Women, Race & Class by Angela Davis – Book Review

Woman, Race & Class is a non-fiction book about the connection between racism, class prejudice and white feminism.

Having read Angela Davis before (Freedom Is a Constant Struggle) I had already been introduced to the political activist’s narrative. However, this book was a pleasant surprise. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle is a collection of interviews and speeches, so it ended up being a bit repetitive, whereas Woman, Race & Class was objective, concise and exactly what I was hoping from it.

Angela Davis breaks down how misogyny, racism, and classism have shaped our society. She pays special attention to how white-dominated middle-class social movements have repeatedly forsake solidarity with both working class and black people in behalf of political convenience, as well as displaying how the biased goals of white reformists have allowed capitalist oppression throughout history.

This book moved through the atrocities of slavery, lynching and, overall, racist discrimination, especially by the feminist movement of the 20th century. Reading it, I felt outraged and angry towards my very own privileges.

Women, Race & Class is organized in such a way that everything you read sounds like new information even though we know it’s all connected which was exactly the book’s intent. The biggest take from this book is an extremely important one: INTERSECTIONALITY MATTERS, and sometimes we forget how much.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 starts.

Paris, Texas (1984), by Wim Wenders – Film Review

Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders is the story about family and loss. The director uses themes of both brotherly relationships and fatherhood as a metaphor for man’s quest for personal identity, and he does it magically.

The fi out rst time we see Travis he is walking in Terlingua, a barren and dusty region of Texas. He isfilm-paris-texas-263 wearing a filthy suit along with a ragged red baseball cap. A bit into the film Travis reunites with his brother Walt Henderson, we know four years have passed since Walt and his wife Anne took responsibility for raising Travis’s young son Hunter. The story takes on from there.

The cinematography is poetic and there is a visual sense that contextualizes the characters’ feel of looming, present and past loss. Wenders shows us that his storytelling finds truth and poetry in the mundane. The film doesn’t need gimmicks or cliches to escalate emotional reaction from the viewer or create interest. This result is obtained simply by making the characters feel human.

All I can say is after I finished watching this masterpiece I was feeling everything and nothing at the same time. I don’t exactly look for this in a film, but once this feeling comes along, it’s hard to look at the art form in the same way ever again.

It’s a 9 out of 10. Please go and watch it now!

Me and White Supremacy Workbook by Layla F. Saad – Book Review

“I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege.” – Peggy McIntosh

Me And White Supremacy Workbook by Layla F. Saad is a pioneer, anti-racism book for people holding white privilege to begin examining and dismantling their complicity in the oppressive system of white supremacy.

Far too often, I see white people blaming other white people and declaring them as the problem that causes racism, to distance themselves from the problem. I was happy to see that being addressed in the book.

If like me, you were always taught that racism is bad and that people should all have the same rights and opportunities, this book still serves as an excellent tool for digging out internalized messages regarding race that you might not have been aware of.

The only negative aspect I have to point out is that the book starts with multiple separate chapters about the author when the intent of the book is not to get to know the author but to critically analyse your privilege, which to me felt slightly off.

Needless to say, I have learned a lot. The questions didn’t allow for any hesitation, and I know that, though I have a lot of work to do, I now have basic knowledge on how to continue the work.

I recommend it as a tool for anyone who is or wants to be anti-racism. (and if you don’t want to what are you doing reading this)

I gave this book 4 out of 5 starts.

Given the current social climate, instead of telling you to keep on reading, I’ll provide you with a website which has both petitions and donations for you to take part in. Remember that what is happing right now in the US is not a US problem, there is racism in every country and our responsibility is to take action.

Stay safe and resist the oppression!

Link: https://biglink.to/forBLM

She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics . . . and the World, by Caitlin Donohue – Book Review

She represents is a non-fiction title written by Caitlin Donohue. It brings light to 44 powerhouse women around the world.

First of all, I’m glad African and South American women were mentioned, however, in my opinion, the book would have had more impact if the approach had been even more global (more Asian and European women) since it focused mainly on women in the United States. The author gives us a summary of these diverse and interesting women in less than 3 pages per person. Not to mention, I was extremely happy to see a wide range of political ideologies represented.

The background stories come to life as a result of the references to their personalities or personal anecdotes. Those make the woman in power feel more relatable. I found the artwork to be both inviting and full of life (and I believe there might be more artwork to come, given it was only an arc).

I reckon this book would be nice for those seeking to learn more about women in politics, current political circumstances.

Thank you to Caitlin Donohue, Zest Books, and Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Don’t forget that She Represents releases on September 1, 2020.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Farewell, by Lulu Wang – Film Review

I’ll start by explaining what this film is about without any spoilers because this film is just too precious. The Farewell was directed by Lulu Wang and follows Billi a young woman who learns that her grandmother is sick and has a very short time left to live. To her surprise, the family decides not to tell her grandmother that she is dying. Instead, they arrange a wedding as an excuse for everyone to go back to China and see her one last time before she passes, almost like saying goodbye without being able to say it!the_farewell_poster

The film is able to approach the subject from both the western and eastern mindsets without diminishing neither of them, which for me was one of the greatest qualities of the story.  The Farewell is packed with complex characters who feel like real people, who have real conversations about topics that really matter. The film maneges to be funny between the sad moments giving it the levity that it needs, not the mention the amazing way in which the family bonds are portrayed.

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

I cried about 5 times during the entire film and one extra time once it ended. I’ll list the scenes that made me cry the most:

  1. When Billi speaks about how hard it was for her to leave China, the impact it had on her to not be able to be around her grandma as much and how painful it was to never be able to see her grandpa again given that her parents never really explained his death to her.
  2. I cried during the wedding part when Billi’s cousin starts to cry and we realize the all “thing” is really taking a toll on him too, even if for him the situation is sposed to be normal.
  3. The one that made me cry the most was when “Nai Nai” is talking to Billi and tells her that when the time comes for her (Billi’s) wedding she will give an even bigger party just because it was for Billi.

I can not end this without mentioning the shot of Billi running as fast as she can in order to get her “Nai Nai” medical results in order to get them before her, I truly loved it and the music for that shot was incredibly used (and in the entire film, overall).

(END OF SPOILERS)

Exactly as I wrote in my notebook after watching The Farewell: “I’m in love with this film, the soundtrack is 100% amazing and exactly what it had to be elevating the film to a whole other level. THANK YOU LULU WANG! This is excellent.”

I gave this film 9 out of 10!

Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur – Book Review

More than its predecessor, The Sun and Her Flowers discusses an even wider range of topics. This poetry collection discusses sexual assault, gender inequality, racism, feminism and family.35606560._sy475_

With this new collection, Kaur opens up the dialogue to even more important topics, giving emphasis to friendship, to how we treat our planet, greater attention to social stigmas of beauty while giving focus to bonds between mothers and daughters, which made me enjoy this second book by Kaur a lot more. By expanding her topic range, she allowed more people to feel connected not only her work but to other individuals as well. Which means, so many more people can find comfort through the words printed on these pages.

I read The Sun and Her Flowers in one sitting, and while I enjoyed it for the most part, there was a good chunk of poems I just couldn’t connect to. I don’t blame the author, it’s normal given that not everyone feels connected to the same topics.

Just like I stated in my review of Milk and Honey, Kaur writes in an emotive way, not to mention that the metaphors she uses are exceptionally powerful and have the capacity linger on your mind.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. And I truly recommend it if you are into contemporary poetry.

Bye, keep on reading.

 

Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard – Book Review

Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard is an adaptation from two speeches she made in 2014 and 2017 where she tracks what women’s relationship with power has been, from ancient myths to current online discourse.36525023._sy475_

The book starts with Beard stating “Women in the west have a lot to celebrate; let’s not forget.”, reflecting on how times have changed since her own mother was born, a time when women did not have the right to vote. At the end of the text reflects on what can be done and ventures that power needs to be redefined, not womanhood.

Beard draws connections I had never before thought about, between classical imagery and modern politics, the cultural precedents for the oppression of women in the oldest literature, managing to completely blow my mind. Though in contemporary times women have achieved much more “power” as traditionally defined, such as political power,  she notes that women’s political is rather curtailed.

Overall, I really enjoyed it, I underlined so many passages from it, and I really liked thinking more about our understanding of power as a society. I can not recommend it enough!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Bye, keep on reading.

Frances Ha (2013) – Film Review

Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach is a modern coming of age tale as well as a story about friendship. Frances (Greta Gerwig) is a 27-year-old dancer living with her best friend Sophie. Baumbach is a unique filmmaker, his movies tackle literally every subject matter while capturing real day-to-day life. In this film, he goes back to the basics of filmmaking: there are no complicated technics,  no colourfull shots and yet he manages to guide us through Frances complex life.mv5boty0ndq2nzq2n15bml5banbnxkftztcwmtu0otkwoq4040._v1_sy1000_cr006371000_al_

Frances’ life is as depressing and comedic as it is relatable, as far as the other characters go no one is overly dramatic. This shows us realism can be both depressing and unbelievably funny. As I see it, the film is centred in a friendship where one person wants to grow up and move on while the other is desperately holding onto the past in every way possible.

The director makes a homage to french new wave cinema and we can witness that in the scene where Frances running and twirling across streets of New York with David Bowie’s “Modern Love” on the soundtrack.

The script is so masterfully written by both Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, not to mention so brilliantly performed. This film is a masterpiece and I can’t recommend it enough.

I gave this film 8 out of 10.

Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!

Quote:

“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it, but it’s a party and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual but because that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”

Only Yesterday (1991) – Film Review

“Perhaps my fifth-grade self is trying to tell me a new way to fly.”

Only Yesterday by Isao Takahata is an animation about Taeko Okajima, a young woman in the 80’s trying to get a sense of both herself and the world surrounding her.  The film is set during two timelines, the primary one occurring in 1982 when the main character is  27 years old and working in an office in Tokyo.

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Taeko is the youngest person in her household, that includes a lifeless father, a very concerned mother, a strangely distant grandmother and two older sisters. Our main character has all kinds of memories of her fifth-grade self, struggles with young love,  dealing with puberty, an early love for theatre and other frustrations and joys of being a kid in the late 1960s. But the one memories that struck me the most was one of the family trying their first pineapple and figuring out how to eat it. This shows the film is capable of finding beauty and charm in ordinary experiences.

The characters in Only Yesterday manage to have individuality and autonomy while being part of a whole, which is remarkable. The film is subtle and cleverly structured and the ever-increasing interaction with the surroundings cames of as a form of love for nature.

There is really nothing left for me to say, just go watch it. PLEASE

I gave this film 8.5 out of 10.

Bye! Gotta watch ’em all!

 

Seeing by Saramago – Book Review

Seeing by Saramago is, to a certain degree, a dystopian novel about nameless city, ruled by nameless people, in a unknow year. 23558980

What would happen if 80% of the population of the capital decided to turn in blank ballots for the elections? After reading this book I’m still not quite sure but it certainly gave me an idea.

After having had time to take in the results of the elections, the government decides that the outcome must have been the result of some form of conspiracy. They decide to put the capital under siege, needless to say, this had no impact whatsoever on the population, who continued to live their lives as if nothing had happened.

This leads to the government taking increasingly hostile actions against the capital, blocking it off from the rest of the nation, taking over the press, using excessive surveillance, committing disloyal actions against their own citizens and after a while going after scapegoats to bring everything back to normal.

The first part of the book was rather slow, but 100 pages in I started to get into it and feeling more and more drawn into the plot. Most like in any other Saramago’s novel you have to be mindful of the long paragraphs with the dialogue embedded instead of pulled out as quotes, which if you have read anything by him before you have grown accustomed to.

This book is a brilliant political satire, which I was expecting, and my love for Saramago’s books remains, as it was, indestructible. When characters from Blindness started showing up halfway through the book my heart just gave in.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to every single soul that inhabits this planet.

Bye, keep on reading.