653 – Of Gods and Men / Des hommes et des dieux (2010)

spacetime coordinates: 1996, Algeria, Abbey of Our Lady of Atlas

“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.”

4c35e6a0d5454Of Gods and Men is a 2010 French drama film directed by Xavier Beauvois, starring Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale. Its original French language title is Des hommes et des dieux, which means “Of Men and of Gods” and refers to a verse from the Bible shown at the beginning of the film. It centers on the monastery of Tibhirine, where nine Trappist monks lived in harmony with the largely Muslim population of Algeria, until seven of them were kidnapped and assassinated in 1996 during the Algerian Civil War.Of-Gods-and-Men-2010-movie-posterLargely a tale of a peaceful situation between local Christians and Muslims before becoming a lethal one due to external forces, the screenplay focuses on the preceding chain of events in decay of government, expansion of terrorism, and the monks’ confrontation with both the terrorists and the government authorities that led up to their deaths. Principal photography took place at an abandoned monastery in Azrou, Morocco. (wiki)

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652 – Into Great Silence / Die große Stille (2005)

spacetime coordinates: 2002 – 2003,  Grande Chartreuse, Chartreuse Mountains59aa7642179a5b0020372311Into Great Silence (German: Die große Stille) is a documentary film directed by Philip Gröning that was released in 2005. It is an intimate portrayal of the everyday lives of Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse, a monastery high in the French Alps.

The idea for the film was proposed to the monks in 1984, but the Carthusians said they wanted time to think about it. They responded to Gröning 16 years later to say they were willing to permit him to shoot the movie if he was still interested. Gröning then came alone to live at the monastery, where no visitors were ordinarily allowed, for a total of six months. He filmed and recorded on his own, using no artificial light. Gröning then spent two and a half years editing the film. The final cut contains neither spoken commentary nor added sound effects. It consists of images and sounds that depict the rhythm of monastic life, with occasional intertitles displaying selections from Holy Scripture. (wiki)

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641 – La planète sauvage / Fantastic Planet (1973)

918-3Qh8wdL._SL1500_Fantastic Planet (French: La Planète sauvage, Czech: Divoká planeta, lit. The Wild Planet) is a 1973 animated science fiction film directed by René Laloux and written by Laloux and Roland Topor. Topor also completed the film’s production design and it was animated at Jiří Trnka Studio in Prague. The entire animation team was composed of women.

The film was an international co-production between companies from France and Czechoslovakia (The animation was started in Prague but had to be moved to Paris to avoid interference by the Communist authorities who were in power at the time).tumblr_ol3jr9nPW41vl5jyeo1_1280The allegorical story, about humans living on a strange planet dominated by giant humanoid aliens (blue Draags) who consider them animals, is based on the 1957 novel Oms en série by French writer Stefan Wul. (wiki)   imdb   Interpretations

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631 – Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse (2016)

MV5BZTc5Yzg3OWQtYzZmYi00N2FlLTlkZmEtMGJkYmU0ZDcwZDA4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzAwNTExNTk@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,698,1000_AL_From the exhibition walls to the wonder and beauty of artists’ gardens like Giverny and Seebüll, the film takes a magical and widely travelled journey to discover how different contemporaries of Monet built and cultivated modern gardens to explore expressive motifs, abstract colour, decorative design and utopian ideas. Guided by passionate curators, artists and garden enthusiasts, this remarkable collection of Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century will reveal the rise of the modern garden in popular culture and the public’s enduring fascination with gardens today. Long considered spaces for expressing colour, light and atmosphere, the garden has occupied the creative minds of some of the worlds greatest artists. As Monet said, ‘Apart from painting and gardening, I’m no good at anything’. (exhibitiononscreen)

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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.”

611 – Danton (1983)

spacetime coordinates: 1793 – 1794 Paris danton movie poster

Danton (French pronunciation: ​[dɑ̃tɔ̃]) is a 1983 French language film depicting the last weeks of Georges Danton, one of the leaders of the French Revolution. It is an adaptation of the Polish play The Danton Case by Stanisława Przybyszewska.

The film stars Gérard Depardieu in the title role, with Wojciech Pszoniak as Maximilien Robespierre, and Patrice Chéreau as Camille Desmoulins. It was directed by the Polish director Andrzej Wajda and was an international co-production between companies in France, Poland and West Germany. All supporters of Danton (with the exception of Bourdon, who would later betray him) are played by French actors, while Robespierre’s allies are played by Poles.

Not always rigidly historical, the film draws continual parallels between the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution and the situation in contemporary Poland, in which the Solidarity movement was struggling against the oppression of the Soviet-backed Polish government.

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