Archive for the ‘films’ Category

Sunday morning Suo Gan

Sunday, January 6th, 2013


Yesterday I was watching Empire of the Sun, which is a troubling movie in many levels (but not quite as troubling as JG Ballard’s other works), and the Welsh lullaby Suo Gân punctuates a key scene of the film.

Bryn Terfel performs my favorite version of Suo Gân. You can buy the MP3 from Amazon, but it was also used in this beautiful short film, The Dinner Guest by Joe Gleason, to great effect:

Here’s Bryn, with a piano accompanist,

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. May God bless you and your family and loved ones.

Restrepo director and photographer killed in Libya; film playing tonight on PU campus

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Restrepo co-director Tim Hetherington was killed in Libya,

Two photojournalists — Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tim Hetherington and Getty photographer Chris Hondros — were killed on Wednesday after coming under fire in the besieged Libyan town of Misrata.

Hetherington, co-director of Afghan war documentary “Restrepo”, and Hondros were among a group working together on Tripoli Street, a main thoroughfare and scene of fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

“It was quiet and we were trying to get away and then a mortar landed and we heard explosions,” Spanish photographer Guillermo Cervera said.

Doctors first said that Hetherington had died while Hondros had suffered brain injuries. Getty Images later released a statement saying Hondros had died of his injuries.

Hetherington, who won the 2007 World Press Photo of the Year award, co-directed with Sebastian Junger the 2010 documentary “Restrepo”, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary

Restrepo is playing tonight at 8PM on campus. Attendance is limited to Princeton University students and staff.

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Sicko banned in Cuba for portraying Cuban medical apartheid

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Ah, the irony: Right after Michael Moore goes and pays for Assange’s bail, Wikileaks goes out and bites him in the butt,
WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting ‘mythical’ healthcare system
Authorities feared footage of gleaming hospital in Michael Moore’s Oscar-nominated film would provoke a popular backlash
(emphasis added)

Cuba banned Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary, Sicko, because it painted such a “mythically” favourable picture of Cuba’s healthcare system that the authorities feared it could lead to a “popular backlash”, according to US diplomats in Havana.

The revelation, contained in a confidential US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks , is surprising, given that the film attempted to discredit the US healthcare system by highlighting what it claimed was the excellence of the Cuban system.

But the memo reveals that when the film was shown to a group of Cuban doctors, some became so “disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba that they left the room”.

Castro’s government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it “knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”

Facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them – which, by the way, it’s a point I’ve been making for nearly half a decade.

This is what ordinary Cubans get in a hospital, where you even need to bring your own sutures thread if you need surgery. Only foreigners and Cuba’s elite paying in US$ get to be treated at the best facilities, which aren’t all that great:

The memo points out that even the Cuban ruling elite leave Cuba when they need medical care. Fidel Castro, for example, brought in a Spanish doctor during his health crisis in 2006. The vice-minister of health, Abelardo Ramirez, went to France for gastric cancer surgery. The neurosurgeon whoheads CIMEQ [Centro de Investigaciones Médico-Quirúrgicas] hospital – widely regarded as one of the best in Cuba – came to England for eye surgery, returning periodically for checkups.

I must point out that Fidel Castro not only bright in a Spanish oncologist/gastroenterologist, the doctor had to bring his entire medical team and all the operating room equipment.

Moore’s response?

insists that “Sicko” was not banned in Cuba, and links to reports in the Cuban media that it was broadcast on Cuban TV.

In full and unedited, at that?

Via Hit & Run, you can read the memo here.

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Sean Connery sings

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

It’s looking like Sean Connery Saturday here at casa de Fausta, so here he is singing – with an Irish accent,

You can read the story behind that scene, and a very nice bio of the great actor at Big Hollywood.

Book of Eli preview

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Denzel, Gary Oldman, apocalyptic story, and action-adventure… what more can a woman want?

I haven’t been to the movies yet, but this review by John Nolte caught my attention, REVIEW: ‘Book of Eli’ Delivers God, Guns, and Guts. Oh yeah, that sounds good to me,

Like most of you, many years ago I decided that after the apocalypse it will be The Mighty Gary Oldman I’ll choose as arch-nemesis to my Road Warrior (or Tina Turner). Oldman has a high-old time here, and what a credit to this great actor that he can perfectly inhabit the buttoned-down Commissioner Gordon one day and leave no scenery left un-chewed as Carnegie the next. Every line of dialogue, facial expression and movement is delivered for maximum impact. Oldman understands this genre, what it takes to be its villain, and succeeds in finding a place of his own.

And oh how I loves me some Denzel.

Will have to see it.

Oliver Stone: “We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good.’”

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

… says Oliver Stone,

“Stalin, Hitler, Mao, McCarthy — these people have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history,” Stone told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Pasadena.

Lovely touch of moral equivalence between two mass-murderer dictators who ruled with impunity and an alcoholic senator who was taken down by a journalist, isn’t it?

That’s exactly why we “need” Oliver Stoned to explain it all to us, do we?

“Stalin has a complete other story,” Stone said. “Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any single person. We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and its been used cheaply. He’s the product of a series of actions. It’s cause and effect … People in America don’t know the connection between WWI and WWII … I’ve been able to walk in Stalin’s shoes and Hitler’s shoes to understand their point of view. We’re going to educate our minds and liberalize them and broaden them. We want to move beyond opinions … Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated.”

Of course! It’s all the evil American corporations’ fault! That must be it!

But why should anyone or anything be faulted? If Ollie really believes ” We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good,’” why bother have any judgment at all? Why not instead whore oneself with thugs, exactly the way Olly does with Hugo Chavez and that oil money.

Italy Venice Film Festival South of the Border
Adolf and Stalin were not available for photo-ops

Stoned has the stones to refer to history as “events that at the time went under-reported, but crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history of the last 60 years,” such as,

President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan and the origins of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

since, of course, the media didn’t bother on either two “event”. But it’s all about empathy with Olly,

“You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate”

Well, if you believe that, you’ll probably sit and watch Olly’s history rewrite… with empathy, of course.

Let’s just hope Ollie wasn’t the talent behind that FARC propaganda video doing the rounds which shows the lovely pastoral agrarian FARC “fighting capitalism single-handedly” because no one else does.

Here’s the video, if you don’t remember it from the other day,

After all, the FARC would tell you they have been “vilified pretty thoroughly” too.

It’s all about the empathy.

And now for a Joe Gleason film festival

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Last year I was looking for YouTubes of Bryn Terfel, when I came across a beautiful, moving, short film, The Dinner Guest,

At that time, in the comments section, Erica said,

This is somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I found myself weeping, and I cannot quite for sure say why.

This wasn’t a sad film, but it had a sadness to it that drudged up some kind of abstract emotion inside me.

It was almost too beautiful for words.

The first time I saw The Dinner Guest I didn’t weep, but for some reason, while watching it today I did. It could be that the film’s wonderful combination of familiarity and yearning got me this time.

The film was made by Joe Gleason, who contacted the Anchoress (who is a big Bryn fan) and explained,

It’s an incredibly economic film; I borrowed many of the props, I manned the camera myself, the actors are friends of mine, and the mansion is right near where I live.

I’m a strong Christian, and I’m so glad to read your insights into the film. You’ve touched on many of the themes I hoped to communicate, and expanded on ideas I hadn’t even fully developed while making it. I hope to continue making films that provoke reflection and discussion, and ultimately, I’d like to impact the world and draw people closer to God through them.

Here are four more of his intensely lyrical, lovely films,

A Letter, where Mrs Sutton leaves the room…

A Birthday Party, on families and change,

The Hospital, on hope,

Today The Anchoress posts on another of Joe’s films, Almost Evening, in two parts,

The only other director that comes to mind who has such a deft touch on portraying characters and their relationships with each other is Ang Lee. I hope Joe’s career is as successful.

Wishing all of you a happy and prosperous 2010, and thank you for your support.

Dudeoronomy!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

For those of us looking for an escape from dismal politics – American and Latin American alike – there’s a will and a way: Dude studies!

BigLebowski

Dwight Gardner reviews in the NYTimes Dissertations on His Dudeness,

New in bookstores, and already in its second printing, is “The Year’s Work in Lebowski Studies,” an essay collection edited by Edward P. Comentale and Aaron Jaffe (Indiana University Press, $24.95). The book is, like the Dude himself, a little rough around the edges. But it’s worth an end-of-the-year holiday pop-in. Ideally you’d read it with a White Russian — the Dude’s cocktail of choice — in hand.

And don’t forget the 10th anniversary DVD edition of the film, too.

The book was put together by academics who had to make tough choices:

“When we first put out a call for papers, we received about 200 proposals,” said Mr. Comentale, an associate professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington, whose previous books include “Modernism, Cultural Production and the British Avant-Garde” and “T. E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism.”

When putting the book together, Mr. Comentale said, he and his co-editor “immediately cut out all the papers celebrating the Dude as a hippie hero in a postmodern landscape.” That’s a sober choice. Admirers of the Dude are already dangerously close to becoming Internet-age versions of Parrotheads, the weekend-warrior Jimmy Buffett fans who tip back margaritas — and embarrass their children — while wearing flip-flops, board shorts, Hawaiian shirts and coconut bras.

One of them is a college professor:

As a new generation of “Lebowski” fans emerges, Dude Studies may linger for a while. In another of this book’s essays, “Professor Dude: An Inquiry Into the Appeal of His Dudeness for Contemporary College Students,” a bearded, longhaired and rather Dude-like associate professor of English at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., named Richard Gaughran asks this question about his students: “What is it that they see in the Dude that they find so desirable?”

Good question.

While you ponder that, you might want to watch the The Dude version of The Big Lebowski (not to be confused with the LANGUAGE WARNING other version):

The Dude abides.

Special thanks to the friend who sent me this article.

Sherlock Downey Jr for Christmas

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Opening on Christmas Day, Robert Downey Jr stars as Sherlock Holmes. When I was in grade school and my friends were reading Nancy Drew, I was reading the Arthur Connan Doyle stories. In this version of Sherlock Holmes,

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous super-sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, gets an update with this adaptation of Lionel Wigram’s comic book series by writer/director Guy Ritchie.

Sherlock Holmes

As you may remember, I loved Iron Man, and now can’t wait to see Sherlock Holmes (click on the link to the website for the full-screen HD trailer)

Why we kiss?

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

It’s a dreary Wednesday and to be truthful, I’m finding politics (American, Latin American, or any politics) exhausting. The Anchoress has an Advent pause for weary minds, but being much less spiritual than her, imagine my delight when I saw this from John Derbishire, whose book, We Are Doomed I just finished reading,
Why We Kiss?

Razib goes on to speculate that: “Perhaps then bad breath and poor oral hygiene are simply a fitness indicator, and kissing evolved as a method for humans to evaluate each other’s health as an ‘honest’ signal?”

Maybe that’s how it got started; but we kiss because it’s so good.

Here’s my favorite kissing scene on film, the final scene of Cinema Paradiso, a movie I loved when I first saw it years ago,

Warm kisses, all.