The blog and the Community

Hi all !!
Welcome to the Cinema-Club blog. We have decided to open this as our own web space and to invite all of you to participate actively in the organisation of the Welcoming Cinema Club.
You can enter and add all your opinions about the viewed movies and also make suggestions for the forthcoming. We hope that you will take the best out of it !!
See you at the screenings!

Monday, 11 May 2009

June 11 2009:Charlie Chaplin a comic and tragic hero together, of Modern Times....

This is one of Chaplin's most appreciated films, highly
entertaining,funny, and human but at the same time deeply critical
invites us to look at the desparate employment and fiscal conditions that
many people faced during the Great Depression in the 30's created
by Chaplin's unigue view by the effieciences of modern Industrialization.
Although a 30's film, can stand as a strong commment of ''today's modernity'' as well....
Short Synopsis: Charlie Chaplin plays a man struggling to survive in the modern world,
working in a factory under very hard conditions. Soon, he falls into a mental
breakdown and thus sent to a hospital. Following his recovery, thought as a Communist leader
by mistake, he is put into jail.There, he is hailed to a hero and finally released due to a series
of accidental episodes. Chaplin, as soon as he is part again of the free world, he realises
that he prefers to turn back into jail, unable to stand the hard conditions of everyday life.
Determinated to return back into the jail, he is trying desparately to get arrested again,
and thus involved into various funny situations.

Monday, 4 May 2009

June 4th: The Breadmakers, (Yasmine Fedda, 2007), and State of Dogs, (Brosens & Turmunkh, 1998)

As part of the content and purposes of our cinema-club, we are delighted to present this week The Breadmakers, a short documentary by Yasmin Fedda, Kuwait-born and Edinburgh-based film and television director. The film certainly deals with notions of community and fellowship despite of handicap as it reveals the very specific and highly interesting relationships that operate in a group of workers with learning disabilities who make a fantastic range of organic breads in a daily basis in the city of Edinburgh. The film will open with the director herself, who will be present at the screening to share with us her views and comments on this engaginly beautiful proyect and some other experiences she had in her short yet incredibly rich career as anthropologist and documentary filmmaker.

The Breadmakers will be followed by State of Dogs, an international (Belgian-Dutch-Finnish-Danish-Mongolian) co-production documentary, and a source of inspiration for Yasmin herself. State of Dogs is in fact a kind of hybrid of documentary and fiction which develops a half mystic-half real story of dogs and humans, located in actual Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia and house of a dog population of 120.000 individuals struggling to share the ground with a population of 800.000 humans.

Baasar is one of the hundred of thousand dogs that wonder around Ulan Bator everyday but its story (as the film's) begins from death as Baasar is shot by a dog-hunter in the early minutes of the film. Dog-hunter is a very common rol in a capital where the amount of dogs is just half the human population, however ancient beliefs consider killing a dog an evil act.

Although the film could be understood as the tale of Baasar, is not quite the case. Sorrounding Baasar's death there is tough and real footage of actual dog-hunters in their daily and deathly activities. According to Mongolian beliefs dogs are reincarnated as human beings, although when stray Baasar is killed he doesnt want to become human so for a while he wonders through landscape and memory as a disembodied spirit. The film enters episodes of some disconnected sequences where Baasar's spirit fluctuate around Ulan Bator, in winter as in summer through seemingly random images of Mongolian life. It is indeed Baasar's lifeless presence which shows us the real essence of this huge corner of the globe: the dreary outskirts of the city, the pulsion of a charming decadence in a routine city bus, the dust reincarnating the deaths.

At this stage of the film it is clear that randomness fills Mongolian life as it did with the filmmakers' proyect: a shot of solar eclipse, and interlude with a young man reciting a poem or an astonishing performance by a woman contorsionist take over the screen. The real footage intertwins with real life so the script eventually becomes a roadmap. As an almost dialogue-free work, the cinematography and soundtrack of State of Dogs is as moving as the stories behind the images.

Half way the movie Baasar will eventually reincarnate and the story will seem to be fragmented, but the attention was never relying on interpreting the information but rather feeling the images.

In context, many travellers who visited Mongolia were impressed with the huge number of cattle and dogs all over the place. The origin of this is in the Mongolian nomadic families and their life style to which dogs that could allert the arrival of strangers while guarding the sheep flocks are crucial. Hence, before the revolution of 1921 the number of dogs, according to veterinarian D. Tseveenjav was astonishing: 200-300.000 dogs lived in the country.

However today, as the population gets more settled and nomadism becomes rare, dogs are certainly a problem. Mongolia is a land of fables, but they meet nowadays the neccesities and impositions of modern life: myth, beliefs and progress blur, leaving room for several stories in this truly state of dogs.