Mike Leigh will make Peterloo massacre film


This video says about itself:

9 September 2012

A short video about the Peterloo Massacre. (Song starts at 0:32)

I’ve added the lyrics as annotations because a few people from outside the local area have expressed difficulty understanding parts.

For more information you could or visit the amazing People’s History Museum in Manchester or if that’s too much of a journey for you then you could just read the Wikipedia article, though I’d still recommend trying to make an effort to visit the museum,

I do not own the rights to the music or any of the pictures in this video, it has been created for educational purposes and is therefore protected under fair use.

Historical figures in the video:

1:22, 3:04 and 4:51 – Henry Hunt (British radical, advocator of free trade and Parliamentary reform; organiser of the meeting. He was imprisoned for thirty months for ‘inciting a riot’).

1:56, 2:38 and 3:47 – William Hulton (Chairman of magistrates who gave the order for the Yeomanry to charge the crowd).

2:00 – Thomas de Trafford (commander of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry)

2:05 – Hugh Hornby Birley (local factory owner, captain of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry and leader of the charge).

2:14 and 4:55 – Samuel Bamford (British radical, leader of the Middleton contingent of the march. He was imprisoned for a year for ‘inciting a riot’).

4:26 – John Bright (Quaker, radical and Liberal politician. He was one of the leaders of the Anti-Corn Law League and a strong critic of British protectionism and foreign policy).

4:27 – Richard Cobden (Manufacturer, radical and Liberal politician. He was one of the leaders of the Anti-Corn Law League and a strong critic of British protectionism and foreign policy. He has been referred to as “the greatest classical-liberal thinker on international affairs”)

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Mike Leigh to make movie of Peterloo massacre

Veteran British director to return to 19th century for a film based on the 1819 Peterloo massacre in Manchester

Catherine Shoard

Friday 17 April 2015 09.45 BST

The director Mike Leigh’s next film will be Peterloo, a drama about the infamous 1819 massacre in Manchester, which killed an estimated 18 protesters and injured up to 700.

“There has never been a feature film about the Peterloo massacre,” Leigh told Screen International. “Apart from the universal political significance of this historic event, the story has a particular personal resonance for me, as a native of Manchester and Salford.”

The massacre occurred when government troops – including local yeomanry – charged a crowd of around 60,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Field in Manchester to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.

The rally was organised by the Manchester Patriotic Union, who commissioned radical orator Henry Hunt to speak. But he was arrested shortly before the rally begun, and cavalry drew their sabres to try to disperse the gathered crowds, leading to confusion and loss of life.

The massacre – christened Peterloo as a nod to the Battle of Waterloo, which occurred four years before – preceded further government crackdowns. But the outcry sparked was one of the key contributing factors to the establishment of the Manchester Guardian.

Leigh’s previous film, a biopic of the artist JMW Turner, was a much-acclaimed return to period drama. It took four Oscar nominations and made more than $10m (£6.65m) in the UK and $3m in the US.

Peterloo will be shot in 2017, with Leigh reuniting with cinematographer Dick Pope, producer Georgina Lowe and executive producer Gail Egan. Leigh is currently in rehearsals for an English National Opera production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline on film


This video says about itself:

11 March 2015

Official trailer for ‘Cymbeline‘ starring Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo, Penn Badgley and Dakota Johnson.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Cymbeline: Michael Almereyda returns to Shakespeare

11 April 2015

A decade and a half ago, Michael Almereyda, the American filmmaker, directed a modern-day version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with Ethan Hawke in the lead role. We wrote that “Almereyda…has seen the play as the tragedy of idealistic youth caught up and destroyed by official greed and corruption.” Hawke’s Hamlet, we commented, “is not a tour de force performance, but an element of a calm, serious approach to the play.”

Almereyda (born 1959), who has had an uneven filmmaking career, perhaps not all his fault, has now returned to Shakespeare, but to one of his lesser known and less frequently performed plays, Cymbeline. The work is not a complete success, but it has an urgency and seriousness that are unusual in American movies at present, and is certainly worth viewing (it is available online).

The original play is set in ancient Britain. The British king Cymbeline (a historical figure who lived around the time of Christ, although much of the play is based on legends and literary sources, or was simply invented by Shakespeare) has stopped paying tribute to the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus. War threatens. Complicating matters, Cymbeline’s daughter Imogen has secretly married a man raised in her father’s court, Posthumus Leonatus, infuriating the monarch, who wants her to marry Cloten, the brutish son of his second (and treacherous) wife.

Posthumus is banished. In Rome, he encounters the sinister Iachimo. The latter bets Posthumus that he can seduce Imogen and bring Posthumus evidence of his triumph.

When Iachimo later pays Imogen a visit at the British court, she angrily rejects his advances. Nonetheless, he manages to produce sufficient fraudulent “proofs” of her infidelity back in Rome to convince Posthumus. In a letter, he instructs his servant, Pisanio, to kill Imogen after luring her to Milford Haven, on the west coast of Wales. However, in the course of their trip there, Pisanio shows Imogen the fateful message and urges her to carry on to the Haven dressed as a boy.

Meanwhile, Cymbeline’s other two sons, believed to be dead twenty years previously, were actually kidnapped by an unfairly disgraced nobleman, Belarius, and live a relatively idyllic existence in the Welsh mountains. Their real sister, Imogen, calling herself Fidele (“the faithful one”) now stumbles on Belarius and the two youths in their lair and is welcomed as a member of their household. Cloten, having been unceremoniously rejected by Imogen, sets out after her with bloody, sadistic revenge on his mind.

Ultimately, a battle takes place between the invading Romans and the native forces, which goes badly for the Britons until Posthumus, Belarius and the king’s two sons (although they are still ignorant of their royal birth) make a stand. Everything unravels and unfolds in a lengthy final scene, with relatively benign results. Forgiveness and reconciliation are the order of the day. In fact, it is one of Shakespeare’s few plays about “tumultuous broils” that end on a harmonious note, so much so that even King Cymbeline seems surprised: “Never was a war did cease…with such a peace.”

Almereyda has transposed the action to contemporary America. Cymbeline (Ed Harris) is the head of a motorcycle gang at odds with corrupt police, i.e., the Romans. Posthumus (Penn Badgley) is a somewhat unlikely, skateboarding member of the gang hopelessly but immaturely smitten with Imogen (Dakota Johnson, daughter of Melanie Griffith and grand-daughter of Tippi Hedren). The scheming Iachimo (Hawke) shows Posthumus apparently compromising photos of Imogen on his iPad. And so forth.

The director has retained the general outlines of the play, although the national-patriotic British element is obviously downplayed. The language is still Shakespeare’s, but Almereyda has edited it down perhaps by half and also re-arranged portions of it.

Like all such modernizing attempts perhaps, this Cymbeline has its ups and downs. The greatest strengths of the film, as they were of Almereyda’s Hamlet, are its simplicity and directness. The filmmaker does without special effects, bombast or much effort to explain his choices. The film simply begins near a baseball diamond at night, with Imogen’s lines to Posthumus from Act I, Scene II, or a slightly amended version of them: “Look here, love; / This diamond was my mother’s: take it, heart; / But keep it till you woo another wife, / When Imogen is dead,” and proceeds from there.

The scene between Iachimo and Imogen in which he attempts to seduce her, by slandering Posthumus, and then changes tack, pretending that his effort was merely a test of her loyalty to her husband, is well done. Johnson is not always up the challenge, but her sincerity in playing Imogen—one of Shakespeare’s great female characters—wins one over, here and in other sequences. She is effective and moving when she tells Iachimo early on in the scene: “You do seem to know / Something of me, or what concerns me: pray you, — / Since doubting things go ill often hurts more / Than to be sure they do; for certainties / Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing, / The remedy then born—discover to me / What both you spur and stop.”

Milla Jovovich, who has generally been stuck in stupid films, is a revelation as the scheming queen, a would-be Lady Macbeth. Her version of Bob Dylan’s “Dark Eyes” is also memorable. Delroy Lindo as Belarius stands out, as do Vondie Curtis-Hall, as Caius Lucius, the leader of the Romans, Peter Gerety as the doctor, and Kevin Corrigan, in a small part, as the hangman. The others are generally adequate or better.

Almereyda told an interviewer: “I’m very grateful to actors who will work for low budgets because that shows true commitment. So everyone who was involved in this movie was working because they wanted to collaborate with William Shakespeare.”

The imagery is relatively creative and thoughtful, the score is disturbing, melancholy. This is a film without a wide range of emotions, they remain mostly on the somber side, but those explored are seriously explored. The overall mood is one of sympathy for the young, the marginalized, the rebellious.

And one has Shakespeare, which is an advantage. There are beautiful and powerful lines in the play that Almereyda has kept. Imogen, in agony over her separation from Posthumus, laments: “O, that husband! / My supreme crown of grief!” Iachimo, perhaps laying the basis for his eventual change of heart, tells Imogen that “the Gods have made you unlike all others,” and after sneaking into her bedroom at night and snatching compromising images of her while she sleeps, exclaims to himself and about himself, “Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.” When Imogen imagines that the decapitated Cloten is her beloved Posthumus, she cries: “O Posthumus! alas, / Where is thy head? where’s that? / … And left this [her own] head on.” And in the final moments, when a happy Posthumus lifts Imogen off her feet and holds her in mid-air, he tells her lovingly: “Hang there like a fruit, my soul, / Till the tree die!” And Cymbeline, finally: “Pardon’s the word to all.”

Almereyda has limited himself to relatively elementary ideas about the play’s content. He told an interviewer that the movie is “about a family and broken trust. It’s a kind of a blighted love story, and almost every man in the story has some imbalanced relationship with a woman. And that intrigued me. It seemed, in some ways, a very modern set of relationships.”

Nonetheless, as noted above, his imagery suggests something more critical about the wider, contemporary world, and more threatening, in the spirit of the play itself. Harold C. Goddard, in his well-known The Meaning of Shakespeare (1951), writes that while “Shakespeare was no Jacobin,” the play paints a picture of “The Power of the English throne wedded to Corruption, who is slowly poisoning it.”

Goddard, writing of the queen’s vicious son, observes: “Nor does Cloten stand alone. He is merely the dark consummate flower of a nobility and court society that is rotten to the core. The Queen is villainous, the King pusillanimous, the British lords cowardly and panicky in battle.” Shakespeare’s Cymbeline provided an intensity that the director had sufficient intellectual wherewithal and integrity to have absorbed and passed along to his audience.

Will extra-terrestrial life be discovered soon?


This video is from the film War Of The Worlds (2005)– The First Tripod.

The film is about an invasion of the USA by dangerous Martians. In the original book by H.G. Wells, the dangerous Martians invaded England.

Very probably, extra-terrestrial life, if any will be discovered soon, will be very unlike this.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

We will have definitive evidence of alien life in 20 years, Nasa chief scientist believes

Strong indications of life beyond Earth could be found within a decade

Christopher Hooton

Wednesday 08 April 2015

The discovery of extra-terrestrial life, probably the most exciting event in human history, may well take place within most of our lifetimes, a high-ranking Nasa scientist has predicted.

“I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years,” Nasa chief scientist Ellen Stofan said on Tuesday, during a panel discussion focusing on the space agency’s search for habitable environments outside of Earth.

“We know where to look. We know how to look,” Stofan added, “In most cases we have the technology, and we’re on a path to implementing it. And so I think we’re definitely on the road.”

Nasa believes such discoveries could happen so soon as they will not take place in deep space but in our own solar system and others in the Milky Way.

Sharing Stofan’s optimism, associate administrator for Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld said: “I think we’re one generation away in our solar system, whether it’s on an icy moon or on Mars, and one generation [away] on a planet around a nearby star.”

If life, in whatever form it takes, is found in orbit of the Sun, it could well be on Jupiter’s moons Europa and Ganymede or Saturn‘s satellite Enceladus, which hold seas beneath their icy surfaces.

The Milky Way is “a soggy place,” Paul Hertz, director of Nasa’s Astrophysics Division, explained.

“We can see water in the interstellar clouds from which planetary systems and stellar systems form.

“We can see water in the disks of debris that are going to become planetary systems around other stars, and we can even see comets being dissipated in other solar systems as [their] star evaporates them.”

These estimates don’t even take into account the fact that alien life may be able to prosper in conditions different to those required by humans, e.g without need for water.

New Iraq film, trailer


This video shows the trailer of the new film on Iraq being made now, which I wrote about in an earlier blog post.

The film asks Iraqis about possibilities of a post-war future.

See also here.

Worst than ISIL: Iraq’s US-caused public health catastrophe: here.

Iraq at war, new film


This video from the USA says about itself:

The Iraq War From The Frontline

Mission Accomplished: Langan in Iraq (2004) – The definitive grassroots view of the Iraqi invasion.

Seven months after war was declared over, journalist Sean Langan arrived in Iraq. He spent three months living in the notorious Sunni triangle, deftly moving between resistance fighters and the American troops. Travelling where few journalists dare to go and filming alone, the producer has captured a rare grassroots view of the war still raging across Iraq.

From The BRussells Tribunal in Belgium:

LIGHT IN TIME TO COME???

In cooperation with the BRussells Tribunal, film production company the Wizard is working on a documentary about Iraq for a large audience.

We are interested in the question what the future of Iraq will look like.

On the TV screen and in the mainstream media, Iraq is a country that is only known as being embroiled in never-ending wars. For most Western people, Iraq – and the Middle East in general – is a place where backward religious wars are being waged between belligerent ethnic and religious fractions – such as Shia and Sunnis -, where fundamentalists are trying hard to push us back to the Middle Ages.

Thanks to the propaganda of the corporate media, many people don’t realize that the so-called highly developed Western world has been trying to dominate and occupy the region for hundreds of years. Remember the Crusades, remember the illegal war of aggression in 2003 and the bombing of Libya.

In this documentary we question Iraqis and Westerners about their perspectives and how they see the future for Iraq and the Middle East. We also ask them what kind of support Westerners could offer to the people of Iraq and the Middle-East.

In our next newsletter you will read more about the project.

Osama Abdulrasol concert

The music score for the film is composed by Iraqi musician Osama Abdulrasol. During his concert on April 21 in Brussels, the music score will be played before a live audience. You can attend this event yourself and meet with the director of the documentary, Luc Pien, who will present the first fragments of the documentary.

20:00 Welcome by Lieven De Cauter, president of the BRussells Tribunal

20:10 Concert part 1

20:45 The documentary by Luc Pien

21:00 Concert part 2

21:30 Drink + meeting with the musicians and the filmdirector

We highly recommend this concert, especially when you live in Belgium. The cast of musicians Osama Abdulrasol brings with him is outstanding. Here you can buy tickets for this event.

This music video says about itself:

Sumerian harp القيثارة السومرية -Osama Abdulrasol

28 March 2013

Osama Abdulrasol, Qanun/ kanun player, composer & producer. playing solo Qanun

Spanish exorcist priest accused of abusing girl


This video is called The Exorcist 1973 trailer.

In the 1973 horror movie The Exorcist, the villain is a teenage girl (or, rather, a demon possessing her); and the good guy is an exorcist priest.

However, in 2015 real life, things are a bit different.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Priest questioned over 13 exorcisms allegedly performed on anorexic teen

Court to investigate whether practice crossed line into abuse after girl’s parents sent her for exorcisms thinking she was possessed

Ashifa Kassam in Seville

Friday 20 March 2015 17.13 GMT

A priest has been summoned to court to answer questions about more than a dozen exorcisms he allegedly carried out on an teenage girl with anorexia.

The investigation began after the girl and members of her extended family complained to the Spanish authorities in August that she had been put through at least 13 exorcisms.

The girl, from the northern city of Burgos, told police that she began having problems with anorexia and anxiety when she was 16, which her parents saw as a “sign of her possession by the devil”.

She was undergoing psychiatric treatments at the time, in May 2012, but her parents, convinced that exorcisms would help, took her to a priest from Valladolid, who carried out several of them on her over a three-month period.

The girl told authorities she was forced to lie on the ground and tied up, with crosses placed over her head. Images of saints were put on her body during the ritual, which often lasted between one and two hours.

In her initial filings, the judge said that the practice of exorcisms on the girl may have crossed the line into “domestic violence, causing injury and abuse”, according to Diario de Burgos, a Spanish newspaper.

The archdiocese of Burgos said in a statement: “After the girl was admitted various times to hospitals in Burgos and Valladolid, her parents, distraught on seeing that she wasn’t recovering, brought her to the exorcist.” It added that the girl’s parents alone made the decision to treat her through exorcisms.

Defending the rituals, the archdiocese said: “Exorcisms are a religious practice that has been maintained as part of the church’s tradition, and is a right available to all of the faithful.”

The exorcist at the centre of the case, it added, had been legitimately appointed by a bishop.

The priest, who has not been formally charged, is expected to appear in court in the coming weeks.

Spain has an estimated 15 priests authorised to carry out exorcisms, eight of whom were added in 2013, by the then Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio María Rouco Varela, reportedly to meet increasing demand for the practice.

If not for horror films like The Exorcist, there would probably be less demand for exorcism.