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Film Festivals and Warm Jackets

semi-overcast 10 °C

Hi everyone

I decided to do an update now, before I go to Edinburgh this weekend, or I would have to spend hours going through everything when I got back.

Not that I have been a doing a whole lot of anything but studying in the last few weeks anyway! But heres what I have been doing... (and I'll warn you I'm finding anything I can to avoid writing my essay, so you know this will be a long blog! You might want to read it in parts :p)

It has been the Leeds International Film festival here this week (Nov 2-12). Bjorn has been going to an average of four films a day (!) thanks to his film pass, and I have been going along to a few with him. It has been my first introduction to a film festival and it has been fun. Though I have discovered I don't very much like rating films. (They give out little slips as you go in and you have to make a tear along one of the lines depending on what you want to rate it, from 1-5 stars.) Plus, I also have to explain my rating to Bjorn as well, who as a budding film maker has well developed opinions on not just the overall feeling of the film as most of us probably think about after seeing it, but on everything, the style, the cinematography, the editing... So film discussions with him are often him talking and me listening. I'm a listner anyway so I don't mind, and I do manage to hold my own.

Anyway, for those of you who are interested, the films I have seen so far are:

- 'Ahlaam', by a film maker who studied in Leeds, originally from Baghdad. He went back during the war to make this film about the experiences of patients in a mental institution. Bjorn had film makers criticisms but I appreciated it for the human side it showed of the people in Baghdad as it showed that the people who were (and are) affected by the war are real people, human beings.

- 'The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell'. A bit of a silly, but fun story about America somewhere around the year 2096 when it has pretty much been destroyed and there are only a scattered amount of people left, and the conflict between bands of people who want to be in control. A bit too much blood and stuff for me, but I'm sensitive :s But I still liked it and it was funny, and even agree with Bjorn that it was a great film stylisitcally.

- '37 Uses for Dead Sheep' is a film about the Kirghiz people who have been forced to move from the homes and travel over miles and miles over the last 30 years to finally settle away from their old home and make a new home in Turkey. This was an interesting documentary and also well made. My favourite part was when one of the old men was talking about having to pull out all his teeth with string as the only way to deal with dental problems - all except one. And then he grinned with his one tooth. It was so funny. And then he was embarrassed about showing it, and tried to hide it from camera.

- 'Bejing Bubbles' was a documentary about the punk music scene in Beijing, China. I agree with Bjorn that it wasn't a particularly well made documentary, but he said it was good to see to learn a bit about China, which is why I went to it. In China punk isn't accepted or the norm like it has become here. There these musicians really are doing something different, rejecting the expected school, marry, work pattern.

- 'Esma's Secret', one of my favourites so far. About a mother and daughter living in a community in Sarajevo still recovering from the Yugoslav wars in the 1990's. I think this would have had an even more significant impact if you were from there, but it was still a really good film knowing nothing about it previously. Even if I can't relate to the war aspect, I appreciated the affect it has had on them, and I could still relate to the mother, daughter relationship, the aspects of being a woman, and the identity and family issues. So good. If you find this film anywhere, definitely see it.

- 'Princesses' is my other favourite so far. It is a Spanish film about prostitutes. So, you may be thinking, ok, whats that going to be like. I was expecting something a bit dark and depressing, but surprisingly it wasn't. It was often light hearted, without treating the subject casually or flippantly. It was serious and moving, with some hope. And it didn't pass judgement on the characters (but by no means condoned it either.)
Following this film I had a discussion with Bjorn about prostitution - interesting topic to discuss with someone from Holland where prostitution is legal (and unfortunately somewhat of a tourist attraction.) But no one will ever be able to convince me that prostitution can or ever should be considered 'just a job'. I don't care what you say. Its not, and shouldn't be treated that way.

Well that was my little rant.

  • * It's intermission now... go to the loo, get yourself a cup of tea, or maybe some popcorn and come back in five :) **

oh your back? Ok, well still to come at the film festival: 'Colour Me Kubrick' (about a man who imitated Stanley Kubrick I think), 'Like Minds', which was filmed in Leeds and stars Toni Collette, and Requiem, based on the true story of a girl in Germany who died while undergoing an exorcism ritual. The recent horror film 'The Exorcism of Emily-Rose' was also based on this, which I didn't want to see. But this one is not so commercial and differently addressed I think (I hope) so I'm curious to see it.

Anyway, sorry if you have been bored wading through all my film talking. (Blame it on Bjorn's influence).

Apart the film festival, I have been looking forward to my trip around Europe in December!! It is all paid for now, so I'm definitely going! I went and bought a warm jacket the other day because judging by the dropping temperature even now in England, nothing I had with me was going to be sufficiently warm. Especially not in Europe in place like the Alps in winter! It was a fairly pricey little shopping trip to get this jacket. (I am reluctant to convert the price into Australian dollars in case I have a heart attack). But I'm thinking of it as an investment piece, as its good quality and I shouldn't have to buy another one for a long time (hopefully ever!). And I'm glad I did now because I just looked up the weather in the places I'm going to, and in some places the average december maximum temperature is just 2 or 3 degrees. And thats the maximum. :s But it will still be so amazing. And I will see snow!! yay :)

And coming up:

  • tomorrow I am going out with my across-the-hall flatmates from flat 2.2 (im 2.3). That will be good to get to know the people around me better as the only social gathering we have had so far has been the fire alarm. The other day I talked to the guy from Brazil (Eduardo) and one of the Italian girls Serena, and her visiting boyfriend in the kitchen over dinner, as we were all in there at the same time. A rare occurrence. And I talked to the British guy a bit the other day when he came to my door (in a tshirt and boxers) t0 borrow my hairspray to do his hair for a halloween party.
  • this weekend I'm going to Edinburgh, woohoo! Can't wait.
  • and next Friday, I'm having an Australian party. I've ordered some aussie products like tim tams and bbq shapes and minties for people to try. I'm going to cook hamburger patties and sausages in a frypan simulating a bbq, and just have bread and sauce, with potato salad and stuff for dinner. A bit of a sausage sizzle really. Thats Australian. I also found on the website Pavlova magic, to make it easier on myself to make it.

Heres a list of some 'facts' about Australia I found and will put up on the wall for the party. (If you can think of any more let me know and I'll add them)

1. The bigger the hat, the smaller the farm.
2. The shorter the nickname, the more they like you.
3. Whether it's the opening of Parliament, or the launch of a new art gallery , there is no Australian event that cannot be improved by a sausage sizzle.
4. If the guy next to you is swearing like a wharfie he's probably a media billionaire. Or on the other hand, he may be a wharfie.
5. There is no food that cannot be improved by the application of tomato sauce.
6. On the beach, all Australians hide their keys and wallets by placing them inside their sandshoes. No thief has ever worked this out.
7. Industrial design knows of no article more useful than the plastic milk crate.
8. All our best heroes are losers.
9. The alpha male in any group is he who takes the barbecue tongs from the hands of the host and blithely begins turning the snags.
10. It's not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to hold.
11. A thong is not a piece of scanty swimwear, as in America, but a fine example of Australian footwear. A group of sheilas wearing black rubber thongs may not be as exciting as you had hoped.
12. It is proper to refer to your best friend as "a total bastard". By contrast, your worst enemy is "a bit of a bastard".
13. Historians believe the widespread use of the word "mate" can be traced to the harsh conditions on the Australian frontier in the 1890s, and the development of a code of mutual aid, or "mateship". Alternatively, Australians may just be really hopeless with names.
14. The wise man chooses a partner who is attractive not only to himself, but to the mosquitoes.
15. If it can't be fixed with pantyhose and fencing wire, it's not worth fixing.
16. The most popular and widely praised family in any street is the one that has the swimming pool.
17. It's considered better to be down on your luck than up yourself.
18. The phrase "we've got a great lifestyle" means everyone in the family drinks too much.
19. If invited to a party, you should take cheap red wine and then spend all night drinking the host's beer. (Don't worry, he'll have catered for it).
20. If there's any sort of free event or party within a hundred kilometres, you'd be a mug not to go.
21. The phrase "a simple picnic" is not known. You should take everything you own. If you don't need to make three trips back to the car, you're not trying.
22. Unless ethnic or a Pom, you are not permitted to sit down in your front yard, or on your front porch. Pottering about, gardening or leaning on the fence is acceptable. Just don't sit. That's what backyards are for.
23. The tarred road always ends just after the house of the local mayor.
24. On picnics, the Esky is always too small, creating a food versus grog battle that can only ever be solved by leaving the food behind.

Thats all folks

Posted by Jessie M 14:25 Archived in United Kingdom

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We won't know you when you get home - you'll be a film buff as well as all the other areas of your life you are developing.
The Aussie list is priceless Jess - where did you find it!!? The party should be great fun!
Look forward to hearing all about your trip into Scotland!

by bevmaxwell

But you must know (in relation to pt 2) that increasing the length eg as in Jester, actually maximises the fondness factor!! PS don't forget to tell them about the bachelors and Spinsters Balls!
A Marg XX

by mbonnar

Hi Jessie! Very glad to hear you're going to Europe!! You will like Edinburgh if the weather is kind. If you get a chance, you must go and see something called the "camera obscura". I can't remember exactly, but it was near the city centre. You will get a fantastic view if the weather is reasonably clear. We were lucky to be there on a beautiful clear day, a very long time ago now! But the camera obscura is still there, I heard something about it just the other day. Love A Susie xxx

by sueappleto

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