31 dic 2011

Rough Magic


Title: Rough Magic 
Year: 1995 
Director: Clare Peploe 
Writer: James Hadley Chase, Robert Mundi, William Brookfield, Clare Peploe 
Cast: Bridget Fonda, Russell Crowe
Running time: 100 minutes   
Country: USA 

Plot summary of ROUGH MAGIC: 

Set in the 1950s, Rough Magic tells the story of what happens when a pretty apprentice magician goes to Mexico to escape her fiancé, a wealthy politician, and to find a Mayan shaman who will teach her ancient principles of magic. She is being trailed by a detective hired by her fiancé. He's a former photojournalist traumatized by what he saw in Hiroshima. The photojournalist joins her in the search for the Mayan shaman, and falls in love with her; the feeling is not reciprocated. When she finds the shaman, she drinks a potion which empowers her to do magic. The potion has life-changing effects on her and her relationship with her companion. They have strange experiences which are brought about by magic. 

© Text and image: Wikipedia and IMDB 

Although set in the maya region of Mexico, the movie shows some footage filmed in the lava fields of PARICUTIN volcano in Michoacán State. You can read more about this volcano on this blog entry [in spanish].

27 dic 2011

Art of the Dogon

The Art of The Dogon, ETHNIKKA blog for human cultural knowledge
Title: Art of the Dogon 
Author: Jan Baptist Bedaux 
Year of publication: 2012 
Paperback: 368 pages 
Language: English 
Synopsis(Some information by the author himself): 
My name is Jan Baptist Bedaux and I would like to tell you something about my new book  Art of the Dogon. A private collection of Dogon material culture, Bedaux Art Editions, Brussels 2012, 368 pp, 745 ills. in full colour, hard cover 30 x 30 cm, ISBN/EAN 978-90-818531-0-, that will appear in January 2012.
In the summer of 1975 I had my first encounter with the cultures of the Dogon and Tellem. This was at Utrecht University’s Institute for Human Biology, whose exhibition represented over ten years’ research by the institute’s staff in the Republic of Mali in the area where the Dogon live and before them the Tellem.
The exhibition showed a wealth of items that had been placed in the caves as grave gifts for the Tellem dead – artefacts that were a constant inspiration to me when I founded my collection. In the same year, I acquired my first Tellem neckrests, which were included two years later in the Tellem exhibition in the Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal. These were soon followed by the first statues, which I bought in Paris from Michel Huguenin, Félicia Dialossin and Robert Duperrier.
My 35 years of collecting since then have created a collection that gives a broad view of the material culture of the Dogon and Tellem.
In my view, the value of the collection lies not just in its breadth, but also in the sheer variety of items. For, when compiling it, I was always guided by my ongoing fascination with the wide diversities within the Tellem and Dogon cultures.
The book contains 745 illustrations and descriptions of 650 objects spread over 368 pages. The cost is 95 € (without shipping).
Almost none of the items were ever published before. I am sure the collection will surprise you.
For a taste of Art of the Dogon click here (pdf).
As a bonus you get a signed copy when you buy through the website www.bedauxart.nl
©Text: Bedaux Art

25 dic 2011

Mazu belief and customs

Mazu belief in China, Ethnikka blog for cultural knowledge
As the most influential goddess of the sea in China, Mazu is at the centre of a host of beliefs and customs, including oral traditions, religious ceremonies and folk practices, throughout the country’s coastal areas. Mazu is believed to have lived in the tenth century on Meizhou Island, where she dedicated herself to helping her fellow townspeople, and died attempting to rescue the survivors of a shipwreck. Local residents built a temple in her honour and began to venerate her as a goddess. She is celebrated twice each year in formal temple fairs, when Meizhou residents, farmers and fisherfolk temporarily suspend their work to sacrifice marine animals, venerate statues of Mazu and enjoy a variety of dances and other performances. Smaller worship ceremonies take place throughout the year in the other 5,000 Mazu temples around the world and in private homes; these may involve floral tributes; candles, incense and firecrackers; and evening processions of residents bearing ‘Mazu lanterns’. Followers may implore the god for pregnancy, peace, the solution to a problem or general well-being. Deeply integrated into the lives of coastal Chinese and their descendants, belief in and commemoration of Mazu is an important cultural bond that promotes family harmony, social concord, and the social identity of these communities.
Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

© Text: UNESCO, Image: First Mazu Temple of Meizhou

17 dic 2011

Hotel Rwanda

Title: Hotel Rwanda 
Year: 2004 
Director: Terry George 
Writer: Keir Pearson and Terry George 
Running time: 121 minutes   
Country: USA, UK, Italy, South Africa 
Plot summary: 
The true-life story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. Ten years ago some of the worst atrocities in the history of mankind took place in the country of Rwanda--and in an era of high-speed communication and round the clock news, the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world. In only three months, one million people were brutally murdered. In the face of these unspeakable actions, inspired by his love for his family, an ordinary man summons extraordinary courage to save the lives of over a thousand helpless refugees, by granting them shelter in the hotel he manages.

© Text and image: Wikipedia and IMDB

14 dic 2011

Un segle de l'arribada al Pol Sud

Avui fa un segle de l’arribada de Roald Amundsen al Pol Sud, finalitzant així la cursa que havien mantingut Noruega i el Regne Unit (amb Amundsen i Scott al davant) per a ser els primers en arribar-hi.
L’aprenentatge de les tècniques esquimals i dels trineus de gossos que Amundsen va realitzar durant el seu viatge de descoberta del pas del Nord-Oest uns anys abans van resultar ser vitals per a poder aconseguir l’objectiu en menys temps que Scott que, equipat amb animals deficients (els ponis de Shetland queien com a mosques al clima antàrtic), va acabar havent d’arrossegar amb tracció humana el seu pesat trineu.
La cursa del Pol Sud representa, en major grau que la cursa entre Peary i Cook pel Pol Nord (vegeu Último Grado al Polo Norte per a més informació), la competició de l’obsessió, ser el primer en entrar als llibres d’història, en aportar prestigi al país i en plantar una bandera.
Com els antics conquistadors espanyols en arribar a Amèrica, Amundsen plantà la bandera Noruega al bell mig de l’Antàrtida un dia com avui de fa cent anys, donant fama mundial a la recentment independitzada Noruega (com ho havia fet el seu predecessor polarista Fridtjof Nansen).
Robert Falcon Scott arribaria al Pol Sud 33 dies després. Desil·lusionat i sense un bon equipament, tot el grup d’Scott moriria durant el retorn. Les anotacions al seu diari posen la pell de gallina. El Regne Unit ho va viure com una humiliació nacional.
Amundsen retornà a Noruega triomfant. Per sempre més va quedar lligat a les zones polars, i participà després en expedicions al Pas del Nord-Est i al Pol Nord sobrevolant-lo amb el dirigible Norge.
Va desaparèixer el 1928 quan participava en una missió de rescat dels membres de l’expedició d’Umberto Nobile.
La base americana al Pol Sud, Amundsen-Scott, va ser batejada en honor dels dos expedicionaris que van competir pel Pol. 
Per sempre més, quedaran units allà on el destí els va separar.

11 dic 2011


Manas epic songs of the Kirgiz people in China, ETHNIKKA blog for human Cultural Knowledge
The Kirgiz ethnic minority in China, concentrated in the Xinjiang region in the west, pride themselves on their descent from the hero Manas, whose life and progeny are celebrated in one of the best-known elements of their oral tradition: the Manas epic. Traditionally sung by a Manaschi without musical accompaniment, epic performances takes place at social gatherings, community celebrations, ceremonies such as weddings and funerals and dedicated concerts. Regional variations abound, but all are characterized by pithy lyrics with phrases that now permeate the everyday language of the people, melodies adapted to the story and characters, and lively parables. The long epic records all the major historic events of greatest importance for the Kirgiz people and crystallizes their traditions and beliefs. The Kirgiz in China and the neighbouring Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan regard the Manas as a key symbol of their cultural identity and the most important cultural form for public entertainment, the preservation of history, the transmission of knowledge to the young and the summoning of good fortune. One of the ‘three major epics of China’, it is both an outstanding artistic creation and an oral encyclopaedia of the Kirgiz people.
Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

© Text: UNESCO, Image: Xinjiang Cultural Heritage

3 dic 2011


Title: N'Diangane 
Year: 1974 
Director: Mahama Traoré 
Writer: Mahama Traoré 
Running time: 100 minutes   
Country: Senegal, France 
Plot summary:
Mame is six years old child, living happily at home with his parents and playing in the fields, forests and nearby rivers with friends. Loved and well fed, he leads an idyllic life. In one fateful decision, all that changes.

© Text and image: Wikipedia and IMDB

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