Wednesday, 26 January 2011

"The Fall" by Tarsem Singh

This is quite simply the most remarkable film I've yet seen...

'In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastical story about 5 mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality starts to blur as the tale advances.'

Catinca Untaru, the child actress gives a truly astonishing performance.  I also loved Lee Pace's performance.

I may write more about this movie another time.   For now the most important thing is to add it to this site so that you, the reader, know of it.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Alexander Bryan and Adam Francis - a dynamic dancing duo

Those of us who take any interest in dancing at all expect dancing couples to be of men and women.  But what if both partners are of the same gender, how does that work?  The results can be startling - and very lively!  In the video clip below Alex and Adam give viewers a compelling demonstration.  

Both dancers are highly accomplished in conventional ballroom and Latin dancing both as dancers and instructors.
     I had the good fortune to see them on satellite television last evening in what appears to have been the 2010 series of the  Australian Strictly Dancing competition.  They certainly were very watchable.  
     From what I can understand of the competition results they came second overall, a considerable achievement given the rigours of dance competition judging and a style of dancing that falls outside the usual range of interpretation. 
     I'm puzzled that this has not screened in New Zealand, as it includes couples from here as well as Australia, especially in last years absence of the very popular local series of "Dancing with the Stars" which was axed due to funding cuts.  Come on, TVNZ!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

"Joanna Lumley's Nile" ~ a documentary in four hour-long parts

"...This is just the beginning of one of the most remarkable journeys I have ever made!" so Joanna describes the beginning of her epic journey, which took place over sixty days, included five countries, and covered four thousand miles.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series.  Joanna maintained her friendly interest in what went on around her with poise and feminine dignity in a whole range of situations which must have been for her both unprecedented and potentially alarming: quite often the only other people around her were local men; she tasted food and brews of the most unlikely looking sort and pronounced each delicious, and she looked into the eyes of the people she met with interest and affection with enviable confidence and without seeming to intrude.  All this I enjoyed and admired.  I also liked that she is an older woman and not shy about her mature years.

While the series is very much about her and her experiences in these remote places, there is also spectacular footage of the many landscapes she passed through.  I could see why she fell in love with Ethiopia and was very sad to leave it.  

Through her we meet the people she met and mingled with.  How different their lives are from ours and from one setting and group to another.  We see her participating in whatever the locals were doing when she arrived, so we see a little of how they live, their relationships with each other, with their land and with their part of the Nile.  She took time to attend a wedding, participate in a weekly hill climbing ritual, and spent time with a group of young Ethiopian women who are that nations aspiring athletes. More astonishing than all these we see her sitting over a smoke pit in a married women's beauty treatment clad in no more than a traditional black sack and loving it...  These are a few of the many unusual social situations which she navigated with politeness and charm.  Finally she slipped and scrambled up the last jungle-clad slopes to the trickling source of mighty Nile, helped along by the indefatigable and relentlessly cheerful New Zealand explorer Cam McLeay

I found her commentary clear and interesting.  My only complaint is that I would have liked the series to have been longer.