21 May 2021

Film review: The Help (2011) by Tate Taylor, *****

Synopsis

The #1 New York Times bestseller by Kathryn Stockett comes to vivid life through the powerful performances of a phenomenal ensemble cast. Led by Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help is an inspirational, courageous and empowering story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project — one that breaks society’s rules and puts them all at risk.

Filled with poignancy, humor and hope — and complete with compelling, never-before-seen bonus features — The Help is a timeless, universal and triumphant story about the ability to create change.

Review

We are taken by our hand into the southern USA in the 1960s, when the civil rights movement was reaching its peak. Black helpers at home are treated little better than their slaves grandparents, but in their small way these ladies begin to change things.

Unfortunately the problem just won't go away, and there is still much racism in the southern US fifty years after Martin Luther King, even after a black American has been elected president. 

You an also buy the book.


18 May 2021

Film review: Wadjda (2012) by Reem Abdullah, *****


Synopsys

A rebellious Saudi Arabian girl hatches a plan to get her hands on the bicycle she craves in this coming-of-age story from first time director Haifaa Al-Mansour. 

Living within a conservative suburb of Riyadh, fun-loving eleven-year-old Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) has her heart set on a green bicycle so that she can beat the boys in their neighbourhood races. 

But when her mother (Reem Abdullah) forbids it, anticipating a reaction from a society that disapproves of women riding bicycles, an enterprising Wadjda decides to raise the money herself by entering a local Qur'an-reading competition that offers a cash prize.



Review

A most interesting if limited peek into Saudi society and especially the position of women. It is pretty incredible the Saudi female director managed to complete filming on location, not everyone was happy with it... Not surprising as movie theaters were not allowed in Saudi Arabia, either, between 1983 and 2018. 

I knew women were not allowed to drive (they now are) but was shocked to learn they were not supposed to ride bicycles. Or touch the Koran when they have their period! 

In the end this movie is about how a little girl wants to have a happy life, she knows nothing about politics and only understand religion inasmuch as they have her memorize verses. A hopeful note of optimism for Saudi Arabia. 


03 May 2021

明日歌 The Song of Tomorrow, Chinese idiom - La canzone del domani, proverbio cinese


明日歌
Míngrì gē
Tomorrow's Song
La Canzone del Domani


明日复明日,

Míngrì, fù míngrì

Tomorrow, again tomorrow

Domani, ancora domani

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明日何其多 

míngrì héqí duō

there are so many tomorrow

ci sono tanti domani

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我生待明日

wǒ shēng dài míngri

my life is waiting for tomorrow

la mia vita aspetta il domani

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万事成蹉跎。

wànshì chéng cuōtuó。

everything is in vain.

e tutto è invano.