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Guest Post - Film Interviews/Essays

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.25.18

Nick S. writes: In the STBY thread JRoth appreciated the interview with Boots Riley which had been published on rogerebert.com. It reminded me that they often have good interviews/essays, but they drop off the front page quickly, so it's easy to miss them. Here are a couple of others that I've noted.

I: An interview with Debra Granik about Leave No Trace

Granik calls the daily perils of the unconventional lifestyle, adopted by Will and Tom, "alternative stakes." "I want to be part of a movement that helps re-establish that stakes can be more diverse," she reflects.

...

In a lot of ways, "Leave No Trace" is a pretty political film, maybe quietly so. You deal with issues around veterans, the hardships or everyday Americans, the living-off-the-grid and from-the-land attitude, and so on.

Most stories will actually have some kind of political resonance. And then even if we don't plan on it, we'll bring that to [the table], right? We'll bring assumptions about someone's race or their ethnicity on screen. I like to create stories where I'm not foreclosing the option to consider in an open-minded way. One of my jobs as a storyteller, in the way that I self-describe my job, is to engender some kind of consideration or empathy; to ask some questions that at least make you motivated to want to understand another person. Something about what they've lived through, what they think about.

II: An overview of the career of Laura Dern.

"The Tale," debuting on HBO on May 26, is documentary filmmaker Jennifer Fox's narrative retelling of her experience, and an emotionally searing look at how people process their abuse. The casting of Dern, one of the most adventurous actresses working today, feels apropos, given the performer's willingness to walk a constant emotional high-wire act and her recent hot streak that includes, but is not limited to, "Enlightened," "Wild," "Big Little Lies," the "Twin Peaks" revival, and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." It's also an instructive text when looking at Dern's body of work, a career filled with stories of women who have either experienced or witnessed unbearable trauma and who are trying to find the meaning behind it all.

III: A sympathetic article about a Dario Argento horror film (which I'd never heard of before reading this):

As bizarre as all of this may sound in the recounting, it is nothing compared to seeing [ Suspiria ] play out on the big screen. Having more or less obeyed the rules of proper narrative development in his previous works, Argento decided to cast all of those notions aside for "Suspiria" in order to provide viewers with an overwhelming experience of pure sensation, to help suggest a world where even the most seemingly mundane things--ranging from a dance school to a trip through an airport--hint at pure malevolence lurking beneath seemingly normal facades. The best way to approach it is to look at the entire thing as a dark and decidedly adult version of the fairy tales that we all heard as children. After all, this is a film that literally opens on a dark and stormy night and includes other familiar tropes, such as dark forests, witches, spells and a pure and innocent heroine. Although Argento used Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" as a model for the film's visuals, there is the sense that it helped influence the story as well. This all might not make a lot of sense in hindsight, especially if you are trying to explain it to someone else, but it does maintain a certain dreamlike logic that keeps the film moving along without spiraling out of control.

 

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Guest Post - China Snippets

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.24.18

LW writes: Aside from the glimpse of the next generation's future in Xinjiang, here's two items:

First, law and order-- Queen Victoria is reported to have named her Pekinese "Looty".

Second, work-life balance:
BGI employees employees are forbidden from having heart bypass surgery. Click here for two more weird rules they get to follow!

Heebie's take: (I mistakenly deleted some guest post submissions over the summer. If I ever totally ignore your submission, please ping me, because I'm a flake but definitely always appreciate your guest submissions.)


 

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Guest Post - I love science

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.24.18

Mossy Character writes: In case you missed it, we now live in the Late Holocene Meghalayan Age.

The Late Holocene Meghalayan Age, newly-ratified as the most recent unit of the Geologic Time Scale, began at the time when agricultural societies around the world experienced an abrupt and critical mega-drought and cooling 4,200 years ago.
[...]
The convergence of stratigraphy and human cultural evolution is extraordinary, according to Professor Martin Head, a geologist at Brock University in Canada and Chair of the International Commission on Quaternary Stratigraphy.
[...]
Those intervals of sedimentary strata on which the ages are based are referred to as stages, and together the strata of three new stages comprise the Holocene Series. The lower boundary of the Greenlandian and Northgripppian stages are defined at specific levels in Greenland ice cores. The lower boundary of the Meghalayan Stage is defined at a specific level in a stalagmite from a cave in northeast India. The ice cores and the stalagmite are now identified as international geostandards, and have been placed in protected archives accessible for further study.

Heebie's take: It's a very pretty stalagmite!


 

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Advisors

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.23.18

How bout a Ronell thread?


 

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No mots.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.22.18

Ugh I can't think of anything interesting to post about. Everything is just depressing in straightforward ways. There's no disagreement here about masses fleeing Venezuela on foot or racist principals banning African-American hairstyles.

My life isn't yielding any personal bon mots offhand either to offer up. I've recently started a blockwalking routine to register voters in my neighborhood, and I loathe it so much, but I feel like the opportunity is too great to pass up. This area has been under-GOTV'd and under-registered that it's just, geographically, low-hanging fruit. And it was only 107° today (not that I'd blockwalk in the middle of the afternoon heat). Classes started for me earlier this week. I've got some additional responsibilities that are annoying, which I'll save for the comments.

Maybe just complain in this thread.


 

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Manafort, Cohen, etc

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.21.18

I read the news today, oh boy.

(Sorry.)


 

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Reading Group: Elements of Surprise

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.21.18

Anyone interested in a reading group on Elements of Surprise? It's got eight chapters and an introduction, so maybe a chapter a week, for two months?

(For more recent commenters, the author is a longtime friend of the blog, but probably won't show up here to contribute. It's a safe bet to say the book will be excellent, without knowing much about it yet.)

Updated to add: Here's a list of spoiler warnings of specific books discussed in Tobin's book. In case you want to participate in the reading group and watch the Sixth Sense for the first time unhampered, you probably have a couple weeks while everyone acquires the book and gets going.


 

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Guest Post - Baby Steps

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.20.18

Mossy Character writes: Of major fishing countries only Norway has ratified, and 10 ratifications for entry into force is a low bar, presumably indicating how little threatened are the powers that be. Nonetheless:

The first detention of a fishing vessel under the provisions of the International Labour Organization's Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188), has taken place.
[...]
"Only two of the crew members had work agreements and there was not even a crew list," explains Thelma Paul. "The lifebuoys were to be replaced because they were rotten, the anchors were not operational and one was even missing. Health and safety conditions were generally very poor."
[...]
South Africa is one of ten countries to have ratified Convention No. 188, and it has put in place a system to inspect both South African and foreign vessels for compliance with the Convention's requirements.
[...]
Vessels from countries that have not ratified the Convention also can be inspected.

Heebie's take: Starting school again always makes me feel a little down in the dumps. I like teaching much better after the first week is over. In addition, the heat will be miserable through September, and it will still feel like summer until November, and that all makes me cranky. (I am in favor of better working conditions for fishers.)


 

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