The first London Brazilian Film Festival hit town last week with the warm and vocal audience participation of the city's expat community, and a couple of cinematic gems.
You get the sense that organizers ‘Inffinifo' want to express that there is so much more to Brazil, and it's cinema, than the sex, violence and poverty stereotypes reinforced by its big hits over recent years. However, and despite some works of interest in other areas, it seems that what Brazilian cinema does best - and what it's best filmmakers are doing - is to continue that exploration. Stories from Brazil's most impoverished communities make for such good cinema because drama is at its most electric when following people in extreme situations. The more the realist illusion is enhanced through the excellent documentary style techniques of ‘Cinema Novo', the more powerful these extremities appear.
Making this case most clearly was Bruno Barreto's exceptional Last Stop 174 (click for my review) - a fiction inspired by the real life events portrayed in the 2002 documentary ‘Bus 174'. A gripping story enhanced by high production values and accomplished directing, this more than merits an international release.
Also explosively transporting life in Rio's ghettos to celluloid was Favela On Blast (click for my review). Propelled forward with the raw exuberance of the music and characters within the clubbing scene in Brazil's favelas, rarely is a documentary so sexy, foul-mouthed and downright fun.
A surprisingly fun and un-indulgent film was ‘Smoking I Wait', in which director Adriana L. Dutra uses her personal attempt to quit smoking as a base from which to explore the history and current state of the tobacco industry. Well made and engaging, it did suffer from a problem evident in all the documentaries screened at the festival - an overestimation of its own playing time.
Special mentions should go to the crowd pleasing ‘If I were you 2' and ‘The Childrens Orchestra', though the stageyness of teenage coming of age drama 'Before the World Ends' only reinforced how well Brazilian's make the type of film that this was not - gritty realist drama's. Compare it to Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas' excellent ‘Linha De Passe' of last year and this feels a much less successful exploration of similar themes.
Funded by the American Kalliopeia Foundation, the Global Oneness Project seeks to compile wisdom of unsung world changers from every corner of the planet. With all videos licensed under the Creative Commons license, the videos are free to download, share, recut, remix and reuse (hence this trimmed version here). For a documentary series with a social purpose, the license gives them the edge over films such as Age of Stupid and An Inconvenient Truth which seek to reach the widest possible audience with their messages, but are still fettered by trying to make a financial return for their investors, and therefore avoid a more re-distributoin friendly license and system (which can still be profitable). But more touching is the content of some of the films - especially Ubuntu - and on a day that the world's (mostly) elected elite try to hit the brakes before our Titanic civilisation is sunk by the icebergs ahead, What would it look like?, which weaves many threads, including a Peruvian elder and Buddhist nun with Martin Luther King and Obama's speeches, seemed to say far more than anything I could muster.Just imagine a world where we didn't work so hard and got to spend more time outside and with friends and family. That's what a real green evolution would mean.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
To Whom it May Concern:
Please in what city and country was the Church bombed in the movie The Reader, where 300 Jewish Woman died. Are the only survivors Ilana and Rose Mather?
Does anyone know if the name of her book is Memoir? Is this book still in print?
I woke this morning, at the godawful hour needed for my slow and pricey train ride to Hull , from a dream where I was a kid once more, back in my school hall at St Aidan's again. We'd just finished a double filmmaking lesson (probably inspired by watching M.Dot.Strange's awesome film skool on Ytube till the early hours) and were putting the chairs back to the sides with the teenage tedium of those times. I was muttering to my friend about picking up a copy of the Independent as they had a big feature on the film industry. And I realised suddenly that I would not have been the punk cinema kid at school.
Had we been lucky enough to have filmmaking lessons, I would have been the nerdy, geeky square one reading up on the film industry and tax breaks. 'Oh God' I cried, 'Why did you have to make me so Jewish'? I implore the heavens, my arms outstretched in a kind of permanent throbbing shrug, my mouth downturned and eyebrows twisted in incredulity, my hands bouncing as if tied to elastic. *(see below)
Which is a digression, really, from the reason I sat up in bed to scribe this, rather than steal an extra 30 minutes sleep before I set off to Hull, with my Sid Vicious cutout, for a follow up to a panel that first took place in November 2004. Devised by the unhinged genius of Mr Laurence Boyce, we asked back then if cheap digital technology, coupled with access to online distribution was about to herald a PUNK CINEMA REVOLUTION with people making films and distributing them without any industry interference, much like pioneers of punk and the original garage bands. We questioned the idea and created a seven point manifesto (point 1 - question everything, point 2 - take risks, point 3 - focus on live experiences, point 4 - share your experiences, point 5 - use famous people, point 6 - give your work away free, point 7 - be constantly honest and challenging)
Of course, barely three months later, Chad and Steve set up YouTube, and the rest is kind of history. The majority of films watched online are created by the likes of you and me, with no industry interference whassover, according to Screen Digest. We Are The Strange and Four Eyed Monsters, and the rest of the crew, show the new punks distributing their own films not just online - for free - but on DVD and in cinemas too. I'm still a little confused by point 5, however, tho all should hopefully be resolved at today's panel - Never Mind the Celluloid 2, Hull Screen, Sunday afternoon, 2.30 - 4.30.
Red Bull's Flug Tag is back on the 7th June 2008, and they have kindly given E4 an offcial entry birth. The idea is to make your own flying machine, and well basically fly into the seprentine.
Now E4 want their own fans to represent them at the Flugtag. One lucky team consisting of four fans will be E4's offcial team at the big day. They will design, build and pilot the craft
All you have to do is get creative with your flying machine, make sure it fits the E4 brand and can fly a bit!
As well as representing E4, you will be in with the chance of winning some cracking prizes...
1st Prize: Flying Lessons or some trips in aerobatic planes, or just take the money and run, to the tune of £5,000
2nd Prize: A day to remember in an aircraft of your choice, or just take £2,000
3rd Prize: Tandem parchute from 15,000 feet, or £1,000
The beaches of Goa are a bit like the United Nations, so many pepople from around the world, so many ambassadors of peace. They mostly seem lovely wise souls who will probably one day run companies and countries.
Meanwhile in the US a very real battle continues, the ultimate in a way.
And it is a battle which - if the Clintons push it too hard, could perhaps split the Democratic party in two.
Obama brings with him links with the black world, with the Islamic world, and the Arab world, who generally prefer to deal with men, with Kenya and Africa, with American hard working Christians and young people. He served his community as a lawyer while Hillary sat on the board of Walmart. People of all ages and backgrounds can relate to him. He bridges all of these groups, and the British, the Indians - in fact everyone I speak to seems to like him too.
He reminds me of that old notion of the Southern Gentleman - the best kind of American - refined and in control of all their faculties, and able to use them to create and sustain peace - I cannot imagine him acting in a manner which was not courteus. This seems vital at a time where American diplomacy is so low the country is close to being ignored from the world stage as all but a big and rich consumer market.
Hilary, on the other hand brings a bridge with, erm, Bill Clinton.
And a campaign which seems from across the pond as being built on destorying the credibility of the most credible presidential candidate in memory. He may bring no experience, but is this not his greatest asset?. He understands the needs of the people who work hard each day. He does not know how to pull strings in the coridoors of power. He doesn't need to. He will be president.
Please Bill, encourage Hillary to drop out. Now is not her time. She will make a great president and a female president is a glorious goal, and worth fighting full power for when the time is right. But not against her own party. With the opposition, when her own party is unable to offer a more suitable candidate. In many ways, Obama, because of the peace he may be able to create with the Muslim, black and working class communities is already a good 30 years too late.
And besides, vice president would be a great way of ensuring there is no way the Republicans could beat the strong 'Ready from day one' position in 2012 or 2016. I don't think Obama's peace keeping and uniting abilities will be needed for long, and once things settle down a bit, someone with huge political know-how will be very useful to keep the peace. But right now the world not only wants, but needs, Hope.
And my impression from these multicultural souls in Goa, in spite of the drunks, and the loud mouths and the politically ignorant, is that there is a faint suspicion, a glimmer of hope. Not just of a new Black American president, but of ever growing peace.
If anyone is unsure - have a look at the extract from Obama's book Hope at Time.
The day Greg Dyke was pushed out of the BBC was a grave one for both the corporation and broadcasting in general, yet Mark 'the scissors' Thompson was reportedly seen that day skipping around the Channel 4 office where he had been Chief Executive for barely a probation period, gleeful in the news that the top job of broadcasting could finally be his.
And now, the Big Picture thinking of the man has arrived, to match his Big Picture thinking at C4 where the most memorable policy was making the entire building open plan, removing all the executives' and commissioners' offices (with no consultation, and widespread hostility). Mark's Big Idea for the BBC, with which it will rise to the challenge, responsibility and promise of a newly extended charter? Fewer programmes and widespread staff cuts. These cuts will drive Fewer, Bigger, Better - not a Daft Punk song, but his new policy, founded on the prehistoric belief that bigger is better, an idea that has long undone this country from the empire and Millennium Dome to Brian May's hair.