Monthly Archives: March 2014

Curated – ‘Empire and the Liberation of Veiled Women: Lutz & Collins’ by Maximillian Forte

Sometimes I feel like a more general version of Fallout 3’s narrator, endlessly drawling “Stuff. Stuff never changes.”

Case in point: this article, which addresses what seems to be a fundamental aspect of Western foreign interference – the justification of meddling in foreign countries by the touted aim of protecting women and raising them from subjugation. With direct efficiency it reveals how this rhetoric has been in use since there was a need to justify European imperialism abroad, and the value of the emotive appeal appears to be such that it is still being used to justify our modern Afghan adventuring. What’s thoroughly depressing about all this is that, even though 2 centuries have gone by, that rhetoric remains as completely hypocritical as ever.

Still, it would be wrong to succumb to a vision of a present dominated by the past. Things do change – not much and not quickly, but they do. Established norms may be so deeply entrenched in the way we think that today’s counterinsurgents deploy strategies invented over a century ago by French imperialists, but that does not make them incontestable. 600 years ago usury was a sin, only practised in London by a foreign minority (Lombard Street was named for these Italian pioneer-bankers). Now it’s the basis of the city’s (and by proxy, Britain’s) whole economy. It takes a lot to break mankind’s train of thought, but it’s possible, and given the type of norms we’re currently saddled with, worth any effort to do.

Tagged , , , ,

Reel Talk Episode 22 – Danny Dyer Sit On My Bed


This week I talked for a bit about Tune for Two, a masterpiece of short filmmaking. FilmCritHulk talks about how the greatest virtue of the short is economy, conveying your observation with as much directness (not bluntness – films always require elegance no matter their length) as possible, and by that measure Tune for Two is a total success. With one location, one scenario and no speech, two men act out a truth as harrowing to the soul as any conveyed by a full-length tragedy. This is a film made deftly. The empty monochrome environs  birth a chill, clear atmosphere fit for bleak honesty. The sound design refrains from emphasising the feelings of the men, sensibly deciding that an unadorned truth is more convincing, but a ringing at the beginning and a hollowness in the ending song perfectly set up and perpetuate the dislocation brought by the truth. The desperation and hesitation of the men is genuine. Tune for Two makes a point more developed than many a feature’s observation, and does so in less than 3 minutes. I cannot stress enough how great an achievement that is. Watch it.

Tune for Two was mentioned as part of a Favourite’s Favourites talking about the odd gems we like to show our friends, the centrepiece of a Reel Talk PACKED with varied film discussion. From Bubba Ho Tep to Old Joy, from Freerunner (a Danny Dyer movie of truly special shittiness) to Yeelen (a movie about a magician in 13th century Mali – which I need to see ASAP), from Nymphomaniac to Raising Arizona, Reel Talk brings you a film review smorgasbord. Dig in at the link below, or subscribe on iTunes!


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Curated – ‘Baghdad, Utopia’ by Mend Mariwany

‘Onlookers might see the exile as exotic, as if displacement were a charming aesthetic effect. As if all the exile wants is for memory to be satisfied by its physical object, home. But in exile you never just remember Baghdad, you think with Baghdad. Your multiple lives, here and there, negotiate with and challenge one another. It isn’t the geographic “here” that determines your life, but neither is it the “there” of memory. Exile reveals the map to be the real fantasy. The multiple and concurrent places you’re in — the here, the liminal in-between, the feeling of “elsewhere” — all battle for supremacy. You’re a mirage, or a horizon.’

The great unsolved problem of the volume of content on the Internet is that beauty is often a trait of fragments, and these are too easily lost within the mass of online words. Well, in this small net-corner I’m going to try to preserve some bits and pieces, starting with the above paragraph. I’m currently thinking a lot about diaspora and identity, thanks to writing projects conducted within university and without, and these words from Mend Mariwany perfectly articulate the experience of diaspora that I intend to build characters on. You can read the full article by following the link below:


Tagged , ,

Reel Talk Episode 21: Metaphorical Manhood

This blog-cast-update is a bit late…so late in fact that there’ll be a new podcast in a couple of days. That may even be good news, if you can take a concentrated dose of our nattering.

So! This week we skim over a bunch of news (Incredibles 2 is generally approved of, Cars 3 receives a ‘meh’, all that jazz) and then we get into some reviews. Pete & I delve into the disappointing Zero Theorem, and the need for all new writers to realise that we are not Charlie Kaufman. Then Zhana joins in and we gush lovingly over the gorgeous sights and eerie sounds of Under the Skin.

Also, for those who love rants, man. Pete has a doozy for you this week.

Listen to all that by clicking the link below, or subscribe on itunes!

And follow us on twitter maybe?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reel Talk Episode 20 – Superbirds and Wes Anderson Playsets

It turns out Pete can’t even dream up a movie without providing his thoughts on it.

From then on it’s mostly news (with yet more live action Jungle Book discussion), a Favourite’s Favourites on the movies we hate, and some general ramblings about how good the Grand Budapest Hotel is. Pete gets mad about 2012, Zhana slams Nicholas Sparks and explains her sexual preferences, I claim immunity for an opinion and emphasise how badass the honey badger is, and Special Guest Pavi takes us through the horrors of Love Actually. Listen to all this on iTunes, or by clicking the link below!

Also, if you like you can follow us all on twitter at the links below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reel Talk Episode 19 – Fingerprint Bums

It’s an episode of cosy rambling this week. Zhana takes charge in a new retrospective feature, looking back at a couple of films from director Alain Resnais, in the context of his life and place in the French New Wave. Pete brings the news, and expresses a liking for Evil Dead, while I try to invent a new Firefly-based sitcom. I feel the concept just needs the right backer…

Oh and the Oscars happened. Give us a listen below or subscribe through iTunes!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,