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A Spotlight on African Cinema: Hyenas

7 Oct
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Kanopy is an excellent platform to check out movies from all over the world. One fantastic film I discovered recently was the Senegalese movie “Hyenas” from 1992. It is based on the play “The Visit” by Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt and directed by the highly-acclaimed Djibril Diop Mambéty.

In the movie, a woman named Ramatou returns to her home village of Colobane, where she had been banished 30 years earlier for having gotten pregnant out of wedlock. Colobane is now a very impoverished place and upon hearing of Ramatou’s return, the people of Colobane feel hopeful that she will help them. They have heard that she has become “richer than the World Bank.” But Ramatou only has one thing on her mind – she wants revenge on the man who impregnated her and refused to accept their child, forcing her to be ostracized and having to leave the village into a life of unknowable hardships.

The cinematography is wonderful, there are several breathtaking shots, and the music that plays throughout the film is superb. The themes of the movie are extremely thought-provoking, and there are no easy answers.

When people think of world cinema, many think of Europe and nowadays, Asia. But the continent of Africa has a lot to offer, too. Ignoring African cinema is ignoring wonderful gems like this film.

Written by:
Sam Evaristo
Circulation Assistant
Grand St. Branch

A Buzz Worthy Read: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

9 Sep

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around the new book A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green. I knew it was a sequel to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, which has been on my to-read list for a while, so I decided to finally cross that book off my list.

I was honestly surprised at how good this book was! An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is the story of April May, a young woman who becomes viral on Youtube after filming her encounter with a large statue she names Carl. It turns out that there is much more to Carl that meets the eye, as several Carls turn up around the world and they are made of a material
whose properties make absolutely no sense on planet Earth.

The story is an impressive description of what happens to people on social media. It accurately describes how social media exacerbates certain human emotions: the need for attention, the need to be liked and seen, the need for validation, the need to be right. It demonstrates the destructive nature of it, but Green also demonstrates how it can be used to bring people together. The tension felt throughout the book is that of hope vs fear.

And it’s no surprise that the world of internet fame is so well-described一the author is one-half of the famous Vlogbrothers Youtube channel which he shares with his brother, John Green (yes, that John Green), and the brains behind many other projects such as the CrashCourse channels, SciShow, etc. But don’t let his online persona or his association with his brother affect your view of this story. I must make this clear: This is NOT a John Green book, nor does it cater to the same audience. Hank Green very much has his own voice, and frankly, it’s one worth reading/listening to without needing to compare it to his brother’s.

I’m very much looking forward to checking out A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, although first, I need to recover from the emotional hangover An Absolutely Remarkable Thing left me with!

Written by:
Sam Evaristo
Circulation Assistant, Grand St. Branch

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