It’s a Wrap: After the Academy Awards

February 25, 2013
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It’s a Wrap:  After the Academy Awards

The 85th Annual Academy Awards have come and gone. According to some, including my 11-year old daughter Mason (a TFW Collective Member), the show was the “worst ever.” I have to agree; it was spectacularly awful, from Seth MacFarlane’s not-so-edgy sexist, racist, and just plain ugly jokes, to strange blasts from the past, to an odd, deer-in-the-headlight affect shared by many presenters. It was, overall, a good night for...
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Sacrifice, Religion and Exclusion: On Parade in Little Saigon

February 25, 2013
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Sacrifice, Religion and Exclusion: On Parade in Little Saigon

By: Duane Bidwell In 1954, the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision made it clear that “separate” is not “equal” when it comes to the practice of the common good in the United States.  Maybe it’s time to remind those who plan the annual Tet parade in Little Saigon. A few weeks ago, they banned the Partnership of Viet Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations from...
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Femmes, Pulling the Pieces Together: A Keynote Address by Pratibha Parmar

February 24, 2013
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Femmes, Pulling the Pieces Together: A Keynote Address by Pratibha Parmar

Last August, award-winning filmmaker Pratibha Parmar delivered a keynote address at FEMME Conference 2012: Pulling the Pieces Together, in Baltimore, Maryland. We are thrilled to offer here the text of her previously unpublished talk. As part of our forum on the Academy Awards–that quintessential culture machine that more often than not reproduces sameness–it feels vital to us to offer non-dominant, non-normative perspectives on identity, politics, culture, and art. In...
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Op-Ed: The Dangerous Limits of Race at the Academy Awards

February 24, 2013
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Op-Ed: The Dangerous Limits of Race at the Academy Awards

By Roya Rastegar We are far from a “post-racial” society. The films nominated for Best Adapted or Original Screenplays reveal an intensifying compulsion to engage race in America. Beasts of the Southern Wild. Lincoln. Django Unchained. Argo. Zero Dark Thirty. Flight. The high profile of these films positions them at the nexus of popular discussions around race, politics, and society.  But since each of these films is told through...
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Zero Dark Thirty and the Problem of Pakistan

February 24, 2013
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Zero Dark Thirty and the Problem of Pakistan

Zero Dark Thirty has been the subject of heated debate since its early release on Christmas Day last year. A number of reviews have focused especially on the film’s deployment of torture as a plot device, and a few Hollywood stars have even organized an appeal against the film ahead of the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony because of this. I agree with some of the reviews (the best, in...
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Drunk On A Plane: Or, Why I Loved “Flight”

February 23, 2013
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Drunk On A Plane: Or, Why I Loved “Flight”

Almost a decade ago, I eagerly awaited the release of Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, thinking it was a boxing movie. It wasn’t, really—any more than Flight is a movie about flying. Yet both films are very much about gravity: the histories, behaviors, demons, dreams, and failures—technical and otherwise—that can pull people fast, flat, and hard to the earth’s surface and wreck them. In Flight, we watch Denzel Washington...
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Django in Philly

February 23, 2013
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Django in Philly

By Quincy Scott Jones On my last New Year’s Day in Philadelphia, I did what I always do on New Year’s Day in Philadelphia: I watched the Mummers Parade.  For those of you who didn’t grow up in the Delaware Valley region, the Mummers Parade is a 112-year-old parade featuring clowns, floats, and perhaps most famously, string bands wearing suits of glitter, sequins, and ostrich feathers.  It is a...
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"Beasts of the Southern Wild": An Affective Review

February 23, 2013
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"Beasts of the Southern Wild": An Affective Review

I have a confession:  I didn’t like Beasts of the Southern Wild.  And I don’t fully understand why. Don’t get me wrong; there were a number of wonderful facets to the movie. The beautifully textured cinematography and score were, at times, literally breathtaking. Quvenzhané Wallis’s portrayal of Hushpuppy was both perfectly quiet and understatedly fierce (she is now the youngest Academy Award Best Actress nominee ever). The film bravely...
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A Sliver of Silver in "Silver Linings Playbook": A Look at Mental Illness in Film

February 22, 2013
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A Sliver of Silver in "Silver Linings Playbook": A Look at Mental Illness in Film

Hollywood is notorious for the ways it presents and brandishes mental health to mass audiences.  In the rare instances in which a major motion picture even introduces concepts of mental health, critique inevitably swirls around the overall message the writers and actors are trying to achieve. If I think K-Mart sucks, do I meet the diagnosing criteria for autism like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man? Or can K-Mart...
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Five Things "The Sessions" Gets Right: Sex and Disability on Screen

February 22, 2013
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Five Things "The Sessions" Gets Right: Sex and Disability on Screen

So much of criticism, feminist critique included, hinges on highlighting what is wrong. In the case of film reviews, we so often ask what on-screen narratives convey about difference and the status quo. For an industry the prides itself on innovation, misogyny occupies the limelight so often that one might even call it formulaic. (Epic fail, Hollywood.) The same is true of representations of other kinds of difference, be...
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Woman's Work

February 21, 2013
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Woman's Work

Depending on the promise, girls pack differently. Girls from the north, known for their beautiful pale skin created out of long winters will pack their resignation. After all, with every bad harvest, their older sisters had left, one by one. That’s how it’s been for many generations. That’s how it worked up north, where the most valuable things that a family could own were girls; girls who would leave...
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