my favorite movies of the 2000s, #21 and #22

Monday 21 December 2009

And so it continues…

#25: (500) Days of Summer
#24: FLOW: For Love Of Water
#23: In The Bedroom

#22: House of Sand and Fog (2003)
Again, a movie I saw a while back (in the theater!) and don’t remember a lot of the details completely.  However, I do remember it was the first movie that made me cry out of sadness.  The movie focuses around two families (neighbors, I believe) of differing cultures and the ways they interact, or don’t.  It becomes a bit of a morality tale and story of what happens when people don’t try to understand one another but instead go in for the fight.  Great acting by Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly.

#21: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2003)
Before the world really knew about Hugo Chavez, there was this documentary.  I saw this movie at the Chicago International Film Festival, and it was one of the first documentaries to really show what a documentary can do.  The film crew was there simply to do a bio on Chavez when a coup occurred.  Thus, the film had incredible access to the events of the coup.  The film makes a case the coup was backed by the US, and if you’ve heard all the anti-Chavez rhetoric happening, that really wouldn’t be surprising.

At the screening, a man from Venezuela gave a rant saying the movie did an injustice to life in Venezuela, but the movie was quite powerful in detailing what seems to have happened in this instance and the general existence there.  It may be hard to get your hands on this to watch, but if you can, you’ll be amazed at what you didn’t see on TV.

(note: imdb.com lists the title as “Chavez: Inside the Coup”)

Advertisements

a few videos

Saturday 20 September 2008

First, I must make a correction (for the better) about my last blog — one of the things I said I could put up as my status was that I left my spinach at the store, but as life should have it, that ended up not being the case at all!  Thus, my spinach (except for the bit that I’ve already eaten) is now safely stored in the refrigerator.

So let me tell you what happened:
I woke up the next morning (Friday) and was thinking about my cereal choices, thinking how I had also purchased some cereal at the store, though I didn’t see that around either.  Had I left it, too?  I wondered.  Then I thought how I had rearranged my groceries to bike back home, and I recalled putting the cereal box in my plastic bag with a bag of chips, which, too, weren’t to be found.  However, I distinctly remembered having the plastic bag held down in my left hand as I carried my canvas bag on my shoulder.  So I had to have brought it, right?  And then the light bulb went off — so I took out my keys, walked out the back door of basement room, and there I found the plastic bag with the missing cereal, chips, and, thankfully, spinach.

So all’s well with that, and I didn’t lose $1 on misplaced spinach.

But as the title of my post says, this is about videos, not spinach!  I recently found the digital/computer copies of the short video projects I made in a few of my film classes in college, and I decided I’d put them up on YouTube to see what (if any) response I get.  I still need to get up the copy of “Call Me Al,” my favorite of the bunch about the great Al Parcell who was a card swiper at my college dining hall and passed away this past winter at 92, but it’s coming.  For now, enjoy the following!

The Applicant
My group-made video project.  A fun, satirical look at the noir, 60s detective film genre based on a script about a weird job interview.  I did a lot of the editing, which I love.

Killing You Inc.
The second group project, made with the same people.  I wrote the script for this fake commercial, which I’m really proud actually got made.  I did a good portion of the editing, too, and though we all co-did everything, I was the guy who lit the bit where she’s playing video games.

Living in America: International Students Talk about Iraq
My first project for my documentary film class.  I did it all in this project, since it’s all based on sit down interviews, so you can give me credit or blame, depending on your take.

And while I’m sharing videos, I was also part of a video sketch comedy group — NSTV — my last two years of college, helping do camera, lighting, and sound on quite a few sketches.  Here are the ones on the NSTV YouTube page that I was a part of.
Spoons and Puzzles — Offbeat but hilarious (in my mind).  I did the camera work for the montage.
Murder Mystery — I wasn’t scheduled to help out with this one, but I showed up anyway because I knew it was going to be cool and got to do the racking (which means I changed the focus on the camera as it moved between people and parts of the scene).
Mr. Kriegel — Not one of my favorites, but I was a part of it.
(And my favorite NSTV sketch of all time, though it was made before my time): Ben & Jerry’s Socially Conscious Ice Cream

Enjoy!!!


the hands that have prepared it

Friday 22 February 2008

Last night I was in a group where a prayer was said before the meal. Now the pray-er said many thanks, including thanks for the food and “the hands that have prepared it.” Now I have heard that phrase hundreds of times before, but it struck me as odd this time because the two people who had cooked the food had already been mentioned by name. So even though it was probably just a few perfunctory words from the pray-er, it got me thinking: “Did she mean to pray for them again, or did it mean something else?”

And right then and there I realized how restrictive my thinking had been (as many of our thoughts tend to be) in including only the chef as the preparer of my food. I thought of the worker who had picked the lettuce and peas and broccoli that made up my salad. I thought of the farmers who had planted the various ingredients that had combined to make my dinner. I even thought about the people at the store and the drivers who transported my food as being necessary for my dinner that night.

Do you stop to think about where you food comes from? Maybe the recent beef recall has made you think at least a little bit about what your food goes through before it hits your plate. And maybe not. In all likelihood, you read the story and maybe saw the video, got disgusted, but soon forgot about it — maybe even before your next meal. I still vividly recall seeing the horrible conditions of many chickens raised for eggs and meat while watching the documentary The Natural History of the Chicken in a morning film class and then walking to the dining hall to feast on one of their best meals: juicy, sauted chicken breast. I saw the food and saw the irony of the situation, but at that moment I wasn’t yet ready to eliminate animal flesh from my diet (that came about a year later).

But what of “the hands?” The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is a Florida group fighting for fair wages for the work they do to bring us a portion of our food. According to a recent Oxfam America post, workers earn only about $4.50 an hour on a good day. The CIW had been fighting with Taco Bell and McDonald’s for increased wages, a battle they won, but Burger King has yet to agree and continues to stall the process.

Whatever the reason, we are a people who have a hard time seeing beyond the immediate. In addition to the conditions of workers in our own country, we fail to recognize the horrible conditions of children and others in virtual “slave labor” factories around the world. We turn away from the atrocities of people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine (among others) who suffer in the face of occupation forces. We recall not the homeless as we crank up the heat in our houses with rooms no one uses and forget the homeless as we throw away food because we took too much from the all-you-can-eat buffet. “Out of sight, out of mind.

So I encourage you to think about the implications of all your actions. Check the labels to see where your clothing was made. Investigate the route your food took to reach your plate. Read the stories of the oppressed, share what you read with your family and friends, and they go do something about it. Let us not feign blindness by merely closing our eyes or act like we don’t hear when we are really only stopping our ears.

There is work to be done; go and make a difference so that others might soon give thanks for that which your hands shall prepare.