Friday, September 18, 2015
The Matrix was breakthrough sci fi eye candy with the sufficiently strong philosophical message that we are all dumb sleepwalkers, mere scripts in machine programming. There are philosopher-scientists who believe this could, in fact, be our reality. Anyway, the directors of that film, The Wachowskis, have created a new tv series called Sense8. With the strap line that sense8s are one chromosome different from normal human beings, the 8 are spread across the world; India, South Korea, Kenya, Mexico, US and Iceland and were all born on the same day and month and learn to enter each other’s lives and help each other out in bad times. This Cluster of chromosomally different homo sapiens are hounded by their nemesis who looks alarmingly like a Tory make-over of Jeremy Corbyn. The intermingled 8 story lines have drama and punch and plenty of issues, the on-location filming brings different cultures into vivid juxtaposition, different mores to challenge the viewer. The actors are uniformly good. The gay sex scenes are more natural and fervent than most films have ever managed and the movement in and out of Cluster realities feels innovative. The tension is provided by the question; what’s to become of them? Will normal, nasty, isolated, war-mongering, acquisitive humans find them and exterminate them for being different, X-men style? Back to the Tories and Jeremy Corbyn.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
An intriguing exploration of what happens when a writer is disturbed by thoughts of sharing his life with another and faces a choice between the unknown consequences of intimacy against familiar well-ordered solitude. Emerging against a series of digressions and flashbacks, this central concern maintains suspense as the story draws to its conclusion.
Monday, September 14, 2015
The last refuge of biography in dementia is where musical memory is stored. You are what you have heard, danced to, made love to and sung. The vinyl, the CDs and tapes, the pirate radio stations, the downloads, the shuffles of your chosen greatest hits. Remember this. Document it. For when you are apparently lost to dementia, it is the one thing that will keep your self alive. The brilliant film, “Alive Inside” shows wonderful old people, having not communicated – sometimes for years, faces blank, hands wringing, wheelchair bound, being gently strapped into headphones. The effect! With IPods playing tunes from their histories, their faces light up, their hands dance, their feet tap. It is breathtaking. Then their eyes suddenly clear talk and they talk coherently. Even if you never watch the documentary, remember that this is how you can open a channel of life and light to someone with dementia. One day it could be you.
Friday, September 11, 2015
X + Y = A Brilliant Young Mind – a terrific film of depth and perception about a maths genius of a boy’s shut-off, asocial awkwardness as he edges towards warmth and belief in others. It’s extremely funny, tear-jerking, sensitively acted and reminiscent of say, Kes or Billy Elliot. Centred on the British team’s preparation for a ‘Maths Olympiad’ it follows the boy’s attempts to grapple with his mother’s love, his tutor’s brave and balefully funny management of multiple schlerosis, a maths ‘training camp’ in China whose culture and exotic ways comfort him momentarily and the (to him) pain-inducing idea of competition against international peers. Truth is beauty and therefore, QED, maths gives the young man beauty in his isolation. We all feel alien at times in our lives and so it’s no step at all to occupy the shoes of the boy and relive all the emotions to which painful aloneness can give rise. It also reminds us of our responsibilities in our relations with others.