Miami-based filmmaker Jonathan David Kane debuts his documentary set in Haiti, titled ‘Papa Machete’. The film explores the obscure martial art of tire machét- Haitian machete fencing- and lends the spotlight to a struggling Haitian farmer who has mastered the art, Alfred Avril.
'Papa Machete' premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on 6th September 2014, making it the first time the prestigious festival featured films out of Canada. Kane's documentary is one of only six U.S. productions to be featured at #TIFF, and the only short film set in the Caribbean.
The BFI London Film Festival is nearly here! We’ve gone through the programme to find all the films starring women of colour. There are admittedly a lot more than we were expecting including Girlhood, Honeytrap and the much anticipated Dear White People.
(left to right)
Céline Sciamma (Water Lilies, Tomboy) continues her exploration of the effects of social conventions on delicately forming female identities in her triumphant third film. Sixteen-year-old Marieme (Karidja Touré) must navigate not only the disruptive onset of womanhood, but also the inequalities of being black and living in the underprivileged suburbs of Paris. Excluded from school and in fear of her overbearing brother at home, Marieme escapes into the shielding environment of a girl gang. She renames herself ‘Vic’ for ‘Victory’ and gives up on asking for the things she wants and learns to just take them. Formally meticulous, the film is divided into four distinct segments in which Marieme changes her physical appearance to suit the different worlds she must navigate (school, home, street). Each transformation magnificently captures the heavy burden that visibility and image play in Marieme’s life, whilst Crystel Fournier’s stunning photography that favours a distinctive blue palette ensures that Marieme remains a defiantly vital presence on screen even while it appears she is disappearing from society’s view. The jubilant soundtrack infuses the film with vigour and passion, from the opening juddering electro-goth of Light Asylum’s ‘Dark Allies’ to a full length lip sync to Rhianna’s ‘Diamonds’. With Girlhood Sciamma flawlessly evokes the fragile resilience of youth.
Adapted from a story by Doris Lessing, My Friend Victoria is a complex, poignant portrait of two young black women in contemporary Paris. The film follows them from childhood into adulthood, with the older Fanny narrating the story of her friend and adoptive sister. Aged eight, Victoria spends a night in the home of a wealthy white family; years later, she encounters them again and her life is changed forever. As Fanny and Victoria’s destinies take them in separate directions, the drama offers a distinctly fresh take on racial identity in contemporary France – and on questions of class, privilege and blinkered liberal racism. Superbly acted by newcomers Guslagie Malanda and Nadia Moussa, along with veterans Mouchet and Greggory, My Friend Victoria sees Jean-Paul Civeyrac returning to the LFF after his poetic, elegant Young Girls in Black (2010). His follow-up is an acutely intelligent achievement by a director whose time has surely come.
It’s a bold move to make your debut theatrical feature a modern day take on such a big theological ‘What If?’, and Debbie Tucker Green astonishes with this London-set drama, where the newest family member is neither expected nor biologically possible. Jax (Marshall) works in the welfare office, lives with tube-worker husband (Elba), and their sensitive, nature-loving son JJ who, on the cusp of manhood is constantly looking around him for cues on how to make this transition. It’s rare to see a woman on-screen who remains so taciturn in the face of inner turmoil and as Jax’s self-possession begins to frustrate her friends and family, the film ramps up the tension with Nadine Marshall’s performance creating one of the most unshakable characters in recent memory. Taking the ‘kitchen sink’ tradition of social realism to a fresh new place, it’s a film that lingers, and marks Green as an immediate new voice in British cinema.
Layla (Jessica Sula) is 15 and has been living in Trinidad. Returned to her estranged mother in Brixton, she is faced with settling into a new home and a new city with a fresh set of rules and codes. Unsupported by her mother and spitefully rejected by her female peers, she is drawn to the brooding Troy, who marks her as his ‘Trini princess’. When that fails, she takes solace in the friendship of Shaun, another admirer, but her desperate need for acceptance leads to a tragic betrayal of his kindness. Director Rebecca Johnson was inspired by real life cases and explores gang culture from a girl’s perspective. Moving beyond the headlines, Johnson gives us an intricately layered and rarely seen perspective – firmly located in the domain of a young girl becoming a woman in a hyper-masculine world. Sula’s performance here is flawless, perfectly capturing the agonising contradiction of Layla’s choice.
Shirin breaks up with Maxine, clutching only a strap-on dildo as she storms across Brooklyn. It’s hardly what polite society would deem appropriate behaviour – which is precisely what writer-director-star Desiree Akhavan sets out to challenge in her fearless feature debut. There isn’t an aspect of life that her protagonist, a twentysomething bisexual Iranian-American, can’t overcomplicate and sabotage, be it cultural, professional, sexual or emotional. Veering from desperate bed hopping to disastrous kindergarten moviemaking classes, Akhavan spares herself – and us – nothing of Shirin’s solipsistic neuroses. So it’s all the more impressive that her bracing honesty (‘You can’t keep playing the Persian card’ Maxine scolds) and deft, witty characterisations make for such engaging, empathetic company. The setting, subject and lack of inhibition virtually guarantee Lena Dunham (Girls) comparisons, but Akhavan’s ethnically and sexually specific search for identity onscreen marks out a topography and artistic voice very much her own.
On the run from her traditional Pakistani family, 17-year-old Laila, along with her boyfriend Aaron, has fled her home for the imposing landscapes of the Yorkshire Moors. As the couple attempt to forge an anonymous existence, unbeknownst to them two groups of men are on their trail, intent on catching up with the young lovers and exacting a brutal punishment at the orders of Laila’s father. Working with famed cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank, The Angel’s Share), who captures the vast expanses of the Pennines to stunningly ominous effect, and boasting a devastating central performance by newcomer Sameena Jabeen Ahmed, Daniel and Matthew Wolfe’s hugely impressive debut is a complex and challenging piece of work. In many ways evocative of a British social realist take on John Ford’s The Searchers, with a near-noirish sense of pessimism and bleakness, the film’s observations on family dynamics, race and class are both brutally nihilistic and poetically affecting.
7. August Winds
The setting of this haunting debut feature from Gabriel Mascaro is a remote village on Brazil’s northeast coast. Shirley (Dandara de Morais), a young woman from the city, has moved there in order to look after her ageing grandmother. She starts dating Jeison (Geová Manoel dos Santos) and gains employment from a local farmer. Filming his actors and the landscape with an unhurried, watchful sensitivity that reflects his documentary background, Mascaro creates an atmospheric portrait of life in this remote community, in particular charting Shirley and Jeison’s heady romance with seductive sensuality. He also introduces a note of disquiet with the arrival of a researcher (played by the director himself) to record the sounds of the changing coastal winds. It also becomes apparent that the village is facing the devastating consequences of global warming. A melancholy and visually sumptuous reflection on a threatened way of life.
Trouble is brewing at prestigious Ivy League Winchester College. The sole black-only fraternity is to be diversified, to the disgust of firebrand campus DJ Sam White (caustic host of ‘Dear White People’). So when Sam accidentally becomes hall president and word spreads of a rival white college’s ‘African-American-themed party’, she and her fellow black students must reassess where they belong in an alleged ‘post-racial’ Obama nation. Whereas many films that tackle issues reduce their characters to mouthpieces, Justin Simien’s razor-sharp satire makes all his protagonists thrillingly nuanced and conflicted. Visually inventive (the fourth wall regularly takes a pummelling) yet controlled, it’s in the idea stakes that Simien really lets fly, nailing cultural preconceptions of all colours. Early Spike Lee comparisons – notable School Daze and Do The Right Thing – are inevitable and somewhat courted, but Simien passionately makes his own case for provocative, relevant filmmaking: we’ve gotta have it.
In the deadbeat Iranian ghost town of Bad City, a lone female vampire stalks the streets at night searching for prey. One of the town’s residents is Arash, who through a series of events involving his junkie father, a prostitute and a drug-dealing pimp, encounters the enigmatic bloodsucker and an unlikely love story begins to unfold. Plot may well be secondary to the striking visual language of Ana Lily Amirpour’s arresting debut; its deliberately enigmatic narrative allowing for a superbly ambitious exercise in style and atmosphere. With its stark black and white photography, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is in many ways evocative of the works of Jim Jarmusch, although ironically it bears the strongest resemblance to his early masterwork Stranger than Paradise than it does his own recent vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive. But while Amirpour’s influences are clear, in her effortless blending of multiple genres and monochromatic evocation of a matriarchal underworld, her voice as a singular and exciting new talent is undeniable. If you only see one Iranian vampire western this year, make sure it’s this one.
10. Difret (TW: Rape)
An affecting feature debut, Difret details the traumatic experience of an Ethiopian girl accused of killing a man who sexually abused her. On her way back home from school, 14-year-old Hirut (Tizita Hagere) is kidnapped by a gang of men and forced into marrying their leader Tadele. She is beaten and raped but manages to free herself, escaping with the rifle she uses to shoot her abductor. Arrested and charged with murder, local justice requires that Hirut is executed and then buried with her victim. However, on hearing about her case a courageous lawyer (Meron Getnet) decides to defend her – at great risk to her own career. Difret, which means ‘courage’ in Amharic, is a delicate yet impassioned story that offers empowerment and hope to countless women all over the world.
Tickets go on sale at 10am on Thursday 18th September. You can see the full listing (and any films we missed) as well as information about how to buy tickets on the BFI London FIlm Festival website.
gedankenspaziergang said: hi:) Could you explain why Zoe Saldana is problematic? thank you
"Yeah. Morgan Freeman said it. And I was just told this when I was doing an interview: He’s not going to talk about racism. I’m not going to talk about it. Yeah, it’s an elephant. We all see it, we all know it, but I’m not going to carry it in my heart, because I want to be a person that embodies change. Not embodies war or battles or bitterness; I want to keep moving on."
We have a Black president right now, so why the f— would I sit down and talk about how hard it is for Black women in Hollywood when there’s a Black president in my country?” Zoe Saldana Ebony Magazine
- And finally, this abomination:
Donning a blackface and a fake nose to portray Nina Simone, a dark skinned black woman who struggled immensely with her blackness throughout her entire life. This is a direct slap in the face to Simone’s legacy and dark skinned black women. If Saldana really cared about Simone (she doesn’t), understood her personal struggles (again, she doesn’t), she would have turned down the role and given it to an actress that is more suitable to play Simone (I nominate Adepero Oduye). She doesn’t realize the amount of privilege she has in Hollywood being a conventionally attractive, skinny, light skin black woman. What’s so irritating about this casting is at the end of the day Saldana can easily remove the dark skin, the wide nose, and Simone’s adversity but Nina Simone couldn’t do that. -G
In honor of International Literacy Day, I compiled a list of some of my favourite books written by African authors (with the exception of the book about Fela). There are many books I could’ve added to this post but these were the first that came to mind.
There’s no order to this list and each comes highly recommended as they, in some way, changed me for the better. If I had to pick a favourite it would undoubtedly be Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions simply because it was the first book I read in which I related so deeply to several of the characters - and still do. From Nyasha’s struggle with depression and being caught between two cultures she feels alienated by, to Tambu’s hunger for a world beyond her circumstances. Ugandan author Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol comes in a close second, it’s just about as cheeky and blunt as I am in some parts and, perhaps a little out of narcissism, is why I enjoyed it.
Between these 18 books you’ll find everything from the personal to the political, and everything in-between. There’s love, there’s romance, there’s struggle, there’s strife, there’s beauty and there’s ugly too. No story is as simple as their titles may suggest, just read Camara Laye’s L’enfant Noir (The African Child) that explores the author’s early childhood in Guinea under French colonisation, or South African writer Sol Plaatjie’s historical novel Mhudi written in 1919 that placed a woman at the center of a story that deals with survival, displacement and early European colonisation in South Africa.
For anyone interested in reading these books, I found some of them available online (not all are complete):
- Changes: A Love Story by Ama Ata Aidoo
- Maru by Bessie Head
- Fela: This Bitch of A Life by Carlos Moore
- Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono
- No Longer At Ease by Chinua Achebe
- I Write What I Like by Steve Biko
- Decolonising the Mind by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
- So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba
- Mhudi by Sol Plaatjie
- The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah
- The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Song of Lawino & Song of Ocol by Okot P’Bitek
- Welcome to Our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe
- The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin
- GraceLand by Chris Abani
this is a more tame page of the most beautiful thing on the internet. please go check out their blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
… why the fuck did i take the pink out of my hair? … shyt.
Sex for some survivors is a very touchy subject. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of trust. This advice is meant only for survivors who want to be physically intimate- but find themselves unable or wary. Please don’t feel like it is a required part of healing or that it is something you must do for your partner.
1. Slowly build intimacy.
Understand that just because you want to have sex with someone- doesn’t mean you have to go ‘all the way’ immediately.
Figure out the line where you stop being comfortable, and slowly work at that. For some people- their problem is only with penetration. For that- I would suggest starting out with self-penetration on your own- with fingers or small toys, and then work your way up from there. Maybe even doing mutual masturbation in order to be comfortable with having someone else there.
Also, know that penetrative sex is not the end all be all of sex. There are plenty of things that you can do that aren’t that- and both of you still be fulfilled. Focus on mutual pleasure rather than an idea that you have to have a specific kind of sex. Hand jobs/fingering, oral, mutual masturbation, frottage, thigh jobs… there are so many options that aren’t just penetrative sex. Also know that orgasms do not define ‘good’ sex. Some survivors appreciate the intimacy of sex, and enjoy making their partner orgasm- but would rather not do so themselves. and that is alright too.
If your line is about nakedness, work on that slowly. Whether it be hanging out around the house in underwear, or in the nude (both of these only if you have the house to yourself/the others in the house are okay with it). Also, if you want, you can have sex while wearing some clothes. There is no wrong way to go about having sex.
If your line is with sexual touching- start out with your comfort zone and work up from there if you can. Sometimes it can help to have already been worked up (either having an orgasm, or if you’d rather- getting almost to that point- and then trying to do the thing you haven’t yet). If the line is any kind of sexual touchy, why not start out with something like a back rub or a footrub in order to get comfortable being touched and try going from there.
2. Not stopping when you get upset.
I don’t mean forcing yourself. I mean, taking a few moments to calm down and trying again instead of just completely stopping.
One of the options of communicating this with your partner would be to use safe words. Not in place of POE (plain old English) but as an add on because sometimes it can be hard to say what we need- especially if we’re freaking out. Preferably have two words- one for a complete stop- for if you start flashing back or are really freaked out- and another for ‘hey lets slow down/go back to what we were doing previously/can we stop and talk about this for a second’ (whatever you and your partner decide it should mean).
2b. Also! let your partner know what they should do if you freak out/what to look for if they need to stop. Some survivors get really passive when they’re beginning to dissociate- and some survivors are okay with having sex while dissociated, others are not. The best approach is to talk to your partner and be like ‘hey, if I stop talking/get unresponsive- you should stop/check in with me/hold me and pet my head/whatever you need’
Figure out a plan of action should you have a panic attack or flashback. I’m personally a a proponent of keeping a safe sex kit (with condoms/lube/and anything else y’all might use) and if you need to keep a safety object, or something meant to ground you (like strong tasting peppermint, different kinds of fabric swatches, etc) then there’s no problem with doing that.
3. Give up control/take control.
It depends on the survivor- but sometimes it is a control issue. I know a survivor who only has sex when she’s handcuffed because if not- she instinctively feels like she needs to fight.
I know others who when they first started having sex again- handcuffed their partners, or blindfolded them. This allowed them to have the ‘upper hand’ and thus relax enough to be intimate with the one they cared about. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be a physical set of handcuffs. Just a ‘hey can you sit back and let me do this’.
4. Switch things up.
For some survivors it is a matter of location. try having sex either in a neutral space, or the space that you feel safest.
If there was a certain position that the assault happened in- then that is probably not the one to try things in at first. Switch things up and try to make the situation as different than the trauma as possible. This could include things like lighting, the feeling of the surface you’re having sex on, the smell of the room.
5. ‘Dirty talk’
As ridiculous as dirty talk can sound, it is also something that grounds you to the situation- and gives your and your partner a chance to tell each other what you’re going to do next, so that the survivor has a chance to speak up and say ‘no’ before it happens- if they need to. If you and your partner aren’t a fan of dirty talk in and of itself- you can still talk things through. Whether its commenting on how nice their skin feels, or how great something is- dirty talk doesn’t have to be ‘oh baby, do me hard’. The important thing is keeping up the flow of communication.
I think the biggest thing is that a lot of us rush into having ‘real sex’ immediately. That we allow sex to be defined in a way that keeps us from feeling comfortable or being safe. Experiment with your partner- sex is just about intimacy, just a way to make each other feel good. Don’t feel like you have to have it any one way- or that its wrong. Whatever you can do, is okay. I promise.
13 Herbal Balms & Salves For Everyday Ailments
Hello Natural writes:From headaches to cracked heels (so, literally, head to toe), herbal balms are a game-changer. And we promise, they’re really easy to make, just as long as you’re patient enough for your herbs to dry and oils to infuse. From there on, the possibilities are endless! Read more about the dos and donts of herbal balms here, and have a look at some of the best balm and salve recipes we found.Find the 13 recipes here.
So. I had no idea about this app until I went into my doctor and he told me about it.
LISTEN UP. THIS APP. THIS SHIT RIGHT HERE IS SERIOUSLY A BLESSING. ESPECIALLY TO ANYONE WITH FINANCIAL PROBLEMS (which is kind of everyone now). THIS IS NOT INSURANCE THOUGH. BUT IT WILL HELP YOU OUT. DOWNLOAD THIS APP RIGHT NOW. NO. STOP READING. DOWNLOAD IT.
This app allows you to input the prescription you have, select your dose, and then find a place near you (or your own pharmacy) with the cheapest price. Then you click “get code/coupon/discount card,” show that to the pharmacist, and THERE YOU GO. SAVING YOU SOME CASH TO GET YOURSELF A WELL DESERVED DRINK, CANDY BAR, DATE MONEY, SEX TOY CASH, OR GO BUY YOURSELF A HAMSTER AND NAME HIM STARLORD WITH THE EXTRA MONEY.
No, but in all seriousness. This app is saving my ass right now.
I’m Trans* and have Fibromyalgia, and this is really making a difference already. I hope this helps out other people. We all know it fucking sucks to have to pay this much for the medication we need to function in life.
this really helped me out when i didn’t have insurance. like, being able to spend only $8 on meds that normally would’ve cost me $100+ is incredible.