31 January 2012

Movie Review: The String

I recall seeing the trailer for this film at a film festival -- methinks. I don't really recall but its been in my queue for some time. I have never been to the Muslim Francophone world. The setting of this film reminds me of what I think of when I recall stories from Arabian Nights. I can't complain. The "scorching romance" I think may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I think the movie has just enough to be a romance with tender moments. Here is a summary:
After returning from France to his mother's home in Tunisia after the death of his father, 30 year old gay architect Malik cannot fully adjust to the proper cultural mores of his homeland and ends up dabbling in the shadow world of his homeland (more below on this). He also flatly rejects his mother's expectation that he should marry a local woman. Then he meets another alienation Francophone Bilal and through the process of relating, comes to adjust.
On one hand, I see that there is a process of character development going on here. The mother is almost fanatically anti-gay and pushing local women on Malik. Malik goes from totally alienated to being somewhat integrated.

On the other, however, I can see where claims can be made regarding homosexuality and maternal overbearingness. Remember in Hamlet, "The lady doth protest too much, me thinks." Yes, well, this would be an instance of it. The mother turns out to really enjoy the fact that her son is gay. What is her purpose in pushing these local women on him, really? Perhaps she does not want him to have any other woman. She is satisfied with how he resolves this issue (which I won't spoil for you). But the movie does not conclude, I think, with any real development of the mother. Sadly.

Then, there is Malik. I was fascinated by how he rode around a neighborhood on his motorcycle and simply stared at guys until he found one he liked. The guy then walked up to him and said: "Want to take my picture?" On n'est pas sorti de l'auberge! They ended up in some Arabian Night inspired backroom somewhere where Malik gets practically raped by this ruffian. That was one aspect of this shadow world of Tunisia. Then, watching this within a day of citybuoy's post on cousins, Malik sniffs poppers and has sex with his cousin in a dance-club bathroom. His cousin reveals his cousin relation to Malik, Malik then says they will forget they are cousins just that night. The cousin, however, says, this really makes them cousins. You see, the underbelly of the social realm is in a bathroom in a dance-club.

I found the setting and cinematography to be worth the watch alone. Yet, the ethnographic information about Tunisian life was also useful.

30 January 2012

Movie Review: Brotherhood

I was a bit nervous to watch this. I have not been impressed with the neo-Nazi themed movies. But I was surprised. The movie was good at dealing with right wing extremism without making it a caricature of itself. After all, all political extremism can easily be caricatured but why watch a movie about it -- unless its supposed to be of the slap stick comedy variety.

This of course deals with taboos (citing again to citybuoy's segueing cousins post again). Lars is a Danish army man who is discharged. He ends up deciding to dabble in neo-Nazism (of the Danish variety) for reasons that are not too clear. In any event, he impresses the party leadership with his eloquence and ability to think. He is picked for a coveted lifetime membership by the leadership over lifetime member Jimmy's junkie/drunkard brother Patrick -- to Jimmy and Patrick's lives. Lars discloses his association to the neo-Nazis to his mother and is kicked out of the house. The party, for whatever reason, decided to house Lars with Jimmy. Well, as it goes, it only takes so long before Lars and Jimmy begin circling each other until, well, they encircle each other.

The beauty of their affection is so tender and gentle -- in contrast to the harshness and violence of the neo-Nazi community they have adopted or attached themselves to -- is only heightened by the fact that their association with their neo-Nazi community was intended whereas no conscious volition pointed towards their intimacy.

Thus the gentle and tender love that emerges with Lars and Jimmy in opposition to their neo-Nazi perspective becomes the inner conflict of Jimmy -- in part because of how Lars relates to joining or becoming associated with the party. Jimmy becomes the Christ figure who bears the cross of these conflicting perspectives. But will Jimmy be crucified, like Christ? Or will Jimmy become like Odin who being hung upside from the world-tree Yggdrasil for nine days to attain wisdom and thereby retrieved the runes from the Well of Wyrd?

I'll let you watch and make your own comment.

09 January 2012

Malaysia court finds A. Ibrahim not guilty of sodomy

Surprising just about everyone, check out the full story here...

01 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Engulf me with splendor that what I request may be accomplished without impediment.
May the doctrine of the Buddha prosper and flourish.
May all harmful obstacles be pacified.
May the activities of study and practice flourish.
May sickness, famine, agitation and strife be pacified.
May the crops be good and the rains timely and in good measure.
May glory and prosperity flourish.
May central and border countries be happy.
May there be joy, goodness and abundance.
May everything be accomplished just as is wished.