Madeline Sackler’s film is utterly captivating as art and activism are blurred into a fight for survival of the physical and spiritual self.
What are these “Unstable Elements” and why are they lurking in Belarus? Are they housed in nuclear warheads misappropriated after the collapse of the Soviet Union? Is there a race against time to avoid a catastrophic meltdown? Are we embarking on a post-Cold War thriller where the reality is stranger than fiction? How can these elements star in their own documentary when they are rapidly decaying? Does the KGB know just how dangerous they are?
Perhaps “12 Years A Slave” makes writing about the Oscars a little less crass, given the current political climate.
Writing about an award ceremony when the world has bigger fish to fry does seem a little crass. Russian troops have fired warning shots at Crimea’s Belbek airbase and Kunming City in China is still in shock after the brutal attack by Xinjiang separatists left 29 dead and over 130 injured. So watching Hollywood’s finest trooping the red carpet and spilling their guts over a gold statuette takes a certain warped pleasure when the West are unable and unwilling to intervene in the Ukraine and another Oscar stands trial for murdering his girlfriend.
This show is about storytelling, and it’s particularly about pushing the limits when it comes to exploring how stories are told and how viewers or readers interact with them.
HBO continues its streak of cinematic, grand scope, big picture television with True Detective, which runs its season finale this Sunday after a short (eight episodes only) but critically acclaimed season. True Detective has turned out to be one of HBO’s best performers ratings-wise and critics-wise, with fans leaping onto the show, its unusual narrative style, and its stars with a lust that betrays our strong cultural desire for smart, insightful character studies on modern television.
All in all, the Etisalat is off to a cracking start as a literary prize.
The winner of the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature will be announced any day now. The Etisalat, a new prize for debut novelists from Africa, offers a modest cash award (£15,000) along with a few products, which is rather nice. Perhaps most importantly of all, though, the winner also gets the Etisalat Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, which gives the opportunity to be mentored by Professor Giles Foden (author of The Last King of Scotland), the chance to meet other writers and publishers, and, the prize-givers hope, work on that critical second book that can settle a writer into a career rather than disappear into one-hit wonder-dom.
In “Disco and Atomic War” Estonian filmmaker Jaak Kilmi approaches what is a pretty dry, well-tread political topic – the power of media to not only prop up totalitarian regimes but to take them down – with lighthearted whimsy.
In “Disco and Atomic War” Estonian filmmaker Jaak Kilmi approaches what is a pretty dry, well-tread political topic – the power of media to not only prop up totalitarian regimes but to take them down – with lighthearted whimsy. Through the use of archival footage, talking head interviews, staged reenactments – and most importantly, cheesy clips from “Dallas” and “Knight Rider” – Kilmi takes us on an offbeat historical and personal journey, back in time to 80s Tallinn. It was an era when, using makeshift antennas to hijack broadcasts from Finnish TV, intrepid Soviet citizens came under western influence, and began to unite to fight for more individual freedoms. (And for the right to do the hustle and find out who shot J.R.)
Global Comment spoke with the doc’s director prior to the film’s DVD and VOD release on February 25th.
It should be preposterous, the image of an industrial giant brought low by third world minnows but it remains a powerful metaphor of globalisation.
Underhill, Vermont March 28th 2009. Captain Richard Phillips and his wife Andrea drive towards the airport surrounded by thousands of cars and trucks going about their daily business. Their collective dollar value is immense but the married couple don’t give it a second thought. And why should they? The car is America, a symbol of wealth and power, a divine right ordained on the millions so they can exist and thrive in God’s own country. Do any of us really stop and think to how these mechanical marvels appear on our forecourts or drives?
This is a slimy, filthy, dirty, writhing version of US politics, one that does not paint a pretty picture for viewers in the slightest.
‘Hunt, or be hunted. Welcome back,’ Congressman Frank Underwood says at the conclusion of the first episode of season two of House of Cards, the Netflix drama that’s transfixing viewers across the US. The scrappy video rental’s meteoric rise to a premium content provider seems to have risen to a pinnacle this week with everyone talking about the hit drama—despite the fact that you can only get it on Netflix, and that it premiered on Valentine’s Day (more than a few USians indicated their intentions to spend the sappy commercial holiday at home doing House of Cards marathons so as to get their fill as quickly as possible). I’ll take ruthless politicians over candy hearts any day, personally, but I’m astounded my fellow Americans share the sentiment.
Does “Dallas Buyers Club” hijack the history of the battle so hard fought by the AIDS activists throughout the plague years? Or should we be grateful that this moving film has had the courage to tackle a subject so often overlooked by Hollywood?
Some films live in the head and some in the heart. “Dallas Buyers Club” does shuttle runs between the two. The head tells you that when a homophobic Texan asshole rides to the rescue of gay men dying of AIDS at the height of the 1980s crisis, then the film smacks of straight white wish fulfilment. The heart tells you that you are watching an uplifting true story of redemption where said asshole refuses to accept his death sentence, fights the monolithic American pharmaceutical companies and conquers his homophobia.
Atkinson is curiously good at this trick: every book of hers plays interesting games with the current cultural idea about what romantic love is, and what its actual importance might be in real people’s lives.
Kate Atkinson is, to my mind, one of the more undervalued writers of the last 25 years in English language fiction. Oh, sure, she has a big fan base in the UK in particular, and her books sell well, but her list of prizes and accolades is surprisingly short for a writer this good. The failure of the incredible Life After Life to even make the longlist for last year’s Man Booker is a case in point. It wasn’t that the Booker list last year was all that terrible – it was quite a good list, in fact, and reasonably diverse as such things go – but the omission of Life After Life, one of the strongest and best novels of the year, was at the least puzzling. (Of course, it did go on to win the Guardian Books’ Not the Booker Prize, but that’s not quite as prestigious!)
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Janet Mock is one of the most visible, active, and outspoken women of colour in US media today. A former editor at People with a lengthy and impressive resume to her credit, she’s celebrating the release of her book Redefining Realness this week. Janet also happens to be transsexual, and much of her work (including her book) surrounds trans causes, especially violence against trans women of colour, the case of CeCe McDonald, and many other issues trans women face in the US and around the world. Her advocacy work spawned the beloved #girlslikeus hashtag, used by trans women around the world to tell their stories and change the dialogue surrounding gender, sexuality, and who gets to shape narratives.
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