This month the Library is featuring films about animals. White God, a Hungarian film, boasts probably the largest canine cast since 101 Dalmatians, but make no mistake: This is not a family film.
Thirteen-year-old Lili (Zsofia Psotta) must move in with her father for a few months while her mother is away on business. Her dog Hagen is not welcome to stay with her, partly because her father is not a dog person, but also because the government has placed a high tax on mongrels–they have a vision of a Budapest populated by purebreds. Hagen is what Lili calls a “mixed breed,” but to the authorities, he’s a worthless mutt.
So Lili and her dog are separated, and the story is about their journey back to each other. Again, this sounds deceptively simple and heart-warming, but the film is actually a unique blend of parable, revenge fantasy, and a touch of horror. Imagine The Incredible Journey written by Hitchcock and directed by Tarantino.
While Hagen endures some harrowing experiences as a street dog, Lili struggles with adolescence and rebellion. Meanwhile, her school orchestra is rehearsing for a performance of Tannhauser. I mention this because the work underscores the theme of the redemptive power of love, but the music used to score the film is actually Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody #2.
This film, directed by Kornel Mundruczo, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014, where it won the Prize Un Certain Regard, and also the Palm Dog Award.
Indeed, it is the performances of the dogs that make this film so extraordinary. Only the lead dogs were trained–the rest of the dog cast is made up of over 200 rescue dogs (almost all of which were subsequently adopted) and Mundruczo has captured them in all their natural dogginess. There is no computer-generation used, there are no cute dog tricks; these are real dogs behaving like real dogs, and if that sounds too ordinary, I assure you that this film offers some stunning images, the like of which you have never seen before, and will not soon forget.
For a list of other recommended films about animals, click here.
From his first movie role as mortician Eugene Grizzard in Bonnie and Clyde to his Emmy Award winning guest appearances as Mr. Stein on TV’s Will and Grace, Gene Wilder always made us smile, and that’s the way he wanted it.
On Monday, August 29th, at the age of 83, Wilder passed away due to complications from Alzheimer’s, a diagnosis he kept hidden from the public for the last three years because, according to his family, he did not want to make his fans sad.
Of course, we are sad, but let’s revisit some of his work and let him make us happy once more. It’s what he would have wanted.
“Group journaling transforms an enriching experience of solitude into a powerful experience of community.”
~ Suzanne C. Goodsell, of Writer’s Digest.
Do you keep a journal? Would you like to be able to write your own personal journal? Here’s your opportunity! The inexperienced, slightly-experienced, and experienced- of all ages are welcome! We will explore the written word together, through journaling prompts, readings, and reflection. Please bring your favorite notebooks and writing tools. Only manual(no electronic media/computers allowed!) writing methods and materials will be used: paper, pencils, pens, drawing tools- even manual typewriters- are fine. Journaling by hand frees writers to explore reflection and observation by putting ink- or graphite- to paper.
Portland Public Library is pleased to announce Journaling in the Library, a new group that will meet monthly in the Portland Room on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 5:30pm-7:00pm. This will be the Greater Portland region’s only writing group dedicated to journal writing, and welcomes all ages and manual writing media.
Journaling in the Library makes use of autobiographic and historic elements in PPL’s collections: this includes memoirs, archives, journalism, letter correspondence, and the history of writing in material culture. There may be occasions for visiting writers to visit with the group, as well.
The format is similar to many other writing groups, though focused on journaling: using assigned prompts for written exploration. Participants will have opportunities to cultivate and read their writing, with the support of the community that comprises the group. Join us on Wednesday, September 21st for our first meeting!