As the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew prepare to celebrate their 250th anniversary, Dan Cruickshank unearths some of the surprising stories that shaped the famous gardens. His travels take him from the royal gardens to the corridors of power and the outposts of the Empire as he pieces together Kew’s story, uncovering tales of bravery, high adventure, passion and drama. (docuwiki)
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.In 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.”
spacetime coordinates: underground city Ember 241 years after an apocalyptic war City of Ember is a 2008 American science fiction film based on the 2003 novel The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. It was directed by Gil Kenan,written by Caroline Thompson, and stars Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Bill Murray, Mackenzie Crook, Martin Landau, Mary Kay Place, Toby Jones, and Tim Robbins. “City of Ember belongs to one of the best and most enduring genres of children’s films, in which smart kids stand up against the ignorant and aloof adult world and have a big adventure in the process. It also throws in a fantastical city, replete with whiz-bang inventions and secret societies. (…) Ember itself is fascinating, an intricately detailed set that, like Diagon Alley or the Star Wars cantina, you’d like to take a few hours to wander around in.” Katey Rich // Irv Slifkin for Video Business wrote, “this lavishly designed adventure saga from director Gil Kenan… plays like Terry Gilliam‘s Brazil — for beginners”. // TV Guide “A fun and moving family film with a subtly dark feel rarely seen in kids’ movies since the ’80s, City of Ember succeeds despite its shortcomings, not only because of its fun and inspiring story, but because most of its flaws are things kids won’t notice anyway… [T]he story spins into a classic fable; the ignorance that seemed so blissful shows it’s just one half of a coin, where the other side holds apathy and hopelessness. The moral might well be lost on kids, but for adults, it’s compelling — all the more so because we like the good people of this dying city”.
spacetime coordinates: 2035 Glasgow // London Doomsday is a 2008 science fiction action horror film written and directed by Neil Marshall. The film takes place in the future in Scotland, which has been quarantined because of a deadly virus. When the virus is found in London, political leaders send a team led by Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) to Scotland to find a possible cure. Sinclair’s team runs into two types of survivors: marauders and medieval knights. Doomsday was conceived by Marshall based on the idea of futuristic soldiers facing medieval knights. The director intended Doomsday as a tribute to post-apocalyptic films from the 1970s and 1980s, (Conception)
spacetime coordinates: 1864 battle of the American Civil War // 2039 – 2045 International Space Station (ISS) Love is a 2011 science fiction drama film produced and scored by the alternative rock band Angels & Airwaves. The film is the directorial debut of filmmaker William Eubank. The film was screened in 460 theatres across the United States on August 10, 2011, in the Love Live event.
Love portrays the personal-psychological effects of isolation and loneliness when an astronaut becomes stranded in space and through this, emphasizes the importance of human connection and love. Additionally, it touches on the fragility of humanity’s existence(explored through a dying Earth-apocalyptic doomsday scenario) inspired by the cautions of Carl Sagan in Pale Blue Dot and considers the importance of memories and stories as humanity’s legacy.
The Dark Tower is a 2017 American science fantasy western film directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel. A continuation of Stephen King‘s novel series of the same name, the film stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, a gunslinger on a quest to protect the Dark Tower—a mythical structure which supports all realities—while Matthew McConaughey plays his nemesis, Walter Padick, the Man in Black, and Tom Taylor stars as Jake Chambers, a New York boy who becomes Roland’s apprentice.
Intended to launch a film and television franchise, the first installment combines elements from several novels in the eight-volume series, and takes place in both modern-day New York City and in Mid-World, Roland’s Old West-style parallel universe. The film also serves as a canonical sequel to the novel series, which concludes with the revelation that Roland’s quest is a cyclical time loop; the presence of the Horn of Eld, which Roland carries in the film, indicates that this is the next cycle.