Tuesday, 2 August 2016

"Victoria" - crime, thriller available on Netflix.

It wasn’t until about an hour into the movie until realized it was being shot in real time with one, handheld camera.  In fact, the entire movie was shot in real-time using that same, handheld camera. The movie begins with a lonely Victoria at a nightclub where she meets Sonne and his three buddies, Boxer, Blinker and Fub.  Fear not, those of you who hate subtitles, most of the dialogue is in English.  Victoria is a Spaniard who knows little German even though she’s been living in the country for four years.  Sonne and his pals will converse in German if they don’t want Victoria to know what they’re saying. Romantic feelings develop between Victoria and Sonne.  Then. complications arise when gangsters call in a favour from Boxer that must be paid in full, that night.  Naturally, circumstances necessitate the inclusion of Victoria.  The action sequence that follows is riveting like few I’ve seen before. It’s truly masterful.  

Monday, 1 August 2016

"Barkskins" - Annie Proulx's latest novel about the forest

A lot of people die many of them you won’t care about. Also random deaths.  There’s a lot of those
too.  Over and over again in many different forms; disease, infection (there’s more than one of those) and accidents (again, lots of those, and one (ho hum) heartattack.  Few of the characters are sympathetic, except of course, the indigenous peoples and forget about rooting for them.  Mostly, it’s a story about the forest.  It begins with seeming infinite expanses that eventually get reduced to what we witness today. 
The story involves two families, the Sels who are indigenous and live in harmony with the forest and the Dukes, who exploit it.  One lives in poverty or close to it.  The other with incredible wealth.  The one happy and then torn from their indigenous roots by policies such as the establishment of residential schools.  The other unhappy with a lifestyle that would be the envy while still wanting more.  All the while, the forest, the lifeblood of our world is quickly disappearing.  This is a story about two lifestyles, one that lives in harmony with the forest and the other that believes it to be infinite and meant only for the exploited for its wealth.  A book to be read to learn about the history of the Canadian lumber industry rather than entertainment.