This video says about itself:
30 November 2016
A goalkeeper in South Africa has equalised for his team with a last-minute bicycle kick.
This video from the USA is called Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Official Trailer #1 (2016).
By David Walsh in the USA:
15 November 2016
Directed by Ang Lee; written by Jean-Christophe Castelli; based on the novel by Ben Fountain
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is the latest work from veteran Taiwanese-born filmmaker Ang Lee, probably best known for Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Ice Storm (1997), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Brokeback Mountain (2005). The new film is based on the novel of the same title by American author Ben Fountain, published in 2012.
The drama takes place in 2004. A unit of American soldiers, who have survived a brief but fierce battle with Iraqi insurgents, are being celebrated as “heroes” on a nationwide tour. Thanksgiving Day finds them in Dallas, where they are to take part in halftime festivities at a Dallas Cowboys football game. Despite the media hoopla and public attention, the group of soldiers is on the eve of being shipped back to Iraq.
Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn), the central figure in the novel and film, is a 19-year-old US serviceman whose effort to save his beloved sergeant (Vin Diesel) in Iraq was captured on film and has earned him a Silver Star. We follow him as he navigates the goings-on at the football stadium, and we also see what he remembers about the battle in Iraq and other recent episodes in his life, including his first visit home since his deployment. His sister, Kathryn (Kristen Stewart), to whom he has been very close, is working on Billy to find a means (medical, psychological) to avoid returning to the war zone. The young man also encounters and becomes infatuated with a Cowboys cheerleader, Faison (Makenzie Leigh).
Accompanying the “Bravos,” as the media has dubbed the group of young soldiers, is a Hollywood wheeler-dealer, Albert (Chris Tucker), who is trying to put together a film deal. The “heroes” are the guests of Dallas Cowboys’ owner, Norm Oglesby (Steve Martin), who talks cheaply and indiscriminately about God and country. He pompously tells Lynn, “Your story, Billy, no longer belongs to you. It’s America’s story now.” Ultimately, which should surprise no one, Oglesby proves to be a first-class chiseler along with everything else.
Before discussing the substance of Ang Lee’s film, it is necessary briefly to consider its “groundbreaking…technical breakthroughs.” Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was shot in 3D, in high resolution (4K, or twice the number of pixels, both horizontally and vertically, as an ordinary film) and in “a history-making frame rate” (120 frames per second, as opposed to the normal 24).
According to Billy Lynn’s production notes: “The movie even set up its own lab in Atlanta in order to process a vast quantity of data, as Lee and [cinematographer John] Toll invariably relied on two cameras running at five times the normal speed with twice the amount of data running on each of those cameras. That translated into twenty times the data storage of a normal high-quality Hollywood film on a daily basis.”
The technology is impressive and certainly deserves to be explored. However, the claim that technical means by themselves will advance cinema is simply unwarranted. Lee comments, “To me, when we see movies, it’s as if we’re watching someone’s story from a distance. My hope with this new technology is that it could allow for greater intimacy, to really convey the personal feelings of a conflicted young soldier.”
It is difficult to know precisely what this means. We are always watching someone’s story from a distance in a film. Greater physical proximity does not necessarily bring us any closer to the truth of someone’s life. For that, social and psychological knowledge are required. Compared to present-day filmmakers, Murnau, Renoir, Eisenstein, Kurosawa, Ford and Chaplin worked with primitive equipment, but they were able to present far richer pictures of life.
Co-producer Stephen Cornwell: “In some ways the language of cinema hasn’t really evolved for a hundred years. The frame rate’s been the same. The way things are performed, spoken and constructed and the way narrative unfolds is something that we’ve all come to accept as norms. And what Ang has done is ask how do we evolve cinematic language to stay relevant, distinct and unique in the post-digital age, in an age where cinema is plateauing, where story telling has become very familiar? To do that, we have to change the way people experience cinema, and that’s what Ang’s reaching for, what we’re all reaching for in this film.”
The problem with contemporary filmmaking is not primarily mechanical or organizational, but artistic and social. Cornwell seems to imply that the present stagnation can be overcome by astonishing technical knowhow. This is obviously not true. What’s needed, above all, is not greater “technologically induced realism,” but greater historical and psychological realism.
Human beings and objects have always appeared to me to be three-dimensional on screen, at least physically. The 3D technology is often a distraction, and it certainly proves so in Lee’s new film. So-called 3D films sometimes appear to be composed of cardboard cutouts standing in front of one another.
Filming Billy Lynn apparently had its peculiarities. Fewer takes were possible, for example, because of the expense. Also, according to the British-born Alwyn, “The cameras were absolutely huge. … Because of how intimate Ang wanted the shots––so close to the faces––you would be performing to the black-matte box around the camera, rather than being able to see the other actors. Oftentimes, you’d just be following bits and pieces of tape, moving around a black space, and delivering your lines to that.” These circumstances may help explain why there is much stiffness and awkwardness in a number of the performances, especially in those of Steve Martin, Vin Diesel and Chris Tucker.
In any event, the filmmakers have done a reasonable job of adapting Fountain’s book, which––as I noted previously––”is not so much a novel about Iraq…as it is a sharp look at phony patriotism, hypocritical religiosity and corporate greed in [George W.] Bush’s Texas.
Fountain notes that the idea for the novel originally came to him at home while actually watching the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day football game in 2004.
“This was three weeks after the general election when George W. Bush had beaten [Democrat John] Kerry. I felt like I didn’t understand my country.” Fountain explains that he remained seated during halftime and “started watching the halftime show—I mean really looking at it. And it’s very much the way I write it in the book: a surreal, pretty psychotic mash-up of American patriotism, exceptionalism, popular music, soft-core porn and militarism: lots of soldiers standing on the field with American flags and fireworks. I thought, this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Presumably, writing the novel was a means by which Fountain attempted to “understand” his country. He succeeded, however, only in fits and starts. The book has amusing and useful features. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk pours a good deal of satirical cold water on the professional sports-military complex, with its unsavory mix of patriotism, meaningless spectacle and violence.
The novel’s generally hostile tone is legitimate, but the targets, including Bush and his administration, are fairly easy ones at this time. In the end, despite its decent intentions, the book is a little too light-hearted and “soft.”
Ang Lee has never appeared to possess a satirical touch. His films have tended toward the earnest and literal. He is a competent, dogged filmmaker, who is capable at his best of shedding light on human relationships and of generating emotion.
The new film alternately and regularly advances toward certain harsh truths and retreats from them.
There are good, serious elements here.
–In one scene, Billy and one of his fellow soldiers, “Mango” Montoya (Arturo Castro), sit and talk with a stadium bartender. The latter is thinking of enlisting, because there is nothing for him in civilian life. They agree that the economic situation is poor and the rich live in another realm from them.
–During a dinnertime conversation at home, Kathryn quizzes Billy about the war, and its purpose. Is it for oil, she asks? Where are those WMDs [weapons of mass destruction] we’ve been hearing about? (In the novel, she says: “Then let me ask you this, do you guys believe in the war? Like is it good, legit, are we doing the right thing? Or is it all really just about the oil?” Billy replies, “You know I don’t know that,” and, later, “I don’t think anybody knows what we’re doing over there.”) Kathryn is the most intelligent, sensitive individual in the film and her antagonism toward official society and propaganda is contagious.
–While the Bravos are sitting around at the stadium at one point, an oilman (Tim Blake Nelson) approaches and commends them on their “service.” Sgt. David Dime (Garrett Hedlund), the leader of the squad, responds with excessive, implicitly bitter and sarcastic zeal to this odious individual, “You keep on drilling, we’ll keep on killing!”
–In the only scene that gives some sense of the reality of the Iraq war and occupation, the squad bursts into a house at night and generally terrorizes the residents. They eventually place a hood on the head of the man of the family and take him away.
–In the incident for which he received his decoration, Billy ends up wrestling with one of the insurgents and cutting his throat. We watch as a pool of blood forms around the dead man’s head. Lee shows this image twice. It is the most disturbing in the film.
–The football halftime show itself is a scathing comment on the cultural-political state of things in America. Destiny’s Child (with a Beyoncé stand-in) and groups of dancers perform, marching bands march, fireworks explode, the Bravos stand at attention or move around in a daze. All the while, Billy recalls the mayhem and death in Iraq. Lee effectively brings to the screen Fountain’s “surreal, pretty psychotic mash-up.” It is impossible not to feel the absurdity and monstrosity of the situation, the horrible reality that America’s rulers are sending young men and women to die to ensure business as usual.
At the same time, unhappily, there are numerous moments and elements that undermine or offset much of what is strong in the work. Lee’s approach is too non-committal in many of the sequences, too “even-handed.” The early portions of Billy Lynn are especially flat. One can also feel where Lee gives in to political pressures, to pro-military, “support the troops” rubbish. The assault in Fountain’s book on the businessman at the center of the whole reactionary business, Oglesby (Martin), is considerably downplayed and weakened. One hardly knows what to make of him in the end. Moreover, the evasive note on which the film concludes, a variation on the “band of brothers” theme, is another accommodation to bourgeois public opinion.
The production notes for Billy Lynn include a comment from Alwyn, whose thrust one suspects reflects Ang Lee’s thinking: “The film doesn’t go into the politics of war or why they guys are fighting over there…but it brings the war home and explores people’s projections on the soldiers rather than getting into the morality and the politics of it so much.”
Yes, and this is the movie’s most damaging failing and what prevents it from being a more consistently powerful and artistically satisfying experience. We will make the point one more time––it is not possible to make a coherent and convincing film about the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq, with all its devastating and ongoing consequences, without treating in some fashion the driving forces of the war and its broader significance. Every deliberate act of avoidance eats away at the sincerity and depth of a work of art.
Now, terrible news.
This video says about itself:
3 November 2016
The 19-year-old goalkeeper of Gambia’s national women’s football team has drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe.
From Bleacher Report:
Gambia Goalkeeper Fatim Jawara Dies Crossing the Mediterranean Sea
By Rory Marsden, Featured Columnist
Nov 3, 2016
Gambia women’s national team goalkeeper Fatim Jawara died last month on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea while she was travelling from Libya to Europe “in the hope of starting a new life.”
She wanted to become a professional player, not possible in the Gambia.
According to AFP (via the Guardian), Jawara, believed to have been 19 years old, left Gambia for Libya in September to attempt to then get to Europe by sea and subsequently died when the boat she was on “ran into trouble in the Mediterranean.”
Jawara’s death was confirmed to the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) by the agent she had paid to help her leave Libya, per John Atuke of Nigerian outlet Vanguard.
Lamin Kaba Bajo, president of the GFF, remarked upon the tragic nature of Jawara’s death, per Atuke:
“I received the news today and it has really shocked me. The young girl is a talent and on the move for greener pastures but the way she died is just shocking … . We at the GFF are very sad about the development and on behalf of the Football Federation, I want to send our condolences to the family of the girl and her former club Red Scorpions.”
Atuke added that she was part of the Gambia squad that were at the Under-17 World Cup in Azerbaijan in 2012 and played for club side Red Scorpions.
Per AFP, her senior debut for the Gambia national team came against a team from Glasgow [in Scotland] a year ago, while the report relayed remarks from Chorro Mbenga, assistant coach of the under-17 side, in which Jawara first emerged: “Her death is untimely, but we will remember her for her great performances on the pitch.”
Ms Jawara managed to stop a penalty kick by the Scottish side.
This 4 November 2016 video commemorates Fatim Jawara.
She will never ever stop penalty kicks again.
Like Somali Olympic athlete Samia Yusuf Omar will never ever run a 200 meter race again. A refugee from her warn-torn country, Ms Omar drowned off the coast of Libya as well.
‘Thank you’, European Union bosses with your ‘Fortress Europe’ policies. You, who are egging on human rights violations against refugees from Italy to Greece to Libya.
‘Thank you’, politicians like Sarkozy in France and Cameron in Britain; who with their ‘humanitarian’ war made Libya a hell for its inhabitants and refugees, and a paradise for violent racists, violent jihadists, torturers and people-smuggling crooks, profiting from the despair of the victims of yet more ‘humanitarian’ wars.
The NATO war opened up in Libya ‘golden’ opportunities for men with racist ideas against people from the Gambia or other African countries. At least, Fatim Jawara survived that. I, and millions of people all over the world, cry that she did not survive the next bloody obstacle to her sportwoman’s dream.
This 25 October 2015 video from Deventer city in the Netherlands shows local Premier League professional team Go Ahead Eagles losing their cup match against Gouda city amateurs Jodan Boys one goal to two.
After the first goal by Go Ahead Eagles (not in the video), Levi Marengo (born in Suriname) equalized with a free kick. Just before the end of the match, a header by (cinema worker) Roald Heerkens meant that Jodan Boys won the match.
Yesterday, today evening and tomorrow evening are the second round of the Dutch football cup. Winning teams are included in the last 16 teams in the third round.
A thousand Jodan Boys supporters had traveled in over ten buses with their team from Gouda to Deventer and were very happy with the result. When the team came back in Gouda, hundreds of other supporters welcomed them at the Jodan Boys ground.
This video is about Jodan Boys players celebrating after the match, with the trainer and Roald Heerkens being interviewed.
This is only the third time ever in Dutch football cup history that an amateur team has won an away match against an Eredivisie (Premier League) team without needing extra time.
Another amateur club is VVSB from Noordwijkerhout village. Last year, this club with their purple and yellow colours very surprisingly were one of four clubs reaching the semi finals. Yesterday, VVSB reached the last sixteen by beating fellow amateurs Katwijk three goals to zero.
This is a video about that match yesterday in Noordwijkerhout.
There are at least four amateur clubs among the last sixteen, as ASWH beat fellow amateurs Spakenburg in an away match three goals against two in extra time.
And at 20:00 tonight, IJsselmeervogels (another amateur club with a history of beating professionals) will play at home in Spakenburg against fellow amateurs HFC from Haarlem, the oldest football club in the Netherlands, founded in 1879. One of these two will be among the last sixteen teams.
This video is a song of IJsselmeervogels; produced by Dutch rock musician Peter Koelewijn.
This video is another IJsselmeervogels song.
Tonight in Almelo, the Heracles Premier League professionals will play against the amateurs of UNA from Veldhoven village. A sixth amateur team among the last sixteen? Well, UNA and some others are ‘second division’, semi-professional. But the second division (re-)started only this year; before that they were amateurs.
Another surprise was that Sparta Rotterdam knocked PSV Eindhoven out of the cup competition by winning three goals against one. They are both Premier League teams; but PSV are last season’s champions.
This video shows Sparta, in the red-white striped shirts, winning this match in Rotterdam.
This video says about itself:
25 September 2013
In the worst cases, employees are not being paid and work in conditions of forced labour. Each month dozens of young Nepalese migrant workers are returning home in coffins.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
During the construction of the Al Wakrah stadium in Qatar a worker has died. What exactly happened is unclear. According to the organizing committee, which is responsible for the construction of the World Cup stadiums, it is a work-related accident.
The organizing committee has launched an investigation to determine how the accident could have happened. What nationality or gender the victim is has not been made known. …
Multiple sources have reported in recent years that workers have already died before. But Qatar has always said that there are little or no deaths which are directly related to the work.
The country relies heavily on migrant labor to finish the stadiums and infrastructure in time for the World Cup, which will be played in the winter of 2022. In total, there are many thousands of construction workers flown in from eg Nepal, India and Bangladesh.
The workers work in appalling conditions, say human rights organizations. As Amnesty International wrote earlier this year the workers are exploited on a large scale. The British newspaper The Guardian predicted in 2013 that thousands of workers would die.
This video from Britain says about itself:
EPSN/BBC: Hillsborough #JFT96
27 April 2016
Finally aired in the UK at 9pm on BBC 2 on Sunday May 8th 2016, without much additional material.
“American sports network ESPN, as part of its 30 for 30 series of sports films (under a new “Soccer Stories” subdivision), aired the documentary Hillsborough as a co-production with the BBC. Directed by Daniel Gordon, the 2-hour film chronicles the disaster, the investigations, and their lingering effects; it also included interviews with survivors, victims’ relatives, police officers and investigators. Hillsborough aired the first time on 15 April 2014, the 25th anniversary of the disaster. The documentary was unable to be shown in Great Britain upon initial release due to the 2012 High Court inquest still being in progress and the UK’s jury tampering laws; the documentary contains previously unreleased security camera footage from the stadium the day of the disaster. However, upon the inquest verdict the BBC announced they would air the documentary, with additional footage from the inquest and final verdict.”
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
132 coppers stonewall Hillsborough probe
Saturday 24th September 2016
A TOTAL of 132 police officers and staff have not assisted the Hillsborough investigation despite being asked to do so, the coppers’ watchdog revealed yesterday.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said 64 officers from South Yorkshire Police and 68 from West Midlands Police have been approached for a witness statement but have not provided one.
The watchdog is looking at whether offences such as conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perverting the course of justice were committed in the aftermath of the 1989 tragedy.
IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said: “Some [officers and staff] were unable to provide an account for reasons such as poor health; others have not responded to our contact and there are a number of individuals who couldn’t be traced.”
Ms Cerfontyne pointed out the IPCC can compel serving police witnesses to attend an interview, but not retired officers.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Megan Rapinoe Hindered in Bid for Second National Anthem Protest
8 September 2016
By Alan Gilman in the USA:
NFL football players spread protests over police violence, racism
20 September 2016
Following San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests of racial oppression and inequality by refusing to stand at attention during the national anthem, many other National Football League (NFL) players have joined in similar protests during the first two weeks of the regular season.
Kaepernick, who is biracial and was adopted and raised by his white parents, began his protest in August during preseason games. He explained his actions by stating, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
There were widespread denunciations by police organizations and right-wing politicians and media pundits, denouncing his actions as unpatriotic, if not treasonous. There were a few cases of supposed “fans” burning his jersey. These efforts failed to stifle the display of political and social opposition, as support for Kaepernick among NFL players, other athletes, and the public has instead increased.
Many players throughout the NFL’s first two weeks of the season have engaged in similar protests and Kaepernick’s jersey has now become the NFL’s number one seller, even though this season Kaepernick, a starting Super Bowl quarterback in 2012, is a back-up this year.
In the regular season’s first two games Kaepernick has continued to kneel during the anthem and has been joined by teammate Eric Reid, while teammates Antoine Bethea, Rashard Robinson, Eli Harold and Jaquiski Tartt have stood with raised fists.
Miami Dolphins Arian Foster, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas have taken a knee during the anthem in their first two games. Foster, who last year publicly described himself as an atheist, said the main purpose of their demonstration is to create a healthy dialogue on issues of systemic racism such as education, the prison system and police brutality toward minorities. “If somebody is telling you they don’t feel like they’re free, why wouldn’t you listen to them?” he asked.
Jason McCourty and Jurrell Casey of the Tennessee Titans kissed their hands and raised their fists after the national anthem before this week’s game in Detroit. Both players had raised their fists during the anthem in Week 1. Casey explained their gesture was “a small symbol showing we are looking for equal opportunity in this world, and we just need justice for all the things that’s going on around here.”
Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos took a knee during the anthem for the second week in a row, despite having lost two commercial endorsements for his first protest. “I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America,” Marshall said, according to the Denver Post, “I’m against social injustice. Kaep, he’s using his platform how he wants to use it, to reach the masses. We have freedom of speech. But then we use our platform, and we get bashed for it. It’s almost like they want us to only go with the grain. And once we go against the grain, it’s an issue.”
Other players who have continued to raise fists during the anthem include Robert Quinn of the Los Angeles Rams, and San Diego Chargers Joe Barksdale and Chris Hairston. A number of other players, including Martellius Bennet and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots, Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks, and Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs engaged in similar anthem protests before their games in Week 1.
All of these players are African-Americans in a league whose players are 70 percent black.
Anthem protests have also occurred at various high school games throughout the country. In Seattle at last Friday’s game players and coaches from Garfield High knelt in unison before their game against West High, with several West High players also joining. Garfield Coach Joey Thomas said his players decided to kneel after talking among themselves about Kaepernick and social injustice. “How are you killing these African American males on camera and we can’t even get a day in court?” he asked.
Many other high school players throughout the country have engaged in similar protests and players in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Alabama are facing suspensions for their symbolic protests.
This issue has been absent during this season’s college football games only because in most college games the anthem is played before the teams take the field.
Outside of football, Megan Rapinoe, a member of the US women’s soccer national team, has been kneeling during the anthem as a gesture in solidarity with Kaepernick and others protesting social inequalities. “We need to look at all the things the flag and the anthem represent and all the things it means, and is it protecting everybody? There are people who don’t feel as protected as I do every day. I know it’s a time-honored tradition. Especially in a sports environment, it’s something the country is very passionate about, but there is a bigger conversation here that is more important than sports.”
Rapinoe, longtime advocate for LGBT rights, is also one of five players named in an equal-pay complaint filed against US Soccer and was a vocal critic of the artificial turf used during the 2015 World Cup.
… What virtually all victims of police violence have in common is their social class, as almost all are members of the working class, particularly the poorest and most oppressed sections of the working class.
Kaepernick and other NFL players who have been protesting police violence have demonstrated personal courage and have shocked the authorities, including both the billionaire owners of the football teams and their highly paid media partners.
For the time being, taken aback by the scale of the protests and the open support for the players from many fans, the NFL has hesitated to retaliate. For how long this will persist is unclear.
Fox and CBS, which have billion-dollar contracts to broadcast NFL games on Sundays, and NBC, which broadcasts Sunday Night Football, seem to have adopted a policy of ignoring the protests, giving virtually no attention to them this weekend, although more athletes were involved than in Week 1 of the season.
Since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem before National Football League (NFL) preseason games began in August, in protest of racial injustice and police brutality, his actions have continued to gain support throughout the first three weeks of the NFL’s regular season: here.
TULSA POLICE RELEASE VIDEO OF FATAL SHOOTING OF UNARMED BLACK MAN “Terence Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed Friday after officers responding to an unrelated call spotted his vehicle stalled in the middle of the roadway, Tulsa World reports. The police department earlier said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands, but the footage appears to show him walking toward his vehicle with his hands above his head.” [Chris D’Angelo, HuffPost]
USA: The Racial Wage Gap Between Black And White Workers Is Getting Worse. Pay for black workers lags behind that of white peers more than it did in 1979. 09/20/2016 05:00 am ET: here.