2017-07-03

sovay: (Rotwang)
I saw Jean Renoir's The River (1951) at the HFA tonight with my mother and [personal profile] nineweaving. I have loved that movie since the first time I saw it in 2011, and I have never written properly about it. Have this highly disparate collection of links instead.

1. The long-persecuted, fiercely endogamous Yazidi religion has changed its traditions to welcome back Yazidi women trafficked by ISIS/Daesh. The current wave of persecution has been recognized by the UN as genocide. If you are interested in supporting survivors or the Yazidi community at large, Yazda looks like the place to start.

2. Eric K. Ward of the Southern Poverty Law Center writes on a subject I have been thinking a lot about lately: "Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism."

3. For reasons both fun and deadly serious, John le Carré recommends learning German: "You can make up crazy adjectives like 'my-recently-by-my-parents-thrown-out-of-the-window PlayStation' . . . Those who teach language, those who cherish its accuracy and meaning and beauty, are the custodians of truth in a dangerous age."

4. Double-checking that I had transcribed its lyrics correctly from the recording I have by Bellowhead, I found a fantastic page about the origins and variants of the nautical folk song "Across the Line."

5. This dialect quiz from the New York Times placed me, by regional English, in New York City, Yonkers, or Jersey City. Back to the drawing board, Henry Higgins. [edit: It correctly located [personal profile] spatch in western Massachusetts and also Boston. "Weirdly prescient." But also Yonkers. We're not sure what's up with Yonkers. "Maybe there's a bunch of expatriates."]

Following the whole adventure with RKO's Girl of the Port (1930) and John Russell's "The Fire-Walker" (1929), I really feel I should read some actual indigenous Pacific writers. Any recommendations?
sovay: (Psholtii: in a bad mood)
Oh, God damn it, Heathcote Williams died. He was Derek Jarman's Prospero and I didn't know a quarter of his other art and activism, but his collection of political, scientific poems Forbidden Fruit (2011) was one of the bright spots of a post-election December—the title piece was in memory of Alan Turing—and I had started to wonder what he was doing lately. Protesting and anatomizing the current state of America, apparently. I can't disagree with that. I just wish I had found out before he died.

Heathcote/Prospero sleeps somewhere deep in the abbey in his shabby frock-coat and waistcoat of scarab buttons. He appears, rats in his hair, to devise new games and entertainments, his efforts fuelled by the Bulmer's Cider which Simon buys each day. We have brief discussions about his role, and he shyly produces lines he feels I should keep – 'Lest the blind mole hear a footfall'. He develops a cold which gives his voice a gravelly resonance. One night, at dinner, he says, 'I've been entertaining you lot far too long – if no one entertains me within one minute I'm going to piss all over you.' Then he jumps on the long refectory table and starts to pee a cider torrent. We dive for cover. Heathcote is embarrassed and apologizes – more to himself than us. He has a wild anarchic gentleness, and is the genius of oblique strategies. He breathes fire and bends keys, not to startle, but to test divine possibility. He is an ideal Prospero, performs sympathetic magic, destroys the poetry and finds the meaning. I've rarely heard lines spoken with such clarity – 'and my Zenith doth depend upon a most auspicious star.' These words are spoken softly, not bawled across the footlights. How Shakespeare would have loved the cinema!
—Derek Jarman, Dancing Ledge (1993)
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