вторник, 7 августа 2007 г.

Pedro Costa and Colossal Youth.

"For someone whose films have until recently gone largely unseen, the Portuguese director Pedro Costa has a pretty vociferous fan club," writes Dennis Lim in the New York Times. "His admirers include the French director Jacques Rivette (who called him 'genuinely great') and the Canadian photographer Jeff Wall (who claimed that Mr Costa's films improve on Robert Bresson's)... Staking out a radical middle between documentary and fiction, he has invented a heroic and quite literal form of Arte Povera, a monumental cinema of humble means.... Speaking by telephone from Lisbon, Mr Costa called his methods a throwback to, of all things, old Hollywood. 'It's like a studio system,' he said. 'We go to work every day. We have our economic structure - everyone gets paid the same - and we have our stars.'"
"With Colossal Youth, Anthology indulges local screenheads with a full Pedro Costa retrospective," writes Ed Halter, noting this "excellent opportunity to see the Portuguese director's vision emerge over time, from his more traditionally cinephiliac debut drama The Blood (1989) to his documentary on the auteurs of austerity, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (2001), which doubles as a casebook of conceptual clues to Costa's own enigmatic esthetics."

суббота, 4 августа 2007 г.

The Willow Tree.

"The Willow Tree is the first film from Iranian director Majid Majidi to deal primarily with adults rather than children, but its main character - an awkward, laconic college professor named Youssef (Parviz Parastui) - is in many ways more childlike than any child," writes Julia Wallace in the Voice.
"Majidi's work (which includes Baran, The Color of Paradise and Children of Heaven) has always been based in folk tale and spiritual allegory, and The Willow Tree comes under the heading of 'Be careful what you pray for,'" writes Salon's Andrew O'Hehir. "Developing a story of erotic fixation in a cinema that can't show so much as an ankle or a shoulder is challenging, but Majidi pulls it off with panache... A beautiful film, both simple and profound, which suggests that bargaining with God is a bad idea in all cultural traditions."

In the New York Times, Stephen Holden argues that Paradise and Willow should be viewed as a "matched pair": "Both films are explicitly religious, intensely poetic meditations, filled with recurrent symbols and suffused with a spirit of divine apprehension. Both are sad beyond measure, and both risk seeming mawkishly sentimental."

Into the weekend shorts.

"I first visited Kurdistan a year and a half ago, to film a documentary called Thank You for My Eyes about the Iraqi constitutional referendum," writes Bill Cody in the Stranger. "Then, in May, a Kurdish filmmaker named Jano Rosebiani sent me an email asking if I wanted to teach a filmmaking workshop in Iraqi Kurdistan. (Rosebiani won a director's prize at SIFF in 2002 for his film Jiyan.) The workshop - sponsored by Rosebiani's film company, Evini, and the Kurdish government - started in June. I said yes."
"Most of my colleagues consider Killer of Sheep to be [Charles] Burnett's greatest film to date, but I'm not so sure," writes Jonathan Rosenbaum. Don't get him wrong: he's still giving the film the four-star "masterpiece" rating in his Chicago Reader review. But: "My own favorite, which appeared on my last all-time ten-best list in Sight & Sound, is When It Rains (1995), a 13-minute short made for French TV. It has shown in Chicago more than once, but since it isn't on DVD or VHS, it's barely known. By the end of this year, when Milestone finally brings out its long-promised Burnett box set, this extraordinary film celebrating both jazz and community, made as a kind of respite and liberation after Burnett finished directing The Glass Shield for Miramax, will finally be available."

Nasa scientist accuses White House of global warming cover-up

It's always interesting to read how media from different countries cover the same event/information.

Case in point: read these two articles about recent testimony from Dr. Jame Hansen the director of Nasa's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York.

The first comes from The New Zealand Herald and is more direct and forthcoming about Hansen's charges against the White House. The second comes from the New York Times and it treats Hansen's written testimony as almost an afterthought (while playing up another compelling piece of the story focusing on a former oil lobbiest turned White House staffer who took the liberty of serverly editing government climate reports - in spite of having no scientific background).

The Herald blasts away from the lead through the first couple of paragraphs:

James Hansen, the Nasa scientist who first warned the US Government about global warming, yesterday delivered a withering critique of the way the White House has interfered with climate scientists working for the space agency.

Dr Hansen, the director of Nasa's Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York, said that the space agency's budget for studying the Earth's climate has been slashed and that its scientists have been systematically gagged about speaking of their concerns.

In detailed written testimony delivered yesterday to the US House of Representatives, Dr Hansen said that there has been creeping politicisation of climate change with the effect that the American public has been left confused about the science of global warming.

It includes a damning quote: "In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it has now," he says.

Meanwhile, the Times lead focuses on the drama surrounding Philip A. Cooney, the former chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (and previously, the "climate team leader" for the main oil industry lobby, the American Petroleum Institute):

A House committee released documents Monday that showed hundreds of instances in which a White House official who was previously an oil industry lobbyist edited government climate reports to play up uncertainty of a human role in global warming or play down evidence of such a role.

In a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the official, Philip A. Cooney, who left government in 2005, defended the changes he had made in government reports over several years. Mr. Cooney said the editing was part of the normal White House review process and reflected findings in a climate report written for President Bush by the National Academy of Sciences in 2001.

It's not until the 9th paragraph that Hansen's testimony is mentioned:

The hearing also produced the first sworn statements from George C. Deutsch III, who moved in 2005 from the Bush re-election campaign to public affairs jobs at NASA. There he warned career press officers to exert more control over James E. Hansen, the top climate expert at the space agency.

Testifying at the hearing, Dr. Hansen said editing like that of Mr. Cooney and efforts to limit scientists’ access to the news media and the public amounted to censorship and muddied the public debate over a pressing environmental issue. “If public affairs offices are left under the control of political appointees,” he said, “it seems to me that inherently they become offices of propaganda.”

Republicans criticized Dr. Hansen for what they described as taking political stances, for spending increasing amounts of time on public speaking and for accepting a $250,000 Heinz Award for environmental achievement from the Heinz Family Philanthropies, run by Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts.

Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, proposed that Dr. Hansen, by complaining about efforts to present two sides on global warming research, had become an advocate for limiting the debate.

Dr. Hansen replied, “What I’m an advocate for is the scientific method.”

posted by GreenForGood.com @ 9:45 PM 2 comments

Thursday, March 15, 2007
South Korea Government Backs Low Interest Loans for Eco-Friendly Projects

I hope that our government staffers and Presidential hopefuls are paying attention to this development in South Korea.

According to Reuters, South Korean companies will be eligible for cheap loans when they build facilities aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The loans will be provided by eight major commercial banks, including Kookmin Bank and Industrial Bank of Korea, at an annual interest rate of 2.5 percent, lower than the usual rate of 4.5 percent, it said in a statement.

The government will pay the difference in interest income for lenders out of a 30 billion won ($31.68 million) state-run fund designed to finance projects aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the ministry said in a statement.

I believe that providing these kinds of tax incentives in the US would send a strong signal that the country is serious about tackling our role in global warming as well as help boost the emergin green business sector even more. Get this into leglislation now!

David R. Kaufer
Founder and Chief Green Officer
Green for Good, Inc.

posted by GreenForGood.com @ 9:39 PM 0 comments

Additional debunking of UK Climate Change "documentary"

Earlier this week I wrote about the US-based scientist who said he was duped into appearing on a "documentary" that was shown on UK Channel 4 last week. The focus of The Great Global Warming Swindle was that all of the scientific reports and media coverage about global warming being man-made are false and part of a great hoax.

Now more reports are emerging that demonstrate what a half-ass production "The Great Warming Swindle" really was and how it can't be taken seriously.

The blog Section 15 provides a nice summary of the lies and misdirection used in the film - I'm sure even more will emerge in coming days.

David R. Kaufer
Founder and Chief Green Officer