Archive for October, 2013

CineCity News: ROSEMARY’S BABY

Today we will screen the first session of our HALLOWEEN SPECIAL for CineCity, the 1968 horror classic Rosemary’s Baby. This very creepy movie is a brilliant example of filmmaking at its finest. The cinematography, writing and acting performances all come together to create a feeling of unease and tension. There is also some very interesting social commentary underlining the film which is just as pertinant now as it was in the sixties. As a librarian I must also recommend the writing of Ira Levin, who penned the original novel. We have a number of his books in our collection and he is a personal favourite of mine. Stephen King has described Ira Levin as “the Swiss watchmaker of suspense novels, he makes what the rest of us do look like cheap watchmakers in drugstores.” Chuck Palahniuk, in Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories, calls Levin’s writing “a smart, updated version of the kind of folksy legends that cultures have always used.”

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Cast:  Mia Farrow

            John Cassavetes

            Ruth Gordon

            Sidney Blackmer

Written by:    Roman PolanskiRosemarybaby

Based on the novel by Ira Levin

Genre: Thriller / Horror / Mystery /Drama

Rating: M

Duration: 136min 

Colour: Color (Technicolor)

Country/Language: USA /English

Budget: $2,300,000 (estimated)

Gross: $33,395,426 (USA)

Year of Release: 1968

Production / Distribution Company:

William Castle Productions

 

Background notes:

  • This was the first film that Polanski made in the USA after making quite a few films in various European countries including his native Poland.
  • Ruth Gordon won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress which made this film the only horror movie to win an Oscar for acting until The Silence of the Lambs in 1991.

 

Things to think about:

  • How is the film working to build suspense and tension? Consider the film elements like mise-en-scene, cinematography and sound…
  • Can this film be seen as a feminist text? Bear in mind the 1960s culture when it was made. How much control does Rosemary have over her life and her body? How does this comment on patriarchal society?

The difference a library can make….

The documentary film Gateway to the World takes place in Namibia’s capital city Windhoek, Katutura suburban area. In the film, two young library users are followed around the poor Greenwell Matongo area, where the local library functions as the people’s gateway to better life. Twenty year old Trevelin did not pass the 10th grade of schooling and ended up as one of the many out-of school youths in the area. Persuaded by a friend, he found his way to the nearby library and became interested in studying computers. He is now giving basic computer classes as a volunteer teacher in the library. Anna, 13 years, is a schoolgirl at the Olof Palme primary school. Every day after school she heads up to the Greenwell library where she is one of the library prefects. She helps other school kids with their homework, helps library customers with computer usage and plays with children, for whom the library is one of the region’s few safe havens. All the hours spent at the library have also reflected positively on Anna’s school results and in the future she intends to continue studying to become an engineer.

The Greenwell Matongo Library was initially founded in cooperation between the cities of Windhoek and Vantaa (Finland). The target was to bring the library services down to the grassroots level. The library was opened in 2005, and today it may well be that the library has even exceeded the expectations laid out for it. The public has embraced the library and there are so many users that there is hardly enough room to accommodate everyone. Nowadays the Greenwell Matongo Library also serves as an example library to the Libraries for Development project, which started in 2012 and is administered by the Finnish Library Association. The good lessons learnt from Greenwell will thus be extended both around Namibia (20 libraries) and even to Tanzania (2 libraries in the initial phase).

Length: 29 min

Language: English

Subtitles: English

Written and Directed by Tuomas Lipponen

Camera operator: Panu Somerma

Editor: Petri Mäkitalo

Sound post production: Jukka Putkinen

Produced by: Kirjastokaista – Kirjastot.fi, 2013

It’s Raining Diamonds!

Researchers believe diamonds could be falling from the sky on Saturn and Jupiter!

The atmospheres of our solar system’s gas giants are perfect for creating diamonds, according to new atmospheric data.  Methane is transformed into soot (carbon) in huge lightning storms high in the atmosphere. When it falls it hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond.  Read this BBC News article for more info.

CineCity News: GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES

The next film to be screened will be the artistic and emotional tour de force, Grave of the Fireflies, directed by, Iaso Takahata (co-founder of Studio Ghibli). This animation depicts the fall of Japan in WWII through the eyes of two children who struggle to survive. Screenings will continue each Monday and Wednesday through term 4. Any students who wish to participate need to see Daniel in the library to sign up.

Directed by: Isao Takahatagrave of the fireflies

Cast:  Tsutomu Tatsumi

Ayano Shiraishi

Yoshiko Shinohara

Akemi Yamaguchi  

Written by:    Isao Takahata

Based on the novel by Akiyuki Nosaka

Genre: Animation / Drama / War

Rating: M

Duration: 89min 

Colour: Colour (Technicolor)

Country/Language: Japanese

Year of Release: 1988

Production / Distribution Company: Shinchosha Company / Studio Ghibli   

Background notes:

  • The film is based on Akiyuki Nosaka’s semi-autobiographical novel which recounts his experiences of the firebombing of the city of Kobe on 16th and 17th of March, 1945. This happened about five months before the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The book was written in 1967 and was a kind of personal apology to his sister who died of malnutrition during the war.
  • The film was originally produced and released as a sort of double feature with another Studio Ghibli movie, My Neighbor Totoro which was a much more upbeat, family film.

 

Things to think about:

  • It is often considered an anti-war film, however, director Takahata repeatedly denied that it was. In a 1988 interview for Animage he said, “[The film] is not at all an anti-war anime and contains absolutely no such message.” What is your opinion, do you think the film has an anti-war message?
  • When the children become desperate, Seita starts to steal food. When people are running from their houses during the air raids, Seita steals food and other things to trade. Normally these acts are considered wrong but if there are special circumstances, such as war and starvation, do you think they are still wrong?

BOOK REVIEW COMPETITION WINNERS!

At the end of last term we ran a competition calling for students to submit reviews of books they had read recently. We received many great entries, all of which will be published here and on Harbinger, the student online anthology. Three reviews were chosen for prizes because they were very well written and demonstrated a real love of reading by the students who penned them. Each of these students will be given a brand new book from a selection in the library!

And so, without further ado, the winners are:

Maddison Vernon-Hayes Year 11

Joel Verth Year 8

Spencer Davis Year 7

(click on their names to see their reviews)

A big THANK-YOU TO ALL students who entered, they were ALL great entries! Remember, the library is ALWAYS on the lookout for writing and art submissions to Harbinger and for book reviews to Curiositas

 

Just send your work to these email addresses:

For book reviews:

curiositas@footscraycityblogs.com

 

For ANY art, writing or other creative expression, please submit to:

harbinger@footscraycityblogs.com

 

You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter (LINKS BELOW). If you ‘follow/like’ us you can keep up with all the library news as it happens!

https://www.facebook.com/curiositasblog

https://twitter.com/CURIOSITAS1

BOOK REVIEW: ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell

REVIEW BY MADDISON VERNON-HAYES Year 11

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is the story of two very different teenagers who, ever so slowly (but ever so adorably), fall in love. Park is from a relatively normal family, and is a relatively regular kid. But then Eleanor, the new school freak, sits next to him on the bus. She’s chubby, got mad red hair, an odd sense of fashion and is just plain weird. Her home life is not great, with her abusive stepfather reining terror on the household. But despite all her quirks, Park cannot help but fall for Eleanor, and she him.

eleanor and parkAnd I LOVED IT. L.O.V.E IT. I loved the fact that Eleanor was a kooky outsider. I loved the fact that Park wasn’t a quirky outsider, but he liked (no, loved) Eleanor all the same. I loved that she was chubby. I loved that Park was half Korean; it made him and Eleanor that little bit more different than they already were. I especially loved the fact that it was set in 1986, and referenced 1980s pop culture. They even made each other mix tapes!

If you read Eleanor and Park your toes will tingle and your heart will flutter. It may even make you cry, if you are that way inclined. It’s funny, it’s sad, and it is just completely adorable. I cannot describe it any better than that.

Fans of Stephanie Perkins or anything that gives you those skippy-heart-and-tingly-toes feelings like that, this book is for you!

BOOK REVIEW: THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams

REVIEW BY JOEL VERTH Year 8
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the first in a series of books based on the radio series. It follows the story of Arthur Dent, an ordinary human, who hitchhikes off Earth moments before its destruction with his friend Ford. From there the book becomes wonderfully unpredictable making every sentence a thrill to read.

The characters are an absolute joy to read about; Zaphod Beeblebrox, ex-president of the galaxy; Ford Prefect, a roving reporter for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and semi cousin of Zaphod; Tricia McMillan, the alternate reality version of a woman Arthur met on Earth; Marvin, who is an android fitted with “genuine people personalities” and who has an extremely depressed personality; and Arthur Dent, a simple human rescued seconds before the earth’s destruction with his only possessions being his towel and dressing gown.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” provides a great read for all audiences containing no themes that younger readers may not understand while still being an interesting read for an older audience.

hitchhikersguide

BOOK REVIEW: THE BILLIONAIRE’S CURSE by Richard Newsome

REVIEW BY SPENCER DAVIS Year 7  

The Billionaire’s Curse is a book written by Richard Newsome. In the book a 12 year old boy named Gerald inherits 21 billion pounds from his mysteriously and recently deceased great aunt. He is also left a note that his aunt wrote before she died saying she was murdered and to not trust anyone. Left alone by his parents he is forced into solving the murder so that he in turn does not share the same fate. He quickly makes two new friends and travels around England to find the murderer and save his own life.billionaire's curse

The major theme of the book is survival but the author, Richard Newsome, also seamlessly works in the themes of greed and temptation into the story. Constantly throughout the book Gerald is tempted to give up and enjoy his billions or to join the murderer in his quest. The two friends he made at the start of the book are the voices of reason and stop Gerald from performing the wrong.

The book is one of three based on the same storyline and the others dictate the continuation of the murderer’s quest to eventually gain the power of the oracle. All three books incorporate greed and temptation extremely well and I have found myself reading the book over and over again; picking up hidden information every time. This is a great book to read multiple times, under the covers on a rainy night.