In addition to other postings, I will be using this site for eight weeks to provide weekly overviews for a course offered by the Ryerson Life Institute.
Week One: Thematic Overview
"In the eye of the hurricane the sky is blue...The eye of the hurricane is in the very middle of a destructive power, and that power is always near, surrounding blue healthy and threatening to invade it...
In a world of moral hurricanes, some people can and do carve out rather large ethical space. In the natural world and social world swirling in cruelty and love we can make room. We who are not pure ethical beings can push away the choking circle of brute force that is around and within us. We may not be able to push it far..., but when we have made us as much room as we can, we may know a blue space that the storm does not know."
- Philip Hallie, 1986
|Gate by Jim Hodges
"Man cannot do without beauty."
- Albert Camus
“This is earth. It will be never be heaven. There will always be cruelty, always be violence, always be destruction….We cannot eliminate devastation for all time, but we can reduce it, outlaw it, undermine its source and foundation; these are victories.”
Rebecca Solnit, “Hope in the Dark” in Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World
Edited by Karin Lofthus Carrington and Susan Griffin, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2011.
Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, Philomena focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench), mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock - something her Irish-Catholic community didn't have the highest opinion of - and given away for adoption in the United States. In following church doctrine, she was forced to sign a contract that wouldn't allow for any sort of inquiry into the son's whereabouts. After starting a family years later in England and, for the most part, moving on with her life, Lee meets Sixsmith (Coogan), a BBC reporter with whom she decides to discover her long-lost son.
The Hunt is a “contemporary horror story about a respected man’s descent into a Kafkaesque nightmare of denunciations, dread and danger. We are pulled into the dark realms of the human psyche and an excursion through small-town Hell. A gesture of affection from a little girl to her daycare teacher triggers a rejection that sparks ugly suspicions, leading questions, half-truths and outright lies. Neighbors he’s known for decades turn malicious and malevolent overnight, their moral collapse fueled by a misguided sense of righteous indignation. He’s excommunicated from society, vilified by his childhood friends and barred from the local stores. The film mounts excruciating tension as the witch hunt escalates from emotional to physical attacks. Then something human happens.
(This blurb has been adapted from a review by Colin Covert in the Star Tribune)