Amoeblog

May Is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 28, 2008 04:19pm | Post a Comment
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

Even in a multicultural, polyglot city like Los Angeles (which has the largest population of Asian-Americans (1.4 million) in the country and where the percentage of the population which is Asian-American is roughly twice that which is black) most discussions of race appear continue to be framed in the outmoded, bipolar terms of  black and white.  For example, whereas a lot of people and many organizations honor Black History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is by comparison almost completely unrecognized except by some Asian-American organization and individuals.

The centuries-long struggle and strife of blacks in America is well-documented and worth honoring -- many have suggested that Black Americans invented the Civil Rights Movement (some Native Americans might take issue with that). Asians, like other non-whites, have also been subjected to legal segregation, racist violence, widespread discrimination and harassment. So why is it that the Asian-American experience is so... obscure? I hadn't even heard of its existence until I was hipped to it by reknowned Asian-American rights activist, Ngoc-thu Thi Nguyen.


CONTINUED PREJUDICE AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS

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Today's Holidays -- and appropriate DVDs to celebrate/honor them with

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 25, 2008 08:41am | Post a Comment

ANZAC Day - Australia, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga and Samoa



Armed Forces Day - North Korea



Children's Day - Iceland



Flag Day - The Faroe Islands, Swaziland



Red Hat Society Day - Red Hatters



Freedom Day - Portugal

Robigalia - Rome

 

Liberation of Nazism - Italy



Ni?as Mal (Charm School) 2007 - Mexico

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 24, 2008 09:23pm | Post a Comment

 


Niñas Mal tells the story of a spoiled fresa named Adela whose single father is running for political office. As far as self-centered Adela is concerned, daddy never makes enough time for her, so she continually rebels... meaning she gets tattoos, body piercings and probably listens to punk. She's seen as a detriment to her father's political career so he sends her off to a prestigious boarding school which promises to turn her into a model daughter. Of course, Adela has other ideas; she butts heads with her suffering teacher and tries to disrupt the experience for everyone.

Niñas Mal is basically almost identical to any American tween movie except that there' s more teen sex and gratuitous nudity. Poor-little-rich-girl Adela is a completely superficial rebel-- extremely obnoxious and unconcerned with anyone but the conventionally hunky gardener at her school. Her classmates are broadly drawn stereotypes-- the bitch, the lesbian, the braniac and the ditz.  She thinks she's got it all figured out but... you know where it's going. 

Of course, Adela's pranks and obnoxiousness never amount to an actual rejection of her privileged status, they're merely bratty.  Her father remains her suffering safety net.  If you've seen teen novelas like Rebelde or Clase 406 where being punk is merely another brand of conformity that involves hair-dye, then you know what to expect from this film.  Fight for what you believe in, kids.  Parents just don't understand.  Basically the message of the film amounts to nothing more than empty slogans and false sympathy designed to appeal to a young, eager, self-important and undiscriminating audience. The film is a harmless nothingness redecorated to appeal to children who don't know any better or care. If you're not part of the PG-13 set, it's best to skip this one.

Backwoods (Bosque de sombras) 2006 Spanish-English-French co-production

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 14, 2008 07:46pm | Post a Comment


BackWoods is set in 1978 and depicts two English couples on vacation in a remote community in Navarre/Nafarroa, Spain. The locals have bad style, are ugly and probably smell bad. They're also suspicious of and rude to the well-meaning and rather annoying city slickers. When you see Gary Oldman's character loading a shotgun you can see clearly all the way to the credits. If a gun shows up in a movie, it's never just to look at.

At first the film treats us to a bit of heavy-handed character development. Oldman's character, Paul, is a know-it-all and yet strangely likeable due to Oldman's considerable charisma. Paddy Considine as Norman is whiney and unsympathetic.  Paul's wife, played by Virginie Ledoyen, is extremely unpleasant and nonsensical (women!) and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon as Oldman's wife is pretty unmemorable. They all bicker and snipe constantly till you're begging the locals to kick their spoiled asses already. One morning, Paul takes Norman on a hunting trip into the beautiful countryside. Norman is too soft to shoot a bunny. Paul says something like, "There's two kinds of things in this word: the hunters and the hunted." Deep. Things take an obvious turn when the two discover a girl with crab hands (Helpful Heloise, what's the proper name for this deformity -ed.) chained up in a shack. They do the sensible thing and abscond with her. When the backward, angered villagers catch on, it's Norman who will have to find his inner hardman if he's going to survive. Did you see that one coming? You did? Good.

If this all sounds terribly familiar and predictable, it's (of course) because it is. The film makes no efforts to disguise its exceedingly well-worn story and debt to its inspirations. It's content to get by on the adequateness of the cast and crew and by the story's sticking to tried-and-tested formula. I reckon it's set in the '70s simply because it's a particularly '70s genre. There are exactly zero surprises to be experienced. When one of the country folk attempts to rape a character, my reaction was, "I was wondering when the leering, greasy one was going to do that!" Because, you know, people in the country just sit around all year round just picking their rotten teeth... waiting for vacationing dudes and their womenfolk so that they can get their rape on.

Spacesynth (after a brief bit about Space Disco)

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 14, 2008 04:00pm | Post a Comment

 

When you like a lot of the sci-fi movies from the mid-to-late 1970s, you frequently are treated to Rubellian utopias populated by horned-up hedonists, robots who are polished like (coke) mirrors and multi-racial aliens all getting together at the space disco/cantina/casino. As with almost all science fiction, it's more a reflection of the time of it's conception than any like future. This stuff was heavily indebted to the sexual revolution that preceeded it and was wholly clueless about the AIDS epidemic lying around the corner. In the tense, cold-war-fearing 80s, just a few years later, sci-fi frequently fell into two camps. On the one hand you have bands of marauders roaming the post-apocalyptic wastelands in churched-up dune buggies out to terrorize the few remaining civilized humans, who are attempting in a harsh world to preserve culture and science and maybe the knowledge of how to grow food. On the other you have gritty near-futures where market economics and technology have exploded into fearsome things, exploited by crusties who can access the internet through datajacks in their skulls. And they live in cities called Neo Tokyo and the like. But, for now, back to the 70s...

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