Monday, April 27, 2020

Dialogic Cinephilia - April 27, 2020

Dakwar, Jamil, et al. "Advocate." Film at Lincoln Center Podcast (June 19, 2019) ["The Jewish Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel and her Palestinian colleagues have been working for decades representing their clients in an increasingly conservative Israel. We meet Tsemel and the team as they prepare for their youngest defendant yet – Ahmad, a 13-year-old boy implicated in a knife attack on the streets of Jerusalem. Together, they must counter legal and public opposition and prepare Ahmad who, like other Palestinians charged with serious crimes, will face a difficult trial in a country in which the government, court system and the media are stacked against him. To many, Tsemel is a traitor who defends the indefensible. For others, she’s more than an attorney – she’s a true ally."]

Finnegan, William, et al. "A City at the Peak of Crisis." The New Yorker Radio Hour (April 24, 2020) ["Experts predicted that Wednesday, April 15th would be a peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, its epicenter. On that day, a crew of New Yorker writers talked with people all over the city, in every circumstance and walk of life, to form a portrait of a city in crisis. A group-station manager for the subway talks about keeping the transit system running for those who can’t live without it; a respiratory therapist copes with break-time conversations about death and dying; a graduating class of medical students get up the courage to confront the worst crisis in generations; and a new mother talks about giving birth on a day marked by tragedy for so many families. The hour includes contributions from writers including William Finnegan, Helen Rosner, Jia Tolentino, Kelefa Sanneh, and Adam Gopnik, who says, “One never knows whether to applaud the human insistence on continuing with some form of normal life, or look aghast at the human insistence on continuing with some form of normal life. That's the mystery of the pandemic.”"]

Glasser, Susan B. "The Coronavirus Election." The New Yorker Radio Hour (March 27, 2020) ["It’s been just over a month since Donald Trump tweeted for the first time about the coronavirus—saying, in essence, that the virus did not pose a substantial threat to the United States. Why did he so dramatically underplay the risks of COVID-19? “With Trump, sometimes the answer is pretty transparent,” The New Yorker’s Washington correspondent, Susan B. Glasser, told David Remnick, “and, in this case, I think the answer is pretty transparent. He didn’t want anything to interrupt his reëlection campaign plan, which entirely hinged on the strength of the U.S. economy.” Even as the virus spreads, Trump has criticized widespread self-isolation orders and made overtures toward reopening businesses to revitalize the economy. Meanwhile, Joe Biden, Trump’s likely Democratic Presidential opponent, has refrained from openly antagonizing the President. Glasser weighs this tactic: “Do you attack Trump right now, or do you just sort of stand out of the way and let him shoot himself in the foot?”"]

Greenberg, Michael, George Packer and Nathan Robinson. "Questions of Leadership." Open Source (April 23, 2020) ["The Andrew Cuomo Daily Show has become the high ground of coronavirus talk: all kinds of numbers, trend lines, and family feeling, too. The Donald Trump Show has typically been a carnival of rage, boasting, and misinformation: some of his own people want to shut it down. Where else for light and truth? The Congress, you’d expect. But the people’s branch of government has turned its own lights out for the duration. The members have gone home. Joe Biden has a TV studio at home, but the lustre has faded some around the last Democrat standing in the presidential race when it got rained out, virused out, after Super Tuesday."]

Koski, Genevieve, et al. "Sorry to Bother You / Putney Swope (1969), Pt. 1" The Next Picture Show #138 (July 24, 2018) ["Rapper-director Boots Riley has said he hadn’t seen Robert Downey Sr.’s 1969 satirical comedy Putney Swope when he made the buzzy new Sorry to Bother Your, but the films share so much on both a surface level (white men providing the literal voices of black characters) and deeper thematic ones (concerns about capitalism, race, and what it might take to burn down an unjust system) that we had to put them in conversation with each other. In this half, we try to make sense of the fascinating mess that is Putney Swope, considering how it works as both satire and comedy, and whether Downey’s choice to overdub his black title character’s voice with his own is an asset or a liability."]

---. " Sorry To Bother You / Putney Swope (1969), Pt. 2" The Next Picture Show #139 (July 31, 2018) ["As with Robert Downey Sr.’s 1969 satirical oddity Putney Swope, there’s a lot going on in Boots Riley’s new Sorry to Bother You, which takes a similar anything-goes approach to the intersection of race and capitalism. In the second part of our “white voice” double feature, we dig into the anti-capitalist philosophy that unites Riley’s work and keeps Sorry to Bother You on the rails, then we look at how the two films compare in their views of race and capitalism, and their use of satire and surrealism."]

"Service Guarantees Citizenship [with Kino Lefter]." Hammer & Camera #26 (February 1, 2020) ["Fascism... What is it? And more importantly, is it in movies? The answers to these questions and many more can be found in our twenty-sixth episode, which features Abdul, Laura, and Evan from the Kino Lefter podcast. We talk Life is Beautiful, JoJo Rabbit, Dragged Across Concrete, and Starship Troopers as representations and depictions of fascist movements, and inquire about their function and the responsibilities of the artist."]

Thompson, Tade. "Alien Invasion, Smalltown Insurrection, and the Neverending Fight for Resources." New Books Network (March 26, 2019) ["This week on New Books in Science Fiction, Rob Wolf interviews Tade Thompson about The Rosewater Insurrection (Orbit, 2019), which explores the devastating impact on a Nigerian city of an invasion by aliens, who sweeten their assault by healing human beings of their physical afflictions. The book is the second in a planned trilogy and the follow up to Rosewater, which earned Thompson the inaugural Nommo Award for Best Novel, Africa’s first-ever prize for speculative fiction. In most tales of alien invasion, mankind and the invaders battle to the death. In Thompson’s tale, however, humans are more likely to fight with each other than with aliens, with the insurrection in the title referring to the city of Rosewater’s rebellion against greater Nigeria. Meanwhile, the invaders from outer space have their own internecine conflicts, as Wormwood—a powerful consciousness that reads minds and invades human bodies—battles for its survival against a fast-growing plant from its home planet. There are hints of Thompson’s own life in the details—as an emergency department psychiatrist, as a Londoner of African heritage, as a student of history. The book reflects a subtle grasp of war and politics with characters capable of eliciting a reader’s empathy even as they sometimes behave in less than admirable ways."]

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