He Named me Malala : A Film Review

He Named me Malala Director Davis Guggenheim, Cert. PG. 1hr 27 mins.

This is Malala
The film is a documentary and part animation of the rise fall and rise again of the young Malala. She is interviewed by Davis Guggenheim over a period allowing her to narrate her one story and allow us into her interior home life as we also meet her inspirational family.

Some may see this as a campaigning movie but as Malala enters her 18th year she is considering the options for university along with millions of others and she will strive as an individual and not as a celebrity speaker to take on board all that education means. The right wing deplore her as self occupied and have sterile as expected reposts which are easily dismissed. So what of the film?

Her father is Ziauddin Yousafzai and he along with his wife presumably named Malala after a mythical woman who inspired and drove Afganistan people to fight against English imperialism. Not much alters in truth but this source of inspiration lay deep within her father obviously and his ability as a teacher not alone teaching Malala but at his own independent school, one he set up taught his pupils to question, reason and dispute anything which did not accord with their conscious.

The early life is told by animation in part as is the reenactment, in the style of the recent Persepolis complete general release feature film though there is muted colour and playful dreamlike sequences. The narration continues as Malala quite descriptively and spontaneously weaves a picture of her life.

Her father in an early aside suggests they are two souls in one. It is the union of their souls and harmony on things which is compelling and propelling the strength of their common beliefs and consequently their achievements.
Of the most critical, central almost fatal event which thrust Malala into our world consciousness we are gently taken towards it through the journey leading to the actual event in 2012. It is not only because the bloodshed and detail is shocking and may be too much for the younger audience Malala and Davis Guggenheim wish to reach but as a means of telling how she became a thorn in the side of her assailants the Taliban, the story takes us into the little known or less widely known penetration of the Taliban into the beautiful Swat valley in North East Pakistan and homeland of Malala.
Islam beside us
The truth about Islam is known and has been known for thousands of years and the place alongside other religions and faiths is one of harmony and tolerance for all except the misguidance used by a small virtually non-Islamic for the most part corrupting its core beliefs.
Only through the dismissal and manipulation for power and control have any violent insurrections of perfidious uprisings arisen. The religious faith and continuity of religions is always carried forth by the people who without ministers or partial influence carry internally and forever consciously the intimate knowledge inherent within.
Of course there is a component of teaching which Malala has received but and one of the first to provide testimony of this is quoted here – to cause or influence (someone) to accept an idea or feeling (usually followed by with ): Socrates inculcated his pupils with the love of truth. is the inculcation inbred.
It is harrowing, gripping and life affirming to watch this film reveal a side of humanity which has been suppressed and troubled by constant power based treachery. The news agenda which Malala became apart of is shown well before she became targetted. Her use of media as a fifteen year old under constant threat and continual oppression at school and suppresion of her right to speak her mind alongside women and children universally led her to become a voice to the world – she became the anonymous broadcaster through the internet of her plight as a resident of the Swat valley on the BBC Radio World Service. She would be able to transmit daily dairies as as voice within the occupancy by the Taliban. Her pen name was Gul Maki.

Here are a few of the messages she has since brought out as her driving wishes and thoughts.

‘One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.’
‘There is a moment when you have to choose to be silent or to stand up.’
‘We cannot succeed when half of us are held back.’
‘When the world is silent even one voice becomes
How to respond
Malala Yousafzai sets a task for us. She acts and provides with admirable focus and selflessness a centrality of goodness and willingness to change the harmful tragic parts of our world and human behaviour.
The honorable and right thing she suggests is inside us to find as she has found through the ability to learn and accept the clarity of focus and direction the supreme being and giver of life has provided us with.

This film enables us to learn further and take in the universality of our own difficulties and recognise them as failures to confront them and being silent.
There is no problem with activism and the voice will have inherent value the more it contains the truth and not lies.
Bring Education to all.
Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for being outspoken about her country’s education system. The Pakistani government spends seven times more on its military than on education. The Taliban banned girls from attending school. Pakistan’s literacy rate is among the lowest in the world, with the number of school aged children who don’t attend school is second highest globally.

Malala survived and is now the youngest person to ever be awarded the Nobel peace Prize for her activism for female education. This is the story of Malala’s fight for a right to education and freedom.
From the website of Malala-Film.com comes this –

Buy a T-shirt for $25 to support girls education in Pakistan. To order email at malalafilm (at) gmail (dot) com

Download online by clicking this link: Vimeo on Demand

Organising a screening of Malala: A Girl From Paradise is an easy and effective way to support. Call a community to action and get your friends, neighbors and colleagues engaged in supporting girls education.

Feel free to tell us about your plan to hold a screening in your community, school, college or university. We’ll mail you a DVD of the film for your screening event.

– Join us on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/Malala-film

– Tweet about us. https://twitter.com/malalafilm
More information
Please note: The movie is rated PG-13 due to the violent attack on Malala; no on-screen violence is portrayed in the film. However, it is recommended that, for children 4th grade and below, parents exercise discretion as to whether their child should attend the film.

Stand #withMalala is a global, multi-platform social action campaign that will accompany HE NAMED ME MALALA. Like over 60 million girls globally, Malala struggled for the basic right to be educated. The combination of poverty, violence, and tradition holds girls back, limiting their individual potential and stifling economic, social, and political progress for their local communities and the world as a whole.

You can visit http://www.Malala.org to watch the movie trailer and to get involved with the campaign as a family. #withMalala in support of girls’ education.
Activist Malala Yousafzai (R) and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai (L) attends the premiere of “He Named Me Malala” at the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan, New York, Sept. 24, 2015.

The youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate with her mother, Toor Pekai Yousafzai, left, and the younger of her two brothers, Atal. Credit Fox Searchlight Pictures
Kailash Satyarthi (born Kailash Sharma; 11 January 1954) is an Indian children’s rights and education advocate and an activist against child labour. He founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (lit. Save the Childhood)

Conclusion #####5
An outstanding treatise not just on human rights and equality but an exposê of the terrorism used by the Taliban and their suppression of women and denial of education to children in a section of a nation not controlled by the state. The depth of reporting the truth, the dangers of freedom of speech, the extent of oppression a few armed people can bring to many who disavow violence is palpable and horrific. The messages are universal and the strength of will inherent in the vast majority is once again shown. Malala and her Father have shone a light in a dark corner opened our eyes to hidden unspoken horrors and provided hope for countless thousands as the struggle which is being won continues. The film is one example of the openness of this century and the continuing expression of individuals who bring to the many the suffering being inflicted in previously virtually untroubled locations. Living in peace is not a right but a principle of life.
Foremost is the true heartfelt religiosity of Malala and her Father. Not prepared to condemn others visions of their spiritual faith but to commend it to the same supreme creator as present in all humanity.
Civil rights follow from Human Rights and are to be our goal.

John Graham

5 November 2015


At QFT Belfast from Friday 6th November until (inc.) Thursday 12th November 2015. Screenings normally at 6.30pm but check beforehand,
There is also a talk/Introduction being given on Friday 6th November by Carolyn Mason, Chair of Amnesty Belfast local group.

The Lobster : A Film Review

Cast Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Olivia imageColman, Ashley Jensen, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw
DIrector Yorgos Lanthimos
Genre Comedy, Romance, 118 mins
Cert. 15 Country. Greece, UK, Netherlands, Ireland, France

The synopsis of The Lobster is one of mating in which our Greek director summons up in two halves basically future environments of firstly a hotel where ‘The City’ encourages singles to go and meet up with prospective partners. Secondly the movie goes outside the hotel to the woods were the romance obstacles unfold. To be without a partner has its drawbacks according to the sisterly Olivia Coleman proprietress and manageress of the hotel. Splendidly four or five star and located in – well imagine Kerry and the palatial Parknisilla near Sneem – and you won’t go far wrong. All lakes and mountains, hillsides, woods empty roads etc.
Colin Farrell is our principal singleton having lost his partner and on checking into the hotel is set 45 days in which to meet his match.
His deadpan black comedy approach is very effective. He even instills a surreal way of speech which is manifest among all the characters here. It is one of perfect annunciation and lightly clipped dialogue. A narration is used in the beginning as a storyteller describing basically their vision of the adventure Colin Farrell has as his leitmotif which as he soon discovers is the nature of adopting a disguise, a guile which will extend his time and chances of success in the mating game. Isn’t that always the way of it! Only to be untruthful in even the slightest way has her a modicum of fatality as a consequence.
Spoilers None
For you to be immersed in the full effect of the film I am NOT going to give you any account of how the title is represented. Instead I will skirt around it by giving some information on the creature itself and other oblique observances. Try as I might I cannot impart a reason to let you know what your in for as this tale is grotesquely and simply bizarre funny and futurist absurdist storytelling.

Identity is ensnared among a rag tag and bobtail of fellow date travellers.
We have the groups of females and males in this hotel who are troubled by finding themselves without a life partner for whatever reason and ‘The City’ functionaries have it as a requirement for the ‘corporate’ good and ease of operation a standard which is in this futurist world a stable norm.

What has become of us? The future asserts we need in pursuit of happiness something other than the Jeremy (Ca) Bentham epoch of the best public policy is that producing the greatest happiness. Private behaviour need be of the right moral act and that which produces the most happiness for the people it affects. The nineteenth century enlightenment. At another extreme is the shatter zone philosophy of Schoenberg that ‘we suffer through being born’ nothing is availing to happiness.

This film features for reasons that will become quickly apparent, legions of the animals of the type – perhaps the writers inspiration, the arc of the story (sic) – ‘the animals went on two by two’ – no similarity other than that! – appear throughout in their settled comfort or habitat of the Kerry skies and hillsides. Frequently visitors too. They appear as a tableau of a menagerie of beings, reminders of our companion creatures ever present unless carelessly extinction is abroad or in house.

Merits are on the roster of the Hotel lodging. All newcomers are able to extend their stay, and chances of ‘survival’ by joining the group trip to the nearby woods to hunt literally loners or the fringe radicals who somehow have evaded being caught up in the societal dictatorial modes operadi for living a stable existence and seeking and obtaining their own survival.

Partnerships under the circumstances take on a further dimension of dependency beyond the norms of individuality found in all sorts of marriages. Maggie from extras is a female recruit whose habit of offering her ever replenished supply of biscuits on anyone that she is remotely attached to. She also does a line on offering inducements that are off limits in the Hotel and is herself in need of others at a cost she has found appropriate.
The self realizations are mostly visible and the characters adapt rapidly to the situation they find themselves in.
So has the secular socialism failed, the hubris of philistine culture prevailed, the oedipus of anxiety angst driven corrective religion and pacifism vanished? The welter of happiness is the prisoners dilemma of co-operation.

We are not allowed to see ‘the City’ dwellers lives. We are able on a few occasions to see their homes. A visit to Mama and Papa for one reveals a seemingly (blissfully perhaps?) couple who play classical guitar and are entertainers with felicity of Spanish historically reference times gone by music. The same meeting finds a couple inspired to display their bond slightly beyond social mores.

The film is magical horrendous infuriating dis-abandoned realism reconstructed outwardly complex standards and disposed morality.

The snap bite of death is ever present and comes in many forms.
Expect blood, murder, dismembering. Expect some scenes which are heartfelt and absorbing as empathy strange as it may manifest is released.

In the throes of Colin Farrell’s (David’s) survival we are introduced to the nameless woman narrator, that is to appear in the second half all trashed up but glitzy in attractiveness Rachel Weiss.
At first, Weisz’s character tells us David’s story, then she becomes a central part of the story alongside David. This is strongly lifting the level of the films sharp narrative. The development of the revealing personality divisiveness is resolved in true Romeo and Juliet determined belief in a partnership no matter how it has evolved. Even exchanges of gifts of a kind!
My second half review filling diatribe
Daliesque (Salvador)
How do you like your decapod? Afresh from the saline and dull green and alive. A creature with a life in the sea. One large pincher for grabbing another for crushing. This extraordinary creature might be seen as a wonder of our varied existence and plainly not designed for eating though it has gained the hostility of being edible being boiled alive.
A worse death cannot be imagined. How surreal is beauty if not alien?
A concept of beauty I am now inclined to believe is the lobster. An astonishing machine for living as we are. Who wants t o be a Lobster seems to be the surreal connect and as Dali reflected they make a good representation as a telephone. Something sublimely surreal is they live to be 100 and if you extrapolate that in crustacean years does that make them thousands of years old and they circuit the globe avoiding lobster pots?
Blue blood allegedly? I once took from a wedding list a set of Lobster cutlery as their gift of choice and posh food was the entrée for a menu featuring quails eggs and a stunning wedding feast. The cutlery I eschew as apparatus, as I cannot conceive the thought of the killing of this creature no matter how centuries old the tradition has become as being necessary.

Suspend all concepts of love
Out of the director of Dogtooth, Yorgos Lanthimos mind came a concept for a surreal near future world which has gathered in a stellar cast of inhabitants.
Rachel Weisz, sans husband Daniel Craig, chooses her roles very carefully and has been known to buy up rights to books such as Thirty Girls which is a story about the Ugandan resistance army in the vien of realism she found in 2006 movie The Constant Gardener which gained her an Oscar.
Stunningly attractive and far from the glamourous image she has to convey an ordinariness and moderately staid business like character here.

It is asking a lot as a scenario and it asks if love is found when you overcome self inflicted ideas on the obstacles or after you breakdown those self inflicted obstacles. Rachel is known as Short Sighted Woman and plainly has a physical handicap to overcome. People change in appearance over their lifetime so maybe she has no hang ups on looks. If only that were true were would …
Kindly she is dealt sufficient sight to discern a little of the concept and make up of her first Romeo. Remote from the New York vehicle she shared a stage last year with husband Daniel and counter point Timothy Spall in Pinters Betrayal this is a surreal set of problems we encounter and unearth.
It is a thriller of take no thought of tomorrow lest we lose the initiative type of thing! Is it about seizing the moments love and trusting in it?

Pop culture cinema and the makers
Take with you to the Cinema the theatrical tapestry of modern film anthropology. From the Daily News reveal of Frank Sinatra caring for and carousing at the table, Marilyn. The cocktail mixers in place, the effervescent Schweppes, with label, Quinine distilled, asking her to come to his futureproofed home at Lake Tahoe and provide the dreams she filled her loneliness with. Or the red carpet on a Sunday, rugby weekend where you would rather be in a warm place watching sporting history unfold if not at the event, rather than standing in black suit and bow tied with your arm on the waist of Kate, she in the fullness of a masterpiece A. McQueen dress which defines glamour and faithlessness.
Or the dreich downpour and walking in the rain to the next moorland scene in an Aussie cagauole and hear in the distance someone shout action.
The reality and unreal juxtaposed as we enter the contrivance of the cinema accepting its twists and turns suspending belief and summoning new ones.
This film will similarly place randomness alongside statis and neither will seem as clear as was once the case. Nor should it be. We have been allowed imagination as a birth right and such is the distinction we want underpinning – otherwise it is dreich.

The soundtrack of the movie is both perfect and annoying. Some songs and classical soundscapes are very effective while other elements are intrusive and snarling. Bring on blue eyes and Polka dots and moonbeams, East of the Sun, begin the Beguine, Poiniana, I fall in love too easily or any song as solitary testimony of the luxury of loves happenstance.
Conclusion ####4
This is a film offering generous helpings of fascinating entwined lives and the surreal interactions are wisely contorted – through the voices and practicality of the language and dialogue – it’s attractive setting in the midst of abundant beautiful landscapes well photographed (Thimios Bakatakis’s) and the modernity of the fast evolving – construction traffic makes it appear, though it isn’t presumably, Celtic Tiger Ireland. Ireland constructed an incredibly false but real vision of itself as it redesigned its future given the bankroll. Plenty there in itself to think about desires and wishes.
Much to play with here beyond what you will see but it is ann insatiable polemic. After you.

They are.

John Graham

22 October 2015


IS ON AT QFT FROM 22 October 2015 and selected dates.



Suffragette : A Film Review

Directed by Sarah Gavron Written by Ali Morgan, Cast. Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Glesson, Anna Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, Meryl Streep, Sam West, Romola Garai, Finbar Lynch and as the son of Maud and Sonny, Adam Michael Dodd.
Cert. 12a. General release, 106 mins.

It took a long time for the struggle of the Suffragettes to make any inroads on equality and the right to vote. It was as Emily Pankhurst played by Meryl Streep in little more than a cameo role, says at on point in the film 50 years to the period the film is set. Gone is Queen Victoria and in comes with the new century 1901-1910 – Edward VII House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and 1910-1936 George V House of Windsor. Even then it spans the two monarchs before full rights are obtained in 1925.
The struggle therefore of women was immense and when equality remains an issue across the world along with conditions of employment and minimum wage manipulation for the workforce we can say the struggle continues.

Film making and performance.
This is a film constructed around a principal focus. A family backdrop.
The employment in the East end of Maud Watts played by the very youthful looking Carey Mulligan.
She takes the role exceptionally well with dry cynicism, stoic resolution and calm reflection on her own experiences while married to fellow laundry worker Ben Whishaw whose role is a pit of vagueness and ignorance compared to Mauds. She short life has been little else other than servitude and the awakening is in the beginning full of concern for her boy and her fragile position as basically slave to the working environment.

Quickly the range of the film is established as the surveillance of Suffragettes enters under the Home Office Minister Benedict Haughton played superbly by Sam West; his wife Alice played by Romola Garai is one of the key agitators and is in my opinion one of the best performances of the film alongside Mr Ellen played by Fingal Lynch giving a contrast of actorial and character representation which sadly was lacking in spades in the rest of the parts. Helen Bonham-Carter is represented by whatever her eyebrows, cheekbones, feel like at the time. Her likeness to David Cameron is striking. Chief of the Special branch Brendan Glesson as Inspector Arthur Steed is neither one thing or the other and under performs as only he can do. Hardly an emotion other than ‘what did you expect’ passes his static facial grimace.
Grim times
The grime of London is clear and there is a contrast of the formal dignified appearance of the better off locations well captured by the cinematography around the town but the ‘action’ scenes are frenetically choppy including the rawness of the denouement of the chosen climax.
It is difficult to represent the period with large numbers but it is only a minor flaw and wisely there is use of Pathe footage of the milestone moment at the end. For certain tastes this film is not sufficiently graphic but when no one has tackled the themes or come close to depicting the reality of the times, only some individual dramas have the essence of the period on film, it is very useful in bringing attention to this milestone for women’s equality. Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth recently seen on film, partly told of political participation in life and the intervention of War which itself represented undemocratic choice, told possibly the power of newspaper as public propaganda over a considerable time. Nothing changes in that regard despite the volume of social media.
Voting with your feet
Uprisings begin from the bottom up and this dramatic account of the Suffragette movements mobilisation to attain Votes for Women is a laudable attempt at filling in an otherwise neglected period of societal change.

Wars and economics along with politics dominated almost exclusively by males are the hegemony of the battle accounts we are familiar with.

This film nevertheless is a staid and stiff whalebone corset of a movie given no features of women of other races who were also prominent East end activists of the cause are portrayed. Even references to slavery are set aside or dampened for the American viewer when it plays to those audiences in pursuit of Academy recognition.

Centrally we have a great performance from the cast however with principal protagonist Maud Watts played blazingly by Carey Mulligan. For fire is everywhere in the energy of driven intent. Nothing will be done to stop this uprising. Hence the name highlighting sufferage.
When this period was alive the campaign related to a working class population of some 70% working class.
The Proli
From another source very recently I discovered the meaning of proletarian arises from the word proli which refers to women.

I think it relates to proliferation. The production fecundity of women as able to miraculously bear children! I am petrified in case I offend! So elucidate any observations you have please!

In essence the women were regarded in the definition as the source of the working population. In order for a state of capital to survive it had to have produced the proletariate. Eager to place a class upon the enterprise they then centrally became a middle class bourgeoise which is French in its classification or origin. The imposition of middle class values was a mechanism for the well of to maintain separation and control over the masses despite their obviously being in the minority.

the bourgeois class.
(in Marxist theory) the class that, in contrast to the proletariat or wage-earning class, is primarily concerned with property values.
Into this arena again ignored by the film was one Keir Hardie, the founder of the Labour movement and because he was such a bad parliamentarian and was much better out on the stump and traveling all over the United Kingdom explaining Socialist Labour he naturally became conscious of the women’s movement.

Again little is said in this film of Keir Hardies relationship, because in essence it was alive, with Emmiline Pankhursts sister Sylvia that he was a central agitator and strategist for her and their campaign. Along with The other sister Christabel was a less physical protagonist depending on her brain and intellect perhaps of a wider problem. Class.

Instead of the wider contexts I explain above the film depends largely on a narrow band and triumvirate of women in the three cast members of Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Marie Duff.

The middle class connotations are explicit in the foreground of the central characters but Maud is the one who is cast to convey the apparatus under which working class women endure work as a means to live.

Shop floors are not exactly the sole place of women’s employment as service and subservience, exploitation existed on many fronts and collectively greater than any shop floor, factory etc.
2015 you will notice is a time when the global phenomenon of Secular Stagnation is evident as a factor of numerous economies as the failures of capital to produce a stability in living conditions as growth is sporadic and incalculable. Forecasting economics and using industry is as in the early twentieth century was a contest of ideology.

Economic credibility
Secular stagnation was a spur to growth and exploitation in the early twenties and the conditions for labour and wages was intense.
Remarkably the class system was rooted in the United Kingdom by an failing alliance with Victorian values as assigned by the monolith of Monarchy.
It is extraordinary that this was overlooked by the suffragettes but due to its lack of political nous. Instead it faced off masculinity instead of monarchy. The ruling class having no disposition for sex or predication for leaderships as long as they maintained the separator ion of wealth accumulation and control over costs prices and taxation.

This film is like a cleansed BBC Series introduction aligned with the apatite for Downton Abbey. Similarly extrordinary. It avoids most concerningly the absolute dismal and short lived ordinary lives of the vast majority of people under the severe oppression of their existence.
Education, Church and Political controls all mitigated to underpin the State and afflict it’s burden on people. The immorality of this is starkly and naively absent from the true depiction of this struggle. It was as Kier Hardy was aware tied into companion journeys of workers rights and conditions.

The Victorian era had died in 1901.
Here was a time of seismic change.

The record
From Brittanica this reference comes.
In 1908–09 Pankhurst was jailed three times, once for issuing a leaflet calling on the people to “rush the House of Commons.” A truce that she declared in 1910 was broken when the government blocked a “conciliation” bill on woman suffrage.
From July 1912 the WSPU turned to extreme militancy, mainly in the form of arson directed by Christabel from Paris, where she had gone to avoid arrest for conspiracy. Pankhurst herself was imprisoned, and, under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act of 1913 (the “Cat and Mouse Act”), by which hunger-striking prisoners could be freed for a time and then reincarcerated upon regaining their health to some extent, she was released and rearrested 12 times within a year, serving a total of about 30 days. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, she and Christabel called off the suffrage campaign, and the government released all suffragist prisoners.

It was not until much later her goal would be achieved. In 1918, women over the age of 30 finally won the vote.

It should have been a moment of triumph for the Pankhursts – but it was tainted by the estrangement between Christabel, who was becoming increasingly right-wing and Sylvia, who remained true to her father’s ideals of pacifism and socialism.
The Representation of the People Act of 1928, establishing voting equality for men and women, was passed a few weeks before her death.

The Liberal Pankhursts had five children – three daughters, Christabel, Sylvia and Adela, and two sons – Frank, who died young, and Harry, the youngest, born in 1889. Though Sylvia adored her father, both her parents were preoccupied with politics and family life was distinctly austere.

Political agitation was Emmeline’s real love. ‘This is what I call life!’ she remarked to Sylvia in 1905, planning her retaliation as the first women’s Franchise Bill was talked out in Parliament.
Sylvia was characteristically shocked. In her mind, social reform wasn’t supposed to be enjoyable. As the struggle for women’s suffrage began to involve more violent and extreme demonstrations, a rift opened between Sylvia and her mother and elder sister.

Emmeline, and particularly Christabel, were keen on showy violence. Christabel was seldom in the thick of the action herself.
She argued that she couldn’t be an effective leader from prison, and at one stage fled to Paris in a series of dramatic disguises, which delighted the Press.
But she saw violence as an effective campaigning method, and was particularly keen on arson – she once sent Sylvia a note demanding that she burn down Nottingham Castle.
Perhaps this story is next because the Sylvia story is also an account of Socialist warfare and she corresponds with Lenin and removes herself to assist the Ethiopian dilemma of self governance when she provided support for the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie, who was forced to seek refuge in Britain after his country was invaded by Italian Fascist troops in 1936.
Conclusion. ### 3
This is a good introduction to the Suffragette struggle an though confined to delivering a very important movements milestones through a small family micro narrative is sufficiently broad to see the extremities of the opposition, the protagonists for the vote and the upsurge of labour consciousness as to be believable and therefore worthy conveyance as a film, it only is a soft sanitized version.

Nevertheless it holds up for being no more than a dramatic account and shapes as a general aperture to many unfamiliar with certain aspects of the Suffragettes and the conditionsrevailing in this recently industrialised country before the onset of war.

John Graham

14 October 2015


On at QFT Belfast from Friday 16th October until 29th October and on general release from 12th

The Wonder of Science : Neutrinos

It is a week without a film to review though I watched on a large screen the film about the Stasi ‘The lives of others’ which is not exactly fun (unlike Goodbye, Lenin) but is one very strong piece of important believable cinematic narrative.

So instead I put over a piece of science news after this intro.

The Nobel Prize for Literature, it was just announced, went to a lady – one of the few if any to receive this particular award, from Belarus where the leader this weekend achieves his mandate with a thoroughly extraordinary 95% or thereabouts vote. Her novel is a fictional/non-fictional – you decide re telling of interviews following her earlier use of the form and you can find the details by looking at the Nobel Prize website links.

Nobel Acknowledgement
CND is not Corbans New Democracy or indeed Can Nuclear Deliver but was a symptom of the Cold War standoff which concerned our lack of control over Nuclear fusion and what is now called Nuclear Proliferation.
‘Nations’ are already armed to the hilt across the planet to make meaningless any strategic inroads to depletion of stocks of nuclear functioning weaponry.

So it comes as no significant shortfall that one declaration of world wide scientific and other knowledge based and intellectual achievement comes under the temple of Nobel patronage. The Swedish scientists institution for awards was started after his death in 1896 in 1901 from largely arms derived finances and it scopes out a plateau of highest achievement in several fields as judged by peers and experts of suitable standing.

Into this piece of world demography comes this year the award in the field of Physics recognition of the discovery made in the crust of the earth – so far down as to avoid the interference of earth surface radiation or any kind of radiation that became the foundation of work leading to the breakthrough discovery of what happens to the energy emitted by the Sun as electro neutrinos as it crosses the universe to earth.

Prof. Kajita and McDonald win the Nobel prize.
The leading researchers at Japan’s super-kamiokande and Canada’s Sudbury Neutrino Observatories were studying neutrinos coming from cosmic rays and Sun for nearly two decades. These neutrinos are created from supernova explosion, from death of stars, to reactions in nuclear power plants and naturally occurring radioactive decays. (Para quotes my mystery scientist!)

All calculations previously opined 2/3 of the energy had dissipated in some way or been neutrialised on its journey but how?

It seems it on leaving the Sun or as any other expulsion like a death star there is a conversion into two other types of neutrinos.

Australians, even those Rugby playing types you see demolishing teams on the way to placing an Ovid shaped ball at the opposite end of the field or pitch known as the tryline call a Sunbeam an unused kitchen utensil left over at the end of the barbecue or what other means of food consumption they happen to be indulging in.

No the Sunbeam or Sunray to be specific is both heat and light from the Sun which is about 93,000,000 miles away. (I remember the day our science teacher at school pretended to calculate from the clinker covered hockey pitch on day the sun could be seen in our northern location, the distance with a rather large tee square he someone managed to lift out of the drawing masters class without him realising, and with a string and blackboard diagram by trigonometry ascertain its relation to us.
All we got were sore eyes looking directly at the sun for too long, sporadic incidents of headaches induced by same and nausea brought about by wearing a School tie while gawping between him and said object.

Japanese scientists have proven the hitherto theory of depletion by experiment. See the photo at the top kindly posted by my scientific advisor who again must remain nameless who brought this achievement to my and a wider audiences attention.

While he was boiling his breakfast egg, (egghead!) or demarking the line to which his skimmed milk must reach to correctly enrich for taste his simply oatalicious Museli or comparable breakfast cereal is only a guess but it is this fascinating adjunct.

In releasing potassium from our bodies as an everyday occurrence we release around 5,000 neutrinos (per second) simultaneously as our own little radiation burst. Fancy that. If we all stood together and released them simultaneously and into a reflective device goodness knows we might even put another hole in the zone layer or if a double decker bus – hopefully empty see its top deck severed at the stair poles and the rest disappearing in a Cloudburst. (A good tune you will find on spotify by the way by Niagra – or perhaps the other way round – the long version is best!) so it is another mystery as to how we are our own little nuclear fusion devices but I’m sure my specialist scientific advisor will keep me across this in due course should other insights arise. Unless of course they might lead him to his very own Nobel Prize. Not entirely unlikely.


For this achievement to gain some (it clearly is not short of clarity of importance) I offer something which came up on the Morning Daily Service today on R4 which in pointing out our earths crust tell tales as it were on the Dorset Jurassic coast (there are even closer examples nearby to me at Larne for instance) giving us an understanding of a time wheel if not a history of exact scientific evidence as to its formation, we were reminded of the destruction initiated in Syria of the Palmyra monuments which is also attributed by some accounts to Russian bombing. These are small indictments considering the plainly inhuman aspects of killings and wanton population depletion in places like Aleppo. People cut down like wheat in the fields.


Reproduced from a newspaper photo by Associated Press for purely illustrative context.

Aleppo grass
Johnson grass2

a sorghum, Sorghum halepense, that spreads by creeping rhizomes, grown for fodder.
Also called Aleppo grass, Egyptian millet, Means grass.

John Graham

9 October 2015


The views expressed are entirely my own and no inference or any connections to others is meant or intended as attributable to anyone.

Macbeth : A Film Review

Macbeth The players – Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Sean Harris, David Thewlis, Paddy Considine, Jack Reynor, Elizabeth Debicki
Directed by Justin Kurzel UK/France 1hr 53 mins Cert. 15

Macbeth the concept.
In telling the story of Scottish Generals and Kings Shakespeare provides the genius construct of the weakness of all mankind.
Corrupted by evil at once the pyramidic value set in dominions across the world are cast forever into repeated downward failure to imagine the world without violence.
The repetition is beset long before the play is written or it’s many formulated interpretations, some set on distant continents, in modern as well as medieval times.
Without fail it is easily the most accessible work created by Shakespeare and here is a version put to film as another contender to open our wounds.
Stunningly gripping
It is a mesmeric version, full of visually stunning broads-cape earthbound gravitas. It is full of magical otherness with the Witches tale, – and Thomas Middleton it is often said, wrote for theatrical guile the well known witches scene, Act 4, Scene 1 having Macbeth, now empowered with the formation of rule over all of Scotland, an encounter with the three witches who in the very first scene of the play had foretold his future.
They stir the cauldron – a Scots Broth of root of Hemlock, Gall of Goat, Finger of birth-strangled babe amongst other delicacies. “Though Palaces and pyramids do slope, Their heads to their foundations, though the treasure Of natures germen tumble altogether Even till destruction sicken : answer me To what I ask you”
This asks Macbeth as the apparition of the witches, the satan like opposite ‘God’ he turns in his head, provide the prophesies wildly but close to the fate he will endure.
First apparition, “Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth; beware Macduff” An excellent and explosive Sean Harris.
Mercurial Macduff.
The potency of the prophecy equivalent to Caesar’s deliverance.

This film too has at the beginning another thing in mind.
Pay attention from the very beginning in other words!
It begins with a funeral scene which attests to the blood Macbeth and Lady Macbeth conceive as their future.
Justin Kurzell obviously wants us to not only consider the treacherous nature of alliances but the fruits of the unions chosen.

We see the witches proclaim “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”, in thick garrulous Scottish dialect which immediately requires your utmost attention.
It is language made to conceive ideas, truths, dilemmas, reversals and all kinds of twists and turns. It is without compromise we are fastened into the iambic pentameter of the astonishing insightfully transposed emotions brought through linear 8/10 vowels and dialogue. Instinctively Shakespeare has wrought and stretched occasional verses and speeches into everlasting contemporaneous floods of thought washing like Macbeths hands under the waterfall of natures presence.
It is from a battlefield where we encounter the savagery of the generals Macbeth and Banquo played by Paddy Considine slaying the Norwegian enemy and his ally Thane of Cawdor. They return to the Scottish King Duncan the head of the slain for picking on the Castle battlement.

From that moment forth the darkness descends even more black and the figure of Duncan, an amenable righteous King, friend and fair governor, though how he achieved his own status is itself overlooked, – is played brilliantly by David Thewlis. Amiable affable David Thewlis is tall and ideal as this seemingly benign King.

The casting on all fronts is astute and faultless. Michael Fassbinder without one flaw is Macbeth the troubled hero. Lady Macbeth likewise. Marion Cottilaird is stunning portraying the malice as the evil cohabitant of the joint liaison both have summoned to seek for their contentment, symbols of their combined wisdom.
It is faultless as soon as the conspiracies and parameters are set. They are set in the context of King Duncan’s choice of a successor which shocks Macbeth and is seen by Banquo as a fate with which there can be no real contest. Banquo has his son Theance in mind it seems and as his sons protector shows only practical contempt of Duncan’s actions.

Not so Lady Macbeth.
The Pivot
The Castle interior is not a lavish set on a fairly low budget film but there is little to denounce as the story unfolds in speedy courses of original dialogue and scene setting speeches. The memorality and cadences are very clearly interpreted and the swift edit cutting, present from the beginning where we see sufficient landscape and facial expressions as to be wholly convinced of this period interpretation. The tonal colourscape of the film is as the highlands of Scotland have appeared it seems for millennia.

For modern Shakespearian audiences it is in film entirely manageable (will a directors cut fill in all the absent dialogue?! Hardly!) to absent, omit certain scenes, for example Lady Macduff and Ross and their metaphor laden discourse.
We are instead delivered immediately to the cut and thrust of the pulsating pace of the outcomes from the major characters.
Breathtaking and troubling nature at once mocking and providing lush life and long genus loci.
That’s Scotland for you and Macbeth is at home at best it seems in Inverness. From England will come to the other Lowland Castle an army set by Malcolm and Macduff.

Evil unleashed
The loss of self control and judgement is fast enveloping as indeed is the protagonist of evil, Lady Macbeth, herself while alone subjected to self doubt and conspiracies of internalised composition. This is in itself a power play of acting and actorial genius first imagined by William Shakespeare himself a doubter of the sovereignty in his midst.

Alternative themes
Primarily to be successful it was necessary for him to quell his own judgement and only to slightly if that infer the cosmos of his beliefs. After all The Tempest being his final play, act spoke of the alienation, not an underrated descriptor, of his own mostly hidden or overlooked Catholicism. I believe he had realised the difficulty of criticising the Monarchy as the reformation began to take root.
This play set when a period of calm in religious fervency was destabilized by these acts of ‘play’ evoked Kings pyramidic violence laden betrayal of the ‘truth’ seen in a possible ‘outlier’ of religious discovery, instead is encroachable and lost in this human failure seen in the dramatic form with an intensity never encountered before. (Or since you might argue)
Justin Kurzell has excelled in delivering this drama so effectively and accessibly to the big screen. This is were it is meant to be seen – it so happens TVs are becoming so big as to encroach on Cinemas singular and specific medium! So see it in a large space on a large screen and be dragged into it without distraction.

You will see – for no other reason than visual stimulus – play on the majesty of spaces – the serenity of the truly unique environment of Ely Catherdral is invested and charged to acquaint us with ‘awe’. The light streams into a space which happens to be so close to London it’s almost Home Counties and therefore distinctly not Scottish or Glamis as to provoke the directors determination to satiate our thirst for context and meaning.

Conclusion ####+ 4+
Mesmerising, convincing and superbly acted and directed film of a classic narrative which will envelope all drawn into it, those repaired to be immersed in the surreality of the use of language, metaphor or other driven of a tale resonant still in this millennia. It is never open or close to acclaiming itself as a definitive version. That will never be possible as the whole circuit of present day culture hovers around subjects Shakespeare has left as a jumping off point for ‘the story’, our meaningful human quest of a meaningless or impossible act of judgement of origin and place.

Such is the deserved acclaim warranted of a film which has expanded the thinking and not wasted its opportunity to shift minds and awaken things long left to sleep – that we may turn to anew – to something that is already there unknown.

John Graham

1 October 2015


Showing from Friday 2 October to Thursday 15 October 2015 at QFT Belfast
and over wider distribution venues.