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R VOLUME 15, ISSUE 5

SEPTEMBER 26, 2013

Arts + Activism Festival Opens Dance party, concerts, poetry in Triangle pg. 4

Lucy Rose singer-songwriter makes wave in the states, pg. 3

HAIM and CHER music album reviews, pgs. 6 & 7

eliZa BraY


ess recess editor’ s recess rec note r ss recess

R recess editors Cool...

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At six years old, Wednesday was my favorite day of the week. i could give some mushy reason about how my parents and i would sit in the family room and talk about my day, and though that’s half-true, i would be obscuring the more important part of my evening: watching “Survivor.” There was nothing i enjoyed more than having a show to follow regularly and get excited about— especially an ‘adult’ program that didn’t cause my parents to roll their eyes. every Wednesday, my grandmother would call at 8:15 p.m. in order to interrupt us. She didn’t approve of my watching such an inappropriate show. Given that the first season featured a nude, pixelated richard hatch strutting down the beach in every episode, she probably did have some cause for concern. Still, we let the phone ring, captivated by the allure of “the tribe has spoken.” When i started middle school, i implemented a strict VhS recording schedule to capture my favorite nightly programming, fascinated by the prospect of recording “Desperate housewives” while i was at my Girl Scout meeting. i became a truly devoted “lost” fan when i was introduced to the DVr during my freshman year of high school, re-watching episodes with my dad to search for clues. College mandated a regimen of stream-

Lauren Feilich..............................................................................................runnings Jamie Kessler.................................................................................when you’re a jet MC Bousquette..................................................................................................haim Megan Rise........................................................................................................abed Kathy Zhou.........................................................................................................vibes

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Eliza Bray....................................................................................................cucumber Minshu Deng..............................................................................not Katy Perry’s exes

ing, which most likely was—and is—detrimental to my GPA. each of these seemingly game-changing innovations has coincided with crucial transitions in my life, following me from school to school as i took on increasing levels of responsibility and independence. Perhaps that’s why i feel so personally connected to television. it grew as i grew, changing and evolving to compensate for an everincreasing lack of free time. Today’s college-aged students have probably seen more change in television viewing habits during their lifetimes than any other demographic. Theoretically, we’ve gained much more control over our time because of these changes. our evenings aren’t monopolized by our favorite TV shows anymore. Paradoxically, time-shifting devices have us wasting more time than ever. netflix, hulu, onDemand and their ilk steal our time in an entirely different way. no longer are we confined to primetime; any second of any day can be claimed by internet TV. i thought that when i came to college i would have to relinquish most of my television-obsessed habits, but instead i have morphed into a chronic binge-watcher, spending my weekends marathoning the shows i can’t squeeze into my weekday schedule. Anticipation should be part of the experience of television, and of life. This week, i asked a mother of two boys, in all seriousness, how her children will learn patience if they don’t watch commercials. ‘Kids these days’ watch TV entirely differently than we did. Can children even get excited about the release of the newest Disney Channel original Movie when they know it will be onDemand whenever they want? What would it even be like to not have to beg your parents to sacrifice a night of their own favorite shows? While it may seem odd to ro-

manticize things as trivial as commercial breaks or appointment viewing, this loss has stolen some of the charm away from the viewing experience. Back in the good ol’ days (fewer than 10 years ago), you had to bargain and persuade for what you wanted since you could only watch one show at one specific time. We’ve lost the excitement of following a show, anticipating its weekly airing and bemoaning its hiatus. Yes, you could still anticipate last night’s “nashville” season premiere. But if you forgot (though how could you, really?), there are an infinite number of ways to catch up on it. TV just isn’t special anymore. it’s right there in your laptop whenever you want it. Apart from live sports, it’s rare to find people gathered in a common room watching a show they all follow. We watch TV on our own time, tethered to our own devices, losing the direct sense of togetherness created by sharing a space with friends, family and television. And don’t try to tell me live-tweeting is the same thing. Fourteen years since i first fell in love with television, Wednesdays have taken on an entirely different meaning in my life. i did, after all, renounce “Survivor” after its 20th season. now Wednesdays are the nights that i spend at the Chronicle office until 2 a.m., preparing for the week’s issue of recess, spinning in my chair and pretending that i’m important. i feel busy. We all do—or, at least, we pretend we do. We’re Duke students. But as busy as we all are, this isn’t an argument to stop watching television. As much as e! tries to convince us otherwise, television is an art form. it deserves our devotion and our attention. Don’t just watch TV because it’s accessible. Watch it because you love it. — Megan Rise

Homecoming 2013 September 27-28  

www.Homecoming.DukeAlumni.com FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m. Duke Football vs. Troy: Homecoming Game 2013 [ Wallace Wade Stadium ] presented by Lowe’s – Never Stop Improving Be sure to arrive on time and cheer the Blue Devils to victory!

Grand Opening of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity [ Bryan Center ] Come see the new space, meet students and staff, and greet other alums! Refreshments will be served following a brief program. 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Graduate School Reception [ Scharf Hall, Michael W. Krzyzewski Center for Academic and Athletic Excellence ] 9:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. President Brodhead’s Homecoming Dance [ Wilson Gym Basketball Courts & huge tent on K-ville Quad ] 9:30 p.m. Momentum Dance Chinese Dance Troupe Dhamaka 11:00 p.m. Sabrosura Duke Swing Defining Movement (DefMo)


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Lucy Rose brings UK singer-songwriter tunes to US Up-and-coming musician redefines acoustic genre by MC Bousquette The ChroniCle

The United Kingdom’s best-kept secret has come to the United States. Singer-songwriter lucy rose is presently on a six-week whirlwind tour, sweeping through the United States and Canada with singersongwriter City and Colour. now 24 years old, lucy rose began her journey at 18 when she left her hometown of Warwickshire for london. She initially intended to attend University College london. instead, she courageously leapt into her music career, spending nearly every day in london playing any open mic she could find, hoping to be heard. She received her big break when Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club noticed her. As her friendship with Steadman developed, lucy rose contributed backing vocals to several tracks on Bombay Bicycle Club’s album, “A Different Kind of Fix,” and toured the United States, the United Kingdom, and Mexico with the group in early 2012. She scored a record deal with Sony records UK and released her album in october of that year. lucy rose confessed that she believes she is old for the music industry, as there are 16 and 17-yearolds signed to her label. Despite her apprehen-

SPecial to the chronicle

Lucy Rose recently toured with Bombay Bicycle Club.

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Lucy Rose described her initial songwriting process as “the songs written in [her] bedroom, thinking no one was ever going to hear them,” though always living with the “hope that one day [she] would be able to record them.”

sions, her writing and confidence have improved drastically since she began. “When i think about the new stuff i’m writing, i have my confidence now. i’m going with bolder ideas, and experimenting with a new songs,” rose said. She is self-aware and deliberately emotionally vulnerable in her lyrics. Many of her tracks address love, whether requited, unrequited or concluded. Citing influences ranging from Joni Mitchell to the Arctic Monkeys, lucy rose’s sound on her debut “like i Used To” is just as versatile. Unlike many other artists armed with an acoustic guitar, lucy rose does not fall into the trap of formulaic music. instead, her tracks combine her sweet, soothing voice with instrumentals reminiscent of laura Marling. lucy rose does incorporate the requisite quiet acoustic-folk strumming, but is by no means reluctant to use additional percussion, xylophones and electric guitar. She has no hesitation to call herself a singer-songwriter, a genre that has attained a bad reputation. “Suddenly it has this bad rep like it’s lame or uncool. if everyone is over that, are people just singing songs that have no meaning for them?” asked rose. her intent carries through on each of her tracks. The tender lyrics and acoustic strumming of ‘Don’t You Worry’ reassure a lover that she will “Stay here with you.” The more upbeat track, ‘Bikes,’ laden

with a rolling electric guitar and punctuated by xylophone, describes an out-of-control journey: “We’re driving from the backseat / holding on too tightly / the colors, they merge / they scream and shout.” each song, infused with emotion, does not bore in the way that the singer-songwriter label has come to imply. in an age where YouTube views signify success, lucy rose is set to conquer. The music video for her first single ‘Middle of the Bed’ currently has nearly 1.9 million views. Several of her other songs have reached at least half a million views. her success has also carried over to the stage in the UK; she has played a variety of UK music festivals, including one at which Bob Dylan also performed. She has also been featured in a variety of major publications including nylon and Vogue. Despite this success, lucy rose is still somewhat in a state of disbelief over her rapid rise to prominence. She described her initial songwriting process as “the songs written in [her] bedroom, thinking no one was ever going to hear them,” though always living with the “hope that one day [she] would be able to record them.” lucy rose is now miles away from that bedroom and has not only recorded her tracks but released them on Sony Music entertainment UK. She plans to record another album after her current tour is over and shows no signs of slowing down.

ARTS + Sustainability October 25 – November 3 arts.duke.edu/festival

call for submissions is now open Student Visual Arts Exhibition and Student Performances We seek work with a sustainability theme crafted by Duke students to present in exhibition and performance settings. details @ arts.duke.edu/festival | 919.684.0540 | facebook

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PAINTING PHOTOGRAPHY FILM SCULPTURE DANCE CREATIVE WRITING THEATER

MUSIC


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The Chronicle

Festival brings together communi

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This weekend, Durham residents will be able to celebrate both aspects of Durham by attending the Art + Activism Festival organized by ARTVSM and The Art of Cool Project.

by Katie Fernelius The Chronicle

Art and activism are as entrenched in the atmosphere and community of Durham as Cameron Crazies are in Duke Blue. Durham is notable for its fierce commitment to public and private art initiatives as well as its fascinating historic and contemporary involvement in politics. However, we hear less about the intersection of these two central aspects of the Durham community.

This weekend, Durham residents will be able to celebrate both aspects of Durham by attending the Art + Activism Festival, organized by Pierce Freelon and Stephen Levitin of ARTVSM and Cicely Mitchell of The Art of Cool Project. The festival will feature a jam session at Cocoa Cinnamon, a night of intergalactic music and spoken word at the UNC Morehead Planetarium, as well as a global dance party for Durham Pride at the Motorco Music Hall. “Music is a great tool for

PETER HURLEY

The men featured above lead 1Beat, which engages musicians in the collaborative creative process and works within communites to host youth workshops.

building community; it connects people,” said Freelon of ARTVSM. “It is not your typical festival where you pick a bunch of bands that are popping. Instead, we looked for a particular type of artist—a type of musician who not only puts in the work in the studio, but also in the community.” The line-up of community-oriented artists and activists includes 1Beat, Sacrificial Poets, LiLa, Shirlette Ammons, Big Beat Dance, KidZNotes, the Durham Arts Council and the Carrboro Arts Center. Each of these groups consists not only of artists, but also of community leaders who run educational programs, volunteer at arts programming events and collaborate on grassroots initiatives. One particular program that is special to both Freelon and Levitin is 1Beat, an organization that brings together young musicians from across the world to engage in a collaborative creative process and work within communities to host youth workshops. However, 1Beat is not only a meaningful music organization, but also a home to a former student, a young woman named Toussa whom they met in Senegal for PBS’s Beat Making Lab.

“We had a very intense creative session with her over the course of two weeks, and we were astounded by her talent,” said Freelon. “We saw an opportunity to get her to come to the states through 1Beat, so we helped her with her application and we tried to put her in the best position possible to be accepted, and she was!” The global dance party on Saturday will showcase international collaboration as Toussa will share the stage with her Beat Making Lab mentors and her 1Beat fellows. “Part of our intention is to provide support and opportunities to musicians, so to have one of our students, one of our small success stories, be a part of this festival is just phenomenal for us,” remarked Levitin. “We are grateful that 1Beat’s tour and our reunion with Toussa all converges with this festival.” Their outreach and special relationship with Toussa is just one of the many ways in which this festival is oriented around the community developed, sustained and enriched through music. For their part, ARTVSM and The Art of Cool are also organizing daytime programming that includes art outreach in schools and


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ity through bonds of art, activism community centers. In addition, all the proceeds from the festival will go directly to the performers and local non-profit community groups. The festival will coincide with the release of a Beat Making Lab album titled Good For The World. The album features students from UNC Chapel Hill and the local public school system, alongside sampled sounds from local non-profits, Moral Monday protests and Negro spirituals. “I believe that music and art have always been great mediums to reach and teach people about social issues,” said Mitchell of The Art of Cool Project in an email. “There have been a number of Moral Monday protests that have used the common bond of music to shed light on political issues in the Triangle as well as in the country.” It seems fitting that this

festival should happen after a summer of protests in response to recent changes in legislation, ranging from the restriction of voting rights to the repeal of the Racial Justice Act. The Arts + Activism Festival embraces these timely issues and will hopefully spark conversations about other sociopolitical issues around Durham. In fact, the festival culminates with the Pride Global Dance Party, celebrating and recognizing the Pride Parade also happening this weekend. “Musicians have a lot to say about what is happening politically and socially, and that has always been the case,” related Freelon. “A lot of our musicians—teachers and students alike—are engaged in this political moment, so all we had to do was look beyond the studio to tap into the energy of what was already happening

PETER HURLEY

1Beat is an organization that brings together young young musicians from across the world.

around us.” The environment of the festival epitomizes the theme of developing community around the arts and activism. Cocoa Cinnamon was funded through a Kickstarter campaign and boasts local and sustainable resources. Similarly, the UNC Morehead Planetarium and Motorco Music Halls are familiar to the community as centers for education and music, respectively. The space of the festival is consciously built to motivate Durham residents to step outside their comfort zones into a new creative space in order to see how that space can inform their own perception of arts and activism. The environment should be creative, collaborative and communal in order to inspire active participation.

“I think having a special impact later in whatever you do is really important,” said Levitin. “I hope collaboration in art and activism is constant and everyday, not just a special festival. I hope every weekend you can find some artivism happening, because it is a way to bring art into the conversation, to make sure that every voice can speak and be heard.” The North Carolina Art + Activism Festival features three main events: the jam session at Cocoa Cinnamon Thurs. at 7 p.m.; the spoken word poetry and intergalactic music at the UNC Morehead Planetarium on Fri. at 8 p.m.; and the Pride Global Dance Party at Motorco Music Hall on Sat. at 7 p.m. More information at http:// theartofcoolproject.com/event/ north-carolina-art-activism-festival/.

SPECIAL To THE CHRONICLE

The North Carolina Art + Activism Festival features a jam session at Cocoa Cinnamon on Thursday and the Pride Global Dance Party at Motorco Music Hall on Saturday.


FILM all reVieW iMaGeS SPecial to the chronicle

WE’RE THE MILLERS New Line Cinema Directed By Rawson M. Thurber

by Adam Schultzman The ChroniCle

i went to see “We’re the Millers” on Thursday September 19, which was free movie night at the northgate theater. it was still the middle of the week, so i didn’t want anything too heavy. i was just looking for a few laughs to help me forget the stresses of everyday life. i can honestly say “We’re the Millers” succeeded in taking that edge off. it is becoming harder and harder to make people laugh at the movies. While TV embraces a golden age for comedies, movies are struggling to find a base that is not cliché or predictable. Though “We’re the Millers” follows that trend of predictability and is not by definition ‘original,’ it remains sharp and edgy enough to give audiences a muchneeded piece of amusement. “We’re The Millers” centers on Jason Sudekis as David Clark, a petty pot dealer who is forced to go to Mexico to pick up a large shipment of drugs from a villainous drug lord played by a disappointingly ridiculous ed helms. The core of the film comes from Sudekis’s reunion with “horrible Bosses” co-star Jennifer Aniston, who plays a stripper

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with a heart of gold. in order to move the drugs without causing suspicion, David brings along Aniston, emma roberts, and Will Poulter to play his fake family. The family dynamic leads to the film’s best humor, including hysterical scenes with a lustful roadside cop and an awkward family kissing lesson. Sudekis and Aniston have a surprisingly believable chemistry that draws from both of their wellversed comedic experiences. Though the ending becomes gooey and predictable as most comedies of this nature do, the film remains enjoyable through quirky performances from its cast. in his first big-budget film, Poulter adds new life as the innocent Kenny who’s short on experiences and uses David as an opportunity to give the world a try. As another oddball pair, nick offerman and Kathyrn hahn add a hilarious combo as a couple who are trying to spice things up in their relationship. Director rawson Marshall Thurber is far from “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” his most notable success, but he crafts a story that flows from scene to scene smoothly. The jokes are fast-paced, crude, and well-designed for the cast to quip back and forth. “We’re the Millers” does not shy away from racy, vulgar or distasteful gags in order to elicit cheap laughs from its audience. overall, the film runs too long and follows a cheap sense of sentimentality towards its end. nonetheless, it remains humorous enough to gain the attention and general affection of its viewers. This movie is not comedy at its cinematic pinnacle but is snarky, family fun. And some days, that’s just the type of movie you need. on Thursday night, at least, it was for me.

FREE CONCERT

MUSIC

HAIM

Days are Gone Polydor Records

by MC Bousquette The ChroniCle

haim is, as many know, a personal favorite of mine. Thankfully, their first fulllength album, “Days Are Gone,” lives up to all of my expectations. For those who didn’t read the haim love affair in my editor’s note a few weeks ago, the los Angeles-based band is composed of three sisters who sing and play guitar, keyboard and bass. A genetically unrelated male drummer accompanies the band. The album’s opening track, ‘Falling,’ contains all elements of haim’s signature ‘80s rock and synth-pop sound. The reverberating bass drum, punctuated by punchy snare claps, accompanies the sisters’ harmonies and a strong lead guitar. The second track, ‘Forever,’ was haim’s first single, and introduces the group’s penchant for using the synthesizer in a compelling and non-tacky manner. This sound carries through the rest of the album. This isn’t to say that every song sounds the same; instead, haim harnesses the core of its sound to develop a rich album filled with danceable (and cry-able) tracks.

The lyrics throughout “Days Are Gone” show the sisters’ mature writing, which complements their incredibly playful live energy. ‘if i Could Change Your Mind’ describes the pain of failed love affairs: “and i never saw it coming / forgive my lying eyes / but i gave you all or nothing / if i could change your mind / i could make you mine.” ‘The Wire’ successfully manages to be both a break-up song and a feel-good anthem. The chorus, “But i just couldn’t take it / i tried hard not to fake it / but i fumbled it when it came down to the wire” seems, without the music, to be a sad tale of a relationship’s end. instead, the addition of the chorus’s strong guitar riff and vocals induce listeners to sing along en masse. Concluding song ‘running if You Call My name’ is an apt finale. From the beginning of the song, the vocals reverberate, and the slow-building tempo is reminiscent of a dramatic film’s concluding ‘fade into the sunset’ song. The sisters sing, “i’ll keep running if you call my name / i’ll come running if you come my way,” while muted drums and keyboard create a round that mirrors the effect of the vocals as the album closes. i conclude with not my own thoughts, but with those of nMe music critic Tom howard: “The best thing about haim is that the songs they write are 100 per cent bull***t-free. los Angeles sisters Danielle, este and Alana haim sing proper vocals and play proper guitars and give their drums a right proper thwacking and don’t try to do or be anything, they just let it happen. As easy and natural and obvious as the gradual transformation of ewe’s milk into a nice big block of roquefort.” Haim’s new album “Days Are Gone” will be released on September 30th.

DUKE PERFORMANCES IN DURHAM, AT DUKE, THE WORLD, JUST OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR. THIS FRIDAY & SATURDAY!!! INIMITABLE VOCALIST

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The Chronicle

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by Jamie Kessler The ChroniCle

From the co-writer of “The Kids are All right” comes Stuart Blumberg’s latest, the new off-beat rom-com “Thanks for Sharing.” Starring Mark ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow, “Thanks for Sharing” centers on a group of recovering sex addicts as they travel the bumpy chaferidden road to sex sobriety. “Thanks for Sharing” has a clear strength: its characters. each man we meet is at a different stage in recovery: Mike (Tim robbins) is more than 15 years sober and married to his high school sweetheart. his problems stem more from the return of his drug-addict son Danny (Patrick Fugit) than from his own disease. Mike’s sponsee, Adam (ruffalo), is five years sober,

handsome, and finally trying for a relationship with Phoebe (Paltrow). next we have Adam’s sponsee, neil (Josh Gad), who’s fresh to the AA scene. neil’s an er doctor and was court ordered into recovery after some inappropriate touching. he’s both the comic relief and what feels like a very authentic portrayal of a sex addict coming to terms with his problems. We also get to know one more member of the AA group, DeDe, played by Pink. Yes, Pink. like, “U + Ur hand” Pink. her screen debut is jarring, like, “Whoa, that’s Pink. She acts?” But as the movie goes on, she becomes more DeDe and less “Why is Pink in this movie?” She actually delivers a solid performance and is a fun addition to the cast. All of these characters are multi-dimen-

MUSIC

CHER Closer to the Truth Warner Bros.

by Elizabeth Djinis The ChroniCle

Before Miley Cyrus twerked and grinded her way through the VMAs, before lady Gaga wore her infamous meat dress and even before even Madonna and Britney shared their onscreen kiss, there was Cher. Cher first rose to fame in the early sixties as one half of the male-female duo Sonny & Cher. The couple’s relationship may have ended in divorce, but it sparked a musical career for Cher that has continued for decades. her latest singles span from 1998’s ‘Believe’ to songs off the soundtrack of her hit movie “Burlesque.” Throughout it all, Cher has managed to stay in the public eye, and has just released a new album, “Closer to the Truth.” Cher devotees will not be disappointed; her famed deep contralto voice and signature dance-pop style are present in full force, but anyone looking for originality should certainly look much further. Cher may please, but she does not surprise. The album’s first two tracks, ‘Women’s World’ and ‘Take it like a Man,’ are catchy, heavily auto-tuned pieces perfectly suited for a dance floor or a girls’ night out. The lyrical meanings are relatively arbitrary; to some extent, they are simply words set to a beat. in the chorus of ‘Women’s World,’ Cher sings repeatedly that “this is a women’s world.” What that means for her and any female listeners is unclear; given the electronic, fast-paced nature of the song, it seems to mean that we should dance the night away because, after all, this is a women’s world and we might as well. Still, although the album leads with its most singleworthy material, the following ten tracks are significantly slower and mellower. Whether you’ll actually feel anything from listening to these songs is debatable. The ballads are silly at best. Cher’s voice can’t seem to carry the sadness she attempts to convey. instead it comes off with an almost screaming rocker vibe who takes periodic rests from her loud yelling to get significantly quieter, as if to say, “This is a really sad part now.” But while Miley and Gaga may still have to prove themselves, Cher is well past that point. “Closer to the Truth” is her 26th studio album and, by now, listeners know what they’re getting when they purchase a Cher album. You’ll get what you paid for. Yet there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just when you think you’ve finished the CD and feel a little bit of despair at buying yet another Cher album, you’ll find three bonus tracks at the end of the album. here is the new material we’ve been looking for! it isn’t unexpected or imaginative, but it is the sassy and brassy Cher we’ve come to know and love. in ‘i Don’t have to Sleep to Dream,’ she describes a perfect love with a background full of electronic beats and lacking her usually incredibly strong auto tune. When Cher sings “So i got my eyes closed / hands up, dancing by myself / oh i never felt nothing better,” you might just feel the same.

sional and well-acted, and they experience a full transformation throughout the 112 minutes. Sounds great, right? So what’s keeping this from being an Academy Award-nominee like Blumberg’s previous project? Timing. Smack dab after “The Way Way Back” and “The Spectacular now,” “Thanks for Sharing” is the third wide release of an indie movie from the makers of previously successful indie movies (“little Miss Sunshine” and “500 Days of Summer,” respectively) in the past few months. it didn’t push the limits of what the general populace imagines sex addiction to be, and the relationships, while realistic and meaningful, were tropes seen many times before. But never fear, hollywood likes to release similar movies in pairs. This weekend “Don Jon” comes out. it’s a movie

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FILM

THANKS FOR SHARING Lionsgate Directed By Stuart Blumberg

about sex addiction written, directed and starring Joseph Gordon-levitt. So if “Thanks for Sharing” doesn’t hit the spot, maybe “Don Jon” will do it for you, pun intended.


FILM

SPecial to the chronicle

THE ACT OF KILLING Final Cut For Real Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer

by Derek Saffe The ChroniCle

“The Act of Killing” is one of the most devastating documentaries to come out in recent memory. Directed by Joshua oppenheimer and made over a span of 10 years with the help of various anonymous indonesian informants, the documentary focuses on the Western-backed mass killings of Communists and ethnic Chinese under the Suharto regime in the mid1960s. “The Act of Killing” takes a different inflection from most documentaries on genocide, focusing on the perpetrators rather than the victims to relate the full gravity of what transpired. in indonesia (especially north Sumatra), death squad leaders are lauded as heroes of the nation for their actions following the failed Communist military coup in 1965. Government-backed paramilitaries like the heavily featured Pancasila Youth, an organization that currently has over 3 million members, are the contemporary manifestations of the death squads that facilitated the genocide of between 1-3 million. Their deep involvement with government ministers and their blanket influence over the populace reveal a complex system in which almost every sector of society is complicit with the atrocities that occurred. Throughout the documentary, oppenheimer deftly weaves in and out of the killers’ memories, fleshing out their war crimes and putting their base humanity on full display. The documentary focuses on three players from this obscured time in indonesian history: the lanky executioner An-

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war Congo, his potbellied subordinate herman Koto and Congo’s ex-partnerin-crime Adil Zulkadry. They are asked by the director to recreate the killings from their ‘glory days’ for the camera. The group then goes on to gleefully reenact their past evils, recruiting locals to act as communists and staging macabre and over-the-top set pieces that defy comprehension and veer into the surreal. Tautly edited and mixing expertly composed static shots with handheld cinema verité moments, the cinematography thrusts you into the killer’s reality and subsumes you into the visual spectacle on display throughout the film. From the confusingly in-drag herman Koto to the visages of idyllic indonesian landscapes and the pained despair of Chinese shopkeepers harassed by paramilitaries, there is an eerie

FILM

SPecial to the chronicle

IN A WORLD

Roadside Attractions Directed by Lake Bell

by Anna Koelsch The ChroniCle

A film about film may seem nauseatingly meta, but lake Bell’s “in a World…” folds a critique of the film industry’s sexism into a playful romcom surprisingly well. “in a World…” follows the rules of the rom-com playbook but feels less formulaic as i found myself actually thinking, (which is abnormal for a rom-com!). The film’s casting is impressive, particularly in the case of Geena Davis as Katherine huling. huling, a very minor character, is the executive producer of The Amazon Games, the ‘quadrilogy’ with a femi-

beauty that pervades the film and creates a disconcerting but entrancing aura. Anwar Congo is the main personality on screen, grounding the narrative and acting as its moral barometer. oppenheimer layers the various facets of Anwar’s thoughts on his crimes against humanity, painting a full-bodied portrait of an ego exposed to self-reflection. his boorishness and nonchalance about the murders he committed can only partially conceal the doubt that has been brewing inside his psyche for decades, a psyche pierced by nightmares of his victim’s lifeless eyes. “The Act of Killing” is disturbing but necessary viewing, an epic and sobering treatment of the ambivalence of history and the extraordinary capacity for humanity to gloss over and construct their own realities.

nist twang that sparks a voiceover battle between Carol (played by lake Bell), her father (Fred Melamed as Sam Soto) and up-and-comer Gustav Warner (Ken Marino). huling chooses Carol’s voice for The Amazon Games’s trailer but is quick to tell Carol that she got the role because of her gender, not her talent. it is so perfectly tongue-in-cheek to cast Davis, well-known for supporting women in conventionally male roles (i’m still reeling from the cancellation of ‘Commander-in-Chief” seven years ago). Bell not only stars in the film, but also wrote the screenplay, directed and produced it. The choice to make a film like this shows a careful perceptiveness of the industry and the world around her. her skilled acting shines as she distorts her voice into foreign accents like it is child’s play, and she laudably weaves an affair subplot into the story without it coming off as trite. of course, the film is not without its flaws. its short length is reflected in compressed storylines. The one that bothered me most was louis (Demetri Martin) finally finding enough courage to announce to Carol that he likes her— a story that develops throughout

STEIN

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work and his knowledge to Duke, believing that everyone should try out photography. Along with his Friday talk and book signing, Stein will also lead a workshop this weekend. Stein will lead students through the streets of Durham to take pictures of the people, and a gay pride parade will be its center focus. Maximov remarks on the whole event as an “excellent opportunity” to learn Mr. Stein’s style and become more connected with the people of Durham. The talk and book signing will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday in the Center for Documentary Studies auditorium. Throughout “harlem Street Portraits,” Stein’s goal is to capture the spirit of harlem, and he accomplishes this by connecting with his subjects to make each photograph a kind of collaboration. he translates to the viewer the toughness, vitality and pride of the people of harlem. in this style, Stein captures the spirit of the people, shares it with others and preserves it for the future. the film—and Carol responding with a quick “i like you too!” how convenient, i thought, given that there was little to suggest that Carol felt that way until that moment. it’s also highly possible that i was given these signs throughout the film and chose to ignore them due to my abnormal Demetri Martin fixation. Who knows!? “in a World...” pulls off the romcom while poking at hollywood’s deeply entrenched sexism. it’s pure fun to watch, and a strong film for lake Bell’s directorial debut.

>> ON THE WEB << Check out more film & music reviews at dukechronicle. com/section/recess

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8/16/13 3:41 PM


September 26, 2013 Recess  
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