Category Archives: Film

Star Wars: It’s just another day in Trumplandia™


From teleSUR English:

Neo-Nazi groups on the Internet are calling to boycott the premiere of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” as they feel offended about the themes of the upcoming film, calling it “nothing but a Jew masturbation fantasy of anti-White hate,” reports IB Times.

According to what these white-supremacists have poured into their comments on a forum on the discussion website Reddit, they are upset mostly because “nearly all of the major characters are non-whites and the main character is an empowered white female.”

A similar thing happened before the release of the franchise’s Episode VII “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015, when men’s “activists” called on boycott the film because it was starred by John Boyega and Daisy Ridley: a black actor and a woman.

The election of Donald Trump has underscored deep national divisions that have fueled incidents of racial hatred across the United States. There has also been a spike in the number of hate crimes after the vote, according to the FBI.

Poland’s highest court rejects Polanski extradition


We have written extensively about the gross miscarriage of justice in the decision of the Los Angeles Superior Court in its insistence that director Roman Polanski be extradited from Europe to face a longer prison sentence than he already served for his 1976 guilt plea in a statutory rape case.

There was no question of Polanski’s guilt. But there is also no question that Polanski served the sentence agreed to by prosecution and defense attorneys in his 1976 plea bargain, a deal approved by the Judge Laurence J. Rittenband.

Nor can there be any doubt that the judge reversed himself after the director served his time at Chino state prison.

Our previous posts and our appearance in the Marina Zenovich’s superb 2008 documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, make clear, the judge backed out after all conditions of the deal had been fulfilled, including that time behind bars,

And even though the judge is dead, the court still insists on Polanski’s return, where he would face the prospects. . .of what? A longer prison sentence than he already served?

There’s no question of Polanski’s responsibility for the actions he admitted, nor is there any question that his flight was a reasonable action, considering utterances by the judge to his country club pals.

A corrupt judge tries to save face

The judge was embarrassed by criticism he received after the deal was finished, and he violated the canons of judicial ethics in consulting at least one journalist [your truly], as well as an assortment of powerful folks at the Hillcrest Country Club, his home away from home.

But the judge’s unethical and probably illegal conduct seems not to bother a succession of elected Los Angeles District Attorneys, who figure they can snatch a few votes by exploiting a celebrity.

In their unrighteous zeal, the prosecutors have already forced Switzerland to place Polanski under house arrest for ten months six years ago, ending when the Swiss high court ruled that extradition “would be in breach of the Swiss ideals of truth and credibility.”

And now the Polish high court has made the same finding in yet another extradition request, upholding a lower court finding that because Polanski had already served the agreed sentence, there was a high probability that he wouldn’t be treated fairly if forcibly returned to Los Angeles.

More from BBC News:

Poland’s Supreme Court has rejected a request by the country’s justice minister to have film-maker Roman Polanski extradited to the US.

Oscar winner Polanski is wanted in the US over a decades-old case involving sex with a minor.

A Polish district court rejected a US extradition request last year.

But Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro revived the case in May, appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling. He said he wanted to “avoid double standards” and that nobody should be above the law.

Polanski grew up in Poland and, although he now has homes in France and Switzerland, he visits his homeland often.

The case has led him to cancel plans to film in Poland.

The Los Angeles Times notes:

The new decision means that Polanski, who resides primarily in France and is a citizen of France and Poland, is free to travel to Poland without fear of being arrested and sent back to the U.S. Though the director was born in Paris, he grew up in Poland, where as a young boy he survived the Holocaust before going on to become an accomplished filmmaker.

Poland’s ruling also means that American officials have virtually exhausted their options in a four-decade attempt to bring the Polanski back to the U.S. In 2010, Switzerland declined the U.S.’s request to extradite Polanski after he was arrested in Zurich the year before on his way to a film festival. The director spent several months in prison and under house arrest.

>snip<

The L.A. district attorney’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Let us hope that this brings an end to case, an end desired by the woman at the center the case and anyone who values the rule of law over whim.

And now for something completely different. . .


For a moment of pre-holiday diversion, a short film from Ignas Meilunas:, and be sure to watch through the credits:

MR NIGHT HAS A DAY OFF

Program notes:

Why the night is changing the day? When you don’t like something, you change it.

A zero budget short story i was asked to do by “Nuits en Or 2016” festival. Done in 21 day in Summer 2016. Shot in Vilnius, Lithuania.

H/T to Metafilter.

Trump’s America and a 1946 educational film


Folks living in United States in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century might find a bit of irony in this short educational film shown in American schools starting in 1946, the year of esnl’s birth.

Produced in the immediate aftermath of the bloodiest war in history, the Encyclopedia Britannica educational film was created at the start of the most prosperous era in U.S. history, when labor unions boomed, the economy flourished, and the public could learn about their world through a diverse media landscape peopled with intelligent, young, and moderately well-paid journalists.

The film was created with the assistant of one of the nation’s greatest political scientists, Harold D. Lasswell of Yale University, who contributions to his field included a noteworthy study of propaganda and its uses by totalitarian regimes.

Much has changed since the film’s release, as we’re certain you’ll agree, yet its conclusions offer a chilling insight into political, economic, and media environment that has given us President-elect Donald J. Trump:

Despotism [1946, Encyclopedia Britannica Films]

H.T to Boing Boing.

And now for something completely different. . .


And that would be another delightful animation from the National Film Board of Canada.

Today’s offering is a creation of artist Emmanuelle Loslier, who combines live action, origami, stop action animation, and a pun to create an imaginary world on a real Montreal street.

Inspector Street

Program notes:

This short animation begins with a newspaper, discarded on a public bench, whose headlines warn of unusual phenomena. A gust of wind animates the paper’s pages, conjuring strange and fantastical creatures: a bridge that becomes a caterpillar, a steeple turning into a bird, a dome transformed into an octopus. Elemental forces have been unleashed. Skilfully wielding paper cut-outs, origami, and a healthy dose of humour, filmmaker Emmanuelle Loslier plunges us into a fantastical world in which Montreal’s urban landscape has never been so alive.

And now for something completely different. . .


Really, really different. . . and featuring William S. Burroughs, Yoko Ono, Salvador Dali, Ayn Rand, James Joyce, Cthulhu, John F. Kennedy, and many, many more.

Yep, it’s another of those brilliant animations from the National Film Board of Canada, dramatically and delightfully depicting an everyday dilemma.

Click on that gear wheel to ramp it up to the highest resolution you screen will afford and click off that “Annotations” slider to get the full, mind-blowing impact:

Subconscious Password

Program notes:

In this short animation, Oscar-winning director Chris Landreth uses a common social gaffe—forgetting somebody’s name—as the starting point for a mind-bending romp through the unconscious.

Directed Chris Landreth – 2013|10 min

Film’s neglected, distorted portrayal of the aging


Following up on our previous post about inequality in the world of American film comes another study of bias on the silver screen, this time reflecting the neglected and distorted portrayal of folks of esnl’s own vintage.

Again, from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism:

New research reveals few characters aged 60 and over are represented in film, and that prominent senior characters face demeaning or ageist references. These negative and stereotypical media portrayals do not reflect how seniors see themselves – or their lifestyles. These findings stem from two studies conducted by health and well-being company Humana Inc. and the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg. The studies also reveal that aging Americans who are more optimistic report having better health.

Led by Professor Stacy L. Smith, USC Annenberg’s study analyzed the 100 top-grossing films from 2015 to assess the portrayal of characters aged 60 and over. Humana also conducted a quantitative analysis, asking seniors to identify the lifestyle traits that are important when aging, to assess the degree to which these traits describe them and to provide their point of view on senior representation in media. Major findings include:

In film, seniors are underrepresented, mischaracterized and demeaned by ageist language.

  • The findings show just 11 percent of characters evaluated were aged 60 and over; U.S. Census data shows that 18.5 percent of the population is aged 60 and over.
  • Out of 57 films that featured a leading or supporting senior character, 30 featured ageist comments – that’s more than half of the films. Quotes included characters being referred to as “a relic,” “a frail old woman” and “a senile old man.” According to Humana’s quantitative survey, seniors report they are highly aware (95 percent), resilient (91 percent) and physically active (71 percent).
  • Only 29.1 percent of on-screen leading or supporting characters aged 60 or older engaged with technology, whereas 84 percent of aging Americans report that they use the internet weekly.
  • Of the senior characters that died on screen, 79.2 percent of deaths were a result of physical violence — such as being shot, stabbed or crushed. This does not accurately reflect causes of death for the aging population, which are heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

But that’s not real life and seniors know it – people aged 60 and over lead active social lives and value internal, psychological strengths.

Continue reading