Rabbit-Proof Fence and other stuff

Posted in Film on December 31st 2002 by Randy Reichardt

I saw my 91st and in all likelihood, final movie of 2002 last night: Rabbit-Proof Fence. Let there be no doubt that movies can still be simple yet overwhelming in their power, originality, and inspiration. This movie tells the story of three sisters, taken from their aboriginal home in 1931 in Western Australia by the government. Considered “half caste” because they have white fathers, they are taken to a camp with other half caste children, and taught the ways of the white man, with the ultimate goal being that the children grow up to marry white men and women, and eventually breed out their aboriginal past. Molly Craig, 14 years old, decides to take her younger sisters and escape from the camp, and walk 1,600 kilometers back to Jigalong, to their mother. It is a true story.

The film conveys how strong the ties of love and family can be – at a time when the world continues to spawn wars and terrorism, I found the movie to be life-affirming in the deepest way possible. Such a simple movie – three girls walking home, and yet such a powerful story. I was pleased to see David Gulpilil, whom you might remember from the groundbreaking Australian film Walkabout, in the role as the tracker, Moodoo. The movie also features a stirring score by Peter Gabriel and stunning cinematography by Christopher Doyle. A fascinating study guide is available, from the Australian movie magazine called Metro Magazine. As well, read this interview of Noyce and commentary on the film by a Canadian aboriginal, Carmen Daniels, currently living in Australia and contributor to the Aboriginal Youth Network.

This is a picture of director Phillip Noyce with the three actors who portrayed the girls in the movie: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, and Laura Monaghan.


I will compile the list of my 10 favorite movies of 2002 soon. It is never a “best” list, because I don’t see everything.

Today, Dec 31, my mom turns 70. Happy Birthday, Mom!!! I love you lots.

Snow Quiet

Posted in Observations on December 30th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

It snowed today in Edmonton. Not the first heavy snowfall, that was in early November, but it melted later that month. Until yesterday, the grass in Edmonton was covered in frost. Now there is a lot of snow on the ground – it’s a pain to drive, but we need the moisture, and the x-c skiers are besides themselves with joy. First permanent snow of the winter: Dec 29. Not too bad. And less than 12 weeks of winter left. Cool.

In other news that’s too exciting to handle, I began cleaning up and down and around my house this afternoon. It feels good to rid oneself of old papers, knick-knacks, curious, doo-dads, and everything else in between. Now that I’m on a roll, I’ll do more tomorrow. But not before a workout in the morning. With luck, I’ll see Rabbit Proof Fence on Monday night.

What are your plans for Dec 31? I’m going to a house party, and will be wishing my Mom a Happy 70th Birthday.


Babysitting the Babysat, Decasia

Posted in Film, Miscellaneous on December 29th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

Tonight was one of those memorable evenings. My friend Robert and his wife Mary asked me to babysit their amazing daughter, Tigana, while they went out for dinner. They are visiting from Lethbridge for the holidays. Tigana kept me busy for three hours, with reading, games, stencilling and general hijinks. I was worn out when the parents returned. Robert and I had a great visit afterwards, and I will see them again on Monday. When you visit and spend time with a good friend, the rewards are not measurable.

In last week’s NYTimes Magazine is a fascinating article about a movie called Decasia. The film was “made” by Bill Morrison, although he didn’t shoot a single frame. The film is composed of segments from movies that are decades-old, going back to the earliest films of the 20th century. However, these nitrate-based films have decayed and decomposed badly, and Morrison has grouped together bits from different US-based archives to craft a fascinating movie that according to what I’ve read, reveal a surreal beauty in the final stages of these films’ lives. The film has no distribution yet, but was shown on the Sundance Channel this week (not available in Canada :-(, of course). A number of reviews are available here, and here.
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Late Night

Posted in Random Thoughts on December 27th 2002 by Randy Reichardt

Boxing Day is nearly over. I’m exhausted from the last few days of Christmas activities: visits, dinners, wine, movies – such is the time of the year. I hope you had a great Christmas. I’ve two more parties on the agenda, and in between, sleeping, cleaning, reading, and a few workouts. Additional movies seen include Catch Me If You Can, Live From Baghdad, and Behind Enemy Lines.

Speaking of Catch Me If You Can, read the comments about the movie from the subject of the film, Frank W Abagnale.

A Sad Day in Music

Posted in Music on December 23rd 2002 by Randy Reichardt

Today’s news of the death of Joe Strummer hits hard, and I think it may be, on some levels, Gen X’s equivalent of the loss of John Lennon, but on a smaller scale. While other punkers have passed on (Sid Vicious, for example), none who have left had the impact of Strummer. The Clash, led by Strummer, inspired U2, Billy Bragg, and countless other rockers who have imbued their music with politics and causes. Bragg is most eloquent with his words describing Stummer’s impact on his own music. It is a terrible loss. An interesting Brief History of Punk examines the late 70s heyday, when it emerged from the underground.

Cold and the Dark

Posted in Film, Miscellaneous on December 22nd 2002 by Randy Reichardt

How the FBI can monitor your movements on the Internet.

The weather in North America has been unforgiving in a number of locations recently. California is getting a lot of snow, Newfoundland has received its usual blizzard-like conditions, and just east of Alberta, in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, snow and icy conditions closed the Trans-Canada Highway east of Regina towards Winnipeg. In Edmonton, we have no snow. I repeat, no snow. Well, drive about town and you’ll see remnants of heavy November snowfall, but for now, grass is visible, although covered in frost because it is very cold here, -20C in the evenings. On the upside, the days begin to get longer now…

When I bought my ’96 Corolla in March, I had installed a remote starter. At this time of year, it’s a blessing, as I can start the car from inside my house when it is this cold. Another nifty feature is this: aim the starter at the car and hold down the starting button for five seconds. Do this, and the car will start itself every four hours and run for about 4-5 minutes. In sub-zero temperatures, this helps the car warm up faster when you start it to leave in the morning.

Christmas fast approaches. I’m off work until 2 January 2003. I have gifts to deliver tomorrow, and dinner with a good friend in from Vancouver tomorrow night. I saw LOTR: The Two Towers, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, and Gangs of New York this weekend.

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