MISBEHAVIOUR (2020) – REVIEW

misbehaviour keira knightley Gugu Mbatha-Raw

by Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

Philippa Lowthorpe’s recent film on the 1970 Miss World Pageant, Misbehaviour, has enjoyed the advantage of being released just before the lockdown, giving people no choice but to watch it from the comfort of their homes. But while undoubtedly watchable, the film’s approach to feminism and intersectionality notably erases contemporary feminist movements led by women of colour.Continue Reading

RAVENOUS – A BRIEF HISTORY OF CANNIBAL CAPITALISM

by Jack Brindelli

Released a year before the turn of the Millennium – a year which drew its primary significance as a milestone from being an anniversary of Jesus’ birth – Antonia Bird’s Ravenous took us on a darkly comic journey into that most sinister yet persistent aspect of the human condition; cannibalism. What is to be noted though, is that the film clearly foregrounds the fact cannibalism is not just a literal act, committed by black-eyed psychopaths in the American wilderness, it is the metaphorical process of manifest destiny, of the consumption of lands and human energy for profit that would underwrite the world that birthed our own 21st century world.Continue Reading

CORONAVIRUS AND THE POLITICS OF THE DEAD

by Jack Brindelli

Until recently, it turns out people all had rather twee conceptions of what they would do in the zombie apocalypse. Over the catastrophic few weeks it has taken for the coronavirus outbreak to become a seemingly uncontainable pandemic, the idea that everyone would easily assemble rag-tag bands of self-sufficient survivors, each with a set of key skills to contribute to staving off the undead horde – or even that they could coolly stroll to The Winchester and wait for this all to all blow over while sitting in the dark, cramming monkey-nuts into their faces – has somewhat been blown out of the water.

It turns out while the Keep-Calm-and-Carry-On-Blitz-Spirit-I’m-Alright-Jack-Brexit-Means-Brexit brigade who until recently seemed to have the nation in a never-ending strangle-hold might have slightly overestimated themselves. Instead, the ‘hardened survivors’ in the dog-eat-dog rat-race of neo-liberal Britain have largely prepared for the end times by hording enough TP to last six life-times of shit, and hanging timidly on every word of advice from a serial-fibber hermetically sealed in 10 Downing Street who seems to want their grandparents to die.

With regards to that though, as a horror enthusiast, I feel one of the few positives to come out of the UK’s rapid disintegration into an island-death-cult is that it surely ends the facile debate around whether zombies need to be fast to be scary. For years, casual fans of the horror genre would casually bleat that slow-moving zombies would be far too easy to contain. Not only could the all-powerful state machinery of the police and army quite simply outflank the shambling masses, the theory was that civil society – and its mass-dissemination of information through ever faster means in the late 20th and early 21st century –would mean the masses would all be more than ready and able to do their part in stopping a pandemic. What the last few weeks of utter disarray prove beyond doubt is that that was wilful ignorance.

one of the few positives to come out of the UK’s rapid disintegration into an island-death-cult is that it surely ends the facile debate around whether zombies need to be fast to be scary

The incumbent Government has spent a decade dismantling the very healthcare infrastructure it turns out Britain needs to weather a pandemic, while its sustained campaign of austerity has weakened the economy to the point a gust of wind could send the whole house of cards tumbling down. Realising his previously unassailable majority in the House of Commons is unlikely to survive the death of hundreds of thousands of his voters, as well as a recession of his making, Boris Johnson has engaged in a dogged exercise of covering his own arse via a campaign of disinformation, while consolidating his position by investing himself with emergency powers before shit hits the fan.

In the fallout of this, while ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ panic buyers strip the shelves of essentials they have more than enough of, and London’s commute is still crammed with gig-economy slaves too poor to self-isolate, under-resourced hospitals are having to kit nurses with improvised masks and re-used gloves. Not disconnectedly, the number of Covid-19 cases is still booming, and the body-count mounting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7ynwAgQlDQ

Sitting back and watching the chaos ensue, it is now thoroughly clear that the Rage virus of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later did not sweep the nation simply because the infected could  run, jump or vomit blood, but because it actually took place in an alternative timeline, where there was a Tory Government in 2002.

In deleted scenes, fictitious Prime Minister Joris Bohnson no doubt blundered his way through manic press-conferences, suggesting that “for all we know there could be 100,000 cases of Rage already, so really is there any point in trying to fight it?” Later he may even have suggested it was better to “just let it move through the population” in order to achieve the fabled herd immunity – before concluding in the meantime, the best thing we could do is go to crowded public places and stimulate the economy by purchasing blunt objects with which to defend ourselves from the growing horde of the undead.

The desperation to maintain the status-quo that had enriched the rich and influential meant they would obscure the bigger picture from the population

Indeed, on a global level, the level of wilful ignorance, gross negligence and criminal incompetence exhibited by the majority of the world’s governments (based in the Netherlands, I can tell you Mark Rutte’s management of this crisis has been every bit as bad as Boris’) – paired with the odious disregard for human life exhibited by businesses bent on ‘keeping the beaches open’ at all costs – show exactly how prescient filmmakers like George A. Romero were. In those films, the determination of the state and the private sector to maintain their wealth and power were truly the most horrific element of the story.

The desperation to maintain the status-quo that had enriched the rich and influential meant they would obscure the bigger picture from the population (the chaotic double-speak in Dawn of the Dead’s media coverage is scarily similar to that of the Covid-19 outbreak) for fear of prompting calls for governments and bosses to be held accountable for the mounting crisis, or to support the vulnerable people who would be the first victims. On top of this, it often meant they would brutally seek to put down the masses’ attempts to improve the situation, or to reclaim any power ceded to them during the collapse of society (as seen in Land of the Dead).

Running or walking then, the zombie genre stands as a stark warning to us, especially in times like these. When a crisis suddenly illustrates all the weak-points in a socio-economic system we are trained from birth to believe is not only superior, but natural, we must be ready to learn on our feet – and fight to upend the economic and governmental norms which are guaranteed to fail us in a time of crisis. Our very survival is on the line.

Since this was written, Covid-19 has been stricken by having to share a body with Boris Johnson. Our thoughts and prayers are with the virus at this trying time.

(originally published on IndyFilmLibrary, republished with permission)

 

Indy Film Library

Until recently, it turns out people all had rather twee conceptions of what they would do in the zombie apocalypse. Over the catastrophic few weeks it has taken for the coronavirus outbreak to become a seemingly uncontainable pandemic, the idea that everyone would easily assemble rag-tag bands of self-sufficient survivors, each with a set of key skills to contribute to staving off the undead horde – or even that they could coolly stroll to The Winchester and wait for this all to all blow over while sitting in the dark, cramming monkey-nuts into their faces – has somewhat been blown out of the water.

It turns out while the Keep-Calm-and-Carry-On-Blitz-Spirit-I’m-Alright-Jack-Brexit-Means-Brexit brigade who until recently seemed to have the nation in a never-ending strangle-hold might have slightly overestimated themselves. Instead, the ‘hardened survivors’ in the dog-eat-dog rat-race of neo-liberal Britain have largely prepared for the end times by hording enough TP…

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BLINDED BY THE LIGHT, YESTERDAY, AND BRITISH SOUTH ASIAN REPRESENTATION IN CINEMA

by Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

Racial diversity in Western cinema has been particularly contentious since the Oscars scandal of 2016, when not one actor of colour was nominated for an award. But this was especially shocking falling in the midst of a marked increase in diversity, illustrated recently by two major hit films of this summer: Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded by the Light and Danny Boyle’s Yesterday. By now, critics have noted the similarities between the two films: British South Asian male protagonists, small-town lives, fanaticism around sensational twentieth-century Western musicians. However, these comparisons have obscured fundamental differences, not only in genre, but also in their approaches to South Asian identity.

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LEILA REVIEW

by Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

In the wake of the recent lockdown in Kashmir, the region long contested between India, Pakistan and its own people, in which communication has been drastically halted and public gatherings banned, Indian politics has found its way into international headlines. But the situation in Kashmir is just one aspect of a much broader, increasingly fascist regime run by a Hindu-supremacist, far-right government. Over the past five years under this regime, Muslims have been lynched by government-affiliated mobs for alleged beef consumption; persecution – and murder – of Dalits (members of the lowest castes) through similar means has soared; journalists have been assassinated for trying to tell the truth. This is why Deepa Mehta’s Netflix drama series Leila provides a timely and disturbing picture of a future India, situated only decades from now in 2047. Unlike many dystopian dramas, Leila is not set in a post-apocalyptic or reorganised world which encodes real socio-political dynamics within imaginary ones. Instead, it neatly locates contemporary Indian landmarks and structural oppressions within the complex fabric of a dystopian future state: Aryavarta, a set of strictly segregated communities governed by fully-fledged totalitarianism.    

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CALL ME INTERN (2019) REVIEW

call me intern film

by Danae Papadaki

Directors: Nathalie Berger, Leo David Hyde

Writers: Leo David Hyde, Nathalie Berger

Running time: 1 hour 50 mins

 

 

“If you can get people to work for free, why wouldn’t you?”

It’s the con that the majority of Millennials and members of Generation Z are firmly and infuriatingly acquainted with. Work that could and should be paid for is performed for no pay, on the basis the “experience” it provides them with will strengthen their CV and lead to gainful employment in the future. And of course, to add insult to injury, this is a mantra extolled almost exclusively by comfortable middle-aged, middle-class, white men, who were privileged enough to get their feet under the table having never been asked to lift a finger for free.

Even so, there seems to be little that those being exploited by this practice can do about it. Without permanent roles, they do not even have the severely weakened employment rights afforded to most workers – meaning, “if you rock the boat, you’re done.” So should we just grin and bear it?Continue Reading

HOW IS A GYPSY SUPPOSED TO LOOK?

Jennifer Lee who is roma 1

by Jonathan Lee 

I am probably not the image most people have in their mind when they think of a Gypsy.

My mother is of mostly Irish-American stock – which gives me a few ginger wisps in my beard, and a smattering of freckles across my nose and cheeks. My hair is dark brown, not black. I don’t wear a lolo diklo (red scarf) around my neck, or a staddi kali (black trilby hat) on my head. Most of the time I wear jeans and t-shirt, I rarely ever dance on tables, and I have no piercings or tattoos. I live in an apartment in the centre of a European capital with a woman whom I am not married to, and I travel only about 20 minutes maximum by foot every day to go to work.

If I ask you to close your eyes and picture a Gypsy in your mind’s eye you probably see someone with bangles and gold hoop earrings, floral patterned clothing, long hair, and dark flashing eyes. They may or may not have a tambourine, and may or may not be wearing a turban with a little gem in the centre holding it up. Maybe you see a fortune teller, or a travelling metalsmith? Perhaps a musician? If you are European, more likely you also see a beggar, a thief, a criminal.Continue Reading

ICE ICE BABY – ‘THE INFILTRATORS’ AND THE SHADOW OF FOR-PROFIT DETAINMENT FACILITIES

By David Breakspear

After its debut screening in February of this year at the National Film Festival in Utah, USA, the main source of information for the documentary The Infiltrators, Claudio Rojas, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials – just days before the documentary was due to be screened at the Miami Film Festival. Friends and colleagues of Rojas claim this act is political persecution.Continue Reading

CAPTAIN MARVEL IS GOOD, ACTUALLY

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by Zoe Harding

SPOILERS FOR CAPTAIN MARVEL

Captain Marvel is pretty good.

I mean, we all knew it was going to be, because whiny crypto-fascist internet man-babies complaining about it, which hasn’t been a bad sign about anything as far as I remember. As Cultural Marxist SJW Propaganda goes it’s not quite as good as Fury Road (because not much is) but better than Wonder Woman and Ghostbusters, and while it’s not quite the same level of cultural Event as Black Panther it’s still pretty good. I had a good time.Continue Reading

SOLTERA CODICIADA REVIEW

by Carmina Masoliver

When I first saw Soltera Codiciada advertised on Netflix, its title was translated into English from Spanish as ‘How to Get Over a Break-Up’. The title drew me in for personal reasons, having had my long-term relationship end last year.  The plot revolves around a heartbroken ad copywriter who begins blogging about her life as a single woman, whose writing pastime turns into a huge success. The English title bears little resemblance to the Spanish title, for which it was difficult to find a direct translation. A Peruvian comedy from Bruno Ascenzo and Joanna Lombardi, the original title shares the same name with the protagonist’s blog and when I asked around, the most likely meaning was as a positive description of a single woman. Infused with the spirit of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies, it is a film that allows us to laugh at the tragedy of lost love.

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THE HORROR OF CHILDREN

by Lewis Martin

CW: contains strong imagery of graphic and horrorific nature

Children have always had a pivotal role in the Horror genre. Often presented as the reason for the eventual defeat of the monster or villain, they demonstrate something we can physically see in our day to day lives and, for the most part, wholeheartedly love. However, children are not always the point of redemption in Horror. There have been a number of movies which juxtapose the role of the child against the norm, and present the child as the very reason that the horror exists. this paradoxical use of the child, I’d argue, is in fact even more frightening than usual because of the breaking of the naturally presumed innocence of child that is usually presented to us.Continue Reading

THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF SCREEN HORROR

by Lewis Martin

Video media have always had a way of tapping into the current fears of the watcher. Be it in horror movies or films aimed at children, they show us topical fears in either exaggerated gory fashion or in subtle ways that stay with you well past the end of the credits. This has never been more true of the fear of screens. Over the decades, the screen has often been used on screen as a device that either projects our worst fears or captivates us and holds us against our will. The fear of screens warping our minds is a form of mild technophobia, an attitude dismissed by many as socially conservative. Nonetheless, many filmmakers have used it to their advantage to create horror and thrills, as well as using it as a form of social commentary.

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REVIEW: THE MISANDRISTS BY BRUCE LABRUCE

by Carmina Masoliver

cw: mentions violence

Genesis Cinema, in London’s Whitechapel, is an independent cinema on the site of a pub-turned-music hall that first opened in 1848, and which housed a number of theatres before turning to the silver screen. As part of its Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest, it screened German film The Misandrists by Bruce LaBruce. Complemented by a moderated discussion about the film, it raised a range of questions on the importance of author intent, the role of sex and violence in film, and the issue of when satire becomes mockery.

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LADY OF THE FLIES: WORKSHOPPING A BAD IDEA

by Richard Worth

Hollywood seems once again to be trying to prove that it is incapable of coming up with an original idea, while the ideas that they do have are disturbingly off base and fly in the face of prevailing winds. The latest is a forthcoming remake of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies featuring female characters playing the traditionally male roles. Predictably, it got the internet, usually known for its tempered and considered reactions, good and riled up.

Lord of the Flies is a complex and challenging piece of literature. As such, adapting it with such a major fundamental change, threatens the integrity of the original story. Having the story revolve around a group of girls, rather than boys, presents some hurdles but I think it doesn’t necessarily destroy the story’s function.

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DISPOSSESION: THE GREAT SOCIAL HOUSING SWINDLE

by Eli Lambe

Released shortly before the disaster at Grenfell, Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle is a timely and balanced exploration of the factors that led to the tragedy, and to the wider social cleansing of working class and low income communities throughout the UK. Introducing the film to a packed room in Norwich’s Cinema City, director Paul Sng emphasised the need to counter the “media culture of denigrating people who live in social housing”. The goal of the film, for Sng, was to show that people living in these estates and situations are valuable in themselves, and that the communities that exist there are important and should be preserved, as well as highlighting how this is overshadowed constantly by the prioritisation of profit and private sector gains.

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GEORGE OF THE DEAD: THE RADICAL CINEMA OF GEORGE A. ROMERO

by Jack Brindelli

George A. Romero passed away in his sleep on 16th of June 2017, after a short battle with cancer, at the age of 77. Over a long, incredible career spanning five decades, Romero rightly earned his reputation as a, perhaps the, Master of Horror.

Through films like bio-weapon conspiracy The Crazies (1973) and Martin (1978) – a film where a young man whom today’s media would undoubtedly call a ‘disturbed loner’ indulged his patriarchal privilege, through vampiric acts of sexual violence – Romero drew out the political unconscious that underpins so much of our societal mythology. While he did branch out however, he devoted the majority of his best years to the sub-genre which made his career, and which will undoubtedly see him immortalised.Continue Reading

REVIEW: THE CIRCLE, BY DAVE EGGERS

by Eli Lambe

Dave Eggers’ The Circle, both the book and the recent feature-length adaptation, is a dystopia formed around a Facebook/Apple/Google/Amazon-esque corporation, one which hosts and shares almost every aspect of its users lives. The novel does a remarkable job of capturing the subtle ways in which this model is marketed to us, how this format of data-as-product is often shrouded in apparently progressive buzzwords – community, accountability, transparency, participation – whilst the company which operates under this model does so under the same values as every other corporate entity.

There is a veneer of progressivity and respectability that companies adopt in order to retain and gain customers – like Facebook making it easier to harass trans people, or implementing guidelines that protect white men but not black children, and at the same time, for one month of the year, patchily providing a rainbow “pride” react to the users who liked lgbt@facebook. Perhaps not as extreme as Eggers writes in The Circle, but eerily close enough: “Anytime you wanted to see anything, use anything, comment on anything or buy anything, it was one button, one account, everything tied together and trackable and simple, all of it operable via mobile or laptop, tablet or retinal.”Continue Reading

WHY THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE IS THE BEST BATMAN MOVIE

by Paige Selby-Green

Batnipples. There are many other terrible things about the 1997 film Batman & Robin, but the nipple armour tends to, well, stick out the most. The failure of that film led to an eight-year gap between its début and that of Batman Begins in 2005. You could argue that it also led to what was initially an exciting new trend for cinema in general and Batman in particular. Continue Reading

ACTING DISABLED: WHY WE NEED TO SEE DISABILITIES ONSCREEN

by Alice Thomson

(Content warning: discussion of ableism & ableist slurs)

The summer of 2016 saw outrage in response to the film Me Before You and its portrayal of disability. The film, directed by Thea Sharrock and based on the book by Jojo Moyes, is a romance following the lives of a young man (played by Sam Claflin) and woman (Emilia Clarke). Where’s the controversy in that, you ask? Well…

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THE POWER OF THE FARCE: THREE THINGS ABOUT ROGUE ONE

by Zoe Harding

Warning: contains spoilers. Also mentions fascistic, militaristic imperialism, Trump, and ‘Nazi dickheads’.

I know it came out last year, I was on holiday damn it.

The first I properly heard about Rogue One was that some Trump supporters wanted to boycott it because it was rumoured to contain anti-Trump themes. Seemed like a good reason to go and see it. Incidentally, the finished product contains no giant smug orange aliens inexplicably allowed out without supervision groping women – perhaps people were getting confused by Star Wars’ underlying anti-Nazi overtones. I can’t imagine how anti-fascism would seem anti-Trumpist at all. Those ‘Alt right’ (read: Nazi) dickheads really don’t like it, of course. Tough. They can fuck off back to Ender’s Game.

With that decent start in mind, I went to go and see it just before New Year. You know what? It’s pretty decent.Continue Reading

TRUTH OR FICTION? THE WORLD OF HYPERNORMALISATION

by Liam Hawkes

Surreal. Beautiful. Terrifying. Adam Curtis’ newest documentary can be described in many ways. It bombards us with messages and narratives which seem to have emancipatory power by simply exposing the chains we all appear to wear. This mesmerising piece of film-making taps into the psyche of human consciousness, getting to the root of how we feel and why we feel it. Once again Curtis has created a terrifying exposé of the confusing and uncertain world we live in.
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SNOWDEN (2016) – A REVIEW

by Andrejs Germanis

In the few years that I have been watching films it is a rare occasion that a film would receive an ovation at the end of the performance. This was the case during a recent preview showing of Snowden.

The latest Oliver Stone written and directed dramatization of actual events was shown as part of the 60th BFI London Film Festival. The film, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden and Shailene Woodley as Lindsay Mills, Snowden’s girlfriend, depicts the events that before and shortly after the shocking reveal of 2013 that the US government is spying on their citizens. The events are presented in an interview format between Snowden and the group of The Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto), Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and Ewan MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson).Continue Reading

A WOMAN ON HER KNEES – REVIEW OF LOUISE ORWIN’S A GIRL AND A GUN

by Hannah Rose

He is driving, she is hanging on his arm. Behind them a vista depicting a wide road disappears into desert upon a large screen. The cherry red of her lipstick matches her low-slung red dress, punctuated by a pair of cowgirl boots. Her dreamy expression says she’s completely at ease, hanging off her man; pleased as punch, because he is in control. But he has never seen the script before; he will be reading off an autocue. She is the one driving the show.

Performer-playwright, Louise Orwin, is touring the UK with her new theatre piece, A Girl and A Gun which was performed at Edinburgh Fringe this summer. Jean-Luc Godard’s adage “All you need to make a movie is a gun and a girl,” is the springboard from which Orwin’s performance dives headfirst into a chilling reality which is anything but surface deep.

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REVIEW: AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, BY JOHN GREEN

by Carmina Masoliver

I picked this book up on my travels from a Silent Meditation Retreat in Ubud, Bali. Reading a good book is like meditation for those of us whose minds won’t shut up. It’s something I know I should do more, especially as an English Literature graduate and as a writer. But in the age of social media, I find myself clicking on different articles deep into the night instead. That said, a good writer will keep you hooked enough to pull you away from such distractions.

I had read John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, which rightfully brought him to critical acclaim (as well as a film deal). An Abundance of Katherines was first published ten years ago, but is seeing a revival now that Green is a bestselling author. I felt excited to start reading it, and I enjoyed it so much that I made sure I had a copy waiting for me when I returned home, in between jetting off to Spain, where I’m now living.Continue Reading

TRIGGER WARNING: LOUISE ORWIN’S A GIRL AND A GUN

by Hannah Rose

“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl,” quipped Jean-Luc Godard. Images of scantily clad women waving weapons around are commonplace in the media. It’s troubling to think how often we consume this image: Charlie’s Angels with their high-heeled kicks and sniper rifles; Bond women emerging from the sea with a pistol stowed away in a pair of knickers, and even pop music’s favourite feminists — Beyoncé and Lady Gaga — wear matching white bodysuits and brandish plastic-looking revolvers whilst singing something about a telephone. Watch out, those gals are gyrating and dangerous.Continue Reading

BLACK ERASURE IN ART

by Candice Nembhard

In the niche space we call the ‘art world’, the discrediting or downplaying of black artists has not gone unnoticed as it has undocumented. That’s not to say critical discussion of African/African diaspora art has not been made; it is to suggest however that favourable and more accessible criticism is blessed upon the dominant sphere of white, European Art. For many black artists, including the likes of Kerry James Marshall, publicising the potential racist nature of art history opens up the narrative of what really goes on in the art world.  

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AN UNUSUAL LOVE STORY: APPRECIATING THE DEPTH OF FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS

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by Sunetra Senior

The story of Noamh Baumbach’s 2012 film ‘Frances Ha’ focuses on the drifting friendship between two women in their late twenties. There is a particularly poignant scene where Frances (Greta Gerwig) awakes to find that her best friend, Sophie, (Mickey Sumner) has left without saying goodbye after spending the night sleeping over when they haven’t seen each other in a long time. As Sophie’s car pulls away, Frances runs after her screaming her name.  This boldly illustrates the highly sentimental nature of many women’s friendships and the pain that inevitably results because, we as a society, do not respect it. Indeed, through all the big life changes Frances explicitly undergoes — moving between different apartments, facing financial troubles, and trying to launch a tentative dancing career —what remains as palpably constant are the unrequited affections for her ever elusive friend.

Unfortunately, this is very much reflective of what happens in ordinary life.Continue Reading

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO RADICAL FILM — 11AM, APRIL 30TH, NORWICH ARTS CENTRE

Disclaimer: The Norwich Radical is not associated with The Norwich Radical Film Festival.

by Jack Brindelli

Film is often wrongly pigeon-holed as a passive medium — simple entertainment to be used for distraction or escapism. But throughout its history, cinema has never been ‘just entertainment’. At its best, film-making is combative, subversive and revolutionary.

Norwich is a city built on a proud Radical heritage, and the inaugural Norwich Radical Film Festival aims to build on that legacy to inspire the community to engage with ideas and movies that will shake the world. As the first of four monthly events leading to our main festival in August, we are proud to present “A Beginner’s Guide to Radical Film”, taking place on Saturday 30th April 2016 between 11:00–16:00 at the Norwich Arts Centre.Continue Reading

SCARLETT AND YELLOWFACE—THE CASE OF SLANT EYES IN 21ST CENTURY MAINSTREAM MEDIA

by Julian Canlas

(Writer’s note: I specifically wrote this article focusing on East and South-East Asian portrayals. Despite being in the same continent, I do think that South Asian and Western Asian representations in media differ vastly from those of East and South-East Asians.)

There’s no doubt: East and South-East Asians in mainstream media can’t exist without being reduced into racist caricatures. Asians, including me, cannot exist beyond the characterisation of our slant eyes, buckteeth, and thick accent. We are good at maths, martial arts, and being meek. We are not artists, but tech geniuses. We cannot be main characters, only sidekicks. Only comic reliefs, either sexless nerds or docile sex fetishes, and ladyboys. Because if we do, we turn white.Continue Reading

BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN: REHASH OF INJUSTICE

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by Sam Naylor

Disclaimer: Filled to the brim with spoilers and undergraduate level gender studies analysis *gasp*

Just for a moment whilst sitting with phone wrapped in hand, imagine that I am a renowned film critic — tall order I know. Now picture the scene of zero-star ratings being awarded to films. I am that film critic that awards a zero rating to the backwards 50s tripe that is Batman vs Superman. As you can tell I am totally not bitter about wasting my money and time, with 153 minutes of my life being dragged out before my eyes, as I endured a steroid-induced-figurine-smacking-debacle.

Initial rant over: what I’d first like to address is the films portrayal of its female characters. Now with a film title like Batman vs Superman I was aware that the main arc of the story would revolve around these two colossuses, but I’d hoped that in 2016 we’d moved far enough away from female roles as fillers and crutches for their male onscreen co-stars.Continue Reading

“I’M NOT JUST SOME TOKEN BUNNY”: ZOOTROPOLIS RAISES THE BAR

by Paige Selby-Green

Disney’s 55th animated feature has been five years in the making, with a social commentary as relevant today as it was when the writers first put pen to paper. The film is an anthropomorphic crime caper following rabbit police officer Judy Hopps and con-man fox Nick Wilde. It’s full of laughs, but the lingering importance is in its more serious side.

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DEADPOOL AND SEXUALITY: MINIMUM EFFORT

by Beth Saward

Bringing in a staggering $132.7million, Deadpool had the biggest opening weekend for an R-rated movie, beating The Matrix Reloaded’s previous 2003 record. It’s safe to say that the Merc with a Mouth has been a success. Tim Miller’s direction combined with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s screenplay manage to stay true to the comic’s sense of humour.

Those fans who were worried about how Deadpool’s infamous fourth-wall smashing would translate to the screen weren’t disappointed (even if a beautiful opportunity was missed during Stan Lee’s obligatory cameo). Reynolds, who’s said in interviews that he’s waited 11 years to make Deadpool, plays Wade Wilson with an infectious glee that you can’t help but enjoy. Despite all of this, the film leaves a somewhat unpleasant aftertaste.Continue Reading

BOTCHED BODIES

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Trigger Warnings: Eating disorders, self-harm

by Sunetra Senior

The main appeal of Leslye Headland’s underrated 2012 film ‘Bachelorette’ was how it treated commonly stigmatised women’s disorders such as bulimia, self-harm and nymphomania. Rather than treading delicately, the comedy-drama shows the three main characters, close friends Regan, Katie and Gena (Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fischer and Lizzy Caplan) – each with their respective ailment- in an unapologetic, borderline celebratory way.

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LABOUR’S NEW PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST ANALYSED

by Alex Hort-Francis

We examine Corbyn’s new campaign video to find all of his secret clues…

It’s been four months since Jeremy Corbyn sold his soul to a crossroads demon in exchange for leadership of the Labour Party, and he puzzlingly still hasn’t been discovered to have accidentally brutally stabbed himself in the stomach while shaving. This can only mean that the Conservatives have forgotten about poor old J-Corbs amongst the understandable orgy of anus cocaine and fox strangulation that normally follows a majority Tory general election result. To remedy this, Much Newer Labour have commissioned a party political broadcast to remind us all what our favourite unshaven underdog has been up to before he unmysteriously convinces himself to commit suicide in a wood with no witnesses at some point later this year.Continue Reading

SEXY FILTHY GYPSIES: THE STRUGGLE FOR ROMANY IDENTITY THROUGH THE ARTS

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by Jonathan Lee 

In the post-imperialist Western world, liberal society is becoming ever more self-aware of social and cultural sensitivities, most evidently in the influence of the arts as a vehicle for perceptions of race, gender, sexuality and culture. Cultural appropriation is a topic hotly debated, and one where the divide between appropriation and appreciation can sometimes be uncertain. This ambiguity and subsequent argument is usually tied to power relationships, dichotomy in stereotypes (e.g. black hairstyles being perceived differently on white heads) and most often, the struggle for the appropriated culture to control its own identity.

The struggle for Roma to self-determine their own public identity — that being which is perceived by those outside of the Romany community — has historically been dominated by stereotypes of the ‘Gypsy other’. These myths, biases and often outright lies likely stem from the Middle Ages with arrival of the Roma in Europe. In an age of relative racial homogeneity, the Roma appeared as a foreign, outsider race whose dark countenance was associated with evil in a time of church hegemony and bigotry. The associations forged with the Roma during their early arrival were compounded by subsequent centuries of persecution and hatred, often based on conceptions of ‘the Gypsy other’ rather than interactions.Continue Reading

THE JUNGIAN APPEAL BEHIND STAR WARS

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By Faizal Nor Izham

What is it about Star Wars that makes it so endearing to the public consciousness? Is it really all about the lightsabre duels, the weird and wacky alien characters, or the intense melodrama behind the story that reaches almost soap opera-like proportions? Fans and critics have long speculated the secret behind the franchise’s popularity over the course of three generations, but the truth may actually lie behind the fact that it is a form of modern-day mythology that is universally relatable to this day.

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LETTERS TO CATE BLANCHETT

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by Jake Reynolds

In response.

Cate Blanchett, it’s come to this. You know they say the world will end when
BBC Radio Four stops broadcasting? Well, I’ve been playing with the dials on
my Roberts Revival RD60 DAB and I don’t know about you but down my end I
swear the voices are getting fainter and fainter.

Cate Blanchett, look, it’s like this: the world is a ruin, like I said. I’m not pulling
your leg. I wrote a poem called Strikes because I thought talking about
doctors and bombs was really clever, see, because… sure, you get it.

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THE SPECTRE OF IDEOLOGY

by Jack Brindelli

In the years following the Second World War, Britain had shifted in ways many thought impossible. In the 1950s, amidst the fading colonial legacy of a crumbling empire, with increasing levels of immigration and the decreased faith in the power of the free market led, the country’s middle class felt stranded. These revolutionary changes in the country’s fabric radically challenged the ideas they had been raised to adhere to in the name of success. Middle England was holding out for a hero – and boy did Ian Fleming’s gin-swilling womaniser give them one.

James Bond is a cultural artefact – an ideological snap-shot, emerging initially as the embodiment of the established order, in order to defend it. Such was the archetypal appeal of the character, and so in tune was he to the fears of the middle class, that he soon moved seamlessly between mediums. In a world where Britain’s influence seemed to be waning, and where marginalised races and genders were pushing for equality, Bond showed Middle England could still have it all – no wonder he’s cited as being David Cameron’s inspiration for foreign policy, 007 is a conservative’s wet-dream.Continue Reading

REVIEW: SUFFRAGETTE – THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER

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by Carmina Masoliver

I went to see ‘Suffragette’ with a lot of mixed expectations. I’d heard the reviews weren’t that great, my mum described it as ‘slow’ and there’d been criticism for the lack of BME women in the film (zero). There were also issues of Carey Mulligan’s accent and the fact the film was advertised as having leading roles by herself, Meryl Streep and Helena Bonham Carter. These may seem like minor points, but they reveal deeper issues beneath their surface.

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THE HORRORS OF HORROR

by Alex Valente

In the beginning, there were giant evil gods. Then we arrived, and started telling stories of things that go bump in the dark, of what lies between the cracks, of what lurks under the bed. Fears began to take shapes, looking more like tales of caution and of danger. They took the shape of bogeymen and chainsaw wielding killers, nightmare creatures and monsters from the deep. Afraid of sexuality? Vampires, werefolk and secluded cabins will tell you not to. Alcohol and drugs also covered. Religious terrors? We have possessions, exorcists, ghosts and devils aplenty. Coulrophobia, arachnophobia, nyctophobia? Here’s a clown-looking spider that waits for you at night.

Whatever new things we discover scare us, we create a monster for them. We try to impose order, and keep it under control. We give it a recognisable, if unsettling and still scary, frame. Then, at some point, we pushed too far.Continue Reading

IT’S NOT ALL GOOD, FELLAS

by Alex Valente

You’re finally at university. In the first couple of weeks, you meet up with new flatmates and friends to play a game. Someone suggests yet another drinking game. Someone else mentions wink murder. Then you go for one in which everyone plays to win over the other team without knowing who belongs to which: will you be the uninformed majority, a simple civilian, or are you the informed minority – a mafioso?

Or, perhaps, your group decides to start an activity together. Maybe it’s an unofficial running team. Maybe it’s a reading group. Maybe it’s something else entirely. But it doesn’t matter. You’re the team. You’re the squad. You’re the mafia. Because the Mafia is cool. I mean, we know it’s a bad thing, of course. But they looked cool doing it. There’s organisation, and loyalty. There’s no harm in just using the word. Right…?Continue Reading

DREAM MACHINES

by Jack Brindelli

Popular culture moves in mysterious ways. For years it can seem like a particular trope or sub-genre has died off before bursting from its suspended animation and illuminating our screens once more. For years it appeared vampires and zombies had been permanently banished to the cinematic shadows before rising triumphant from their cultural tomb, terrifying new generations of cinema-goers at the turn of the century. Similarly, in 2015, the robot seems to be undergoing something of a resurrection. For the past decade considered clunky and kitsch, Artificial Intelligence has suddenly monopolised the top-billed releases of the year – droids are back in the big-time. The question is why?

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A CINEMA WORTH FIGHTING FOR

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by Jack Brindelli

The Norfolk People’s Assembly have voted in co-operation with the Norwich Radical to establish a local Radical Film Festival, with the inaugural festival expected to be hosted in February 2015. As we begin to make provisions for that though, we need ideas, practical and fantastic and everything in between. The first organising meeting for the festival will take place on Saturday the 1st of August, at 3pm in the Playhouse Bar’s Playroom, and is completely open to the public. But why does a cultural project like this even matter in the depths of Austerity? Can we really be wasting our time on building imaginary worlds when our real one is under such threat?Continue Reading

GIRLHOOD: A CALL TO ACTION

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by Carmina Masoliver

Girlhood, or Bande de Filles, is a French film directed by Céline Sciamma, centring on the character of Marieme, played by Karidja Touré. Taking place in a suburb of Paris, Marieme undergoes several transformations throughout the film, shown through her name change to ‘Vic – for Victory’, as well as through her appearance, sexuality, increasing misdemeanour behaviour, and relationships with family and friends. The film was humorous with Marieme’s knowing smile being a feature throughout, yet it also provided important social commentary.

The fact that seeing a French film with young black girls at the centre is so unusual, let alone it being shown in Odeon Cinemas (and not merely restricted to independent screens), plus the women playing the group of girls all being found through theatre classes and high schools as opposed to agencies, shows that there is a need for more film like this.Continue Reading

‘MY CHOICE’ AND WHETHER IT IS A BURDEN TO US ALL

by Srishti Dutta Chowdhury

Disclaimer: Mentions female foeticide, abortion, and domestic abuse.

As part of the Vogue Empower project, that was initiated in October 2014, to commemorate the seventh year for Vogue in India, Homi Adajania’s video ‘My Choice’ features some prominent faces in the country of India. Besides Deepika Padukone, there’s Adjania’s wife, actress Nimrat Kaur, film critic Anupama Chopra, and Director Zoya Akhtar, among others.

The video went viral on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, in a matter of days — which is great news except it garnered negative criticisms everywhere. The reservation against the video by feminists and gender activists is understandable. According to a large number, while the video seeks to raise questions such as ‘If men can do what they want, why should women be deprived of the same right?’, it falls short of effectively addressing the question of women empowerment.

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UNIVERSITIES AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: THE HUNTING GROUND

TW: rape, sexual assault, sex-shaming

by Asia Patel

On the 15th April 2015, the Union of UEA students held a free film screening of The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault on american college campuses. It was made by the same Academy Award-nominated team that created The Invisible War, a film about sexual assault in the United States Military. The documentary was followed by a skype call with the director, Kirby Dick, and a discussion with a panel consisting of Holly Staynor (Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer), Beth Smith (Women’s Officer), Anjali Menezes (Sexual Assault Awareness Committee), and me from the UEA Feminist Society Committee.

The documentary itself focused on the stories of survivors of sexual assault, particularly of Andrea Pino and Annie E. Clark, two former students at the University of North Carolina who were raped on campus. In the US, reports such as those of sexual assault can be dealt with solely by the college itself, with people in place to decide relevant actions to be taken upon attackers, and to support survivors. However, when these two survivors reported their rapes, they were not supported by their university.

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TEENAGE KICKS: PUNK AND POLITICS

by Mike Vinti

Recently I came across the 2012 film ‘Good Vibrations’. A stirring tale, based on real events, about a man, Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer), who opens a record shop on the most bombed half mile in Europe — Great Victoria Street, Belfast. Terri’s mission is to use music to bring people together as sectarianism tears the city in two.  It is through this shop that Terri first encounters punk. For Terri, punk changes everything, and the community of rowdy teenagers that make up Belfast’s scene come to symbolise hope, both for him and the city.

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THE BECHDEL TEST FEST

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by Carmina Masoliver

Sunday 8th February saw the launch of The Bechdel Test Fest at Genesis Cinema in East London. The test itself emerged after Alison Bechdel published a comic strip, inspired by friend Liz Wallace, where one character has a set of rules for watching a film. The criteria for passing the test are whether the film has two named female characters who talk about something other than a man. It is widely acknowledged as an extremely low bar.

Set up 30 years ago now, it seeks to address the gender bias in works of fiction; it has been found that just around half of films pass this test. With such a low bar set, the figure should be closer to 100%. This festival, led by Corinna Antrobus, puts The Bechdel Test in the spotlight, and aims to provoke discussion on gender in the film industry. In an effect to ‘reclaim the rom-com’, the launch event featured 2014’s Obvious Child and classic The Philadelphia Story — though I couldn’t stay for this part. After the first screening there was a panel discussion, including a video statement from Chloe Angyal about a statement she made that there is “no such thing as a feminist rom-com”, arguing that this is largely because society is still sexist.

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NOT ‘JUST A STORY’: FIFTY SHADES AND AN ABUSIVE REALITY

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by Cadi Cliff

Content warning: mentions abuse and rape.

Fifty Shades of Grey. The Twilight fanfiction by E.L. James has sold over 100 million copies around the world. The film, with a Valentine’s weekend release, had been marketed as the ultimate date-night movie, an ‘incredible fairy-tale love story’, a piece of ‘mommy porn’. I’m going to start this by saying that yes, I have read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (borrowed, not bought), and no, I do not condone censorship. You are free to read and watch what you like. However there is something about the credibility given to Fifty Shades by the volume of individuals going to watch it — it took £1m in ticket sales ahead of its February 13th 2015 release — that doesn’t sit well with this writer.Continue Reading

OF GOVE AND GRAMSCI: A BATTLE FOR HEARTS AND MINDS

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by Jack Brindelli.

When Michael Gove came out as a fan of Antonio Gramsci – the thinker known in certain sections of academia as “the last acceptable Marxist” – there was of course outrage from the left. “Michael,” they cried, “you have, if you ever read him, missed the point.” But clearly, so did they. Gove, it has become clear over the course of his dismembering of the education system, very much understands Gramsci. Because we, who stand against this government’s wanton destruction of the welfare state, are not fighting a war of facts. As Chavs… author Owen Jones rightly points out on a regular basis: were that the case, after four years of calamitous cuts and pig-headed privatisation, we would surely have won by now.

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