing one of the instruments, mostly because I don't know what a theremin looks like and therefore I assume that any instrument I don't recognize is a theremin. But it turns out it was not a theremin, because there was a credit in the program for 'invented instruments,' though I don't know whether the one I saw was the Diddly Bow, the Bass Llamelophone, or the Autospring.

Anyway, so my new understanding of Dhalgren is that it is about a city in which Weird, Fraught and Inexplicable Things Are Happening. This is not a very thorough understanding, but it's still more of an understanding than I had before. The show is composed of seven scene-vignettes:

Prelude: A brief reading of [what I assume to be] the book's introduction.

Orchid: Three women dance on a bridge and a man acquires a prosthetic hand-weapon-implement. The director at the end gave special thanks to the dude who made it, understandably so, because it very effectively exuded Aura of Sinister!

Scorpions: Gang members dance and fight in front of a building? Alien gang members? Just aliens? Anyway, some entities wrapped in glowing lights have a dance fight in front of a building; the text is from the point of view of a worried inhabitant of the building who Has Concerns.

Moons: The moon has a new secondary moon friend named George. The dancing in this section was one of my favorite bits -- the Moon did some amazing things with her light-strung hula hoop. [personal profile] aamcnamara pointed out later that the narration in this bit, which featured a wry and dubious radio announcer, seemed like a perhaps-intentional echo of Welcome to Night Vale. I have never actually listened to Welcome to Night Vale, but from my cultural osmosis knowledge this seems about right.

Fire: The light show took front and center in this bit about everything being on fire and also, simultaneously, not on fire. The maintenance man doing the narration is very plaintive about all of this. There may also have been dancing in this bit but I don't remember what anyone was doing.

Sex: The guy with the sinister prosthesis has an intimate encounter with two other people inside a blanket fort. I always like the blanket-fort method of showing sex onstage, it hints appropriately while allowing actors not to have to do anything they're uncomfortable with. At some point in this process the sinister prosthesis is removed for the first time, which I expect symbolizes something about human connection.

Sunrise: The characters who have previously just had sex emerge from the building and now seem to have a difference of opinion about whether the sunrise is just normal, or whether the earth is actually falling into the sun. Eventually all the characters are onstage being distressed, along with the music and the lighting -- again, really cool light effects here, especially the final overwhelming projection of light followed by and darkness.

It's a one-hour show without intermission, which we all agreed afterwards was for the best; the deeply weird mood and atmosphere would have been difficult to slip back into if one could get up in the middle to go to the bathroom. For those of you who have actually read Dhalgren, I will leave you with [personal profile] aamcnamara's sum-up: "It was a strange experience, but honestly could have been stranger."

Munich Film Festival I

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:53 am
selenak: (Breaking Bad by Wicked Signs)
[personal profile] selenak
Aka what consumes my days these days, as every year around this time. Of course, every year doesn't have Bryan Cranston as one of the guests of honor, so there was this additional perk.:) (Here's an article about the award ceremony he was there for.)


 photo 2017_0623Filmfest0003_zpsgy9vaotd.jpg

(Question: is the young man in one of the photos a fan is holding out to be signed truly Cranston some decades ago? Yikes, I wouldn't have recognized him.)


The director of Wakefield, one of his movies which are shown this year in honor of him (and yes, of course several Breaking Bad episodes are s hown as well), Robin Swicord, joked that both she and Cranston have German grandparents, and: "I don't know why they left, but you know, I think the fun is over. Might be a good idea to come back now, and I think you all know why. So thank you for welcoming political refugees." Former opera director Sir Peter Jonas outed himself as a Breaking Bad fan, complete with Heisenberg t-shirt, and held a speech praising the glories of narrative arc driven television. My only irritation with that one wasn't the series he singled out (other than BB) for being exceptionally good at this - The Sopranos, Oz, The West Wing and The Good Wife - , but the one he didn't mention. Babylon 5 still doesn't get as much credit in breaking ground with its narrative arc tellng format as it deserves.

Anyway, Bryan Cranston's own speech was lovely, mostly about the way being a storyteller is the best vocation (I agree), with both wry humor and sincerity. After the ceremony, Wakefield was shown, but due to an unshakeable real life obligation, I could only watch the first hour. Mind you, I had mixed feelings anyway. Because I could see why Cranston was cast (excelling as he does in playing dislikeable characters whose pettiness isn't air brushed away who are still interesting to watch) , and I enjoyed seeing Jennifer Garner again (playing his wife), and found the concept something of a suburban Hitchcock satire without crime (Howard Wakefield, lawyer, due some circumstances ends up disappearing into his own attic, watching his wife and family carry on without him with the bickering zest of a true voyeur while literally reduced to eating garbage) in a clever way, it still made my skin crawl. Because in the hour I watched, most of Howard Wakefield's voyeurism and assholery was directed against his wife, and while I knew the narrative was absolutely on the same page with me here, it still felt very disturbing to watch, and so it didn't exactly break my heart that I had to leave early. (Otoh I missed the Q & A with Cranston afterwards that way, alas.)

On to movies I could watch completely:

La Familia, a movie from Venezuela, directed by Gustavo Rondón Cordóva, currently stuck in Caracas and thus unable to make it to the festival, though he might make it to the Latin American directors general Q & A on Monday. This was a taut, intense story starting in the poorest quarters of Caracas. Our two main characters are Pedro, a twelve years old boy, and his father Andres, who works several jobs at once to make ends meet and thus hardly sees him. The introduction sequence has Pedro (Reggie Reyes) playing with some other children, and the playing has that edge of violence, those moments when shoving at each other suddenly threatens to become more, which has you sit up already. And sure enough, various scenes later, which establish Pedro's day with best friend Jonny and minus his father (who sleeps like a stone on those rare occasions when he's home), violence does explode, as a child threatens Pedro and Jonny with a gun and Pedro ends up seriously hurting the other child. His father Andres understands the implication at once because the child in question has revenge hungry people, and goes on a run with his estranged son, which is the plot line for the rest of the movie. "Going on a run", however, doesn't mean what it might were this a US film, because Andres still needs that money for Pedro and himself to survive, so he takes Pedro with him to his various jobs on the other ends of the city - they just don't go back to their own quarter, though Pedro urgently wants to because he's worried for Jonny, which makes for a big confllct with his father.

This is a movie which trusts its actors (Giovanni García plays Andres), because the dialogue is terse and rare, and you experience the shifting father and son relationship mostly through physical interaction, looks, gestures. Andres doesn' have a "killing is bad" conversation with his son, or a "how do you feel about what happened?" conversation - that's just not how they interact. And yet you can watch them becoming closer throughout the film, and at the end they truly understand each other, and even in their desperate situation have some hope for the future.


Clair Obscur, a Turkish-German-French-Polish coproduction (yes, these do exist) directed by Yesim Ustaouglu. With a female Turkish director and two female main characters, this movie explores, among other things, various ways of what it means to be a woman in Turkey. Our two heroines live completely different existences - Shendaz is a psychiatrist with a seemingly good relationship with her boyfriend, living in very well off circumstances at the Meditterranean coast, while Elmas is still a teenager imprisoned in a marriage to a much older man who revolts her, serving him and his mother in their small flat in a skyscraper. The two storylines eventually connect when due to various spoilery circumstances Shendaz becomes Elmas' therapist; by that time, the cracks in Shenaz' own life have been revealed, but refreshingly for therapists who tend to be either demonic or incompetent when presented in a fictional story, she's still able to truly help Elmas (especially once she figures out how young Elmas really is), and eventually finds away to escape the mess in her own life as well.

The director and several of the actors were there, though not the two leads. The actress who plays Elmas' mother-in-law said whhen she read the script, she thought that this was the best discussion of female sexuality in a Turkish movie. The sex scenes aren't just surprisingly frank in the case of Shenaz (with Elmas, who does not want to have sex, the camera stays on her agonized face, and later goes with her to the restroom because the aftermath is also very painful to her), but always make a character point. In the Q & A the director was asked whether the movie could be shown like this in Turkey, and she answered she had to cut around two minutes for the general release version (though she was allowed to show the full length in Turkish festivals), which since she knew this would happen in advance she could do without taking away the meaning from the scenes in question. Mostly the general release cuts avoided the full nudity of the complete version. Since the only Muslim women showing up in Western media tend to wear headscarfs and/or hijabs, in short, live Elmas' life, I suspect the fact that Shenaz is sucessful in her profession, has unmarried sex and enjoys wine when dining with her boyfriend (who does the cooking) would be as startling as the sex and the nudity if this movie gets a release in the US or Europe. At the same time, there's the awareness that Erdogan's government and party is doing its best to make Elmas, not Shenaz' life more common again in Turkey, and that subtext is also there if you're sitting in the audience watching this film.

Shenaz is played by Funda Eryigit, Elmas by Ecem Uzm, and they're both delivering terrific performances. In the Q & A, Ms. Ustaoglu mentioned that the incredible scene in which Shenaz gets Elmas to roleplay a dream she has (which finally allows Elmas to vocalize the pain in her life) needed only two takes, one for Elmas, one for Shenaz, that the actresses were that good. And having seen this movie, I believe it.

Doctor Who 10.11.

Jun. 25th, 2017 08:55 am
selenak: (Missy by Yamiinsane123)
[personal profile] selenak
In which whoever did the trailer after the last episode should not do so again, since it already gave away the two key twists, but even so, this was a suspensful and good first part - may the second one live up to it.

Read more... )
elf: Silhoette of autumn scene; one glitch sitting on a park bench, another leaping in the air (Glitch - Autumn Day)
[personal profile] elf
This gets interesting, because "reminds me of summertime" often has nothing to do with the contents of the song. I spent a good portion of my preteen and early teen summers in Arkansas, so there are a swarm of country & bluegrass songs that I think of as "summery" because that's when I heard them. But those aren't the only ones I think of as "summertime" songs.

Cotton Jenny | I'm Gonna Hire a Wino | Out of the Frying Pan (And into the Fire) | Delta Dawn | Lady Takes the Cowboy Every Time | Cruel Summer | Stay Young | Good Vibrations | Nobody | Boys of Summer

And one I associate with summer both because of how I first heard it and the contents )

Meme list

(no subject)

Jun. 24th, 2017 05:08 pm
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
[personal profile] skygiants
Our adventures with Star Wars: The Clone Wars continue! Though, alas, those of many of our clone buddies do not.

Episodes 11-20 of Season 1 under the cut )

Linkspam: Wonder Woman, misc.

Jun. 24th, 2017 12:41 pm
umadoshi: (Wonder Woman 01)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Wonder Woman

"Patty Jenkins is Co-Writing ‘Wonder Woman 2’ With Geoff Johns".

"5 'Wonder Woman' Amazons On The Power Of Their All-Woman Army".

"Native Actor Eugene Brave Rock Talks About His Role in Wonder Woman: As Wonder Woman smashes records, Native Actor Eugene Brave Rock talks about a whirlwind week and being gifted a headdress".

"The Revolution Won’t Be Saved By Wonder Woman — And That’s Okay". [The Establishment] "Wonder Woman is a stand-in for so many women in some position of vulnerable visibility who feel unfairly scrutinized for their ideological imperfections; she, and her at times tortured relationship with the women’s movement that adopted her as a mascot, provide a helpful case study for understanding the consequences of the demands we place on each other."


Miscellaneous

"I'm A Teenager And I Don't Like Young Adult Novels. Here's Why".

"“Boys By Girls” Is Using the Female Gaze to Redefine Modern Masculinity".

While looking up some planting info for plants we have, I learned about the existence of a couple of plant types that we're not likely to ever have, but which look really neat: arisaema (cobra lily) and tacca (bat plant).

"10+ Of The Oldest Color Photos Showing What The World Looked Like 100 Years Ago".

"Disney Illustrator Imagines A Life With A Pet Octopus, And It’s Just Too Adorable (10+ Pics)".

"Writing Advice to My Students That Would Also Have Been Good Sex Advice for My High School Boyfriends". [McSweeney's]

"These “Galaxy” Flowers Hold Entire Universes On Their Petals".

"You", via a locked post where the link was described as "How ordinary (often well-meaning) people make life much harder than it needs to be for people with disabilities."

"Adhesive Foot Pads Let You Ditch the Flip Flops with Flexible Feet Protection". [Article links to active Kickstarter.]

"Animated GIFs Reveal Differences Between Subway Maps and Their Actual Geography".

"Oh, Lovely: The Tick That Gives People Meat Allergies Is Spreading".

"World's first water park for people with disabilities is literally the coolest thing ever created". (Now, if only it weren't called "Inspiration Island".)

"Brutally Honest Freelance Writer Bios". [McSweeney's]

"The Lunar Sea: The moon influences life in a surprising and subtle way: with its light".

Links

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:10 pm
selenak: (rootbeer)
[personal profile] selenak
Confessions of a Trekker: I really don't like ST VI - The Undiscovered Country. Which is, I've discovered, something of a minority opinion, for at least the vocal part of fandom holds this last cinematic outing of the TOS crew in a fond light. However, now and then the dissent becomes vocal, too, as in this rewatch post about the movie in question .


In more fun Trek news, check out this vid about everyone's favourite Cardassian tailor-plus-spy:

Dedicated Follower of Fashion

(Every now and then I wish the movies instead of going for the nth version of Wrath of Khan (with or without a villain called Khan) would tackle the Cardassians instead. And then I conclude the movies would probably mishandle the Cardassians as badly as they did the Romulans, and am glad the Cardassians so far have been reserved for tv.)

And lastly, a BSG fanfic rec:

Rippling Light: tender and heartbreaking take on the friendship of Felix Gaeta and Anastasia Dualla, two characters for whom the phrase "they deserved better" might have been invented.

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labingi

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