‘Orphan Black’: The Unconventional Show About Identity

Five seasons, 274 LEDA clones, and too few Alison-Donnie dance breaks, the beloved science fictions series, Orphan Black, united these intriguing elements with one over-arching theme–defining your identity. At the beginning of the series, this theme presents itself through Sarah Manning discovering she is a clone with many clone sisters, but as the mystery behind their genetic origin unveils, the “sestras” are faced with a deep, internal question–who am I?

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One Short A Day: Week One

For the first week of the One Short A Day challenge, upon the suggestion of many friends, I decided to watch shorts of Ukrainian-American experimental filmmaker Maya Deren. I find it quite hard to talk about them, but what I know is that after every film I watched, I wanted to watch it again. And at the end of the week, I wanted to watch them one after another at one go. There is so much written about Deren, her films, her influences, and I wanted to read as much as I could but decided against it since it’s against the purpose of this challenge, which is to write about these films right after I’ve seen them, on how I felt watching them and their immediate effect on me. It was hard, but that’s why it’s a challenge. Hope you enjoy!

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Summer Challenge: One Short A Day

In case you couldn’t tell from the weather, summer is (almost) here! This summer, Much Ado is setting a challenge: One Short A Day. Starting from May 8th, I’ll watch one short film a day and will publish my thoughts on them every Tuesday. Films will be chosen randomly from your suggestions, films that are taught at film schools, films that won awards or went under the radar. My thoughts on the films will be one paragraph for each, written right after I watch them.

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If you want to join me in this challenge, you can alter it in any way that fits you. Tag your posts with #OneShortADay on Twitter and/or Letterboxd to share your challenge with us and give us your suggestions in comments or Twitter. You can also follow the challenge on Letterboxd here which I’ll update weekly.

Enjoy the challenge and happy summer holidays!

Female Director Spotlight: The minimalist observations of Céline Sciamma

Adolescence is an important time for all of us. It’s a rollercoaster of unexplainable emotions – emotions that often cannot be accurately captured in words. It’s the first time we feel attraction, discover sexuality, and explore romantic relationships. It’s a crossroads for all, but it can be especially painful for LGBTQ+ youth. While heterosexual and cisgender teenagers will see their own desires reflected in the rest of their community, their trans and same gender attracted counterparts can often experience the throes of adolescence in complete loneliness.

Much of French filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s work focuses on the unique conflicts of adolescent life. Her camera juxtaposes the joy of new maturity with a fear of the unknown, calmly recounting the stories of strikingly individual characters. Her work is best watched collectively, for maximum appreciation of her minimal style, but if you’re looking for somewhere to start, take a look at the summaries below.

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Tribeca Film Festival ’18: Curtain Raiser

This Thursday marks the beginning of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, and it’s bound to be a thrilling two weeks in lower Manhattan. With a variety of events and screenings, Tribeca stands out as a festival that explores different types of filmmaking, especially in its inclusion of virtual reality. In light of the Me Too movement, the festival is also hosting a Time’s Up event to further the conversation about sexual harassment in Hollywood, though the festival seems to be taking initiative in including women in film with the many films by female-filmmakers featured in the line-up. This year’s festival looks to be a phenomenal one, so here are a few recommendations.

 

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Woman Walks Ahead ©A24 and DirectTV

 

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Sculpting in Time with Andrei Tarkovsky

This essay is by our guest writer, Vikram Zutshi.

When people first encounter the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky, it can feel akin to a religious experience. Time seems to stand still and one beholds the world as if through new eyes. “My discovery of Tarkovsky’s first film was like a miracle. Suddenly, I found myself standing at the door of a room the keys of which had until then, never been given to me. It was a room I had always wanted to enter and where he was moving freely and fully at ease“ rhapsodized Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman. “I felt encountered and stimulated: someone was expressing what I had always wanted to say without knowing how” he said, adding that “Tarkovsky is for me the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”

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Andrei Tarkovsky on the set of ‘Stalker’ © Sergey Bessmertniy

Born on April 4th, 1932 in the Yuryevetsky district of Russia, Tarkovsky made only seven films over the course of his career, cut short by terminal cancer on 29th December, 1986. Tarkovsky’s works Andrei Rublev, Solaris, Mirror, and Stalker are regularly listed among the greatest films of all time. After his death, some former KGB agents testified that the director did not die of natural causes but was poisoned to curtail what the Soviet authorities saw as production of anti-Soviet propaganda. The allegations were backed up his doctor.

Tarkovsky came of age as a filmmaker in 1950’s Russia, during a period referred to as the Khrushchev Thaw, during which Soviet society grew more accepting of foreign films, literature and music. He was able to see films of European, American and Japanese directors, an experience which influenced his own ouevre. He soaked up the films of the Italian neo-realists, French New Wave, and of directors such as Kurosawa, Buñuel, Bergman, Bresson, Andrzej Wajda and Mizoguchi.

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Female Director Spotlight: Maren Ade and the Discreet Charm of (Emotional) Nudity

As Megan has been off at BFI Flare, Kareem has kindly taken over the spotlight this month! Read on to hear his thoughts on the wonderful Maren Ade. 

It’s a moment of overwhelming helplessness; Ines, an emotionally drained corporate consultant (and human being), lies on a couch of a Bucharestian club. Her body language is equal to, how Germans would say, “einem Schluck Wasser” (a gulp of water) and as the techno remix of “Safe and Sound” enters a phase of temporary tranquility before the beat drops, her eyes well up with tears as the words “I could lift you up” inhabit the entire room for a second – almost like a whispered promise of comfort, directly addressed to her. She looks over at Toni Erdmann, a wigged character with fake teeth, invented by her desperate father. She sees how helpless he himself is – the tears are an expression of the powerlessness against the emotional chasm between them. She knows how hard he tries, despite his feeling of impotence – maybe because he has no one else to turn to at this point. They are both deeply lonely people, torn apart by time, space and societal conventions of emotional self-oppression.

Toni Erdmann is a film about many things, but like German auteur Maren Ade’s entire body of work, especially about how disconnected we can be from each other and ourselves, and thus how lonely.

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