Archive for the ‘Film’ Category


Film reveals terrible state of Chinese justice system

UPDATE:  if you have arrived here having picked up a leaflet at the Poetika event in Salisbury this evening – welcome!

A small audience at the Arts Centre watched a documentary film hosted by the Salisbury group called Hooligan Sparrow set in China.  The story concerns the attempts by a lawyer Ye Haiyan to get a college principal and his assistant prosecuted for spending the night in a hotel with 6 underage girls.  They were likely to have escaped punishment because of the endemic corruption of the Chinese police and communist party.   Subsequently they gave $2000 dollars to the girls which made them prostitutes and thus made them the criminals under the Chinese system.

Ye was determined to bring them to justice and started with a simple protest outside the school.  The film then charts the subsequent events of harassment, violence and intimidation by the police, secret police and hired thugs.  Remarkably, much of this is filmed and we can see and hear the activities of the police engaged in the intimidation.  Ye ends up homeless having been evicted from flats and hotels.  Finally, she returns to her home village to live in some quite basic accommodation.  A most telling and sad scene shows her and her daughter sat on the roadside with all their possessions piled up unable to find anywhere to live.   This exact scene is recreated in an exhibition in Brooklyn Museum in New York.

Ai WeiWei in prison. Pic: Salisbury Amnesty

The exhibition was of work by Ai WeiWei, an artist who has also been intimidated, arrested and interrogated by the police on more than one occasion.  He has a degree of fame outside China which gives him a modest level of protection.  During one of his imprisonments, he was subject to close surveillance 24 hours a day, every day, including when going to the toilet.  This was recreated in an exhibition at the Royal Academy three years ago (pictured)

Ye certainly lived a colourful life and at one time worked in a brothel which is where she acquired the nickname ‘sparrow’. In order to raise awareness for HIV prevention, Ye lived the illegal life of a sex worker, distributing free condoms while claiming that they were government subsidies.

Much of the footage was shaky as the filming took place under extreme duress.  We hear threats to kill her or break her legs.  It is nonetheless riveting work and vividly brings to life the dire state of human rights in China.  The list of infringements of human rights in the country are too many to list here as this report from Amnesty shows:

The government continued to draft and enact new laws under the guise of “national security” that presented serious threats to human rights.  Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo died in custody.  Activists and human rights defenders were detained, prosecuted and sentenced on the basis of vague and overbroad charges such as “subverting state power” and “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”.  Police detained human rights defenders outside formal detention facilities, sometimes incommunicado, for long periods, which posed additional risk of torture and other ill-treatment to the detainees.  Controls on the internet were strengthened. Repression of religious activities outside state-sanctioned churches increased.  Repression conducted under “anti-separatism” or “counter-terrorism” campaigns remained particularly severe in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and Tibetan-populated areas.  Freedom of expression in Hong Kong came under attack as the government used vague and overbroad charges to prosecute pro-democracy activists.  [extract] Amnesty Report 2017/18

Much western coverage of China speaks of its economic progress and remarkable growth.  It is the world’s second most powerful nation and its activities in the South China Sea is causing real concern.  Western politicians fawn over President Xi Jing Ping in the hope of business.  But this film shows a lonely woman seeking justice on behalf of six young girls, being subjected to violence, intimidation and threats by a range of state agents.  China does its best to shield its citizens from outside influence shutting out foreign web sites behind the ‘Great Firewall of China‘.  One is reminded of other countries which behaved like this notably, Soviet Russia, East Germany and Rumania.  Each crumbled and it was the activity of a single person which often started the collapse – the priest in Rumania for example.  It can be like a stone chipping a windscreen.

The question is therefore, quite how powerful is the communist party in China that it feels the need to intimidate and mistreat any who question it?

The film was made by Nanfu Wang.  Our thanks to group member Fiona for organising this event.


If you would like to join the local group you would be very welcome.  We are holding a stall in the market place on 23 June so come along and make yourself known.

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A reminder that the film Hooligan Sparrow will be shown next Thursday 14 June at 7:30 pm.  This is FREE but there is a parting collection to help cover our rental and other costs.  It’s at the Salisbury Arts Centre in the White Room upstairs.  Tickets can be obtained from the front desk.


The Other Side of Hope

In partnership with the Salisbury Arts Centre, we are showing the film The Other Side of Hope on Wednesday 29 November starting at 7:30.  Imbuing modern Helsinki with the retro melancholy of an Edward Hopper painting, this warm and deeply humane story tells of the unlikely friendship between a poker addicted shirt & tie salesman, who buys possibly the worst restaurant in the world after a big win, and a Syrian refugee who helps him turn it around.

Tickets 01722 321744 or boxoffice@salisburyarts.co.uk and their web site is http://www.salisburyartscentre.co.uk/whats-on/

Cert 12A  Concessions

Trailer

 


Members of the local group will be in evidence during the evening so if you are interested in joining, coming to this event would be a good way to make yourself known.


Films at the Arts Centre
lucy maz crop

Prof Lucy Mazdon.  Pic: Salisbury Amnesty

We were delighted to be part of a showing of films at the Arts Centre as part of the Salisbury Festival.  Two films were shown: War Witch and Incendie.  Both were rather sombre films yet managed to have a degree of hope.  War Witch was set in Africa and showed the plight of a young girl caught up in the war where she is abducted and becomes a child soldier.  Incendie is the story of twins who travel to the middle east in search of their mother and what happened to her.  Both films were introduced by Prof. Lucy Mazdon who is head of the Dept in film at Southampton University and we were grateful to her for taking the time to come over to do this.

 


Two films to be shown at the Arts Centre
FRIDAY 9TH

As part of the Salisbury Arts Festival, the Arts Centre is showing two films with a human rights aspect to them: War Witch and Incendies Both films will be introduced by Prof Lucy Mazdon from Southampton University.

War Witch starts at 7pm and Incendies at 9pm.  You can of course go to either one or both.  Details of how to book are to be found by clicking on the Arts Festival link above or their phone number is 0845 241 961.

Trailer:


Group hosts a showing of refugee film Fire at Sea

On Friday 3rd February the group hosted a showing of the film Fire at Sea in the Arts Centre in Salisbury.  This film won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin film festival and tells the story of immigrants seeking to reach Europe, in this case the island of Lampedusa.  There are in effect two parallel story lines: one involving a small boy of around 12 who spends his time, with a friend, making and shooting a catapult and on his father’s fishing boat.  The other involves the immigrants packed onto boats bobbing about for days in the Mediterranean in their desperate efforts to reach Europe.  Some die of dehydration and others get burned by diesel fuel splashes as they refill the engines.  These burns can be serious and even fatal.  There are harrowing scenes of bodies being retrieved from the boats.

Picture: Spindle magazine

The feature of the film is that the two stories never overlap.  The islanders carry on their lives completely divorced from the drama that is taking place in the sea around them and in the holding centre where the immigrants are looked after.  The doctor is featured who is involved with vetting the immigrants and speaks matter of factly about the dire state of their health and how some of them die.  He is then shown treating the boy who is concerned about his breathing difficulty, which we are led to believe is imaginary.  These two contrasting scenes seem to sum up the theme of the film.

We took the opportunity to ask people to sign a petition on the refugee situation in Greece.

We are grateful to the Arts Centre for hosting this event.


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In partnership with Salisbury Arts Centre, we shall be showing the film Mustang on 15 December 2016.  This award winning film by a Turkish director concerns five girls growing up in a northern Turkish town.  On their way home from school they meet some boys and start some harmless frolics in the sea.  This is reported to their parents and thus begins a life of confinement, forced marriage and control.

We are delighted to say that there will be a short presentation at the start by Prof. Lucy Mazdom who is Head of the Film Department at Southampton University.   Her research interests include French and American film; contemporary French and British television; transnational film studies; remakes; film history in a global context and issues of cinematic distribution, exhibition and reception.

After the showing, the local group will asking people to sign a petition (to be decided nearer the time).

Tickets are available at the Arts Centre.


Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.  If you are interested in joining local group, make yourself known at the film to one of us at the signing table.  It is free to join the local group.  Details on the ‘Joining’ tab on the home page.


Film focusing on ‘honour violence’ to be shown in London

Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls.  It features nine courageous women’s rights advocates, with connections to Muslim-majority societies, who are engaged in a dialogue about gender inequality.  These women, who have witnessed firsthand the hardships women endure, are profiled in their efforts to affect change, both in their communities and beyond.

The film gives a platform to exclusively female voices and seeks to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing this international human rights disaster.  Freedom of movement, the right to education, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation are some of the systematic abuses explored in depth.

Spurred by the Arab Uprising, women who were once silent are starting to speak out about gender inequality and are bringing visibility to a long history of oppression. This project draws together leading women’s rights activists and provides a platform where their voices can be heard and serves as inspiration to motivate others to speak out.

Free tickets are available via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/honor-diaries-screening-and-qa-tickets-19997574283

When: Thursday, 28 January 2016 from 19:00 to 22:00 (GMT)
Where: Amnesty International UK – 25 New Inn Yard London EC2A 3EA GB

Please note this video contains images which will distress some people – viewer discretion is advised

honor diaries 2

Timbuktu

Posted: December 3, 2015 in Film
Tags: , , ,

The award winning film Timbuktu was shown at the Salisbury Arts Centre tonight and it was a gripping and powerful film.  If you did not see it here try and catch it somewhere else.  Most of the people attending signed the cards to Cameroon – thank you for those that did.


The film, Timbuktu, is to be shown in the Salisbury Arts Centre timbuktu-posterart this Thursday evening 3 December.  The film is extremely topical both because of the horrific activities of jihadists in Paris and today’s news of a terrorist attack in Mali which is where Timbuktu is.  This is the latest in our joint presentations with the Arts Centre.  The film has received many favourable reviews and mostly 4 stars.

Timbuktu has entered the English language as a place which is remote and unknown yet recent events have brought the country and the town into the limelight.

There will be a short presentation by an Amnesty director before the film starts and afterwards, an opportunity for people to sign a petition or some cards.

Tickets from the Arts Centre via the link above or by phoning 01722 321744.