Thursday, January 03, 2013

Blessings #28

Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls (2012)

Raucous! That's what they said about me the first time I went up on the stage. It's stuck with me, this adjective. I don't really understand the reason because I'm not trying to be outrageous or dramatic. I mean, that's not part of my routine. I don't go in and tell myself that I need to be bombastic and derisive and shout down the patriarchy or anything like that. I mean, it is sort of natural to do those sorts of things when you are a woman growing up in a culture such as this but it's not like that's a conscious aspect of my persona. I simply enjoy turning the mirror around in as subversive a manner as possible. Hey, I've been looking in the mirror and dealing with their subversive crap for as long as I've known that being a girl instead of a boy meant that I wasn't good enough. A fucking long time. Well, now I say fuck you! It's time for you to look in the fucking mirror and think about how you are fucking everyone over good and plenty. If that means that I'm ostentatious or rowdy or a bitch, so be it! Sometimes we need to rauc the boat.

Even The Rain - Iciar Bollain (2010)

The story of Christopher Columbus is one of the most divisive in history and each version completely changes the way that we look at the world. Was he the brutal conqueror that decimated an entire civilization with his hubris? Or was he the great explorer whose vision of the world gave rise to the modern age? History books and folk tales have addressed the quandary in many ways but now we get this remarkable film version from one of Spain's most celebrated directors. It doesn't take long for Bollain to tell us which side of the aisle she's planted in but it's her comparison of modern day exploitation that really catches the heart. Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal plays Sebastian, a director who heads to Bolivia with his producer in tow, played by a wonderful actor named Luis Tosar, to film the terrible horror that descended upon the indigenous people when Colombus landed on their shores. Sebastian has an incredible vision that he must bring to the screen and he wants to make it as realistic as possible, so he casts many of the natives using people from the local community. The production starts out well with many hints that the crew may be crossing the very same line that is so easily condemned in the film they're making but then trouble begins to brew. The local people are dealing with a government that is trying to privatize the local municipal water supply and as the water dries up the streets start to get heated. Once again the indigenous people are suffering at the hands of the rich and powerful, so the people begin to protest lead by Daniel, one of the main actors in Sebastian's film, which of course leads to complications in the production. This part of the story is based on the Cochabamba protests of 2000, when the community rose up and stopped the privatization of the municipal water supply. Soon the film crew faces a moral dilemma and it all starts to unravel, with some of the crew simply hoping to get out the mess while others decide to stay and help with the protests. It's a dramatic depiction told exceptionally well with Bollain's trained eye. She's an amazing voice in the sea of film and perhaps this story of struggle against the wealthy elite hits home for her as women must continue to swim against the tide simply to have their voices heard. As we know, the roots of some stories are even older than the history books. 

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