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Using the testimony of three courageous whistleblowers who worked on the US drone programme, this documentary uncovers some disturbing truths about modern American warfare
This is a disturbing documentary which, through the testimonies of three courageous whistleblowers, sheds some daylight on the USAs secret military drone programme. Directed by Sonia Kennebeck and executive-produced by Wim Wenders, National Bird weaves together the stories of the air force veterans Lisa, Daniel and Heather, all of whom have worked on the drones programme, gathering intelligence and tracking targets to be killed.
Then National Bird moves to Afghanistan, where the maimed survivors of a mistaken drone strike on unarmed civilians in February 2010, which killed 23 people, describe what happened when they were attacked. The juxtaposition of the appallingly gung-ho attitude of the drone operatives, re-enacted from a transcript of the event, and raw footage of the dead bodies (some children) returning to their anguished friends and family, is heartbreaking and enraging. Continue reading...
Accomack County has suspended Harper Lees novel, as well as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, from classrooms and libraries after parents complaint
To Kill a Mockingbird and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn have been suspended from the curriculum in some Virginia schools, after a parent complained about the use of racial slurs.
Harper Lee and Mark Twains literary classics were removed from classrooms in Accomack County, in Virginia after a formal complaint was made by the mother of a biracial teenager. At the centre of the complaint was the use of the N-word, which appears frequently in both titles. Continue reading...
When he decided to postpone the short film festival last year its founder didnt believe it would come back. Now, he says, We have to re-prove ourselves
When the Tropfest founder, John Polson, was 15, a mixed bag of juvenile delinquencies saw him booted out of high school for a second time.
It could so easily have proven disastrous but Polson responded by hurriedly mapping out a plan to start a mechanic apprenticeship and learn the saxophone, hoping that would temper the anger of his jazz musician father. Continue reading...
Isabelle Huppert delivers a standout performance as a woman turning the tables on her attacker in the controversial directors electrifying and provocative comeback
Turn off the lights and let the horror begin. Paul Verhoevens new film, Elle, is an outrageous black comedy, volatile and deadly; a film that opens up with a sexual assault and then cleans off the blood ahead of a posh restaurant dinner. I suppose I was raped, Michelle (Isabelle Huppert) casually remarks to her friends, just as the waiter swoops in with a magnum of champagne. A guest at the table flicks a nervous glance at the bottle. He says, Maybe wait a few minutes before popping that.
Likewise one perhaps needs to pause before trumpeting Elle as one of the best pictures in this years Cannes competition, if only because its implications are so problematic they require more time to be processed. But theres no denying that, in the moment at least, the film is utterly gripping and endlessly disturbing. In carving a hazardous path through hackneyed genre territory, Elle never flags, barely stumbles. Verhoeven, I fear, is pointing his film straight to Hell. He brazenly dares us to stick with him for the ride. Continue reading...
1 December 1967: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and other childrens books reviewed
There is a no-mans-land of dream and nightmare into which writers venture, both from the adult side and from the childrens, to claim territory for their own. Roald Dahl is a specialist in nightmarish narrative for adults, so that the appearance of two Dahl stories for children causes a nervous stir. But the horrors now are pantomimic, of the ha-ha-serve-em-right-for-being-so-wicked kind; and the mad ingenuity of it all is just what some children particularly boys may enjoy.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the story of a very nice, very poor boy who succeeds in winning enough nourishing and delicious chocolate to last a lifetime; others, because they are less nice, fail. The story suffers from a surprisingly old-fashioned didacticism. Much better all round is James and the Giant Peach (Allen & Unwin, 12s 6d each). The story makes a chilly start, with Jamess parents wiped out by a rhinoceros and James himself condemned to live with two horrible aunts. But in their garden a ripening peach grows grows, in fact, to the size of a three-bedroomed house. And James finds a way into it: Continue reading...
The tunnel was damp and murky, and all around him there was the curious bittersweet smell of fresh peach. The floor was soggy under his knees, the walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling.
The Clothes Show, Britains biggest fashion event begins on Friday 2 December Continue reading...
A rare misstep for the Oscar-winning director is an adaptation of Ben Fountains acclaimed novel flattened by ill-fitting experimentation with new technology
Theres a lot going on in Billy Lynns Long Halftime Walk, an alternately somber and boisterous film about the effect of combat on America. But despite the great wealth of compelling psychological, interpersonal and social drama that this promises, the complexities are left to those behind the camera to unravel. For director Ang Lee, he sees his latest project as a way to revolutionize how we experience cinema.
Its a lofty goal but Lees coming off the back of his Oscar win for the visually stunning adaptation of Yann Martels Life of Pi, a film that dazzled us with 3D wonders, arguably placed ahead of emotional engagement. But that was a project that demanded a skilled special effects team, a story too extraordinary to be told without. His follow-up is another adaptation, this time of Ben Fountains satirical award-winning novel about veterans and Lees keen to use it as a guinea pig for a new format. Continue reading...