Friday, July 05, 2019

Some varyingly lovely films in the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Hamada was a lovely insight into a bunch of young people living in a refugee camp in the formerly Spanish owned portion of Morocco. It's beautifully shot, potentially suffers from the lack of a proper narrative thread as many documentaries do but was funny and charming and surprising. (I expected unrelenting misery and got pranky entertainment.) And it was most remarkable as the director shot it all, knowing not a word of their language (unless they spoke Spanish), and could only edit the footage once he'd had it all translated.

A Girl From Mogadishu certainly wasn't the best film I've ever seen. It veered oddly between being a recreation of an actual story that sometimes strayed into sort of documentary that was a little sliver too sentimental in my humble opinion. And yet Ifrah Ahmed's story is incredible and then, to my ridiculously overwhelmed astonishment, Ifrah herself popped up at the end of the film along with the director and they chatted away about life, her story and her excellent Foundation.

And Scheme Birds was just super duper tickety boo. And it was sort of piercing. That one, I would certainly catch if you can.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Still playing catch up. This is one of my favourite photos from the whole shebang. Me from blessed behind and they in the beautiful venue. 

There was a funny moment the other night. I went to the cinema. It's been the Edinburgh Film Festival the past couple of weeks. BS and Siobhan and I sat before the film began and BS told me of a book he'd been reading about Joan of Arc. Suddenly, the door next to me swung open and a woman burst through and said "the flowers still look wonderful, you know. Maybe even better."

When my frail mind sorted through the possible candidates, I eventually realised it was the mother of Joan of Arc. Ours, anyway. Remembering how terribly sad I felt the morning after dear #likes didn't progress through to the second round and how Siobhan had sent me flowers that cheered my heart, I'd sent flowers to our Joan. Now, "our" Joan is on holiday in Croatia. Life obligingly goes on.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

And then you must consider - as these were all taken by the wonderful Jon Davey without the support of any additional lighting - that it all looked better under electric light. 

We filmed little trailers which will live on, on our Facebook page, and featured these beautiful people singing and singing as Joan approached delivering her "rap".
Sorry. Poor neglected blog. Not that any of you actually care. But still. I've felt guilty.

I blame at the end of my tether tiredness.

So retracing my steps, there was also this.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

I know you'll be in a state of monstrous suspense with regard to my research on the Inquisition but I fear you might have to wait a while to hear more on that. 

Meantime, you may enjoy this.

And this

I did.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

At last! These are out on the loose. So I can revel in them. Beautiful pics of our Joan with Bellfield in the background. Love it! With all thanks to Jon Davey.

(Part two.)

The librarian could not. He told me the book cost £90. They didn't have a copy in the lbrary. I felt sad and crushed.


He thought they might have a copy in the university library. 

He looked it up.


They had it.

But then there's the tiny flaw that I can't get into the university library. (And I felt a brief flood of nostalgia for the days when I revised (the brief days) from home in Nottingham at the local university library during my summer holidays.)

But wait!

The man - the librarian man - tells me of a miraculous card that the library provides that gives you access to many many other libraries in Edinburgh, including the university library. "It only lasts for a year", he said apologetically. Well, friend, I have four weeks (at that point) so that's not too much of an issue.

Better and better. (Another miracle of Joan.) He can prepare one of these special little cards for me there and then. My heart dances. I skip awayh from the library reflecting on how lucky I am to live in a world where there is so much access to information. Lucky days. 

So that Saturday, I hurriedly head into town, bound for the university library, heart full of hope and a yearning for Inquisitorial answers. 

Again, I need to dismount the bus. To be continued.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

In a final flurry of inquisitiveness about the history we're about to represent on stage, I've been questing to find out about the Inquisition.

Which is a funny endeavour as surely everyone has heard of the Inquisition and I know it's Spanish and somehow fanatical and something to do with the church. But in actuality, I don't know anymore than that. 

We have a stern character in the play who is called The Inquisitor. We don't know anything of him or his background, beyond knowing that he's sent from Spain. But he is all sorts of mean to Joan and seems to delight in creepily stamping all over her. So I am eager to find out how historically accurate Anouilh's representation is. If only to allow us to ignore all we find as it's not anywhere near the script. 

So I finally got round to looking up some books. (My history tutors would turn in their not yet graves as I go to the Guardian and find out what they've reviewed and use that as my start. How populist.)

I ordered these books from the library. My dear local library that has given me books on testosterone and gender and 13 year old boys with autism and books by Hilary Mantel and all the goodness. 

And one turned up last week. Some fat tome about the Spanish Inquisition. I poured over it as I walked home from the library, prompting a passer-by to call cheerily that this must be a good book. I resisted the temptation to flaunt the (erudite in comparison to my usual diet) cover at her, therefore confirming my status as lunatic and darted home. 

To discover that the Inquisition in Spain was set up at least fifty years after little Joany was burnt. (Which took place in 1431.)


I felt alarmed. My world shifted and rocked slightly on its foundations. Surely Anouilh wasn't writing lies?

I anxiously turned back to the internet. At the library. Somehow certain that their book catalogue would give me a more accurate read on events than Google. Though in fact, through incompetence, I failed to access the library's book catalogue on their in-library computers and was too embarrassed to ask so I ended up using Google in the library.

And discovered that the Inquisition in France sprung up in medieval times.

Phew. Ok. So that's all good. 

So then (trusty Guardian) I found a book on the Inquisition in the middle years in France. I hurried to the librarian with quaking heart. Could he find it for me?

(I need to get off the bus and go to work - so you'll have to wait in suspense!)

Friday, May 10, 2019

In amongst what appears to be an endless to do list, Scottish Ballet's Spring! was totally enchanting. We were sat right up front, at the conductor's shoulder, so had a superb view of the orchestra during the extremely tasteful (to my ignorant mind) Mozart medley. And then pole position seats for the quirky flirty lovely Scott Joplin. A proper treat.

I've also squished in a wonderfully dark TV show called Hinterland. It's a gloomy detective show set in a tiny village in Wales. And if I say it's proper Scandi Noir stuff, that's intended as a great compliment. I watched the first series with relish, as I'd understood it to consist of only four episodes ever.  And for anyone who's ever tried to stagger through seven series' of something, this is an undoubted bonus. Looking it up now, I discover there's more. I might have to succumb.