“Wasteland”Film

 

 

wasteland pictures

Wasteland, sustainability, inequality, and environmental awareness, which are all intertwined on the purpose of making a living, with a dream, goal of better lives for themselves and their mediate families members. I enjoyed watching this film not because it deals with social issues in my native country but because it speaks of humanity and their struggles to maintain their sanity while making a mere misery to feed their children, their wives, and keep their dreams alive.

I had no idea that young people, native of Brazil were submitting themselves to working and living among garbage. I loved seeing Vick Muniz statement in which he says,” what I really wanted to do is to change the lives of a group of people by using the materials they work with to inspire them to change … “This is exactly what he did. What a beautiful idea! Giving back to his own people, making them feel worthwhile. Garbage! Who likes working in a pure stink for hour’s day in and day out? I could not endure such a hardship as this, and have suffered hardship, but not in garbage field, Wasteland.

Vick muniz speaks of growing up in the “favelas” slums, and never feeling ashamed of being poor. But one that he is glad to have gotten out of. I was emotionally sucked in seeing “Tiao” and” Isis” speaking of their tragedies and their abuses. Domestic abuse, alcohol abuse which drove their to the wasteland path becoming “catadores”, garbage pickers.

Vick Muniz said, “This is like the Stock Market (Gramacho Garden) for them, because they find valuable pieces of trash which will give them good returns”.

I noticed that the garbage pickers are not frustrated or depressed people. They are happy despite their struggles earning their sustainability.

This was another great documentary film that has expanded my knowledge of what art is and the different mediums that can be used in the creativity of an art piece. I loved this film its messages to consumers in respect to their disregard to the environment and recycling. I also loved when one of the pickers said that,”99 is not a 100 percent” referring to a small can thrown out into the trash. We need to be more conscious of what goes into the trash. I think that we are trying, but trying is not enough.

 

 

 

 

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“Ai Wei Wei”film

I found this film to be another wonderful and yet controversial documentary which has informed me about Wei Wei and his art forms in activism. I also have to say that I was very impressed by Ai Wei Wei’s courage in taking chances and getting on the Chinese government’s face. Wei Wei’s desire to bring change to the people of China shows an incredible bravery, resiliency in helping them to get equal rights, freedom of expression his people. China is a beautiful country, but its people’s thoughts are suppressed. This film tells us that if we desire change, we must take action, collective action for heavens sake. Ai Wei Wei uses his art creatively to deliver exactly, action. He proved that by using the tweeter when his blog site was shut down by China’s political party. I found him even more daring when they came to demolish his studio and he threw a party to celebrate, if that doesn’t infuriate the rulers, I don’t know what does. His art speaks for itself and art itself can be used as words in this case.

I completely admired his desire to move China forward by pressing the government to give people the right to express themselves freely, and inspiring its people to seek change in a peaceful way. Wei Wei kept on showing his cats throughout the film, and cats are peaceful creature. I understood the cats being a symbol of his action in which he tries to educate his people through art much like one of the cat that opens the door exiting quietly. He appeared to bring awareness to dissident Chinese who lives in China and abroad. I thought that the “middle finger” symbol was a very daring symbol showing how he feels towards China’s political attitudes at freedom of expression. I was not surprised to hear that he disappeared at one point because that is what communist countries do. They take their outspoken individuals who pose threat to their government system. Speaking up for the children who died during the 2008 Earthquake was the right thing to do.

“Mekko” film

I  chose to see the film “Mekko” this weekend at the Pechanga Casino in Temecula, Mekko is one of the films presented in the California American Indian and Indigenous film Festival which was hosted by CSUSM and Pechanga Casino this year. It was a very good film that brings awareness to the social issues that the American Indian culture endures after having been removed from their lands in the 1800’s.Mekko is the main character in this film, faces tremendous hardship after prison release. Watching Mekko wander the streets among other indigenous homeless made me wonder why we seldom hear about their struggles, their personal tragedies, and stereotypes. Throughout my college experiences, I had only heard of what they had gone through during their displacement but not their current problems. I can only imagine what this culture has gone through since their displacement in terms of earning a living, education and the difficulties in maintaining their values and traditions.

I chose to use this picture of Mekko and Bernie because of its significance to these two chararcters who spent a great deal of time together, and at one point they were both brutally attacked while sleeping on the sidewalk streets where they hung out together; a rival,street gangster named Bill.I felt sad watching Mekko loose his friend but felt a sense of relief seeing him find a female friend help him out.

I also felt terrified watching Mekko revenge of Bill, killing and by cutting Bill’s chest wide open and then ripping his heart out. I thought to myself, “Is he going to eat it?No.he did not “ he instead took it to the waters and after cleaning the heart ,he let it go. This was his redemption of his own spirit which had sinned. A statement was made in the film that “once an Indian is taken from his home, he never returns.Well.Mekko does returns to Oklahoma where he belongs.

At the end, viewers had a chance to meet the director,Sterlin Harjo who took questions from the viewers.

“Smoke Signals”film

I found this film very charming, humorous and at the same time complex for its dramatic plot. I enjoyed watching Thomas and Victor travel together, sticking together as indigenous individuals do. I could not help but to compare this film “Smoke Signals “with that “Mekko” and their similarities in their plots. I could see the paradox of both films stressed, the social issues that indigenous culture face, where alcoholism and other disparities are clearly visible among the culture. American Indians were forced out of their lands and subjected to the white man’s rules, given a strip of land limiting their livelihood that depended on hunting, collecting of wild berries, nuts herbs, and other natural things found in their environment that helped them in their sustenance.

I found the film very enlightening for informing us viewer that the American Indian culture also suffer the same; struggles, disparities, social issues that affects other cultures .American Indian culture is one of the many cultures within a single dominant culture in the (USA).Social Issues such as that of unemployment, domestic abuse, drug and alcoholism are all visible and dwelling problems that deserve attention of our politiacians.after all indigenous people did not ask to be removed from their lands (home) and from their way of life as the ones they once practiced. I was not aware of their struggles because they are not spoken in the media. Thank god for their casinos this has created jobs and has helped them maintain their families. “Smoke Signs “film stresses that indigenous removal from their lands took away their spirits, their freedom and “when an Indian is removed from their home, their spirit die” and once an Indian loose his/her home, she or he never returns.

I felt sad seeing Victor being abused by his drunken father, Arnold Joseph, no wonder Victor resented him even after his father’s death. He did not desire to visit his father’s trailer which stunk. However I found it charming when Victor shared his father’s ashes with Thomas by pouring some ashes into the money jar. It made sense since Thomas had good memories of Arnold and wanted to do ceremony in the river. I could see that Victor liberated himself from all the pain he had endured as a young boy by dumping his father’s ashes into the river.

But then, Thomas appeared very annoying to me, talking most of the time and Victor ever so patient listening during the bus ride to Phoenix. I was happy to see both young man returns to Idaho where they have lived, a reservation, where their spirits were once directed by the white man.

“watermark”film

I hated this film despite its intended message which is water and pollution. I could not keep my eyes open. I fell asleep several times fighting to keep my eyes open, I saw some parts and missed others. The film begins by showing very heavy dark waters in motion, very dirty, contaminated. Also, cracked soils, signs of drought, the Colorado River delta dry and broken, and crackled soils. I kept on waiting, hoping that a narrator would say something to keep myself alert, but it only happened a few times. However, I felt horrified watching an East Indian father helping his son wash off in a polluted river in India. The water looked so brown that looked more like a mud bath and everyone bathing, cleansing them here.I kept on reminding myself that we are so lucky in America to have clean ocean and river waters so clean and yet complain.

The oyster farm land also made me wonder if people ever get sick eating seafood from that farmland waters. I could not help myself to feel sorry for those workers’ conditions trying to make a living all day collecting oysters from filthy, muddy water sand living afloat them .

It attempt to bring awareness of pollution, water supply, drought and silently raises the question: what are doing to prevent pollution, our water clean? We are polluting our own waters and making ourselves sick by creating so much trash and improperly discarding our trashes, chemicals etc.

I heard the narrator, Oscar Dennis quote: How does water shape us and how do we shape water?This is so true. It is up to us to keep our water clean by modifying our habits and how we use it.

 

 

Annie Leibovitz:”Life Through a Lens”Film

Annie Leibovitz Funeral Held for Oscar De La Renta

Wow! Another great film! I loved watching this film because it captured beauty of its subjects: people who were either famous or became famous then as photographer Annie Leibovitz used her artistic skills to exhibit their precious and private moments through photography. I love photography and this film made me want to continue photographing my favorite family members and landscape of places I visit. This film inspired me to take out my rusty camera out of the closet and explore my passion by collecting images of the beautiful things around me. I had never heard of Annie Leibovitz until now and instantly became her fan. She is so talented. She must feel honored to have  captured special moments of actress Whoopi Goldberg,yoko Ono and John Lennon, Former California governor, body builder   Arnold Schwarzenneger,Demi Moore expecting her first child,Rolling Stones group,Mick Jagger and former president Richard Nixon. Photography is a form of art itself and she owns it.

I have a family member who is just finishing college majoring in fine arts and is doing exactly that,photographing individuals precious moments through lens of a camera and loving it.

Watching “Life Through a Lens” made me feel humble thinking of my paternal parents who did not like posing for family pictures.My mother would always excuse herself by saying: “oh! my hair needs work, so perhaps another day and soon I would leave without the pictures. However,I now do take time to photograph my family just like Annie Leibovitz does her children in their natural,leisure moments.

I have to say that I saw her creativity and passion through the lens of her camera in action.

“The Sapphires” film

“The Sapphires”

Sapphires, what a great title for a music group! Just out of the blew an aboriginal girl looked at a Sapphire ring and shouted out, “Sapphires “answering to a group of judges. A nice drama for such a small budget film; however, I enjoyed it for its content, the concept of race, gender and cultural issues were definitely seen here.Abgale, Julie, were strong characters by challenging their opposite sex. In the beginning I worried that the girls would be taken advantage of by the would be manager, Dave whom proved to be a good guy after all caring for the girls. By taking them abroad and let them loose for the soldiers to abuse. But it turned out to be a charming film towards the end with the girls mastering their skills in singing and later coming home to perform for their own families and friends. Sapphires reminded me of Motown music (my girl).I found it charming when their manager (Dave) who had entered a relationship with one of the girls and came to their home, asked her parents for their hand in marriage while standing at the door.

Throughout the film I noticed that race and gender were barriers to the their developing career and intimate relationships as the dark skinned girls find themselves among other races (Vietnamese, Caucasians and African Americans).But they fight back proving their capabilities. I also found it interesting that they encounter resistance not from the Vietnamese, but from African Americans who get the girls commitment to sing for the soldiers at war. They showed courage and at one point, I thought to myself, “what crazy idea!” work amidst the chaos of war and soon enough there was a huge strike that hurt their manager. Luckily, he survives and all is well. Seeing the manager get stricken by a bomb and be left behind was disappointing to the aboriginal girls, but it raises the level of interest in the drama (film).

“Rabbit-Proof-Fence”

Director: Phillip Noyce

Writer: Christine Olsen

Stars: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Laura Monaghan, Kenneth Branagh, David Gulpilil, Ningali Lawford, Deborah Mailman, Jason Clarke

Genre: Drama

Length: 93 minutes

Cinema: 08 November 2002

Country: Australia

Wow! This film was another dramatic, culturally moving film. I greatly enjoyed watching this film. I can also relate the main characters’ attitude of this film to the “whale Rider “Paikea and Billy Elliot in” Billy Elliot” film. They all speak of resiliency, and determination in saving themselves against the dominance of “whiteness” which has throughout history attempted to control the non-white races. This was another example of gender, sexism, and Cultural Revolution denied by the blindness.

The film, “Rabbit –Proof-Fence” is film and its title speaks for itself. This film was released in 2002 and its story takes place during the 1930’s when the Australian government decided to prevent the formation of a third race from infiltrating the white Australian society. By capturing the half-caste children from their Aboriginal mothers, the government would be helping these children by confiding them to one place, teaching them English and preaching Catholicism to them. This lasted till the 1970’. I was surprised by its plot that develops by beginning with the Aboriginal mothers and children leading a stress free life in the outback of Australia until the girls are snatched from their mothers’ arms and shoved into a government car, and then taken away to “Moore River Settlement”. “Moore River Settlement” is a camp where half-caste children are locked up and kept under Voodoo’s tracker, a native himself who works for the government. I hated Voodoo because he does not try to save the girls Molly, Grace and Daisy from this genocide. I felt even bitter watching him tracking the girls’ footprints on the mountains when he has his own daughter imprisoned by his own boss in Moore River Settlement, camp.

I wanted to shout, “You jerk, get out of the way, at least look the other way so Molly, Grace and Daisy can free themselves. I found myself hoping that Molly would make home along with Gracie, but she didn’t as Gracie was not so smart, refusing to continue walking the same direction. I was also very happy to see little daisy stick around with Molly through their journey. At one point, the exhaustion took them over and they dropped on the ground as if they were expiring. I thought that they were dead , but they were woken up by a bird, inspiring them to keep going.

I was also surprised to see their mother showing resistance  fighting back one of the tracker by walking towards him with a sharp stick resembling a spear. She scared the tracker away and the girls arrived just then reuniting with their mother and grandmother. I loved this moment!

Sadly, Gracie was recaptured and did not return. This was another controversial dramatic film in which gender; racism and white dominance were the focus.

‘Billy Elliot”and Whale Rider” films

I found Billy Elliot film very charming despite its dramatic plot. I also noted the strong similarity between films, the Whale rider and Billy Elliot characters. I loved watching them both and especially since I was able to watch Billy Elliot in my own language “Portuguese “on the YouTube. In Billy Elliot, the boy “Billy” showed much resiliency and perseverance in becoming a dancer against his father and older brother’s disapproval. Seeing Billy fight for his right to explore dance gave me a sense of satisfaction because it reminded me how much I loved dancing in my teenage years’ danced every weekend with my friends at a ballroom and felt like dancing queen. In fact, I loved dancing to a song called the “Dancing Queen” by Abba https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFrGuyw1V8s

My husband who opposes my desire to complete my college degree arguing that it will not pay off as I am in my fifties and people are getting ready to retire at this age and I am wasting my time in school. I often tell him that it is my dream of finishing what I started before forming a family even though it may not pay me off(financially).It has been a struggle for me to follow my dream in graduating college and I fell that I have not had the support I deserve from my husband. I have sacrificed myself mostly to get this far and I am doing it for myself and my children who I been able to help and show the value of education.

Billy Elliot fifths not only his family’s opposition of attaining his dream, but poverty as well by living in cramped apartment caring for his grandmother who is so sweet. I loved the scene in which she joined Billy’s father at the dining table with the letter of acceptance waiting for Billy and his reactions to the letter. Billy picked up the letter and went into his room to read the letter which to his surprise was happy news. I felt that he was overwhelmed with the good news after so much work, struggle to get accepted into formal dance school. I also felt that his first teacher should have acknowledged him for his efforts.

Billy Elliot struggles was similar to that of “Paikea” in Whale Rider film for their resilience in fighting back gender stereotyping .This was not the only thing I noticed in both films; deaths and domestic abuse was present in which both characters had to fight against. Paikea lost her mother and twin brother at birth and if that wasn’t bad enough, her grandfather did not value her for her gender.Paikea’s grandfather dreaded losing his traditional ideas which meant preserving his cultural ideology.Whereas,Billy’s father felt threatened losing his son’s machismo thinking that it was about to be shadowed by ballet(dance).

Billy, the boy witnessed domestic violence by his brother and father by being stricken on the face while standing up to his family members. Paikea suffered the same abuse by her grandfather, only it was more emotional abuse, failure of her grandfather’s acceptance and lack of affection that is until she proved him wrong. That, yes she could achieve what she desired.

Both films were good and I am glad to have placed myself in world cultural arts class for it has enhanced my own understanding of culture and arts from a in depth and different perspective.

La Mission

Wow! what an Interesting film this is!

In my perspective this film dealt with many cultural issues that affects many households today and one especially the “Traditional Latinos”. I found it to be very dramatic,emotionally touching from a parent’s perspective.It was hard to see “Che” heartache and yet feel disappointment of his son for not accepting his relationship with his gay lover. At times, I felt sympathetic for both, father and son; as they both wanted to continue their father-son relationship. I felt my heart drop by every scene,thinking that “Jesse” would be killed.He almost did by getting shot.I also felt disappointed seeing “Lena “get her emotions out allowing “Che” to make love to her.I was proud of her for her resilience in keeping herself way from the male dominance.However,she later reclaimed her strengths.

This film presented the social issues and  stigmas that same -sex individuals face socially and the difficulties that family members find in accepting a child’s same-sex relationships. I can understand how this Latino father feels because of my  own upbringing. Latino culture find it humiliating and blames it on the choices their children make. During a conversation trying to help his brother understand the situation, he’s brother said, “You can take the man out of his mission, but you cannot take the mission out of the man”. I loved this quote.

“La Mission” promotes peace,social acceptance  among the different cultures portrayed throughout the film.

I did not like how the film ended for I wanted to see “Che” embrace his son’ relationship with the Caucasian boy.After all, his son just wanted to be loved by his father and his friends.

I loved the statement his brother made recalling his mother’s quote that”From a thorn ,a flower emerges”.