Reading Cinema Today is like attending a fascinating panel discussion chaired by a host smart enough to step back and allow this distinguished and varied group of 39 contemporary international filmmakers their say on subjects that include cinematography, the filmmaking process, rhythm and structure, cinema and business, the viewer, and cinema and society. The participants include such cinema legends as Constantin Costa-Gravas and Olivier Assayas, critically-adored radicals like Andrew Bujalski and Brillante Mendoza, and many other gifted film artists whose collective work represents the finest examples of contemporary international filmmaking, all of whom were interviewed by the author specifically for this book.
What more delicious—not to mention cheap—way to pass the dog days of a New York City summer than by taking a vicarious plunge into the French underworld from the safe comfort of an air-conditioned cinema? Starting with the bleak contours of the period preceding the German Occupation and its aftermath's anxious confusion to the stylish rebellion of the New Wave and today's slicker psychological studies, French film directors like Jean-Pierre Melville, Jacques Becker, Jean-Luc Godard, and Claude Chabrol refashioned the tropes of American B-movies to create enduring masterpieces of good and evil.
But on Sunday, January 29, JAMPACT, an NYC-based Jamaican American civic group, held a panel at St. Francis College composed of Dr. Gordon Shirley, Jamaica's ambassador to the U.S.; Rebecca Schleifer of Human Rights Watch; Jamaican gay activist Larry Chang; and others. Schleifer was asked to address and defend points in her recent report issued by HRW in which she found that widespread homophobia in Jamaica endangers the welfare not only of those at high risk for HIV/AIDS, but also of HIV/AIDS outreach health care workers. Three days later, Amnesty International's OUTfront! program and New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center hosted a panel discussion at LGBT's Manhattan headquarters with representatives from the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), as part of J-FLAG's campaign for support in holding Jamaican authorities accountable for failing to protect the human rights of their LGBT citizens. While dancehall homophobia has been fodder for international headlines lately, "at the Forum, J-FLAG made clear that reggae dancehall's homophobia merely fuels Jamaica's widespread cultural bias against homosexuality and bisexuality," says Alisa Wellek, of the LGBT center.
Following widespread cancellations of dancehall concerts, Sizzla was banned in November from entering the U.K., while he and seven other dancehall artists—Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Elephant Man, Vybz Kartel, T.O.K., Capleton, and Bounty Killer—were investigated by Scotland Yard after gay activists asserted that their homophobic song lyrics constitute incitement to actual murder. In the U.S., where free speech is less restricted, "Stop Murder Music" had shut down only 30 or so Beenie Man and Capleton dates this past summer and fall, mostly on the West Coast. Meanwhile, U.K. gay activist group OutRage! shifted its "Stop Murder Music" campaign higher up reggae's food chain to retail outlets and record labels like NYC-based reggae indie VP Records. After months of negotiations, gay activist groups, the labels, and promoters announced early this month that they'd reached an agreement, and that the "Stop Murder Music" campaign had been suspended.
Packed with intriguing anecdotal material and hard-hitting truths, this title guides readers back to supportive, loving relationships and strong family ties. At the same time, the book tracks many of the issues plaguing African-American relationships to their root cause in Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder, a legacy of the most shameful episode in America’s history.