Iris : A Film Review


Director Albert Mayles. USA. 2014. 1hr 18 mins.
New York Doll
Fashion is for those seeking iconography as seen through a collective obsession of times or self abstraction.
Iris Apfel is such a creature.
You will be surprised how she began with a style which would grace any woman and then set about downing grace for an arcane beauty which becomes her armory. “I don’t do pretty” see soon explains. Why not? Why is because the allegiance to money and hybrid textural pattern and drapery is a bigger payload.
Descent through ascendancy.
Is it female dandyism? Her suppression of a sexual sole.
Through the outer shell?
There have been many designers whose pell mell has been to lead the following crew through hype and wayward stimulation into collecting clothes and paraphanalia in order to entrust their outer shells in hopeful association to the now. Something has to convince them of the reasoning for taking their appearance fetishly towards endorsement of what has become.
Mercifully there are times when fashion has provided an anti-thesis to that represents. The Com de Garçon, Chanel, Parkinson, type of less is more objectivity. Truly ordinary people have been transformed by their acceptance of certain principles of dress and have had their souls lightened.

Formless people, short, tall, wide, stooped, masculine, feminine types all have endless need to wear comfortable and well made clothes.

Iris is a film documentary by the late Albert Maysles who passed in March of this year aged 88 , he having all the composition and natural demeanor and quiet charm to form a penetrating film of the superficial art which makes for good visual kaleidoscopic memoir. For Iris is not young. At 94 she is at a risen star status in New York, so much so she holds centre stage at her husband Carls 100th birthday party and makes his ‘acceptance’ speech for him. Not that she over consumes him or overwhelms him but simply she is the kind of Jewish lady once she gets talking is hard to rein in.

You may have seen this magpie Fashion Guru. She has made a lot of picture driven magazines and found promotion of ‘iris inspired’ fashion houses, exhibitions and helpfully student scholarships a part of being alive.

By being public and doing things s her way of confirming her alive status.
Quite the opposite of sitting bordered and idol after a lifetime searching her search continues.
Nouvelle Search
Once in a while there is a ferocious devoted upsurge in self expression as a movement of retention or marking of territory.
It happens after displacement and after war both uniformed bloody and horrific sudden shifts take place.
1920’s and 1950’s and to a lesser extent 1970’s all saw roles in reshaping nations and global taste and identity.
Pre history also has significant similar occupation of fashion and national vibrancy, concordance, reverence, rectitude and plain wealth expressed across its borders.
Old World Weavers
Old World Weavers is the name of the company the newly married couple set up to follow through with commissions. It is in the name. Just as the Romans ripped off the Asiatics and Middle Eastern Art then this is a small homage to it.
Tribal art is such that it is both normal and extrordinary to watch vats of colourscape, tanneries in places like Morocco go to local industrial scale lengths to craft and create the basic components for the variety of produce, carpets, curtains, textiles of every kind.
Metallurgists, dyers, shoemakers, weavers and secondary intricate button makers, adornments all are examples of offering the God of Light some return for vision and formation.
Blossom or fade
The film through her storytelling speaks of the early years.
Far from being outspoken she tells a tale naturally with the extraordinary touch of a perception which has all things otherwise bland and uninteresting. Very dismissive of lives she knows or cares little about. Charitable?
This is only plausible through the availability of contrast and not the operation mode beauty in all things.
Formative comparison drops
Her editorial gaze is despite an early years mild and soft appearance taken over by an addiction to jewelry which eclipses textiles, design of interiors and her apartment is now only a collection of highly crafted and well painted UN gauche works of art.
None of her collections are in anyway ugly or able to stand the light of day. Instead they are a summoned token of the century she is passing through and like Cleopatra is meant to engage the eyes.

She was born in Queens New York, in the early twenties, and with Carl Apfel, formed a textile company after meeting at various publications and arts occasions which and placed a combination of skills she explains for us needed follow through by traveling which like Sir Hans Sloane brought back containers full of all cultures. They bargained a lot and obtained high end for low rent.

Somehow she became a pillar of what was then regarded as taste but gradually this became replaced by notions and replications.

Architectural Digest v The World of Interiors camps.
Where is the Art
She never really was taken seriously by artists or writers except fashion house chiefs adored her because she helped the churn. No talent arose from her except having that editorial eye which was identifiable as her own.

Known for having glasses the size of a two wheeled children’s bicycle this more became an unshift-able iconographic label.

It is no more no less. It simple is trademark trash. As such it damages her esplanade of virtuous bonhomie and other literal partially conspicuous breaches of standards which do the fashion world a service.
Fashion heights
Alexander McQueen brought busters as a hoc idea when short of runway filling costume. His art was exceptional gearing of the traits and it showed perhaps the onset or preset of greed avarice hidden allegories which now beset the globe which he had not cared for in so far as it belittled tradecraft.

The same can be said of Karl Lagerfield. The remainder such as Giovanni Versace Ralph Lauren etc, are of the glamour magpie camp and discolor and remove insight idea wise and it is lapped up throughout the world of uniform clothes merchandising.

Conclusion ###3
What you see on this travelogue of the Twentieth century is rarely a glimpse of the past but a record of collections and reputation all shifts. It harmonica sees and juxtaposes while being harmless frippery.
It lifts the lid on nothing insightfully unrecognized yet is pleasant and sidewinding. Never will iris be recalled as plain and she has an admirable eye for the detail as sculpture with the ability to acquire for no other reason than that hoards of splendid things.
Stravinsky, Diaghilev, Nijinsky combined sets of extravagant exuberant panoply for a reason which this shines towards but the fact is Firebird resulted. Other balletic interpretations existed whereas here none is apparent other than the capability to convey to a wider audience – commendable though that is in the educational sense – the intrinsic beauty that surrounds us and structure being a dismantable cradle which it is criminal to ignore

To be seen at QFT Belfast from Friday 31 July 2015 to Thursday 6th August 2015.

Eden : A Film Review

Director Mia Hansen Love
cast: Greta Gerwig, Golschiftch Farahani, Felix de Gevry,
Genre: Drama, Music
Language: French with English subtitles
Country of Origin: France 2014 131 mins.

Eden, from French director Mia Hansen Love looks like a movie, vims like a movie and is a visceral blazing dance music festival of a movie.
Joy and Ecstasy
In around twenty years of Electronica many have wondered how the off mainstream, dance genre, which is a part of global pop music will be retained on film as well as paying homage to the core essence of its obvious record for generations who propelled themselves forward into a new century on the vast issue of tracks and digital recordings at hand.

It was not apparent and there have been lame attempts at what is a block of energetic sound delivered for immediacy, digestion, entrancement and thrill. Enjoyment was the sub-cultural text unashamedly and intuitively correct in the sub-real hotly contested near paradoxical pop music it showed contempt for. Recording companies wished to corner the four to fourteen market and went for it tooth and claw.
The ‘are you into that?’ is never more a reality than with dance.
House was a growing up part for me and you would be able to leave a jazz emporium in London pass a club and hear dance music and be drawn into it straight away. Straight through the doors into a roomful of trance ambient, or a steaming rocking House in ripping loud thunderous classic dance pouring out on conscious peaceable smiling faces in tune with it to the second. It was a fusion of tastes interwoven as never contemplated as technology equipped certain DJs and meritorious musicians to experiment with the veil lifted by the erudite electronic keyboard maestros except no lingering classicism except for Thomas Dolby, other ingenues who would find dance superficial or baseless repetitive soup for advancing sexual relations asap. Attractions and opposites, cliches are thinly persuasive.
Permacultural Organisms
What we had stumbled across as the lightening rods of this French duo known as Daft Punk colonised as French House. Their clubs named in this party as ‘DJ Cheers’. It scalloping out and presenting the dynamic of American nineties deep house embedded and coded with soul enriched words and recall. Words and recall. What if sister? What if brother?
They are actually referenced come to think of it.
Those words not used but grabbing the what if we were a brotherhood.

It was certainly a time which sought the removal of prejudice, which expressed togetherness, which emitomised, just as the Band Aid thirthieth anniversary fades away an awakening to impoverishment, of exclusion, division, war – the ’19’ of the (the Simon Fuller, 19 Management, Paul Hardcastle encourager found embedded in Amy) struck a colossal vein in popular consciousness which morphed in many directions. Even informing ‘American’ themed disco anthems and their cross appeal.

Tree lined Parisienne Streets.
The wide expanses of the Hausmann Boulevards and small commercial trading streets, of counter revolution and now Le Haines contested areas within the periphique had a bourgeoise set who sought out along with other sturdy and not so sturdy youth a culture not derived from Mitterand and his merry band of Eurocrats.
Daft Punk
Social thought indeed was in the ‘Air’ (another French electro device) as self confidence after a one man World Cup! – can I lay that down for discussion at least! – a brimful of Zinedine Zidane from Marseille! head butt upfront! brought out a French exuberance once again on the move. Giacometti meet Serge poster culture with a bit of Rough Trade signature self-identity.
Mia’s beautiful vision
The beautifully thought through delivery of a fictional account of the years French House, a repoclaimed Garage Electronic Vocal House albeit nuanced with the indigenous fluid smooth sounds they heard off the local radio from the populations incoming but barely regarded as influential and probably still not.

The permeation was to be embed without knowing. Frankie Knuckles etc. did lay down plenty of the rhythm and soul inflections understood by the French youth while the UK was direct and in your face. So much so it was back at you from the US who recognised the works worth.

The film is like a groundswell of Music. The first tunes hit off in the daylight opening sequence of a gathering through the more parklife tree lined, (London Planes?) into the – and it was the ozone era – where the air got skinned of its protection, our harmful emissions reached towards a revengeful sky, where the lines of Charlie were across credit lines of harmful business and profit was a book to own.

The tunes are the narrative form. They carry the scenes and Mia drops each as an acid drop with splendid servile subconscious alacrity.

The acid is not so deep as to be found wanting or lost. The scene is derived by the fictional account of her brother, Sven Hansen Love who was a DJ of note and merit. The Eden of the title referring to a Radio/Club publication which aroused the senses by written word, contextural art and drafting a of the nearby Daft Punk luminaries.

Who’s in Da House
Time to introduce Daft Punk properly. Da Funk they drop in a home House party. Meet them, Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel de IIomen Christo.
Headbangers of corporate idolatry worth. Unlike the fictional character Paul who is so carefully built by the 23 year old actor Felix De Givry who has to cover the whole twenty or so years of Mia and Svens choice of storyboard.

Each delivers. The point is that the music in essence delivers. It is not full of or has any undercurrents of angst, Prodigy, Underworld come to mind but is up front fusions of joyous sounds making for the first time globally probably French music a serious common bonded sound. How else would it go down so well it hard on United States of America in the home of House, Disco and Dance. It grooved and caresses. It was loud while it did it with no hang up chords or lack of creativeness.

Paul delivers. Sven has his own account of club success and this story has the pairing of Paul with Stan, played by ..who is his encouragement along with Clive another partner in the Club nights which shine. Where is that name derived? They call theirs Cheers. Sort of Aquaplane (Danish) good it’s that bad as a name!
They set up club night high in production values. Not Stockwell! Boston! Hoxton! Sweaty! Non-stop partying. chill and outdoor jeanesse dori blend into the noise and only occasionally does a guest get off their head on screen. The acting of the Mia gathered youth are remarkably well behaved and they dance themselves alarmingly like naturally beguiled lovers of the genre.

These are of the current era made up to be of the former era showing the music is so familiar and loved as to wish a revival of sorts to happen. It looked so innocent but plainly wasn’t. Lots of harm through its drug use and dependency put many into an early grave.

The DJ of Paul’s time worked hard and the labour of love meant he could not pay attention to the love in his own circumference. The adorable, adored, partnerships are true shapeshifting. The loss of his first true love Julie, an American already divorced and who gets his talent is what drives him and returns to America to follow her own goals. The next is the childlike presence of a woman earthling Parisienne girl who also shares his music pedigree but eschews all that it sits alongside. She gives him space and he develops because of her catch a mood wisdom.
A Story in two Parts?
Binary is a recent theme, Love and Mercy, Amy and Mitch, Back to Black, Sid and Nancy, Daft (binary) Punk, Paul and Stan, so this is again perhaps a kind of reflection forward.
The relationships are not so carefully balanced though the synergy is.
They are suited. So it is throughout the film. That he finds love in his life but has another love which he – and because of its acceptance and maybe even being able to make numerous people happy – at the expense of the other and for a part his own mother, his own self worth is undercut.

The success of tracks and his club takes him across to America where again a daylight festival, filmically beautifully choreographed human in scenic harmonious dance sequences at MOMA PS1 courtyard plays out as a
natural segment with Mia’s touch excelling here in both the music and interwoven storytelling pace of her holding onto the challenges at ever encounter.

New York, New Times.
The Paul we know, love and trust is in a difficult place and his own refusal to confront what troubles him and face the loving faces staring back at him is heart felt. Young French actors I have noticed don’t do anger convincingly as they try to hard to be ‘honest’ while simply having taken too much of this that or the other and senses have gone to s*** while the taxi(s) or friend rescue them without much in the way of repercussions.

Not exactly a homage to the delirium delinquency, sangfroid, raw mouthed French unspeakables I have encountered in a blessed return to the world.

The true tried tee shirt thievery is ubiquitously labored or is that just French dressing? Sangfroid gestures are no usual but bad manners and lack of recall are fail safe mechanisms deployed by the French and possibly to a greater extent than others.

The story as this repressed editorial account is struggling to explain for you – the story is good well received baleful and a bit clean – the music is monumentally blissimo innocentia reality fast rhythmic creative vibe full – is paced extremely well and directed knowingly skillfully and very expressively human as to reach where other music films leave you cold.
It is split into the parts of Paul’s life where he is mature and childlike at the height of his musical powers – I detected a downward element to the work later as it went on his own productions – to the aftermatch of money being soaked up by extinctions of guestlists – some nights were the leggy models and dancers drank fluid gold and snorted free gear as complimentary incidentals. To the inevitable turn in fashionable gatefillers, to real life booking of ‘names’ for fortunes and small return took it down to an unrecoverable set of circumstances business wise.

Stop to move on
The dryness at the end was an awakening and there was no trailing over the debris as we had seen the slow demise through these zestful eyes.
The photography slowed to a turning tide and some recall was occasionally invite with the Daft Punk pairing appearing every so often as rudders on another ship.
Conclusion #####5
It is worthy of a five in this (locally) mixed bag Summer.
It reminds us when massacres didn’t appear on beaches along with refugees struggling across continental Europe were never envisaged nor were we mistaken that globally mankind was an outfit which can and ultimately will be the suitor to heaven or a vanished planet. This is the story of a youthful experience.
It is a tender well handled tale thoroughly intelligently written and directed with the deft and utterly convincing playing by the principals who along with the extras equally bring to life that hope which this generation. Now hopefully and do have to hold dear as they venture forward.

Once John Lennon explained it for use.

‘Life is what happens when your making plans.’
John Lennon

Through the train window on route to Washington.

John Graham

23 July 2015


Opens this Friday night at QFT Belfast and on general release from then.
House full so Eden TV
Provides a soundtrack for you

‘Eden boasts a truly outstanding soundtrack’
JAYDEE Plastic Dreams (original version)
SUENO LATINO Sueno Latino (illusion first mix)
ALY US Follow Me (club mix)
THE ORB A Huge Evergrowing Pulsating Brain That Rules From The Centre Of The Ultraworld (Orbital dance mix)
FRANKIE KNUCKLES The Whistle Song (original version)
AARON SMITH FEAT. D’BORA Going Round (UBQ original mix)
JULIET ROBERTS Caught In The Middle (gospel revival remix)
JOE SMOOTH Promised Land (club mix)
LIQUID Sweet Harmony
JASPER STREET COMPANY Solid Ground (Spensane vocal)
ROSIE GAINES Closer Than Close (mentor original)
MK The MKapella
BRYON STINGILY Get Up Everybody (parade mix)
DAFT PUNK One More Time
CHARLES DOCKINS Happy Song (4007 original mix)
JT VANELLI The Cricket Song
WATANABE Odoru (unreleased version)
CHEEK Venus [Sunshine People Cheek] (DJ Gregory full length mix)
KINGS OF TOMORROW Finally (original mix)
OCTAVE ONE FEAT. ANN SAUNDERSON Blackwater (string vocal mix)
JON CUTLER It’s Yours (original distant music mix)
VIOLA Little Girl
MASTERS AT WORK FEAT. INDIA To Be In Love (12 inches)
ANGIE STONE Brotha (DJ Spen & Karizma remix)
LOVE COMMITTEE Just As Long As I Got You
CRYSTAL WATERS Gypsy Woman [La Da Dee] (basement boy strip to the bone mix)
PAUL JOHNSON Tak A Lickin [and Keep on Ticking]
DAFT PUNK Veridis Quo
POLO & PAN Rivolta (get a room! remix)
KERRI CHANDLER We Are [I’m Here For You]



PAUL Félix de Givry
LOUISE Pauline Etienne
ARNAUD Vincent Macaigne
CYRIL Roman Kolinka
STAN Hugo Conzelmann
ANAI’S Zita Hanrot
THOMAS (DAFT PUNK) Vincent Lacoste
GUY-MAN (DAFT PUNK) Arnaud Azoulay
QUENTIN Ugo Bienvenu
HERVE Sébastien Chassagne
NICO Laurent Cazanave
ANNE-CLAI RE Signé Bouaziz
THEODORA Léa Rougeron
ESTELLE Olivia Ross
BASTIEN RADIO FG Pierre-François
MIDORI Garel Claire Tran
RENEE Arsinée Khanjian
JULIA Greta Gerwig
Brady Corbet
MARGOT Laura Smet
YASMIN Golshifteh Farahani

Love & Mercy : A Film Review

Dir. Bill Pohlad USA 2014 2hr 1min. Cert.12a.
Cast. John Cusak, Paul Dano, Paul Gametti,
Script. Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner.
Home is where the Love is
The word is out that The Beach Boys sang the summer for us and ever since have recall days without a cloud, without a moments unhappiness, of surf, sand and sea. This reality of course was a false perception.
Nothing was exposed to the theatre of sound and blue and white stripes of The Beach Boys as much as the fulfillment of the wishing it was fun, fun, fun, sun, sun, sun, more than ourselves the musician fan than themselves and chief among them Brian Wilson.
‘The Worlds most important man of the twentieth century – Woodrow Wilson, according to Scott Berg, Pulitzer Prize winner. Maybe it was for culture, Brian Wilson. It cannot be true though as hype and reality are so inalienable conceptual tangible absolutes as to render us to pulp as fiction.

We need the hype of something in popular media to latch onto as escapism is part of the deal. Woodrow Wilson, origins near Strabane. Conned his country into thinking he was well, a President in full capacity of control, when he was abroad for six months and out of the US! The hype of his life was carried by Newspaper and the Washington Briefing which he invented.
Modern Cinema
This was The Beach Boys new world he had created out of the post war years. The USA needed much in the way of family friendly tones of drama and self identity it gave us Doris Day, Dick Van Dyke, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, as well as The Supremes, The Drifters, The Beatles and poor old Elvis tanned, tanked and Tahiti bound out of a war uniform he had a duty to render the Male American in apart from the alternative – often naval gazing reflection on war – and unceremonious cowboys such as John Wayne preceding Shane soon to be Butched up and moved in town. Voight incoming.
Modern ‘Sinema
There were the, American Betty Davis Betty Davis Eyes types the curious admixture of vice and crime noir and Hitchcock rendezvous films for the unsquemish. Blood on the blade was an escape tool also employed to this confection of a.nice cosy world.

For some crystallizations of the America ‘all we ever wanted’ appeared in popular culture of a clean and type which those in the centre of the stardom were equally susceptible to.
Sound booth stores
Traditionally Crooners and Ballad signers told the narrative but the breakaway was and often is assumed by mentioning The Beach Boys.
The cafés next to the record stores with listening booths were hip as cheapster music nowadays churned out as pop.

This year 2015 is becoming in film alone for Music centered films. Whiplash straddled the entry to the year as it became Oscar commodity.
Then advancing were spacious movies of biographical canvas.

That stretch reaches today to Amy, after the Kurt Cobain visual feast. We have Dustin Hoffman to look forward to in The Choir as well as the month of Music Documentaries QFT Belfast is embarking on concerning our more contemporary rendering documentaries. Music of Bjork, Damon Alborn musical based theatre. Even the film Eden on Daft Punk should be well worth seeing. Barely enclosed as Musical or film they again say we are forever to look at music culture against a visual forest of personalities who stood up to entertain us.

Such is this backdrop it is further disseminated as a story of Brian Wilson’s as QFT programme puts it ‘era defining life’ Bill Pohlad runs two parallel tracks as a very unique take on the two voyages undertaken by Brian Wilson. Some one liners are dropped in which are repeatable. Not here. They are about Brian’s essence and wisdom. The veil is lifted on ourselves through such crafting of thought and a huge amount of unheard of musical literacy.

Music he found to be his souls medium of expression. A handful of melodies and away he went. The generous heart of fellowship, of the band found him creating the most fluid and well received pop music imaginable as his counties technicolor open skied haven.

Just over the past weekend fellow Californians The Grateful Dead, play their final concert having amassed a 44 million dollar event. It took place at Soldiers Field Chicago where Jerry Garcia last played June 1995.

They were close to the edge of where Brian Wilson wanted to be as he sought something beyond what they were narrowly fastened into as the Beach Boys. It’s hard to disavow success and the riches.
The performances within this film are awesomely close to perfect. The division and derision of fellow band members who take to tour without Brian return to find his new book of songs incomprehensible and depressing or close to ailing wailing self indulgent aganst driven worry harnessed in notes and chord complexities even seasoned session musicians had found difficult in constructing.

Paul Dano who added pounds in weight to inhabit the world of Brian Wilson is exceptionally close to any perception we are likely to have of the menacing self-examination which in the opening frames curates the medical condition of hearing other voices in his studio settling the arguments of value on the music he is conceiving. It is an adopted case of proprietorial regions of the brain under challenge from each other. Reason for, as Paul Dano transmits, ‘in peril’ alone as Brian cuts a force, a never seen duality on screen before as insightfully played and told without realism or prurience.
We have seen hothouse voices from the depictions of Elizabeth Taylor, in manic episodes, male versions well covered also, yet here the coil spring nuances of thought are demonstrably resonant.
John Cusack is cast into the role of ‘future’ Brian the credits have us told.
This is a case of extrordinary implicit schizophrenia when it is assertainable, perhaps due to hindsight it is expectatious or expressed in only small measure, something more akin to psychoneurosis.
The brain is not even now so easily categorissed but we know a great deal more than then.

The future is made possible by using two actors. The eerily accurate narrowing of the brow, slight hesitant recoil, pulling his will inward through expression abstracts the inner feeling so well Cusack deploys it’s constant question mark for us to engage with. John Cusak is achieving little in the way of help in large part through another main player in this format. The John Landy psychiatrist whose power of attorney seems large and is dealt strongly and dismally with acerbic scenes of disagreement and darkness seen in sunlight.
There is in the construction of Smile, the album Brian assembled while the remainder, Mike Love, Carl Wilson and the other siblings, that is becomes apparent this is no ordinary man and he operates on a split level mind.
Exceptionally honest about his inner senses therefore unable to obliterate, deny, suppress the feelings of hurt found when dealing with the outside world, particularly his father who accounts for the loss of 85% hearing in Brian’s left ear by repeated punching.
The editing by Dino Jonsater match episodes of period unerringly back and forth. The scene where it appears Brian Is having an episodes when making “God Only Knows” one of their masterworks literally routes us the viewer from thinking one thing to seeing another as this finite, glorious tune is brought out. You will be astonished by the sweet and savage use of character here.
Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks), the woman who was his saviour is outstandingly portrayed giving a sparkling beautifully nuanced and attractive accurate account as provided through the riches of script deposition and filmic period resonance, fashion and style wise.
She is first encountered in the Cadallaic showroom where a relationship of forces meeting is established without any claims from either. She sells cars, he buys one. One they have an adult and childlike conversation in breaking the rules of attraction through aa heartfelt moment of greeting a friend.

It begins the middle core love story which becomes transitory.
Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti), Doctor Damage. A control freak psychoanalyst whose appreciation of Brian’s condition relies on a fragmentary reponse first initiated from a period of reclusive, very reclusive self withdrawal made by Brian.
Various theories are thrown like projectiles at us. One comes that Brian is consciously aware albeit occasionally, of the regression he goes through at times. His maid and housekeeper keeps the over prescription of Landy a secret and Melinda develops as does Brian a truly bonded relationship.

Not surprisingly this undermines Landy enormously. The effect is to send the film into a multiple of editorial and stimulating scenes of harrowing, joyous action.

Not simultaneous. No the schizo dynamic is over wrought in reality as in Landys mind. So Landys position as Wilson’s personal physician and legal guardian, becomes another fore fronted part of the music dynamic which all along is mesmerizing us. Not least because, here is another master stroke. Atticus Ross blends his own score an Beach Boys work so intensely and ferociously we have a narrative both Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner send director Bill Pohlads head into a tailspin no doubt trying to switch the direction of emotions, the highs and breaking points.

It is a masterwork and in parts where Paul Dano takes off in the studio as a maestro planner of plenitude, we see exchanges of dialogue which are collected and delivered in such environments as the ubiquitous swimming pool.
Homage to a floating baby Nirvana in which separateness is key.
Or the slant across the pool. The water sloping from Paul Danos side and readjusted level when seen from the bands side. Of course some dialogue is superfluous but for those unused to the capers of directors in shoeing in favourite vibes one supplants these.

The conversations, on the terraces of balconies with views it is not reasonable to be expected in a normal world; (the locations of these are breathtakingly beautiful as to be heavenly locations for heady differences and cruel irony) is another master stroke.
The colourscape is never restful as you can drown in the lush pleasure and production ‘shots’ even of roadside stationary scenes are of the texture and whole belying underbelly of misdirection taken on the road to becoming the great Uniteed States of America. They also have a scene watching at Landys choice no doubt a Moody Blues Concert!
He turns to Melinda seated next to him who has just spoken to Brian and asks something like “What did he just say? What were you saying?” Full of not just a controlling irrigation, yes not irritating, misapplied sickness I read this a reflection of Landy wanting to know what both sought of the song.
‘Nights in white Satin’. The duality and multiplicity of uses for the song being Landys own personality.

Conclusion ##### 5
This ends as many do not as a recovery gone right.
You don’t often get that but the journey was costly.
The mercy bit comes in the song. The film is put together with a lot of Americas discovery of itself after the relase from war and is an unprecedented release of a sectio of popular historical biography. A fictionised true life story made for the adoration of millions of fans.
Melinda Ledbetter carried and carries the torch.
The Wilson family have a history told for their own benefit and sustenance as unforensic as is both proper and practical.
It is a work of depth and extrordinary insightfulness.
It explains the lack of medical explanation of so many cross genetic and societal forms of interaction.
The contusions and left orbital senses damage is but one derivation of the harm and bi-polar state he fluctuates from though no such diagnosis or any diagnosis is rightly put across as the closing sequences gather us for the close.

QFT Belfast Fri 17 July to Thurs 30 July 2015 check the screening times lose to the date as times sometimes shift a little.

Julys Calendar

image image

And here is a BT9 Event


Here is a July Calendar which may be suitable for a download/print or inspire you to make your own.

Soon I shall be sending to post a blog review of the film Amy which is on general release from Friday. It is a film I am rating at 4/5 despite it’s many flaws and the inevitable gaps. The woman was beautiful gifted and has left a world which needed more of her than she could give.

John Graham

1 July 2015


Amy : A Film Review

Directed by Asif Kapadia, Documentary, Cert 15. 2hrs 8mins
From the cradle
The North London world of Amy Winehouse was modern life in a close Jewish family. The calendar approach of the chronology leading to her passing is in this film capturing a small part of the true Amy.

It is not a biographical film. Neither is it remotely complete or a true picture of her life. Self provokingly it postulates as a history of the composite music files, both Amateur record, professional parasitic paparazzi takes, concert footage and many personal tapes made by her entourage including decisively her first manager Nigel. A lot of footage making this film is apparently YouTube footage but it’s hard to tell.
The sharp contrast of titles used throughout, even sub-titling for lyrics which is a bit of a cosmic fudge akin to Amy’s dislike of a producers over dub inclusion of strings on one of her tracks is presented across speckled, low res film.

It looks hip. It reads unctuous and for a non Amy audience tells a part of the already seen crushing media and music business hardships she endured.
The period between Frank and Back to Black are, remain a mystery. Despite all the exposure and written words Amy accounts for it simply as a period when ‘I started drinking and I fell in love.” Then after marrying Blake she began at what seemingly is the height of personal fulfillment, taking crack cocaine.

“What Is It About Men,” (“I can’t help but demonstrate my Freudian fate / My alibi for taking your guy”) does Mitch no favours, his “Amy: The Untold Story” — Mitch Winehouse is seen in the film as being a part of her pressures. Ambivalence towards drug treatment is direct and bullshit bravado as is ignoring his own manipulative misappropriated skills in time management.

19 management and other management appall. The ones around Amy, her closes friends are not ‘the management’ but gatekeepers employers. The constant roundabout of Virgin Mobile this and Q awards, Brit Awards etc, with relentless rock and radio appearances are precursors to a breakdown.
Amy was highly intelligent and instead of playing the roster of awards questioned the whole. Why have a best female?
Why not best Artist?
It is only too apparent. The music performances in certain places worked. You could never say she failed in an open air sunlit park gig no more than she failed in a night club atmosphere as it depended on so many things. She was in or out of the grooves he created and constructed.
Her writing is about something else. It gets a good airing but is in the end only a fleeting glimpse of the reality.
Mick Jagger and others are quoted in Chas Newkey – Burdens book with a radically more persuasive dialogue than mere rockumentary can elucidate on. The depiction in visual form of a women’s downfall is treated here as burlesque homage. It is at times fragile and individuals get to express certain things they have longed to express no doubt. When x comes to y the journey is over for the women at the centre and the tragedy is immense beyond measure or retrieval.

Some folk will need to take a long hard look at themselves and have probably done so. Let them heal themselves. Let them access places Amy was forbidden to go and let them experience the healing brought.

Let them use their ears. The soundscape is amazing throughout with additional (occasional strings)assembling at the fine images of Amy stretched across the screen.

The film is set out as a filmic exploration of the mess and entanglements managerial, personal and familial that were scrutinised at times in the media. Many famous people are depicted at their zenith of exposure to Amy.
It sets out to be all that appears for a tag happy prescriptive account, as a prolonged encounter with destiny.
Never missing in bathos the footage takes to the skies in a hovercam, steadi-cam or drone hatchling. Rising above North Finchley, Southgate, Thames at Waterloo, Lee at Camden Lock, Kings Cross or from higher the whole of London we are lifted not only by words or narrative.
The choices made are presumably visual punctuation in a frenetic balls of a horror intervention.
As things come round Southgate Priory is now one of its flagship clinics.
Renown psychiatrists who encountered Amy give freely of confidential details of their post justificatory analysis.
Give us a lesson on the effects of drugs and alcohol.

For a film to make you turn almost to tears it must have sincere and heartfelt truth along the journey. It essentially comes from your reading of the talent of Amy Winehouse.
All else is bile and hearsay, reconstructed, edited for proprietorial reasons.
Double jeopardy
At one point the Director Asif Kapadia cuts a scene in the retreat of St Lucia which her trustworthy bodyguard has found for a family retreat and recuperation which nearly acts as a catalyst for the journey to wakefulness so required by Amy, of her father Mitchell Winehouse, directing his own movie crew around the private gathering which shows – through Mitch’s own footage his berating her attitude when he sidles up two tourists for a selfie and he is merciless in having it on his own footage as a father controlling her attitude when peace and tranquility is foremost in Amy’s thoughts.

It is a father securing his own persona of protectiveness. Of showing her he is there. Witness the crew and his own little film. Then the undercurrent of Amy’s need for him to show her love which he as we say in these parts – ‘he’s a funny way of going about it’ – it is not only like throwing stones at swifts flying above seeking food and pleasure but a despicable tale told for us to be later subjected to and share this private unease.
The Earliest times.
The film misses the early times.
From Amy Winehouse The Biography by Chas Newkey – Burden which I thought was a superb bit of journalistic endeavour though inevitably suffering from gaps as the film, I fill in with some of its points which are illuminating.

The Biography, the book tells a great deal.
It may drop off towards the end of the book as journalist are interviewed about interviews but it copes with the mystery and is hopeful of recovery.
It shows from her singing at school and being told to stop, her mothers Jewish jazz musician brothers, her adherence to Jewish tradition and the contradictory promise of Amy which took in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (film features) the Sylvia Young School indebtedness of which she said “..Although unlike my Dad, and his ancestors, I want to do something with the talents I’ve been ‘blessed’ with.”

She was a virtuoso from the time her most influential guru – her maternal grandma who became her mother in effect around the time of Mitch Mitchell leaving the family home for an affair and the Sylvia Young School predicting failure in the academic part the coping – inability of Janis her mother to restrain a creative force and where does autism strike? Where were the helpers in the schools or background faith brethren? How bi-polar defendant are events unfolding? Where do food issues enter?
Origins of her genetic gift.
Mitch Winehouse brought the jazz music world into the house they had in Southgate. 250,000 Jews settled in North London and loud was to be a feature of Amy’s upbringing. It seems Mitch was the connoisseur while Janis had the background music genes.

Amy’s brother Alex was a very big influence which she acknowledged and her schooldays were happy day’s and she took up guitar by buying a Fender Stratocaster not that she and her friend at school Juliette Ashby, who features a great deal in the film, had much call for playing blues or heavy metal.. More inclined to act as Shangri-Las and perform as a duo ‘Pepsi and Shirley’ or as pseudo ‘Wham’ backing band they formed a duet as ‘Sweet and Sour’.

Nan had the notion of grooming them, Alex included and Amy was able to sing behind her brothers Frank Sinatra repertoire. He was eighteen to her fourteen. Her own breakthrough she maintained happened around nine!

Troubled teens
Influences and loves are installed from nine until around fourteen and the disintegration from the absence of her father had a mighty effect.
Janis Winehouse had to work as well as look after her family and often would find a party started at the Winehouse residence with music blaring and often the teenage hangers on. Dross music was abashed for jazz and hip hop open sounds.

Amy’s words come across brilliantly on this period through the diligence of Chas Newkey – Burden and his characteristic love of the songs which emerged. The early years are so fascinating and at the same time make you weep for her and the troubled souls she leaves behind.

Chas Newkey – Burden is full of hope and optimism throughout his book and burns out hatred and the caterwaul talk – Jonathon Ross gets a great by-ball roughing it as a fellow commoner in the films TV footage. This film in interview clips is not short but in the book Chas Newkey – Burden repeats the intentional slur on her after some awards thing.
A hip Jonathan Ross. Forget it. Surrounded by Jewish culture though he does take faith in the Unitarians of Golders Green with his family which probably saves him. Others are snipping at her from a distance, Graham Norton, who never knew a Jazz song worth listening to and many cloth eared vampires and DJ sorts.
From the Sheffield premier came these comments.
‘Nick Shymansky, who discovered Amy as a 16-year-old and became her manager, said he could not turn down the opportunity to speak out.

“The reason I did this is actually to focus on her brilliance,” he told Radio Times.

“The dark side is so well documented, available and overly publicised. The one thing you know when you go and see this film is that Amy’s going to die. And I felt that for a long time before the end came.”‘

Julie Birchill got wind of her early but didn’t act on the lead given. Surprisingly. Is that correct? No show?
The former NME rock journalist found herself in conversation on the making of a TV Medical programme about asbestosis – the ironies just pile up – with Amy’s Aunt Debra Milne – a consultant histopathologist who convinced Julie to go see her niece in performance.

As for 19 management Amy put her link down to Tyler James, Chas Newkey – Burden quotes her as saying, ‘I had one gig with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and Tyler, he was with his A&R guy Nicky (Shamansky), and Nicky said to him, “I heard this girl singing jazz on the radio,” and Nicky said “We’ll my friend Amy sings jazz and she’s great.” I think I must have been about 16. So I think Nicky was the one who convinced me to make a tape.’ The story goes on to quote her ‘I met Simon Fuller, like, two times.’

Fuller was no Svengali or Chris Wright (Chrysalis) type and had a ear but dealt in ‘churn’ of his own kind franchising Pop Idol.
The Chrysalis thing was his start and knowing the Beggars Banquet shop in Kingston Upon Thames I know there is a side to that enterprise, much is owed, to Jazz, darker themes and genuine avant garde or music with a quark strangeness and charm. Did they ever record Hawkwind!?. Certainly Tindersticks and the like. Tindersticks lead singer selling vinyl when it was naff. Not many bands canclaim a track on The Sopranos though!
Amy complained they played her songs in the bar on Emmerdale!
In the book as opposed to the documentary here both are only snapshots but genuinely play a role which escapes the film dealing with the same periods.

Some roads lead to other places and after the Sylvia Young endorsement she won a scholarship at the Brit School Selhurst Croydon which the book covers in some detail.
Brit influence
I can correct some of that because I was involved on the initial phases of it setting up and opening.
The design of the school came about through the genius that is George Martin, not the xyz, mentioned.
Ambitions at the school existed but the forging of them took a quantum leap with BRIT involvement.

It was obvious to him the need existed and he knew how to get it organised so set up the British Recording Industry Trust organizing board or commitment to it.
BRIt had a prospective location at a secondary school wishing to diversify in South East London.

The practice Cassidy Taggart Partnership, I was subsequently to work for, won the Architectural design competition George Martin had set up.
My boss, Brian Taggart, I.O.M. of Liverpool schooling, who is a genius in his own right, designed a formidable praying mantis like building with a very large theatre box central core.
It was over two stories in height and had the structural elements hanging of it supporting and clearing the created opened studio floor space in the process around the block.
So at first floor the whole roof floated above areas without the standard column distances found otherwise.

The central performing space happens to be acoustically of the correct scale and composition. Attention to surfaces and size was the starting block.
Former offices I occupied for the practice had a central Dunlopillo(foam rubber pyramidic sheet) central wall and hoop sound block separating room noise either side!
It was apparent the building fabric and scale has a great deal to contribute as does the guidance much applied from George Martins career as studio producer.

The tuning of it into a finely calibrated Performing arts college took place and it opened at a cost which has been repaid several times over – the budget was extremely small and every trick in the book was used to make the building unique, buildable and functional at an unbelievable cost.

George Martin loved the result. Amy walks up the steps of Abbey Road into the studios he also designed in a house in Hampsted. It was just down the street from where the final detail works of design were formulated in a ‘temporary’ office for the BRIT SCHOOL which was alongside the ‘Spitting Image’ factory. You would go for a smoke on the fire escape staircase and several Dummies seen on TV would be staring from the windows at you. They would shake and sometimes move assisted by the folks indoors (in need of a smoke themselves).

Step one you kiss and hold her tight.
The book tells of Amy Winehouse not liking the school but I can imagine the slim figure crawling the steps of Selhurst station to get to the exposed platform late at night. The echoes of sound still resonating in her head from the building behind and from that cold wet vantage point see North and also wait to be taken down to London Bridge Station. The same is true of many a gig and artist I’m sure. Adele must have felt so much a part of a proper cultural force that London duly provided her and others with opportunities which they were in the vanguard of shaping.

The most revatory pieces come with the analysis given to the songs which she Amy Winehouse has given us.

Of Frank. Well, brother Alex, father Mitchell, Blake, Nicky and all men were possibly Frank (Sinatra) in her eyes.
She opened up in songs as no one ever has before.

Conclusion ####4
Back to Black tracks like you know I’m no good, show Amy as she struggles with the demons. It is bad news when TV take it beyond its angst against fidelity. ‘Secret dairy of a Call Girl’ used it while ‘Rehab’ is made darker than it’s fast loaded tongue in cheek origins. Just friends is high fidelity jazz along the lines of Aretha Franklin at her height.
Some of the takes on her songs as mainstream press and tabloids eschew their purpose driven diatribes are woefully abundantly squeamish to read. They are so unlike the music pilots and jazz messengers of the press whose writings inform.
Imagine the fun and superb judgement the late Derek Jewell would have had in hearing her perform and sing towards a new spectral age of music.
Sadly he is no longer around. He had years though that Amy did not. To see this film is to see only a small part which is how I have sought to construct this set of observations.
To direct you into music as delivered and to return to music and mix it with the current. The film is very well cut and fills a void of a kind but it has soured some.
I feel for people whose participation was an attempt at being free at last to speak their minds. Today tribute. To support the gracious memory of such a breathtaking lady.

She was dynamite unfolding but it need not explode in CinemaScope, is not intended to be trawled over using the very paparazzi footage of news hounds as it is counter to the apparent mine of other records that surely exist.
It is no doubt positive to be reminded of her worth and it is going to be an entry route for many to music of a magnificent kind so what’s the problem? Discuss?

John Graham

2 July 2015


The film opens on 3 July 2015

QFT Belfast Friday 3 to Thursday 9 July 2015 then from

Thursday 16 to Thursday 23 July 2015

Multiple opportunities!

Slow West : A Film Review


Slow West. UK/NZ 1hr 24mins 2015. Cert. 15 Thriller Western.
Director John Maclean, Cast includes Ben Mendelssohn! Michael Fassbinder, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Rory McCann, Cary Pistorious, Brooke Williams, Edwin Wright, Jeffrey Thomas, Madeline Sami, Andrew Robert, Michael Walley,
Go West
A 16 year old Scotsman barely grown into his lanky frame sets out to pursue a love across the classes and across the Atlantic. His background is Cavendish and he is alone, a surviving aristocrat. Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) journeys across the American plains towards the West.
It is the late 1800’s let’s say 1870 and by this time he would have had choices which for the purposes of this story are rejected. He could have joined numerous Scots Irish groups as a driver and forged and travelled with safer links.

For the sake of this preposterous narrative he is already nearing his destination of Colorado. Perhaps he got of a train in Denver or Boulder, such is his good fortune of trekking alone while Indian territory and insurrection abound. The seceding of the states took place in 1860.
Confederacy was to carry forward many ills as far as British ‘settlers’ were concerned.
The high ranges of hills cross the cinematic gorgeous backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
Given New Zealand to work with cinematographer Robbie Ryan transforms New Zealand convincingly to be showy and big picture effective.
On a small budget, grafted together by John Maclean and Michael Fassbinder as Silas Selleck whose previous work together was small making this a first mainstream big picture in scale which delivers for its craft-work.

He, JM, has made band videos for his music career with The Beta Band and often the sharp short shot is a kind of music ingredient which he calls on to make an altogether obvious point. The plainer it is the better it seems.

Then there are the cinematic references which is indulgent at the best of times and unnecessary flannel at the worst. The singing trio on route, the skeletal leviathan remains on the valley between mountains, the incidental absurdities. All are there offering little of cogency to a narrative.
The join up between Silas and Jay is central and into it enters the scalawag Cowboy, Ben Mendelsohn as Payne – no heads up there then – in the mere costume affectation of a fur coat stolen from Granny Henderson of Cullybackey no doubt, as an erstwhile – what else – sock to Fassbinder’s foot. He is unconvincing as a malevolent bully – the down payment for the role as such – but excels at attempting to upstage Fassbinder in their limited scripted parts.
they claim to have aims similar but different and i would not argue because it is as a gang leader BM acts out a fantasy role which his life expectancy goes beyond his cerebral count.

Silas is as we know a bounty hunter. A competitor also arrives in a sub-plot.
The intensity is nowhere near that of frontier or discovery movies.
you may not accept the comparison but this film, Slow West is essentially about self discovery. The grown ups (Silas and the merry band are all outliers) so it is no shift of imagination to take it to the high seas.?
The Bounty, admittedly entirely different, (boats adrift, seas and chronic conditions) which I recently watched again.
So many levels of complexity with character and incredible levels of acting at its best, – Antony Hopkins in his prime possibly, Mel Gibson acting with humility which he later lost maybe were evident.
Silas is able to extract Jay from an improbable word exchange quickly entering killing and body scavenging. He steps in, off frame and Jay is rescued. Then he forges the mentor, guide role which Jay entrusts him to.
The morality of not killing a sixteen year old is with him as a part allowance in ethical consideration.

Jay signs him up as his needed guide as the story unfold sol with more embarrassing crossed paths. Still they bond over the leviathan carcass as miniature scale earners.
Small print
Another little episode involves a random ‘Dutchman (?)’ who is another lone traveller of a writerish kind, one who is not lacking in courage but falls over his own propriety.
Jay asks for guidance here when estranged from his own hired hand Silas.
This is another sidetrack of black comedic note.
The playing of each actor fluctuates. Sometimes MF is accustomed to being on target with the complexity of the story he is conveying. It is when he is using stillness. Pure Clint.
Then again sometimes westerns go long without dialogue. The camera follows unobtrusively. Not this one, in his knickerbocker glory (flesh is not displayed much to his annoyance) when a flood washes them – a scene(s) as convincing as a studio set down the studio lot – strung out like a washing line literally the joke is lank.

Bounty of a different kind
There is no debate about whether Michael Fassbinder can act. there simply has not been a robust enough character for him to perform. The likes of Niall Tobin, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole come to mind as actors whose skills were kept in store until they reached a part suddenly Harris and O’Toole were exceptionally out of the blocks and Tobin was around with little of consequence until later life. How is it going to be for Michael Fassbinder?
Does it matter to him? Is it possible these days to become a ‘comet’ of an actor?
The reason the subject came up is because i reminded myself of Antony Hopkins forgotten piece the in The Bounty and all the outstanding performances around him. It just falls in place.

A Le Carre piece perhaps. Alec Guinness remembered years later for his role above all in Tinker Tailor. The cadences are remembered through the actors provision of inhabiting the character of an exceptional reading brought forward by the writer. In both instances the originating author let go of the screenplay and the story became cinematic gold.
Some spontaneously funny moments arrive and go without overstaying however which makes this doubly inordinate. There are the sub-plots, on the subject of bounty hunting, a character, name forgotten. This ‘Bill Stickers’ ‘Bill Posters’ whatever, concerns how notoriety travels and how to manage it. Comic relief from the violence except the quickening, advancing abattoir of dead bodies spurs on relentlessly.

The tragedy is only a downward spiral from the very first non accidental killing. The film manages a very bleak tragedy which is corporeal and of a kind which startles. The story moves outward and leaves a question of discovery and recovery unanswered.

Conclusion ###3+
When it comes to a story there is indeed quite a weave of one but it is remarkably short of realism given it has core western ingredients.

The given – he has reached Colorado unscathed – is landlocked by the arrival of Bounty Hunter Silas (Michael Fassbender), – Silas, wily old fox has lightened upon him on his own journey in basically the same direction except he knows we’re it is best to find the thing Jay is looking for, for they are one and the same.

Flashback tells the story of why Jay has found himself chasing the love he constructed in his proprietorial heart. He has accustomed himself to seeking out, through a modicum of guilt Rose (Caren Pistorius) and her father Michael McCann.

There is entertainment aplenty in this freshing of a genre, the last one I liked concerned dead people burials etc. Gruesome also.

This has a very violent ending sequence which sorts matters out as far as a conclusion is concerned so do not worry about feeling short changed in that regard.
take it for what it is as a traditional Western scoping of the nerve endings with lots of unintended consequences running in and out with very little to learn about real life except the telling is a reminder of our potentiality (existing – intact) to be entirely wicked and stupid and never satiated or satisfied by what is in front of us.

John Graham

26 June 2015


Opens tonight at QFT Belfast for a weeks worth of scheduled screenings and on general release.
It is sure to be popular.

if you are into art movies then check the work on Youtube of

Lílian Campesato: “V Encontro Mulheres na Música Experimenta” whose take of Black and white film with her soundscapes makes for a memorable set of pieces which is explained through her medium of Brazilian. I have set a few questions to her on the work and poised a few intangibles!

Take a look.

A Pre – Nuptial Agreement Part1


Bringing into your life some new living thing is our expectation of giving up something of ourselves. In reality all that is being considered is that in order to be a person we will need another person. That might be a mirror of the self and we see their self in us. Will they see themselves in you?

I understand I need you you as you I am being true to you and I?

This need be said of The Lord. For this essay is on God.

One week last week I found I was writing about God at the foot of the Mountain. At the foot of the Mournes. Now this week after the dozen or so young travellers took off their clothes in a far away place as an act of liberation stood naked male and female a discreet distance apart and took what was felt spiritually in, at the top of the Mountain.
They had reached there communally and found it affected them and gestural though it was of freedom and of each individuals feeling of connection with a place it was again the nature which became the souls bonding with a universal. Firstly the minor separation in order not to distract its value to sexual expression became evidence of soul.

So how is the soul? I ever was aware, haing not paid much attention to that often asked question laid at children’s feet when they encounter practice of religion of the organised kind.
Here we are .. As The Blue Nile song goes .. Caught up in this big ..
Why did we ever come so far ?
I knew I’d seen it all before
Tall building reach up in vain
Tinseltown is in the rain
I know now love was so exciting
Tinseltown in the rain, all men and women
Here we are, caught up in this big rhythm
One day this love will all blow over
Time for leaving the parade
Is there a place in this city?
A place to always feel this way
And hey, there’s a red car in the fountain

It could be many things. Here we are this gathering in Belfast offering together the opportunity to explore the fundamental challenges beset our world of today. Each being there to listen to a series of talks, readings of significance as small measurable interventions.
The speakers using their writings, readings as reinforcements of the beliefs and how they conduct their minds to create the organization sought within their intellect of the union with the word and the oneness of in this case, Christianity.

It is not a Buddist form of faith, nor Muslim, even Hindu or Judism but intrinsically Western and Christian.

It is also those religions as it seeks union with them as the separations are significantly minuscule as to be inessential. The sense of identity is what makes this clear. Everyone gathered is it seems, European or American or of a Western mindset. They are of a habitué of the inter-rail adventurous kind, gone to the top of the mountain and found a soul apparently amongst them or even individually. The identity is it seems the burden.
Others are of the elements of Churches of wider thinking, of a kind perhaps who are wholesome lay rejected by in the kindest way as belonging, if they do to formalities of Church.
Wanting some meaning in reaching a person whose life before or now is more rigid than his, Gareths, life is flexible so seeks to bend towards grace as a ruminant of this persons or ‘types’ ‘ faith’. He uses pastoral advice from a John (Barlow) whose advice was to always respond to those who cannot help understand your faith an beliefs in a state of graceful reply at the same time leaving them perplexed rather than on the cusp of an argument.

That is basically a nonsensical attitude and is without grace. I disagreed with someone who asked me to become involved in something in order that I fought their cause for them just a day or so ago. I explained I disagreed wholeheartedly with them and I was but an individual and in any case should they not address the person they need discuss the matter with more directly and put to them what they put to me. They were an individual with a right to question and challenge I said and should, though I disagree fully with them, did not have an issue with which to make a case on their behalf, they should not be afraid. I did it in a fairly robust way so as to leave no doubt or leeway in seeing plain they were perfectly capable themselves of ‘acting’ of facing rejection maybe at the heart of the difficulty?

Within a nano second they acted and went to the person and succinctly found themselves being listened to and being won to a compromise (of sorts) through their own imboldenment. I got rewarded with a repost that I was of no use and they were strong enough to do the work themselves. I smiled through their strength and wondered why more people did not project their own set of assessments more radically. The direct approach is useful. So the path of grace is a cop out in many ways and it is one world we share not divisions of sects made up of groups.

The way the talk dealt wit it was two fold – “I believe this, am I welcome here?” – “become a gracious advocate.”
First ask the question though will it make a difference should you not share beliefs though are welcome? Simply if disagreement is going to be continual then plainly that group or faith community will not be suitable for you. To ignore it or dismiss it is akin to considering it diseased. Like leprosy it need be shunned. That also need not be the attitude to adopt. More helpful would be to search the innermost feelings and explore the differences with time open ended. With an open mind. Second. Graciousness is your default or should be.
Tolerance perhaps the most powerful word of all. Alongside forgiveness. I often ask what is the most important word of all lying beyond the axiomatic word love which manifests in a multitude of ways.
Brian I think took out three things in respect of graciousness.
1. Courage.
2. Difference.
3. Graciously.
They probably have more to do with emotional intellect.
Position, usage, according to attitude and circumstance?
There happen to be no fixed ways. Flexibility is another tool to achieve understanding.

Another mantra of mine is –

To know is to understand.

I’m not being helpful am I? I do not adhere.
Nor should you other than to the summoning within your heart and mind to the very strong instinctive good you are capable of and this vestige of soul driven virtue is our most valuable gift. How improperly and and others use it. Or fail to act with it when we should.

The animal behaviour of groups is sometimes and often cherished a pathway but as individuals God is beside us among is and we are never alone.

The speaker, Gareth, from Belfast introduces Brian via. an excursion. An inter-rail ticket somewhere on or near his person 16 or so years ago, tells of his moment of epiphany, my word not his – is there one?. He confides therefore it must be epiphany and he values we all may have a similar tale to tell.

It is not January 6, nor, is it cold but is a hot summers day and the rank, dank to smell of an observing French man. Jean Luke I’ll call him, meets our speaker whose cigarillos, set of Cuban cigars aside for the present is attracted to the man spread still and perhaps as a cruciform under the plan shape of the Eifell Tower amid the four corners and tourists encountering the point mentally from below.

A transaction is considered or a gesture of sharing a cigarillo exchanged only it is the act of Jean Luke’s whose full on embrace creates a sense of wonder, of sensory experience which is offered as a doorway to more. The us ping hands along with gracefulness in the kissing Jean Luke is instilling a further kind of encounter.
It is not the case however, just a sharing of pleasure so plain and direct as to be eschewed as the act of a ‘madman’ or other than person whose begging is at once insatiable and unstilted except by the beggar.

Do you decide together with the one you love most of all whether you will love God forsaking all others? Shall you discard all preconceived, taught ideologies because in this resent enlightenment on your journey you have arrived at a the point where it is natural to be in the presence of God.
You are not depending on an evocation of God or betokened God but are one with God. The nuptial is intact in place and ever present.

With you and beside you. Your partner, nearest can see you are with another and that other is with them. Take up the glass and add water.
Offer the glass to the other person and ask that they too add water.
Pouring it you see both are indivisible when they symbolise the joing made by you as it has been facilitated by God.

The combination is of two uniform things such they are as one.

Where next to and outside the world seems no different than it was encountered Millions of years back. You are aware some bits have been taken away in the form of space craft and satellites but hence there they shall be outside ever to return.

So what was the assembled group here to discover or confront. The immensity of good vibes was there, a few Budwieser bottles, many glasses of wine, hummus, strawberries, food taken, babies breast fed, orange juice and coffee taken in abundance.
The talk centered on CHRISTIANITY CONVERTING the theme chosen by Brian Ammons who has many followers from a standing, start in a little part of North Carolina. As a chaplain his congregation has grown and his marriage to Gareths who is soon also to be ordained in he is not yet already fully a minister has found a wider context of meaning through attitudinal upsurge of equality, socialist forms of convergence, basic Christianity and taken in from many other belief systems support and harmonious appraisal.

In my own words it equates to the same thing I have held to for many years particularly resulting from growing up here and explaining further afield the basis of difference clouded by sects and creeds, by belief and tradition et al.

Religion cannot divide, it converges on the same spirit.

I found myself making a connection on Gareths behalf as he said to the international audience as he pointed through the South East corner of the nave he was born less than a mile from here in Tate’s Avenue.
If you take a look at the earlier blog in my postings – Religion : Something New (put the title or the name John Stewart Bell in the white box top right) you will come across the said John Stewart Bells phenomenal theory regarding universality which defies reduction.

It goes something like this.

Action at a distance.

If a small explanation of his principle theorem is made it is this – Our world is non-local as sub atomic particles act on each other no matter how far apart. Regardless of relation in time or light.
Problematically it has of its relation to quantum theory one thing most evident.

Here we are…
Caught up in this spell-binding world with a Bible as a wondrous history and guide. We are asked by Brian what happens now or what the projections and traumas after (whilst acknowledging us still to be harnessed to the divisions, chasms) unsettled ness do we do? Do we make new statements ends, cast out old statements?

That there is no place for paralogism and we can be certain of uncertainty. I believe he draws into the reasoning he is making, wrongly, cosmology. Since he has been around more surely can we gather that for ourselves. We have in truth an ascendancy, not declension, in that the ability is proven we as human have the improvability within us and collectively have reached out to the universe quite literally and extended the natural lifetime of the species even two fold. Returning to the Bible for thoughts of the cosmic is only partially rewarding. The Psalms are evocative passages of intersellar thinking. Psalm 91: 1-8 among the more direct in that it uses the metaphor device –

‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.’

It comes at a time when we are considering the travails beset the world. It compares the unknown place of the goal we are set ‘outside’ of us. The curse described in Deuteronomy 28 is of our earth laden sin out of ‘original’ sin for which repentance is offered through acceptance of the word through Gods greatest sacrifice. A refuge of safety? We provide our neighbour, deprive our neighbour of safety, continually. We choose to despise their actions and lack of morality despite it being visited upon them continually for as long as their actions persist they will suffer. Those neighbors who share the knowledge of the word on the other hand stand and suffer to be helped and so are helped. Every action is theirs not ours. The key difference is the enlightenment force which Psalm 91 encourages each to seek and it shall be a force for their salvation.

The knowledge often then is not of a cosmic dimension though is in the Psalmist writing taken forward as doubly metaphoric being of the plumage and winged ‘buckler’ kind sets us of a mind where ‘universality’ the quantum level of physics need not be so alternative a leaning for thought of our abiding thirst for learning. The extraordinary nature making wings and atoms things of flight and distances covered. It is as we are.

As we are is realizable to us. Who a short while ago would have believed humans could be capable of barbaric acts in such common currency today? Few. To gas millions. To create chemical weapons, nuclear destruction, operate as lone evangelists or jihadists.
‘There will be…’ Luke 21: 11. These are not Jesus’s words so not the word of God. They are a reinforcement of the kingdom as a source of evil and self destruction however. As Daniel in the lions den is such a powerful tale of delivery it flexes Gods abundance to forgive and protect.

To effect change Daniel trusted in Gods protection. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego too we’re not perishable in defiance of their ‘Ruler’ who had instead destroyed his servants who worshipped false idols. Nebuchadnezzar is an exotic pre-Christian King circa 550 BC and also a volume circa 19 liters bottle to contain wine. The wine is like the Bible you could say.
The tale of Daniel new wine in old bottles, something new placed in or superimposed on an old or existing form, system, etc. Matt. 9:17.

The force of the story is all the more for acknowledging the truth within it, not that it itself is the system of life.

The series concept of time is as if it is a plateau of which we know very little. Therefore we cannot commit to series as a word of sequence in belonging to an era of pre-God effectual God or with the advanced nature of God. We are on plateau looking to prophets who came before.

To return to God we have to do it through the teachings from a time that existed from a prophet that existed.

It is something we do in any case. We reconceive. The DNA even changes within us we now learn. Our bodies survival conditions rematerialise differently and environmentally.

We adapt to massive upheaval and fundamental destructive forces – force change upon us. So it is not a case of refreshing practices but a continual re-evaluation needed at every possible level.

The curative mind
Antinomy – opposition between one law, principle, rule, etc., and another.
Philosophy . a contradiction between two statements, both apparently obtained by correct reasoning.
It is reasonable to ask if the theories we espouse as part of a series. If in Kants mind the antimony of separateness makes it impossible for us to take up the think inking alone in series form. That everything occurring occurs to pattern and in God, freedom and immortality, (that last one is even dismissible) is the metaphysical. The dialect (Kants) contains room for disjunction. That there is no place for paralogism and we can be certain of uncertainty. I believe he draws into the reasoning he is making, wrongl, cosmology. Since he has been around more surely can we gather that for ourselves. We have in truth an ascendancy, not desencancy in that the ability is proven we as human have the improv ability within us amd collectively have reached out to the universe quite literally and extended the natural lifetime of the species even two fold.

The series concept of time is as if it is a plateau of which we know very little. Therefore we cannot commit to series as a word of sequence in belonging to an era of pre-God effectual God or with the advanced nature of God. We are on plateau looking to prophets who came before.

To return to God we have to do it through the teachings from the Bible. It is the most important resource we will ever have besides faith. Whatever ‘consumes’ you take to seeking out answers and guidance from the Bible first.

Theism is found in Mills and the Cartesian approach is reckoned with by Goethe, by Hume, Rousseau all conject to the extent their is a common defiance if not philosophical outlier question. The unresolved. Darwin’s ‘notion of a providential government by an omnipotent Being for the good of his creatures must be entirely dismissed.’ (X:482) was a stumbling block to Mills for he realised quite ordinarily magnificently, ‘something grander and more beautiful than we see realized in the prose of human life’ (X: 419) was as a flood on Mills mental being. Clearly both Darwin and Mills as we cannot find the words to express the infinite unknown while in awe of its evidence in existence.

Concluding. Part 1.

The group organizing the All Souls Meeting on Sunday 14 June 2015
Will be involved in the Corrymela, Ballycastle, Co. Antrim Aperture event over the weekend there of 30 July > 2 August 2015.

They are currently changing their group title however which is not always a good way of finding out more about their work.

It should be quite easy to find in your area people on this journey. Every best wish to your hopes and feelings as they are relevant as you must know to the thoughts and progressive ideas and collective voices you can hear being channelled.

The meeting at All Souls was of a centuries old tradition on converse within a formal prosaic setting. Out of such places and since Churches mediate and meditate on Gods word.

We make a road by walking.
Learning a Religion is like learning a language.
Passing on the faith by coming together Elishah to Elijah.

Over the heads of us were certain steps to our communion with Christianity. It seemed a time to bring these closer to earth and amongst us.

Through the discussion unfolded
1. Christianity Connecting to a way of life.
Staying remaining connected. Challenge isolation.
2. System of Belief. Produce loving People.
That our way of life is the way of love through our understanding of God.
3. Institutions are dangerous.
Bringing togetherness is adverse to separations.
4. Inspire change through the Bible and the word.
The progressive. The Christian. The Perspectives.

So much is unsaid that needs to be said.

You are welcome ‘here’ and can contribute so much by the enlightenment you have and can share.

For instance

The individual level. Let it be known that you are uncertain in this or that and the readings of the Bible are proving difficult to assemble through a plethora of issues and concerns.

Stand apart from them and use the force of the Bible to overcome them. Let the word advance into you.

Unsettledness we may be in but it has been always so.
From Moses came new beginnings. Choose a point of connection each time and reconcile the immediate with the present about to unfold. The encryption of certitude is not what is important. I would go so far as to say the Books of the Bible are small windows upon the life and work of the Creator.

The abundance is everything.

John Graham

23 June 2015


The Look of Silence : A Film Review

Director, Joshua Oppenhiemer. Denmark/Finland/Indonesia/Norway/UK. 2014. 1hr 43 Mins. Subtitled. Cert. 15. Documentary.

The Look of Silence
From the Director of The Act of Killing. Assisted by Werner Hertzog.
Live talk with Joshua Oppenheimer via. Satellite open Q&A hosted by Louis Theroux on Sunday 14 June 6pm. Tkts £8.

This film follows the aforementioned and is a story of the quest of a 44 year old man to find out the truth about the imprisonment, execution, loss of his elder brother Ramli. The director begins the film by showing Adi’s skills as an ophthalmologist assessing the eyesight of his Indonesian community. We witness also his very frail and tiny father being washed by his loving mother in their humble home.

Mysterious jumping beans appear in close up across the titles as we nudge towards the detail which will bring you almost to suffocation limits as it entombs you in its dreadful narrative.
The family is to be taken back if only by memory to the mid sixties and the imperial and military genocide brought upon the islands of Indonesia by the attempts of anti-communist forces empowered from within and abroad to revolutionise the regime who remain untouched by democracy.
Adi who plays with his daughter in the opening sequences , has been accustomed to a way of life without questioning the remaining cloud of silence and discomforting presence all around of unanswered questions but here is his desire to know the truth and make it open to us as well as him..

In South Park there was the expression of ‘derp’ for the adherence to features of an intellectual – physical or mental landscape which repeated despite constant reminders and understandings to the contrary – the perceptions of things not being as they appeared or were. The appearance constructed to avoid truth. In the world of make believe politics very little is said of these arenas of past conflict lest they erupt and on from the Arab spring which is an ongoing morass of infiltrated disrupted and corrupted political divisions and shifting mediation apparatus we notice little from where we are of course, the underlying savage brutalities which came about and remain unaccounted for in Chile, Indonesia etc,.
The year 1965.
The reason we adopt a blurred vision is because of our own lack of control over our looking back. Several recent instances of cover up, state interventions which we’re appealing acts each and of themselves are held under the auspices of the erstwhile serial denier Ms. Villiers acting as the British Governments shield and firewall she ignores the exposure of information and sits on secret agents files and dossiers which would upset the status of her beloved Sovereign state – the British Empire in all it’s mire of brutal governance. And her summary allegiance is itself her purpose.
The collective assertion of Government being worth a hill of beans when it uses the people for group deceit. It this place the use of the wealthy and elite meeting, now joined in the Austrian Mountains; how appropriate by Michael O’Leary for the Bildenberg ‘G7′ and the a arrangement and navigation through the spoils of war.

The floodgates will not be opened on her watch. No instead a lot of noise on meaningless pond life corruption in sports will suffice. The Football of bread and circuses. The Resurrection of feudal Welfare regimes and dismantling of a Health system which could be cured by the execution of a willingingness to provide proper foods and diets is scraped off the land and soils of her merry land and anew the cupboard is full of exotic flannery.
It is hideously delusional in this case, not a case of South Park cheap cynicism employed for thin shifts of tonality. No this is the delusion met when genocide has been borne by families and those living with it are bound perpetrator close to victims family. When did Britain endorse mass slaughter if not back through the Tony Blair era then more in the bombings of Israel and drones of recent deployment. It continues.

That mankind must adjust is never forgotten here. The purpose of the documentary here is the erosion of fraud. The inevitable presence of God in sharing the spiritual renaissance of humans who have transgressed, whose forgiveness is central to a society requiring healing is encountered here also.
Some reflecting on the horror of humans killing barbarically are often found summoning up the thought that they wish and hope those requiring forgiveness shall be found answering in finality to God.

It is not in anyone’s gift to implore Gods intervention as God as spoken.
The advancement into Gods peaceful existence is a matter of personal faith each single journey implores and since those times there has been a journey taken by many within Indonesia which has summoned up extrordinary depths of forgiveness.
There has also been a lack of remorse or summary exclusion of guilt or regret issuing from the perpetrators of the violence.

When you look at the study forms of the people formed and repeating here their crimes, such as Reicher and Hopuris 2001. “Social identity is the psychological process that makes group behaviour possible.” Alongside the ‘in-group’ membership consolidation, often found in jihadist mind sets, looking with intent at ‘out-group’ responses to acts of barbaric and violent visual and media amplified example, it is abundantly clear these reasonings come from identity challenges.
The Republican challenges of here in the sixties and seventies were about drift away from collective substance, underlying degrading abuses – clerical and political and exploitation were also a contributing factor and the subsequent guilt of the knowledge of the significance of the Wars, First and Second were dispatched to the minds of tiny teenage infidels who began with showbands progressing to rock rebellion of the James Dean kind in their land of mocked self identity.

The labyrinthian byways of Yeats and the minor authors; minor in the quest for disrobing status, O’Brien, Donleavy, other diaspora all came forcefully into the canon of national identity framing a new rebellion.
Began so identity meaning quest. A chief aspirant at the alcohol bar pumps replaced, subjugated by the hoods and violent gangmaster idealists whose functions were defined by armaments with politics to follow later in a violated form. They would not have been on the life removal brutal edge of the people in this film, they may have been of equivalent cruelty in privacy but the connections can still be made and even attributed to each other as exponents exemplar. The tears and broken feelings pouring out to God for help is the same.

The asylum was now open for new boarders.

The collective conscious is blamed each time Adi reaches someone whose job it was to be a component of the killing or do the Act of Killing.

Adi scours the Indonesian islands finding willing confessions to the Killings and methods used. He encounters, and while he encounters, remains expressionless not betraying any emotion as both he and camera operatives, the Director, recover ever document of personal confession.

A television showing interview tapes of previous interviews conveys the stories of two central figures. The self confessed assassins of his brother.

Other documentary pieces are interwoven of Political exponents for genocide.

Adi interviews in a central element of the films accredited exposure, a current leader of the Indonesian regime. Their approximation to self understanding is incredulous to watch. They are perpetual deniers of any failure of self. Of being of Gods kingdom. They have not found within themselves the evaluation of having taken a life against Gods will.

The horror is implicitly theirs and their ownership clear yet they no not what they have done and find it within reason. The reason is axiomatically unexplained.
Conclusion. ####4
This is a challenge not on our part in viewing but for the participants coming to terms with the discoveries continually emerging. The confessions, open expression, learning insights are unimaginably raw and incredibly direct and frank. They are told in the main with the perpetrator usually resorting to humour or acting as though any sense of improper participation was not normal or a transgression of their contract with God. Their part in creating and exercising by executing their often known neighbour.
Distance of killing is often important as the person issuing the orders often finds his past easily adjusted.

While Adi who has now relocated with his near family in order to survive what the has now done – the sitting in rooms asking the perpetrators, in exchange for new glasses to disclose their past I with Director Joshua Oppenheimer and his carefully briefed crew all on their nerve ends listen intently to the newness of the stories Asi is able to extract.

Adi has realized that the conflict set up in these peoples minds exists as a sense of guilt and in aimlessly asking, though it is not aimless in any manner, being explained as inquisitiveness ‘as to how people in the past lied, he has been curious as he ages, the tumult is also under the surface as the momentous revaluation comes out in each individuals case. It bis a disclosure the guilt factors to expand and it is nature to or the human weakness to try and assuge that guilt by any other means than it being left inside them as ‘guilt’. There is no visible connection to guilt yet it is the vehicle which drives on this outcry, the speech and story.

The encroachable is the Directors cue to produce it on film. The act of trespass has to happen, be unfurled. This is done exquisitely by the use of a highly inventive soundtrack.
He has around twenty tracks of insect noise. At first it is not noticeable but gradually they lift individually. When a scene is developing the track of insects sounds like the listener. As the viewer is walking into a temple and hears the presence of ghosts. Those millions of ghosts. The temple could be the forest or the room with an open window. The sound sixths ubiquity of a collective summary of silence contrasted. It speaks to me as the opposite of the time of the persecution, of the time of the consciousness being taught or told not to speak a word, or now even to tell a soul of the dehumanation of the acts found of killing.

Self stereotyping, Solidarity, Social influence, Consolidation function, Mobilisation function, Social identity performance, Normative fit, Comparitive fit, Maslow heirachy of needs, Self actualisation, Zuckerrman 1994, Sensation, Hans Eysenck, personality traits, Gray, reward and punishment, Classical conditioning, identity motives, Davidio et al, 2002, Representative Heuristic judgements, Cognitive dissonance.
There are above continuities of the sources of human behaviors while the outcomes are continually challenged by study and new manifestations not anticipated or seen in sets of circumstances.

The Ebola fear brought new assumptions of choices taken en-route to the possible/probable eradication of a deadly scourge. It was and is a deadly communal tide of destruction requiring extrordinary nuanced development of answers and facilitation of objectives.

War is on the other hand a defined judgement which is now entering a non – national hindrance. The questions asked are to be the solution.
To make up the question is like the invisible computer. It is the fulfillment of what is right and needed. As in technology – the ownership of which often directs the killing, – this week sees the paper confirming the invention of an invisible cloak being published, to the Don Norman from the Kerberos, the three (dogs) heads of the Computer, we in the period which can be isolated to ones lifetime have adaptable means but little presence of mind to question the dubious intuitions offered daily as explanation.
We are unable as yet to discern and evaluate of the Don Norman (MIT) insightful psychotic state often hand in hand with the human races striving through existence by means virtually misunderstood.

The Documentary itself can be seen from Friday 12 June through to 18 June 2015 at QFT Belfast.
On Sunday 14 June 2015. A Q and A. Precedes the evening screening but please check for details as the June edition of the Paper booklet does not list the dates I give here which are taken from the Conversations about Cinema pages of the same booklet. 18/19 Impact of Conflict.
So please make sure you are suitably informed of the up to date scheduling

Try for your reliable guide.

The other more subject related location is
and @ConvoCinema
The Look of Silence
From the Director of The Act of Killing. Assisted by Werner Hertzog.
Live talk with Joshua Oppenheimer via. Satellite open Q&A hosted by Louis Theroux on Sunday 14 June 6pm. Tkts £8.
The Act of Killing exposed the consequences for all of us when we build our everyday reality on terror and lies. The Look of Silence explores what it is like to be a survivor in such a reality. Making any film about survivors of genocide is to walk into a minefield of clichés, most of which serve to create a heroic (if not saintly) protagonist with whom we can identify, thereby offering the false reassurance that, in the moral catastrophe of atrocity, we are nothing like perpetrators. But presenting survivors as saintly in order to reassure ourselves that we are good is to use survivors to deceive ourselves. It is an insult to survivors’ experience, and does nothing to help us understand what it means to survive atrocity, what it means to live a life shattered by mass violence, and to be silenced by terror. To navigate this minefield of clichés, we have had to explore silence itself.
Directors notes
The result, The Look of Silence, is, I hope, a poem about a silence borne of terror – a poem about the necessity of breaking that silence, but also about the trauma that comes when silence is broken. Maybe the film is a monument to silence – a reminder that although we want to move on, look away and think of other things, nothing will make whole what has been broken. Nothing will wake the dead. We must stop, acknowledge the lives destroyed, strain to listen to the silence that follows.

Timbuktu : A Film Review

Director, Abderrahmane Sissako,Cast, Ibrahim Ahmed, Abel Jafri, Toulou Kiki. Cert.12a. France/Mauritania. 1hr 37mins?

Whence comest thou?
Origins, our beginnings, are often referred to as African. This film is a of Country and way of life running to escape while having nowhere to run.
It is set in another Country overrun by militia. Dictated to by extremists.
Through landlocked Mali In the North and to the West in Africa runs the Niger. You can hear the Deduc playing in this former French Sudan.

It has been left in peace since 1960 to overcome its colonialism. The former territories and losses of culture were immense for this huge place. Yet the people have survived and many practices, of survival, remain.

The Deduc is a solemn softly spoken wind instrument which is my favourite of all musical instruments. It carries on the wind like a lute and cadences reverberate of the life of the player. It is mesmeric and haunting and so too this film will leave you.
The watchful waiting
We see the family of Tuareg herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed), with his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki) and child observe the herding of their 12 year old boy as he negotiates the river across from a fisherman tending to his nets.
A another child, a young daughter sits alongside and conversation is drawn delicately humanely out as basic enquiry amongst themselves. Like private conversation anywhere.
Timbuktu film and location is a carry through of modern political reality.
Music instinctively felt.
The likes of Salif Keita quiet small musician and highly provocative disturbing and soulful reflecting elder statesman of the wise heart of Africa is in, I would suspect deep mourning for what goes on in the land which broke free from the junket of African imperialism having realised his talent throughout the world bringing happiness and joy with a distinct and awesome voice for Africa. And yes he did speak for Mali. He brought its history back to bear on Europe and wider further afield. To Australia, where the aboriginals were clamouring for their history to be heard, he was there. He was amongst the oppressed in South Africa.

How he must dread the present divisions and needless hatred found in the Jihadist infiltration of the identity of Mali.

Music is seen as a target for the Islamic militants’ campaign in Mali. suppression of music, world renown artist, singer-songwriters Rokia Traore
sat on the Canne jury (2014). Fatoumata Diawara sings out in the heart of this film. It is a memory which figures recognisbly as fundamental to Director, Mauritanian, Abderrahmane Sissako’s wide visioned film.

I have stood in front of Salif as he sang. Not one person between myself and him. It was in an old Clapham Theatre revamped as a music venue and I have nothing to compare the notes he sang or the extreme powerful ness of his music. His voice sublime and his songs telling the tale of the otherness he felt. Without his music, the hearing perhaps there would be no seeing.
The commander of the jihadists is Abdelkerim (Abel Jafri) whose disturbing character creates a range forming a realism which is rooted in this time.

Abdelkerim’s negative values and portrayal is copper fastened in some scenes where his will is subjected to rebuke even to the sexual taunting of the landscape when shots are fired, initially at emblems, symbols of fertility then maram grass as fluffy pudena poking ridicule skyward.
Violent incidents
There are grossly violent acts repellent and compelling. Some hard to watch. One is the widescreen one take long form and then interspersed portrait frames of death painted on the river of a confrontation apart from the jihadist enclave. It is not ‘one take’ in the conventional sense but appears seamless in its gratuitous focus on violence.
A savage act nevertheless shown, due not through religious conflict, but as being a brother of all killing and acts of revenge and vengeance being wrought with dangerous authority within the cast of mankind.
Off the desert floor
Timbuktu is not even its capital but a focal point for its wilderness location.
It has a nomad seasonal population.
Population accord.
There is defiance at the heart of this and in the location a cinematic intrusion of what can only be described as a long view of what remains so complex and over contexturalised a subject; Western media show many outcomes and talks over emphasis differences that I ask do we have any point in considering it in this filmic media terminology.
The basics are drawn and not contested ground.
Humans behave so violently and with such incomprehensible vile hate.
Film reporting becomes an act which seems, along with watching the film a betrayal of something. A betrayal of values, of sacred life? A place of pompous safety?
This is no outback or long way from Tipperary but a moment in time Timbuktu is non-fictional. Yet here it is fictionaliased.
Show us
It is brave and necessary for us to allow the art of Cinema to encourage our growth of understanding. We are in the morass. Timbuktu is here amongst us.
Wider than a Continent
Further down is found Bamako where the Niger, Mande language that is used as a trade language in the upper Niger drainage basin in Africa where
a member of an agricultural, Mande-speaking people of Mali live in what could be termed simple elements given to their settlement.
All the languages associated with this part of Africa define its ancient co-habitable life style. Mande a branch of the Niger-Congo subfamily of languages, spoken in western Africa and including Mende, Malinke, Bambara, and Kpelle. Mandela, remember him. How shall we always remember him? By his many strands?
Political roots unreligious.
In Idlib, in Northern Syria will be found jihadists known as ‘Khorasan’, directors of the war on Christians and willfully outside of the Syria cause or leadership and they bring the Islamic fundamentalist genocide guidance to those they see as against the creed and doctrines as their motivation of access to rule and empowerment.
Fundamental losses
For this is fundamental; as fundamental as the Wests belief in War as a means to an end, they have held violence as part of their integral belief system. They can be followed or linked to the al-Qaida messages familar across the world. They commonality of the human oppressor is monochromatic.
Beyond Syria, foe it is not there lies there hope of their ends, countries such as Mali, the Nigerian Delta and Congo. So far away also Somalia. Eritrea. So similar the patterns. So evil the distinction of right and wrong without the word to renounce another’s freedom. No place like home.
The massacres are extensions of the pride in violence taken by our homegrown terrorists then multiplied and manifested in this few decades when the emerging youth took up their grievances and found human beings on which to inflict torture and extreme violence.
Heritage tracks
From here where the car bomb first became a weapon propaganda needs fed and techniques promoted and carried out are insular compulsions of these misled humans. They defile themselves and destroy life and it is response to an urge found through history yet not found related in essence to the will of the creator that we can overcome, have the capacity to do no harm.

The power they wield through their smaller groups such as al-Nusra, through guidance in Syria in Idlib as they provide the means for Syrian opposition forces to take on their chosen targets.

To the north or cities of Africa are spread the jihadist presence. Wherever a form of Muslim religion is in place and alongside other practiced religions century old, thousand years old human unity in one creator is swept aside and infiltrated as being against the concept of fellowship and all principles as found in the word of the teachings of the creator.

Those basic essences and intuit beliefs are fore saken in the cause of creating a world without love and without the prospect of the creators will.

The need to take part of the day in prayerfulness is shown strongly in this film as a basic human right. The infiltration of the mosques, temples are seen as a violation. On the one hand a defiant football match, outside looses the ball into the temple and both prayer and play is halted.

Outside as inside however the play and the prayer continue.

You will see this masterly dealt with, in another core direction within the film.

Mali is in this morass. The film we are seeing is based around a family of nomadic life attuned again to the daily provision of life forces however they arrive. The Niger is the figure of the films central narrative.

An ‘idilic’ form of scene is set at the start, of simple daily life, they a watchful family of herdspeople, to be interrupted by the filmic change and chase of a defenseless foe. The chase down of a small antelope whose tiredness is inflicted before the fall. So the ending comes in sight.


This is about a place we have heard of but not many know or have visited on the edge of the Sahara. There is no point or measure to be found by describing this film as breathtakingly beautiful, of political strength, of informative truth, of contemporary meaning, visionary staue, compellingly grotesque, hauntingly sorrowful. It offers no one answer to have us betoken some unattributable or comparative stake to. It is of itself a film like no other you are likely to see and if it is possible for you to be encouraged despite the content being of an fiction aliased account we will no doubt immediately compare to news footage or web information then so be it.

John Graham

3 June 2015


Irish Open Golf 2015


Breathtaking Nature Unconcealed
Bring Hope
The end of May is supposed to allow Summer to come gently in but with might and gusto the trail blazing winds and sea frets tore at the dunes covered in grassland, marram turf and whin bush making up the Newcastle County Down Golf Course sat at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.

For the last four days of May playing host to players of Golf it was to prove a vicarious tormenting sometimes toiling experience.
Not only but also.
Summoning up the skills to balance and control a golf ball over a customary eighteen adventurously man fashioned distances and contoured landscape to finish on a gauge of mastery found by the minimum of strokes it takes to convey a golf ball from tee to mug sized cup is not a conventional or apparently logical use of physical or mental skills.
Making it difficult not easy.
Yet it has for several centuries become a fascinating well
to draw from in causing endless retrospective, potential and most of all in the moment joyous sense of what I take to be primordial, elementary, fixation on the human state of natural connection with most of those places and conspiratorial configured by our perceptions of locality.

Forces combine.
Without the Mountains – they are not part of the course, – without the sea, – it too is not part of the course, what are we faced with at the course known as Royal County Down but a knot of construed sand dunes and grass lands bound into a rough cast then honed set of eighteen – the primary course, as other holes are intermittent and ‘resting’ often – towards a settlement on which to set foot with an assemblage of ironmongery, joinery and grassland tools such that a small white ball of flexible durable quality can be struck off, a European grass, Sieglingia decumbens, growing in spongy, wet, cold soils. with velocity, trajectory and proposed direction of flight to that other place.
It takes a bit of persuading some other use may have been made for it. The inhospitable links possibly a rehearsal of a Coney Island, (rabbit farm) or farming of a specialist kind. Not for living on and fit for Jurassic mammals.
The best there is.
Reaching a goal about four inches radius is tricky in most circumstances and here inestimably, unprovable, untestable, though in about 100% of people who are ever likely to have gone and been beholden of the place in certain conditions would attribute as being the wholly best golf course to be found anywhere in the world or any where else in Gods wonderous creation is spectacularly axiomatic.
Our concordats
Standing on the maram grass plans of the Slieve Donard foothills and swathes as they have long left the mountain or been carved of the sea into grains of land, a voltage of intense human credulity is experienced as the combinations of sporting witness and wonderment of the elemental forces and three co-ordinates make anyone alive to the fact they are just that, alive in a world of immense complex functional concordance.
Eighty percent automatic.
It is such a breathtaking location the eighty percent of our brainpower devoted continually to our senses, scientific fact, has within it amassed another priceline we know is the wonder of God. To that we recourse within ourselves to the outside immediacy that heavenly truth.

There is no place for anything else. Here is the human race aside the mountain and paying homage to the wonder by finding the paradoxical limits it can be persuaded to form a measure of accountable belonging.

We were not put here for games but here there it is only the beginning.

Playing and watching.
Four days.
Wind and Sea
Like a fairground attraction the limits of elements are to be persuaded as unconquerable on this certainty resides. So the first few days of very windy and wet weather which fell on and disrupted the play to the extent very skilled Golfers frustrations grew to such an extent they got to find their limits for a round of Golf with wind howling, dragging their trajected ball off their intended target into rough, spectators, bushes, or bunkers never invisaged became common place.

Low flight, understanding the variables became a set of new honed estimation. Never clear if correct but for some near to the mark it found lack in many of a different ilk. Some even entered tamely into distracted adherence to false readings of their skills at adaption and the conditions, nature took over.

Some played over around nature.

Please note any ‘action shots’ are taken in preparation play so I did not invoke any censure of the many Marshall’s. The ban on photography with the ubiquitous iPhone is not called for and what could be objectionable would be continually filming or taking shots in the close proximity and in the flow of thinking time. People can and should be careful and acknowledge this game has heaps ridding on the slightest thing.
I also noted it was hard to follow as boards were down due to their causing spectator injury on earlier days. Knowing who it was you were looking at was often difficult to ascertain.

Day 4. Down the first. imageDanny Willet’s first shot came up to my elevated mid fairway position to nestle in a fairly good lie. He went on with this wind howling about him to figure at 68 for his round the lowest of the day.imageReaching the green was simple but approach it seemed was to be taken with compelling skillful reading of the conditions that he found in abundance.image
Similarly playing partner, Moritz Lampert was a little lower and of the green with his first.

Conditions were very often when putting into thirty mph headwinds and strong hitters still had to contend with joint higher cross winds as off the banks the shelter would alter the wind in velocity and direction.
Down this hole the wind was from the right of the photo looking back to tee but when one or two played it they shot it too high and also with insufficient force and got a lie on the other side of the mound of bank, sans bunkers, un- sighting the hole.
Angel looses it!!
From a left lie on the fairway, perfectly judged, Angel Jimenez actually could just get sight of the flag. But he fired his second shot in not allowing for the lower trajectory flight having less effect than windy conditions would appear having forgotten to afford some leniency, which was to prevail, from that bank, mound. He landed on the left of the green about thirty five feet from the hole and then putted across. It came up well short as the wind was misread again.

From a pleasant walk down this fairway to get the remainder wrong saw him fume in a fit of rage and fire his putter into the whin bushes behind him!! He, the realist, found his skills tested so much the joviality or confident air severely tested by this extraordinary course.image
The Sailor down the ninth.
Earlier on, before I took this photo I saw a tall man in a white cap from the edge of the eighth green take one putt and place his hands on his hips. It went by on this exposed, elevated green. Then he tried again from the opposite direction. It failed to drop. Then in a slower address and slightly closer he managed to putt the ball. He double bogeyed.

Here he is coming up the fairway of this ninth hole, with his usual sailors walk. Even Matt Ford, the playing partneris now in step. It is the legend in those and these arts Padraig Harrington.
A smile it seems is in place. He would bogey a few more as this relatively contestable set of conditions were to become merciless for him later. imageThis is a save for McDowell who did impress from the little I saw of him. He is like a Rafa Nadal on clay and grinds out a result.
Out on his own for a Sunday walk, his partner Paul McGinley was scratched due to a back injury, came , to his arrival at this green which he played to with great accuracy in order to take a low lofted approach, the wind here was between twenty and forty and was at ground level, meaning it was fierce enough to cut the grass had it been your back lawn and not this deep rooted variety.
He had these two card keepers one of whom wanted to play alongside him but could not summon up the question knowing it wasn’t cricket to ask.
The ball landed in a perfect spot on the green and this guy can really play a game of Golf even if it is by himself. He is also a very strong hitter of the ball but may lack the fairway distance many tournaments go sweet by – is it for the sale of Golf Clubs? – your guess is as good as my belief!

On those holes which are relatively sheltered on both sides with low banks there was continual misreading.imageThis poor chap. Lee Slattery, had by luck when the tee shot hit a bank on the left hit it in the mid section of its four foot height and therefore below the whin bushes rooted on top of it, made it to the green on the left with a long put.
You can tell! He is off the green with one leg to read to the relatively sympathetically placed centred hole. Few birdies here it seemed except for later leaders. imageThe previous hole at the end which backs onto the hideous caravan park is near the the for this hole. It was a par three and Mr Shane (wedgie) Lowry made a proper save being up a short bank of the sort a mountain goat might take advantage of and holed out for the three.
There were only two birdies up to that point and I witnessed one just before which makes for good spectating. It drew from a fellow spectator in a Rosses Point, County Sligo no nonsense fleece/pullover – following Shane who hails from Sligo and that famous and beautiful links, the fullest of praise for the skills of the players and the extraordinary location which he had played around in the fifties. And he remembered this hole.
imageThe wonderful Thongchaia Jaidee A new hero of mine who went round on his own in 72 with McGinley laid up..image
imageApproach shot to the 12th I think.image
Later he has another easy save for par.imageMore merciless Golf.imageImage is everything Luke Donald enjoys the chase up with Eddie Pepperwell at the serious end on 17.
The seventeenth is fronted by a ridiculous triangle of a pond.
Every single player drew up about ten feet in front and lofted a stroke to land basically behind the flag. This is where the downfall of the consistently playing on the back nine came adrift momentarily for Soren Kjeldsen as he three putted here from the far left side of the green. A slight downward slope.
He went on, was not the only one, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Eddie Pepperwell went down the final hole (before the expected – and looming playa off – to play the relatively benign 18th in very ragged fashion. imageThe business end.
Wiesberger has a nice – though you can barely see it, lie.
This is the play-off hole.image
This is Soren having a crafty look at the lie of Bernd’s tee shot on the play-off hole.
“Look’s like he’s in a spot of bother old chap!”
Then the chip from Bernd.imageThe swing.
imageThe ‘relief’of applause ripples back to here.imageThe weather had relented by then and conditions were a lot calmer but these guys, Cabrera-Bello particularly, Kjeldsen, Pepperwell and the slightly floundering Wiesberger took to the eighteenth in a raggedy fashion. The shot across green left to right of Kjeldsen particularly was one which went from low swale over the top crown of the green to low swale on the opposite side and he was damn fortunate to sink the four/five footer for a save.
Onto the business end and at the point I stood Bernd Wiesberger struck his tee shot, he went second, SJ had a nice fairway lie, straight over my head to within four feet of me.
It was a safe enough lie as the photos here show and was within thirty feet of the green with the flag unsighted.

The rest is history and it was a brilliant finish.image
We will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Darren Clarke and the crew wanting Links Golf to become a natural barometer of this decades Golf seasons afterwards went into a chorus of “it really depends what Rory’s calendar suits but it would be better to have it later and avoid the prospect of atrocious weather.” I disagree. Yes move it up into July fortnight! But it is a special course and all that played it over the 4 days can say they played as challenging set of holes as ever likely to be encountered and conditions were not for long hitting automaton Golf or for certain skill sets. It was for sportsmen well able to see and adapt and some luck undoubtedly prevailed but as a test it was truly a fantastic bewitching natural embodiment of this oddest of pastimes come 21st century addictive affliction making many people lots of money and in the background persuading them of their least available skill sets en route.
Rory Foundation.
It was straight out of the bag a heartfelt connection Rory McIlroy felt for his compatriots here in Northern Ireland going through tremendous struggle of a kind he had; and hopefully he remains free of from closeness as most want and wish, to the unexplained illness burden carried by the smallest in physical strength – children carrying Cancer genes which has diminished their access to even the briefest encounter with the opposite side of God’s wonders.
World No.1 golfer Rory McIlroy officially opened Cancer Fund for Children’s Therapeutic Short Break Centre, Daisy Lodge, in Newcastle Northern Ireland on Tuesday 7th October 2014. The new centre, which is the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland, will provide short breaks to up to 500 families a year affected by cancer.
This is by it’s very nature going to be a cause in which he will and has invested his abundance of goodwill and wish to do something with what he has acquired. He knows only too wel he has been gifted a life through be it the foresightedness of his parents, his background in one of the finest locations in the world for his adopted sport with the skill set to take him to the very top.
In those few short years his exemplary approach has been to be creative and he founded quite literally his own reasoned approach and outreach with immense approachable common sense prevailing.

This is truly a suitable accompaniment to the game of Golf and thou

John Graham

2 June 2015


Epsom and Special places.
The very amplitude and significance of such variations though across decades are exemplified by memory and likewise I suggested from whatever era it was un shifting. I mentioned that having lived in Epsom a very long time and witnessed, walked the course and knew the undulations extremely well that it remains a true test of a racehorse and seldom a bad one wins though some years are occasionally lacking in luster.
Courses for Horses
For the record I would have let Gleneagles take his chance but knowing trainers can conceal things, (Tamure 2nd to unraced at 2 Lammtara, spent a week with his foot in a bucket of ice almost and while we knew something was array we, the Public on whose money it all depends, didn’t know what.
John Gosden kept his cards close and Tamure went lame about sixty yards out on those undulations and took a hammering as Lammtara raced to the line alone. Still, it was a sacrifice Gosden didn’t have to make, only the horses welfare which he failed miserably being laconic as usual about the vagaries only numbers game race trainers are familiar with.) so with regret I ignore his two as who knows what goes on in that yard or what suits the animals, Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs. I think the make and shape of Hans Holbein makes it possible he will have improved filled even in the past month to be settled and staying on at the finish. Other than that I would hope Elm Park got his slight ease in the ground and they similarly came back to him. The Derby always has a skyrocket setting some idiotic case and this may also be the case on this Saturday. Nothing special has appeared so far so even by default the likes of Golden Horn may stay on and win.