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    1. UK Surveillance State: A Short Documentary

      Hi everyone, I wanted to share with you my latest project. It's a short run'n'gun documentary. During 2019 and 2020 I closely followed UK police forces—especially in London and Cardiff. I...

      Hi everyone,

      I wanted to share with you my latest project. It's a short run'n'gun documentary.

      During 2019 and 2020 I closely followed UK police forces—especially in London and Cardiff. I witnessed at least 5 or 6 live facial recognition deployments by the Metropolitan police (London) and South Wales police (Cardiff).

      The first thing I noticed in these deployments is how the UK police forces target certain people—especially racial minorities. Which is extremely worrying. But after you deeply analyze their modus operandi, the threat of their surveillance goes much further than the already grave threat of racial profiling: it is the beginning of a state of surveillance and a roll-back on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

      This film is not perfectly shot. I wish I had access to more gear. But the police's notice time of these facial recognition deployments was so short that I couldn't pick any gear at all. I'm glad that I'm always carrying my camera with me!

      I've put a lot of effort and care into this film. I hope you enjoy it.

      Any feedback is welcomed.

      Here's a short clip of the film: https://twitter.com/iamBorjaMoya/status/1246721750852870144

      You can watch the entire film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6WCS3ZF5mw

      12 votes
    2. Movie Monday Free Talk

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      We haven't had one of these in a while, and given the amount of time people are spending indoors, I figured it might be good to share some movie recommendations.

      I will post my own comment regarding some movies I've seen recently, but I wanted to also share some quarantine / pandemic movies that might be interesting given the strange times we find ourselves in. Warning: they are probably not a great way to take your mind off things, if that's what you are searching for, hence why I'm separating them from my other comment.

      • Contagion (2011) - Probably one of the more relevant movies, and certainly on people's minds. It's an interesting worst case what-if scenario, and actually tackles some of the political struggle with organizing around a pandemic.
      • Perfect Sense (2011) - Overshadowed by Contagion, which is arguably the better movie, but I liked the premise of this one: a disease that slowly takes away your 5 senses, one at a time. I didn't like the ending, but for a thought experiment it captured my attention. It threw in a love plot line which may or may not have been necessary when the reaction was more interesting, but it does help provide a ground floor experience of a more terrifying epidemic.
      • It's a Disaster (2012) - I have somehow managed to miss watching this movie, despite it being on my watch list for some time. A comedy, which may come in use in this trying time, it centers around a group of friends who invariably become part of a self-quarantine at their house.
      • Rear Window (1954) - A Hitchcock classic. Jimmy Stewart is confined to his NYC apartment due to a leg injury, and has all the time in the world to spy on his neighbors, where he becomes obsessive over a potential domestic dispute between a couple across the way.
      • The Lighthouse (2019) - Superb acting by Willem Dafoe. Two men, a seaman fresh to the trade and a seasoned veteran, are servicing the sole lighthouse on a tiny island as part of a contract. They are forced to stay longer than either imagined due to a storm passing through them. They get at their wits end with each other and their sanity slowly falls apart. Beautifully shot in black and white and with authentic vernacular, it really transports you to a different time period.
      5 votes
    3. What are your favorite deleted scenes?

      Whether it be a scene you like, a scene you think should have been kept, both, or something else. (Can also include scenes that were re-inserted in a later release, like an extended edition.)

      11 votes
    4. A Couple Of Thoughts About Annihilation (2018)

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Just finished Annihilation. Decided to share some random thoughts:

      The film looks absolutely stunning. Perfect blend of beautiful and horrifying. But the characters… ugh. They are your classical horror film bunch of idiots. And, as per tradition with the modern sci-fi horror, they're supposed to be “scientists”. Bah.

      It seems like both the screenplay and the visuals were heavily inspired by Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers, and possibly Andrei Tarkovsky's film adaptation, Stalker (1979), as well as a bit of his other sci-fi work, Solaris (1972), here and there. Honestly, if you like the idea of “alien shit twisting stuff around it”, and you like reading, you're way better off just reading Roadside Picnic.

      Why didn't most trees change? The flowers, the moss, and the animals get all kinds of wild twisted colours and mutations, but the trees remain just green? That really bothered me. They also don't mention all this mutated flora and fauna going outside “the zone”, which, I assume, would be a giant issue.

      That lighthouse would be so destroyed if it was really hit by an object of that diameter.

      I found it ironic that the psychologist of the team was the one who was severely depressed. Here in Russia we call that a “barefoot cobbler” situation. But the way the film shows severe depression is pretty accurate.

      Overall, I reluctantly enjoyed the film, but I couldn't stop thinking that all those visual effects and designs would be much more amazing in a Strugatsky bros. adaptation film.

      15 votes
    5. A (comically late) Black History Month Watchlist

      Yeah, so I know there's about a week and a half left in Black History Month (which is in February here, for the non-US and I believe Canada folks who didn't know), and this rec list is therefore...

      Yeah, so I know there's about a week and a half left in Black History Month (which is in February here, for the non-US and I believe Canada folks who didn't know), and this rec list is therefore super late, but I've been watching some movies that were historically significant in terms of breaking racial barriers at mainstream award shows like the Oscars and in film production at large, were pioneers in getting films from African nations famous and acclaimed worldwide, or just generally covered racial issues of their times in significant or compelling ways, and thought I'd post the watchlist here in case anyone was interested. So I guess either binge all these in the coming week and a half, keep this as a guide for next year, watch any of the ones that interest you past February, or save it for October, which is when I understand Black History Month takes place in the UK.

      • Within Our Gates (1920) - The first movie by an African American director to have a still surviving print.
      • Eleven P.M. (1928) - A silent era film led by a mostly black cast and directed by enigmatic little known African American director Richard Maurice. An absolutely bizarre surrealist melodrama.
      • Cry, The Beloved Country (1951) - This film examining the effects of apartheid in South Africa actually filmed almost entirely in segregated South Africa, possibly making it the first major film to do so.
      • The Defiant Ones (1958) - Sidney Poitier was the first black man to be nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars for his role in this film. Details the story of two escaped convicts, a white man and a black man, becoming friends, with more nuance and layering than its premise and time period might suggest.
      • One Potato, Two Potato (1964) - One of the first, and possibly the first, films to deal with interracial marriage in a serious manner. Predates Guess Who's Coming to Dinner by 3 years.
      • Nothing But a Man (1964) - Realistic depiction of life in a racist society, consisting of a constant soul-crushing barrage of minor aggressions instead of huge explosions of hate. Selected for preservation in the Library of Congress and considered to be an important example of neorealism.
      • Black Girl (1966) - One of the first African films by an African filmmaker to receive international attention and acclaim. Shows the lasting damage and effects of colonialism both in the colonized country and the lives of those displaced as a result of it.
      • In the Heat of the Night (1967) - Tackled racial tensions in the South in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
      • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - One of the few films of the time depicting interracial marriage in a positive light and a serious way. Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
      • Black Panthers (1968) - Documents a small but significant moment in the history of the fight against racism in the US, the Free Huey movement championed by the Black Panthers.
      • Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971) - Considered an important film in the history of African American cinema, and credited as one of the pioneers of the blaxploitation genre.
      • She's Gotta Have It (1986) - The debut film of famed director Spike Lee, an ahead of its time depiction of polyamory and female independence, it showed Brooklyn's black community in a light that drew media attention and focus to its artists and musicians following its release.
      • Daughters of the Dust (1991) - The first by an African American woman to gain a general theatrical release (in 1991!). Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
      • Malcolm X (1992) - A biopic of civil rights leader Malcolm X, also directed by Spike Lee. Selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
      • Girlhood (2014) - The film discusses and challenges conceptions of race, gender and class; Sciamma's goal was to capture the stories of black teenagers, characters she claims are generally underdeveloped in French films.
      • Moonlight (2016) - Barry Jenkins' meditation on black sense of masculinity and the struggles of LGBT members in the contemporary American black community became the first film with an all-black cast to win Best Picture at the Oscars.
      • Get Out (2017) - With this film exploring the exploitative horror of the modern white liberal brand of racism, Jordan Peele became the first black writer to win the Best Original Screenplay category at the Oscars, as well as the first to earn a Best Director nomination and a Best Picture nomination for a debut film.
      • The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) - A film that explores the gentrification of San Francisco and the struggles in personal identity that arise from it.

      I'd love to hear any feedback on the list or if you're gonna watch anything from it, and suggestions for any movies to add to it, especially between the 20s and 50s and the 90s and 00s, since those are especially massive gaps in my knowledge.

      8 votes
    6. 1917 editor Lee Smith reveals the truth about Sam Mendes' one-shot film

      1917 editor Lee Smith reveals the truth about Sam Mendes' one-shot film This is my favourite passage from this article: He asked [a journalist] how long the film shoot was; she looked at her...

      1917 editor Lee Smith reveals the truth about Sam Mendes' one-shot film

      This is my favourite passage from this article:

      He asked [a journalist] how long the film shoot was; she looked at her notes, said four months. How many days a week? Five.

      Do you think they never turned the camera off, he said; just do the maths. "And she went, 'Oh, right'."

      8 votes
    7. 1917 (2019) — Spoiler-free discussion thread

      Trailer topic Wikipedia I watched it last week. Fantastic movie. I don't watch many war movies (in fact this is one of my first ones), but I really, really liked it. I didn't even notice the two...

      I watched it last week. Fantastic movie. I don't watch many war movies (in fact this is one of my first ones), but I really, really liked it. I didn't even notice the two hours go by.

      The one-shot effect is really well done, and I enjoyed trying to spot the transitions.

      It's not an exceptional movie or anything like that, but it's one of the rare times I just went into the theater and came out exceedingly satisfied.

      11 votes