So what have we been doing for the past couple of weeks? Pulling our hair out, what's left of it. Making repeated calls to Verizon. Hosting a visit from their friendly and professional service person (really, no sarcasm there, the guy was good). Being granted the privilege of shelling out for a replacement modem and still not having all of our problems resolved. But we're at least back more or less to where we were before our internet went south on us, so we're going to catch up on the outage by covering two films -- both very good -- this ep.
First up is an interview with Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, the married directors of The Sun Behind the Clouds, a documentary about Tibet's struggle for independence. A few years back, there were a handful of docs released on this topic. Most seemed to want to garner audience sympathy through scenic views of Buddhist temples and extended footage of prayer services -- not really the most compelling argument for this viewer. Sarin and Sonam take a less romantic approach, focusing on the protests that rose up both within and without the country in 2008, while simultaneously following the Dalai Lama on his mission to gain international support for his controversial "Middle Way Approach," wherein the struggle for independence would be ceded in return for more autonomy and religious freedom. That the filmmakers chose to present real world politics -- including divisions within the movement itself -- rather than trying to seduce people with pretty images goes a long way towards making this film a valuable and comprehensive evaluation of one country's ongoing fight for liberty.
And while we're talking about seduction, we follow up with a conversation with Nash Edgerton, the Australian stuntman-turned-director whose debut feature is the wicked noir thriller, The Square. I'd seen this film at a screening almost a year ago, and ever since have been champing at the bit for its long-delayed release. The film definitely traces its roots to the likes of Blood Simple and Red Rock West, but with a sense of brutal irony and a gratifyingly twisty interlacing of schemes and deceptions that makes it stand out on its own (and pretty much distinguish itself as uniquely Australian). It's a good, dark ride; however long it took to finally hit the screens, it's well worth the wait.
Pretty nice way to get back into production, methinks. Click the player to hear the show.