Saturday, February 28, 2009

A thoughtful U.S. President for a change

Some Americans seem amazed that they have a President who appears to know what he's talking about and is intelligent. Typical of the reactions this week were David Brooks and Mark Shields on PBS News Hour yesterday:

DAVID BROOKS: Well, I guess the first thing that comes across is that he does project an air of confidence, and not only confidence he projects -- one does tend to have confidence in him when one hears him. And I certainly, just as a viewer, certainly had a sense, "Well, this guy is taking it seriously." ...

MARK SHIELDS: I thought -- David's right. He does project incredible reassurance. I mean, if you look at what he did this week, both on the budget and this, it's a combination of boldness and sort of reflectiveness. I mean, you get a sense of -- I mean, it really is a major, major change in the way the government will be run and what it will do, but it's -- there's also -- I'm just trying to think -- thoughtfulness about him that is reassuring, especially as you listen to him in the interview with Jim.
Shields and Brooks Weigh Obama's Troop, Budget Plans
After 8 year of George W. Bush, it's a refreshing surprise for many.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Censorwatch: The people's Herdict

Concerned about internet filtering and censorship. Get the latest tool in the information flow, Herdict, compliments of The Berkman Center:

As governments and institutions throughout the globe increasingly work to control the flow of information on the Internet, online filtration and censorship have become significant threats to speech on the web. Even worse, these efforts often go undetected. The groups responsible rarely (if ever) announce their intentions, and the precise details of online censorship regimes are equally difficult to track. Obviously, this complicates attempts by activists and researchers to respond to Internet filtration or blocking.

Herdict Web attempts to shed light on this previously opaque activity on the web by generating a dynamic map of information accessibility around the world. Developed by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Herdict Web provides up-to-date reports on where and when sites are inaccessible, and what kinds of users are facing difficulty. In turn, it transparently makes this information openly available online for discussion and further exploration by the public at large.

The Scoop on Herdict Web
To function effectively, it relies on input from individuals about inaccessbility to websites. That's us. What's that cliché about the price of democracy?

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slumdog: poverty porn or proud poetry

Cross post from Cinema Takes:

There is suddenly a lot of interest in what Indians, and those from Mumbai in particular, think of the winner of 8 Academy Awards Slumdog Millionaire.

TimesOnline has a roundup of reactions from India.

Two posts from Global Voices are enlightening on this divided opinion.

For more, click here.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Flick Crit: Rachel Getting Married

The latest film review on Cinema Takes:
Rachel Getting Married: Uncomfortable in Connecticut

There’s nothing like a wedding to bring out the best and worst in families.

Rachel Getting Married, directed by Jonathan Demme, is set in upper middle class, comfortable Connecticut. Grinding poverty is not a factor in this family’s conflicts.

The drama centres on rehabilitation, not just of its central character, but of the whole family. Neuroses stalk the halls of the home that is the setting for the celebrations: sibling rivalry and jealousy, father/daughter, mother/daughter. More baggage than LA International Airport.

Kym is on leave from drug rehab to attend sister Rachel’s wedding to Sidney. Rachel is a high achiever par excellence, Ms Perfection. She is finishing her PhD in Psychology, arguably the worst possible background for dealing with a recovering sister. In fact all the family are guilty of over-analysis. All of them know the 12 steps of rehab by heart. Kym takes the one called “making amends’ to new territory in her speech to the pre-nuptial dinner. Echoes of many an embarrassing family moment on these public occasions for many in the audience.

Anne Hathaway as Kym is magnificent. Her striking appearance shifts between Liza Minnelli, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Keira Knightley and Audrey Tautou. Some company! She was too young for Twin Peaks but was made for it.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

108 Australian indigenous languages in danger

According to UNESCO, 2500 of the world's 6700 languages are in danger:

A language is endangered when its speakers cease to use it, use it in fewer and fewer domains, use fewer of its registers and speaking styles, and/or stop passing it on to the next generation.
Safeguarding endangered languages
Thanks to Simon Maghakyan, an Armemian blogger at Global Voices for alerting us to this: Worldwide: 2,500 Languages Disappearing.

In Australia 108 indigenous languages are in danger. The UNESCO Google Map page can be activated by clicking below.

How many have you ever heard, Australia, Ten Canoes and Yolngu Boy included?

Global Voices does what it can to promote languages through its Lingua project that translates posts into as many as 20 languages. You can donate to keep their work alive by clicking on the icon in the sidebar.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Job: remaking the economy

Thanks to SBS/PBS for alerting me to this award winning satirical video I'd missed so far:

The Job (A ScreamingFrog production) gives us a Mariachi-led recovery.

As an ABC expert shared with us yesterday on the Midday Report: "There was an over-supply of demand". It was a reference to a the rise in the price of oil. There wasn't any room in the truck for finance journalists.

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And the winner is...

It's Academy Awards week coming up. For my take on the likely winners: Oscars: the winners should be no surprise

Latest Flick Crit at Cinema Takes: French phoenix: I’ve loved you for so long

One of the best films doing the rounds of the silver screen. Another French language movie.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Victorian Bushfires stir compassion and conflict

Cross post for Global Voices: Victorian Bushfires stir compassion and conflict

The grim toll of the Victorian bushfires now has 201 confirmed deaths, including a volunteer firefighter, and 1834 homes destroyed. There have been moving, controversial, bizarre and even innovative responses in the blogosphere to the tragedy.

Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, reflected popular reaction to news that some of the fires were deliberately lit by talking of “mass murder”. Following the charging of one man with arson causing death, Facebook groups emerged that published his address and other details that had been suppressed by court order. These have apparently now been removed by Facebook. One group has this message:

Brendan Sokaluk, you will pay. you will be found out. and you will suffer. and when that day comes, Australia will have another Public Holiday to celebrate.

These pages have stimulated an intense debate about issues such as the right to a fair trial. Some even fear that the lynch mob mentality and surrounding publicity may hinder the chances of a conviction. A warning: much of the comment on these sites is very disturbing for a whole range of reasons.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Education at top of Mick Dodson's agenda

Believe it or not, one of the benefits of retirement is being able to watch National Press Club addresses. If you watched Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson's speech today and didn't ask what you could do to help meet his simple but seemly unattainable goals then you're reading the wrong blog:

I’d like to see every Australian child next Australia Day geared up for the start of the 2010 school year.

And I want to be confident that those children are going to get the best education this country can give them. I want it for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and I want it for other children who aren’t getting it now because of where they live, because of poverty and because we’ve failed them.
To take up the challenge, Mick suggested actions we can all take:
If like me you believe education is the principle pathway to reconciliation, you need to act on that belief.

Indigenous or not, if you are a parent you need to value your kids’ education – get them to school, take an interest in what they’re learning.

If you are non-Indigenous parent, find out how many Indigenous kids are at your children’s school and whether your kids learn about their history and culture. Do you know enough about local Indigenous history and culture to help your kids learn?

If you’re a teacher, demand only the best, of yourself and your pupils.

If you’re a government official working in an education department, ask yourself what are you doing to support schools that achieve great results? What are you doing about those that are failing?

What do you do about schools with poor attendance records or poor literacy outcomes? What did you do this week? Last week? What problem will you fix before you go home?

If you’re a university lecturer what do you teach the next generation? Do you know why there are so few Indigenous students at your university? What are you doing about getting them there?

If you are an employer, do you offer opportunities for Aboriginal trainees, hope for students that their education will lead to work that values and respects them for who they are? Do you hesitate because of stereotypes?

Are you the kind of employer who, given a lucrative government contract for a job in an Aboriginal community, puts a fence around the site and employs not a single Indigenous person, and trains no one?

If you’re someone with skills looking for something fulfilling, have you considered taking them where they are needed?

These are questions we need to be asking if we want better outcomes for Indigenous kids. But we need to ask the same or very similar questions for all disadvantaged kids who are not getting a decent education.
If you're not on this list, don't worry. I'm sure you'll think of something.

You can download the full text of his speech at Reconciliation Australia.

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Flick Crit: The Class

My latest film review on Cinema Takes:

The Class (Entre Les Murs) was up close and personal for me. The scenes in Laurent Cantet’s French language film took me back to the thousands of hours I spent teaching migrant students in very multicultural secondary schools in Australia.

If you’ve ever had much to do with adolescents, it is not hard to empathise with its main character François Marin (François Bégaudeau). He struggles to maintain order and purpose for his class of young teenagers whilst trying to create a flexible and humane classroom.

As indicated by the original French title, Between the Walls, this can be a very claustrophobic experience. His teaching space is tiny and sparse with none of the technological aides of 21st Century education. A visit to a fairly primitive computer lab is a refreshing if infrequent break from chalk, leaky ballpoint pens and exercise books. The walled, concrete playground is more like a prison exercise yard, a too-obvious visual metaphor.
Continued at:
The Class: Up close and personal

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Damn the bloggers! Ban them!

So it begins! Apparently police want to "ban" blogs that are breaching the no-publication court order regarding alleged arsonist Brendan Sokaluk:

Victoria Police want to ban messages being posted on internet blogs about accused firebug Brendan Sokaluk.

The publication of Sokaluk's street address and his image has been banned by a court but members of the public have been freely publishing those details on the internet.
Police move to ban blogs on accused firebug The Age 17 February 2009
If it's illegal then prosecutions may be in order. Imagine trying to ban individual blog posts. Like chasing the winds. Perhaps Senator Stephen Conroy's office might have some ideas on how we might deal with rogue bloggers. Add them to the ACMA list perhaps?

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Steve Fielding: Get out of the way!

So Senator Steve Fielding is demanding a $4 billion addition (or is it substitution) to the Rudd government's stimulus package. You have to wonder just what the role of a sole Senator is. Economic management? Grandstanding? Political/economic vandalism? Whatever he thinks it is, I'm sure the overwhelming majority of the Australian electorate have a message for him:

Get out of the way!
You can send him your thoughts at:

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Investors beached in Brighton

Hard times indeed: Brighton beach box market ebbs from high water mark

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The world is watching the Victorian fires

The Huffington Post has been giving extensive coverage to the Victorian bushfires. Their latest item captures both the anger and the sadness that has been expressed globally:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, visibly upset during a television interview, reflected the country's disgust at the idea that arsonists may have set some of the 400 fires that devastated Victoria state, or helped them jump containment lines.

...From the air, the landscape was blackened as far as the eye could see. In at least one town, bodies still lay in the streets. Entire forests were reduced to leafless, charred trunks, farmland to ashes. Victoria police spokeswoman Christie Pengally said the death toll as of late Monday was 166.

At Kinglake, a body covered by a white sheet lay in a yard where every tree, blade of grass and the ground was blackened. Elsewhere in the town, the burned-out hulks of four cars were clustered haphazardly together after an apparent collision. Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio reported a car in a small reservoir, the driver apparently steering there in desperation.
Australian Wildfires Called An Act Of "Mass Murder" By Prime Minister
The international interest in the disaster is illustrated by the most recent visits to this website. Only 17.2% were from Australia. Normally it is more than 50%.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Flick Crit: Changeling

My latest film review on Cinema Takes:

Clint Eastwood’s film Changeling is a straightforward narrative.

As the original newspaper clips on the official website confirm, this is based on a true story, the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders. If you’ve seen LA Confidential then you’re familiar with the Los Angeles Police Department’s corrupt reputation. It’s an earlier time (1928) but things weren’t much better then in the LAPD. In fact it seems that the authorities would do anything to improve their public image including persecuting innocent single mothers.
Continued at:
Changeling: clever serial clichés

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Bushfires devastate Victoria

A cross post for Global Voices:

It is being called Australia’s worst natural disaster. Bushfires have devastated the South East. The worst impact is in Victoria with 108 confirmed deaths and more than 750 houses incinerated. Whole towns such as Marysville have been wiped out, destroying their communities.

Disbelief has been a very common reaction. Daryl Mason at The Orstrahyun:

The scope of the destruction, the scale of human tragedy of the apocalyptic Sunday fires in country Victoria, Australia's worst bushfire disaster, is beyond comprehension.

More than 100 dead, almost 1000 homes, properties and business destroyed, entire towns and villages in country Victoria laid to waste, some 350,000 hectares burned.

Reading through dozens of stories, listening to the stories of remarkably calm and lucid survivors on radio, trying to take in all those images of horror on TV, of entire towns obliterated by fire and cyclonic winds, of lone firefighters taking on five and six story high walls of flames with a single hose, of frantic survivors trying to find missing friends and family members, it's impossible to summarize any of it, all of it.

A Holocaust Of Fire, Cyclones Of Flames, Burn 100 To Death

The indiscriminate nature of the tragedy was brought home by the death of a very well known Victorian, former news reader Brian Naylor. Like most members of our local media he was well acquainted with bushfires. Andrew Norton, at his self-titled blog, paid tribute to him:

Among the 108 confirmed dead as of this morning is Brian Naylor, who read the Channel Nine news for twenty years from 1978, in the years when Nine news dominated the ratings. Almost everyone who lived in Melbourne at that time would have received part of their news from Naylor, who had the sober, sensible and reliable demeanour we prefer in newsreaders, but could also handle the touching or quirky stories that Nine often liked to finish with.

He ended each broadcast with ‘may your news be good news, and goodnight’. It’s so sad that he ended his life as part of a very bad news story, for so many people.

Brian Naylor and dozens of others, RIP

Twitter has been buzzing during this emergency. Annette's Blog, Shoosh, the grown-ups are talking, posted her tweets last night:

# 08:41 Oh dear gods. Woke up to find the #bushfires became a lot worse overnight. It sounds like 2 whole towns got wiped out and familes missing.
# 09:34 In shock. Official said the Vic #bushfires are 300% their WORST cast scenarios! Skynews report:
# 09:54 Bloody hell. Even the Premier is on Twitter @vicpremier. He's asking for blood donations (tho not thru Twitter). Will now watch TV news. eep
# 10:20 Whoa. Just found out that friends who moved to Kinglake lost their home but were among the “lucky ones” who got out alive. o_0 #bushfires
# 11:09 searching for Lixa who lives in the abandoned church in Craigieburn, outside of Melbourne. Worried about her. #bushfires #melbourne

Tweets for Today

Her twitter search is very active.

Meet Me at Mike’s is a craft blog. It took up the issue of how its readers could help:

I know that lots of saddened people want to make SOFTIES to donate to kids affected by these fires. Bianca at The Toy Society posted last night about that - and a couple of people commented here too. I think it's definitely worth making softies to be distributed down the track, once things have settled down a bit, and agencies are accepting that kind of thing. I think they'll be warmly received. But it's really important to try and help with the immediate issues that people are facing too. Donate money. Or donate blood. Or donate your time. You can do that here.

Victorian Bushfires - Ways To Help Today (and Tomorrow!)

The link is to the Red Cross. My mother worked for them at the time of Australia’s previous worst natural disaster, Cyclone Tracy, that hit Darwin in 1974. On Christmas Day, the morning after the cyclone, she woke us up and told us we were would be having lunch without her. We didn’t see much of mum for several weeks. Her usual job was helping to re-unite migrants and refugees who had become separated. She did wait for a phone call. The mass evacuation of Darwin was our own version of these international diasporas.

This is an ongoing emergency with fires still burning out of control and a lot of summer heat to go.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cinema Takes: Doubt

I've started a new Film Review blog for cine philes amongst us:
Cinema Takes. It consolidates all the previous posts. The latest crit is:cinematakes1

Doubt: the power of words

A sample:

Both the film’s strengths and its weaknesses stem from its origin as a play. Most of the real action happens off-camera, reinforcing the mystery. The story is confined to the school and its immediate Bronx neighbourhood. The power is in the dialogue, with Sister Aloysius Beauvier as the focal point for most of the fiery exchanges.

Despite her depiction as “the dragon”, Streep’s Sister Aloysius is too soft compared with the ghosts who haunt my educational childhood memories. Hoffman’s nice guy has us wondering throughout the movie why he became a priest. Aloysius asks him the same question for more sinister reasons.
For more

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Global Voices: towering Babel

A first for Global Voices! A first for the blogosphere!

Greece: Outcry over arms shipment to Israel has now been translated into twenty languages. It was posted on 18 January 2009 by Asteris Masouras.

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Turnbull echoes discredited US Republicans

It is interesting that the discredited US Republicans and Australia Liberals are singing from the same sheet music. Obama and Rudd's stimulus packages are too large and should use tax cuts as their main weapon.

As John Amato argues at the Huffington Post:

Obama was elected to bring change to the economy, not to debate the merits of tax cuts all over again. We had that discussion for 18 months and Obama won. Tax cuts lost. Why is the media ignoring that fact?
Why aren't there hundreds of economists on my TV explaining the stimulus package?
Too large. Should be replaced by tax cuts. This mantra echoes in Australian conservative rhetoric:
Defying the widespread support for the package from economists and business groups, Coalition MPs met early yesterday and backed Mr Turnbull's argument that, despite the political risk, the package was too big and risked passing massive debts to future taxpayers.

Instead, he proposed a smaller package of up to $20billion based on bringing forward tax cuts already planned for July this year and next year.
Battle lines drawn on $42bn plan
It seems that John Howard was not the last to take his lead from Republican politicians.

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Andrew Robb wasting valuable space

Andrew Robb, the Federal Member for Goldstein and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, has just sent out a four page, glossy "Special Family Newsletter' to his electorate.

Despite the claim that it's "with the compliments of" Andrew, I have my usual objections to taxes paying for the publication and postage of blatant propaganda and PR. Given his prominent position on Malcolm Turnbull's team, you'd expect his message to the electors to focus on the current economic crisis.

But Mr. Robb has his priorities right. The centre spread has 'My Times Tables' and '100 Ways to Praise Your Child'. It tells families to, "Remember a HUG is worth 1000 words". Or tens of thousands of dollars of public money in this case.

But there is a message. It contains such gems as:

As we all know, a good education is vital.

Of course, the greatest source of help and support for children are their parents.

A "back to basics' approach mightn't be 'trendy' but getting the fundamentals right is so important.
If Robb is serious about representing his electorate, then public meetings and written communications that address the financial crisis and seek feedback are the least we should expect. Perhaps a public forum on his website might also promote some democratic participation. I suggest the electors use the contact details there to let the Liberals know what they think of their opposition to the stimulus package.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Benjamin Button's Travels in Time

cinematakes1 Despite its 13 oscar nominations (or perhaps because of them) we did not expect The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to be so enjoyable. It isn't overly sentimental and it isn't Forrest Gump in reverse. In fact only Benjamin's World War 2 adventures on a tugboat border on the preposterous plot of that popular epic.

Brad Pitt is very good. He holds his own in a very talented cast. However, he doesn't warrant the academy award for best actor ahead of Mickey Rourke or Sean Penn. He would have had more chance of a supporting actor oscar for Burn After Reading.

It is hard to suspend disbelief in the early parts of Benjamin's life. It seems a bit too much like Bilbo Baggins in old age. It's easier after he leaves home as a fully-grown, if wrinkly adult. Later we are in familiar Pitt territory until his youthful James Dean persona becomes too young for his motorbike.

Cate Blanchett as Daisy gives her usual competent performance but is less than convincing as a ballet dancer. Eric Roth's screenplay cleverly intersects their lives at critical moments for both characters.

The strongest of the female actors are Taraji P. Henson as Button's mother Queenie and Tilda Swinton as his wartime lover Elizabeth Abbott. Henson (and Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler) is far more deserving of the supporting actress academy award than Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Elizabeth's long distance swimming is a nice twist. There is a touch of irony in their younger woman/older man romance which is echoed by Benjamin and Daisy's older woman/younger man encounter later in the film.

The psychological aspects of Button's experiences are far more engaging than his physical metamorphoses. I wonder what Jonathan Swift or Oscar Wilde would have made of all this. Our society's quest for eternal youth and the perfect body are the stuff of social satire. Burn After Reading is a good example. At times The Curious Case takes itself too seriously. It isn't funny enough given its subject matter.

The reading of Benjamin's diary as narration for the story is a tired device. However, the clever use of Hurricane Katrina as background to the unfolding episodes in Benjamin's life overcomes the shortcomings of this cinematic cliché.

Don't be put off by the inevitable preconceptions created by the film's publicity. It's worth seeing on the big screen.

More film reviews at Cinema Takes

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Gay Pride

Seems a fitting follow-up to my Harvey Milk post yesterday. During the film Milk jokes that a death threat was probably sent by the police. We've come a long way in 20 years. Victoria's Police Commissioner, Christine Nixon, is to be congratulated for her support of and attendance at the Melbourne's Pride March:

It was the second and final time Ms Nixon would lead a contingent of uniformed officers in the march, which is now in its 14th year and celebrates Victoria's gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex community.

The first time she marched, in 2002, it drew controversy. This time, it was celebrated.
Nixon gets pride of place in gay parade (The Age 2 February 2009)
Another first was the naming of Johanna Sigurdardottir as the new Prime Minister of Iceland:
The 66-year-old's appointment as interim leader - until elections in May - is seen by many as a milestone for the gay and lesbian movement, correspondents say.

Ms Sigurdardottir - who has never hidden her sexuality - is, nevetherless, very private about her personal life, never discussing it in public.

She married her companion Jonina Ledsdottir in 2002, according to AFP news agency.
First gay PM for Iceland cabinet

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Harvey Milk: fighting for their lives

Milk has been deservedly nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor. This conventional but gripping narrative covers the years of Harvey Milk's ground-breaking political coming out. Sean Penn gives a masterly performance as the first openly gay elected official in the U.S. as we follow Milk from his arrival in San Fransisco in 1972 till his assassination in 1978. He is supported by a very strong cast.

Milk became, in the character's words, "a gay with power". His murder was the price he paid for exercising that power. He won many battles not just his election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was instrumental in defeating John Briggs' Proposition 6 referendum in 1978. Inspired by morals campaigner Anita Bryant and the religious right, it sought to ban gay and lesbian employment in state schools. Harvey gained the support of a diverse group including Ronald Reagan, then ex-governor of California, past President Gerald Ford and serving President Jimmy Carter. This was no mean feat given the recent passing by 52% of Proposition 8 banning same sex marriage in California.

Gus Van Sant has directed a fast moving story with an authentic atmosphere. The 70s are alive again for just a couple of hours. We could do with a lot more Harvey's. His catchcry, "you have to give them hope", could have been from the Obama campaign. Part biopic, part polemic: don't miss it.

More film reviews at Cinema Takes

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Flick Crit: Frost/Nixon

I have clear memories of watching President Richard Nixon's resignation speech live in '74. Just as we had watched Nixon congratulating Neil Armstrong after his walk on the moon in '69. Tricky had a real sense of occasion as we also saw when he joined Mao Zedong on the Great Wall of China whilst secretly waging war in Cambodia. For the anti-Vietnam War generation, these interviews with David Frost were supposed to nail him. He owed an apology for Watergate, pure and simple.

Despite its straightforward narrative style Frost/Nixon is not simple. Neither adversary is presented one dimensionally. Nixon is not pure evil nor is Frost a completely naive political novice.

This film is supposed to be the story behind their on-camera clash. Like all historical dramas, it is problematic and fiction of course. With David Frost at the nadir of his media career, he needed a confession about Watergate from the disgraced President if he was to resurrect himself. Above all he had to make the interviews a winner as he had staked his own financial future on the project. Ironically, Nixon is portrayed as agreeing to the interviews more for money than from his obvious desire for some kind of public rehabilitation. On top of that his love of political combat is presented as a key motivation.

In the acting bout, Frank Langella's Nixon wins on points over Michael Sheen's Frost. Director Ron Howard achieves a fine balance between mimicry and characterisation. Masterly use of physical resemblance, voice and mannerism creates tiny moments when each actor is completely cloaked in his character. This is acting of the finest quality, not mere impersonation.

Richard Nixon was a giant and an enigma. His policy of détente with both the USSR and Mao's China was bold and unprecedented. His duplicitous role in widening the Indo-china conflict was abhorrent. His approach to his domestic enemies was both paranoid and criminal. It culminated in his forced resignation over the cover-up of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate building in Washington.

The film concludes with Nixon confiding to Frost that he wished he liked people, a strange weakness in a politician. He was a great hater. Disputes as to the accuracy of the screenplay are raging. However, the original interviews are an historical source that is only rivaled by the incriminating tapes from the Oval Office. Nixon gave a long-winded answer as to why he allowed the taping and didn't destroy them. The real reason was probably a three letter word: ego. Expletive deleted.

Frost/Nixon reminds us that there was more to this flawed man than his enemies often recognised. Visit the official website for more on this battle of egos.

cinematakes1 More film reviews at Cinema Takes

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