Frantz : A Film Review

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Dir: François Ozon; Starring: Paula Beer, Pierre Niney, Ernst Stötzner, Marie Gruber, Anton von Lucke, Cyrielle Clair. 12A cert, 114 mins.

Setting of Post World War 1

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The opening passage of François Ozon’s elegant interwar romance invites us to second-guess the story that links Parisian musician Adrien Rivoire (Pierre Niney) to Anna’s late love, Frantz. Frantz is Anton von Lucke.

A melancholic period drama, Frantz, is an elegant reimagining of the story behind Ernst Lubitsch’s undersung 1932 drama Broken Lullaby.  It is Post World War One in a central German hillside town called Quedlinburg which is a UNESCO protected location.  It is the backdrop to the family home of the Hoffmeisters whose son Frantz was killed in action on French soil.  The elderly parents remain,  Doctor Hans and Mrs Magda Hoffmeister (Ernst Stötzner and Marie Gruber) are in the middle of the town and still Hans practices as a Doctor.  They have provided a roof over the head of Franzt’s intended bride whose daily visit to the grave erected in the hilltop cemetery is her place of comfort and the families only memorial.
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Complex emotive story

This is a deeply sad and complex war story told exquisitely by the twin hands of the principles, Anna (Paula Beer) and Adrien Rivoire (Pierre Niney) alongside a strong supporting cast.  The town Quedlinburg is a lost empty place without the middle aged and young men it has given to the war.  In one scene in the Hotel, Tavern, which is the centre of town life in some respects, it is notable when Doctor Hoffmeister goes along to a meeting of the menfolk, how with only one year having passed and pain, grief an anguish are all palpable and hurt is within the very bodies of the survivors.  Those with whom some responsibility lies in sending their young offspring to war.  This hurt regret, remorse, redress, reflection, is not a redemptive theme explored by the very masterful direction of François Ozon but one of conscious.  Retaining your sense of self and direction is troubling for everyone. Ozon’s past films are absorbing emotional spirited in theme as were, the sensuous Swimming Pool and Jeune & Jolie, with soon to be unveiled, Double Lover marking a return to those emotive personal tales after this more constrained and brilliantly balanced story of the melt within Europe over borders you cannot see in the Isra she shoots across the view from Quedlinburg.  At a height of thought also, he takes this story markedly into a melting pot of ideas and that it took place almost 100 years ago it’s a vision and offering for our own times.

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Anna and Adrien.

Centrally Anna and Adrien are brought together in this aftermath.  This is a summary position of dealing which their individual pasts.  The footsteps are first taken as we see Anna, after an opening shot of a hot simmering country wide view in one frame in colour, then into black and white of Anna buying flowers at he market stalls of Quedlinburg.  The streets rise to the cemetery through ancient narrow cobbles, up a steep set of steps to the open plain of the graveyard.  It is drenched in bright sunshine and François Ozon begins painting frames as an artist does with the drooping darkness of heavy topped trees branches shading parts of the graveyard and it’s random pattern of stones laid in rough rows seem to lend a peace and sense of ease as the order is lost and not heightened as was the third Reich.  This has a poignancy exacting of the sense of place, its genus loci being this infringement between the living and the dead in memories.

The compelling question from the outset is – Why is Adrien leaving flowers on the grave of a German soldier, Frantz?  With a sweep of a leafbrush the graveyard attendant imparts his identity as that f aFrenchman who is staying in the aforesaid Hotel.  The connections have to be pursued and it is the object of both to reach a point where they can talk.
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Skip comparative reviews.

There is a school of thought which I deplore, in some reviewers making connections – as they have done with this in respect of Vertigo, –  the displaced person in a love triangle, – of the other, a Hitchcock rumination akin to Rebecca – which in this film are totally useless. That viewpoint actually labours the point to actually attune it more to this misread being the theme of the film in scores.  The film is enfused with hidden truths, conceits, contrivances made to ease the pain and harm of things past. It is even seen by one as being like the work of another director preposterously so. Being unlike Ozon is very Ozon. It is in fact gloriously rendered which makes any pathetic correlation a nonsense.  The film stands alone as an art piece and while the artist, director have long connections through their own process of becoming directors themselves it is not a place to put those connections to the fore as ‘influences’, that is a tedious comparison.  This artwork speaks for itself.  …. One review has discovered it is nothing whatsoever led by the fore said but still posits …    (although his influence on the final film is undeniable).  As if this should or would have any relevance to a viewer allowing the piece to tell its own story.  Superbly.
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Anna’s horrible dilemma.

The perils of Anna whose life is in limbo, a short time after the war, is polemic.  Her past life and proposed future is totally conflicted by the grief she shares with Doctor and Mrs Hoffmeister.  The performance of Paula Beer is a colossal depiction of grief internally residual.  She holds her grief intact and in so doing is asking questions of herself, throughout the first, second and third acts as she deals with new developments and disclosures.  She, in so doing, makes herself vulnerable and inconsolable at times, internally so.  When she meets with Adrien after observing him from a distance at the cemetery, she is both shaken by his perceived closeness to her lost fiancé.  In seeking answers she also is caught in a despairing, unrelenting story of loss with no parties able to reach out to the truth.  Adrien is adroit at making things appear plausible and acceptable.  He is handsome, has an angular tautness, is eloquent, thoughtful, possibly well educated man.  Perhaps too thoughtful and naive in the possibilities that might arise from his actions.  He is brought into the family home and with that deepens his lachrymose impediment, his imbedded grief, disabling him to points of disclosure, as the hurt would be unbearable.  Seeing them is a barrier to telling what he knows in full, with their openness and hospitality having been satiated by Anna in advance making this dramatic encounter when it eventually is arranged profoundly heartfelt.  What lies beneath this surface is not known nor will it be shared for sometime if at all.  This is the magnificence of the story telling, unfolding in aching timbre emoted visually touching through the actors prearadness softly set out in slow framed consciousness.  The cinematography has a slight taint to it in that it uses cascade at times out of synch with the unfolding piece.  For instance the changes from black and white to colour, the cascade, are intended to visualise the positive and warmth in relations iincrementally developing.  Yet it sometimes remains in black and white while that positivity is surging.  There are flashbacks to scenes described between Anna and Adrien of Frantz in the prior period.  That advances War scenes in colour and disharmony on the part of the rhetoric.  It could have been the intention to depict falsehoods in colour but that is neither the case.

Station to station

The belle indifférence with the previous pre-war world is seen in the French sequences of Paris seen as a repairing regrenerating counterpoint to Germany with strolling through the Louvre.  Looking at Manets The Bathers with beneath it, Le Suicide.  The Parisienne fortunes appear secure until late we visit the city and see its invalided body shattered and barely functional.  Losses are in the second half now relater back to the French mirror image with raw torn hearts spilling with their own grief.  The lack of manpower to rebuild also is evident.  The Cafe Belle Époque of the prewar years have vanished as if they never existed.  These times in France are frequently visited as in Therese Discomany, the Francóis Maurice love story or romance and in England it spurred Hillaire Belloc to read into the French and German dilemma such things as were prescient as his boook simply called The Jews reflects.   The era is a classic place of adjustment on the continent.  The borders of the Versailles Treaty escaping the paper constructs of power brokerage and envisioning some relenting peace are to determine so many revisions and the place of starting over.  Such memories of that war were psychologically damaged stubbing for the human beings that survived and were born into it.  This is a point well travelled by François Ozon.  The tributes to people lie everywhere you step.  The consoling and consoled.  The embittered and the vengeful.  The hardened and positive, negative deniers.  The words of the script are beautifully sharp and breathing every btreath allowing the characters to deeply affect you.  There are no persons within it who are trivialised by being seen as perpetrators, or being the enemy.  Far from it the sensitivities are enlarger by the resort to poetry as in the Verlaine poem recited at one point and the rendition in a public place of La Marseillaise. Discomforting in its – subtitled English excentuates the folly of some heroic words – presence there, right in the time.  The immovable shape of the form of war.
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Conclusion ####4

The film of the year so far for me.  Frantz is a lesson for modern living.  The exploration of the psychological depths people go to to either convince themselves of a truth or naively embark on consuming someone else’s apparent truth are startlingly effective. It is a sad and remorselessly engaging heroic film.  Anna is a flawed heroine as indeed despite his misreading of the reasoning he puts to things, is also an essentially flawed person with a ruined perspective of life brought on undoubtedly by war.  The thought is inescapable as the war poetry of many follows in this malaise of mind tyranny in order to cope and construct something at terms with the present.  Writers like Michel Houllebecq make the morose sexual eaae methods deployed in and out of war a frequent tap root of sorrow. The novel in its 20th century incarnations after Stoker, Shelley, Balzac, Dickens have given literature many versions of the nation and the use of borders as an identity rising as a continual denier of the universal truth of equality before God.  

John Graham
17 May 2017
Belfast

On from this Friday 19 May until and including Thursday 25 May 2017

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The Secret Scripture : A Film Review


The Secret Scripture

Director Jim Sheridan, Producer Noel Pearson, Screenplay by Jim Sheridan, Johnny Ferguson. Cast, Vanessa Redgrave, Rooney Mara, Eric Bana, Theo James, Aidan Turner, Jack Reynor, Susan Lynch, Siobhan Redmond, Adrian Dunbar. Music by Brian Byrne, Cinematography Mikhail Krichman, Edited by Dermot Diskin, Production company, Ingenious Senior Film Fund, Voltage Pictures, Ferndale Films. Cert. 12a. Duration 1hr 48mins.


Beyond Dublin in the Green

Some people have got this film horribly wrong and are unable to cross over into it’s tragedy in a trinity of hope. The Irish Times gives it this ‘tribute’ – What’s that? Who’s he? Where’d that come from? When Barry’s novel was published, several critics argued that the final unlikely twist felt at odds with a hitherto disciplined narrative. It says something about the film that the reversal feels perfectly at home among so many even greater lunacies. It even casts sectarianism into a new vein without making comment of how diffuse these things are to convey – it seems in a blind alley Ireland. The mastery of the Bible both potent and conclusive lends written comfort to Rose, a woman betrayed.  It is within the unspoken reading between the lines we go with this film based on the novel of the same name by Sebastian Barry which makes for more imagining than the act of storytelling in film this is.  Nevertheless it is handled extremely carefully with a melding of eras and in themselves drawing comparisons.  The landscape is more familiar to the Irish and the need to know (Philomenas Story is a close relative) diaspora from Canada, America or Britain whose children are the fathers and mothers of new generations of the ‘departed’.  In complete association too are those left beneath fields, institutions buried so none would reflect on their memory except the mothers and those in the know.  From Priests to Police to Orderlies. Into the equationn come knowing townsfolk contributing to the complicity and getting on with their lives by ignoring it in order to straighten their own existence in the changing world.  For the story to begin we enter the present day at Rose’s Hospital and Residential Care home in the midst of it closing down.  Some lessons are learnt and there is clearly an attempt by Director Jim Sheridan to acknowledge Times have changed and the bullying and treatment of people like animals has been removed.  In this present environment there is real care and a making good with what is at hand.  Even the prospect of Rose being able to go to somewhere other than a mental asylum has reared its head.

With the dramatic stroke of a pen Sebastian Barry conjures up a back story to the aging and institutionalised grande dame Vanessa Redgrave playing Roseanne McNulty whose 50 years committal to this decaying and listed for demolition Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital, is transported on the journey of her earlier life and circumstances.  Doctor Grene (Eric Bana) is sent to determine whether Roseanne is fit to be released.  The younger Rose is played by the affluent and Irish connected, Rooney Mara whose arrival in a small village in 1940s Ireland causes two men, a fighter pilot and a priest, played by Jack Reynor and Theo James.


New horizons revisited

Jim Sheridan has Oscar-winning debut My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father as home based movies and into Irishmans habitual magnetic pull to tales of immigration he went and it did not fail him with the exile story In America, and was an acclaimed award winning film also.  Some subsequent entries to the mainstream movie still didn’t seem to suit his work and this is a return of more recognisable formats and it is an attempt by Sebastian Barry to story tell the periods which define present day Ireland the diaspora and wars intervention.  This of course brings in relationships as the bolstering narrative force.  The auld triangle of a beautiful young woman and two bantam cocks clanging the auld triangle and creating conflicts?

Rose has kept a dairy all these years and we enter its tableau – shortly into the arrival of Rooney Mara from Belfast where it’s unsafe after bombing there.  The arrival of a beautiful independent woman is on this West Ireland landscape in the shadow of Yeats Benbullben outside Sligo, is to an already developed hybrid of gentry, Anglo patrons and a subdued, suppressed by Religion ‘compliant’ malcontented population.  They are not mercifully at war though many across Ireland went and fought alongside the British as it was 1. an option 2. There was little for them at home.  The mainstay of any small community is its perverse sense of hierarchy and those who disobey and act up are likely cast out.  Rose is recruited into her Aunts Hotel Temperance establishment and quickly the honeypot of the scented air takes her into the midst of village taboos.  The first ‘normal’ encounter is with a young man called Conroy a labourer for a hard nosed local family.  They have a built in hatred on the English and when there is another approach not altogether religious and skirting his own anxieties surrounding masculinity and his sacrifice comes Father ..    Rose deflects such straight eyed advances and goes her own path while accepting invitations to the local dance.  The presence of the Church is everywhere and in the dance hall they are required to keep apart while hoAldi get one another while the Priest including the presence of Father …. they leave enough space not to be sinful.

The film is drawn out using a great deal of passage from the present to the past.  It in done with good untroublingbpassage and with the versatile Vanessa Redgrave playing the Lady Rose and the unnerving accurate Rooney Mara as the younger vunerable Rose.

Inconsistencies and alterations. Implausibilities? 

Very strongly held views on this film have come from many who find the story confusing and too contrived in its far fetched coincidences and shaping of characters that feature less in the book than put to purposes dramatic here.  Some even call it a travesty.  Sebastian Barry having sold the rights keeps his counsel and his silence is taken as being far from endorsement. There certainly are large parts of the long history left in the book and a Rooney Mara’s Rose here has a prominent role in a central love story which contains its central themes.  She is an incomer, she is a beautiful sophisticated woman, she is of independent mind, she is entering a part of ‘remnants of occupied’ Ireland beset with unfettered resentment, she enters a village which has ahigh morality  driven by the Church, she is also in proximity to state institutions which remove children and separate single mothers from their babies and lock them up and give their babies away for money.  She also is in proximity to a Medical system crudely operating the appliances of ECT and shock treatment as normal for mental illnesses or difference.  She also notices the formidable rectitude of everyone to hierarchical status including her domineering Aunt (Siobhan Redmond) who’s name along with a few others are not easy to find on press credits oddly.  So is it deplorable to drop large parts of a book and get Shakespearean in this gazette of Ireland observed by the Filmaker Jim Sheridan who wrote the script along with the late Johnny Ferguson.?  There are central characters in this which do not sit comfortably with some people.  The airman flying a Spitfire – they ignore the reconnaissance tasks in the West Coast Atlantic seaboard where U-boats were often found and Lough Foyle famously being the last outpost for plenty of U-boats and also forget the American airbases – the recent BBC My Mother and other Strangers gave you the opposite to this film, delivering a War soap opera – which were in Fermanagh and all across Northern Ireland full of troops and airmen training to be pilots in preparation for the Secret D-day landings.  8,000 in Kilkenny Co.Down alone. While the book may have consorted with the flying mission instead of being a land based soldier, it matters little.  Bonzos are quite capable of shooting down ‘foreign’ planes and planes crash.  Many flights no doubt took place over this very stretch of Ireland’s republic.   Where do you take fault?  Is it the neatness of parts of the linkages.  Is the element of delving into people’s past too trite?  Sheading interesting characters? Is the ludicrously large white collared Priest Father Gaunt too comical and pathetic a figure. His character is volumously turgid and corrupt of a conflicted man. Are the nurses of the old school too clean and Matronly while being intensely underlyingly cruel? All these questions to my mind are nonsense and in the core of the film Rose is telling you how unstable memory is. The record to has advanced writing out that history.  Some of it is fantasy and in parts some of the grim reality turns out to have another side.  I don’t care if half the time the story finds a simple way to the next part as we are closely kept to the woman at is heart trying to imagine what happened to her.  Can you imagine how much she must have struggled to put that behind her.  For her imaginings of what happened to ultimately coincide with a partial reality?  The questions need not be effecting in terms of how they are coming to you as essentially they are in the realm of broken fractured memory.  The script actually places false directions in Rose’s mind only.  The other characters are real and no such bewilderment is visited through them.  Their part is sometimes savage and brutal.  Rose’s is in a state of protection in a fixed world she has inhabited for 50 years?  Can you imagine the damage caused to her and many women like her?

Similarities

I opened the play The Steward of Christendom at random and came across the same times as here. There are common investigations and trials of the past – society in Ireland – undergone by Sebastian Barry of which I rate the play as masterly, profound, haunting, sad forgotten history, much as this film indeed takes us into and it is quite political but Donal McCann made it definitely ‘other’ about the human improsoned in Ireland. Inside the Institution and outside on the Island fighting seeming wrongs. It made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end in its horrific prescience. Even now it inhabits the same place – even more so given the recent barbaric dreadful disclosures of previous generations guilt and the pain inflicted in those institutions.  Here’s the line I found straight on opening its pages of the powerful orderly Smith – Even in the ward of old dames with their dead brains, have some of them opened their eyes and are weeping to be woken, with your bloody shouting.  Do you want to go in with them, old man? After I beat you! Sebastian Barry on the case even then.

Eric Bana takes a high dose of listening to his requirement for enquiry about Rose.
The rich dramatic material at play and the fascinating historical backdrop means there’s plenty here that proves initially appealing. The young Rose is trapped by her sexuality, arousing interest in men without the slightest provocation on her part yet facing the full force of blame from those around her. The film briefly explores the complicated rituals of dating at the time and the dangers of a bruised male ego when a woman dares to turn a man down.
Initially there was a backlash in contemporary Ireland to the book with its closeness to history and claims of abuse ever in the headlines playing out.  It was seen in reviewers eyes as being far fetched and characterisations of romance purile and simplistic. For the film it’s seen likewise by many. The closing of the film is too contrived and unexpected as Vanessa Redgrave holds centre stage with her marbles intact.  The Secret Scripture use devices of story telling which only flow smoothly in books but it is admittedly hard to convey in the time period of a movie.  Demands of twists and turns though have been dealt with very satisfactorily by Jim Sheridan and there is no overplay of the gestures and realisations as they unfold.  With Vanessa Redgrave playing Beethoven’a Moonlight Sonata, (an accusatory critic paled at its repetitiveness) in solitary moments in a room, we see the breathing diaphragm of a living person recollecting her past.  It is not only sweet and convincing it is powerful and moving.

For the time periods to intermingle we have to have contrast and Susan Lynch playing the part of a present day nurse becomes a key vehicle for the sensitivity of history learnt. Her knowing, caring, is in seeing the woman in Lady Rose and reflecting on what she has gone through over forty years.  With the instruction having been given to assess her being taken up by a psychiatrist who is intrigued by the fortitude and forceful will of Lady Rose, is Eric Bana who plays admirable the ‘outside’ caring professional, quick to note discrepancies in the work of his peer, the notable Dr Jello  of Adrian Dunbar who is in charge with emptying the establishment and sees it as in ‘the line of duty’ as a role he plays with predictable solidity.   Dr Grene on the other hand is given slack and time by Sebastian Barry to develop a quick relationship of patient and Doctor which in present times of austerity are unimaginable.  Nevertheless an authors due – the slack given on occasion to movies due to time scale particularly in adapting books – is to make plausible a story’s reach.  Eric Bana and Susan Lynch form a convincing team and share the sandwiches, lunchbox treats and soups etc. or whatever sustenance is at hand in between Rose’s rest and elderly ramblings.  They too remain in the ghost like building emptying around them.  That is when switches occur back to Rooney Maras action packed life take us into a believable village – preposterous to critics of the book – with fabrications of conflicts infighting and japes and foolery unbetoken of Ireland of the time.


Irony lost on viewers

Sebastian Barry has of course given some ribald irony and an edit of preposterous heft to the story as if to say – Ireland, you were present when this was happening around your ears yet all you could do was turn a blind eye and more than that get caught up in rebellion against a country at war and a religiosity which tore the faith in God out of you and created a purgatory here on earth. It is tangible to see this cussedness in Irish people of that time but it causes more pain it would seem.  The truth always too has its victims. That is the line, the horrific line this film wishes to take us over and into a powerful emotionally troubling period for the characters who represent in fiction real people’s lives unimaginable at this distance horribly corrupted and ruined.  So there is a backlash of morality fighting for concealment as due reflection turns over too many stones close to the perpetrators unable to come to terms with their own families part in these vexing times.  Why drag up the past?  The reason is it uncoils itself in many ways not least in being held in so, it becomes repeated as a manifestation of ancient held in guilt in the sub-cncious passed on.  The doplar effect of the mind.  Séan Hillen in his Irelantis fictional world creates a counter narrative in art with the juxtaposed John Hinde visions of Ireland and as richly as film and novel forms.  More is essential for understanding ourselves the better.

There are scenes in the film which many will find arguable and condonable however I see those particularly disturbing pieces of work as entirely plausible credible entries to the hidden stories Ireland has masked for decades.  It may not be the truth but it bears an uncanny resemblance to the unfurling detail.  It is why it must be examined for what it contains, not for what you would like it to appear.


No chemistry? It’s not totally about their relationship but what hovers around it.

On parallel works

Hence the auld triangle goes jingle jangle. From Galway to Dingle, from Derry to West Cork it’s been happening for decades. Both the internment of the young and vunerable and the institutional abuses therein. The Steward of Christendom by Sebastian Barry was an intensely brilliant play I’ve seen several times and had on it acting – the unforgettable The Dead film character of Gabriel Conroy played by Donal McCann whose performance in John Huston’s 1987 film of the Joyce short is itself a piece of Irish history and also a masterful core part of Irish Cultural excellence in all its various themes.

The themes of the play are not equivalent in this film but provide another shape to the times within this film. For a synopsis of The Steward of Christendom – I’ve extracted the following from a ubiquitous source. The play opens in a county home (an inpatient psychiatric facility) in Baltinglass, Ireland in 1932, some years after Irish independence. In the opening scene, Dunne (Donal McCann) appears to be raving incoherently, reliving an episode of his childhood. As the play continues, Dunne slips from moments of lucidity to reliving parts of his career as a senior officer in the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP), especially the handover of Dublin Castle to Michael Collins in 1922 after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. He also relives memories of his family, particularly his daughters, Annie, Maud, and Dolly. Dunne is also visited by the ghost of his son Willie, killed in WWI; Willie’s ghost appears to him in the form a 13-year-old child but dressed in the soldier’s uniform of his 18-year-old self.

Here the date focussed on by Barry is the early 1940’s. The institutions had been around and become part of the identity of Ireland. In Belfast the 1932 move to Stormont from what was and had been the Northern Ireland Parliament one hundred yards from QFT in the now Theological College since partition in 1925. Sebastian Barry covers this ground in much of his work, of institutional Ireland of State and Health the life on the streets and rural world grippingly as he loosely affirms family connections with the Thomas Dunne the Dublin Metropolitan Police Commander in the play. So too this film for its depiction of a former period of important movement in Ireland. These histories are intertwined and Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera both had ‘seats’ at the Belfast Union College but never once collected from the fifty boxes of the MPs the Order papers of the day for that emerging Parliament. One could play the card Eamon de Valera was a double agent to the British hegemony as future republicans were to similarly trade their countries status. Not in a film though as truth is mainly stranger than fiction.

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Conclusion ####4

I began with a mindset carrying ideas of the lukewarm critical reception of the book and film, both inhabiting that doubt common to adaption of part historical narratives.  I need not have concerned myself too much because this film opens up a layer of life which is seldom considered in its continued influence and in the magnitude of its shaping usand the identity formed as a Nation on its multiple layers of relationships across continents, across short sea journeys and across hedges and parishes.  It harbours a fiction I see to contain many probable realities. I never read the book.  In the depiction of Lady Rose played brilliantly on both parts. Rooney Mara as the young independent free spirited, intelligent incomer beauty full of warmth and expectation and the kaleidoscopic thespian skills not wasted or lost of Vanessa Redgrave, herself no stranger to loss or to Ireland’s perplexing past, is not only endearingly charming but purposely disjointedly harmonious and comforting in its plainness.  There is nothing plain under the surface no matter what the Irish take or spin on it happens to be or where the deniers – and they are the ‘plain’ folk of Ireland themselves, mostly due to present many frstations of suffering across the world would prefer to banish and put away in a state of complacent bewilderment.  If only that were our only path.  The Secret Scripture is written – a form of blasphemy- in black on the Bible – as in the Temperance Hotel (you could say it was a depiction of Ulster which has many many connections with Sligo) – here is a Lilliputian Jonathan Swift world of male believe.  Now and then.  The Bible being the only book – in this puritan hotel – is the only marginila Rose has to take into her incarceration as a hidden diary.  For its uncovering, not matter it’s Preposterous retrieval there are unsettling truths like the words of the Bible itself.  As it is not a Book which is safe in the Clergies hands nor taken with pillars of salt in communion amongst the suppressed and mal treated citizens, already infiltrated by a siege power of a monarchist force.  Since the 1166 occupation the persistent and systematic entrapment is in plain sight from the pulpit and before the pulpit.  Both the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland contrite and corrupt in unity of suppression against Gods will.  This film will be seen initially as a passing anecdotal fable worthy of a watch but light on appeal.  It will upset and conflict with perceptions narrow and broad but I would say it will after several viewings reveal itself in time to be full of its own contested narrative slowly bringing a reckoning to bear as its bold and more extreme view is received as history continues to recite its clarion vision.  It is there for us to see in a wider sense and while novels, films can only open some fictional presentation of a past long gone it is always a sudden shock to see its proximity to truth and realisation is slow but within reach.  On a question alone of the mix up of plot and some too fanciful occurrences I knock it back from being a 5 as it is to my mind of a very determined voice setting out to familiarise the world and those closer with the inexcusable period in the past in this country – worse if most probably being effected unknown to us in other parts of the world – and it is a piece of the pyramid of truth being built in memory of those children and women.

It is like a whisky chaser hitting your throats but this is why the fondness for diversion is like dashing your head on the rocks.  So much is ventured there is no small comfort to be had except through thinking along the lines I think Jim Sheridan, Sebastian Barry and the fine strong cast found themselves nurturing.  While it is discomforting it is due plenty of deliberation.

John Graham

22 March 2017

Belfast

On at Queens Film Theatre from Friday 24 March through to and including  30th March and on General release.

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Post Behan Brectian Proustian stories

In Ireland the confinement of Women and Men distinguished little in Mental Institutions from the Prisons like the Mountjoy that inspired the Dominic Behan The auld triangle goes jingle jangle. The lyrics still are chilling and how the Bi-sexual Brendan Behan came to them is anyone’s guess but the waking traingle of the Prison warder still makes people sit up and listen to these lyrics – the last verse.

In the female prison there are seventy women 

And I wish it was with them that I did dwell 

And that auld triangle, went jingle jangle 

All along the banks of the Royal Canal

Was the mind of Ireland imprisoned during these times?

From The Quare Fellow of 1956

ACT 1:
A hungry feeling came o’er me stealing

And the mice were squealing in my prison cell,

And that old triangle

Went jingle jangle,

Along the banks of the Royal Canal.

To begin the morning

The warder bawling

Get out of bed and clean up your cell,

And that old triangle

Went jingle jangle,

Along the banks of the Royal Canal.
The screw was peeping

And the lag was weeping…

(SONG BREAKS OFF HERE)

ACT 2:

A hungry feeling came o’er me stealing

And the mice were squealing in my prison cell,

And the old triangle

Went jingle jangle,

Along the banks of the Royal Canal.

On a fine spring evening,

The lag lay dreaming

The seagulls wheeling high above the wall,

And the old triangle

Went jingle jangle,

Along the banks of the Royal Canal.
The screw was peeping

The lag was sleeping

While he lay weeping for the girl Sal…

(SONG BREAKS OFF HERE)
The wind was rising

And the day declining

As I lay pining in my prison cell

And that old triangle

Went jingle jangle,

Along the banks of the Royal Canal.
In the female prison

There are seventy women…

(SONG BREAKS OFF HERE)
The day was dying and the wind was sighing,

As I lay crying in my prison cell,

And the old triangle

Went jingle jangle,

Along the banks of the Royal Canal.

ACT III, Scene II (end of play):

In the female prison

There are seventy women

I wish it was with them that I did dwell,

Then that old triangle

Could jingle jangle

Along the banks of the Royal Canal.

To this song provided for The Quare Fellow by brother Dominic we can add along the themes of imprisonment is this universal song. 

I shall be released

By Bob Dylan

They say ev’rything can be replaced

Yet ev’ry distance is not near

So I remember ev’ry face

Of ev’ry man who put me here

I see my light come shining

From the west unto the east

Any day now, any day now

I shall be released

They say ev’ry man needs protection

They say ev’ry man must fall

Yet I swear I see my reflection

Some place so high above this wall

I see my light come shining

From the west unto the east

Any day now, any day now

I shall be released

Standing next to me in this lonely crowd

Is a man who swears he’s not to blame

All day long I hear him shout so loud

Crying out that he was framed

I see my light come shining

From the west unto the east

Any day now, any day now

I shall be released

 

End

Jackie : A Film Review


Directed by Pablo Larraín. Produced by Juan de Dios Larraín, Darren Aronofsky, Mickey Liddell, Scott Franklin, Ari Handel. Written by Noah Oppenheim. Cast. Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt. Music by Mica Levi, Cinematography Stéphane Fontaine, Edited by Sebastián Sepúlveda, Production companies, LD Entertainment, Wild Bunch, Fabula, Why Not Productions, Bliss Media, Endemol Shine Studios, Protozoa. Duration. 1hr 35mins. Cert. 15.


A moment changes the World

You are in for an engrossing watch through the dramatic performances and palpable tensions over an event which will last long in the memory of the Political and Social history of America. The 1963 assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  He was artly responsible for setting the foundation stones of modern America which were laid by a unity of purpose naively set up on the false hopes of the ‘All American dream‘ and even proposing – in a space race with the then USSR – landing a man on the moon. Most of America was fed through the very new media of TV and infinity of lifestyle magazines from Life to Playboy.  GQ would come later and in the Trump towers supermo’s office he has framed covers of Playboy and GQ featuring DT and with this film opening in the U.K. on Friday 20 January on the inauguration of the New President of the United States it is Donald Trumps turn to shape the USA dream or sign its death nail.

The blurb on the film is After her husband’s assassination, Jackie Kennedy’s (Natalie Portman) world is completely shattered. Traumatized and reeling with grief, over the course of the next week she must confront the unimaginable: consoling their two young children, vacating the home she painstakingly restored, and planning her husband’s funeral.  Jackie quickly realizes that the next seven days will determine how history will define her husband’s legacy – and how she herself will be remembered. Chilean director Pablo Larraín (Tony Manero, No) plunges us into the devastation using a series of finely crafted flashbacks that cover the fateful day in Dallas, Jackie’s return to the White House, arrangements for the President’s funeral, and her time spent accompanying her husband’s coffin to Arlington Cemetery.  

The role came to Portman through Darren Aronofsky, who directed her in Black Swan, for which she won an Oscar in 2011. He shepherded Noah Oppenheim’s script of Jackie for a number of years. Meanwhile, Larrain’s star was rising beyond Chile, in films largely about his home country’s history (No, The Club, Neruda). The Club won a prize at the Berlinale in 2015.  Sydney Morning Herald.


Performances to celebrate

It is a very tightly crafted film, very much keeping its focus on the psyche of Jackie Kennedy in a short period and time of immense change.  With all seeming to be heading sweetly for JFK heading into a second term, this was a joyous time and full of hope but is cruelly shattered in seconds.  The script is chillingly absent of sentiment, ideology, lecture or incidental fill.  It has a welcome electrifying directness giving insight to the persons at the heart of the event.  The conversations and efficiency of words infiltrate the mood swings and juxtapositions, allowing fractious clashes to ignite believably while personalities vie to capture their own space in the story.  The likes of the senior clerical Priest, Father Richard McSorley, played with assurity and gravitas by John Hurt, who is asked by Jackie to conduct the Funeral, is a fatherly figure with a breadth of intuative and needed kind wisdom, which he delivers in a long conversation with Jackie as they survey the landscape prior to the Funeral. The suggestion Jackie has a conversation with Father McSorley is not simply him seeking her approval of the arrangements but to have her unburden the thoughts he is aware she will not release. That in itself is a vivid illumination of the key central characters and the complexity of this world shattering event. Richard E.Grant is also wholly convincing as the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ in the White House, William Walton, anticipating and conflicted by the choices of Jackie in the now decorous White House she has recently restored and transformed into a ‘peoples’ house yet extravagance is not exiled.  The chairs once used by the Lincolns are retrieved from the English aristocrat family who obtained them. Peter Sarsgaard is tremendous as Bobby Kennedy.  He has the unfortunate job of burying a brother and looking after a widow both in grief. He is fragile and has black secrets. Bobby acted a lot of the time to keep the private side of his brother hidden while he also plays someone who deals with a wife who was aware of her husbands infidelity and mixing with the wrong folk.

Jackie asks

Jacqueline (Lee Bouvier Kennedy), (“Jackie”) 1929–94, wife of John F. Kennedy (1953–63) and Aristotle Onassis (1968–75).

What happened? Who done it? the questions on the free worlds mind in 1963 when JFK, Jack Kennedy is assassinated.  It is not often mentioned but the Cold War was in people’s minds so the USSR would not only have eyes on it, they could – though we’re never cited – as possible assassins.  The immediate aftermath is the focus of this story as seen through the eyes of the highly traumatised and troubled Jackie Lee Bouvier, the widow with two small children, Caroline and John.  The world is watching and she is in a state of Post traumatic shock with few medics to help and just the White House entourage to relate to.  No one is close to her except Bobby Kennedy and her aide de camp, the lady in waiting type, Greta Gerwig whose guidance is both practical and humane.  She for instance tells Jackie how to tell the children, in the whirlwind of thought she offers clarity. It is a stellar performance on  Greta Gerwig’s part too.  Towering as she does, over the small grieving woman Jackie/Natalie whose only friend is her. Others to note if only for their presence excepting JFK are  Caspar Phillipson as John F. Kennedy himself, John Carroll Lynch as President Lyndon B. Johnson, Julie Judd as Ethel Kennedy, Brody and Aiden Weinberg as John F. Kennedy Jr., Mathilde Ripley as Jean Kennedy Smith all lurking in the wallpaper of the White House.  When HBO first conceived of the idea along with Darren Aronofsky, around 2010, it was envisaged it would be a four part mini-series, then word got about and grander plans were put together.  While it ‘rested’ at times it eventually gathered the full engagement of LD Entertainment and Wild Bunch with Darren Aronofsky at the helm if not the Directors chair.


The White House

The CBS TV black and White tour fixes us back in the day through contemporary and modern interplay of the actual footage and inserts for the actors which is in grainy b/w and the sound is raw.  Even watching black and white TVs dotted around and particularly one in a g-plan cabinet contrasting with the French decorous style of Jackie contrast and realise the era.  In the Presidens office there are many old maritime portraits of ships with masts contrasting with the decorated heros marine past. Alongside these the massive portrait of Bison and Bison (so singular an animal it retains the name unaltered on plural!) on stampede.  The Oval Office is late in receiving its bold red circular carpet.  The whole replication of the White House interiors was carroed out on the Paris studios. The sound is delicately adjusted from the b/w footage back to a smooth dialogue, say of Billy Crudup and the footage is also integrated extremely well with it having apparently been shot on 35mm film.  I had an issue with the choice of music and while it was not maudlin it was at times irritatingly harsh and unnecessarily present.

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The American Route map to success.

The opening of the film begins on the Presidential plane with the entourage, the full works, preparing to land in Texas to go on that fateful journey into Dallas.  It is visceral expectation of her home state reunion and celebration of JFK having gotten to the White House and this stellar couple being examples of the American dream realised in a form of success matched by smartness and anticipation of a better future.  TV is the elephant in the room.  The intervention and prime inventor of those dreams.  The elephant in the room being the thought – you think you had and you sitting on the back as it’s pilot as it takes you where you think you intended to go – except the elephant is doing all the driving.  As with La La Land all is colour and CinemaScope.  The TV though is still black and white.  The arc of the film is the Life series of interviews and in this immediate period, with use of flashback and CBS footage of a White House tour – a key widening view of the hidden inner workings of the White House – the Life Magazine interview which is carried out by in Massachusetts after the event; only a week actually, with – ‘The journalist’ Billy Crudup  – as end credits have it.  It is of course the Theodore White interview which Jackie Kennedy sought and demanded total control over as she did with the State Funeral which went global in its TV and cinema showing of its extraordinary homage to a leader.


Life (other magazines Time, GQ are available)

Theodore White turns up at her remote lakeside home in Massachusetts at Hygennis Port in a timber colonial style high ceilinged mansion.  The brusque cautious greeting of Jackie is a trigger of thought and disclosure setting the tone and delivering a new way of journalistic intrusion.  Albeit a forthright discussion and serious interview, it is through the personality of Theodore White – whose loose collar and tie belie his penetrative technique – which loosens Jackie tongue and the core innermost telling emotions inside Jackies mind pour out easily.  His technique is simply using a notepad and pen, and his manner is stoic, serious and non judgemental, being notionally slightly deferential although he does not allow Jackie to get away from his inquisitive delving by upsetting her.  He is instead the astute and independent author of her words. Being agreeable is a ploy he will have used many times as a seasoned journalist knowing the thirst for this story and it’s massive trajectory in print. It will be her story, he tells her, as she ruminates over this slackening of the pressures post funeral  and of the historical marker she laid down.  “What I think of history?  Does that make it true?”  Her own struggling with the facts and perceptions. The truth of the assassination is always under the surface. For Natalie Portman  she had the stories to go to as the part was researched by reading the interviews, Her primary source was the seven-part eight-and-a-half-hour Life magazine interview conducted in the early part of 1964 by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. with Kennedy. One of three interviews she gave following her husband’s assassination, it was kept private throughout her life – so wiki tells me!

More insights to the way it evolved as a film are interestingly revealed on wiki and this is in a four year period which began with Racheal Weisz in the ‘titular’ part it goes on to – May 2015, Portman was confirmed to star in the film.  That same month, Chilean Director Pablo Larraín was hired having been approached by Darren Aronofsky to direct the film with Aronofsky subsequently working as a piloting producer.

    

Conspiracies aside.

The fact is this film does not dwell on the conspiracy theories or the killer(s) Ruby killing, the alleged assassin Oswald and it is intensely about the choices made in the immediate aftermath.  Natalie Portman is extraordinarily convincing in portraying a vulnerable fragile diminutive wife whose world is shattered and all known compasses are lost.  Portman was working on another film – Planetarium, with Lily-Rose Depp – during pre-production of Jackie in Paris. She prepares in depth for any role, but this one did not allow much time. She read everything she could find and studied footage of Jackie, especially her distinctive voice: silky, patrician and breathy, with touches of Long Island, where Portman spent part of her own childhood. That voice is a huge part of the performance.  Sydney Morning Herald. The strength Natalie Portman portrays, definitely Oscar worthy, is as if she is pulling her up, Jackie up and out of this extraordinary maelstrom event and is breathtaking through its simplicity and nuanced magnificently with subtlety and vocally with gesture, inflection and cadence.  From her adjusting her attire, make up, hair, and walking routine, for the outside world to her rehearsal and rehearsal of the tasks ahead with her lady in waiting, it becomes a legendary performance in itself.

 

Legacy for who?

The Life magazine and TV background of the aftermath is the question Jackie places centrally, concerning the public spectacle and projection of the legacy of her husband. The legacy is prime. She does all she can to make the cavalcade match the Lincoln funereal despite their legacies being poles apart.  With the help of Bobby Kennedy and Nancy Tuckerman, the lady in waiting, in a whirl wind she commands strength and the understandable flaky persona we have insight to, mainly due to the PTSD (as is our probable likely post-overview) which conceals an inner trauma with a sense of self she is continually framing the world view of both herself and Jack John Kennedy.  She and the Life magazine interviews which she retrieves partially – it is the widows prerogative exercised – as she is prepared to deny the journalists writing of it if need be.  This is clear to Theodore White in the journalists role and one he is prepared for.  It is too revealing so soon after the assassination she takes steps to reframe things.  In any event or so it is believed the truth may be revealed in time, however it never has been.


Conclusion ####4

In terms of reality, Jackie herself proclaims it very well, as she knows having been a Presidents wife, Public perception is often far from the truth, the managed truth.  She is at ease declaring the story is servant to the legacy.  The truth is another matter entirely.  The interview which works extremely well as the central plank of the film, is as though the legacy is assured as the fulfilment of what she wished for in terms of the funeral statelike removal of JFK was in itself testimony to the woman’s will and strength. This interview is a tail piece of extraordinary insight and it’s legacy is also hers.  Nancy Tuckerman, the splendidly relaxed and grounded Greta Gerwig is seen remaining and apart, left alone at the White House when Jackie leaves.  Don’t let it be forgot.  The words of Camelot. The invincibibility of the Camelot musical beloved of JFK who played the song, Victrola, as a refreshment after a hard day’s grind, is recalled by Jackie but she’s conscious there will be new presidents but there will never be another Camelot. On the page and of it darkness has its many shades.  The day today is just the first. A remarkable and very touching biographical memoir in a historically vexing film. While many will not be interested in the historical perspective it is a very touching story of how grief of any kind sends new priorities and shapes things so differently going forward.  It as a film asks more questions and is very contrasting for the current inauguration of a world leader going ahead right now.

       
John Graham

19 January 2017

Belfast
On at Queens Film Theatre Belfast from 20 January through to 2 February 2017.  And on wide General release.

What’s not on General release is the ‘road movie’ a political thriller of 104mins. 2016. by Pablo Larrain

Neruda


It’s 1948 and the Cold War has reached Chile. In congress, Senator Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) accuses the government of betraying the Communist Party and is swiftly impeached by President Gonzalez Videla (Alfredo Castro). Police Prefect Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael Garcia Bernal) is assigned to arrest the poet. Neruda tries to flee the country with his wife, the painter Delia del Carril (Mercedes Morán), but they are forced into hiding. Inspired by the dramatic events of his new life as a fugitive, Neruda writes his epic collection of poems, Canto General. Meanwhile, in Europe, the legend of the poet hounded by the policeman grows, and artists led by Pablo Picasso clamor for Neruda’s freedom. Neruda, however, sees this struggle with his nemesis Peluchonneau as an opportunity to reinvent himself. In this story of a persecuted poet and his implacable adversary, Neruda recognizes his own heroic possibilities: a chance to become both a symbol for liberty and a literary legend.

From the fibula.cl website where you can also see trailers of other films by Pablo Larrain like Fugue.
La Casa Films logo is so good I have to show it! 

The range of Cinema in Chile is astoundingly captivating.

Son of Saul : A Film Review

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Son of Saul.  A haunting compelling, utterly unflinching embarkation into the Hungarian and Jewish experiences of the Holocaust told by a debut Director and profoundly affecting delivery from the collective ensemble.
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Writer Director: László Nemes. Starring: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn, Sándor Zsótér. 107 mins. 15 cert.
This a bewildering audaciously confronting examination of the complex trail of events taking those involved into a zombie like zone which cannot be imagined except through desperate experience. It opens a door onto needed understanding in its intention.

It’s beyond comparison

The day I saw this film the report on Hillsborough when the Liverpool fans died of asphyxiation and crushing included a reaction from Bruce Grobbelaar. It was an FA Cup semi final against Nottingham Forest. Asked if he had seen anything like it, after witnessing the dead being brought onto the pitch and him using and directing those carrying bodies to use advertising boards he said it was probably the worst way to die. There was no blood, no shrapnel, no outward sign of death he recalled. There were around fifteen dead bodies he saw straight away being carried onto the pitch. It is as close we can get to imagining the horrific testimony of the Holocaust this film goes into in a telling, partially of the story of those conscripted to act as labourers to carry out the actions surrounding and including the extermination of many thousands in their camp.

1944 bordering on the invisible

The scale is the first striking thing you notice. The invisibility of this so far into the war is incredible.  The almost industrial organisation and manipulation through fear and merciless enforcement put to work to carry out the Holocaust within the forests of Germany and here in South West Poland.  
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Sonnerkommando Auschwitz 

Saul is one of many Sonnerkommando whose job it is to perform the tasks of in the Auschwitz Concentration camp. He is seen firstly shepherding large numbers of people off trains rounded up by the Nazis and transported here. For this film I noticed that children were not asked to take part in these re-enactments though many thousands of children were among those who stepped of these very same trains. It was obviously too horrific a concept to inflict upon children for them to be involved.
Saul is marked by a red X on the rear of his overcoat and he continually wears a cap as it also enables him to be identified. He as a Hungarian is among many fellow men and women from that country who are ‘appropriated’ to carry out the most vile and dehumanising tasks such as disposal of the ‘pieces’ as a human body is known. They are separated in camps by gender also and he in his work is able to, or required to adapt to the work going on in different places. It may be in the gas chambers cleaning out the detritus of left over body waste. Or in the coal house where boilers are stoked to burn to ash the ‘pieces’. He is also able to visit through tasks given, the room where autopsies are performed. The living amongst the dead feel the dead speak to them somehow.
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Intricate and intimate following Saul.

Through this film the camera, hand held and giving mostly head and upper body shots, follows Saul everywhere he goes making the story his exposure and link to all the various things that go on in this Concentration camp. To say it is replicated elsewhere is now known to magnify what we are viewing here. It is the piecing together of the pieces and those people who were alongside the destroyed people. The potency of the images are continually immersive and bring forward a view of the unimaginable. No senses except sight and sound are with us on this viewing encounter. No contact by touch, by smell, by taste is possible so the amplification through those present circumstances are portrayed through elements of imagery such as scarfs, masks in parts of the camp. By following Saul there is a contention being made of the redemptive journey of Saul to Paul in the biblical reading. How is that depicted? It is possibly through the wasteland depicted of life destroyed and treated meaning less and worthless. It is also conceivable that the redemptive journey the film takes is showing how whatever adversity faced Saul is on the journey to become Paul.
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Sweeping along with God

Of all the prisoners in the camp around one hundred are deemed fit to carry out the arduous tasks. They have in effect a stay of execution by co-operating by carrying out assigned work. Otherwise they would be dead and join the others. What is taking place among them is the fulfillment on behalf of the many thousands that pass through this camp; there are one one day around three thousand sent to be massacred. The act is itself one of betrayal once they arrive. The fulfillment of the duties carried out is a defiance of will by the ones left to live in that they all believe in the creator and see this is the work of those who defy Gods word. The judgement on them not the prisoners sweeping up the remains and following instructions.
Despite this retention of belief which is fixed here on Saul and his journey, there come frequently others practicing in secret and discreetly their religion giving memorial those thos e just perished. There are Rabbi celebrants with distinctive appearances both Hungarian and Arabic Hebrew priests. They are a conduit through which this persevering faith is held and exemplified. It is entirely misunderstood by the German Command as baseless worthless and based on sentimental tokenistic beliefs. It is not seen as a vision or life force given and held by these disparate people whose Destiny is defined by their faith and Religion which has brought about their purge. Saul is not a Messiah but a prophet of a kind who has through one act which is central and the purpose of the journey undertaken that of giving a young boy a Jewish burial.

Boy remembered 

The young boy not yet a man, and be is the only child depicted, is the Son of Saul of the title. He has come across him in an extraordinary way as a boy left behind and dead to the world, seeing him as his own son. We learn he is the father but not from his wife who is in a separate part of the camp carrying out storage and domestic duties in the units were clothes valuables and the like are processed. 
To achieve his aim which is commenced in the earlier part of the film he has to obtain the corpse of his son and to find a Rabbi to perform the burial. Both these tasks are seemingly impossible but he puts himself in jeopardy many times to carry out his wishes.
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Principles and hope unextinguished

I thought during the early parts of the film each act taking him away or exposing hi,self bybnot acting as expected or normally he would be spotted very easily but for reasons unclear he navigated virtually ever occasion where it seems he is about to be caught carrying out something which does not fit in with his supposed assigned tasks he escapes the moment to move onto another act of courageous and seemingly foolish risks.
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Conclusion #####5 

This film cuts into your psyche asking phenomenally difficult and prescient questions.  Covering so many aspects of humanity we are stil struggling with the writer director, 38 year old Laszlo Nemes whose first feature film this is.  For a relatively young man he has seen the necessity of putting uncomfortable to say the least of it an on screen examination real dialogue and politically hamstrung forums cannot go or have no possible common embrace, this film gives us a fully extentialist means to embrace the problems and narratives it again unfolds.  It gives them uncompromising stature and directs the viewer into asking themselves to ask more and to confront their hidden constructs and dismantle barriers and walls they have and all have erected to keep these issues – here giving a contrasting compelling reflection on present visited miseries to the necessary wider forums we engage on.

The youth of Laszlo Nemes and his Hungarish nature have compelled him to use his inherently observation editorial and concious skills to provide this directly immersive viewpoint.  We can only thank him for his foresight and insight and hope as he undoubtedly hopes it provides shape and form to current interpretations and avoiding the perils of reductive analysis.  Such is the value of Cinema as an outlet to vent and confront unspeakable things.
John Graham

28 April 2016

Belfast

Son of Saul opens at QFT Belfast http://www.queensfilmtheatre.com on Friday 29 April until Thursday 12 May 2016.

Check above site and other information outlet’s for details of opening times.

The Look of Silence : A Film Review

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Adi
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.

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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 http://www.queensfilmtheatre.com for your reliable guide.

The other more subject related location is conversationsaboutcinema.co.uk
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.

The New Girlfriend : A Film Review

The New Girlfriend
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Directed and written by Francois Ozon, based on the Ruth Rendell short story, The New Girlfriend. Cert. 15. 1hr 45min.
Starring
Romain Duris, Anais Demoustier, Raphael Personnaz, Isild Le Besco, Aurore Clement, Jean-Claude Bolle Reddat, Bruno Perard, Claudine Chatel, Anita Gillier, Alex Fondja, Zita Hanrot
Along with Lucie the baby.
Nue Plus
The acting skills of Romain Duris as David and Anais Demoustier as Claire play deliciously on relationships in this bizarre interweaving nuanced adaption of a Ruth Rendell story.
It is a rendition sparkling with conundrums with a scenario well crafted in a script by director Francois Ozon who ran this out at Toronto Film Festival having filmed it largely in the ostrich of a place I think of as Canada.

It is an Ostrich given its unmissable brazen hussyness trying hard not to be a part of the world of politics but throwing up many creative folk who themselves struggle and have issues with having their talent on display.
There is a secret which unfolds and I do not give it away here. Suffice to say it carries forward the whole tale as it unfolds from early doors. No it’s not about doors. Inferences, shiny houses, outer space etc. They are not to be found here in narrative rebelling or in implied allegory. The story even is as I say indifferently Canadian for some
Not the greatest analogy but Canada works here.
There are things creative and hidden here. There is a waspishness of getting on with life, what concern is my real life to you anyway.

Opening with the names of the principals, the titles reveal, across the sound of solemn Church Bells then the familar Wedding March played on a Church organ we see this is closure of a young woman’s life we are witnessing.

The reading in the Church, all dark, small aisle, black and white tiles, is given by Claire played by Anais Demoustier who has seen a childhood friend taken away. She tells the gathering of Laura, the posthumous Isild Le Besco appearing throughout in flashback how each vowed from the beginning of their teens to look out for each other. A flashback showing the boyish, bond of blood ute into their palms and co-mingling as a symbol of that vow.

This is told within the first five minutes by this stylish outré vision as is the dynamic sought by Ozon for our entertainment.
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Cleverly he takes away our expectations from early on and substitutes a reality which we have to adjust to. An adjustment mainly concerning in effect the woman Claire is. She has a relatively normal well heeled life with an affectionate husband whose love is unremitting and their communications verbal non verbal and physically in love are attuned to a point where they find small things create a needed frisson as time moves on.

Claire has a rediscover of her latent sexuality and it helps fasten her to her ever trusting husband Gilles (Raphael Personnaz) his job though seems to become a third part of their marriage, less so Claire who does not seem to possess either career ambition or child bearing needs.

Centrally the sweeping intro off the setting of Canadian everyland, with two childhood friends gets subverted when her vow becomes the demanding element of her life.

Romain Duris as I said at the outset is part of the mix in delectable relationships as his adjustment to loss is felt even greater than Laura’s and Gilles is sympathetic to her taking on a role of nursing the now reclusive David (Romain Duris) back to himself and through the intense trauma of the loss of Laura. Romain has become a one parent family and his sole helper is the Godmother with the blessing of the grieving parents who have be-quested their wealth in trust for Lucie, the child born to Laura shortly before her passing. They convey the family aspect this film needs as a core focus of expectations.
Romain and Anais are in roles never expected and each produce extraordinary, and that is not too bold a description as they convey the sexual pull and temptations across their intersecting lives.
The Ozon skill is finding normal setting to set in place the characters conditions of bringing up baby.
The baby Lucie has a comment or sense of who she belongs too and in six months the tables turn and the story develops beautifully.
Gilles is in a place where he accepts there is a faith which he has to hold onto with his wife and he does this fully and trustingly.
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Away from it all
On a weekend away, for Romain’s second outing with Laura for the sake of his recovery they go to the former mansion where Laura and Claire first met and became friends.
The score is very subtle but it becomes shades of Fredrick Astons Month in the Country with its bliss laden odd beauty. A superb new soprano is given full tilt on our senses and it conjures for us the pleasure of escapism of a kind rarely found or encountered except through the company being perfectly attuned.
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The cinematography utilizes the ordinary of Canada and the luxury of Coco Chanel interiors and bizarrely Canadian lifestyle furniture.
It is also extraordinary when the faces, bodies are framed with the costume, under and over exchange community. The revealed flesh is formed in portraiture and sex where found is rhythmically honed to push the buttons of the observer of these lithe bodies.

Conclusion ####4
Not an unfit figure to be seen. Even extras are fit. The drama is perturbing and heart felt as it develops. This is a film held in the characterisations of the three main actors. Romain is adept and convincing while Anais holds the viewer in closest to the Ozon imagined personas. She makes it believable most. Raphael is limited to being a supporting voice but his necessarily under developed role is dealt with as all in customarily intelligence in this ensemble of relationships fashioning of self along with many questions of how many times life produces challenges of ground breaking change.
I love the film throughout for it thoroughness in being firstly French and its complex tale in a setting which ought not to deliver its story yet does with exemplary aplomb. Ozon likes people and likes their dependencies.
He gets the story at about the right level and without over doing it; it has plenty of humour, he makes good humanity’s wider expanses.
It is quite masterly and will become a revisit movie. It will allow watching from time to time as a weathervane. It need not educate but will provide a locality for the freedom to never judge others choices.

Et to see it soon in order you can see it again if you so wish before the end of this new run.

John Graham

19 May 2015

Belfast

See at QFT from this Friday 20 May 2015
Until it closes on Thursday 28 May 2015.
Go see it is very good melodramatic and idiosyncratic as well as extremely well made!
Might encourage you to go again!
Further credits.

Camera (color, widescreen), Pascal Marti; editor, Laure Gardette; music, Philippe Rombi; production designer, Michel Barthelemy; costume designer, Pascaline Chavanne; sound, Guillaume Sciama, Benoit Hillebrant, Jean-Paul Hurier; re-recording mixer, Jean-Paul Hurier; assistant director, Arnaud Esterez; casting, Antoinette Boulat.

Exodus : The Interview.

imageBefore we reach the denouement we live
Ridley Scott does interviews. The Egyptians do not do open culture.
For the Egyptian Government correctively they have decided to ban the Exodus Movie made by Ridley Scott.

Whiter than was white the film Exodus has Christian (I cannot see where this might take me) Bale, tests the credibility of Moses as he engages as a Spidermany type avenger for The God of God.
Banned
Ramses II is in flowing form, (though and this is not the contested part) gathering in his phoney rule on a high of hubris when Moses appears to the Egypt of Kadesh before even the El Giza marbles. Go Elgin with that discovery.

The Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus is not mentioned in the Bible. Instead it is the name of the city from which the Exodus began, a city built for the Pharaoh by the Israelites and from which the Exodus began. Ex. 1:11.

For banning movies, North Korea, has as media has it, in past weeks sought the film The Interview not to be shown creating a storm which became a box-office profit on ridiculing satire itself embracing assassination.
Ex-Ridicule Charlie Hebro
What came a week or so later and no one likes to make any sub-conscious connection, comes the Charlie Hebro cultural media mayhem ending in many deaths.

Morocco and obviously Turkey or is it Syria, have made the film Exodus an enemies piece of propaganda.

Taking on the Hitties in Syria, Rameses in around 13c BC seems to have upset Moses. Why else does this brother of Judaism become embroiled in what is portrayed as Egyptian to us of the Jews in slavery?

That slavery as now depicted is challenged by Egypt. History is revealing new discoveries which shall themselves create argument.
Sandstone stacks of corridors, some 30 metres long their narrow inscribed walls are now giving further insights as these walls show camps in Gebel El Silsila where the carvings for the Karnak and Luxor temples seem to have been produced. Then they were transported to Luxor.

Like the present, where a division exists between those that think the labour camps of Qatar, of Dubai, of the UAE, of China’s monolithic regions of mass production are slavery to the workers and work to the owners of the product, the description of slaves is something an answer is difficult to find so far back.

The sure slavery of our recent centuries is clear of wartime and in Chinese history. It is also ignored. The slavery of modern times is veiled and concealed often within the gaze of missionaries who turn to Amnesty or others to blow the whistle while they curate their truth.
Screen Slaves
Dismantling the hubris is Moses (I cannot see where this might take me) the hero epoch making edifice of strength with marbles. His commandments are worthy of hubristic force which is aligned with the words Jesus empowers us.

The Jewish Moses is part of (adopted) an Egyptian family whose mix becomes, became statues of the future world of Jewish and Biblical value out of Asiatic inhospitability, a group or family of extinct languages that includes cuneiform Hittite and its nearest congeners, as Lycian, Lydian, and Luwian. Did they turn away into the birthplace of Jesus as a result of the, Rameses – Moses entry to Israel, to Judaism restored, to become the source for the entry of Jesus.
Czech Egyptian Discoveries this last sx months
4,000 years of history have in the past few years found the working story of the pyramids which presently and until now been contested.

Exodus as in the Bible, is not what you see. What you see is not what is depicted. The sensation of the story is the Revalatory. Those walls found in isolated tall thin corridors within Gebel El Silsila are the finest and epoch making Cartoons of a storyboard which places any present day design into a water based pulp. 3,500 year old posters Ndebele alongside half sphinx like carvings by hunter-gatherers a mere 100,000 years ago.
Blasphemy by idiocy.
The property of renouncing the hypocrisy of Governments is a project of publishing satire as truth and describing the offence of blasphemy by idiocy of malformed truth. Charlie Hedro occupied this vein of luxury.
The vein of luxury found through a skill or aptitude for visualising the unspoken. There are no taboos to be applied. The taboos are to be taken.

The insecurity of others is the stinking pit of exploiting or ridiculing an understanding not obtained of another’s culture. It becomes a dry web of short war substitute intellectual war-heading. It is peripatetic child versions of Aristotelian philosophy. So wrong headed as to be not only offensive due author of destructive vitriol.
Alexander the Geographer
Reference to Alexander the Great makes itself a good point.

The land in which Alexander found his adventures in pleasing his parents of Greece, by obtaining and ruling over more productive fertile territory, for that is all that was at stake (Darius’s tent of captured loot was meaningless tat) only appeared in 350BCE rather appearing to entice comparison of eras as the machinery of the Exodus had marched only so far, into the Israel of the so called promised land. Alexander began the exodus for promising land.

The land of freedom and freedom from sacrifice of the person to indulgence, not the sacrifice of the people on lands newly occupied was of Moses prediction.

It prophesied the appearance of the true Creator. Dreams and hallucinations were frequent in the mind of Mose. The allegorist ran deep.

The veins of Alexander took on the geography in a totally physical sense. His burning passion for his childhood Heniylous friend, now belonging to the fertility which instead of lying west of Asia Minor; the heart being Alexandria, became instead lands of the fertile Persia which had riches aplenty.

Even greater was the green India of similar God fearing, worshiping deities which I think were found by Alexander to be far superior to any he knew.
West India has been so influential. The Gods themselves were created as expressions, fro expressions of the God given, Creator given richness some of which Alexander had only the wildest thought of.

There is in parts of India such essence as prompted out of his late found interest in Yoga Beethoven’s String Quartet No.12 the same balance Alexander may have discovered except his was a pathological illness of intense failing to subdue his violence and striving to command for the sake of his record his future lived after him. Beethoven did not have such problems only a message in alliances of sound.
Before Christ
It is a reinforcement ahead of the appearance of Jesus.
It is a militaristic approach to making decisions of human value.
It is a death nail found to be consigning the future to be hell through the actions of one man exemplifying the means on which nations are built.

The Exodus so defined and so unchallenged in Biblical times became and remains a Godless return for reference.

Mere man, so the present reasoning has it, being incapable of taking into the future the known words of Jesus – whose reckoning through the consignment In figurations of past history so absurd and contorted – they are still fashioned as an operable function and our media of destruction.

When the people within a action are seen to be separate alongside each other and divisions are made and found through a range of cultures descended upon them and carried forward it is seen that there is bound to be conflict. People literally bound in conflict.
More aggrevivng is the prospect of that being the outcome of needlessly doctrinal or forth righteousness displayed in a context outside the values which are the Creators will.

Somewhere and sometime the forgiveness will be fulfilled as when it is needed it is only for the perpetrator to seek it for it to be realised. It is in the finding not the giving.

Where shall it be found by whom and when?

All things are the will of the Creator.

John Graham

14 January 2015

Belfast

This – 20.11 – is Transgender Day of Remembrance

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Remembrance of Transgender Individuals
Taken by Murder or through Taking their own life.
Act of Remembrance
Soon after the World mourns the loss of all who fell in the War between 1914 and 1918 as well as the fallen from all other Wars since, it is an other solemn day to reflect on with the 20 November Transgender Day of Remembrance.
During the Wars which disguise themselves by being hatred between Nations, there is another human context which seldom is considered but is responsible for the violation and murder of many fellow citizens and that is purely on the basis of their sexuality.
It was in times of War all differences were sought out and primarily it was homosexuals and the transgender population who were singled out after the Jewish people and other ethnically diverse people to kill.
They suffered just as abysmally as any Jewish person and we’re gathered up and included in mass genocide. Many countries can testify to the many thousands of their citizens who were taken and killed purely on the basis of their sexuality.
Now in 2014
The losses continue without War.
Every year more savage attacks and deaths are occurring through the basic ignorance and uncontrolled behavior of violent people.
They act alone and also together showing the worst prejudice of all,
the prejudice that cannot tolerate another human being who is different to them and shows their own hate to be their inadequacy and being unaccepting of difference.
Continuing Hidden
There is no doubt this continuing death toll is hidden and not discussed in the communities it happens in. Some of those countries where it is a crime to be Homosexual have even less tolerance for Transgender individuals.
The whole continent of Africa is in a dangerous conflict with itself.
With the fragility of each nation coming out of War and Oppression, of
dealing with continued exploitation and corruption or entering into further conflict and displacement the continent has many problems to deal with.
Africa at odds with Africa
The oppression and exploitation of Women continues to set back the future of Africa by Centuries. The aids epidemic and sexual history of Africa is a fundamental indicator of the fractured future progress of democratic freedom and Human Rights advances.

As part of the reasoning Nations offer within Africa offer for their state measure of control they resort to violence and prison when confronted with someone whose sexuality does not meet with their approval.
Far less than understanding the law given to us by The Lord to ‘Love thy Neighbour’ the persons who cannot understand basic Human Rights and fail to see the promise which providing Equality of Human Rights would have on them individually and collectively, go down the route of their forefathers and reject learning which God put us on this world to do.
We are here to learn Gods ways and accept the natural order of things and alleviate pain and suffering wherever it is found. We then should share it with others.
In Africa there is an inherent Law of justice written in everyone’s heart which is either suppressed or exploited. To exploit that Law everyone must respect their own family and then their neighbours family.
The breakdown of family in Africa is foremost a basic lack of resources to meet the modern world and it’s challenges. This breakdown is a legacy of colonial states and the imitation of Western corruption severely slowing down any advances with exploitation by the likes of China and American Universities believe it or not massive obstacles to self determination.
Some youth in Africa believe the modern worlds greatest inventions are weapons of Individual and mass destruction.
Weaponry is the least constructive thing at hand. It cannot create crops or medicine nor can weapons overthrow an enemy. The ‘enemy’ being fought is in the perpetrator themselves. The menace eats away at the perpetrator until they can themselves no longer bargain with their own demons.
They spread their disease quickly to others and hatred defines them despite the calls of acting for a higher authority.

Like the girl looking into the well The Lord is within us and it is without question the most compelling thing mankind can rely on.
You only have to recognize your own instincts for goodness that overwhelm any darkness that might arise and know the greater is willed by God in you.
Where else would it come from?

NI Human Rights Festival events include ‘The Plight of Congoleses Women’
at Crescent Arts Centre Belfast on 12 Dec 2014 a free event from 5.30 to 7.30pm being organized by Mimi Unamoyo (Empowering BME Women) and NICRAS see http://www.humanrightsfestivalni.com and info@humanrightsfestivalni.org Facebook is /nihrf twitter is @NIHRF or #
This also coincides with the worldpressphoto2014 visiting Belfast in which New Zealander Robin Hammond gave a talk on his campaigns in Africa putting on record the maltreatment of LGBT and Mental Health people with some very harrowing and starkly direct images of these areas and issues as found. If further information is of interest see http://www.robinhammond.co.uk and the other World Press Photo 2014 site http://www.worldpressphoto.org.uk
Which freely upload images for your own personal use.
Any images there can of course be obtained directly from the PhotogrPher credited. The use in conjunction with raising awareness is distinctly an advantage given the directness and the professionalism of the Photographers going to see for themselves and recording it.
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The mental Health Image above is from Robin Hammonds collection.

I have included at the foot of this blog a direct lift of text from http://www.stoprapeinconflict.org/dr_congo
This relates directly to the horrific abuse and sometimes death in conflict and in transit sometimes under the noses of the NGOs.
Europe in the Frame
Even in European countries it is treated as a hidden thing and through it being an indictment against any country seeing itself as forward thinking and a democracy, it is a taint on that countries psyche.

The intolerance is of course as all intolerances due to ignorance.

A basic lack of understanding is at the heart of most all fears and prejudices. They are formed in our heads and the teachings of the communities in which these acts occur are to blame for their contiuance.

Change must happen now and change can happen now.

TRANS RESPECT VERSUS TRANS PHOBIA
WORLDWIDE

THIS IS THE TITLE GIVEN TO THE NETWORK GROUP GLOBALLY
FOR A MORE TRANSPARENT AND INFORMED VIEW OF THE HUGE DIFFICULTIES AND PREJUDICES FACED ALL AROUND THE WORLD

Proof
The feelings for mankind are at the heart of this intolerance as are most gaps in our basic knowledge. Feelings of hatred eminate from the same biology of all of us, only in some it is a malfunction they cannot or will not recognise.

Even as medical advances are made to remove peoples suffering through sophisticated reading of medicines and human physiology there is a primitive lack in the human mind which needs radically confronted through the neurological examinations which conflict with our very existence.

There is no preordained instruction to eradicate anyone of difference.
Instead their is a preordained instruction to love thy neighbour.

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Transgender identity struggles with the many consideration within its community to try to find ways of communicating and Transgender Day of Remembrance is one significant bridge.
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This is a Human Rights blog devoted to Human Rights.
There is also a subsaharan African Website with many contacts and directions on the issues directly.
http://www.derechos.org/human-rights/afr/
There needs to be a bridge. It was at a service held to commemorate the losses of this and past years I was privileged to hear Francis Sheils speak for many thousands, hundreds of thousands of Transgender and LGBT community people who are continually facing prejudice simply on the basis of their sexuality.

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Here is the address on Sunday 16 November 2014 in Belfast by Francis Sheils.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 20/11/2014

In preparing what I was going to say today, I was reminded of a performance event I attended, delivered by an American Quaker friend of mine Peterson Toscano, who besides being a writer and performer is a noted biblical scholar, he also happens to be gay and was researching the Bible for evidence of a loving God who had created him and accepted him in his imperfection.

During this research he continually came across individuals who were not expressing the gender roles typical of their sex and expected at that time in their culture.
He gradually recognised that these individuals were transgressing and transcending the typical gender roles of their times.
One of the characters he examines is Joseph, the 2nd youngest son of Jacob, whose sons went on to found 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Joseph is very different from his brothers, he is described in the text as troubled and having regular dreams. He is his father’s favourite son and he is given a garment by his dad a tetromathazine (please forgive my Hebrew), there is definitive description of the garment , nor meaning for the word tetromathazine.
This is the only place in Genesis where the word appears.
Anyway, one day Joseph is sent out by his father to deliver a message to his brothers, I think they were tending the sheep, and on seeing him the brothers set upon him and gave him a severe beating and tore the garments from him, covered it in his blood and sell him into slavery in Egypt.

Years pass and a famine comes, the crops fail and the brothers go to Egypt to get grain.
They meet Joseph, who by this stage is 2nd in command in Egypt and they don’t recognise him because of all the makeup, finery and jewellery.

What does Joseph do? He doesn’t exact vengeance which would have been the expected act of a Jewish male, an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.
No he acts like the mother hen and protects and feeds his family as only a mother hen would do.

Peterson researched and researched and finally came across the word tetromathazine in one other place, 2nd Samuel where it is used when King David gives his daughter Tamar the garment before she is defiled by her half brother.
It is very clear from this particular passage that the garment is a princess dress given to a virgin daughter on the eve of her wedding.

It is not hard to imagine the same violence being visited on Transgender women today, particularly women of colour, where they are beaten black and blue, their bodies defiled and their clothes destroyed in acts of fury.

I challenge anyone hearing that story not to think of TDoR in future when they hear any of the Lloyd Webber songs from ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is marked each year on the 20th November.
It is the most solemn day of the Transgender calendar.
The day was first marked in the USA in November 1999 to remember those Transgender individuals killed due to prejudice or hatred.

The day raises awareness of hate violence against Transgender individuals, provides a space for public mourning and honours the lives of Transgender individuals who otherwise might be forgotten.
The day was founded in response to the transphobic murder of Rita Heesters on 28/11/1998.

The day is now marked world-wide and in 2013 was formally marked in over 180 cities in 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.

Between 1st October 2013 and 30th September 2014 there were 226 known victims of transphobic murder , not to mention the countless Transgender individuals who took their own lives by suicide that we don’t know of, rather than face the world as their true selves.
Research from a number of studies show that 40% of Transgender individuals attempt suicide at least once before seeking treatment for their Gender Dysphoria (the medical term for Transsexualism – the medical term for the condition that affects us).

Unfortunately for the first time since we began organising this service, we are aware of one young Transgender woman JORDAN HOWE who completed suicide in Northern Ireland earlier this year.

Her friend Capri will be reminding us later of this unique individual whose life was cut too short before she got the chance to let us all see her individual God given talents.

With her family’s permission We are specially dedicating our service today to her memory and ask that you remember her family particularly , that they find solace and can come to terms with their very sad loss when we come to our act of remembrance.

For the past 5 years Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) has been marked by events in Belfast on the actual day 20th November.

Last year for the 3rd time there was also a formal act of worship in All Souls Church in Belfast on the Sunday prior to the day.
We find ourselves gathered here again at the kind invitation of Rev. Chris and the Congregation of All Souls to remember our dead brothers and sisters, no longer with us just because of society’s attitudes towards us.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all but particularly Linda Ballard for making such an effort to accept us into your midst and going out of your way to make us feel part of your community rather than apart from it.

I was at a service recently where the Minister told the story of an old man from Fermanagh who had to leave the family homestead that had been in the family from time immemorial and move into the town as he could no longer look after himself nor the “bastes”.

Anyway he takes his young granddaughter out to see the place and shows her round and he comes to the well that provided water for the family down through all the generations, they’re about to leave when the wee girl asks him, “ Granda, where does God Live?”
He lifts her up over the well and tells her to look down and asks her “What do you see?”
And he replies “ Well that’s where God lives , he lives in everyone of us”

As we move to the more solemn elements of our Remembrance Service today, Let us all remember that God lives in each one of us and in all of those Murdered Transgender individuals and those who have completed suicide.

That completes the address given by Francis Sheils.

The Service was a memorial in dedication of Jordan Howe.

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Innate Goodness
People have, I believe an innate sense of goodness which inhabits the same mind which has the latent urges of self or wider destruction.
This in Religious terms is accepting the flaws exist.

At the forefront of Nazism was a belief in the principle perfection which has
never had a rational nor any element of goodness.
Human nature carries us, not ultimate perfection. Hence our desire to express our community in societies of many shades, colours and unity.

The person who accepts the world for what it is can be truly accepting of all others. It was as Jesus asked of us to believe in the everlasting existence beyond our measure that has within us the ability to do no harm.

That is our simplest task and yet so many go against God and the natural law believing only they can define the world. They wish others to comply with their thoughts. God has not delivered anyone other than Jesus to speak to us. God in human form and we can take Gods wisdom to turn away from hatred and violence.

Nations have survived famine and climatic disaster with the main constituent being the assistance of other nations.

Under Gods law there is enough for all and their is a saying we are all equal under the Sun as we indisputably are under God.
No one can determine their time on earth.

From the record of the http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org website

TRANS MURDER MONITORING PROJECT TDOR 2014

1612 REPORTS OF MURDERED TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS IN

62 COUNTRIES SINCE JANUARY 2008

Murders have taken place in all major WORLD REGIONS

• including Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America and Oceania

• In Europe there have been 90 killings in 13 countries.

• FROM JANUARY 2008 TO SEPTEMBER 2014 THERE HAVE BEEN 6 RECORDED
TRANSPHOBIC MOTIVATED MURDERS IN THE UK.

TDOR UPDATE 2014

226 REPORTED CASES OF REPORTED KILLINGS OF TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS IN

26 COUNTRIES

TDOR 2014 UPDATE

TMM REPORTS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF REPORTED MURDERS OF MINORS SINCE THE PROJECT BEGAN.

HALF HAVE BEEN UNDER 20

TDOR UPDATE 2014
AMONG THE MINORS MURDERED WERE:

A 13 YEAR OLD TRANS GIRL FOUND STRANGLED IN THE CITY OF
MACUBA IN BRAZIL JUNE 9TH 2014

A 14 YEAR OLD TRANS GIRL FOUND STRANGLED IN THE CITY OF IBIPORA ,BRAZIL OCTOBER 15TH 2014

16 YEAR OLD “DWAYNE JONES” WHO WAS KICKED OUT OF HER HOME
AGED 14, AND ON JULY 22ND 2014 ATTENDED FOR THE FIRST TIME A
PARTY IN FEMALE CLOTHING IN ST. JAMES , JAMAICA , WHERE SHE WAS CHASED AND BRUTALLY MURDERED BY PARTY-GOERS, WHO FORMED A MOB, WHEN THEY REALISED SHE WAS A TRANSGENDER PERSON

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Realisation
Help all who feel as Jordan Howe did find through talking to Professional Medical Advisors or through first step conversations with someone who is aware of the problems Transgender people face, find the strength to come to the conclusion they are equal to anyone they care to mention and have around them more who love them than would ever hate them.

In fact the people who are closest in your own society support you and continue to strive to make things better for everyone in their community and the world. You too are a part of that journey.
That is the vast majority of people’s standard reaction.
Because you cannot read it, or it is not apparent does not make it false.
The perception can be as damaging as the image it creates in your head.

A clear head may not be yours presently which is all the more reason to develop a conversation to get to the heart of your selfs journey.
There will be someone fully ware of the issues you are dealing with and can with a clear head guide you.
The fact is the ability to deal with issues that arise are becoming more clear to society and clarification of what is a complex part of ones identity is highly advanced given the right advice.

This in itself is not advice but a personal viewpoint which in itself seeks to guide you towards those with a very proven appreciation of Transgender identity and the advice is freely given.

A first point of call would be your own GP who should know specialist advisors and the service providers on Gender related issues.

http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org

The website mentioned above is primarily dealing with the issue of Public Information and Education.

There are other websites which will deal with the more direct issues of Transgender identity. The clear message is that there are very many aspects to the help and sharing concerns which can be addressed and dealt with by people whose experience far outweighs any individual. The raft of information is of itself something which can help greatly.

The fact is Trans respect versus Trans phobia is a means of creating Public awareness and is the paradigm, the model to communicate.
It has links to local groups and shares histories and a catalogue of very conscious experience on related Gender matters.

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For the memory of Jordan Howe TDoR 20 November 2014.

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The people who do not understand, simply do not understand.
It is up to society to adjust not the other way round.
Wherever you go in the world build bridges and take the message of inclusiveness with you. It is basically Gods Message.

Jesus sat down with all who he found to be vulnerable and ill at ease.
He assured them of the way of The Lord who would walk alongside and deliver them from all evil. It is Gods wish we talk amongst each other to know the way.

John Graham

20 November 2014

Belfast

Further events and Notices

SEXUAL ORIENTATION AWARENESS TRAINING

DATE
09/12/2014
TIME
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
LOCATION
HERE NI, Belfast
PRICE
Free
CATEGORIES
Talks
EVENT DESCRIPTION
This training organised by HERE NI will give participants a chance to talk openly about sexual orientation, it will run through some of the effects of homophobia on LGBTQ people and will give participants valuable information on language, changing attitudes and how to be more inclusive.
To register for this event contact: cara.mccann@hereni.org by Friday 5th December.

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

DATE
09/12/2014
TIME
4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
LOCATION
Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings Stormont, Belfast
PRICE
Free
CATEGORIES
Talks
EVENT DESCRIPTION
This transgender Human Rights mini conference presented by Focus: The Identity Trust will examine gender recog­nition legislation in the UK and the Republic of Ireland and will also examine all areas of the lives of transgender and intersex individuals where they experience difficulty in accessing and enjoying the same basic human rights as the rest of society. Meave Mc Laughlin MLA Chair of the Health committee and Focus Identity Trust are delighted to welcome keynote speakers Lord Carlile and Aengus O’Snodaigh TD, who both proposed the first ever gender recognition bills in their own jurisdiction.
To register for this event contact: info@thefocustrust.com

There are many many more events on so check out the website to see what you can engage with.

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Despite the war formally ending with a peace agreement almost a decade ago, the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to be embroiled in a violent and deadly conflict. Having claimed at least 5.4 million lives since the outbreak of war in 1998, the country has also received the unwelcome distinction as the rape capital of the world.

Its strategic importance, as well as bountiful natural resources—raw minerals, land, and fresh water—are a longstanding source of tension within the Congo. The 1994 Rwandan Genocide, which brought an influx of 1.5 million people over the border into North and South Kivu, exacerbated preexisting hostilities in the area. Disputes over citizenship and land ownership only compounded ethnic rivalries and weak governance structures.

“We are always send by our chiefs who tells us “Do this!” Despite your refusal they oblige you to do it; otherwise you will be beaten seriously. As a result, you will do it unwittingly. And you can even rape because of that.” Rape in War: Motives of Militia in DRC, United States Institute of Peace, 2010

Aging Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko had been aggravating inequality among the population, throwing the country into a steep economic decline over time. An uprising born in the eastern provinces, supported by Rwanda and Uganda, seized the fragile moment and moved rapidly on the capital. Yet, new President Laurent Kabila soon gained the wrath of his foreign allies, embroiling the entire region into a continental war in 1998.

While a peace agreement in 2002 was to end to the fighting, violence still characterizes daily life. Especially in North and South Kivu provinces, Congolese rebels and foreign groups remain active and significant military operations by the state have been launched in recent years. In northeastern Province Orientale, there has been renewed fighting with the incursion of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

More than 400,000 women ages 15 to 49 experienced rape between 2006 and 2007 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That is equivalent to 1,152 women raped every day, 48 women raped every hour, or four women raped every five minutes. If Numbers Could Scream: Estimates and Determinants of Sexual Violence in the Republic of the Congo, American Public Health Association, 2011

Efforts were made to demobilize and integrate fighters into a new Congolese force or reintegrate them into communities, yet the project has faced a massive challenge. Continuing violence provides an incentive to return to old allegiances, with numerous desertions from the army and program. The attraction of mineral wealth has posed an additional challenge and provided extra income to rebel groups, armed gangs, and major political players alike—further aggravating institutional disorder which provides ideal circumstances for committing widespread human rights violations without punishment.

Rape and gender violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo has been marked by extreme brutality including rape, gang rape, genital mutilation, sexual slavery, and insertion of objects into cavities.

“You know, [rape] is also because of the suffering from being hungry, not having anything, living like animals [tozovivre lokola banyama] … Even the dogs here eat better than us! We were hungry yesterday, today hungry and tomorrow hungry [nzala lobi, nzala lelo, nzala lisusu lobi]. Also when we get it, you should see it: look at this! [pointing to plate with dark fufu on the ground]. When we get something this is what we get. Not even the pigs would eat it. Also, is this food for soldiers in combat who have to walk long distances and carry heavy weapons? It also makes people angry and anger makes you want to do bad stuff. Rape is also part of that. But it is not good.” The Complexity of Violence: a critical analysis of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nordic Africa Institute, 2010

As the conflict is fought within communities, violence occurs mostly in homes, villages, and in the fields where people work. Communities are often targeted for conspiring with the enemy or are looted after a skirmish. The Congolese security forces have also been known to loot (and commit acts of sexual violence on the civilian population) due to unpaid salaries or during mutinies against officers. All sides in the conflict have committed systematic rape and gender violence including the foreign-backed groups, local rebels, community-based militia—the Mai Mai, as well as the Congolese state forces.

Reasons for rape by armed men, whether belonging to the government army, rebel group or foreign-backed group, are varied. These include systematic humiliation to counter men’s growing frustration at deteriorating status in society, to breed insecurity and fear in communities, and Mai Mai members have additionally stated that rape provides “magical powers” before combat.

The incidence of rape remains highest in areas where military operations take place, yet there has been a sharp rise in gender violence throughout the whole of the country. The severe gender imbalance, with prevailing impunity, has allowed for a society where rape is acceptable and unpunished. Domestic violence, rape by former troops living within communities, and by men in positions of power—including police officers—is common. Survivors still lack comprehensive support, and are often too ashamed and fearful to come forward.

“The majority of women were attacked in their own homes and most attacks happened during the evenings and nights. This pattern is in contrast to that found in other recent conflicts in Africa, where rape is reported primarily when women go out in search of water or firewood, when they are farming their fields or when their village is attacked.” Now the World is Without Me: An Investigation of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative & Oxfam, 2010

Data to document the prevalence of male rape is being gathered, yet male survivors are still often silent, with little access to medical or psychosocial support. Testimonies point to an increase of systematic male rape with military operations in 2009—the last push by Congo to remove foreign forces from the Kivu region.

Impunity reigns within the Democratic Republic of Congo, and despite the government’s acknowledgement that its own security forces constitute one of the main groups of perpetrators, comprehensive reforms to the security sector have not been enacted. Known perpetrators of mass human rights violations remain within the army and major hurdles remain to provide the Congolese with a security force that is a protector rather than an instigator of gender violence.

Best Wishes and Thank you for getting to the bottom of my blog completed this Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014.

Remembrance Sunday : 2014

100 years Never forget the Sacrifices
Never forget the only Sacrifice which
will save us from this senseless cycle
of needless wanton destruction of
human life in all its forms.
Forgive the stranger and destroy
the sin within the sinner.
The Saviour will be alongside
Neither above nor below.
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A poem of reflection for all losses.

The Great Lie

Alderwood station, the train has stopped,
Quietness, stillness on a line, the platform’s edge.
Looking out the the open window, strap down, countryside
Other view, murmurations of starlings over the station roof,
city side flock across the skies, faint birdsong, in cover,
heard in the woods, earth smells drift, horses chomp the grass
Susan returns, “Two coffins are being unloaded”
Their heaviness a trolley bears, where once their feet would pace
along this platform, to Lord’s to see the batting of W.G.Grace
Now the shaft of light, serrated edge of canopy, cutting angular
across the beaded village nameplate, no longer summoning
now ending, their journeys decree no longer ineluctable fate.
Family flesh, blood circulating like warm tea replenishing.
Dinner would not be taken, shared conversations uncast.
Instead the sun heats the Church stone, the glass reflects intact,
The gravedigger has marked the plots, friends not brothers,
Sharing their dreadful waste, heads still, eyelids forever shut,
Ceaseless, senseless bloody war has us on this spot
Their lives like classroom history shared, had shared,
Fresh books in decades depict this age, this loss so great,
Each a witness to the others courage at war and on the pitch.
The dead have done, a much as they can do,
the dead are gone, soul adrift, none equal in this rest,
Sons and daughters betrayed by guns and low treachery,
The train driver lifts the safety catch, departure,
Our lives they trundle on.

John Graham
November 9 2014

Lilting : A Film Review

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Director: Hong Khaou, cast: Ben Whishaw, Cheng Pei Pei, Naomi Christie, Andrew Leung, Peter Bowles, : 1hr 31mins
Six Characters Bound Together.

Around Grief
This film is a chamber piece in the sense it contains its story in a tightly bound cast.
Pivotal is Kai (Andrew Leung) who is killed by a car as he is walking to meet his mother, the Chinese-Cambodian mother Junn (Cheng Pei Pei)
Richard (Ben Whishaw) is introduced as the partner of Kai.
This unsettling event turns everything upside down.
Grief is overwhelming to Richard as he dresses in some of Kai’s clothes and draws himself closer to his unknown almost, nemesis Junn whose own world is now without family or domestic reference with her still being in the sheltered manor house chosen as a temporary refugee.
The three had shared a house, Richard as a housemate. Kai has placed his own imprint on.

It is a split level cut back to the brick Camden Lock type location. Kai is confident hence the imprint which is only partially Chinese in character with line drawing prints.
His identity is sharply European Chinese while Richard relies on his sense of self and internalises his British character. His way with things is however intense and some have called this magnetic.
It so happens the confines of this MICROWAVE budgeted film, apparently made for £120,000, are life as bonsai.The BBC Films might account for some lead funding. Few locations are used and the pace is very sedate.
The cast is strong and Kai’s mother Junn has an awful time with this strange country the family arrived in many years back.
Language is a silent barrier
Unbeknownst – language is the most infuriating part of their lives, all of their lives, it is intensely suffocating in a lot of the film – Junn has no inkling of her sons predisposition which itself is not normal but possibly cultural.
To Junn, Richard and Kai’s relationship is not the “best friends” tag used often.
England as Pastoral.
The home she stays in is semi rural with a sweeping drive and lawns.
It actually could be off Hanger Lane or up to esturial Essex is so Manor House pastiche.
Hong Khaou insists on showing several quite still frames of frosted fields and trees linear and controlled edging a sweet comforting vision of this England. Junn mentions how Kai’s father thought the NHS and clean water were heaven sent. There is this adoration but this is a frozen picture of life here and it is for Junn almost a vacuum.
The saxifrage family of plants are touched upon again symbolic.
Like the aspidistra is symbolic of Lancashire house plants in seedy lodgings run by lacey landladies.
Mixed Flashbacks
With Kai having died the story has to make him the central character in absentia and the relationships with his mother and Richard are frequently revisited. The effect to begin with disturbs the progress of elements often making it ‘stilted’ and a broken cadence which only improves as pieces of the small number of characters bring tone and their own presence after the first cluster of pieces. Kai has temporarily moved his mother into a sheltered time shifted, 50’s, shared manor house savouring the period of the occupants youth with G plan furniture and few modern signals.
Junn is like a Koi fish swimming in circles around surreal features and odd people doing crosswords and reading pat fiction.
Lothario in Flannels (those trousers with a permanent crease)
Time hangs heavy and when Kai visits Junn’s dislike of the best friend is strongly divisive in their already troubled relationship it exposed the isolation felt by Junn.
Kai has no real answer except the promise of this arrangement being temporary. She mentions the fellow house mate, an Englishman, Alan, (Peter Bowles) one oddly sympathises with this fulsome actors appearance as a nearly empty vessel plodding through an ill-fitting part, others may disagree depending on their familiarity with his other more suave manifestations. The Lothario sends her flowers and she is genuinely grateful of the attention.
Cheng Pei Pei
She in a former film life known as the Queen of Chinese Martial Arts in Hong Kong at least, which the intensely demure inactive or her playing is remarkably at odds with here given the Crouching Tiger identity.
Junn is an elegant fresh faced creature of a settled disposition, a kind of Judy Dench, distinctly not Helen Mirren coquettish phenomenon or a Joanna Lumley (whose age remains the same?) Junn is a soft kitten who dislikes the more physical side of Alan’s attention. She puts up with it and Richard has found a young Chinese Interpreter. Vann (Naomi Christie), who acts instantly as the joining go-between. Her work in this side story is entwined with Richards own need to communicate and show his willingness to help.
Vann (Naomi Christie), has no emotional baggage but becomes involved in the hallucinosis grief brings into the life’s of those touched by the loss of Kai.

For young people grief can be very, very, challenging to put into place.

 

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Has it happened for a reason is the main question asked by them and all ages. Is it my turn next? Invincibility exists in films only or the books and stories they trace and depict.
For youth it seems so meaningless and arbitrary. IT has no value but every value ever present. All life is defined by it and to say it is ever present is to state its obvious cocooning of us in a human relation with others whose fragility we recognise and see reflections in.
Currently what do we see? We see murderers walk the streets, we see death visit the house nearby or in someone we are close to pressing on the mirror.
Noticing their breath appear. Then moving off to a funeral to pay tribute to the person past. We see the taking of the lives of children, of young soldiers rounded up and summarily executing while pleading for their lives. We see musicians, entertainers, actresses and scientists et al leave the stage of dreams and leaving us a legacy.
All in the end is Harvest
Nations do not distinguish death but poets and writers can and do celebrate the inhibition filling the mind before it laments into memory.
Eurydice by Edith Sitwell has the above line.
Love is not changed by Death,
And nothing is lost and all in the end is harvest.

Junn experiences loss and cannot express it.
In Eurydice Edith Sitwell places a conjecture on the continuity of love. Her sense of the immensity of love in the person tends to put affection, touch, compassion, companionship locus in quo. It was, now the love carries on without the physical body and the mind must expand into the newness and reshape that love to actually produce feelings of consequence.
It is how Edith Sitwell grasps the concept so simply.

The prolonged life beyond times measure.
One of the finer writers on this for me happens to be the philosopher Bertrand Russell. His logic consists I think of the immeasurable infinite reach of death. He Does not draw the afterlife as the bible prophesies of an oracular kind. Being a non-sententious person he knows no less than anyone so celebrates the portion that brings last breath. Where the life was and where it began is all that matters truly. The infinity of truth is the widest dream.
The Word is wise beyond our realm. It is summoned from the old world.
The ancient forms of life that drew life short replaceable but not renewable.
Edith Sitwell envisages us as cells that disintegrate, become parts of other things, remain elemental. The name Edith has as its derivation Old English of a conflicted triangle – meaning Happy, Rich and War.
Back on the subject of language William Morris described being bereft of your ‘speech-friend‘ harrowing to the extent holding a conversation with someone was like asking a favour.
Shakespeare’s words from Macbeth proclaim
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’erfraught heart, and bids it break.

And finally Bertrand Russell from The Conquest of Happiness…’ Surmount all misfortunes by the emergence after each blow of an interest in life and the world which cannot be narrowed down so much as to make one loss fatal. ….all our affections are at the mercy of death, ….our lives should not have that narrow intensity which puts the whole meaning and purpose of life at the mercy of accident.

Conclusion ### 3
For the film to take on the subject is very commendable. The problem arises in not being connected with the drama emotionally. Playing with distractions of editing and vocal speakover fragments and disorientates without sufficient forward story telling it became irratatingly. Frame on frame an stop frame content was a bit mind numbingly tedious.
A death of film took place at times. I am reminded of the question asked by Levi-Strauss (Claude) ‘Is mine the only voice to bear witness to the impossibility of escapism.’ Hence Liltings trap. His world of remnants as Edith Sitwell similarly adjudged. He also wrote ‘all cultural forms are ‘necessary illusions’, systems of signification substituted for experiences that cannot be communicated, cannot be known directly, however they are lived. Lilting leaves us bereft of the filling of the void and only through the personal experience shall reality seem present and that through indirectness being conceived. The dilemmas are convincing and generously portrayed with a slight shortfall in atmosphere; the cinematography is a mix of designed approaches maybe imposed through direction but it lacked a cohesive feel. I would recommend this film purely on the basis of the very present subject infiltrating everyone’s lives and this assured story, the film less obviously delivering it, takes us along the path of awareness and sympathy for the grief accompanying the people of all nations.
It is partially subtitled and principally played in English.
It should be received well in China if the generalisations are not to great to be acceptable.

 

John Graham

8 August 2014

Belfast

QFT from Friday 15 August (@6.40pm) also on earlier on the Saturday/Sunday @5.40pm then back to 6.40pm on the Monday then to the following Thursday 21 August 2014 all remaining @ 9.00/9.10pm.
Can’t believe I flagged up the times! See QFT for further details!

Also expect a screening by the BBC but everyone KNOWS how superior the Cinema experience is and it is even more comfortable in the newly refurbished Screen 2.

Be sure to mix your screen experience between the above more somber and more esoteric – The Deamers, Two days One night, Bad timing, The Shout, Naked Lunch and Kon-Tiki to name a few coming soon to QFT.

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