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tv   Talking Movies  BBC News  March 19, 2017 9:30pm-10:01pm GMT

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the latest headlines from bbc news. i'm geeta guru—murthy. the head of a us congressional committee on intelligence says he's seen no evidence that donald trump's team worked with russia during the presidential election campaign. devin nunes also said there was no evidence that former president obama ordered wiretaps of trump tower. iraqi forces say they are closing in on mosul‘s great mosque as they fight to push islamic state out of the city. the mosque was where is announced a caliphate, and its recapture would have great symbolic importance. rebels have launched a major offensive against syrian government positions in the east of the capital, damascus. the armed groups are reported to have used secret tunnels as part of a suprise attack. germany's social democrats have chosen the former president of the european parliament, martin schulz, to lead them in their country's election. mr schulz said he would resist anyone who tried to drive a wedge between germany and the eu. at ten o'clock, mishal husain will be here with a full round—up of the day's news.
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first, talking movies: hello and welcome to austin, in texas, in our special south by southwest film festival edition of talking movies, i'm tom brook. in today's programme, the festival's opening night film from a visionary american director. did it live up to expectations? most films out there have the same formula. and terence malik has a different formula. the action—oriented big budget films also came to town. hopefully the movie just takes someone on a ride. it is designed to be seen large and loud. the south by southwest film have a special resonance in these
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politically charged times. it a film that totally normalises the image of the average american muslim and also the average american mexican immigrant. this is about religious freedom. and oscar winer melissa leo playing an activist atheist once dubbed "the most hated woman in america". i think the question of religious freedom has come up again in our world. plus an experimental film that uses the rat as the storytelling device. a rat nibbled the egg and let the light in. all that and more in this special south by southwest film festival edition of talking movies. austin has been enveloped by south by southwest — a sprawling interactive media, music and film festival that overwhelms the city. this year, the nine—day film portion of this annual extravaganza showcased some 130 features. the south by southwest film festival
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opened amid great excitement as stars arrived for the premiere of song to song. it is the ninth feature film from revered american director terence malik. it is very much a local tale involving interconnected lovers set against the backdrop of the music scene in austin. the key relationship is between struggling song writers, faye and bv, played by rooney mara and ryan gosling. but faye is also involved with cook, a desolute music executive, portrayed by michael fassbender. i play somebody who is sort of trying to find some sort of transcendence, in a way, and he does that through sexual encounters, though drugtaking, any heightened experience. he is somebody who is very manipulative but also somebody who is really i think a little bit lost himself. a very powerful, very wealthy but has a very destructive side, and self—destructive as well. don't you want to make some money?
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song to song has many of the hallmarks of a terence malik film. visually arresting, lots of voice—over monologues from the actors, little conventional dialogue. a story that is more impressionistic than literal. to some it had an intoxicating effect. malik‘s actors are certainly intoxicated by him. he is one of the most unique, original humans i have ever met or spent time with. he is so brilliant and so... just his own person. this was one of the most unique experiences i have ever had. i'm sure i'll never have another experience like it. no one is making movies in this way, really. he makes beautiful films. what is interesting about terry is he makes them very differently from what the usual formula is. most films out there have the same formula and terence malik has a different formula and i think that's the interesting part about him.
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whatever i wanted, he'd make it happen. terence malik does not do interviews. he has become a mythicalfigure. partly because he withdrew from filmmaking for two decades after his first two successful features in the 1970s. since his award—winning 2011 picture, the tree of life, his most recent films have not brought him much praise. what everyone going to south by southwest wanted to know, would song to song restore his reputation as a visionary american director? but critics for the most part panned song to song, one calling it sprawling yet shallow. what is it you do? i'm a driver. more enthusiasm was expressed for the festival's hollywood studio movies. baby driver was well liked. a car—chase film with wall—to—wall music, with ansel elgort as a getaway driver. at the premier, he was in full promotional mode. it is really fun for everyone. very fun movie theatre movie, a date movie, a movie you can
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go with your friends. it could be anything. baby driver has been put together by british direct edgar wright. ansel‘s character is somebody that plays music 24/7 to motive him and focus him at what he does. it is something he cannot live without and that is the movie you see, this heist film set to music. also earning some decent reviews was atomic blonde, the graphic novel adaptation in which charlize theron plays a lethal mi6james bond—style spy on assignment in 1989 berlin. i would do anything for my girl. a 2003 film, the room, dubbed the citizen kane of bad movies, provided inspiration for the disaster artist, a satire on the making of that film, which brought enormous credit to its star, producer and directorjames franco. the narrative films at south by southwest are a bit of a mishmash but several had immigrant themes.
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where are you? something massive come up. filmmaker anthony onah brought dara ju to the festival — a portrait of a young nigerian american who works on wall street, striving for success, weighed down by obligations to his immigrantfamily. in telling the story of this particular guy who i found fascinating in the course of developing dara ju — he is at once an american with dreams of upward mobility, he's at once an african, and he's at once a black man, and in telling his story and looking at hese differents facets of his character you get a sense of the immigrant experience through this very particular lens, that of the nigerian american experience, and in a weay you get a sense of what the country is like now. and finally, there's signature move, the story of a muslim lesbian immigration lawyer in chicago, whose love for a mexican american woman and her interest in wrestling puts her in conflict with her very traditional pakistani mother. the film star and co—writer acknowledges that in the light
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of polarizing views in america over immigration, herfilm is indeed being perceived in political terms. i was making a story that was about muslims and mexicans before donald trump made it popular to talk about muslims and mexicans in the same sentence. i didn't set out to make a political movie, i set out to tell a story that reflected the people i know, the truth that i know, the love that i see. now let's look at some south by southwest films in a bit more detail. this year there were two documentaries which explored incidents of unarmed black men being shot by the police. cases such as these have become an almost routine aspect of life in america today. one of the films focuses on the shooting of a man called dontre hamilton. 11—46 — shots fired. shots fired, an officer involved. inmflwajflcee, wlsmnsmr dontre hamilton was napping in a public park. citizens called police
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repeatedly to complain that hamilton looked suspicious. an altercation between a police officer and the unarmed hamilton ensued and the officer fired 1a bullets, shooting him to death. later it was revealed that hamilton was diagnosed schizophrenic. director eric young found elements of this story troubling so he made contact with the hamilton family. i travel all around. i had done some stories with social activism within milwaukee so i knew of the first main rallies that the hamilton families had. a lot of the people that showed up, they knew me and they could vouch for me. having said that, i approached the family right off the bat and kind of tried to explain what i was doing. i was a little bit nervous. i think they just thought i was another news crew but i kept coming to all the rallies and talking to them more and they got a better sense of what i was trying to do.
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did you have any reservations that you're a white person telling a story rooted in black experiences? that's something that was always concerning to me. i was working on this project for a long time, i had a lot of self—doubt throughout the process, like, "am i the right person to tell this story? am i missing something? where are my blind spots? we tried to consult with people and you do the best you can but it is definitely something that crossed my mind and it was a concern for sure. chant: hands up. don't shoot. lyung gives us a documentary that shows more than just a family's grief over the shooting of a loved one. in the film, frustration builds as the city of milwaukee takes months at a time to officially respond to this tragedy. during that period, nate and maria hamilton — dontre‘s brother and mother — became more politically active. our film is unique in that we were
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really on the ground right after this happened following the family as they're going through the process of trying to reset the narrative in the media about their loved one and about fighting forjustice and this family is really unique in that they are kind of leading the social movement in milwaukee. organise a group called coalition forjustice. they got community members to come out once a week and they would talk about what the plan is for this week. and they used very structured actions. in the film, we see the formation of the coalition forjustice as they protest in the streets, rally against police and even quarrelled with others over political tactics. the director says his agenda was less political and more about portraying a family driven to action by the loss of a loved one. my main thing was really ijust wanted to show from a family's perspective because i think it is easy for people to sit back and judge this family from the comments and facebook.
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if you got to know this family, anybody can relate to this family. nate and maria are really good people and a lot of fun and even despite the tragedy they maintained a sense of humour and were able to have a good time. what would you do if that happened? given that there are numerous instances of police shootings of unarmed black americans like dontre hamilton, television airways are often thick with news reports of these tragedies and some believe the public has become numbed. can a documentary make any difference? dontre‘s brother nate hamilton believes in the film's ability to impact individuals more than anything else. everything in this film will show our self expression of the love we have for our family and the love that has grown for the community.
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seeing this film you can say i have seen this family, i can see myself in this family, and if it happened to me, now i can see myself marching in protest and talking to officials the same way this family was with courage, dignity and self—respect. the story raises question about how the milwaukee police department handle this racially charged case. the film has topicality because at the end of last month, president trump's new attorney generaljeff sessions indicated the federal government will pull back on investigating police departments that may have violated the civil rights of minorities. erik lyung says he finds jeff sessions' rhetoric terrifying. he has only been in the white house for a few weeks but already president trump with his policies on everything from immigration to the environment is changing the way the rest of the world sees america.
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perceptions of america and how they match with reality are the film of a documentary called maineland. director miao wang came to south by southwest with the film mainland. the documentary follows two chinese teenagers, stella and harry, who travel to the us to study at a private boarding school in the state of maine. stella and harry are part of a bigger phenomenon of economically privileged students from china on study abroad programmes in the us. there is an enormous wave of chinese students coming to the us and to other parts of the world who seek higher education so they can experience american culture and learn the language. the goal for most of these students is to go to college in the us and afterwords it is more of an open question mark — do they go back or stay? maineland touches on the differences between chinese and american culture. it is the subject matter familiar to the director because she grew up
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in china and moved to the us when she was 13. in herfilm, stella porders how the concept of happiness varies between the two countries. she talks about how the chinese happiness is different from the american happiness. in america a lot of times people go to a sports game and feel really happy but in china most people just do not... there has to be some kind of basic, fundamental security... like financial security before people can really feel like they can allow themselves to be truly happy and i think in some ways she appreciates elements of the american... that sort of carefreeness. maineland shows that for these chinese students, coming to america is a sobering experience. they had this idealistic american dream which is you can
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probably become wealthy, have a nice life here. but in a lot of ways, they are worse than china. mainland took three years to make and was shot in the us and china. the director lets the visuals speak for themselves. at south by southwest, it won an award for excellence in observational humour. i watched a famous movie called high school musical and decided to study in america. one austin resident who loomed large was madalyn murray o'hare, an activist atheist. she was once lauded as the most
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hated woman in america. now there is a movie about her rise and very lurid fall. the film shows her as a larger—than—life figure. her actor applauds her achievements. in the early 1960s, single—handedly, with the help of her young son, she got christian prayer out of public schools in the united states of america by taking it to the supreme court where it was found to be indeed an infringement on the constitution. you have just ruined a television show. she became a media star and was a difficult woman according to many accounts. she had an interesting relationship with her father. he was too religious and she needed something to strike out against.
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as she got older and became more and more committed to the notion and got more and more informed about all of it, she also went on later in her life to form the american atheist association. the director said he was interested in the dynamics of her family life. i wanted to tell a story about a woman who had a very complex relationship with her family. a person who really believed in something and was seduced by the limelight and greed and ended up pushing away many of those people that loved her the most. hello. knowledgeable that the american atheist empire had sizeable funds, he saw an opportunity. she was kidnapped along
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with her son and granddaughter and they were all murdered by him in 1985. he was a career criminal. he was fascinating and deeply charming. and i think very much they had this rather extraordinary and bizarre relationship. o'hare and her relatives were mutilated and buried and it was indeed a gruesome end. there were documentaries made about her, but this new film is a fictionalised account. liberties were taken, but the director says a lot was true. a lot comes directly from interviews. we are lucky to have quite a few books that she wrote and plenty of articles and tv appearances to pull from. religious conservatives who believe there is a place for prayer in public schools grobablg will not7= but to her supporters, this film shows her achievements still have great topical relevance. the question of religious freedom has come up again in our world,
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i don't think it actually died away. i think it gives us pause to many of the things she says and what she says in the film. she is not asking people to stop their religion, she is not asking people to believe what she believes, she does not want to be rolled over into someone else‘s belief and be made to do things according to someone else‘s belief. that is it. and after all, that is truly the american way. nobody can hurt me. as a festival, south by southwest is jampacked with corporate branding. but some subversive works do emerge from under the commercial infrastructure. for example, this year was rat film, a truly idiosyncratic documentary which defies easy categorisation. tristan daley reports. in his first documentary feature, rat film, theo anthony uses the rat
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to explore different topics, like housing discrimination, and current methods of pest control. it takes place in baltimore and uses the rat as a tool. i don't have strong feelings for the rat, but i do believe in the rat as a vessel to explain the ideas and histories of people. that is what i am interested in, not actually the rat. anything that cuts across boundaries and moves people. i could have made a film about garbage routes. anything that transverses distance and people and geography has the potential to create really strange connections. the film shows how discrimination contributed to the rise of rat populations in poor neighbourhoods in baltimore. videogame perspectives showed
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the perspective of the rats. the rat is a theme throughout. but critics could say it lacks coherence. there are so many ideas. i don't want to be confined to a mythical linear narrative that will give catharsis and resolution at the end. anything that i try to push back on, that expectation of solution and a payoff and coming out of the film learning what we have to do next. i think the most effective a film can be is that you come out feeling radically different and not knowing what to do. and i think that is the most important step. open interpretation seems to be theo anthony's biggest priority. watching rat film, it's easy to feel
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that the animals are being used to show something profound. but he says there is no singular interpretation. it is whatever you bring to it. if you want to see people running around baltimore killing or helping rats, it has that. if you want to learn about how a city is mapped and modelled and built, you can do that as well. rat film premiered to positive reviews. it seems fitting that this should screen at south by southwest, which is known for its mixed—media brand. anthony hopes this home—grown project will for a wrench into the expectations of the audience about what a documentary film should be. well, that brings this special south by southwest film festival edition of talking movies to a close. we hope you enjoyed the show. you can always find us online and at facebook.
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from me and the rest of the talking movies crew, it's goodbye, as we leave you with one of the music videos shown here at south by southwest. # girl, you're too young, don't give up on life. # don't, don't give up on life. # don't stop believing #. # girl, you're too young, don't give up on life. # don't, don't give up on life. # don't stop believing #. # girl, you're too young, don't give up on life. hello. most of march has been pretty
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mild so far with mild nights, not many places have seen frost in the past few weeks, but that is all set to change. the early spring flowers are infora to change. the early spring flowers are in for a bit of a shock as we see much colder air coming through across the country bringing wintry showers and overnight frosts. the cold air will be pushing in across the uk and bringing plenty of showers, but there will be sunshine between the showers. monday looks like it will be wet across england and wales. the rain becoming confined towards the south—eastern quadrant. behind it, cooler, fresher air, brighter but showers turning increasingly wintry over scotland and the high ground. the last of the double—digit across the south—east, other temperatures in single
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figures. plenty of showers moving into the north and west through monday night, wintry over the hills and even down to lower levels, and we could see some problems with ice first thing on tuesday. into tuesday, low pressure always nearby, a blustery day with lots of showers, but we do start on a cold and widespread frost across the country, but bright with some sunshine for many southern and eastern areas. showers from the word go, and they are also pushing towards wales and the west country, could even see some snow on the higher ground. it will feel really cold even down to lower levels, widespread temperatures in single figures. on wednesday, low pressure still with us wednesday, low pressure still with us for many southern parts of the uk, quitea us for many southern parts of the uk, quite a lot of cloud at times
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and strong winds, too. it will be damp across central and southern parts with more persistent rain, but a cold start again for scotland and northern ireland, frost around and sunshine through the day, and a cold field to things when you add on a strong north—easterly wind. low pressure still with us as we head into thursday, bringing a lot of cloud, perhaps a little further north as well. it will feel quite brought in the north where it. toff ona brought in the north where it. toff on a cold note once again. some of this rain will have snow over the higher ground of england and wales. on into friday, the low—pressure ebbs a little further south, and allows high pressure to come in across the north and build in for many central and northern areas, so for friday, a north—south split, may be severe frost in places through the north, staying down through central and southern areas, and may be signs of temperatures just wanting to rise just that little
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bit. into next week and beyond, potentially into the start of april, high pressure to dominate much of the country, low—pressure to the south with a zone of cloudy, damper weather across southern areas. this will be the setup with many areas cold and frosty, sunshine towards the south, and cloudy skies with outbreaks of rain. the nights will be chilly, with a continuation of overnight frosts, in the south generally cloudy with some rain and a lwa ys generally cloudy with some rain and always more of a breeze in the south, which will be coming in from the east. winter is set to bite back. the plight of the civilians of western mosul — a special report on the hardship after so called islamic state. there are chaotic scenes in iraq's second city as the authorities try to provide for up to half a million people. they say they have no running water, no electricity, no access to medical supplies and people in the queue are really afraid that the food is going to run out before they are able to get some.
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