Categories
Animation Movies Shorts

Fishing Child (Yu Tong, 渔童)

Director – Wan Guchan – 1959 – China – Cert. N/C U – 23m
*****
A Catholic priest attempts with the help of a local official to steal a magic, wealth-producing bowl from a poor fisherman – available to rent online from Friday, February 12th to Wednesday, May 12th in the UK & Ireland as part of the Shanghai Animation Film Studio Retro in the Chinese Cinema Season 2021

Animation has long proved effective as a vehicle for mythology, fairy stories, folk tales and suchlike. This little film proves it again. Made using traditional 2D Disney style backgrounds and camerawork augmented with 2D cut-out characters, it’s also a visual marvel in which can also be seen the influences as diverse as Chinese art and UPA cartoons. 

A poor, coastal village is blockaded by foreign (i.e. European) ships preventing the local fishermen from pursuing their livelihood. That doesn’t however stop a local official from tormenting an old fisherman by demanding he pay Fish Tax. The man is flabbergasted since the blockade prevents him from working and therefore earning money, but the official insists, threatening to chop up the man’s boat with his axe if payment is not forthcoming the next day. 

Thinking as the rain pelts down, the understandably worried man decides to go out in the storm as the ships won’t be looking for fishermen and catch fish to pay the tax.… Read the rest

Categories
Animation Features Live Action Movies

Capital In The 21st Century

Director – Justin Pemberton – 2019 – France, New Zealand – Cert. 12 – 103m

*****

An adaptation of Thomas Piketty’s controversial economic treatise Capital In The 21st Century – in cinemas from Friday, September 25th

The content of French economist Thomas Piketty’s eponymous book couldn’t be more relevant. Far from being dry economics, Piketty’s thesis begins that there has always been a minority of wealthy people whose wealth derives from nothing more than being born into wealth. They have done nothing to merit wealth. They do not own it because of any sort of achievement.

The industrial revolution, he argues, gave those with capital (financial assets) the means to substantially increase the amount of capital they own.

Throughout history, the rich have not looked after the whole of society but rather have merely defended their own interests, i.e. maintaining and if possible increasing their position of wealth. They have shown a disdain for the other 99% of people. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, society was broken into those two groups, wealthy and poor.

The rise of the middle class after World War One changed everything, with middle class people wanting their say in how things were run. Changes since the 1970s however threaten the power of the middle class and we may be seeing a return to a majority of very poor people beholden to a wealthy minority – unless we take the action necessary to prevent it.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

A Good Year

Director – Ridley Scott – 2006 – US – 12A – 118 mins

***1/2

A ruthless, successful Square Mile bond trader travels to Provence to sort out the estate he’s inherited from his late uncle – UK release date 27/10/2006

Back in the 1980s, British TV commercials spawned a number of hugely successful feature film directors, with Scott arguably the most talented. A great visual stylist, his impressive filmography includes the seminal (Alien, 1979; Blade Runner, 1982; Thelma & Louise, 1991), the blockbuster (1492: Conquest Of Paradise, 1992; Gladiator, 2000; Kingdom Of Heaven, 2005) and the forgotten (Black Rain, 1989; White Squall, 1996; G.I. Jane, 1997). Scott is perhaps the archetypal ‘style over content’ director: his impressive visuals often threaten to overpower everything else, yet his sense of style invariably makes anything he does worth a look. A film-maker, in other words, of extreme contradictions.

The end of that same era saw highly regarded London advertising man Peter Mayle relocate to the South Of France to pen a series of books about that region starting with the bestselling A Year In Provence.

Scott and Mayle have known each other since the eighties advertising boom.… Read the rest