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Showing posts from October, 2016

Park Chan Wook’s technically executed "The Handmaiden" follows Amazon's orders

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By Moira Sullivan


Park Chan Wook’s “Mademoiselle (Agassi, South Korea)” - "The Handmaiden" in its US Theatrical release, is a skillfully made narrative on sexual bondage during the Japanese colonization of South Korea in the 1930's. Set designer Ryu Seong-hie won the “Vulcain Prize For An Artist Technician” at the Cannes Film Festival in May 22, one of the top prizes for technical achievement, a prize that is seldom given. The set designer also worked on Park Chan Wook’s “Oldboy” and “Thirst” and is definitely a brilliant craftsperson who brings high quality to film. The virtues of Ryu Seong-hie’s work shines through and at first glance the film is so exquisitely composed that for a moment the Palme d’Or comes to mind. 
However, for that to succeed there has to be more cohesion than just set design, for neither Park Chan Wook nor 2013 Palme d'Or recipient Abdellatif Kechiche (who directed "La Vie d' Adele -Blue is the Warmest Color") have shown themselve…

Sônia Braga in Cannes selection "Aquarius"

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By Moira Sullivan


Aquarius directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho was part of the official lineup of the recent Cannes Film Festival. The contemplative and well-crafted film rests on the laurels of Brazilian actress Sônia Braga who plays Clara, a 66-year-old woman who has lived in the same apartment for over 25 years. A management firm has persuaded everyone in the Aquarius building to move out so that they can presumably demolish it and put up a new one - all except Clara and her housekeeper. The film is divided into three parts ‘O Cabelo de Clara” (Clara’s Hair), ‘O Amor de Clara’ (Clara’s Love), and ‘O Câncer de Clara’, Clara’s Cancer.
Aquarius opens with a series of black and white stills of the Boa Viagem beach front in Recife during the 1980’s, tree lined, spacious, a few cars notably several VW Beetles and the foreboding presence of many high rise apartment buildings. The opening song “Hoje” (Today) accompanying the photos is written by Brazilian singer/songwriter Taiguara whose work…

United Nations Film Festival screens powerful documents on world issues today and yesterday

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By Moira Sullivan

Once again it is that time of year for the United Nations Film Festival, a collection of 60 films from around the world that have been created to help make our world a better place to live in. Many of the films this year are directed by women. The films will screen in venues in San Francisco and Palo Alto from Oct 20-30.
The countries for the 19th edition include Afghanistan, Cuba, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, ,Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, and the US. Some of the topics this year are climate change, the impact of industrial and military ocean noise on whales, efforts to restore violins recovered from the Holocaust, Islamic seminars for children, refugees using the power of theater, and the historic inspiration to the Black Lives Matter movement today.
Agents of Change will screen 10/26 directed by Abby Ginzberg and Frank Dawson which traces protests on over 1000 college campuses around the world in the 60’s forcivil rights and black power. Many of these students went …

Southwest of Salem - human rights violation of Latino lesbians

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By Moira Sullivan

The title of this film about four women who were put in prison and sentenced to long terms:Southwest Of Salem: The Story Of The San Antonio Four accurately describes how a Texas judge and those who testified against these four Latina lesbians were involved in a homophobic witchhunt. Their outrageous sentences - 37 years of imprisonment for one women and 15 years for the other three amounts to a hate crime. The womendid not plea bargain and have all served 15 years.