Rese単as -reviewsreviewsCurso 20092009-10
Curso 20092009-10 Emilia Morote Pe単alver Profesora de Lengua castellana y Literatura
Donde la cruel realidad toma tintes literarios... literarios... In America If you love your life; if you love your family; if you think that people should show their friendly side/ face and always look for solutions hopefully when they have to face cruel reality; and, eventually, if you are optimistic enough and yet believe in friendship, human sensitivity and even magic, without doubt, this film is for you. In America is a romantic and family drama written and directed by Jim Sheridan, whose brother died when they arrived in the United States. Then this is based on part of his own biography, his own experiences as a migrant; but, anyway, it probably tells the real story that could be starred by anybody who leaves his/ her home, family and country in order to start a new life, get a job, overcome/ get over a serious illness and, of course, improve his/ her life; to sum up, the highs and lows that a migrant family can suffer in a new land. This is a moving and enchanting film set in New York, in an old and ruined tenement block in the poorest place of Manhattan, where people donâ€™t live but survive everyday. In America is about a migrant Irish family that moves to New York, a city where they live in a run-down flat that is become their truly home and where they develop new relationships. Once they settle there, they look for new jobs, as an actor, a taxi-driver and a waitress; the children attend a catholic school and all of them, father, mother and children, find new strange and segregated friends among the whole neighbourhood linked to a low and marginal background that would change their lives: drug addicts, like characters who live in the street the whole day by expecting a solution fallen from heaven; an enormous African black painter whose behaviour would change during the film from being a frightening and mysterious man who paints under the power of a strange inspiration to being like a black angel that, fortunately, either protect this charming family against every adversity they found or leads them to know themselves and to recover those lost human and deep positive feelings.
Either the story or the most of characters are very emotional, in spite of the fact that this film deals with some controversial topics, like illegal immigration, sexuality, violence, drugs, dangerous pregnancy linked to abortion or a premature birth and how the government doesn’t protect people’s health in case they didn’t have enough money to go to private hospitals. The main theme is how a young couple overcomes their youngest child’s death. In this hard situation, their enchanting children and their closest neighbours, who get difficulties to live because of their drugs addiction and a serious disease, will help them to get aims and will become their main support. So the plot isn’t the most important attraction, but some characters, like the two young daughters, Mateo, the strange black man and a coral character formed by the rest of neighbours that provides job, money, love, advices, help in general to the Irish couple. All of them help this family not to feel strange in a new land. Then, one of the best sides of this film is children’s performances, which is convincing despite the strange relationship between them and Mateo, who owns strange powers. This is a character that let us remember the main character of another film whose screenplay is based on the Stephen King’s homonym book titled “The green mile”, where a bond, friendly, big black man, like a giant, contact with children, has got strange powers and whose life gathers tragedy, mistery, real friendship and happiness. Eventually, it’s supossed that everyone will find a certain excuse to choose or not this film; anyway, I would like to focus my attention on the pleasing mixture of reality and magic that involves this film and shakes your deepest feelings getting your smile and tears at the same time. It becomes a balanced and optimistic way to offer a cruel reality and serious themes like abortion, drugs addiction or illegal immigration. Emilia Morote Peñalver (Profesora de Lengua castellana y Literatura) “Con palabras, sin fronteras”, (Revista de la Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Murcia. Mayo 2009. Nº 2).
The power of a marvellous history in the recent films films For the last six years several films whose stars aren’t fiction characters have been released. So their screenplays are based on real events: Alejandro Magno, Mar adentro, Los lunes al sol, The Aviator, The Queen, Good night and good lucky and Ray, for instance. This sort of films forms part of the new and growing interest in real characters whose lives become either a source of historic knowledge or an attractive base in order to create a fictional history with a deep, useful and sometimes sharp and critical message. Further to this idea it must be considered the growing amount of musicals based on this kind of characters like Ana Frank’s Diary, which has been released recently. This can be a new way either to know about historic past or to explore and reflect on the nearest events which have influenced our more and more complex, technological, armed and violent society. Focusing our personal interest on freedom, peace, human rights, hope, and Democracy is the main aim of this sort of artistic forms such as films and concerts. Ray, a drama or a biographical drama released two years ago, is a moving, successful, unforgettable and enchanting film set in America, where the music star was born. It was directed by the wellknown director Taylor Hackford. The cast doesn’t include famous actors except the main one, Jamie Fox as the musician and singer Ray Charles who played and sang several and different kinds of music: jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, gospel and country. This film has appeared after his recent death. It’s really a mixture of a love story, a long concert and, besides, a tragic and moving personal story. The most important scenes take place in night-clubs or on stages. On the one hand, its screenplay is based on Ray’s life, on real events about his life. In fact, it’s about Ray’s biography and it deals with different stages of his life, from childhood to adulthood. He
belonged to such small family. It included only three relatives: his mother and another brother, who died when Ray was very young. So this film is about his personal and professional life. The director has succeeded to show how his frenzied personal life damaged both himself and the rest of people which lived near him. When he was five years old, and after his brother’s tragic death, he went blind. This was the reason why his mother asked him to learn all about music and to take a risk by himself because he was used to receiving his mother’s protection. It’s then when he walked by himself and played in any place where he arrived: streets, clubs… Although he began a new life, he would never forget his previous experiences, which appear in the lyrics of most of his songs. As soon as he achieved fame, he discovered heroin, which was used as a source of inspiration. He soon had to fight against drugs and even governments that ignored black people in that time. He also disobeyed his government as he arrived in Georgia and refused to sing in a concert because black people was segregated and placed in the last rows. After that, he wasn’t allowed to sing in Georgia for a long period of time. On the other hand, the plot of Ray is about a poor black man who achieves fame as a singer when black people are suffering from apartheid. He becomes rich and so worried about black people. He even rebels against governments because he defends black people’s rights and human rights in general. This is why the public in general, black and white, loves his music and his controversial personality. Anyway, some experiences that belong to his personal life are even shown, like his addiction to heroin and his special interest in women. Ray starts his life when he is working as a singer in different nightclubs. During the film the director looks back on his childhood and explains how he loses his mother and his brother, and even how he goes blind. In general, the film is very dramatic, thrilling and tragic, and, by contrast, so little soft as it tells something about his personal
life. Finally, some problems have been recognised in this film. Firstly, the script is very simple because it only combines his personal life with such long concerts. So, the film lasts more than two hours, and perhaps it’s too much time. Eventually, in contrast to this, the best side of this film is Jamie’s performance, which is very convincing, and its soundtrack, with songs as famous as “You are the sunshine”, “Mess around”, “You don’t know me” and “Georgia on my mind”. Emilia Morote Peñalver (Profesora de Lengua castellana y Literatura)
We've got an enormous debt with the Earth Effectively, the human beings don’t own the world, however they are in control of the majority of things that cause harms and benefits to the rest of beings who share the world with, such as plants and animals, that’s, all those living organisms that conform the environment, included the human beings (themselves). That’s why we have got an enormous ecological debt with the Earth. We are using its resources; but, at the same time, we are harming/ damaging, exploiting and abusing them considerably. Solidarity, equality, freedom, wellbeing, respect, particular interests are several values or principles especially linked to the controversial relation between the human beings and the rest of organisms/ the environment. Having said that, which are the main problems that human beings share with plants and animals? Without doubt, we are referring to the pollution, natural disasters, animal experimentations, overconsumption of energy, climate change effects, efficient fishing and agricultural methods, styles of life, deforestation… As we can recognise, the more we think about an unbalanced development of our society, the more we damage our environment and even our health. With regards to the bad side of the relation between them, we can claim that one of the main problems that affect plants and animals is the climate change, provoked by many factors, above all, the human’s acts, such as, for example, the excessive consumption of energy (the over-consumption of energy) that has generated an alarmist worldwide movement in order to warn the world about the consequences of this environmental problem. As we know, there’s a rising demand of energy, above all, in developed countries. It’s a fact that we use energy to cook, drive, transport people and products from place to place, give light and heat or cool our homes. Then, we need to find other kinds of energy different from fossil fuels that become real clearer and cheaper alternatives in order to
avoid the over-consumption of energy, the carbon emissions and, consequently, an environmental degradation. For example, Spain, next to Germany, is one of the most industrialised countries in the world that are trying to stimulate the production of renewable energies, which are the only opportunity for those people that don’t consume any kind of energy in undeveloped countries. Secondly, the destruction and reduction of the rainforests is causing an enormous damage to the environment because they imply the lost of many species of animals and plants, and even a threat to the traditional way of living of many indigenous people who live in some remote areas of our planet. Besides, it’s said that the tropical rainforests help to keep the environment in balance. Trees have been cut down and fishes have been caught without assessing whether it was a sustainable measure, and without ensuring that we could regenerate them as fast as they are used. Unluckily, we have been only worried about our interested demand, above all, the interested demand of industrialised and development countries. And, unluckily too, there isn’t enough awareness of the consequences of the lack of re-growing trees and re-populating fishes. How many of us have taken part in a march as protestors along the city about this sensitive issue? Probably, not anyone have we taken part in it. Not only plants, but animals are suffering the human’s acts too. Anyway, it’s a very controversial issue. Related to the ecological awareness that I have mentioned some lines before, places or areas where animals are protected and can help people, above all children, to know and love them should be promoted at schools, for example. Today, we can visit places where some animals that are under threat of extinction stay in their natural habitats with proper conditions. We can take children to teach them about nature like a form of education and entertainment. On the one hand, animals have been submitted to the human’s experimentations for some reasons. In spite of the fact that thy have been able to be used with cruelty in laboratories, it’s a fact that
animal experimentation has offered the development of products and medicines that benefit human beings and a deeper knowledge about the animals themselves. On the other hand, there are some forms of pleasure and entertainment and even sports that are very controversial. For example, some people think that, in spite of being part of a traditional Spanish culture, bull-fighting is a clear way of animal exploitations because they end up collapsing from their injuries and exhaustion. And it would be similar to some forms of blood sports such as some sorts oh hunting if they imply pain and exhaustion, and even death, for simply pleasure. As we can see, we need to be aware about the growing lack of natural resources. There are many things that people and governments can do to help the protection of the environment and to tackle climate change and the rest of environmental problems. It is an aspect of life and wellbeing as important as terrorism, without doubt; in fact, may of the acts that can cause harm to the environment are treated as “ecological terrorism”. There are even too many poor people in too many countries that don’t know and, consequently, don’t share the same way of living, but, anyway, next to plants and animals, they are suffering the consequences of the ecological damage too, and it’s not fair. Emilia Morote Peñalver (Profesora de Lengua castellana y Literatura)