Saturday, March 17, 2018

Dialogic Cinephilia - March 17, 2018

This day, for me, has never been about St. Patrick's Day, instead it has always been a day of Grace for me. Today is the birthday of my beloved grandmother Grace - she would have been 101 years old today. I wish I could talk to her about all the things I have experienced and learned since she left this world. From the earliest age she treated me intellectually like an adult and she was a huge influence on my critical thinking. She was very religious when I knew her (supposedly she was quite wild when she was younger;), but in the process of getting me to read the bible (7 times, annually, front-to-back) she insisted that I write in the margins with different colors each read-through, commenting, reflecting and questioning on what was written. Each time we would read together she would ask me "what do you think about that" and she never avoided my pointed questions about the unethical aspects of the religion and/or the inconsistencies I noticed (I was particularly upset about the justification of murder, genocide, racism, misogyny, homophobia, elitism, etc... as well as, the problematic language across certain editions that I noticed because I was encouraged to use biblical dictionaries and concordances ). Unfortunately she was a Southern Baptist (a branch which didn't allow women to be religious leaders), because she was much more honest and impressive than the patriarchal preachers who evaded my questioning/critiques of biblical 'wisdom' (and eventually led to my disillusionment and departure). So on this day I will raise a toast to my Grandmother Grace who continues to live on inside my heart and mind.

Brooks, Xan. "Joaquin Phoenix: ‘There was a period when I wanted out. I wanted my life back.’" The Guardian (March 8, 2018) ["The actor is back with another no-holds-barred performance in his new movie, You Were Never Really Here. He talks about his unorthodox childhood, playing Jesus – and the toll Hollywood’s ‘rampant’ abuse culture takes on everybody."]

Bursztynski, Maurice, Tim Merrill and Bernard Stickwell. "Ishtar." See Hear #24 (January 17, 2016)  ["1987’s Ishtar starring Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty as Chuck Clarke and Lyle Rogers, two awful songwriters and lounge singers who get sent to play gigs at a hotel in Ishtar, but get caught up in American / Middle Eastern politics. Strangely familiar? The film was a financial failure with rumours of creative conflict between the director, comedian Elaine May (of the brilliant May and Nichols duo) and Beatty & Hoffman. It has long been derided by the critics and many others as one of the worst films ever made. With bravery and fortitude, the See Hear Crew went in to find out if the film was as bad as reports had made it out. We are pleased to report that there was disagreement among the crew as to the film’s merits – conflict makes a film more interesting, and so it does for members of a podcast. Forget Siskel and Ebert or Stratton and Pomeranz. We give you the infamous Ishtar Disagreement of Merrill, Stickwell and Bursztynski."]

Carver, Ron, Paul Cox and Susan Schnall. "The GI Resistance Continues: Vietnam Vets Return to My Lai, Where U.S. Slaughtered 500 Civilians." Democracy Now (March 16, 2018) ["As a group of Vietnam War veterans and peace activists travel back to Vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, Amy Goodman and Juan González speak with three members of the delegation: Vietnam veteran Paul Cox, who later co-founded the Veterans for Peace chapter in San Francisco; Susan Schnall, former Navy nurse who was court-martialed for opposing the Vietnam War; and longtime activist Ron Carver, who has organized an exhibit honoring the GI antiwar movement at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City."]

Goodman, Amy. " 50 Years After My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, Revisiting the Slaughter the U.S. Military Tried to Hide." Democracy Now (March 16, 2018) ["Fifty years ago, on March 16, 1968, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Even though the soldiers met no resistance, they slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men over the next four hours, in what became known as the My Lai massacre. After the massacre, the U.S. military attempted to cover up what happened. But in 1969 a young reporter named Seymour Hersh would reveal a 26-year-old soldier named William Calley was being investigated for killing 109 Vietnamese civilians. Today, memorials have been held in My Lai to mark the 50th anniversary of this horrific attack."]

Gross, Allie. "Charterize, Privatize, Christianize: The DeVos-Backed Policies That 'Gutted' Michigan Public Schools." Democracy Now (March 13, 2018) ["Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is facing new criticism after she struggled in a recent “60 Minutes” interview to explain why schools in her home state of Michigan are faring poorly under the policies she has championed. DeVos is a billionaire Republican activist and the sister of Blackwater founder Erik Prince. She once served as chair of the American Federation for Children in Michigan, where she promoted school choice and worked to expand the state’s use of private charter schools. Many educators say the results of DeVos’s policies in Michigan have been disastrous. For more, we speak with Allie Gross, a reporter with the Detroit Free Press. She covered education in Michigan as a freelance reporter and was a Teach for America teacher in a Detroit charter school."]

James, Andrew, et al. "Danny Boyle." The Director's Club #123 (January 2017)

Kaufman, Sophie Monks. "Joaquin Phoenix: ‘I always look to work with people that push me.'" Little White Lies (March 7, 2018)

Massa, Will. "Into the Stunning Visual World of Lynne Ramsey." BFI (March 7, 2018) ["Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here is a potent thriller that further develops the director’s preoccupations with guilt, loss of innocence and memory. We follow the breadcrumb trail back to the start of her career and explore the origins of this year’s most intriguing character study."]

Taubin, Amy. "Always on the Verge: Diversity and representation aren’t just buzzwords at Sundance—they’ve long been a way of life." Film Comment (March/April 2018)

---. "Mother Earth." Film Comment (March/April 2018) ["An unclassifiable, unflinching eco-mystery, Agnieszka Holland’s Spoor shows off the pioneering Pole’s stylistic verve—and nerves of steel"]

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