Saturday, December 23, 2017

Perfetti Sconosciuti: Reviews from the Curaçao Film Festival #CIFFR



Thursday, April 6th, 2017, 16:15.

This one blew my mind in all the good ways. Four couples meet for dinner (the single guy's date stands him up, so it's seven instead of eight), all of them long-time friends, some even from childhood. The subject of secrets comes up, and someone says there are no secrets at this table. "We know each other too well." But someone else disagrees, and issues a challenge: everyone put your phone on the table, and during the dinner, any messages that come in will be shared or read aloud, and any calls will be answered on speaker. If there are no secrets, then it should be easy enough to do. Right?

I'm not a big fan of comedy, generally, but this one I found spectacular. Probably because it's serious subject matter cleverly disguised as comedy. And the Italian sense of humor lends itself particularly well to not just the subject matter itself but to the device of disguise. It's a brilliant take on these times of social media and communication technology, but doesn't stop there. How well do we know those closest to us?



Thursday, October 26, 2017

The #WATWB October Edition: Tackling the Impossible

Image source: @FamiliesSyria on Twitter

On October 11th, the Families for Freedom bus began its journey in London. The iconic double-decker, covered in photographs of Syrians who have been illegally detained, disappeared, and even murdered by the Assad regime, carries the families of these detainees, mostly (but not only) women, in a journey across Europe to call for the release, at the very least for information, of their loved ones. Their next stops will be Paris and Berlin, "wherever peace talks are being held", as their website states.



Their final destination, as the bus so proudly announces above the windshield, is Damascus. To "pick up" their loved ones. The sheer hope in that sign—it blows my mind.

And that's why I decided to use it for my WATWB post this month.

There are few things as hopeless as having someone you care about vanish into a corrupt, totalitarian system. In Latin America we're well versed in the subject—and we know, first-hand, how unfathomable that particular black hole is. We know, also, how distant any possibility of hope seems. And we know, all too well, the excruciating pain hope can bring when it comes any closer.

Image source: Amnesty.org.uk

And yet here they are, these women. Against all odds. Against the whole world. Holding their heads high. Holding on to a ragged shred of hope as tattered and worn as the once-favorite blankie of a grandchild long grown and gone.

We are women-led. We are peaceful. We are determined.

Can you imagine the courage that must take? I try, but I fail. It's staggering, isn't it? And that's why I find it so inspiring: if they can do it, if they can—after years of not knowing, of being turned away, of being silenced and threatened and ignored—still find a way to hold on to hope, then we all can. No matter the odds. No matter how impossible the goal may seem. No matter how many times you've failed. No matter who stands in your way, who tries to drown out your voice. No matter what.

Hopelessness is, quite simply, not an option. And the impossible, as they say, just takes a little bit longer.




This post is part of the We Are the World Blogfest, a monthly event created by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda Witzenhausen to spotlight stories of hope and light. This month I'm helping Belinda out as a co-host, along with extraordinary bloggers Shilpa Garg, Sylvia McGrath, and Mary Giese—please hop over to check out their WATWB posts when you get a chance; they're always amazing. And take a peek at the other WATWB participants for a dose of feel-good to last you a whole month. You'll be happy you did :)


Thank you so much for the visit!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Julieta: Film Reviews from the Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

Julieta, Pedro Almodóvar, 2016
CIFFR: Thurs Apr 6, 2017

Almodóvar is a little like Quentin Tarantino for me. No, not in style. I mean in the sense that I either adore or abhor their films. No in-between, no middle grounds... Tarantino and Almodóvar, to me, are either geniuses or morons, depending on what film we're talking about. (To be fair, I do like many more Almodóvar films than I do Tarantino ones.)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The #WATWB September Edition: On Earthquakes and the Soul of a Nation (#FuerzaMéxico)

Every year on the 19th of September, Mexico City commemorates the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that leveled the city, and honors those who perished, those who survived, and—perhaps most especially—the millions who took part, over days and weeks and even months, in the search and rescue efforts to find the missing and, later, to rebuild not just the city but the lives devastated by those three minutes the earth shook.

Tlatelolco (Mexico City), 1985
The commemoration includes, every year, an evacuation drill that takes place at 11:00 am. The alarms of the early-warning system sound, and every building in the city empties, people stand in groups in the street until they're given the all-clear, and then everyone mills back up into their offices and cubicles to wait for the evacuation assessment. How fast did we do it? Where did we screw up? What can we do to make it faster, safer, better?

This year, when the alarms sounded again at just past 1:15pm, most people thought it was another drill. Or a malfunction.

It wasn't.

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