359 – The Farthest (2017 documentary)

The Farthest Abr_JohnMurrayPoster_8-9_FPO” 12 billion miles away a tiny spaceship is leaving our Solar System and entering the void of deep space. It is the first human-made object ever to do so. Slowly dying within its heart is a plutonium generator that will beat for perhaps another decade before the lights on Voyager finally go out. But this little craft will travel on for millions of years, carrying a Golden Record bearing recordings and images of life on Earth. In all likelihood Voyager will outlive humanity and all our creations. It could be the only thing to mark our existence. Perhaps some day an alien will find it and wonder. 636213257540063350-768825167_goldrec2The FarthestThe story of Voyager is an epic of human achievement, personal drama and almost miraculous success. Launched 16 days apart in Autumn 1977, the twin Voyager space probes have defied all the odds, survived countless near misses and almost 40 years later continue to beam revolutionary information across unimaginable distances. ”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6223974/

http://www.pbs.org/the-farthest/home/

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357 – German Concentration Camps Factual Survey (2014)

spacetime coordinates:  1945 Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Lüneburg, Lower Saxony, Germany // Buchenwald, Weimar, Thuringia, Germany // Dachau, Bavaria, Germany // Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Oswiecim, Malopolskie, Poland // Majdanek, Lublin, Lubelskie, Poland

German Concentration Camps Factual Survey is the official British documentary film on the Nazi concentration camps, based on footage shot by the Allied forces in 1945.

The film was produced by Sidney Bernstein, then with the British Ministry of Information,  with Alfred Hitchcock acting as a “treatment advisor”. The script was written by Richard Crossman and Colin Wills. Soviet filmmaker Sergei Nolbandov was production supervisor.

The project was abandoned in September 1945, and the film was left unfinished for nearly seventy years. The film’s restoration was completed by film scholars at the Imperial War Museum. The finished film had its world premiere early in 2014 at the Berlin Film Festival, and was shown in a limited number of venues in 2015. It was released in North America in 2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Concentration_Camps_Factual_Survey

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3455796/

A 70-minute documentary on the making of the 1945 film, entitled Night Will Fall, was assembled from the partially finished material and new original footage by director Andre Singer and producers Sally Angel and Brett RatnerThe New York Times, in its review of the documentary, said that “what the new film accomplishes, more than anything else, is to make you wish you could see the original.”

348 – Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“attentiveness alone can rival the most powerful magnifying lens.”

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Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. “Gathering Moss” is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.
In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.

Drawing on her experiences as a scientist, a mother, and a Native American, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/87040.Gathering_Moss

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“the tiny pool of water held in a spoon-shaped leaf is the perfect resting place for a waterbear, as plump and gelatinous as a candy gummy bear. the moisture in a moss mat is as vital to the moss as it is to the waterbear. but, since mosses are non-vascular, their water content fluctuates with the amount of water in the environment. the moss leaves shrivel and contort as water evaporates, leaving them crisp and dry. the waterbears too, simply shrink when desiccated to as little as one-eight of their size forming barrel- shaped miniatures of themselves called tuns. metabolism is reduced to near zero and the tun can survive in this state for years. the tuns blow around in the dry winds like specks of dust, landing on new clumps of moss and dispersing farther than their short waterbear legs could ever carry them.”

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bog_body 

Timewatch – The Bog Bodies (2006) on youtube (low-quality)

4000 Year Old Cold Case – The Body in the Bog 

347 – mother! (2017)

Mother-PosterMother! (stylized as mother!) is a 2017 American psychological horror film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and starring Jennifer LawrenceJavier BardemEd Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer.  Lawrence said that the film is an allegory: “It depicts the rape and torment of Mother Earth … I represent Mother Earth; Javier, whose character is a poet, represents a form of God, a creator; Michelle Pfeiffer is an Eve to Ed Harris’s Adam, there’s Cain and Abel and the setting sometimes resembles the Garden of Eden.mother-main-poster1-largThe film uses a dream-logic narrative, of which Aronofsky has noted, “if you try to unscrew it, it kind of falls apart,” and that “it’s a psychological freak-out. You shouldn’t over-explain it.”

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5109784/

345 – Pacific Rim (2013)

spacetime coordinates: 2020 – 2025 Alaska // Hong Kong // Manila // San Francisco // Pacific Ocean //  Tokyopacific_rim_coverPacific Rim is a 2013 American science fiction monster film directed by Guillermo del Toro and starring Charlie HunnamIdris ElbaRinko KikuchiCharlie DayBurn GormanRobert KazinskyMax Martini, and Ron Perlman. The screenplay was written by Travis Beacham and del Toro from a story by Beacham.Pacific-Rim-Quad-PosterPacificRim_DOM_RGB_3200x1600.inddThe film is set in the future, when Earth is at war with the Kaiju,  colossal sea monsters which have emerged from an interdimensional portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. To combat the monsters, humanity unites to create the Jaegers,  gigantic humanoid mechas each controlled by at least two pilots, whose minds are joined by a mental link. Focusing on the war’s later days, the story follows Raleigh Becket, a washed-up Jaeger pilot called out of retirement and teamed with rookie pilot Mako Mori as part of a last-ditch effort to defeat the Kaiju.

Knifehead, the first Kaiju to appear in the film, is a tribute to the plodding kaiju of 1960s Japanese films, and is intended to look almost like a man in a rubber suit; its head was inspired by that of a goblin shark. Leatherback, the bouncer-like Kaiju which spews electro-magnetic charges, is a favorite of del Toro, who conceived it as a “brawler with this sort of beer belly”; the lumbering movements of gorillas were used as a reference.  The Kaiju Otachi homages the dragons of Chinese mythology. The director called it a “Swiss army knife of a Kaiju”; with almost 20 minutes of screen time, it was given numerous features so the audience would not tire of it. The creature moves like a Komodo dragon in water, sports multiple jaws and an acid-filled neck sack, and unfurls wings when necessary. It is also more intelligent than the other Kaiju, employing eagle-inspired strategies against the Jaegers.  Onibaba, the Kaiju that orphans Mako Mori, resembles a fusion of a Japanese temple and a crustacean. Slattern, the largest Kaiju, is distinguished by its extremely long neck and “half-horn, half-crown” head, which del Toro considered both demonic and majestic. 

Gipsy Danger, the American Jaeger, was based on the shape of New York City’s Art Deco buildings, such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, but infused with John Wayne‘s gunslinger gait and hip movements. Cherno Alpha, the Russian Jaeger, was based on the shape and paint patterns of a T-series Russian tank, combined with a giant containment silo to give the appearance of a walking nuclear power plant with a cooling tower on its head. Crimson Typhoon, the three-armed Chinese Jaeger, is piloted by triplets and resembles a “medieval little warrior”; its texture evokes Chinese lacquered wood with golden edges. Striker Eureka, the Australian Jaeger, is likened by del Toro to a Land Rover; the most elegant and masculine Jaeger, it has a jutting chest, a camouflage paint scheme recalling the Australian outback, and the bravado of its pilots.

Rather than popular culture, the director drew inspiration from works of art such as The Colossus and George Bellows‘s boxing paintings.

The classic Japanese woodblock print  The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai was a common motif in the ocean battles; Del Toro recalled, “I would say ‘Give me a Hokusai wave’… we use the waves and weather in the movie very operatically.”  The director asked that Knoll not necessarily match the lighting from shot to shot: “It’s pretty unorthodox to do that, but I think the results are really beautiful and very artistically free and powerful, not something you would associate with a big sci-fi action movie.” Del Toro considers the film’s digital water its most exciting visual effect: “The water dynamics in this movie are technically beautiful, but also artistically incredibly expressive. We agreed on making the water become almost another character. We would time the water very precisely. I’d say ‘Get out of the wave [on this frame].'”

The_Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Rim_(film)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663662/

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