Amar follows a 14 year-old Indian boy at the top of his class who would someday like to be a professional cricketer. He also happens to be his family’s main breadwinner, working two jobs six and half days a week. But, this film isn’t an analysis of Amar’s misery or an expose on his suffering. No, it’s instead a quiet celebration of the human spirit–of a boy whose tenacity and quiet resolve carry him through every day. The system may be broken, but Amar’s spirit certainly isn’t.
Narrative has become somewhat of an over-looked aspect of filmmaking in recent years, with short films often seeming to focus on aesthetics first and then worry about story later. However, Gabriel Bisset Smith’s short Thrush appears to slap this theory in the face by almost scrapping visual style altogether and adopting a scrapbook look of one man’s photo collection. Opting instead to present a strong narrative with a personal feel to his film adding multitudes to his film’s effectiveness.
Which Short of the Week captured your attention more? The beauty and mechanism of life shown through Amar or the style, narrative and power of still movie making displayed in Thrush?
Every time you see a crowd of Catalans gathered in one place, a strike or a riot is the safest guess, however sometimes it might mean a different and truly spectacular thing. What turned out to be a typical way to celebrate any bigger occasion, doesn’t get any more impressive than in the Concurs de Castells (“competition of castles” in Catalan), where hundreds of people compete in who will form a bigger one.
The competition is held in Tarragona every two years and attracts over 20 000 viewers. Last year 32 teams participated, each one consisting from 100 to 500 members. The towers reach from 6 to 10 levels in hight, and are built from men, women and children alike. The usual way is to keep the male team members (and the heavier ones at that) at the bottom, while women and children go up to form the top levels. In order to win the competition, the complexity of the tower is judged as well as its hight.
With the“Strength, balance, courage and common sense” slogan serving as the moto of the tradition, human towers have been recognized as the UNESCO cultural heritage in 2010, and have been considered as one of the most important Catalan traditions for over 200 years now. Below are some stunning shots by David Oliete, capturing the magnitude of the event!
History is often seen as a subject of cramming – what we often don’t appreciate, is how intertwined it is with our present. Dutch historian Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse tries to demonstrate that very literally with her Ghosts of War photo series, where she blends the present day and the original World War II pictures of the same place into one.
Jo spends hours looking for the locations and taking pictures that match the originals, and then photoshops them to combine the war ghosts into the current settings.
“I try to make people realise that history is all around us. That where you live, work or go to school, once people fought, died or simply experienced a different kind of life. We are history, history is us,” – she says.
The project reminds me of Shawn Clover’s Then and Now Blend of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The latter may be technically better, however Jo chose a more popular theme – WW2. This is probably one of the reasons Jo’s pictures became much more popular than Shawn’s.