Category Archives: review

Madame X vs. Homophobia

The 28th Imagine Festival in Amsterdam showed the Indonesian movie Madame X, directed by Lucky Kuswandi. It is a hilarious yet multilayered film about the extravagant superhero Madame X starring Amink Sugandhi, a well-known comedian in Extravaganza on Trans TV. One of the layers of the movie is a social complaint against religious fanaticism. The film’s premiere coincided with the passing of the anti-pornography law in 2010. This law is widely regarded as a step towards a strict Islamic Law. The nightlife people like dancers and transsexuals are at risk at being arrested or, like in the movie, attacked by homophobic gangs.

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Being Emo in Baghdad

Earlier this month worldwide media reported that dozens of kids were killed in Iraq. All of them supposedly were supporters of the emo-lifestyle. Emo originated out of the pop culture of the nineteen-eighties, but has gone a long way since and became a popular lifestyle for Western youth, even to this day. Emo as a fashion statement comes in many forms and shapes and is impossible to accurately describe, but generally it is associated with heavy make up, dark clothes, painted hair and androgynous looks. In Iraq this is considered to be synonymous with homosexuality, which apparently is the reason for these organized killings and the publication of an online death list of 33 youngsters who are condemned for their appearance.

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Will Tibetan cultural identity be erased?

It can be hard for the Tibetan people to keep the international community interested in their cause. A week ago we have read in the news that Tibetans  set themselves on fire to protest China’s repression of Tibet (New York Times). China occupied Tibet in the 1950’s and considers itself a liberator of Tibet. The documentary Tibet in Song (2009) gives a historical overview and shows how the Chinese regime tries to erase the Tibetan cultural identity.

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Afghan Star, the Documentary

Afghan Star is a talent show on Afghan television, like Idols in the West. In the search of the next generation of (pop) stars, over 2000 people from all over the country auditioned, among them three women. Filmmaker Havana Marking made a fascinating movie, Afghan Star, the Documentary (2009), about the situation in Afghanistan we haven’t seen in the daily news. The documentary follows the three months process from the regional auditions to the final in Kabul.  The organizers of the popular show believe they can ‘move people from guns to music’.  Voting by sms the public can decide which of the singers are going to stay and which one has to leave.

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