Sunday, May 27, 2018

The May #WATWB Edition: A Loud & Clear Yes for Women! #IrelandReferendum

My original WATWB post was drafted and ready to go early this month, for a change—and then I found out somewhere that Ireland was due to vote Friday on a referendum for legalizing abortion, and on a whim I decided to hold the post until the results came in. I wasn't very hopeful, given Ireland's long history of religious bias against women (this is, after all, the country where divorce was not just impossible but unconstitutional up until 1996!), but... what if it did happen? Wouldn't that be the mother (pardon the pun) of all extraordinarily good news?

Against all odds, history was made. In a landslide vote, Ireland has repealed the Eight Amendment of their constitution to make abortion legal. The foremost Catholic country of the West has—finally!—recognized that a woman's body is her own, not a breeding machine over which the state, or anyone else, has any jurisdiction.

"This vote is about a rejection of an Ireland that treated women as second-class citizens."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

On Body and Soul (Teströl és lélekröl): Reviews from the 2017 Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

On Body and Soul (Teströl és lélekröl), Ildikó Enyedi, Hungary, 2017
Closing Film (Sun Apr 9, 2017, 22:00)

I was a little wary of this one; the description mentions "a slaughterhouse in Budapest is the setting of a strangely beautiful love story", and—well, watching animals die, let alone in a systematized, 'commercially viable' way is low on my list of things I find entertaining. But the festival people were pretty convincing, and we ended up getting tickets.

Yes, the slaughterhouse isn't toned down or disguised, and a good portion of it plays a key part in the development of the story. And since the film is in Hungarian, it wasn't like I could look away during those gory scenes; I tried to read the subtitles as fast as possible, to train my eyes to focus only on the subs and ignore the images (it's more difficult than you might think; the eye wants to follow movement, make sense of the colors and shapes), but there were some spots, maybe one or two, when I did look away completely, and subs be damned.

But it was worth it.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Arábia: Reviews from the 2017 Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

Arábia (Araby), João Dumans & Affonso Uchoa, 2017 (Uruguay)
Sunday, April 9th, 2017, 18:15

A story within a story, both of them riveting, this film is a journey of loss and nostalgia, of social injustice—but also, most poignantly, of hope and joy and the beauty of a simple life. It's a hard film with a soft heart; a story of love and poverty, of hope and its clash with reality.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Donkeyote: Reviews from the 2017 Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

Sunday, April 9th, 2017, 14:15

To this day I'm still not sure whether it was a documentary or fiction, or a mix of both. It's catalogued as a documentary, but it feels like fiction. Something magical-realist here. A quirky film, certainly—but endearingly, maybe even wisely, so. And how could it not be? The wordplay in the title isn't just a tongue-in-cheek throwback to the Cervantes classic; this film is a subtle tribute to the Dreamer, a modern reminder, perhaps even a revival, of the Quijote and its magic: the mask of satire that slips and reveals nostalgia underneath, the whistle-in-the-dark laughter at the expense of old age, the self-deprecating dig at our own idealism—and the sudden spark of hope that maybe the impossible dream really isn't all that impossible.

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