December 16th, 2011

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Rev: Gay Bishops - Yes or No?

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I was going to write about Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker which I saw this evening, but I have also just caught up on the latest episode of Rev, and I have decided to prioritise Rev. I will run the Nutcracker feature at the weekend.

I have previously said that Rev tackles hard-hitting social issues within a light entertainment programme. Tonight, they tackled equalities issues. There are many stories running in each half-hour episode of Rev; they pack a lot in. One of the stories today was that the archdeacon was gay. The archdeacon was trying to keep his relationship quiet as he had his sights firmly set on being Bishop of Stevenage. According to Rev, and I am assuming this is correct as I know the Rev creative team do their research, Church Law (Anglican) states that you can be made a Bishop even if you are gay, provided that you are celibate. At the actual interview, however, the archdeacon decides to tell the truth (good on him!) and tells the interview panel that he is in an active gay relationship with a man that he loves more than words (my heart melted). That effectively put an end to his chances of ever being a Bishop.

And I suppose what I wanted to say about that was - why should people have to hide their sexuality? why should anyone be penalised within the Church for telling the truth? what makes a straight Bishop, by definition, in any way better than a gay Bishop? how is this right, let alone fair? what happened to equality? I thought we were living in 2011?

I know the Anglican Church is embroiled at the moment in discussing and debating women Bishops. I have no real interest in that. I do have an interest in this issue!

Rev is here:

My previous feature on Rev is here:
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Wreckers out on limited release from today (Friday 16 December)

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Wreckers is now screening at Curzon Soho, Manchester Cornerhouse and Curzon HMV Wimbledon. If you can't get to one of these cinemas, you can access it on Curzon on Demand (UK only).

Cut and pasted from the Artificial Eye website:

WRECKERS is the beguiling debut film from D R Hood and features stand out performances from some of the best British acting talent working today including Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy and Shaun Evans.

A married couple (Cumberbatch, Foy) move back to his childhood village to start a family but a surprise visit from the husband's brother (Evans) ignites sibling rivalry and exposes the lies embedded in the couple's relationship.

WRECKERS is an evocative, beautifully shot drama that examines the fragile relationship between truth, intimacy and betrayal.

For all the details on the film, follow the link:

Raks's Review

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I saw Wreckers as part of the London Film Festival. To cut to the chase, I fell in love with the film. The title credits rolled and I immediately wanted to see the film again to take in all the subtleties and the nuances in the acting, the direction, and the film-making generally. It was a truly beautiful and deeply moving film.

This film, like all great films, will obviously mean different things to different people and speak to different people on different levels. For me personally, the focus of the film was the marriage between Dawn (Claire Foy) and David (Benedict Cumberbatch), and the relationship between the two brothers, David (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Nick (Shaun Evans). I also loved a couple of the underyling themes of the film which questioned how much you can ever truly know another person, even if that person is your partner/spouse, and hidden family secrets (skeletons in the closet always interest me!).

I thought that the portrayal of the marriage by both Claire and Benedict was very convincing. The film is a very intimate portrayal of a marriage, up close and personal, told from the point of view of both the people involved in the relationship. You completely identify with both Dawn and David, you feel for them and you care about them, and you get to know their motivations, their aspirations and their associated insecurities. The infidelity in the film is treated very sympathetically and the film also shows the pain that infidelity causes not just to the person being betrayed but also to the person committing the betrayal.

The relationship between the brothers is shown in all its complexity, and the film leaves many questions ambiguous, in that you are never entirely sure whose version of events is the correct one, if there is a "correct" version at all. I loved the way that David was so protective of, and caring towards, his brother Nick, and I loved the realistic and believable manner in which Shaun conveyed post-traumatic stress syndrome for a soldier and mental health issues generally. His pain and trauma was 100% believable, as was David's care, concern and support.

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The emotion that Benedict manages to convey in this piece through his eyes and his face, especially his pain in certain situations, is mind blowing. I loved it!

One strong message that I took away from the film, a message that I really believe in, and a message that is very positive and speaks to my heart, is that if you really and truly love someone, you will want to make them happy and you will do anything to make them happy, regardless of the personal cost to yourself and your ego. David does something truly unselfish in this film (very unusual in a man!) to try and ensure that his wife Dawn is happy and fulfilled.

What I will say, off the back of Third Star and Wreckers, is that I much prefer to see Benedict in small independent British films with a real heart and soul, often with a first time Director whose passion is their first film and telling that particular story, rather than in star-studded big budget Hollywood fare such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (TTSS). His performance in these films and in Stuart is on a totally different level to TTSS. His eyes and face mirror his soul in each and every one of these films. I want more like this and less of TTSS please!

I give you a still photo from Wreckers that illustrates what I am saying and where I am coming from - this still image speaks 1000 words!

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Highly highly highly recommended.
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Dreams of a Life out today (Friday 16 December)

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Dreams of a Life, which I saw as part of the London Film Festival, is out on nationwide release as of today.

Cut and pasted from the Brixton Ritzy website:

Nobody noticed when thirty-eight year old Joyce Vincent died in her bedsit above a shopping mall in North London in 2003. When her skeleton was discovered three years later, her heating and her television were still on. Newspaper reports offered few details of Joyce’s life - not even a photograph.

Who was Joyce Vincent? And how could this happen to someone in our day and age, the so-called age of communication? Dreams of a Life is Carol Morley’s (the film's Director) quest to discover who Joyce was and how she came to be so forgotten.

Morley places adverts in newspapers, on the Internet and on the side of a London taxi and discovers Joyce’s former friends, lovers and colleagues. Their testimonies, together with re-imagined scenes from Joyce’s life, form a multilayered portrait of Joyce, and an insight into the world she inhabited.

Dreams of a Life is about a life lived in modern times. It is a film about Joyce Vincent and a film about ourselves; about how much and yet how little we may ever know each other.

Raks's Review

I can write this film up very briefly and quickly. Joyce Vincent was the same as me and many of the people I know - a single woman in her 30s/40s, with no husband/partner or children, living and working in London, but with a family (parents and siblings) and a wide and diverse network of friends, whom she had met through work and other social activities. She was outgoing, fun, attractive and popular. But in 2003 she died alone in her bedsit and no one noticed that she was now missing and absent from their lives. She was only found three years later when the police broke into her flat to repossess it due to mounting rent arrears.

The thought this prompted in me is exactly what kind of society are we living in when someone like Joyce can just die and vanish from the lives of her family and her friends and no one notices and (seemingly) no one cares?

Also, could this happen to me?!