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Showing posts with label Society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Society. Show all posts

Jun 17, 2019

Human (2015)



HUMAN is a collection of stories and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human. Through these stories full of love and happiness, as well as hatred and violence, HUMAN brings us face to face with the Other, making us reflect on our lives. From stories of everyday experiences to accounts of the most unbelievable lives, these poignant encounters share a rare sincerity and underline who we are - our darker side, but also what is most noble in us, and what is universal. Our Earth is shown at its most sublime through never-before-seen aerial images accompanied by soaring music, resulting in an ode to the beauty of the world, providing a moment to draw breath and for introspection.

May 7, 2019

Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007)


Documentary Zeitgeist: The Movie, authored by Peter Joseph, reflects on the the myth of Jesus, the attacks of 9/11, and the Federal Reserve Bank as well as on a number of conspiracy theories related to those three main topics. It was released free online via Google Video in June 2007. A remastered version was presented as a global premiere on November 10, 2007 at the 4th Annual Artivist Film Festival & Artivist Awards. The film has attracted significant public interest.

If you dig deep enough into any one of the issues and resolutions presented in the film you'll find that there are actual facts to support each one of them. We have been lied to! It's as simple as that. We need to wake up on a planetary level and work towards a fossil fuel free planet. We can't afford to wait and debate whether "God" exists or not. Stop nitpicking the particulars and act. We're running out of time and most importantly resources. If there is a God, I doubt he likes this use of money and the monetary system and how those in power (with money) have used it to benefit only themselves and further destroy the environment and all life on this planet.

Think about it. Six corporations, (mostly made up of families who have married each other for years) are determining the fate of the human race and the planet, through their advertising money spent and blatant misuse and abuse of power. Are we going to stand here like sheep? Or are we going to work together and help change the future of humankind for the betterment of all?

We choose to be greedy, we choose to be hateful, we chose to segregate each other into categories, we chose to twist the rules, omit a word, and judge where none of us has a right to judge. We can only do the best we can. It's not even about faith really, it's about being deeply human. How we choose to deal with our humanity is just a choice. We all have the same finish line to look forward to. Faith is what you choose to hope for after you cross it.

Apr 30, 2019

My Flesh and Blood (2003)


Meet the Tom family. Susan Tom, the matriarch, has 13 children. Two are biological and the rest are adopted. When the word adopted is used the mental picture is of a 'normal' child, probably with some emotional or psychological issues but still with all of their fingers and toes in place. However, Susan Tom, a single mother, has adopted what most would consider the 'throwaways', the rejects: children with special needs, disabilities, and fatal illnesses.

It takes a person with true strength of character to assume such a responsibility. Even more so when you realize how grounded most of her brood are. That they know they are 'different' is a given. Yet think about it. If you are born blind you learn that others can see but what does that really mean? Not seeing is 'normal' for you. Certainly, Susan Tom gives her children the unconditional support and love they need to thrive and have the same dreams and hopes that we all expect to. What better definition of normal is there? It is a true testament of just how big her heart really is to see that these children, with all of their various problems, are basically the just same as you or I.

That is not to say life is easy. Joe, battling cystic fibrosis, along with a host of mental issues, has violent mood swings and everyone at some time becomes the focus of these. They suffer the typical ups and downs of most families, especially those with teenagers. Many times patience is worn paper thin. And there is the constant knowledge that some will not survive to adulthood. Yet through it all they manage. Why? The answer is simple. They all know in the core of their beings that they are loved. That they are unique and valuable as individuals: that they have worth. And that is the most important gift any parent can give to his or her child, biological or otherwise. They have that confidence to thrive. And they do so, with humor.

If you are expecting some starry eyed, rose colored, watered down version of life with the Toms, you will be disappointed. Director Jonathan Karsh depicts their lives as they really are; their triumphs and sorrows, warts and all. It is easy to see why this film was nominated for and won many of the awards that it has. You may come away emotionally drained after seeing this important documentary but you will not regret the experience of life with the Toms, a truly unique family.

Seattle is Dying (2019)


Bordered by beautiful mountain ranges and gleaming waters, Seattle is one of the most desirable spots to live in the United States. According to Seattle is Dying, a documentary produced by the local KOMO news outlet, the appeal of the city is giving way to rampant crime, homelessness and disgrace.

After tackling issues related to homelessness and drug addiction in previous documentaries, the outlet decided to focus on how these elements impact the quality of life for residents and what can be done to curb the tide of despair that has gripped their beloved city.

The scope of the problem is distressing, and its visual evidence can be seen on nearly every corner. Junkyards hiding under overpasses, tents set up on the side of highways, disturbed members of the homeless community shouting obscenities on downtown streets.

The city has spent large amounts of money to battle the epidemic in their communities, but these philanthropic efforts have had little effect. The film illustrates a profound disconnect between the reality on the streets and the courses of action taken by the city's government agencies.

That disconnect is the central focus of the film as the filmmakers attempt to devise a strategy for restoring order to the region. They receive input from several whistleblower police officers who wish to remain anonymous. The conditions on the street are nearly post-apocalyptic, they claim, and the criminal justice system limits their ability to effectively enforce the law.

In a random list of 100 repeat offenders, the filmmakers find that every subject is homeless and drug-addicted. Most of those tested are afflicted with mental illness. But the majority of them have repeatedly been thrown back into society without a conviction or additional follow-up of any kind.

Seattle is Dying isn't afraid to examine the stark realities behind these issues. It does not intend to demonize the vulnerable. To the contrary, it questions why the city hasn't been able to do more for them. Ultimately, the film endorses more virulent enforcement, and advocates for increased access to recovery services for the city's population of prisoners and other at-risk individuals.

Apr 23, 2019

Born into Brothels (2004)


Born Into Brothels is a documentary about the inspiring non-profit foundation Kids With Cameras, which teaches photography skills to children in marginalized communities. In 1998, New York-based photographer Zana Briski started photographing prostitutes in the red-light district of Calcutta. She eventually developed a relationship with their children, who were fascinated by her equipment.

After several years of learning in workshops with Briski, the kids created their own photographs with point-and-shoot 35 mm cameras. Their images capture the intimacy and color of everyday life in the overpopulated sections of Calcutta. Proceeds from the sale of the children's photographs go to fund their future education. Directed by Briski and filmmaker Ross Kauffman, Born Into Brothels was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 as part of the documentary competition.

The photography is splendid, rich in color and subject matter, and the video camera following Briski through the squalid red light district, pausing to hear abusive mothers and drugged fathers deny their children passage into a better life, hearing the wisdom of the elders who desire something more for these children, captures a world few know.

Devoted as Briski and Kauffman are to their dream, they remain realistic and document an element of life in a third world country that is illuminating. This is a touching film without being maudlin, beautiful without ignoring reality. In English and with subtitles for the children's commentary. Highly Recommended.

Apr 20, 2019

The Corporation (2003)


If Academy Awards were given for films most likely to start arguments at dinner tables, this hot-button polemic would have won the 2005 Oscar hands down.

It begins with the revelation that, according to a Supreme Court ruling, a corporation must be considered a person rather than an entity.

Under this definition, reasons profiler Robert Hare, corporations can be categorized as psychopathic because they exhibit a personality disorder: that of single-mindedly pursuing their objectives without regard for the people in and around them.

Apr 18, 2019

When The Levees Broke (2006)


Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke is a television milestone that ranks with Edward R. Murrow's Harvest of Shame as an unflinching document of a national disgrace. Over the course of four hour-long acts (plus, for this DVD, a newly filmed fifth act), Lee chronicles the devastation wrought not just by 2005's Hurricane Katrina but also by ill-prepared, inefficient, and seemingly indifferent federal, state, and local officials, who fiddled while New Orleans drowned.

As Lee rightly surmised, when trying to wrap one's mind around the enormity of the Katrina disaster and its aftermath, sound bites on the evening news and partisan sniping on talk shows just wouldn't hold water. He meticulously compiled news footage and conducted interviews with residents, politicians, and volunteers; the raw footage of citizens railing at the heavens for someone, anyone, to hear them and help them is especially affecting.

There is plenty of blame to go around, according to Lee: There's FEMA director Michael Brown on CNN, professing ignorance that thousands were living like refugees inside the Superdome. There's Condoleezza Rice shoe-shopping and taking in Spam-a-Lot on Broadway while 80 percent of New Orleans was under water.

And there's President Bush praising Brown with You're doing a heck of a job, an infamous quote Lee can't resist playing back three times for its outrage value. Lee's voice can be heard off camera during interviews, but he does not inject himself into the proceedings.

Apr 15, 2019

Inside the U.S. Secret Service (2004)


Learn more about the U.S. Secret Service that you ever thought possible as National Geographic cameras venture into uncharted territory to bring viewers the most comprehensive view of the secretive government agency ever. From the remarkable measures taken to protect the President and his family to an agents-eye view of the job duties and a look at the exhaustive training program it takes to join this elite agency, you won't believe your eyes when National Geographic cameras start rolling and the secrets of the Secret Service are revealed.

A really good look at what the Secret Service is all about. Great history and current information. Having had a small taste of it when the first President Bush paid a visit and I was an attendee at a function, I can attest to the thorough job that is done before, during and after his appearance. Truly amazing.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)


Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick launches an incendiary, full-frontal assault on the Motion Picture Association of America’s Classification and Ratings Administration (a.k.a. the MPAA's CARA).

This is the entity that assigns ratings to movies -- the familiar G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17 designations.

This secret, unregulated organization wields considerable power over the film industry and operates, the filmmaker asserts, on a highly subjective and prejudicial basis.

Directed by: Kirby Dick

The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)


A nomadic family in Mongolia's Gobi desert faces a problem when a white camel colt is born in a difficult delivery and the mother rejects it. Repeated efforts by the extended family to get the mother to nurse the colt fail. The colt stands alone and cries for its mother. The family worries that the colt will not survive. Finally, Dude (Enkhbulgan Ikhbayar), the older boy, is sent to a nearby town to find a musician who can perform a "Hoos" ceremony.

Little Ugna (Uuganbaatar Ikhbayar) begs to go along. The two boys travel for miles across the desert, stopping at a neighbor's yert, where Ugna is delighted by his first encounter with television. They travel on to the village, and then return home with word that a musician is on the way. A musical ceremony is performed in an effort to get the mother camel to accept her colt.

The Story of the Weeping Camel is a blend of documentary footage and narrative. Filmmakers Luigi Falorni and Byambasuren Davaa cast a real nomad family of herders and shot many of the events in the film as they occurred. The Story of the Weeping Camel was selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art for inclusion in the 2004 edition of New Directors/New Films.

Apr 14, 2019

God Grew Tired of Us (2007)


Three young men leave behind a land in chaos to find new lives in a thoroughly different culture in this documentary. As the African nation of Sudan fell into political disarray near the dawn of the 21st century, with unspeakable violence following in its wake, thousands of refugees attempted to flee the country, making their way into Kenya in hopes of earning passage elsewhere.

Jon Bul Dau, Daniel Abu Pach, and Panther Bior were three such people who eventually came to the United States, and filmmaker Christopher Quinn spent four years following them on their journey in a new and unfamiliar land.

In God Grew Tired of Us, Quinn documents the young men as they struggle to build new lives for themselves, acquaint themselves with the "American" way of doing things, the difficulties of being black in a primarily white culture, and try to track down the friends and family they were forced to leave behind. God Grew Tired of Us received its North American premier at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

This is Coffee (1961)


About 1960 maybe earlier, Coffee brewers institute offered classes in coffee brewing. Upon completion of instruction, we were awarded a 1/2 gold colored coffee cup and hung it over the entrance to the bar. Tap water should be fit to drink. Never boiled or perked. 210 degrees. No more. Fresh coffee in a can or bag is near unattainable unless you find fresh roasted beans & grind 'em yourself. To test, take a pinch of coffee and roll it between thumb and forefinger. You should feel the oil. Second test, place a hot cup of coffee across the table and you can see a thin film of oil on the surface.


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