Tag: censorship

Movie Review: Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Posted August 25, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Movie-Drama / 0 Comments

Cinema ParadisoTitle: Cinema Paradiso
Released: 1988
Director: 
Giuseppe Tornatore
StarsJacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, Leopoldo Trieste, Marco Leonardi
Genre: Drama

Italian masterpiece Cinema Paradiso tells the story of the life of fictional film director Salvatore Di Vita. This is often seen as an example of nostalgic post-modernism, exploring the evolution of cinema in the form of a coming of age story. Writer and Director Giuseppe Tornatore has spoken out as saying that Cinema Paradiso was his eulogy to the death of cinema, however after the success of the movie he never mentioned this again.

The 1988 movie is set in the small Sicilian town of Giancaldo where Salvatore (Toto) Di Vita grows up. He befriends the local film projectionist Alfredo and the movie follows this development through the ages of cinema. The theme of censorship plays a big part of the movie, often depicting scenes where the local priest would watch the movies prior to release in order to remove all kissing scenes or anything else that is considered inappropriate. This is in a time where the whole town came together to watch a movie and get the latest news. So there was not much choice in what to see and with the whole family there it needed to be appropriate for all ages. However this does spark many debates on the necessity of censorship and one day I hope to do a blog post on the Hays Code that nearly destroyed America cinema as well as the Legion of Decency, an organisation that would boycott any movie they deemed inappropriate.

While Cinema Paradiso likes to take a hard look at the censorship, it does not take itself too seriously. Stand out scene for this was when a kissing scene finally makes the screen and the priest in an outrage says he would not watch this pornographic movie. Despite the fact that he has spent many hours watching all these movies in the past. As well as looking at censorship I could not over look the nostalgic value of this movie. Depicting scenes from many great movies including; The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Carmela (1942), The Outlaw (1943), It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) and so much more. I am no expert in classic cinema but I really enjoyed the nostalgic approach found within the movie.

I have never seen this movie before and I feel a little shame to admit this. In the future I plan to watch more of the movies found on the 1001 Movies to Watch Before You Die list and blog about them all. Who knows, I might actually get a chance to watch them all. I know I am just a beginner when it comes to critically analysing movies but I am looking forward to seeing the progress I make in the future. I have not talked about the acting or the dramatic use of lighting in the review, I may revisit this film in the future. If you have never seen Cinema Paradiso and are a fan of cinema I highly recommend getting a copy as soon as possible.


On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee

Posted March 6, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Dystopia, Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae LeeTitle: On Such a Full Sea (Goodreads)
Author: Chang-rae Lee
Published: Little Brown and Company, 2014
Pages: 352
Genres: Dystopia, Literary Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Dystopian literary fiction is an often under-appreciated and underutilised literary tool. Chang-rae Lee steps away from the historical novels he normally writes to give us On Such a Full Sea, a dystopian novel set over a hundred years into the future. The novel tells the story of a teenage girl Fan who works in the high walled, self-contained labour colony know as B-Mor (formally the city of Baltimore) who goes searching for the man she loves as he has mysteriously disappeared.

I often enjoy a novel that disguises political discourse with the dystopian fiction genre. Think 1984’s message on totalitarianism, Fahrenheit 451 on censorship, Super Sad True Love Story on Globalisation. On Such a Full Sea also has a political message but it is far more subtle. The thing about literary criticism and political discourse is that you can often find differing opinions; was this novel on the harsh reality of immigration, slavery, human trafficking, removal of individuality or something more? I’m not going to go into too much detail on this; you can discover that on your own.

I want to have a quick look at the dystopian world that Lee has created as it follows a similar style to that of George Orwell’s 1984. These walled communities are more like labour camps, designed to keep people in rather than out. The workers are being watched and controlled by fear; rather than by governmental oversight, the labours are been monitored by The Charters, which to me feels like middle management. In this future most of the American cities have been abandoned due to crushing debts and disease and the Chinese cities are suffering from major air and water pollution. The solution, to relocate and occupy America; this is why Fan and the others are found working in B-Mor.

The harsh realities of this dystopian world are often drowned out by the beauty in Chang-rae Lee’s writing. You can spend so much time being swept away by the writing that the plot really does take a back seat. This works only because the plot isn’t really as strong as I would have liked it to be. There are times I found myself enjoying the writing and not really paying enough attention to the plot only to have something shocking happen that snaps me back to attention. I would have liked a stronger plot, it really was a big downfall for me, not that plotless books are bad it’s just the particular story called for it.

I picked up this book because Chang-rae Lee mentored my current literary obsession Gary Shteyngart and helped him get his first book published. My first thought was On Such a Full Sea sounds very similar to Super Sad True Love Story. I expected to read a similar book about the struggles of Chinese immigrants but I’m happy to see the two novels are very different. There are a few similarities but not enough to compare them; Shteyngart uses satire and humour where Lee takes a more serious approach.

The plot may sound basic but On Such a Full Sea is a stunning yet surprising novel. This is actually my first Chang-rae Lee novel and while I enjoyed this novel, I’m not in a hurry to read his back list. Lee joins the ever growing list of serious novelists trying their hand at genre fiction. I for one am happy to see an increase in literary genre fiction; you can do some interesting things with genre fiction and blend that with the discourse of literary fiction the results are often amazing.


Please Ban My Book, I Want it to Become Popular (Banned Book Week)

Posted October 2, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Listology / 0 Comments

This week is Banned Book Week, where we celebrate our freedom to read whatever we want. Though books still get banned and censored by the government, I think now is the time to look at some of the best and worst books that have been banned or censored.

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was banned in the province of Hunan, China, beginning in 1931 for its portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level of complexity as human beings
  • American Psycho has a sale and purchase restriction in the Australian State of Queensland. Sale is restricted to persons 18 years old or older in the other Australian states
  • Animal Farm banned in the former USSR and the author’s preface suppressed in nearly all of its editions during 1940 – 45
  • Brave New World was banned in Ireland in 1932 due to alleged references of sexual promiscuity
  • The Da Vinci Code was banned in Lebanon after Catholic leaders deemed it offensive to Christianity
  • The Diary of a Young Girl was also banned in Lebanon for “portraying Jews, Israel or Zionism favourably”
  • The Grapes of Wrath temporarily banned in many places in the US because it made the residents of this region look bad.
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover banned in the United States and the United Kingdom for violation of obscenity laws
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four was banned by the Soviet Union in 1950, as Stalin understood that it was a satire based on his leadership, and it was nearly banned by U.S.A and U.K in the early 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Ulysses was banned in U.K during the 1930s and in Australia during the 1930s to the 1940s and challenged and temporarily banned in the U.S.A for its sexual content
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin was banned in the Southern United States during the Civil War due to its anti-slavery content.

Nowadays books are still getting challenged and banned. One book that is currently under fire is Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak which tells the story of a teenage girl who deals with depression after become a victim of rape. The author has said the following about censorship;

But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in the darkness and makes them vulnerable. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them.

Censorship and book banning seems to fling books into popularity more than some books deserve. For example Lady Chatterley’s Lover; if this book was never banned it would of just faded away into oblivion. Also there are many great books that have come under fire that really are spectacular books.

Also check out IO9’s 10 great science fiction novels that have been banned.