The temptation to do whatever we want can sometimes be great, especially when the enticements are irresistible. But just because the desire is there, does that mean we should always act on those impulses, particularly when there’s the potential for others to be harmed by what we do? Many of us would justifiably look upon such actions as the height of irresponsibility...
To truly leave a mark on one’s life, it pays to do so with a genuine sense of integrity, one that accurately reflects one’s authentic self. Such is the essence of heroism, the stuff of which legends big and small are made. But, regardless of the magnitude behind these tales, they all have one thing in common – they’re stories rooted in truthfulness,
Passing judgment is something that, for what it’s worth, seems to come all too easily to most of us. That’s especially true when someone engages in acts that affect us negatively, and, in some cases, such blame may be genuinely deserved. But what happens if such effects result from acts that originate with honest, benign intentions?
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (“Portrait de la jeune fille en feu”) (2019). Cast: Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Valeria Golino. Director: Céline Sciamma. Screenplay: Céline Sciamma. Web site. Trailer. Asserting our right to openly proclaim who we love seems like a birthright we should all possess without hindrance. But, under some circumstances, doing so may be difficult, especially when we’re pressured to conform to the dictates of others. That’s unfortunately true even today, but it was far worse in the past, when social sanctions and familial obligations were much more restricting and pervasive, as illustrated in the French period piece drama, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (“Portrait de la jeune fille en feu”). In 1760 France, [...]
“Bacurau” (“Nighthawk”) (2019 production, 2020 release). Cast: Bárbara Colen, Thomas Aquino, Silvero Pereira, Sônia Braga, Udo Kier, Thardelly Lima, Rubens Santos, Wilson Rabelo, Carlos Francisco, Luciana Souza, Márcio Fecher, Jr. Black, Val Junior, Lia de Itamaracá, Karine Teles, Antonio Saboia, Jamila Fecury, Jonny Mars, Alli Willow, James Turpin, Julia Marie Peterson, Brian Townes, Charles Hodges, Chris Doubek, Buda Lira, Fabiola Líper. Director: Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho. Screenplay: Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles. Web site. Trailer. The impact of bullies has gained wider recognition in recent years. In most instances, this increased attention has focused on the detriment to individuals, but it can just as readily affect groups and entire communities, even if these situations don’t garner the same [...]
“Sorry We Missed You” (2019 production, 2020 release). Cast: Kris Hitchen, Debbie Honeywood, Rhys Stone, Katie Proctor, Ross Brewster, Charlie Richmond, Julian Ions, Sheila Dunkerley, Maxie Peters, Christopher John Slater, Heather Wood, Alberto Dumba, Natalia Stonebanks, Jordan Collard. Director: Ken Loach. Screenplay: Paul Laverty. Web site. Trailer. Have you ever been so dissatisfied with your circumstances that you were willing to take drastic steps to change them? And, if so, have you ever subsequently found yourself no more fulfilled afterward, despite high hopes going in? What next? Do you formulate yet another new plan, or do you reconcile yourself to the futility of trying and give up on starting over? That’s a tough call, especially for the discouraged, but it’s [...]
“Les Misérables” (2019). Cast: Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti, Djebril Zonga, Issa Perica, Al-Hassan Ly, Steve Tientcheu, Almamy Kanoute, Nizar Ben Fatma, Raymond Lopez, Jeanne Balibar, Fodjé Sissoko. Director: Ladj Ly. Screenplay: Ladj Ly, Giordano Gederlini and Alexis Manenti. Book: Victor Hugo, Les Misérables. Web site. Trailer. Many of us often look upon the world and wonder why it exists in the state that it does. Some elements seem so patently unfair and incapable of being made better. What’s more, the task of rectifying them is so daunting that it appears to be an impossible undertaking, one clearly beyond our abilities. However, if we make the effort to scrutinize the underlying cause of these conditions, it might not be so difficult [...]
“Parasite” (“Gisaengchung”) (2019). Cast: Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, So-dam Park, Woo-sik Choi, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Jung Ziso, Hyun-jun Jong, Jeong-eun Lee, Myeong-hoon Park, Seo-joon Park, Keun-rok Park. Director: Bong Joon-ho. Screenplay: Jin Won Hon and Bong Joon-ho. Web site. Trailer. When the have-nots stare down the ample resources of the haves, there’s almost always sure to be a degree of envy involved. “How is it that they’ve come to acquire what we haven’t?” they might legitimately ask. “Why can’t we have some of that?” Those questions have merit, too. But how far are the have-nots willing to go to get what they seek? That’s a crucial issue posed in the new social satire, “Parasite” (“Gisaengchung”). Times are tough for [...]
“Dogman” (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Marcello Fonte, Edoardo Pesce, Nunzia Schiano, Adamo Dionisi, Alida Baldari Calabria, Laura Pizzirani, Aniello Arena. Director: Matteo Garrone. Screenplay: Ugo Chiti, Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso, Marco Perfetti, Giulio Troli and Fratelli D’Innocenzo. Story: Ugo Chiti, Matteo Garrone and Massimo Gaudioso. Web site. Trailer. Few among us would deny the attraction we feel for a sense of personal power. It enables us to direct our destiny and shape the existence we want for ourselves. But it also comes with a temptation, one that can easily get out of hand if left unchecked. And it carries consequences, especially if we misuse it in our dealings with others or our community. It’s an issue that the residents [...]
‟Cold War” (“Zimna wojna”) (2018). Cast: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc, Agata Kulesza, Cédric Kahn, Jeanne Balibar, Adam Woronowicz. Director: Pawel Pawlikowski. Screenplay: Pawel Pawlikowski, Janusz Glowacki and Piotr Barkowski. Story: Pawel Pawlikowski. Web site. Trailer. Even when we get all the breaks, sometimes life just doesn’t satisfy us. We pursue the opportunities that present themselves, but somehow they inevitably fail to live up to their billing (and our expectations), leaving us feeling unfulfilled. And, if this pattern continues unabated, at some point, we may grow despondent, perhaps engaging in various forms of unproductive or even self-destructive behavior. So it is for an entertainer who has a chance to have it made and ends up sabotaging herself at every [...]