Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Petition to Support Irish Ballet

Here is a photo of the elegant Monica Loughman, Ireland's prima ballerina, who has established a national ballet company in this country so other young girls will not have to leave their home - as she did (for Russia!) - to learn classical ballet. In light of the fact that Irish contemporary dance receives an outrageously higher amount of funding than classical ballet - 25 million to 1 million! - she has drawn up a petition to the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Here is the website with all you need to support this worthy cause: www.monicaloughman.com. And do please pass the information on.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blue Jasmine and The Wolf of Wall Street

I watched Blue Jasmine and The Wolf of Wall Street in the same week and was stunned by the similarity. Great writing, great filmmaking and powerhouse performances by two brilliant actors to serve what? A presentation of the vacuous pathetic lives of two utterly useless human beings who not only add nothing to humanity but, in fact, detract from it by robbing others blind. It has been argued that the filmmmakers - Woody Allen and Scorsese - are indicting the behaviour of their characters while presenting searing satires of society. Really? Neither film shows any hope of redemption, any alternative to the aggressive desire for wealth, or even a glimmer of interest in such a thing. There is no indictment of their behaviour, only a morbid fascination with their fall. The Wolf of Wall Street presents the main character as a hilariously flawed 'hero' and the FBI man who captures him as a loser. At the end of the film, the latter rides the subway with other 'sheep', i,e, ordinary non-criminals, while the wolf, still rich, blooms on the talk circuit after a comfortable 3 year stay in prison. In Blue Jasmine, the non-rich are mindless happy-in-their-pig-ignorance boobs. Allen has obviously had no contact whatsoever with classes below the wealthy for some time. (Listen to real life American working men in Searching for Sugar Man for contrast.) Both films have no moral centre. I would suggest that the filmmakers themselves, like their characters, lack both moral compass and redemptive imagination. Unadulterated cynicism. Who needs it?