Archive for film

Writing, for who?

Posted in Autobiography, education, Poetry, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2017 by kathydasilva
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Albert Camus: writer of A Happy Death; Exiles and the Kingdom

I hope eventually that the novels, that I continue to write, might finally have their own independent voice. I have read over  a lifetime, so many books and quite a few from a previous century. The style of writing, in the Victorian era, which is described as the Romanticist period,  and a bit before the gothic/romantic Mary Shelley, included, held quite a few marvels, that seem forever, to be taught, and remain, subject for study, at university level at least. In my mother’s era, they as children, were given George Elliot’s Silas Marner at school, but, by the time, I came to do my final O Levels, the main study novel was indeed, the very famous To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. The American’s had usurped the English novelists, in importance! The consolation was Shakespeare for a playwriter, Romeo and Juliet, and still this was backed up with a visit to the local cinema to see Franco Zeffirelli’s, version of the famous tragedy. I am saying ‘backed’, because even by the time, that I came along, in the mid seventies, for O Level study, television, and the newly growing Hollywood film industry, had already made its dent, in the call for an attentive audience. In the fast growing technology of the TV playscreen, from black and white to Technicolor, there was an obvious demand for screenplay writers, and the need would have had many an aspiring, author in its clench. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed the replays of black and white movies, the early movies of Tennessee Williams’ screen play talent. There was a great sense of classicism, in the story lines, and emotional outpourings of the  characters,  who became iconic, to the next generation of would be actors and starlets. Great screenplays, added to great acting and directing, was bound to create diversion, and in the same breath,  an addictive pastime. I think the arguments for ‘where the great novel’ went, is thoroughly, embedded, in this call for time on everyone’s leisure moments. Hedonism, was with us from at least the post war era onward. However, it is true, that great novels, have been written that then have been made into films. But, it is also true, that not every novel, of our modern era, makes the same impact as something like, Wuthering Heights, or Gone With the Wind. And between the original novel, and the screenplay, there exists, a transformation, which does not always translate the greatness of the original text. I am mindful of something I recently, watched, but, mainly for the actors, and some of the ‘romance’, element of the story, the novelist Nicholas Sparks, who wrote Message in a Bottle, did not get to write the screenplay which is by,Gerald di Pego. I kept wondering throughout, about the flimsiness of the characters, and, so, yes, what could have been, an awesome, and, deep statement about bereavement, fell a little flat. Grief is a very complex, state of being, and my heart wanted to feel, something for the man who had lost his wife, Catherine. I could not create in  my own, head any more connection, with the entertainment of the film, than just letting the wash of the sea that eventually consumes the ‘hero’, wash over me by the finish.

Novels, That Last the Test of Time.. is that a better heading? Well I suppose the film industry is never really going to run out of great classics, as there are plenty of ghost stories and Tolkien went down a storm! Will that make people read the original novel. Well in my case, when they filmed,  Thomas Hardy’s, Jude the Obscure, I directly went out to Waterstones in Brighton and bought the book.

‘In it I argued that the novel was losing its cultural centrality due to the digitization of print.’ (Will Self)

Saving the Great British Novel? Well I am not worried too much about the novel, and whether to write it or not, as there is a market albeit for electronically transferred data, thankfully, long train journeys and commuter traffic will ensure, some readership, and a growing population of retired people, which is on the increase. I am not sure whether to rely on Will Self, as a ‘weatherman’ for trends, over literature, but, I guess, given, that the classical element of some high-end writing, meaning literature, might well be suffering, some lack of recognition for the modern-day author of works of a more aesthetical nature. My thoughts are in this sense, in the days of the writer, James Joyce, who married and kept his family, not only by the means of his authoring of books, but, also by whatever job, including teaching English to foreigners, in Switzerland, and working in clerical positions of government, still kept to his goal of breaking the mould, and experimenting with poetry in the prose form.

 

Will, himself is probably way out in the frontier zone, with abstraction, and by that meaning psychological realism, to the full brunt of interactive text. With all of the content of ‘Shark’, in mind, the social comment, and the whole drama of events described vividly, throughout the story, I found myself battling with the text, and surprisingly, ending up with quite a lot of memorable scenes to describe, after laying the book down.I am intending to write a bit more in due course, but, perhaps, in the past authors, did not  have the privilege of knowing what kind of response their work would create. My question perhaps, instead of why it is suggested that society is evolving away from story telling, is it not the case that much of what is life, repeats itself, even between centuries. Science creates new subject, and new subject will always inspire more story telling. Star Wars, and Star Trecking included! And there we have that wonderful tale, Hitch Hicker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My theory too, is eventually any true intellectual, will become bored fairly soon, with the tittle-tattle of new fandango gadgets, and plump right back to a source of enduring quality writing. Remembrance of Things Past (Marcel Proust) included!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday’s Curzon showing of John Pilger’s film The Coming War with China

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2016 by kathydasilva

 

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I have been writing or working on, the next novel in a list of ‘ideas’ as they had started out, tonight. It is my first ‘supernatural’ or possibly ‘sci fi’ one in subject, but, the aim was indeed, more H.G. Wells in origins. A picture of one possible future. I have in the past had dreams some quite surreal in content, and certainly, I am going to have to find a way to interweave, the content of this, in the current book. It was in the endeavour to do this, that I suddenly became mindful too, of the possible reality that lay ahead if the politicians are unable to get their heads round the conflict zones, particularly the grave and unholy wars of the Middle East. Humans only maintain personal dignity and dignified living if they respect eachother’s rights, of passage, through this life. Our enjoyment through the progress of history has been to create, civilized society, where amongst the work and toil we also manage to enjoy, something of a leisure time, and this most truly is represented in the form of holidays for family and with friends. I shudder to think of what my impressions of the Med will be if I should manage to get back to an annual vacation somewhere like in Greece and or Italy or Spain. For how should I be able to forget the many lives lost, in the effort to be free from war, in the waters that lay lapping the edge of the shores there? The ‘miscreants’ at the top seem ‘hell bent’ for spoiling it for all of us currently. How did that happen? How did 9/11 arrive on our shores. How can 900 firemen develop cancers and some have died of those cancers, and remarkably, not much of a protest was allowed to be shown on a television network of national breadth.

I am penning or typing this article, having remembered something, from a holiday in Lake Como with my then alive and just retired mother. It would have been in the late eighties, and my mother and I had innocently wandered into the grounds of one of the villas, a historic one, with much ornamentation to its interior. The person who was an employee, who normally would have given tourists a guided talk, with helpful hints at famous historical characters who had stayed or dwelt there, this person had told us that much of the building had been prebooked for a conference on nuclear power. There were some rooms therefore not open for viewing. The Villa Como, that we were showed had some rooms, where in the time of Napoleon, and his love, Josephine, where they had stayed with adjoining rooms. A romantic era, and with what had caught most people’s attention,  the guide, had helped us enjoy, our afternoon. We had proceeded further along the lakeside, buildings to find other more open houses, and in one, remarkably a machine rather like a CT scanner, was being shown, only this machine, measured in an accurate manner levels of radiation in a body from top, to toe, head to feet. When I viewed John Pilger’s film the other week, which was broadcast by independent television, he had showed a rather older version of  a scanner which measured where and in what part the radiation had filtered to in the human body, ‘the guinea pig’, who had volunteered from the Marshall Islanders, who after all were fairly poor and open to economically enhancing experiments on themselves. The Islanders, non of whom live much beyond the age of forty on average today because of the pollution of nuclear bombs, which have been tested there. What is more frightening, is that the political leaders of our time think this is the only way forward to maintain that fragile thing called PEACE. The horrid tragedy of Fukashima, is enough I would have thought to put people off nuclear energy altogether. So why do we allow our leaders to do this? This is the even more bewildering thing, apart from that somewhere in the eighties, a group of women did protest the placement of cruise missiles on a site of common ground near to their villages, as clearly it made the site a possible ‘first strike zone’. The women won their point and the missiles were removed. We possess only one missile of this size, on a submarine further north, between the border of England and Scotland.

It now  seems along time since the subject of nuclear war or power has come into the text of regular articles and news items

030606-N-0000X-005 Washington, D.C. (Jun. 6, 2003) -- Artist concept of the SSGN conversion program. Four Ohio-class strategic missile submarines USS Ohio (SSBN 726), USS Michigan (SSBN 727) USS Florida (SSBN 728), and USS Georgia (SSBN 729) have been selected for transformation into a new platform, designated SSGN or Tactical Trident. The SSGNs will have the capability to support and launch up to 154 Tomahawk missiles, a significant increase in capacity as compared to other platforms. The 22 missile tubes will also provide the capability to carry other payloads, such as unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and special forces equipment. This new platform will also have the capability to carry and support more than 66 Navy SEALs (Sea, Air and Land) and insert them clandestinely into potential conflict areas. U.S. Navy graphic. (RELEASED)

with a detrimental warning of the possibilities of war, using them. I am now more convinced since viewing John Pilger’s film, that the rotten way that politicians, who many have supported the making of these more refined weapons, and some who have invested their own money in the making of them, have also devised the way to keep the perpetuation of their making in with the nation’s plans of defense. For as long as we the human race run away from our creator, we will fear war and arguments with other nations. It is all so material in the end. But, sad too, the money to make war, could have been spent on space travel and or cures for disease in humans and animals.

If it is over thirty years ago now that an advanced scanner for detection of nuclear radiation in the human body was shown on the shores of Lago di Como, just where is that technology now?  And in whose hands? Will our parks be the beautiful places for our children to inherit in the future?

I feel unhappy, and very sad, that in The Coming War with China, we are left with the knowledge that a build up of military units is already in place in the far western Pacific Isles, and in one such location 40,000 military personnel, live regularly. And no mention of the radioactive plume affecting the Pacific waters, and fish, and the fact that so much of the Pacific is apparently dead already. Do we really want more deadly radiation?

God bless the people who speak of peace.

The Coming War with China a review of last night..John Pilger Documentary

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2016 by kathydasilva

Last night I did a thing, unusual to me, and that was putting off going to my poetry unplugged in Farringdon at the Betsie Trotter Pub, usually MC’d by Niall Sullivan, of Poetry Society Café. I for some reason had spent too long, getting ready, and something made me look at the net, and I found John Pilger’s Documentary, The Coming War in China, was programmed for ITV, at 10.40pm. The content of the documentary was a current look at the military machine and planning of the nation of America, the country we have long become use to calling the United States.

I felt recently, that the USA must have been looking at the growing EU economy with a sense of competitive, and possibly invasive perspective, and this kind of proved, that America is on the grow where influence and business, is concerned, it is behaving, as perhaps Britain did during colonial times, trying to influence markets exploiting old friendships and touting for business with offers of investments which would tie effectively nations to their word over complimentary tax deals and savings. I saw this as America on the ‘build’. However, there is a limit I think with which nations would greet or accept the dominance of such a culture, on its own market planning and image. We are independent nations in the EU in terms of our cultures, but, for Europeans, the EU guaranteed some fair trading, which Brexit might not. I do not think in reality that we needed America actually trying to inroad the EU as it was trying to propose new trade deals and tie up businesses over here with the TPP deal which has gone sour and Trump promises to dispose of on taking up his presidency.

The John Pilger documentary, was truly factual, and amazingly shocking in content his expertise from many years as a journalist and activist for peace, glowing throughout. I was very happy that the people of the Marshall Islands finally might get some more help and possibly justice for all the wrong that they have been dealt. But, the most blindingly obvious exposure, of a crime, came with the detailed analysis of radiation poisoning going on with all the nuclear test program of the USA on the islands, and its inhabitants. A conscious effort to prove, the power, and also damage and perhaps to try to control damage to localities in their research, the Americans chose to experiment with a total disregard to natives human rights, as if the natives were of no importance on this earth at all. It showed the efforts of Greenpeace activists at the time helping local inhabitants try to survive the test bombing of the area, evacuating them to nearby but, further away islands in the Pacific. It seems as if America is getting ready for war, and overwhelmingly it shows them planning and scrutinizing China as a potential enemy to combat with. Wherever America placed its military, there seems an effort to dominate and use other countries, in this effort including Japan, Taiwan, and Australia. One of the interviewees, had told that, America used bases owned by Australia, but, put their own USA troops inside, so it looked like they had not maneuvered, into place at all. Or that it kept the knowledge of their presence more secret from the population of that country. One aspect of the documentary also included the massive increase of the creation of nuclear fueled/powered weaponry, and manufacture and sales of, this, had kept or had been keeping the American economy alive during the ‘reign’ of the Obama presidential period. And is it surprising now to have seen America selling arms to the Saudis, during this time as weapons sales bring in millions of dollars. Each of the test bombs on the Marshall Islands cost the USA over something like one hundred million dollars per shot. Fascism can come like a Trojan horse, loaded inside, with something very destructive internally. I have wondered too at the incredible extent of trials with wheat and crops of the company Monsanto, who have devised, new patented seeds as a result of their research and for what purpose?  One of the experimental elements of the bomb tests in the Marshall Islands was to test the effects of radiation on animals and products creams etc., that would help protect skin that was exposed. Just how far this research has gone, will be hopefully the focus for any follow up documentary that John Pilger might manage to pull out of his very wonderful bag of knowledge and journalism.

The Coming War with China ended with  a slide show  of John Pilger photographic stills, an ever flowing fountain of talent to the visual art of documentary photojournalism.

BFI are showing The Coming War with China by John Pilger,I believe  from the 8th December 2016 and in Picture Houses around the town in London.

Review of Fifth Estate film (video showing)

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2015 by kathydasilva

athe-fifth-estate-benedict-cumberbatch-julian-assangeI’ve tried submitting my view to Amazon about why I only rated the video as ‘fair’ in terms of enjoyment. At the time the film came out, there was a lot of anger spilt out from the Assange conclave, of supporters, and it’s partly what made me ignore the whole affair of actually watching it. But, I feel as curiosity presented itself when The Fifth Estate came up on a video rental list, I decided to watch to see the ‘damage’, that it might have had on Julian Assange’s true character/public personna. I tried writing the following in the ‘other’ reasons for disatisfaction with the video. But, then this turned into a small review of the story line. I feel half the battle with watching Cumberbach was the fact he did not look quite the same face shape as Julian Assange, and could not therefore portray Julian’s real charisma, As Cumberbach’s beauty is not in perfect jaw structure, but almost the opposite, and his eyes and general beauty is more to do with brown tossled hair than the rather fake blonde/white stringy affair of the costume wig. Now looks apart. My review to Amazon was as follows:
As a story line, though some of this fills in the missing backdrop before Julian Assange’s original house arrest, it is a one sided view written by someone who got ‘suspended’ from working for the organization Assange created. On the upside we see some of the cultural side of modern Berlin, Chaos Club/ artist’s den type centre. Cumberbach does a near convincing job of activist, but, if you listen to the many youtube semi- lecture style interviews/talks Julian is by no means as ‘paranoid’ as Cumberbach makes the viewer believe, but this might also show some failure of the script to portray the real Julian Assange. Julian tends to talk more like a lawyer/politician/analyst, and is more calm. Assange’s mother is a strong anti-nuclear protestor type and so anti-war, but is very much a part of what Julian Assange became, in terms of his political opinions. He is not the isolated activist as is portrayed in the film… so not very true to him in it’s entirety.
The breaking news items of the ‘Collateral Damage’ headliner, and pacing of the events is done convincingly and the involvement of mainstream press, and the fact that several papers had agreed to break the news exactly at the same time, well that was very interesting, and informative of how papers behave with a ‘big’ find. All in all though I am glad I finally watched the film! It made me feel more in touch with the ‘continued’ story of events, surrounding Assange. It might be noted that Assange’s website Wikileaks has the support of over a million subscribers. These are people who have supported in kind and with their own money. The film, seems to portray ‘imagined’ support, by multiplying desks all with Assange’s name on them. As if to say he falsified the number of supporters. He is well supported in the media by people like John Pilger and in England by the Stop the War Coalition. The issues raised about war are not just the realm of this one activist. However, perhaps people might see that papers subsequently have come under quite heavy styled almost censorship. Whistleblowers have not come out on top. Bradley Manning now Chelsea Manning is faced with 35 years in jail for leaking the material of Collateral Damage, and several other documents, War Logs, and other material of a classified nature. The emphasis that courage creates an influence, is possibly not quite true. However, we are now living with the knowledge that the times are more like that of The Trial by Franz Kafka, with a seemingly and endless tiraid of abuse of the justice system.

Julian Assange

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2015 by kathydasilva

IMG_5807I have some time now to go through ‘old’ photographs of journalism events that I went to. The numbers of people who turned out to help support the case of Julian Assange, in London, was what had drawn me to the events, and to ask quite simply why and who was Julian Assange. More particularly why would an Australian have to seek asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, in London, I thought at the time that I was still in the ‘free’ world. I mean we still vote at an election time, we still get to vote for the left or the right wing of whatever a person’s persuasion politically can be, so how come, a visiting Australian, can have got himself into so much hot water. And I write this in disbelief at all the type of treatment he has received so far. If for the sake of being involved in the computing world, that the trouble has been visited upon this one individual, you would think the rule applies to all involved in the computing world. And that’s where it seems that because of innovation coming about faster than that initial bolt of lightning that begot the first computed communication, then, the law about it’s use is yet to catch up. I had only had the use of second hand equipment before about 2001 or 2002. I had only really got use to the delights of emailing my nephew in Australia, at the speed of a blink of an eye, when all hell had let loose globally because of the event of 9/11 in New York city. In-fact just before Facebook arrived, and social networking as we now know it, I had regularly emailed a young screen writer in Ramsgate, on a regular basis, talking film ‘shop’, and whatever daily came to hand about Johnny Depp in particular.

The Story of Julian Assange, in total is yet to be written. I for my part remember as an undergraduate the students and women of Greenham Common retaliating to a government decision to place nuclear cruise missiles on the common ground which lay close by to a village where families and children lived. The main basis for that particular protest was that it would make their home area a target for a direct hit in the event of a real nuclear war starting with supposedly Russia or a like enemy of the British Isles. The women who camped out did this with the utmost conviction and won their case. The missiles were symbolically removed, and not a cruise missile was in sight bar the one on a  submarine somewhere nearer to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne ‘up north’.  The power to protest, has been under possible scrutiny by successive governments since. I think also rather spectacularly, the laws have changed in a way that seemed rather undemocratic, in that police must be informed before any public gathering occurs. Is it so embarrassing that ‘the public’ do still want a say in politics in this fashion? The people’s voice? Is that so embarrassing? Well maybe to an elite who thought ‘their’ plans were untouchable. But, if greed has any gain, it’s to prove that it is a useless tool for advancement of innovation and the net. Knowledge, the acquisition of knowledge.  Well web knowledge, programming, being the type that have acquired a rather less fashionable label of ‘nerd’, why does this automatically ‘lump’ every computer type hacker into the same grouping, almost as if to say that if you can encrypt then you are almost certainly a suspicious person. I am pretty sure, that Julian Assange is not the only technologist of his kind.  He will stand up for the likes of the ordinary man/woman in the street, as left wing politicians do, but, this does not really make him into the ‘mafiosie’ type candidate that I am sure Hilary Clinton, had imagined him to be.  Why is it that the Swedish have been allowed to  prey on this person, as if he was in error. And it is true, Julian was interviewed in Sweden, in connection to the sexual allegations and was subsequently released. And then when he had left Sweden, this decision changed, to effectively create a ‘man hunt’ for him in Europe. Not for hacking offenses either. Yet in my mind, he seems to ‘frighten’ governments. And maybe America, will never forgive him. But, I am very upset for the whole way the last decade, seems to have stolen everyone’s delight about the things that were good in America. Often rather nostalgically, I think of lifestyles, I was thinking of Moby’s house or mansion, in Los Angeles, and how because of his  affluence, he lived a relatively subliminally peaceful existence when home. And how it just reminded me of the ‘Hollywood’ stars, and movies of yesteryear almost because of the standard expectation of palm trees, and swimming pools, and cocktail parties, that were written about, and enjoyed, the Scott Fitzgerald era of opulence and suave  existence. How can American politics have produced such uncertainty? And the go get the villain attitude? Go get the ‘terrorist’ attitude? It’s as if it’s machismo image of warrior princes was found wanting. That America does not need to prove it’s worth, as a hero eternally might be the actual problem.  So it could be said it’s a cultural problem. Too many movies made about unreal heroes, based on Marvel comics, which are all fictional in character basis terms. Can we find our current day Steinbecks? And Harper Lees? Amongst the current demise of good sense? Will there be truth left to cling to? Comments welcome…