Tuesday, July 14, 2009

NZ International Film Festival: Red Cliff

God I love John Woo, with his massive cast of thousands he manages to narrate the multi-perspective collective view of a 5000 year old culture in a way that makes the western individualist cinematic narrative seem shallow.

His movies are like a multi-board Vulcan chess game with political Machiavellian machinations and Art of War quotations. The grace with which he films and the sheer choreography required to move that many people on screen around is a technical rubix cube that Woo never loses his place in as he spins and re-aligns shot after shot into a seamlessly completed image rich story.

It’s the Chinese Empire again, there is a dictatorial Prime Minister who after quelling Northern rebellions is now eyeing up future enemies who need crushing now. The young and nervous Emperor weakly agrees to give his ambitious General of a Prime Minister a shot at beating the snot out of the two Southern power blocks who have so far resisted the authoritarian rule used to crush the North. I’m guessing with China’s level of censorship all political criticism has to be couched within an historic context as the resulting plot and message of resisting authoritarian rule while remaining loyal has far more to do with the social friction currently rubbing modern day China against a one party state.

Woo mixes moments of quiet gentle grace with cheesy martial arts in a way few others could credibly get away with. There’s something for everyone, Horse shunting, in-flight pigeon cam and semi-erotic bandage wrapping. Red Cliff is another triumph from a Director who has set the benchmark for vast cinema.


NZ International Film Festival: Bright Star

Opening night of the NZ International Film Festival is one of the best cultural events on the Auckland social calendar and my love affair with NZFF was reflected in this years romantic premiere masterpiece, Jane Campion’s ‘Bright Star’.

I see so much Jane Campion in her work. In The Piano she seemed to embody the search for identity in NZ and in her latest work as a film maker she is personified in the fastidious craftsmanship of Fanny Brawnes sewing skills in Campion’s retelling of Brawnes love affair with the greatest romantic poet ever, John Keats. Campion’s own brilliant eye for subtle detail is matched by Fanny’s exact fashion skills and a tender yearning for an 18th century love that seems magically innocent to 21st century cultural sensibilities.

Set in 1800’s London, the visual accuracy and sheer beauty of imagery is a frame by frame feast with acting that makes the dialogue believable and not archaic. Abbie Cornish’s skills helps her span the history gap by symbolizing the modern career woman’s attempt at finding love with a man whose status and wealth doesn’t meet hers, a dilemma many Sex in the City generation single women in their 30’s seem to identify with.

Ben Whitshaw’s portrayal of Keats gives insight to a literary icon leaving an appreciation of Keats poetry as graceful and layered as his performance and Paul Schneider is a scene stealing gem providing much of the brilliant wit as Keats protective best friend. Hat tip also to Kerry Fox who as the loving mother gives glimpses as to where Brawnes fierce independence and love of culture originates.

A beautifully well crafted film that reignites cinematic romance and adds another standing ovation to one of this country’s finest film makers.


NZ International Film Festival: We Live In Public

The tragic story of lonely genius, Josh Harris, the first person to ‘get’ how the internet would radically change TV. In the heady 90’s as technology and media clashed, his foresight with the 1999 – ‘Pseudo TV’ starts to collapse under the weight of it’s brilliant master as he opens his life to a 24/7 experiment in celebrity. Performance artists were interrogated by ex CIA officers and the flood of people prepared to follow them was the horrific pre-taste to it’s bastard offspring, reality tv .

People lived in ‘pods’ beneath the ground in this hotel Josh builds filming everyone as Josh starts to become affectionately known as ‘Oz’. Everyone has a camera and there are screens everywhere playing everything being filmed, people showering, eating, partying, shitting and fucking are all captured in glorious grainy vision, the countdown to absolute oblivion is so self evident the tension is beautiful. Josh proclaims, “Warhol was wrong, people don’t want 15 minutes of fame, they want 15 minutes of fame EVERY day”.

The fascist surveillance culture added with the hard core interrogations start to drive the contestants crazy and the truly amazing thing is how quickly the entire process starts to border on Abu Ghraib. January 1st 2000, the authorities close the entire thing down believing it’s a millennium death cult and Josh gets bored of his subjects and ends up throwing them all out on to the street.

The excitement and terror of breaking new media ground in a surveillance format we take for granted each day without questioning buzzes through this doco and the culmination of his final experiment, weliveinpublic.com, saw him rig his apartment with cameras to watch everything he and his girlfriend do was the final leap of madness.

A new reality based on the alienation caused by modern society was Josh’s insight, but it was an insight that ended up destroying him. This doco is a must to understand the zeitgeist of today’s media.

4 stars

We Live In Public
Director/Screenplay/Photography: Ondi Timoner

NZ International Film Festival: Afghan Star

The first time many young Afghan’s had ever voted was by text vote for Afghan Star, a Pop Idol-esk TV show on the endearingly modern Tolo TV: think TVNZ in the 80’s with less pastels. In the West these shows tend to have contestants that burn with the naked greed of celebrity, people you’d cross the street to avoid, but as we catch a glimpse of each Afghan contestant’s hell on earth set in a bombed out urban mud background, their wide eyed drive for existence beyond such a nightmare gives this doco a gravitas Simon Cowell fails to deliver.

The Taliban weren’t big fans of art and banned dancing and singing which to a people as fond of the song as Afghans are based on the near hysteria the show caused in the country seems a bizarre and hateful form of torture the Taliban meted out to their own people. After such a cultural genocide, singing goes beyond musical expression, it in itself becomes a brave resistance to such terminal ignorance and the Afghan people leapt to the show with an enthusiasm reserved ironically for invaders meddling in Afghanistan.

The songs of the finalists are all originals, memorable lyrics were, “The people yearn for reconstruction”, “I want to be famous” and my personal favourite, “The bend of your eyebrows are like a scorpion”.

Scandal erupts near the end of the finals when one female contestant starts dancing a little during her song. A male contestant denounces her actions as not dear to the Afghan people, and the horror expressed by one of “what is she doing” as 21 year old Setara leaves the competition with a performance where she dances much more than she previously did sums up a shocked people. The public response was like Footlose meets Sharia law, the man on the street was explaining how her dancing effectively made her a ‘loose woman’. Nice to see that double standard sexism is a global movement, but a glorious 1980s Kabul University new wave electro band music video fronted by a singing short haired Afghan woman complete with neon pink shoulder pads reminds us that Afghanistan wasn’t always the stone aged hell it’s been bombed into with 1980 street shots showing women freely walking around minus Burka. The Ullema Council, a religious Islamic Council focused on repressing good times leans on Tolo TV to stop the dancing, but they courageously push onwards. A great doco.

3 and-a-half Stars

Afghan Star
Afghanistan/UK 2008
Director/Producer: Havana Marking

How evil is Cheney? Very evil!

Dick Cheney 'hid plans to kill al-Qaida operatives abroad'
Dick Cheney, the former vice president, ordered a highly classified CIA operation hidden from Congress because it pushed the limits of legality by planning to assassinate al-Qaida operatives in friendly countries without the knowledge of their governments, according to former intelligence officials. Former counter-terrorism officials who retain close links to the intelligence community say that the hidden operation involved plans by the CIA and the military to launch operations, similar to those by Israel's Mossad intelligence service, to hunt down and kill al-Qaida activists abroad without informing the governments concerned, even though some were regarded as friendly if unreliable.

So we now have an idea as to what the CIA program was that Cheney was trying to hide and it seems to be 'Death Squads' - is there any other way we can read this? Cheney wanted to send Death Squads into 'friendly' countries who have pesky laws against state sanctioned none judicial execuations, so that would place NZ, Australia, Europe, Canada, India and most of the developed world into that basket. Effectively it was a progam to murder whomever the CIA thought was a terrorist - how the hell does endorsing madness like this fight for freedom and democracy? Screw it, Cheney is a war criminal and this mad beast of a man needs to be prosecuted! If any other country was caught trying to endorse secret plans to send death squads around the globe they would be branded a terrorist nation - how is what Cheney was planning differ from the criminals he is hunting?

How do you defeat terrorism? Solid Police work and eliminating the righteous grievance and grinding poverty that recruits so many desperate young Muslim men into al-Qaida's ranks is the way you fight terrorism, creating CIA death squads in secret that break every international law under the sun to execute people you've none judiciously selected for assassination is the total antitheses of fighting for freedom and democracy.

Secret Water

Complaints over secret agreements
An attempt to hold negotiations over Auckland’s water services in secret might be a breach of the law, Progressive Wigram MP Jim Anderton says. He is going to the Ombudsman and Auditor-General with complaints over a ‘confidentiality agreement’ Watercare has tried to make Auckland councils sign. The agreement would stop councils from disclosing any details about the transfer of water businesses to Watercare. Jim Anderton says the agreement appears to be an attempt to thwart the law around official information - in particular the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. It provides the only grounds councils can use to restrict disclosure of information. It also provides for redress through the Ombudsman.

Why the hell is the largest water monopoly gaining total secrecy under the new Super City to take over all the water services in Auckland? These are assets that NZers have built up over generations and they are to all be handed over to Watercare in total secrecy?

First ACT and National ram through the annexation of Auckland under a misuse of urgency, then appoint 5 of Rodney’s unelected mates to run it (quorum is only 2 on that board by the way) oh and the Chair of Rodney’s unelected board just happens to be the head of Watercare who are now trying to smoother any public scrutiny on them seizing the rest of Aucklands water resources.

How’s that change feeling Auckland? Auckland Labour voters didn’t vote last year in droves meaning the last election was one of the lowest turn outs ever, will Labour voters stay at home again in Auckland in 2011 after seeing National and ACT steal their city off them readying it for mass privatization?

Absolutely, Positively, Bollard (is he smoking something?)

Bollard upbeat on early recovery
New Zealand is likely to lead the world out of the recession, Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard says. In his most upbeat remarks in months, Bollard told a Hawke's Bay audience yesterday that New Zealand had a rare opportunity to "rebalance" its economy. "Early signs of global recovery have now emerged. We have avoided a repeat of the Great Depression," Bollard said. "The New Zealand economy has taken knocks in this crisis, but some form of recovery is now on the horizon. Our opportunity is to use this time to rebalance the economy for the medium term." He said world growth would probably be subdued for several years, and fiscal stimuli would be necessary for some time.

Ummmm – isn’t this the exact same Dr Bollard that told us just before Christmas last year that the recession was over? 7 months later he’s now telling us that it’s over again? Wow Alan, and what a ringing endorsement, we’ve just avoided a second great depression but recession will be here for several years, hardly time for a party folks. Aren’t these ‘green shoots’ really just dried snot and pretending that the next several years will be anything other than the most difficult time our Country has seen since the Great Depression is absolutely, positively denial.

Bollard is starting to remind me of the desperate way the Real Estate industry incessantly screams each month that ‘it’s never been a better time to buy’. People with a vested interest in the ‘confidence’ of the economy are doomed to become cheerleaders on the sideline trying to pacify angry spectators as our team gets thrashed 100-0. Honestly if the Reserve Bank Governor has been on the Titanic while it was sinking, he’d be assuring everyone that there was never a better time to buy a cabin, that the owner was motivated to sell and that you would have great sea views.

Let’s see how NZers joining the dole at 1000 a week feel about Bollard’s optimism.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Global warming is happening despite what the right pretend

Deadly warning as tropics advance
CANBERRA - A widening of the world's tropical belt that will turn Sydney's climate into that of Brisbane will hammer Aboriginal communities and the poor nations of Asia and the Pacific, new studies warn. The studies say there is already evidence that the tropics are moving further north and south in a trend that will also extend the range of sub-tropical climates, drying out present fertile regions with devastating effects on health and food production. James Cook University Vice-Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said tropical climates had already moved more than six degrees of latitude beyond the traditional confines of the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and were continuing to expand. About half the world's population, including most of its poorest and least educated, lived in tropical climates that were also home to 80 per cent of plant and animal species, and which generated about 20 per cent of the planet's wealth. "It is in the tropics where we have new and dangerous diseases evolving and spreading," Harding said. "According to genetic studies, about 80 per cent of infectious diseases arise in the tropics, with many new illnesses resulting from viruses that jump from animals to humans. "And it's in the tropics that we are seeing massive extinction of plant and animal life, the loss of indigenous cultures and deforestation on a scale that is scarcely imaginable." Harding's warning, based on a new James Cook University review of the scientific literature on climate change, was echoed by a report by the aid group Oxfam, which found that formerly distinct seasons are shifting, destroying harvests and causing widespread hunger.

Surprise, surprise, global warming is going to crucify the poor, and as the economy tanks (because of unregulated American greed), the poor are the last ones we start to care about, as an example look at how Murray McCully killed off independence in aid and married it to trade.

According to our friends on the right (the ones who are holding the Spanish inquisition select committee into climate change) and our very own on-line right wing bloggers in this country, they can’t argue that there isn’t climate change occurring any longer (because punters can clearly see the effects of climate change disrupting the agricultural cycle), so they pretend that it isn’t man made pollution that is causing the climate to change. I believe currently Ian Wishart is claiming the Antarctic is melting because of a ‘volcano’…

Alarm grows over big melt in Antarctica
Antarctica is shrinking more quickly than expected and the pace is increasing, a conference has been told. Professor Peter Barrett of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre summarised the latest findings at the Annual Antarctic Conference. Recent satellite pictures showed the frozen continent was calving glaciers from its edges at a rate adding up to about 0.4mm of sea-level rise a year. That might not sound like much, he said, but the rate of ice loss was increasing quickly - up 75 per cent since 1996. The Antarctic ice sheet has been stable for a million years and until recently had seemed too large and too cold to be vulnerable. But Dr Barrett said scientists now believed it could change significantly in a matter of decades. A new assessment adding up global ice loss from Greenland, Antarctica and other glaciers suggested sea levels would rise between 80cm and 2m by 2100, he said.

…that’s right folks, what the hell does Professor Peter Barrett know! It isn’t global warming from man made pollution – IT’S A VOLCANO YOU IDIOT! This is true because Leighton Smith and Ian Wishart say so! I find it amusing that so many right wing bloggers in this country take the very same ‘it isn’t man made pollution causing climate change’ attack line that the Heartland Institute takes. The Heartland Institute (who until 2006 were receiving money from Exxon Mobile) is also behind the Tobacco Industries ludicrous position that Tobacco isn’t scientifically proven to cause cancer and as such there shouldn’t be taxes on cigarettes.

Capitalism has a problem, I’m not talking about the inherent injustice of a few having all the money or the slavish ideological worship of the free market or even the IMF and worldbank genocide of poor people they commit every day with policies that promote Western mega corporations and their ability to dump heavily subsidized mass produced food on countries thus destroying the local markets – oh no, I’m talking about it’s impact on the environment. The reality is that the filth we pump into our planet has an impact on that planets health, a truth that the right wing desperately want to cover up.

We have had to put up with oil funded skeptics claiming the entire global warming idea is a hoax created by Greenpeace to make money for tree huggers for too long. The reality is that our pollution created by an unsustainable consumer greed capitalism is killing the planet and we push the environment to its very edges of being able to sustain our civilization with our denial of this fact. Right now we have a climate change denial Government in power, led by a man who initially didn’t believe in global warming supported by a political party that claim C02 is a misunderstood nutrient and that a 2 degree rise in temperatures would be “beneficial” for NZ. In their first week in power, nACTional have destroyed the Emission Trading Scheme and they are embarrassingly setting up a select committee to examine the 'science' behind global warming to provide pollution Industry funded quack science with a platform. It will be a global media embarrassment that will make NZ out to be a backwater Hicksville that seems unable to accept that the world isn’t flat.

This isn’t a debate about science because the science has been ‘settled’ in the same way evolution science has been ‘settled’, this is a culture war. Those in denial will not accept that their lifestyle is part of the problem and their ego’s are so inflated that to admit ‘tree huggers’ (a group they despise as much as their mythical ‘nanny state’ bullshit) are right and they are wrong would be such a devaluation of their status driven personalities that they fight with the venom of vanity. Would Paul Henry or any of his ilk ever admit they were wrong? We know the answer to that. They’re petty denial should be viewed with the contempt it deserves and their role in the debate should be as marginalized as much as one would marginalize someone trying to argue the planet is only 5000 years old at an evolution conference.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Royal Rayman Rife

Royal Rife Story Electromagnetic Cancer Therapy1/3

"This is the fascinating video documentary The Royal Rife Story (2004) which tells the lifestory of a forgotten medical pioneer in fields of micro optics, germ research and cancer therapy. Rife won 14 government awards for scientific discoveries, and received an honorary medical degree from the University of Heidelberg for his work in bacteriology. He is most famous for building the world’s most powerful optical microscopes which overcame the limits of standard research microscopes and became the first person ever to see a living virus. During his germ research he developed a method of destroying disease-causing microorganisms using frequencies which was later also applied to cancer with major success.

Rife’s microscopes and bacteriological discoveries were featured in many official medical reports and hundreds of newspaper articles throughout the world. Doctors used Rife’s instruments in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s and reported very high success rates. Dr. Rife’s technique was first embraced by the medical community, used by many doctors and then later rejected because antibiotics showed greater financial promise but didn’t deliver any real medical results. Now over 50 years later, there has been a renewed interest in the incredible method he used.

This video reveals the dedication and commitment of Dr. Rife, and the many medical doctors who worked with him. All their efforts were focused on helping mankind. It also takes an in-depth look at his life and the wonderful discoveries he made in bacteriology. Dr. Rife said in 1967, “Having spent every dime I earned in my research for the benefit of mankind, I have ended up as a pauper but I achieved the impossible and would do it again.” This historical documentary is a must see for anyone interested in Dr. Rife and his amazing discoveries as he already successfully cured cancer by 1934 with his expertise in optics and innovation with a specially designed microscope and frequency generator.

You have probably never heard of Dr. Royal Raymond Rife before, but in this unique documentary you will learn all about the life of this overlooked medical genius and his great scientific accomplishments which can benefit everybody if only we could learn to use them."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Making of Turtle Pizza Cadillacs


Determined in a spark
the electricity of art
creation's inspiration
multiple levels apart
but not more than the heart.
The unlimited will still travels through life
like water through light
like a kid rides a bike
all initiated in atomic time
(then someone borrows my light,
it turns out for a crack pipe
right in the middle of the sentence that I write)
and despite this the universe is prepared for the fight
it all changes if you get one thing right...