She’s Gotta Have It

So, a Netflix-series version of the Spike Lee film is being released next week on Thanksgiving. In preparation for that, I guess Netflix decided to add the film to their collection.

I just watched it. I’m sure there’s many angles to scholarly critiques to check out, and I definitely want to read them to further understand this film. I bet someone out there holds it up as a feminist work.

What I really enjoyed about it was the nostalgia element it has now. I’m obviously not watching it upon its initial release as I was born in 1995, but it carries an element of inspiration to watch Spike Lee act in his own films. He was very into cameos back when; except, he was actually an actor and not doing a cameo. Also, in the credits, it was awesome how collaborative it was with his family: Bill Lee, Joie Lee, the producer was a Lee, and himself of course. He also had each actor slate themselves, and I think that’s cool. It conveys a certain belief in them and a hope that they would get to go somewhere with their talents.

As for the film itself, it is commenting on the agency of its title character, NOLA, who I believed is supposed to be named after Zora Neale Hurston. Why? Because it seems to be a combination of the first two names and they quoted her in the beginning. We read this author in my sophomore English class in high school. However, I could be wrong about this because until I checked my spelling on the name, for the whole movie, I thought the author’s name was also Nola. Alas, it is not.

This read very much so like an art film, and Lee’s editing structure worked well for it. It was linear, but wasn’t?? It broke various Hollywood structures as concerns storytelling. For example, the documentary style while gazing within the camera. It also featured jump cuts. I think we all want to attribute jump cuts to French New Wave, but I’ll refrain from that because as a millennial, I think YouTube when I’m editing jump cuts.

Storyline: NOLA is in relationships with three men simultaneously. These men are GREER, MARS, and JAMIE. She also has a female lesbian friend named OPAL but nothing ever happens sexually/romantically between them. For Nola, the men are sexually fulfilling. Yet, the only one that she believes she might love is JAMIE. However, each man brings with them a reason why they are not Nola’s soulmate, even though they believe she might be theirs. For example, Jamie is looking for a wife. A real traditional lady. Greer wants someone to bow to him and someone that he can control. Mars is humorous but has some growing up left to do. Each of them fulfill a need but not a real purpose for Nola. They all eventually tire of being strung along by Nola, and they leave her. However, she chooses to meet them all one more time, and it is there that she lets Greer and Mars go. She asks for Jamie back but realizes that she should not have. She’s a more than one man lady, and she prefers to control her destiny as she sees fit.

Found the part where Nola got upset at the prospect of Jamie being with other women relatable.

Featured black and white, some color, dark lighting, documentary-style, art film, small cast, jump cuts, and New York.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd9oTGr_1DA

New Series Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whvPjWm7ZE0

 

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A Post All About Me: New Bukowskis and Cities Not Named Cleveland

Yes, hello. Halo! Nama saya Paige! 

This is a post all about me. But wait-say you- aren’t all your posts about yourself?

Why yes. Basically, they are.

This isn’t even really about me… it’s more about my feelings.

Regarding my new Charles Bukowski: Jenny Zhang. And the Kathryn Bigelow film Detroit and how I for the first time became one of those people who is like “oh, I don’t mind that a white filmmaker made this film about a distinctly black American event” and who decided not to really say that in any large capacity because I believe those who do take offense on behalf of the marginalized usually err on the side of right. And I’ll get around to reading articles that argue that point later, but not right now!

So, my two things of this week both have something in common in how they affected my life: I’m not sure exactly what I think but I know there’s something special and that I like it. I think that mainly applies to Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, but it goes a little bit for Detroit too, but much less.

So Detroit first!

I don’t think (oh wait, the world is yellow tinted right now and it is gorgeous, ugh nature and the beauty that Beaumont can have when I bother to look at it) kkay anyway, back to the scheduled post

I don’t think that I knew Detroit was about police brutality. I just felt it was important to see it anyway, so I asked my mother if she wanted to and we did.

The movie theater in town has new seats that successfully block the view of the rows below you, which means if there are no people next to you, you are bright little screen of a cell phone free! But I had people next to me. Who chose the moment the film actually started to pull out their cell phones. But no, baby. Paige doesn’t play with the cell phones. Everrr. So, I politely leaned over and asked the not on her cell phone party to ask the two on their cell phone women to put away their mobile devices. They did. Not for the whole thing of course, but their loss. If you wanna fight over a cell phone though, we can fight. Because you ARE RUINING MY MOVIE. Not really. But I’m easily distracted and you’re distracting me and I paid for it and so did you and omg watch it because they worked really hard on it and this is cinema gosh dang it.

Anyhoo.

So, we were snuggled between them and a very animated black man who chose to laugh at the ridiculousness of the white people in the film and at the situations occurring. Which was somewhat enjoyable, but as a person who is always asking my mother to not ask me questions during the film, I was also wondering if black people knew how to watch a movie without talking during it.

The answer is yes, they do.

Anyway.

Movie opens. Action is on. I was with the above-mentioned article writers because I was at first thinking “ooh. this movie is making us look really bad. oh, this is a little uncomfortable.” But then it becomes obviously clear who is in the wrong: the police. yay. of course. However, unlike the theatrical poster which proclaims: “based on the true story of one of the most terrifying secrets in American history.”

bah-ha. To who? The specific occurrence might be little known, but the “terrifying secret” of police brutality is not secret to black Americans nor has it ever been. So, let’s just assume the movie poster wasn’t directed at us. There were white Americans in the audience which I was happy to see.

We’re used to police brutality. The only gasp I heard during the film was from the nice not on her cell phone black lady next to me. None of the brutality got me to cry or shocked me. I’ve already been through my jaded America has lied to me and hates me and all of its minorities phase. There was a point in the movie where my mother tried to speak to me and I said, “nononono tell me when it’s over” because despite missy whipping out that cell phone again, I was engrossed in this movie and not trying to miss a second. I did actually have to hold in tears by the end of the movie. It didn’t work. They spilled. Those kind of tears that rack your shoulders back and forth, except there’s no exercise going on. At least not one that energizes you directly afterward when you think about all the work you put in.

Nope. I sat there crying because of the character of Cleveland (Algee Smith). Sweet lord.

My mom tried to ask my what my favorite part was. “I don’t think that’s a movie that you have a favorite part to.” Which character did you relate to the most? “I wouldn’t say I related to any of them.”

Reflecting, that’s not true. I think I knew it wasn’t true then. I cried for Cleveland because of his own pain and because I saw myself reflected in him.

Man, Cleveland hurt. This is why I’m not writing about Detroit overall. I’m not writing about whether or not this was Kathryn Bigelow’s story to tell. Nah. I’m here to write about Cleveland.

I’m here to write about how we got to see Cleveland before, during, and after his traumatic experience with state sanctioned violence. We got to witness Cleveland’s sense of security be shaken up as truths were exposed to him, as he watched people leave without helping only to help him afterwards. We got to see how his worldview changed, and it hurt to see that change. We got to see ourselves in him and think about when our own perceptions of the world changed and how hard it was to get used to that and all of the mistrusts that we too had to experience.

It would not have been enough to only see Cleveland during. It would not have been enough to see him during and after. The before was so needed. That was Cleveland as carefree. That was Cleveland just wanting to sing. That was Cleveland being happy just to make music and perform and even sing to an empty audience because that was life. It was him not caring if the people who consumed his music were majorly white; it didn’t matter if they liked his products but not him or his people (think Do the Right Thing vibes and the answer of the Italian-American son).

It was being able to contrast care-free Cleveland with Cleveland who had to ask those deeper questions and who was traumatized from being in the same room as white people and police officers. Contrasting the initial Cleveland with a man whose mistrust arising from the way the world had treated him made him stand at the sides of a venue that he had wanted to be center stage on.

I don’t remember which part I started crying on. I think it was when he was on the sidelines. Even after the movie ended and it was just the credits, I just kept thinking about him and the change, and my tears were unstoppable. I didn’t even want to do anything after. I just wanted to go home. I wasn’t hungry; I wasn’t thirsty.

Eventually, I calmed down and life went back to normal. The rest of the day was actually fantastic. I was much happier than I had been just hours before. But those are the films I really appreciate. The films that leave me so broken-hearted that I’m disturbed. Yes. Give them to me. But also give me something fun so I can bring myself back to life.

Now on the Sour Heart. I was a little distracted while reading the novel, so I definitely want to re-read it. My favorite stories were the ones with Christina/Crispina. I just really liked it. I like the voice that Jenny Zhang has, and it’s because of Sour Heart that I chose to look up other things she has written, and I really appreciate how many of her things have dealt with racism. I even shared one on my Facebook because I feel like people should know who she is. When I re-read it, I’ll probably go more in depth about what stands out to me, but right now: it’s just its existence and how I’m happy I picked it up. For a lot of my favorite things/people in life, it’s sometimes not the things that they do/accomplish but its person that I believe them to be. The personality that I think they have. For example, off of Jenny’s website, I found this photo-series: http://www.rookiemag.com/2014/07/vilnius-travel-diary/ and that really made me connect with her. It made me want to go adventure, and I just appreciated how raw her descriptions were, especially the first photo. She was in Lithuania, but I’m trying to go to Indonesia by May of next year, hence the Indonesian that opened this post. I know more words! looooook: apa kabar kamu? bagaimana kabarmu? ibu dan bapak. selamat tinggal. selamat malam. salamat siang. selamat pagi. itu adalah saudara perempuan saya Lina. siapa nama kamu? apakah kamu juga saudara laki-laki <- I think I messed this one up. I need to go over my flash cards again haha. S/o to Mango Languages. Thou art bae. OH I REMEMBER NOW, I think it is: apakah kamu juga seorang saudara laki-laki. It might not be haha.

Anyhoo. I looked at her photo series, then I read her poems, and her essays. I saved them to my computer. I’m just happy to have found a new world to enter into. It’s so fun. This is how she is my current Charles Bukowski. When I first found Bukowski, I hella read this man’s poems. Who’s your favorite poet? Oh, Bukowski. He’s even still quoted in my Pinterest bio and until recently, my Twitter bio. So, that’s what I’m doing with her. Reading her older things and enjoying the ride and picking favorites. And I’ll return to them fondly in the future as I return to Bukowski fondly now. And discover new things even then.

And I hope most days that “it feels like I woke up happy”. ❤ (<- Jenny Zhang)

Toodaloooo. Until next time. Which is hopefully sometime soon.

Paige P.

 

 

Film Feelings: We Need To Talk About Kevin

So. 1: Tilda Swinton did not need to be in Doctor Strange because she is a damn good actress. I’ve now seen her in Okja (dir. Bong Joon-Ho) and this. And this movie is how I know she’s amazing.

2: This movie leaves a person feeling disturbed. But ever since my first international cinema class, I learned that I love movies that do that to me. Cache (dir. Michael Haneke) is the first film we watched in that course, and I left feeling highly unsettled and not sure about how to articulate why. The movies in the course were not escapist. One didn’t leave feeling ready to take on the next moment of the day. As a film student, you felt energized by the sheer feat that existed on the screen. As a person, you felt exhausted and the world felt…different. Another example is Breaking the Waves (dir. Lars Von Trier). I know the body has physical reactions to emotions from my experience watching this movie. When the main character dies, my heart literally felt as if it was being grabbed from my chest. Those are my kind of movies. This movie was like that. My mom’s verdict: “That was good. It was a little weird too.”

3: The shots, the shots, the shots. The way the director, Lynne Ramsay, composed the frames made each second gorgeous. Beyond that and what really contributed to the film was how she built up tension through the length of time she spent on the character’s faces, mainly Eva (Tilda Swinton). She conveyed extremely well how lonely Eva was, even when she had her whole family together. An image that stood out for me was when she took Kevin to the doctor to check on whether or not he had autism. The doctor was speaking, and then the camera turned itself to Tilda. She was on the far right of the screen and there was doctor equipment that filled the remainder of the screen almost worked to keep her in the corner. The editing too. Ah. Flawless. It was easy to understand the timeline. Tilda’s switch of hairstyle did help with this, but the scenes themselves were sufficient. Granted, it probably would have been more confusing had her hairstyle remained the same the whole time.

4: Motifs and pay-offs. Overall, the film was very quiet. The music came in with lyrics that related to Eva’s situation. A song near the end sings about being an orphan, which fits her new life. The pay-offs for the storyline were always set up. The were set up through introduction of something or a shot. For example, Kevin buys the locks for his school. His mom, dad, and he all have a conversation about the locks. The audience later sees Kevin putting the locks on the door of his school- not selling them as he said he would. And then when Eva is rushing to the school, she looks for Kevin. He’s nowhere to be found and then she reaches the front of the line. From there, she can see Kevin’s locks on the door. She’s still. Another pay-off is her calls to Franklin. He’s not answering, and the audience can attribute it to how their relationship is rocky. Yet, by the time all of the events have transpired and Eva reaches her home and is calling for her family, its clear something is wrong. Its then obvious to the watcher than Franklin probably would not have let the whole day pass without returning his wife’s call. When Franklin and Celia are found outside, the audience expects it because of the previous set-up. Those were done so well. This movie just had an overall sense of meticulousness in its planning and execution.

5: In addition to Tilda Swinton’s performance, the rest of the actors were fabulous as well. Young, middle, and eldest Kevin’s all were believable. What exactly the movie is trying to say about people like Kevin or the whole situation present, I don’t know. Maybe it’s more about the family surrounding him? It’s one of those films that raises the question for you and lets you continue to think about it on your own.

Stuff from the past week

*I am just rambling. These are not academic reviews or even really reviews at all. kk. much love**

Spiderman: Homecoming

Saw it once with Jacob and another time with Jp and my mom. I enjoyed the lightheartedness of it. Am wondering what’s up with Hollywood and multiracial families (diverse but not too diverse??), but the twist was actually really cool and fit in with the story. I love that it wasn’t a story about the world ending but just a nice, high-school story. Putting the fun back into the superhero world. It doesn’t always have to be apocalyptic. I tried to tell Jacob that’s why I liked it so much, but I don’t think he got what I meant haha. Also liked how Zendaya ended up being MJ and not just Michelle. Sidekick was fun too. He did a good job. Also good ending all around from Peter Parker and Tony Stark.

Okja

Took the cake. I want an Okja pig. Through all of the things that I have watched this summer, this is what I feel the most connection to. I normally dislike animal movies (read: dog), but this was so endearing, aghh. Like Mija seriously made sure she was going to get that pig back. Lovely. It’s cool that people believed in this movie enough to make it. Seems like one FT would have made.

Frances Ha

I think I started this like 3 years ago, and I finally actually went back to watch it after reading about it in a New York Times article. It was a gem. Also reminded me of Tuscany. Short, sweet, character-driven. In the article, they said it wasn’t a second longer than it needed to be. I agree. Great as is. Oh- and I was really pleased with how the reason for the title tied in to her getting her own mail box/apartment. She got it all together.

Great British Baking Show

Guilty pleasure, except without the guilt. It has a very precise way of editing that each episode follows, but I absolutely love seeing them create their bakes every week and introduce them. Idk how interesting I thought it would be really, but it’s cool to see all these different European/Eastern European desserts that I’ve never heard about. I like the personalities of the people as well. I’m on Episode 9, so I have that one and one more. Rooting for Chetna, but it might be Luis or Robert. Or maybe the lady who referred to Paul Hollywood as the male judge. Mary Berry is pretty intriguing too, and the British humor is nice.

Friends From College: Episode 1

so much cheating agh. I guessed that it was going to open with a sex scene and guess what? IT DID. props to ya girl for knowing the tropes now.

I might keep watching it just to know what happens, but I’m wondering how much I can really empathize with the characters considering the situation they placed themselves in. Like, I think the creators/show-writers want you to empathize with the affair people because they’ve been hooking up since college, before they ever met their spouses, but it’s like- if you were hooking up with someone else, why even bother to ask someone to marry you or date someone during that time? lame. anyway. I’m just being harsh, but that’s how it goes. I have to read too many stories that feature cheating people now lol. tired. Though, I think Inheritance handles that whole bit so beautifully. But the cheating thing also keeps me from blowing through GLOW, even though I think it’s so fresh and shot fantastically.

Wish Upon

almost, but not quite. As in- I almost made it to the theater with Jacob, but not quite. We had ten minutes left until start, and I threw up in our to-go bag in his car. And he took me home. Will be seen later though.

ooh oopsie- I knew I forgot some movies (just checked my Netflix activity so I could remember what they were)

Miss India America from July 5th and To The Bone from July 14th.

Those are obvi two different weeks, but it is what is.

I really enjoyed Miss India America. It was cool to…ya know, now I feel like I wrote about this already. did I write about it in my actual diary? hmm lemme check these drafts. nope, not in drafts. prob in the diary then. anyway.

It was cool that it centered an Indian story and that the majority of the people in the film were Indian, instead of being a side-joke, ya know? I liked it for the actors as well.

And To The Bone. I also liked. I don’t think it’s the style of movie that I hope to make it in the future, but I hope the people who made it are fond of it.

kk. much love. time for bed.

 

Reviews for the Week: June 24th – July 1st

Holaaaaaaa. Summer Film ’17 kicks into gearrr.

So, the person that takes the tickets at the movie theater told me “nice to see you again” because I have been to the movies four times within the past few days. And two of those times were in the same day.

All Eyez On Me. Baby Driver. Cars 3. Wonder Woman.

Yeah, I’m late to the game on some of these but early on others. Let’s start with the Biopic!

All Eyez On Me

…. 😦

Please watch this video to understand my sadness: 1:00-1:15

and look at this photograph:

well, actually nvm about the photograph. I could not find it, but it was of me dressed as Tupac for my school’s biography day freshmen year of high school.

Note: the video is from 2011. It is 2017. I’m about to be a senior in college, but I have been a fan of Tupac since seventh grade. As a die-hard fan of his music and him as a person, I was really heartbroken to admit that All Eyez On Me was not a good movie. The only part that got me to feel an emotion was when Tupac died because it was a reminder that he is gone. And there’s obviously no coming back from that type of gone.

Anyway, on to why I did not like it.

It did not have a storyline. If I was someone who did not know Tupac at all, I doubt that I would have cared about all the events that they showed me. And that’s what they did. Event, after event, after event with some random scenery shots in the middle. A lot of fades. I have to give it to the editor though. From what was seen on screen, I don’t believe that Joel Cox had a lot to work with. There’s a quote from Walter Murdoch (I think) about how movies are actually made in the editing room. It might not have been from him tbh. It might have been someone else, so s/o to that someone else just in case. Anyway, the quote hints at how raw footage alone is not a movie. The story arises in the editing bay. But yo, if the screenplay and the resulting film footage isn’t telling you a movie, it’s definitely hard to make that story side with the end product.

The first half of the movie was full of intercuts between a prison interview and Tupac’s upbringing. After his release from prison, the intercut section was no more. The audience did not have enough time to get to know Tupac. I think it was assumed that they already did. And of course they do because it’s Tupac. Yet- this is a movie. There should have been time to really empathize with this character and get to know his dreams, his faults, and what hurts him. There should have been a way to really root for him and his success. It was basically like watching home movies and not being entirely interested in the outcome but hoping beyond hope that it was going to be something good. As is, this movie shouldn’t have been. It’s not even a movie that I would see again, and it’s one that I had been waiting for June 16th for because I wanted to see it so badly. And not really because I thought it looked good but solely because it was Tupac, and he may be dead and gone, but I still wanted to support his legacy. In fact, marketing-wise, I had never thought it looked good. From the first trailer I saw, I thought it looked cheap. I didn’t get the red cross. In the film, the audience also gets the sense that there was not a lot of money for this film, despite it having a 40 million dollar budget. Which I guess must have went towards licensing and re-creating fashion choices. Because it definitely wasn’t for marketing. Some of my friends who are very into hip-hop did not even know this film was coming out.

Anywayanyway, I want to concede. There are a lot of angles from which a Tupac story could have been told; a lot of different versions of the man to present. Personally, since I like poetry Tupac but understand the wildin’ out one, I would’ve probably wanted to see the poetry Tupac. But yes- since there are so many angles, it’s understandable that it would have been difficult to craft a story from what was available. Better luck next time.

My mom enjoyed it, however, and she was also a great fan of Tupac.

My brother didn’t,  but he’s pretty cynical in regards to movies starring POC. He didn’t see Straight Outta Compton, and we all know that film was amaziiiing. And if you need to have the approval of a body, it won an Oscar for its screenwriting.

So grain of salt, ya know? Regardless, I don’t understand why Jada Pink Smith was so upset.

As a side-note, my uncle Jim didn’t want to see this film because he was afraid it would tarnish ‘Pac’s legacy in his eyes. I think it would. I did enjoy when he got into a relationship with Quincy Jones’ daughter though.

———  (I meant to make these reviews a paragraph since there are four of them but aye go figure)

Baby Driver

There was something very fresh about this movie. It did feel like something special. I watched it with my friend Jacob, and he gushed about it afterwards on his Facebook. It’s certified fresh so other people are gushing about it as well. I totally get that. It really did have a super cool feel to it, and I like how it’s an original story. However, the last 1/4th of the movie felt chaotic to me. As an action movie, I guess that it’s fine. Jacob liked how unpredictable it became. I feel that. I get it. Makes sense. But story is tantamount to me and the chaotic-ness of it made me feel as if the screenwriters didn’t know how to wrap up the story of the baby driver. It does work for what it is, and it’s actually probably a movie that I would watch again with someone at their house, chilling on the couch. Popcorn and friends.

Beyond that: people need to go beyond their butt shots and just having women be eye-candy. I didn’t think the relationships were believable, and I didn’t feel it fit baby’s character to go gun happy when he was so resigned to non-violence beforehand. I also remember seeing a piece from Love Life of an Asian Guy about how the black characters usually get killed first in horror movies (baby driver is action) and how that illustrates the unimportance of those characters in the movie and in real life. This actually resonated with me, and I felt as if the succession in which the people died went along with that. Asian guy, black guy, girl, white guy. I really wanted the Asian guy to last longer haha, I thought he was cool.

Regardless, I do get the case people are making for why they really loved this film. I did like it as well, but like I said, I had my issues. However, it did feel super fresh and as if there was something special about it. It was also cut together super well. Good stuff. I think I’ll read some other reviews to see if anyone else felt the way I did about the second half.

Maybe it felt so fresh because it isn’t a typical American movie as the director is British and apparently has a very distinct filmmaking style for his other films as well. (Edgar Wright)

Cars 3

I saw this with Kyleeee. It was v. cute. I liked it. I loved how Cruz ended up being Latina. And I thought the conclusion was wonderful with how McQueen is going to keep racing but he ended up training Cruz as well. They set the conclusion up well, as one could tell where it was going after he raced with her at the beach. At least, I could. Kyle couldn’t. I didn’t see Cars 2, so I’m unsure if there’s something I should have seen from that one, but I feel like I didn’t miss anything.

It almost felt as if this one was supposed to be speaking to an older audience, with all of the commentary about getting older and the new generation and all of that. I liked it though. Another movie that I would watch with friends on a couch.

Wonder Woman

We have made it to the end! yay! Also seen with Kyle.

My friend Yi Ning was the first person to gush to me about Wonder Woman. I actually had no interest in it. I don’t remember who showed me the original trailer way back when (maybe my brother?), but I remember that as being the reason why I was uninterested.

Buuuut. I’ll give it to Patty Jenkins. I really like her style of filmmaking. The blue and green colors that were present throughout gave it a nice feel and a cohesiveness to it. The large amount of clean close-ups was also an interesting choice that I really enjoyed. And the pacing too. It was different from the typical action/superhero movies. It took its time and moved along slowly.

Of course, in addition to the praise, I have also seen different criticisms of the film and of casting choices, and I actually do like reading over those and wondering about what they say as well. One thing that I think is important with any movie in regards to human relations outside of the movie is for people to ask themselves if they could see the white character as another race. Could Wonder Woman be Asian? Black? Latina? Sans comic aside, why not? I just think that’s important for people to ask themselves. It’s very easy to see white people in any role and to let them maintain their humanity, but POC don’t always have that going for them, and if we can’t picture POC in different roles, then I think we don’t see POC as fully human.

Anyway, mini diversion over.

My favorite part of the movie was simply the style of filmmaking. Yi Ning said that she thinks it’s great for the next generation growing up to see this and to feel empowered from it. And I agree. Gina Rodriguez just posted an Instagram of her acting like Wonder Woman, so hey. It is empowering. #RepresentationMatters and going off that, praise be that there were no butt shots. Yes. Thank you. And that’s probably because it was a woman director helming the seat. Not that woman can’t be equally as objectifying of other women as men (patriarchy runs deep), but overall, I think it makes a different. Women are three-dimensional and women like those in Baby Driver or all of the women splayed out in All Eyez On Me don’t get to showcase that. We smile all the time (which Wonder Woman did too, so it’s interesting to wonder if it would have resonated so deeply with people if she smiled less), we have any number of tropes you can name, but we don’t really get to be real people. So, that’s nice to see.

Kyle’s favorite part was when she was fighting the person she thought was Aries, and it ended up not being Aries. I enjoyed how there was actually an Aries after. Despite the other person telling her that there wasn’t one and thinking she was just kind of out there for that. I thought their relationship was unnecessary though. But it’s chill. I like romance. Would also re-watch on a couch with some snacks and a friend.

Peace out! Until later ❤

Paige P.

 

Short Film/Doc – Life Between Borders: Black Migrants in Mexico

Director: Ebony Bailey

Mitu did a write-up about this documentary: https://wearemitu.com/newsfeed/heres-what-its-like-to-be-a-black-migrant-in-mexico/.

If you want to skip the mini-article, here’s the video: https://vimeo.com/203384382 (there’s another one with Spanish subtitles)

Anyway! I really appreciated this documentary. It follows some recent Haitian immigrants and speaks about their stories, but it also has an interview with an immigrant from African named Amadou who arrived in the 1970s. It was cool to see the different perspectives among the black diaspora there and how they perceive their treatment in Mexico. Also, I didn’t know that Africa had had any influence in Mexican cuisine, but apparently it has had a bunch. Which would actually be a really cool thing for me to look up later. One of girls, who seemed more frustrated with how Mexico treats her, mentioned that the government covered up African contributions a lot. That reminded me of America and the contributions of every ethnic group that is not white.

I don’t have much I really want to say about the documentary, except that it introduced me to a new topic and inspired me to learn more. I mainly write these so I can remember how I feel about certain things that I’ve viewed.

Anyway, off to re-watch Get Out. Toodaloooo.

 

Summer Film ’17 – Kira’s Reason: A Love Story

Film Movement: Dogme 95

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVNpVbMU5HQ

Director: Ole Christian Madsen (but per Dogme 95, his name doesn’t appear in the actual credits)

The first Dogme 95 movie that I watched was Breaking the Waves by Lars Von Trier. Because of that movie, I thought that I looooved Dogme 95. I guess I just loved the movie instead.

For this film, I really did not like it. The found footage technique is my least favorite camera technique in film- maybe because it’s been popularized so much recently. It probably wasn’t as prevalent back then, so maybe this film really stood out. Anyway, the found footage style of filming took me around twenty minutes to get into.  Once I got over it, then I could pay attention to the story.

Here’s the story:

The wife of the film has just been released from a mental hospital. However, it is clear that she is still very, very depressed. She is not able to effectively face large groups of people without wanting to cry or feeling anxious about it. She also suspects her husband of cheating on her while she was away (which does end up being correct, despite his initial denial). For a while, it seems as if husband cares quite a bit for his wife. He seems patient, and when he says, “I love you”, it comes across as believable. During one of her episodes, the wife ends up cheating on the husband with a random man from a bar. In the morning, she even calls him to come and pick her up from the location that she is in. He does, but this represents a spiraling of their relationship.  He hits her, for the first time that we see on screen. He also rapes her and admits that he cheated on her with her sister. Yet, they continue to try and be together. However, the sweet element from earlier is now removed thanks to the violence. The film ends with the wife having planned a business party for her husband and his colleagues. The party seemed to be going well, but no one wanted to dance with the wife. When the husband’s boss does dance with her, it is to tell her that she should leave the party before she spoils it. She does and goes to write a letter to her husband letting him know that she is leaving him. He comes back during the writing of the letter, and after listening to her read it to him, he kicks her out of the room and throws her belongings out into the hall. She calls her father to come and pick her up. Apparently, while she does that, her husband also calls the sister to come with the children. Both of them show up- but when the sister arrives, she sees that husband and wife have reconciled and she cries. The father consoles  her, and the film ends.

I can recognize that there is a message to this film, maybe about how difficult it is for the wife to leave her abusive husband, especially in her current depressive state. Also, it explores how the wife’s depression really effects each aspect of her life and tends to make her unreliable to those around her. She can’t deal with other people and also deal with herself. Despite recognizing a message, I couldn’t stand how abusive the husband was. It was obvious when he was about to explode for the first time and hit her. There was just too much of it. It was actually one of my male professors who pointed out to me how much violence there is against women in films. It makes you wonder. So, anyway, the film also seemed to attempt to humanize the husband, but I despised that considering everything he had done beforehand, especially the rape.

What I did like about the film was the relationship between the wife and her father. It was very sweet, and it was clear that the father cares about her deeply as his daughter. Also, the actress is fantastic. Her facial expressions usually look quite reserved when she is trying to smile, and the audience gets the feeling that it would be a long journey for her smile to be able to reach her eyes.

I watched this on FilmStruck as part of their Dogme 95 collection. Before it, there was an introduction to what that movement was, and it also talked about how sometimes, the manifesto did not always benefit the films. They came to the conclusion that this film is one that did happen to execute it correctly. I disagree. I hated it so much haha. I guess it’s just not my type of film.

But Breaking the Waves will always have my heart.

RT score: 67%.