SIFF 2018: Day Three – From Kenya to France

I feel like Supa Modo was promoted as a children’s movie (it was sponsored by Full Tilt ice cream, and preceded by a trailer for the final Belle and Sebastien film) but really it was a movie with and about children. Not that it would be inappropriate, but it was a bit heart-wrenching. Jo has only a couple months to live, so her mother brings her home to her Kenyan village where her neighbors try to make her last days memorable. Supa Modo was made possible by Tom Tykwer’s group, the same people who made last year’s Kati Kati available to the world audience. Is it a coincidence that both films are concerned with death?

We couldn’t really remember why had chosen to watch Un beau soleil intérieur but I’m sure it was at least in part due to the presence of Juliette Binoche in the starring role. She’s still got it, as far as I’m concerned, but the film itself left us scratching our heads. Binoche is an artist on a search for love. I think maybe the issue here is that there’s no really beginning, middle, and end. Rather, this is just a segment of the larger story of one woman’s life.

SIFF 2018: Day Two – Letters and Numbers

If you’ve never seen a Peter Greenaway’s film, The Greenaway Alphabet might be a good introduction. Made by his wife Saskia Boddeke, it is set up as sort of a conversation between Peter and his teenaged daughter Pip, discussing topics in alphabetical order. Stylistically similar, it is interspersed with scenes from Greenaway’s films to further elucidate given points.

There are quite a few penises (and vulvae) which I find quite humorous. American audiences I think are a bit squeamish when it comes to male frontal nudity (Greenaway is Welsh, living in the Netherlands). I was reading the IMDb trivia for Call Me By Your Name last night, and one item said the American leads both had no frontal nudity clauses in their contracts, which frustrated the director. We see women all the time head to toe, but not men. I agree, more penises, please! Or less female nudity. Let’s be fair.

Afterward, we headed to the Egyptian for Daveed Diggs’ Blindspotting. Written and performed along with Rafael Casal, our friend summed it up as Les Mis with Diggs as Jean Valjean. This is a pretty good summation, as a significant portion of the film is delivered rap/spoken word. Set in Oakland with three days left in Diggs’ probation, it’s a study of gentrification, police violence, and relationships.

SIFF 2018: Day One – Cats in Canada, Waxing on Wax

Do you like cats? I like cats. Some people really like cats. They express their affection in different ways, usually by adopting one or two. But some people adopt dozens, and some people show their cats in competition. It is these two types we saw this day at the Uptown.

We opened with a short about a couple in Florida who run a de facto hospice for elder cats. It maybe tried to tug a little hard on the heart strings. But still, the humans are interesting, the cats are adorable and heartbreaking. You can watch the cats at www.cats-cradle.org

In Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit, we follow a year in the life of a group of Canadian cat fanciers. One wants to rack up enough points to win first prize for the year, but another wants to thwart her efforts. Maybe. If she can. The important thing is that you show your best and hopefully the judges will see that. Such is the cutthroat world of cat shows in the Great White North.

Perhaps felines are a little too feel good for you. Perhaps you’d prefer the sordid tale of the rise and fall of a punk/industrial/alternative music store cum record label. Behold Industrial Accident – The Story of Wax Trax! Records. We caught this on at Majestic Bay Cinemas on a surprisingly rainy evening. I spent alot of time in college and after listening to and thinking about the Wax Trax! recordings and related acts. Because of this, I can’t really guage how interesting this story is, but but there is the human element. Two dudes with similar musical interests feel in love in Denver in the 70s and opened a record store. They moved to Chicago, creating an iconic venue for self expression and acceptance of other. Lives were changed, an industry was changed, and the rest of us are better because of it. Well, sure, that’s a matter of opinion.

Too Old To Dye?

I just read this article today, and it’s getting me excited about doing some kind of hand made project. Spinning? Weaving? Dyeing? All of the above?

When I was a young, pale girl in South Texas, I had a real love/hate relationship with the sun. That’s an exaggeration- I just didn’t like being in the sun. I still don’t. But being pale in sunny San Antonio was not the norm. Problem was, I had neither the patience nor the pigmentation to get tan.

So I set about to get tan by other means, mostly black tea. I tried various methods of staining my skin (“you’re soaking in it”), but none produced results. In the end I didn’t really care that I failed, but I remember enjoying those days of experimentation. I had a lot of free time, sure, but why did I ever stop?

I’m starting to get the itch. I wish I had planned for early retirement, but I will have to make the time.

Distraction Warning: Solar Energy Policies

While I agree that the whole Russia-Trump situation is potentially a pretty big issue, so far nothing much concrete and prosecutable has come out of all the revelations. Meanwhile, a lot of other decisions are being made on the behalf of the citizenry which are being overshadowed by all the nonsense. Let’s keep investigating as long as there are legitimate suspicions (which there are currently), but let’s not also lose sight of the other goings on. They will also have far-reaching repercussions on our lives, possibly even more than what may just end up being a nauseating scandal.

Case in point: there are those who are determined to reverse our solar energy policies, in favor of increased reliance on fossil fuels for electrifying our nation’s grid. You can read this article from the New York Times, which I will summarize with my two cents below.

Continue reading »

Environmentalists Only, Please

I cannot support any politician-candidate or incumbent-who does not consider the stewardship of the environment as a priority issue.

If they can’t acknowledge that human existence has an impact on the Earth, they have no business making decisions for the rest of us. And even if they acknowledge the impact but don’t think we are speeding up climate change directly, they should at least agree that we should minimize our impact for the benefit of future generations. Their actions should speak for them on these positions.

Take, for instance, this article in the New York Times about an epidemic of hyperthyroidism in cats which some believe could be caused by flame retardant materials we had in our homes. Chemicals meant to protect us, but now we know could harm us in other ways. Or what about this other article showing how much post-consumer plastic is being washed up on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean? 

We have a huge impact on our environment, and it is our responsibility to minimize the negative impacts. If we don’t have leaders who recognize this, we are doomed. Representatives with no environmental agenda should be replaced in the next election by others who are committed to preserving our planet.

This is Just to Say . . .

. . . I’ll be writing more soon. And not just because the film festival is fast approaching. 

I finally had the idea that there might be an app that would make posting so much more easy and convenient for me. And behold! There is. So now I don’t have to force myself to sit at my computer and write when I can just as easily scratch things out on the bus or snuggled in bed. Yay, technology!