China is an ancient, mysterious land w which extends up to an area of 9,596,960 sq km. This country, with its rich culture and ancient traditions, is abundant in its resources and minerals and has served people for generations. The splendid Chinese culture, with its distinctive customs, is credited with four great inventions viz., gun powder, paper, printing and compass.
This keenness of the Chinese culture can also be seen in the uniqueness displayed in their arts and crafts, calligraphy, embroidery, operas, painting and silk. Martial art, a fairly recent concept in the rest of the world, has been a part of the Chinese culture for centuries.
Chinese literature has also contributed a lot towards shaping the rich heritage of this culture. The delectable and vibrant Chinese cuisine is also amazing and has travelled to most of parts of the globe to turn into a universal cuisine. For more amazing and interesting facts about Chinese culture, scroll further!
— Chinese civilization is considered to be the longest and the most continuous civilization of the world.
— In ancient times, it was believed that China was situated in the center of the world and hence the name ‘China’ or ‘Zhong Guo’, which means ‘Central Nation’ or ‘Middle Kingdom’.
— The first human skull, which is estimated to be about 67,000 years old, was found in Liujiang, southern part of China.
— Considered to be one of the most prominent introductions to the Chinese culture, Buddhism carved a new beginning to religion and philosophy in China, in the second century B.C. During this period, innovative ideas led to new designs, temple layouts, new styles of figure painting, sculptures, furnishings etc.
— Chinese is the most widely spoken language with about 850 million speakers across China.
— In the present day Chinese culture, the Chinese Government has incorporated several elements of Chinese tradition. Various forms of Chinese literature, art, music, fashion, film and architecture have been revived vigorously with the rise of Chinese nationalism.
— Opportunities for social advancement of the Chinese are purely based on their performance in the prominent imperial examinations which have been in place since 605 A.D. This helped the Emperor select skillful bureaucrats and also refined the perception of culture in China.
— Calligraphy, a decorative practice of hand writing, was developed as an art form in China, over 2,000 years ago. Nowadays, this art form is done with special pens and ink rather than the brushes used in the olden days.
— Previously, sculpting and painting weren’t significant in Chinese art forms but with the iconography of Buddhism, they reached a different level altogether during the fifth and the sixth centuries. During the Middle Ages, the art styles which were prominent were the Tibetan, Mughal and Mongolian styles.
— There are about 300 different forms of opera in China with a rich history of more than 800 years. Chinese Opera has been popular for generations and uses string instruments along with high-pitched vocal stylings.
— During the Chinese Spring Festival, about 230 million people go back to their hometowns to welcome the arrival of the Chinese New Year. This is the time of the year when public transports get congested with a sea of people and subsequently, ticket fares skyrocket. China observes a 15 day holiday throughout the nation which is the reason for this mass migration.
— Shanghai, in China, is considered the biggest city of the world with a population of 16 million.
— Being a multi-racial country, China is home to 56 ethnic groups.
— In the Sichuan province of China, the population is more than the total inhabitants of Canada, Australia, Austria, Guatemala, Holland, New Zealand, Malaysia, Portugal, and Greece taken together.
— Unless you have a close relation or association with the person you meet, you should not address a Chinese with the first name. Official or professional titles such as “Mayor Wang” or “Engineer Li” can also be used for the address.
— During ‘Great Leap Forward’, Mao Zedong’s unsuccessful experiment, which was a step towards making China, a modern economy, about 20-30 million people died of starvation.
— Chopsticks, the wooden cutlery items, are a specialty of the Chinese and are used for the longer reach. It is not considered good manners to play unnecessarily with them. Chinese prefer to dine with their families and use the traditional, hygienic and well-designed utensils.
— Ginseng is considered the most important herb of Chinese diet and has special significance in their folklore and tradition as well. For about five thousand years, special herbs were compulsorily included in Chinese diet charts, for a long and problem free life.
— Chinese follow very specific traditions with respect to their outfits. They wear dark colors for special ceremonies whereas light colors for casual outings.
— One of the wider known and followed customs of Chinese culture is giving a hard-boiled egg, dyed red, in order to make birth announcements.
— According to the Chinese culture, dragon is considered to be the most powerful and is the luckiest symbol for them among all the other twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac.
— One of the major attractions of China is ‘Great Wall of China’ that is more than 21000 km long. Another attraction here is the 46-ton of the ‘Great Bell temple’ situated in Haidian District of Beijing.
It is easy to get hooked to nicotine but for many people, it is almost impossible to regulate the intake of nicotine, let alone let go of it. Nicotine is the drug present in cigarettes that causes changes in the brain and triggers your senses to make you want it constantly. Quitting smoking is getting one step closer to getting rid of nicotine once and for all. Smoking is a killer habit, which can turn into an addiction easily. It makes the smoker physically unfit, triggering a series of diseases, majority of them being lethal.
Many people addicted to smoking are not able to get rid of it, mainly because they find it difficult to get through the withdrawal symptoms. However, self-motivation can help them a great deal in overcoming the addiction. If you are one among those who are finding it difficult to quit smoking, go through this article. Browse further and learn how to get rid of smoking addiction, with the simple tips given below.
Ways to Overcome Smoking Addiction
— The first step to overcome smoking addiction will be to get rid of everything that is related to it. Dispose all the leftover tobacco products, such as cigarettes and cigars, which are in your possession. When you do not find any of the products within easy reach, the urge to smoke will automatically start diminishing.
— Deviate your mind from the mere thought of smoking. Go for a walk, listen to music or indulge yourself in any other activity, when you experience a craving for smoking. If you are habitual of smoking immediately after meal, eat a hard candy or chewing gum as a replacement.
— Avoid doing things that make you want to smoke. Identify the smoking triggers and get rid of them. You should avoid the consumption of alcohol and caffeine, because they are found to be amongst the most common things which trigger the urge to smoke. At the same time, stay away from those who smoke.
— An effective antidote to smoking is water. It helps flush out the toxins from your body. In addition, the intensity of withdrawal symptoms gets reduced.
— Whenever you feel like smoking, apply a pinch of rock salt at the tip of your tongue. Repeat this process for about one month. You will find yourself becoming less and less addicted.
— In order to neutralize the urge of smoking, drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices. The consumption of carrots and celery juice also helps to overcome smoking addiction.
— Honey serves as an herbal medicine as well as an antioxidant. Consume 2 teaspoons of honey every day, for about two months. This will decrease the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and will also diminish the urge to smoke.
— Drink orange and grape juice, at least twice a day. These fruits are effective in removing nicotine out of your body. Moreover, they will help reduce your craving for smoking.
— Another important way of getting rid of the smoking addiction is by listing your reasons for quitting and reading them on an everyday basis. The grim effects of nicotine addiction on your health and your relationship with people are countless. Some people quit smoking because they are concerned about their health, whereas, many others quit smoking to save their relationships. These are just a few examples of reasons. What are yours?
— It is very important to let everyone around you know that you are planning to quit smoking and how this is a very important decision for you. Ask your friends, peers or family members not to smoke in front of you or not to persuade you to go for a ‘puff’ with them. Let them be a part of ending your nicotine addiction. Remember, once you have made up your mind about getting rid of the addiction, you are not only committing to yourself, but to your entire social circle. You can start by telling this to someone who is extremely close to you.
— If you are looking for natural ways to quit smoking, try acupuncture, hypnosis or herbal smoking cessation products, such as nicotine patches or gum. Although, patches may release a small amount of nicotine in the body, it will give the body some relief from the withdrawal symptoms and make good alternatives for cigarettes. Whereas, in the case of acupuncture and hypnosis, it is believed that during these processes, small amounts of endorphins are released throughout the body, which is believed to block the physical responses to nicotine.
— Other nicotine replacement drugs are nicotine lozenges, Bupropion and Varenicline. These drugs are available for varying degrees of addiction and are effective in blocking the nicotine from entering receptors in the body. Note that, you should only take these drugs once you have consulted your physician.
— Another great way of getting rid of the smoking addiction is to talk to a person who has already quit smoking successfully and is happy to have done so! The last thing you need to hear is negative words from a person who is dissatisfied to have quit smoking. Not only will this prepare you mentally but you could also talk to the friend at any point of time, if you are encountering any difficulties along the way.
Avocados manage to be both timeless and trendy. The green fruit (yup, it’s a fruit) is used in classics like guacamole and Cobb salad and it’s currently popping up in countless restaurant dishes. But, could the ubiquitous avocado also be good for your weight loss game?
The most common claim that avocados are good for dropping pounds comes from their high content of healthy fats, which are known to suppress appetite, leading to weight loss.
Also, studies show that high-fiber foods, like avocados, boost feelings of fullness. Those feelings of satisfaction mean you’re less likely to overeat which can lead to weight loss.
There’s even evidence that healthy (or unsaturated) fats help prevent blood-sugar spikes, which tell your body to store excess calories as fat in your midsection. That means avocados may be good for controlling belly fat.
Healthy fats and dietary fiber are linked to satiety. Satiety can result in a reduction of excess eating. Eating less often leads to weight loss. But those attributes aren’t exactly unique to avocados.
While avocados can be a healthy addition to your diet, it’s important to be aware of the fact that they are fairly calorie dense. A small avocado (about four ounces) has around 180 calories and 17g fat. And there absolutely is such a thing as too much fat — even the healthy kind.
Just because avocados are healthy and satisfying doesn’t mean you should eat them with complete abandon.
Not only could that prevent weight loss, it could actually lead to weight gain. Definitely enjoy them — just in moderation!
When in Doubt, Weigh It Out
For the most accurate info, weigh out your avocado portion with a food scale. Each ounce has around 45 calories, 4g fat, 2.5g carbs, 2g fiber, and 0.5g protein.
Kitchen scales are inexpensive and they’re great tools for weight management. If you’re not able to weigh out your avocado, here are some shortcut estimates:
1-ounce avocado is equal to:
about 2 tbsp. mashed avocado
about 2 tbsp. chopped avocado
about 1/4th of a small avocado
Tips on Adding Avocado to Your Diet
Spice and spread. You can mash and season them to make a spread for whole-grain toast, high-fiber crackers, sandwiches, or even apple slices. One of my favorite little snacks is high-fiber, flatbread-style crackers topped with seasoned mashed avocado and sun-dried tomatoes.
Egg Addition. A little chopped avocado brings so much flavor to an egg scramble. Mashed avocado is also surprisingly tasty in hard-boiled egg white halves. Top it with chopped lean bacon for a tremendously satisfying snack.
As a salad topper. A bit of avocado on your salad will make it more filling and more delicious. You can even blend up some avocado with fat-free yogurt for a flavor-packed dressing.
Creamy guac dip. Guacamole is delicious, but it’s way too easy to overdo it with the traditional dense dip. Combine 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt with the same amount of mashed avocado. Toss in 1/8 tsp. each of salt, garlic powder, and chili powder and you’ve got a guac fix with a seriously slashed calorie count.
For more guilt-free recipes, food finds, tips ‘n tricks, and more, visit Fitness and Weight Loss.
There are two main channels of romantic interest for adults. First, there are the people you meet at a bar, at a party, or through an online dating site. In these scenarios, the mutual attraction and interest is often instant: you immediately ask each other out, or hook up, or date, or whatever.
Then there are the times when you meet people and mutual attraction is not assured. Your new co-worker, a friend’s roommate, your roommate’s sister, the guy who works at the coffee shop next door. Do they like you? You have no idea. But what you’re left with is what in high school parlance is referred to as a crush. Because of whatever complications, you don’t feel like you can just ask this person out. But you’ve got it for them, and you’ve got it bad.
As adults, we’re beyond doodling in notepads and feverishly writing diary entries — but we can still get a little weird about our crushes.
I asked a group of female friends to brainstorm how, exactly, they behave towards someone on whom they have a secret crush. Nobody does all of these things at once, but chances are, if you’ve ever had a crush, a couple of these bullet points will sound pretty familiar. (You could call some of these behaviors “creepy.” I prefer the adjectives “diligent” and “enthusiastic.”)
“Life would be so much easier if you could just be like, ‘YO. I’m in love with you,’ with no consequence,” one contributor said via GChat. Preach.
So, here you go. A no-holds-barred list of the things we do when we’re secretly in love with you.
“I laugh really hard when you’re within ear shot, and make sure I look super engaged with who ever I’m talking to.”
“I send you a link to an article about something we talked about once, in passing.”
“I get really dressed up when I know I’m going to see you and then act surprised/dismissive when you say I look nice. (‘Really? Huh. I just came from work…’)”
“I listen to songs I think you’d like on Spotify and hope you see them on my Facebook feed.”
“I all of the sudden get buddy-buddy with your friends.”
“I tweet about things that aren’t directly about you, but that I know will interest you.”
“I never leave the bar before you do — I don’t care how early I have to work the next morning.”
“I live in fear that you will somehow learn how often I visit your Facebook page.”
“I text you something random or ‘funny’ my coworker did, just to start the conversation.”
“I go out of my way to not seem jealous of other women, going so far as to force you to say tell another girl how pretty she is.”
“I change my GChat status to something I want you to see.”
“I find out everything I can about you and then pretend to be surprised when you tell me something about yourself in person.”
“I stand in the same circle as you but avoid eye contact and only talk to the person standing next to you.”
“If we’re sitting at a table, booth, or bench, I will sit closer to you than to the person on my other side. I will make sure our arms accidentally graze each other.”
“I take advantage of every possible opportunity to “@” you on twitter.”
“I go out of my way to walk by you on the way to the bar.”
“I spend parties standing in your line of sight.”
“I dress inappropriately for events because you complimented that outfit another time. (‘Aren’t you cold?’ ‘… no.’)”
“I google anyone I found out you dated/hooked-up with/were interested in, just to see how I measure up.”
“I make up a ‘work question’ that we need to have coffee / lunch / drinks to discuss, because I’d really like your professional opinion on the matter. (Ideally, I’d also like to make out.)”
“I have Skype, gchat, and Facebook chat always up just in case you sign into one of the three messaging platforms.”
“I invite you to a party I’m throwing. And then quickly invite 100 other people so you won’t suspect I singled you out.”
”I will remember a random fact or opinion you expressed a year ago, even when you don’t.”
“I Google myself so I know what comes up in case you randomly decide to google me.”
“I bring up a movie/concert/activity that I think you would like, in the hopes that you will express interest and that I can then casually say, ‘Oh, do you want to come with?‘”
“I reply all to a group email that you’re in just so my name comes up in your inbox to refresh your memory that I exist. I will labor over this reply for at least an hour before hitting ‘send’.”
You better be comfortable following the important rules if you want to play.
1. She’s not going to jump into bed with you. I mean, she might, but it’s not a given. Open is the status of her relationship, not her legs.
2. She’s going to jump into bed with you. I know what I just wrote. But you should prepare your heart / vagina / penis / other body parts for the fact that she may be interested in a hookup — and only a hookup.
3. You have to follow her rules if you want to play. You have the option not to date her, but if you decide to go for it, be aware that there may be certain agreements she’s made with her primary partner, i.e. how often she can see you, or how intense things can be sexually. It’s pretty unlikely those will be adjustable. People in open relationships usually apply a lot of forethought to the architecture of those things.
4. She’s not a “cheater.” She didn’t decide to enter an open relationship because she is fundamentally immoral, a moustache-twirling cartoon villain, or anyone else who is generally careless with the feelings of others. There are reasons monogamy doesn’t work for her. Respect that.
5. If you have any questions about how this is going to work, just ask her. She’s very, um, open. She knows exactly what she needs and she’ll be more than happy to let you know.
6. She’s opinionated, and don’t mistake her for confused. She’s not in an open relationship because she can’t decide on one. She’s in an open relationship because she’s self-assured in her wants and needs, and knows how to execute them.
7. She likes sex. It might not be the sole reason she is conducting additional relationships outside of her primary one — but, yeah, she enjoys it. She enjoys it a lot.
8. You’re going to have to work well with others. Depending on the degree to which things heat up, you may have to make decisions about your relationship with her that factor in other people — namely her partner, or others you’re dating. If you’re the kind of person who would rather write an essay than do the group project, this might not be for you.
9. She’s emotionally mature. Don’t play games. She’s had to assess her perspective, wants, needs, and values, and negotiate those with the perspective, needs, wants, and values of at least one other person and likely even more. She’s not going to sweat the small stuff — unless it’s your brain.
10. You will never, ever be bored with her. Whether it’s for a few minutes, a few hours or a few decades, this will be an experience you won’t forget. So let go of your preconceptions and hold onto your hat, your heart, and the headboard.
The artist’s Rio 2016 single follows pop’s tradition of cliched Olympic tributes by releasing a video in which she conquers the art of parachuting.
It’s day zero of the Rio Olympic Games and as everyone knows, nothing screams “Win the discus!” more than watching a pop star get smothered in a parachute while dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Katy Perry’s video for Rise, her Olympics song released before the opening ceremony on Friday evening, is a gymnastic extravaganza in which she attempts to launch herself from Utah’s Snow Canyon and Sand Hollow state park into the sky like a scabby-faced Cirque du Soleil performer. Along the way she is tangled in parachute cables, nearly drowns and scales a mountain. In fact, there’s so much billowing pink fabric and emphasis on triumph in the face of adversity that the three minutes of footage could double up as an advert for Always maxi pads with supermassive wings.
Perhaps the pressure of global competition, mixed with the responsibility of representing four years of athletes’ gruelling training schedules, is the reason why so many Olympic songs are totally bereft of fun. If its ropey lineage is anything to go by, an otherwise entertaining pop star is left with nothing but a list of empty verbs such as “rise”, “survive”, “thrive”, “dream” and – in the case of Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado’s 2010 Vancouver Winter Games soundtrack – “banging the drum”.
On Rise, glossy, cavernous production is paired with some relatively straightforward concepts, such as not conforming, rising, surviving, thriving, not negotiating, and, er, ignoring the vultures whispering “you’re out of time”. I’m no Chris Packham but I’m pretty sure beaks reduce a vulture’s ability to whisper . I digress. Anything is possibly if you try! Enjoy!
1) Has Internet criticism made a significant contribution to film culture? Does it tend to supplement print criticism or can it actually carve out critical terrain that is distinctive from traditional print criticism? Which Internet critics and bloggers do you read on a regular basis?
1) a. Significant and profound. Because the changes it has wrought are ongoing and unfolding, it’s still hard to have a comprehensive fix on them.
1) b. It can and does do both. By broadening the playing field in terms of players, methodologies, audiences, social formations, and outlets, it certainly expands the options. The interactivity of almost immediate feedback, the strengths and limitations of being able to post almost as quickly as one can think (or type), the relative ease of making screen grabs — these and many other aspects of Internet discourse are bringing about changes in content as well as in style and form, shape and size.
1) c. Here’s just a sample: To varying degrees (some much more regularly than others), I like to read Acquarello, David Bordwell, Zach Campbell, Fred Camper, Roger Ebert, Flavia de la Fuente, Filipe Furtado, Michael E. Grost, Andy Horbal, Christoph Huber, David Hudson, Arianna Huffington, Kent Jones, Dave Kehr, Craig Keller, Glenn Kenny, Naomi Klein, Roger Alan Koza, Laila Lalami, Kevin Lee, Adrian Martin, Dave McDougall, Mark Peranson, Quintín, Andy Rector, Lisa Rosman, Alex Ross, Girish Shambu, Brad Stevens, Terry Teachout, Alexis Tioseco, and Noel Vera. Some of these writers don’t have blogs of their own and some aren’t even film people, but I’ve included them if what they’ve had to say occasionally relates to my film interests.
2) How would you characterize the strengths and weaknesses of critics’ blogs? Which blogs do you consult on a regular basis — and which are you drawn to in terms of content and style? Do you prefer blogs written by professional critics or those by amateur cinephiles?
2) a. The strengths and weaknesses of most critics’ blogs relate to the fact that they aren’t edited — apart from a few like The Chicago Reader blogs, whose strengths and weaknesses relate to the fact that they are edited (or at least the initial posters are edited, if not the respondents).
2) b. The film blogs I read or consult most regularly at the moment are those maintained by three Davids (Bordwell, Hudson, and Kehr) and Girish. I tend to read Bordwell and Hudson more for content than for style; among the bloggers whom I tend to read more for style than for content are Glenn Kenny, Quintín, and Lisa Rosman.
2) c. I have no idea what differentiates “professional” film critics from “amateur” cinephiles, apart from the fake credentials dispensed by institutional bases — or the fact that “professionals”, whether they’re academics or journalists, don’t have to be cinephiles, don’t have to know anything about film, and don’t have to know how to write or do research in order to be regarded as “professionals” within their respective professions.
As for those with blogs, I prefer those who are cinephiles, know something about film, and know how to write and do research, such as Dave Kehr, even if he didn’t make it into Phillip Lopate’s American Movie Critics collection. I regret that many of the best film critics and film scholars that we have — including Thom Andersen, Raymond Bellour, Janet Bergstrom, Nicole Brenez, Manohla Dargis, Bernard Eisenschitz, Manny Farber, J. Hoberman, Alex Horwath, James Naremore, Gilberto Perez, Donald Phelps, and François Thomas — aren’t bloggers, at least as far as I know.
3) Internet boosters tend to hail its “participatory” aspects — e.g., message boards, the ability to connect with other cinephiles through critics’ forums and email, etc. Do you believe this “participatory” aspect of Internet criticism (film critics form the bulk of the membership lists of message boards such as a film by and Politics and Film) has helped to create a genuinely new kind of “cinematic community” or are such claims overblown?
3) Within my own experience, I would say that the “participatory” aspects of film writing, including criticism and scholarship, have helped to create a new form of community, and I would further submit that those who consider this claim overblown probably haven’t been participants or members of this community, except indirectly. (I’ve written about this topic elsewhere, in “Film Writing on the Web: Some Personal Reflections,” in the Spring 2007 issue of Film Quarterly — an article that ironically can’t be accessed online.)
I hasten to add that my own recently launched Web site doesn’t invite or allow other participants to post, which suggests that my feelings about this community aren’t entirely or exclusively positive, by any means. Nor would I argue that the communities that have formed are always democracies, or that some of these communities wouldn’t have been formed without the Internet. (A 2003 collection that I coedited and contributed to — Movie Mutations: The Changing Face of World Cinephilia, which is very much concerned with such formations—initially took shape before any of us had email, but email certainly helped us during its final stages.)
4) Jasmina Kallay, writing in Film Ireland (September-October 2007), has claimed that, in the age of the Internet, the “traditional film critic… is losing his stature and authority.” Do you agree or disagree with this claim? If you agree, do you regard this as a regrettable or salutary phenomenon?
4) I agree, and on the whole regard this phenomenon as more salutary than regrettable — especially after protracted exposure to more “traditional” criticism in both academia and journalism before the advent of the Internet. Even though I miss such invaluable outposts as Cahiers du cinéma during the Fifties and Sixties and Penelope Houston’s Sight and Sound, not to mention such eclectic scholars and critics as Raymond Durgnat and Jay Leyda, I can’t think of any pre-Internet equivalents for Senses of Cinema in its early years or Rouge, either.
I also regret that some magazines as important as Positif don’t have any online presence. Frankly, we get more of everything now on the Internet — including more that’s worse than anything we had before as well as more that’s better. I regret the way that some critical works that aren’t available online have dropped out of our critical canons — Durgnat is a prime example — but this suggests only that we need to make more things available online.
In the fifth instalment of Danny Leigh’s series about modern cinema, he examines the shift in film-making brought about by digital. The Dogme 95 movie Festen, made at the tail-end of the 20th century, revealed the unavoidable future. But it still cost over a million dollars to produce.
The real revolution, beyond the liberation offered by digital cameras, was ushered in by Tarnation, which foretold society’s obsessive fascination with self-curation on a budget of $218. On another scale, Alfonso Cuarón’s beautiful and terrifying rendition of the vastness of space, Gravity, was made possible with massive processing power. Back on earth, the great Iranian director Jafar Panahi avoided the gaze of the regime that had banned him by shooting Taxi Tehran on tiny dashboard cameras. Catch up on earlier episodes Sex, Money, Death and Film, below.
Episode 1 / Film
The first episode examines how film itself is referenced in contemporary movies: beginning with Mulholland Drive, David Lynch’s sensuous, distorted dissection of Hollywood and of film itself then continuing with Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, where an actor criss-crosses Paris where each location in his odyssey becomes a strange, anarchic movie. Finally, in Joshua Oppenheimer’s extraordinary documentary The Act of Killing, Danny considers how the director relives the 1965 massacres in Indonesia. Here, the unrepentant gangsters who formed the death squads also happen to love films, so the director convinces them to restage their crimes for a ‘movie’ in order to set the record straight.
Episode 2 / Money
In the second episode, Danny looks at movie portrayals of money – and the people making it. Margin Call, starring Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons, takes an insistently authentic look at the rarefied world of investment bankers in 2008, just as Wall Street is about to open up beneath them. In The Wolf of Wall Street, audiences loved Leonardo DiCaprio’s gangster-as-banker Jordan Belfort, who was “at least honest about his dishonesty”, making it Martin Scorsese’s biggest box office success. Spring Breakers features four girls desperate to head to the Florida sun, who land with James Franco’s character Alien, a “svengali, drug dealer, rapper and enthusiastic capitalist”. Is this the good life?
Episode 3 / Sex
The third episode of Film Now takes a look at sex and gender. The Hollywood sex scene’s heyday was rendered obsolete by the internet’s arrival. Away from the mainstream, arthouse auteurs reacted to online porn’s challenge – or perhaps took advantage of it. As well as being explicit, and sometimes brilliant, films like Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac were about women as seen by men, and directed by men. But, slowly, women have started to get their visions seen on-screen, and they see women differently – soaringly so in Celine Sciamma’s Paris-set Girlhood. And gender, sexuality and relationships are central to Tangerine, which portrayed trans street culture in Los Angeles and smashed conventions with both its casting choices and filming techniques.
Episode 4 / Death
The fourth episode of Film Now, Danny Leigh’s exploration of modern cinema, takes a look at approaches to death in three key 21st-century films. Directed by Paul Greengrass, United 93 was the tragic story of the only flight of the four hijacked on the morning of September 11th 2001 not to reach its intended target.
Only God Forgives was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, his follow-up to the much-loved Drive, and again starring Ryan Gosling. This time, the response was what we would politely call divided, to a movie slick with Refn’s stylised bloodshed. And at first glance, David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows looks like that most mundane of things, the American suburban teenage horror movie, with a cast destined to be sliced, diced and forgotten. But it messes with every expectation.
Danny Leigh introduces the series
In film the urge is always to look ahead or behind us. In one direction there’s the giddy rush of new releases, the endless Willy Wonka conveyor belt of colourful forthcoming treats, often better in anticipation than reality. In the other there’s the weight of history, that glorious movie past, a gorgeous panorama of black-and-white filled with Monroe and Brando, Hitchcock and Citizen Kane.
What we do less is look at the moment. So I wanted to dedicate six short videos to the century of cinema so far. The 21st, sixteen years in. As well as enthralling us, movies can be a mirror. On the surface there are headlines, beneath it the stories we tell ourselves on screen, a collective subconscious bubbling up into characters and plots.
So what’s been on our minds, I wondered, in the era that began with a sigh of relief that the Millennium Bug hadn’t snuffed out civilization, and which brought us to right here. Wherever this is.
Some of the videos we’ve made are about film itself – reshaped by the rise of digital technology and filled with thrilling new talents, but still with room for Scorsese, Lynch, Lars von Trier, Kathryn Bigelow.
Most are about the place where it meets the real world. Not film as it was, or might be in the future. But about film and money, love and sex, fear and death, how we see ourselves and each other. In other words: about film now.
The upsides of having relatively hairless faces are fairly straightforward. Less hair means fewer places for parasites to hide, for example, and more exposed skin allows for sweat to more efficiently do its job keeping us cool.
But then there’s the fact that skin is basically clear. While that allows us to easily communicate our emotions and feelings to others it does come with a downside: it is so, so easy for someone to tell when you’re tired.
There’s nothing medically wrong when those bags appear under your eyes, at least not most of the time. But in a 2007 article in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Brazilian researcher Fernanda Magagnin Freitag points out that while they are “within the limit of physiology,” many patients can become quite “bothered and concerned by it, even relating the presence of dark circles with significant impairment on their quality of life”. Skin-related conditions that can result in psychological or emotional distress are worth exploring, even if they do not represent a threat to health in more traditional terms.
“Dark circles” or “bags under the eyes” are of course not clinical terms and can refer to a wide range of phenomena that result in a similar appearance. The clinical term is “periorbital hyperpigmentation,” or POH, and because it hasn’t historically been a priority for dermatology researchers, there isn’t all that much known about it.
Training Day writer David Ayer directs this feature based on the DC Comics anti-heroes, following a secret government agency that recruits imprisoned supervillains to carry out black ops missions. An all-star cast play the rogues gallery of inmates, with Will Smith as the assassin Deadshot, Jared Leto as The Joker and Margot Robbie as his clown-faced partner Harley Quinn.
Taking its cue from Deadpool, Suicide Squad marks a change of pace from the usual comic book blockbuster, as Ayer told The New York Times. “Instead of this Soviet-style series of apartment-block movies that are all built to the same blueprints, there’s room for some Craftsman homes and a little more elegance.” After a critical panning for the most recent DC blockbuster, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ayer is hoping for an adaptation in the spirit of The Magnificent Seven or The Dirty Dozen. “It’s a little morally challenged, but we know we can get away with it.” On general release from 3 August.
Southside with You
As Obama nostalgia already sets in, this take on the soon-to-be-former president’s first date with Michelle will warm the cockles of anyone fearing what might lie ahead. Writer-director Richard Tanner’s debut feature has drawn praise for its casting, with Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers going “beyond impression to deliver something real and human-sized” as the First Couple back in 1989.
According to Variety, the film “stands as something unique, even audacious in American independent movies: a fact-based presidential ‘prequel’ that seeks to present two iconic world figures as convincing and relatable romantic leads… Whether taken as storytelling, propaganda or an artful hybrid of both, it’s a movie that unabashedly wraps its real-life subjects in a humanising embrace.” Released 26 August in the US and 31 August in France.
Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar’s twentieth film is a more muted affair than melodramas like Talk to Her or Volver: according to Time Out, “the emotions are more buttoned-up, the twists more maudlin”. Nevertheless, it’s “a sombre, ravishing study of grief, guilt and burden… only a master of his art could make it look so easy”.
Based on three short stories by Alice Munro, it follows a mother and daughter as they struggle to cope with the death of a loved one. Almodóvar has said that “maternity inspires me more than paternity,” and The Evening Standard praises Julieta as “a harrowing examination of broken maternity and ever-present mortality”. Released 4 August in Germany and Russia and 12 August in Finland.
Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass reunite for the first time in nearly a decade: and, according to BBC Culture’s Nicholas Barber, still have viewers on the edge of their seats: “Greengrass stages the action with bone-jarring immediacy, using wobbly handheld cameras and rat-a-tat editing to make the viewer feel as if they could be hit by a stray fist or bullet at any moment.”
The fifth installment of the spy-thriller weaves in an Edward Snowdon-esque storyline a year after Bond, but avoids looking jaded by virtue of its star. Time magazine praises Damon for lifting Bourne beyond generic action, claiming that “Watching Damon, in motion or in a rare moment of rest, is the movie’s purest pleasure… Damon, his eternal boyishness finally settling into the inevitability of middle age, brings the personal touch this movie needs. Its action is generic, but he’s always special.” Released 4 August in Argentina, 5 August in India and 11 August in Germany.
Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan co-star in this drama based on a true story, playing two soldiers from the Czechoslovakian army-in-exile sent on a mission to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich. Parachuted into their occupied homeland in December 1941, they seek to eliminate the man behind the Final Solution, the Reich’s third in command behind Hitler and Himmler.
The UK-French-Czech historical thriller is directed by Sean Ellis, nominated for an Academy Award for his short film Cashback; according to Variety, “if Ellis’ intention was to remind what these real soldiers actually accomplished, as opposed to selling some revisionist Hollywood fantasy of Nazi opposition… mission accomplished”. Released 12 August in the US and 9 September in Ireland.