Samba

sambaDuring the Christmas holidays I went to see Samba with a friend of mine. A French film; we felt so cultured. I mostly went to get my money’s worth out of my Pathé Unlimited pass, if I’m completely honest. I hadn’t spent much time at the cinema; the Philosophy of Science exams had kept me chained to my desk all month. Why Samba? It starred “that funny black guy, you know, the one from Intouchables”, and there were no good seats left for the latest Hobbit film. Little did I know, that after watching Samba, the very thought of almost having gone to see that over-sold blockbuster instead actually made me cringe. I won’t even talk about the acting (it was brilliant); what really deserves some attention is its urgent relevance. Set in modern-day Paris, Alice, a burnt-out senior executive, volunteers at a refugee centre as part of her therapy. Here, she meets Samba, a goofily charming immigrant from Senegal who has been in France for over 10 years, working low-pay jobs to, like many immigrants, support his family back home. She is immediately drawn to him (and not just because he has the body of an ebony demi-god) but for the greater part of the film we are left to wonder whether something will actually happen between the two – and I won’t spoil. What’s really important is the inside look we get in the life of legal and illegal immigrants in a Western metropolis. To me, this was conflictingly eye-opening and recognisable at the same, as my family has for some time been quite intimate with a family from Sierra-Leone, struggling to get their residence permit here. More stories such as this one should be shared. More films such as these should be made. Because of course this isn’t a Parisian issue, or a French issue; it is global reality. This is the world we live in, and most of us are completely oblivious to it. However, this film is not one big heavy, guilt-filled reality check. It is remarkably light-hearted and funny and that, to me is what makes it stand out. Sure, the plot is made up of half a dozen Shakespearean coincidences, but all in all I would absolutely recommend this film. It is sad and hilarious, sweet and exciting, romantic yet real – and it stars that funny black guy, you know, the one from Intouchables. 9/10

By Anne Oosthuizen

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Passionately Curious – An Interstaller Investigation

 

As you may well know by now, I’m a huge fan of the natural sciences. Usually, I use the space allotted to me here to try and explain some interesting bit of science in more simple terms, so that those of us who aren’t as big on the giant formulas and heavy textbooks can still get a glimpse of, say, the realities of time travel. Or, sometimes, I just like to investigate something silly – like coffee. Today, we’re doing something a little different. After all, we’re a magazine for writing, literature, and film, and so I thought I’d take you on a little trip through the science of a recent, well-received Hollywood Sci-Fi blockbuster: Interstellar. Continue reading “Passionately Curious – An Interstaller Investigation”

Philosophers Review Our Most Popular Romantic Films

ValentinesDayIlona

For the Family: “The Sound of Music”

Plato: Why is there so much singing? I hate singing. Just look at the text: “When the dog bites, when the bee stings / When I’m feeling sad / I simply remember my favourite things”. How deceitful Maria is with these lines! Generalising her fear for dogs is completely unacceptable. Surely, you cannot make out that a truthful and good captain such as Georg von Trapp himself could fall for her? We must thus conclude that this film only appeals to the ignorant amongst us. — One star

Glaucon: You are quite right. — One star

Karl Marx: Maria’s excellent artisanship in sowing reminds me of our old guild-masters. A forgotten value in our capitalist society must not be left unappreciated. — Four stars

Sigmund Freud: Liesl’s Nazi-boyfriend should have finished off the dad. — One star

Average rating: 1.5/5 stars

 

With a Group of Friends: “Love Actually”

Cicero: Dreadful film. It celebrates adultery, betrayal, and bad friendships. I did not agree with the film’s focal points of porn and American women. Seemingly, this film does not care about virtue. — No stars

Thomas Kuhn: Love leaps from one paradigm shift to another paradigm shift just when you’ve assumed that it lies in loyalty, you start to reconsider an acting role in a porno film or a bumpy flight to the States. “Love Actually” is a film full of paradigm shifts. Beautiful. — Five stars

Average rating: 2.5/5 stars

 

For the Sensation Seeker: “Titanic”

Ayn Rand: An epic story celebrating the unexpected in life: realistic and pure. Up until DiCaprio died. A film that honours a man that could not find a piece of wood of his own to survive at sea is even weaker than the man himself. Abysmal. — No stars

Karl Marx: It could have been better if the travellers in third class had started a revolution under the guidance of Jack Dawson. At least they then would have died for a cause. — Two stars

Immanuel Kant: All people should agree that the chandeliers were beautiful, but all should also agree that, after careful observation, it was impossible for Jack to still have his hands after having a woman going at him with an axe. — Four stars

Average rating: 2/5 stars

 

For Those Wondering What Happened to “The Notebook”

We commissioned Alain de Botton to write a review, but then he turned the review into a book of average length and sold it en masse in museums. It is currently being taught at The School of Life for €55,- per lecture.

 

Ilona

 

(For more popular romantic films, check: http://imdb.to/1IjkCMo)

 

Nordic Noir

 

After Stieg Larsson’s well-loved Millennium trilogy, the popularity of Scandinavian television shows has risen drastically. And for good reason. Scandinavian crime shows, or ‘Nordic Noir’, as the popular term is, are dark and gritty, and have plots that twist and turn until you forget where they even began. The best thing, in my opinion, is that these shows don’t leave any room for clichés or dream-like scenarios, as I have so often found in their American counterparts. Its impeccable resemblance to reality is probably what is the most thrilling, and admirable, about these shows. Or perhaps this just has to do with the fact that the settings are very distinctly European and so similar to the Netherlands that I can just imagine one of their serial killers showing up on my doorstep. Continue reading “Nordic Noir”

A Disappointed Verdict

I don’t go to the cinema as much as I would like. Even though I am a big fan of everything that has to do with the silver screen, I don’t find myself in front of one very often. However, at the end of October I happened to go to the pictures twice in one week, and both times I felt satisfied, enthralled, but also disappointed. My cinematic experiences of choice were Fury and The Judge. Now, let me explain why they were disappointing, using some spoilers here and there. Continue reading “A Disappointed Verdict”

WB Happenings – Week 40/41

Let’s face it: there simply are days that you find yourself with a desire to go out and do something awesome, but you’ve just got no idea where to go. Boy, have we got just the fix for you! Here, you’ll find a WB-approved selection of events happening in Amsterdam right now, or in the very near future. Do you happen to have a really good suggestion for the next edition of WB Happenings? Let us know through writerssblock@gmail.com, and we might include your suggestion in the next edition!

 

Exhibitions

  • 20 July – 9 November Bad Thoughts @ Stedelijk Museum. Private collection by Martijn and Jeanette Sanders containing a diverse selection of photographs, drawings, and graphic design.
  • 17 September – 10 December Under Construction: New Positions in American Photography @ Foam. Group exhibition of a new generation of image-makers reassessing the value of the photographic image in the 21st century.
  • 10 October – 1 February Breitner schetst Amsterdam @ Stadsarchief.

 

Films

  • 29 September Special screening of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off @ Kriterion, 22.00.
  • From 4 September and onwards A Most Wanted Man. Film directed by Anton Corbijn based on the homonymous book by John le Carré about a power struggle between bankers, lawyers, and counter-terrorists.
  • From 28 August and onwards Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 3D. Neo-noir film starring Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis. Sequel to the film Sin City released in 2005.

 

Theatre

  • 25, 26, 27 September Tasso, Het Nationale Toneel @ Compagnietheater (in Dutch). Play, originally by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, about a young talented artist named Alfonso who has to choose between a life of rest and regularity or a life of freedom and passion.

 

Lecture/Debate

  • 25 September Battle of Ideas – Are We Facing a Democratic Crisis? @ De Balie, 20.00. Panel discussions with experts and an open dialogue with the audience about the democratic crises of today.

 

Books and magazines

  • 27 September Book signing and Q&A with Herman Koch @ American Book Center
  • 04 October Amsterdam Zine Jam 2014 @ Felix Meritis

 

Festivals

  • 6-12 October Camera Japan. Japanese multidisciplinary cultural festival.
  • 8-12 October Afrovibes @ MC Theater and Bijlmer Parktheater. Music, arts and theatre festival celebrating South-African culture.
  • 15-19 October Amsterdam Dance Event. Electronic music festival with more than 800 events in over 80 clubs throughout the city.