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152. Capernaum – This Just In (#118)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Jay Coyle and Ronan Doyle, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This week, Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum.

In a Lebanese court room, a young boy takes his parents to court. He accuses them of a horrendous crime, blaming them for giving him life. As Zain reflects on a childhood shaped by trauma and suffering, the court wrestles with questions of responsibility and accountability.

At time of recording, it was ranked 118th on the Internet Movie Database’s list of the best movies of all-time.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation – The High Ground (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

The High Ground is a rather earnest issue-driven episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, dealing with one of the big issues of the day: international terrorism. However, the moral ambiguity of terrorism was a decidedly more contentious and controversial issue in early 1990 than the plight of Vietnam veterans explored in The Hunted or the Cold War politics of The Defector.

The High Ground is an allegory for the Troubles in Northern Ireland at a point in time where the Troubles were on-going. 1990 saw a number of high-profile terrorist actions conducted by the IRA. They bombed the London Stock Exchange in July. Using an explosive device, they murdered Sergeant Charles Chapman in May. Nobody has ever been prosecuted for his death. In February 1991, the IRA launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street. So this was the context in which The High Ground aired.

And, to be fair, there’s something admirable about the show’s willingness to engage with a controversial issue, even if the end result leaves a lot to be desired.

Holding hands around the universe...

Holding hands around the universe…

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Non-Review Review: Incendies

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

Incendies looks absolutely beautiful. The cinematography on show is absolutely stunning. It’s a powerful exploration of the religious divide in Lebanon, and it packs quite a lot of punch. However, as a film, it never really works. It’s structure seems almost illogical, with information often being repeated or rendered redundant, and it works on a series of awkwardly-contrived coincidences which strain the viewer’s credibility (which is especially glaring when the film plays off real-life atrocities). It seems far too assured of its own merits, and could have done with some serious revision before release.

Scorched earth...

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Non-Review Review: Waltz With Bashir

Waltz With Bashir garnered quite a bit of attention on its release – winning all sorts of awards and even receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film (though it didn’t get a nomination for Best Animated Film – because, didn’t you know, animation is for kids?). An animated film from Israel, it’s a very interesting look at the Lebanese War, and what we tend to remember and – more importantly – what we tend to forget in hindsight.

Tanks for the memories...

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