692 – The Happening (2008)

happening_xlgThe Happening is a 2008 psychological horror-thriller film written, co-produced and directed by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Mark WahlbergZooey DeschanelJohn Leguizamo and Betty Buckley. The film follows a man, his wife, his best friend and his friend’s daughter as they try to escape from an inexplicable natural disaster.


Shyamalan told the New York Daily News: “We’re making an excellent B movie, that’s our goal”. Some critics enjoyed it because of this. Glenn Whipp said, “Tamping down the self-seriousness in favor of some horrific silliness, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening plays as a genuinely enjoyable B-movie for anyone inclined (or able) to see it that way”.

Joseph J. Foy, professor of politics and popular culture, describes Shyamalan’s film as an expression of “post-environmentalism” in which traditional paradigmatic politics are replaced with a call for the world to “embrace a revolutionary reevaluation of wealth and prosperity not in terms of monetary net worth or material possessions, but in terms of overall well-being”. (wiki)

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612 – Davi Kopenawa, Bruce Albert, Alison Dundy – The falling sky – words of a Yanomami shaman

The Falling Sky is a remarkable first-person account of the life story and cosmo-ecological thought of Davi Kopenawa, shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami of the Brazilian Amazon. Representing a people whose very existence is in jeopardy, Davi Kopenawa paints an unforgettable picture of Yanomami culture, past and present, in the heart of the rainforest–a world where ancient indigenous knowledge and shamanic traditions cope with the global geopolitics of an insatiable natural resources extraction industry.the-falling-sky-1In richly evocative language, Kopenawa recounts his initiation and experience as a shaman, as well as his first encounters with outsiders: government officials, missionaries, road workers, cattle ranchers, and gold prospectors. He vividly describes the ensuing cultural repression, environmental devastation, and deaths resulting from epidemics and violence. To counter these threats, Davi Kopenawa became a global ambassador for his endangered people. The Falling Sky follows him from his native village in the Northern Amazon to Brazilian cities and finally on transatlantic flights bound for European and American capitals. These travels constitute a shamanic critique of Western industrial society, whose endless material greed, mass violence, and ecological blindness contrast sharply with Yanomami cultural values.

Bruce Albert, a close friend since the 1970s, superbly captures Kopenawa’s intense, poetic voice. This collaborative work provides a unique reading experience that is at the same time a coming-of-age story, a historical account, and a shamanic philosophy, but most of all an impassioned plea to respect native rights and preserve the Amazon rainforest. (amazon)

“When I come back from a trip among the white people, the dizziness leaves my eyes after a while and my thought be-comes clear again. I no longer hear cars, machines, or airplanes. I only lend an ear to the tooro toads and krouma frogs that call the rain in the forest. I only hear the rustling of the leaves in the wind and the rumbling of the thunders in the sky. The ignorant words of the city politicians gradually vanish in the quiet of my sleep. I become calm again by going to hunt and making my spirits dance.

The forest is very beautiful to see. It is cool and aromatic. When you move through it to hunt or travel, you feel joyful and your mind is slow-paced. You listen to the chirping of the cicadas in the distance, or the cries of the curassows and the agami herons, and the clamor of the spider monkeys in the trees. Your worries are eased. Your thoughts can then follow one another without getting obscured.”

040 – georgica (1998)

spacetime coordinate: post-World War II Estonia

Georgica is a 1998 Estonian drama film directed by Sulev Keedus. The film takes its name from Virgil‘s poem of the same name.

The action takes place in post-World War II Estonia. An old man lives alone on a deserted island which the Soviet fighter planes use for nighttime target practicing. A young neglected boy, who has become mute, is banished from the mainland and sent to the island to keep the old man company. Both are haunted by memories, the boy about his mother and the old man about the years before World War I he spent as a missionary in Africa.

Jakub: If you want to live and survive… then wait… Wait…and do what you’ve got to do. And then…wait again… This is the best thing you can do in this world…
I have seen it and I can tell you… You may push but only slightly… And then wait again… And you’ll live your life – and eat bread and honey… I eat honey –
and translate this old Vergil into Swahili… And I make silage for the animals on the continent… And you too will start talking when the right time has come…
(…) This end of the wax cylinder, it’s still quite empty… This is for you… Then later you can hear what your voice was like – when you were on the island – with an old man, a horse and some bees…