Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

May 29, 2012 at 7:42 am | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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An intriguing film; ostensively about transplanting salmon from Scotland to Yemen, but it is a romance and a journey of self discovery.

Ewan McGregor, as Dr Alfred Jones, and Emily Blunt, as Harriet Chetwode-Talbot, play the two main characters. He is a borderline autistic scientist seemingly more interested in fish (salmon) than people. She is a charming bubbly young advisor at a firm that manages money for very wealthy individuals – like the Sheikh Muhammed of Yemen. Kristin Scott Thomas, as Patricia Maxwell, the energetic get-it-done British Prime Minister’s PR advisor, rounds off the cast. She is like superwoman – mother and the PM’s smiling PR hatch-woman.

At first Dr Jones is against the idea of salmon in Yemen. But Harriet’s charming efficiency and the Sheikh’s sincerity (and the challenge of it all), wins him around.

The fact that this is viewed by some as eco-vandlism and a corruption of Yemen’s traditional ways is seemingly glossed over. That is, until, the protests get a bit extreme.

The path to true love is not smooth – a bit like salmon swimming up-stream. How does a bashful shy scientist compete with a war-hero?

The film is well made, with some fantastic scenery – mainly the fishing scenes. Everyone must have had compulsory fly fishing lessons !

The film also has an element of political satire: Mrs Maxwell cynically manipulates and manages the news cycle to inject a positive story about Britain and the moslem world – portraying a policy and decision making process driven solely by the need to keep the government popular.

Mozart’s Sister

May 26, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Posted in DVD Review, Film Review | Leave a comment
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I got Mozart’s Sister out of the library the other day.

Marie Feret plays Maria-Anna (‘Nannerl’) Mozart – the older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She like her famous younger brother was also a musical prodigy – she played the piano, the violin; sang, and composed. Though she ran into difficulties with the latter.

The children’s father toured the children around the courts of Europe hoping for fame and fortune. It appears that if you had musically talented children that’s what you did. The financial rewards must have been quite good if you caught the ear of someone wealthy. The Mozarts encounter an English boy violinist.

It is while touring that Nannerl encounters three french princesses in a convent – they have been sent there by Cardinal [Richelieu] to keep them out of intrigues at Court. Nannerl develops a friendship with Maria Louise (played extremely well by Lisa Feret). Nannerl ends up taking letters from Louise to friends-and-family at the French Court – at Versailles.

Nannerl ends catches the eye of the heir to the French throne – Louis, Le Dauphin. The latter has sworn off women and will only deal with men – so Nannerl has to dress as a man to deliver her letter! The plot requires Nannerl to dress as a man quite a bit – and when dressed as such looks like the surviving representations of Mozart (her brother). The Dauphin is captivated by the nannerl’s music. Even when she confesses to being a women, the Dauphin is not upset. For a while things go well.

The music, as you would expect, is wonderful and the costumes are beautiful. The cinematography is tight and well composed.

The Film fills in the spaces between the recorded historical facts. So eventually, things resolve themselves – not always for the good of all. The film is tinged with sadness: at what might have been – had two extremely able women been born men or in a different time. We are shown glimpses of the strength of character and unfulfilled potential of the two Marias.

The film looses nothing for being in french – it just adds to the historical authenticity.

New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season 2012

May 24, 2012 at 7:06 am | Posted in Ballet Review, Dance Review, Event Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to Te Whaea the other night, to see the 2012 season of the third year dancers’ choreographic season.

There were 10 works:

  • Bait, Choreographed by Emma Dellabarca
  • !, by Simone Lapaka
  • Weight Over Me, by Matte Roffe
  • Axis Mundi, by Jimi Pham
  • Human Im-pulse, by Andrew Miller
  • It’s All Fun and Games, by Brydie Colquhoun
  • Pace, by Andrew Searle
  • Lesson 1, by Gareth Okan
  • 75 Squared, by Francesca Sampson (and dancers)
  • Facade, by Samantha Hines

The 10 items had enough in common that they were staged as one continuous work. They told a storey. This was not modern dance in the extreme abstract – I liked the fact that the choreographers, set designer (Oliver Morse), and lighting provided some ‘handrails’ to the story telling. There were props and a verbal component in the sound track. In ! there is a sound track of Sir david Attenborough ‘going on’ about bird mating rituals! Bait uses intermittent lighting to create a cinematographic effect.

Jimi Pham’s Axis Mundi lets him use his music training – he plays the piano – and is able to choreograph the dancers in real-time (through the tempo of the music).

Brydie Colquhuon’s It’s All Fun and Games was definitely not – the couple start off much in love but end up having a most realistic dance fight.

Lesson 1, by Gareth Okan, used a voice over to help the audience ‘read’ what fortune cookies he was using to help him navigate through life! The choreography used dancers to be his alter egos – as they acted out his own advice!

75 Squared, by Francesca Sampson, started with a rolled square of ‘wood’ falling onto the stage from the celling – to form a constrained dance floor on the wider dance floor. There was also the clever use of hand lights to hint at who was the puppet master and who were being controlled.

The performance ended with Facade, by Samantha Hines. Which had a great ‘hands dancing’ sequence.

An enjoyable evening – worth popping along if you can get tickets.

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