Brain dump. Part one.
Hair brush from bodyshop
Rowan knitware stuff
Ok, not blogged for a while, and I've been meaning to, especially to write up the (mostly) excellent films I saw at the 2005 Leeds Film Festival. What I managed to see represented a varied selection of incredible films, and despite the odd cock-up (like Francesco Rosi's Illustrious Corpses without subtitles!), it was a really fun, if tiring week.
TABOUS (Zohre & Manouchehr)
An interesting look at sex in Iran, intermingled with some arty poemy thing. The poemy thing was a bit wishy-washy, but the documentary part was really interesting. Things like a surgeon's repeated hymen restorative surgery on a woman, as it is difficult for women to get married without being a virgin. Hence, there was the prostitute who only had anal sex with her clients. It is, in fact, illegal to have sex outside of marriage, and couples found out (or reported) will be publically beaten. However, there is Sigheh, or temporary marriage, but that was unfortunately not really explained in the film. I thought it was an interesting documentary, and certainly should more through it's investigation about sex than just attitudes towards sex in Iran. For me, it showed the conflict between modernisation (and liberalisation, including increased rights for women) and tradditionalist Islamic views. Sorry the site's in french.
The Children Of Leningradsky
This was a fantastically moving film about a community (for want of a better word) of homeless children who live in and around Leningradsky Station in Moscow. Most of the kids on the film were below 15years old. It honestly made me cry. Watch it, and tell your friends about it, but more importantly DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Seeing little kids drinking Vodka, sniffing glue, sleeping on hot-water pipes, being abused by the public and the police, was very upsetting, but it also says something about our world: how we can spend millions upon millions of pounds killing each other, and yet cannot find the money to give every child somewhere safe and secure to grow up?
This film was shown with the next one.
Russia/Chechnya - Voices of Dissent
http://www.taskovskifilms.com/films.htm [scroll to the bottom]
An interesting, if, in someplaces brief, overview of the situation in Chechnya. Not knowing anything about Chechnya, or the Russian's role/intentions there, it was very revealing. Frankly, it looks likes Russia's own little Palestine, but far bloodier, and kept a lot quieter. It did try to offer a range of views; those from Chechnyan's in exile, those from former Russian Government, and those of the mothers of soldiers who had fought in Chechnya. A very interesting piece in deed, and I think I'd like to see it again, without having seen the Leningrdsky film first.
White Ravens: Nightmares in Chechnya
An exploration of two soldiers who came back from Chechnya in very different states: one less an arm and a leg, and the other one deeply traumatised. We're left partially in the dark about what happened to them, but the effects are clear. Again, very interesting film, especially tied in with the Voices of Dissent film. I suppose I was a bit bored by this point, but the film was a bit slack in places, and could have done with a but of editing. The idea of getting different people to try and guess what had happened to some Chechnya prisoners was interesting, but seemed to be peripheral to the main subject of the film. I suppose it needed something strong to bring it all together.
...And that was just satuday 5th November.
On sunday I saw:
Wow. Some amazing scenery, some tense moments, some funny bits, and some touching footage of the slendid Caribous. Inspired by the fact that 'they' (Dubya, of course) want to drill for Oil in the Caribou's calving grounds, this couple follow the Caribou's migration, both to and from their calving ground. It was interesting, and worked best when it showed the couple struggling to keep up with the caribou, hiding in their tent not wanting to disturb the caribou, or frenetic with adrenalin after a close call with a grizzly. There was some amazing footage, and some amazing scenary, but there were just a few moments that were a bit too much like holiday footage for me. I think I enjoyed it more as it went along.
Then, as previously mentioned, I was meant to see Francesco Rosi's Illustrious Corpses. However, after ten minutes of the film, it became apparent the copy of the film didn't have subtitles on it. So I went to see a collection of UK Short Films. A mixed bag. Some I liked, some I could have gone without. David Shrigley's "Who I am and What I want" [FGI!] was both amusing and slightly disturbing. Excellent.
Mardi Gras: Made In China
This is a fantastic film. What it shows is how a product is made, and how it is used. During the Mardi Gras in New Orleans, floats (and people) give women beads (cheat, plastic beaded necklaces) in exchange for a flash of their tits. Simple really. However, what this film shows is the, predominantly, girls who work long hours for low pay to make the necklaces, the factory owner who makes a fair bit, and the party goers who don't want to think about it. One of the latter group, when questioned on where he thinks the beads come from, gives a reasonably accurate answer, then says something along the lines of "don't bog me down with that shit, I'm here to have a good time and I don't care if people have suffered so that I can enjoy myself." Was really good, showing the link between China and America. A marvellous idea, well executed.
More to follow - I saw a whole load more films, including: Refusniks; Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land; Favela Rising; Battleground: 21 Days on the Empire's Edge; Kim Ki-duk's The Bow; North Korea: A Day In the Life; And Thereafter; and Abel Raises Cain. I'll try and write these up before I forget them!