Film review: Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

Colourful and thoughtful feel good film about trying to see the positive in everyone and everything and tackle life always with a smile. It made my top 10 films watched in 2010 list. A film written and directed by Mike Leigh. Set in contemporary London, about Poppy, a 30-year-old primary school teacher who is out-going, talkative, irrepressible, funny and with uncontrollable energy. A free spirit whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her, and who speaks before she thinks. The film is lifted by Sally Hawkins' award winning and breakthrough performance. According to the director, Happy-go-lucky is a film about openness and generosity of spirit.

Why is Poppy so optimistic, has she always behaved in this way? Would a sequel about how she was as a 20-year-old cast light on her personality? Could it be she is covering up some bad memories? I'm not sure if Poppy is so happy 100% all of the time on the inside, being happy on the outside I think just makes her feel good about herself and towards others. Maybe she wants to avoid hurting people. I think Poppy is confident and believes in herself, she appears to like being who she is, and doesn't let others make her angry. The title describes her attitude in life, according to freedictionary, a happy-go-lucky person is happy all of the time and doesn't worry about anything.

My favourite scenes are the driving lessons with Poppy and Scott (the driving instructor). The two in the car are so different that it's funny to me. Perhaps his reaction to Poppy is saying a lot more about him than about her. It's a lot easier for the driving instructor to change others than himself. Scott is the antithesis of the joyful and open Poppy. She can’t help teasing his obnoxious behaviour, the more she teases, the more he gets irritated. Poppy tries to keep herself from being affected by any negative feelings. She wants to get through to him. Scott is afraid of change.

The use of bright colours emphasizes Poppy’s positive attitude. Sally Hawkins talks about her character on the dvd, and explains “she doesn’t shut up, and thinks she is hilarious, but she doesn’t really care if she is funny or not, she is so un-self-conscious. As much as she doesn’t judge other people, she doesn’t judge herself. She allows herself to be exactly what she is, she sees the humour in things, even in the darkest situations, perhaps when others can’t. She has a huge warmth and compassion for others and is naughty, and has a twinkle in her eye”

The question is, does her extremely positive attitude irritate us the viewers, and the other characters in the story? Yes and no. Poppy doesn’t appear to want to compromise and tone down her behaviour to make people like her more. She is just herself. Doesn't let life or other people get her down. A role model to others, a happy person, Isn't that what we want for ourselves? Making other people smile is a good thing, so it’s tough to criticize. But is it excessive at times to force her cheeriness onto others and fault them for not seeing life the same way? This is what some people might find annoying about Poppy. The scene with the homeless man I think is an attempt to show Poppy curious about something different to her own life. Maybe she feels she can help the man in some way.

An interesting observation I read was that the film questions whether someone like Poppy finds happiness, or simply wills herself into being upbeat? You definitely have to be strong-willed to disregard your own mood, and just be an ever-smiling optimist, no matter how you are feeling inside. Some people are able to do that, others are not. Its kind of self-perpetuating behaviour, in that if you constantly are happy, then you might conceivably begin to believe you really are happy, I guess. It’s a proactive attitude, having the reserves of energy to give smiles can make you feel good about yourself and give you a good reputation among others. As Madonna once said in an interview I saw, if you see yourself as a winner, then you will be a winner. And you could flip that quote around, if you see yourself as a loser, then you will be a loser.

Another interpretation I read is that Poppy is a child at heart, which is why she has a desire to work with children and therefore is dependent on her older flatmate and the fact she prefers to use a nickname as opposed to her real name (Pauline).

A cheerful and lively movie that makes you believe in the goodness of mankind, if you didn’t already.

The tagline is that it's a movie that will put a smile on your face, and it certainly did in my case. Hey, that rhymes ( :

For me, a weakness is that Poppy doesn't really grow in the story. My rating is 8/10.

The interpretations in my review might not please everyone, but the film sure is a conversation-starter!

Readers, any thoughts on Happy-Go-Lucky?




Songs for your iPod

Breaking Locks -Adam Green

(My 3 selections are acoustic. I'm new to Adam Green, enjoyed the inventive lyrics on Minor Love. Here some “webisodes” filmed to accompany the album)


Buddy Bradley - Adam Green


Give Them A Token - Adam Green

Readers, any thoughts on this week's music?

Film review: Certified Copy (2010)

In Tuscany to promote his latest book, a middle-aged British writer meets a French woman who leads him to the village of Lucignano. What makes the film interesting is the dialogue and the behaviour of the two leads.

Juliette Binoche won the Best Actress prize in Cannes for her performance, I happened to think the male lead William Shimell was fairly dull and wooden. The dialogue switches between English, French and Italian. I never did figure out why the couple started speaking in French, when they spoke in English for much of the story?

Certified Copy is an ambitious script worth a look from an intellectual standpoint, but isn’t romantic enough in my mind. Frustrating to watch the man and woman play charades with each other and are not just their natural selves. Perhaps the director is saying when over-40 intellectuals flirt, it’s sometimes a game of impressing the opposite sex, and perhaps the innocence and tenderness is no longer at the forefront. More about companionship than desire. I enjoyed the first hour or so, but the charades in the last 45 minutes were a letdown and those scenes were somewhat cold, I thought. Both characters appear to be attracted to one another, but are sort of hiding their true selves behind a mask of games. We can’t know if some of the charades are true feelings, and some are playfulness. You would think they are enjoying this game of charades, as they continue with it for a while. I just didn’t feel a sustained warmth for either of the two leads throughout, possibly because there was not much weakness being displayed, or they just didn’t want to show much frailty. When you are that age, then you’ve obviously built up a guard to protect yourself from being hurt, but this also means it’s tricky for others to see the real you, which at the end of the day is what we all crave isn’t it?, to be understood and loved just for being ourselves? Perhaps the film is saying some over-40s take longer to open up.

Some of the dialogue was memorable and thought inducing, but at times didn’t seem natural. Here are some quotes I liked:

“the copy has worth in that it leads us to the original and thus certifies it’s value (and not just in art, but in regards to people, the façade is the copy that conceals a person’s original, true self)

her son: “you have decided you want to fall in love with him”

on women and art: “they can be attractive enough, but they can be bad for you”

“Simple people don’t care if art is a copy or an original”

“We get upset when a child tells us off, but are happy enough when a writer does”

“even the Mona Lisa is a reproduction of a woman” (Leonardo da Vinci conceivably didn’t even ask the model to smile in that playful way, so is the model the one creating the ambiguity in the painting, and Da Vinci getting all the credit?)

In my opinion Certified Copy could have done with some more humour to lighten up the mood. While I quite enjoyed the monologue at the beginning about art and the conversations the first hour, I only gravitated towards the characters on an emotional level in a few scenes such as the car journey. Won’t go down for me as a cult favourite like Before Sunset, despite the obvious similarities. The relationship is so complex in Certified Copy, that it becomes tough to mirror myself in their feelings. I heard someone call Kiarostami's film a mental work out.

Ebert wrote an interesting review, how the film is about the difference between original art and its copies. Is there, in fact, any difference? Which is the real relationship, and which is the counterfeit? Were they a couple pretending to meet for the first time or a new couple pretending to be married? Perhaps Kiarostami's intention is to demonstrate how the reality is whatever the artist/couple chooses.
Another interpretation I read is that they are not married, nor are they strangers, and that she is his mistress of 15 years and she longs to be his wife, while he is somewhat indifferent to her and probably has a wife. Acting is also a copy, so its like a copy of a copy.

The film certainly has unique qualities, and I’m not sure I understood all of the director’s ideas, and the story would probably reveal more on subsequent viewings. I quite liked the film, just didn’t fall in love with it, although I admit it can be charming to see people gradually falling for each other, just my gut feeling is there is not quite enough chemistry for the film to glue me to the screen. My rating is 7.5/10.

Readers, any thoughts on Certified Copy?



Songs for your iPod

Our Riotous Defects (Feat. Janelle Monáe) - Of Montreal

(I like how the lyrics are a story. And colourful artwork, looks like took some time to design)


Spanish Sahara – Foals


No man's land – Psychobuildings

(number 96 on the link, the sound reminds me of New Order)

Readers, any thoughts on the music?

Film review: A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Not one of my favourites by Kubrick, but still interesting. Based on Anthony Burgess’ futuristic dystopian novel from 1959. Some spoilers here, the review is intended for people who have already watched the film.

I thought to myself that maybe Kubrick had gone too far with the violence. Some have criticized the film for glorifying violence, which is almost balletic with background music by Beethoven.

The story shows the consequences of violent acts. Alex clashes with some authority figures in the story, who seem as bad as he is. But this does not excuse Alex for his bad behaviour. Alex sees his violence as a kind of artistic project. According to page 186 in the cinema of Stanley Kubrick, the director reveals that he wanted to show “Alex’s guiltless sense of freedom to kill and rape and to be our savage natural selves”

The film is no doubt a critique of the way we punish citizens, or at least a warning that experimental rehabilitation can go too far. Have you been habilitated, if they take away your personality? He has been stripped of his evil doing and been officially cured. He is a new man, he can no longer hurt anyone, but his free will has been removed. Kubrick attempts to make us feel sorry for Alex despite his crimes in the past, the authorities torturing him with straightjacket brainwashing.

According to the book “the cinema of Stanley Kubrick”, the satire is “that a man conditioned to be good in all circumstances is continuously vulnerable”. Kubrick has said that “the goal should be to destroy all authority, so man in his natural goodness may emerge, this Utopian view is a dangerous fallacy. All such efforts eventually fall into the hands of thugs. The weaknesses don’t stem from an improperly structured society. The fault is in the very imperfect nature of man himself”

The film makes a point of saying that we are either a person who can choose, with all the side effects this entails, or we are stripped of choice and are not ourselves anymore. A Clockwork Orange questions, if you can no longer choose between good and evil in your life, are you still a human? And if you are a vegetable, then you can no longer manage to live a normal life in the real world. How do you deal respectfully with criminals, so they have the same rights as everyone? The trouble with free will is it allows you to commit atrocities, despite laws saying you shouldn’t. The film seems to ask, what is more important, free will, or reducing violence? We the audience speculate what is the most humane way to treat criminals.

We can’t be sure if Alex is speaking the truth when he says he wants to be good, one of the prison officers suspects Alex is pretending he wants to be rehabilitated. He goes from being a selfish criminal to being a victim. The way we have increasingly become desensitised these days to violence by continuously and unavoidably being faced with it in popular culture is eerily reminiscent of Alex being strapped down and forced to watch violence, torture and destruction on a screen.

If humans are deprived of the ability to choose evil, can they truly be said to be good? Of course not, because they haven’t chosen to be good, but have been forced by the authorities.

A Clockwork Orange is satirical and Kubrick’s most controversial film. There were several incidents were people claimed to have committed crimes and were inspired to do so by Kubrick’s film. Kubrick's wife has said that the family received threats and had protesters outside their home. Subsequently, Kubrick asked Warner Brothers to withdraw the film from British distribution. The violence doesn’t come across as so bad today, we are used to far worse in mainstream culture, in the 70s, it was heavily criticized.

Anthony Burgess admits, even though he wrote the novel, to detesting A Clockwork Orange in his autobiography. He was quoted in the book "the complete Kubrick":
"I was trying to exorcise the memory of what happened to my first wife, who was savagely attacked in London during the second world war by four American deserters. She was pregnant at the time and lost our child".

A tricky film to interpret and understand. The reckless violence at the beginning is not explained, what is the cause? Boredom? evilness? group pressure? Lack of parental guidance? Probably a combination.

Alex is the extreme case, how could you possibly argue in favour of freedom for a monster such as Alex? Should all humans have free will? This is a moral dilemma.

I hate the soundtrack, they messed with some classical music, other than that, good film, which may look dated in some respects, hair cuts for example, but the theme of how to deal with criminals is still highly relevant today.



Readers, any thoughts on A Clockwork Orange ?

Songs for your iPod

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)– Arcade Fire

(Definitely agree with some of the music sites, that these are top songs of 2010)


On Melancholy Hill – Gorillaz


Suburban War - Arcade Fire

Readers, any thoughts on this week's music?

Film review: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

In my mind, one of the greatest science fiction films ever made, which I’ve watched on a number of occasions. I did a project in high school on this Kubrick film. My review contains spoilers!

About the origin of the human species, and the desire to know the truth about our place in the universe, where is our technology heading, the development of our machines into artificial intelligence, the limits of the human mind. The theme of evolution, from ape to man, and what lies beyond man.

One of the first serious science fiction films ever made, but does demand patience. The groundbreaking techniques still influence modern special effects. As the "Odyssey" title suggests, 2001 is a journey. A bewildering, alienating mythology of leaving behind the familiar and venturing out into the unknown, the unimaginable.

In the book “The cinema of Stanley Kubrick”, the director is quoted:
I tried to create a visual experience, one that bypasses verbalized pigeonholing and directly penetrates the subconscious with an emotional and philosophical content…I intended the film to be an intensely subjective experience that reaches the viewer at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does…You’re free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film

Kubrick felt a lot of the science fiction films of the 50s were immature B-movies, his aim was to make a mature treatment of space exploration, or intelligent sci-fi, which attempted to show man in the cosmic order, where we confront our own destiny.

Kubrick wanted all the objects and spacecrafts to be precise and realistic, so he has a scientific advisor go through it all. The director was interested in life in outer space, and what would happen if we encountered it. Kubrick has stated his views on extra terrestrial intelligence, he believes the law of statistics make it inevitable there is life other places in the universe.

Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, author of the short story “The Sentinel”, which the screenplay is based on, had close connections with NASA, his privileged connections gave Clarke access to the design and construction of real space hardware. According to Clarke, the goal of the film was to show the wonder, beauty and promise of space exploration. Clarke thought the film could prepare the human race for what is to come and a possible contact with aliens.

Together with Kubrick, they collaborated on a 130 page prose treatment, which was reworked into a screenplay. Clarke would later release a novel entitled 2001, which was less ambiguous and revealed some of the mysteries of the film. Kubrick’s film had a divine tone, while Clarke’s novelization was more atheistic.

Won Oscar for special effects. The ape makeup was also very realistic. It was later joked that "2001" lost the Best Makeup Academy Award to John Chambers for Planet of the Apes (1968), because the judges didn't realize the 2001 apes were really people, but there was no nomination list at all, as the award was not created until 1981. Chambers' award was merely honorary. Music also plays an important role, it would be impossible to imagine 2001 without Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz, and Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra.

2001: A Space Odyssey puts man’s evolution into perspective, where we experience how much progress has been made from the dawn of man until today.

Men hadn’t landed on the moon when the film premiered in 1968, so Kubrick’s film was ahead of its time and warning of future events. Even though space exploration hasn’t caught up with the film yet, some of the technological advancements have come true. The dream of landing a man on the moon as we know happened in 1969. Even though we obviously have passed the year 2001, you could argue 2001 : a space odyssey will continue to be a futuristic, speculative story for as long as there continues to be no contact between our race and another. Kubrick is exploring what mankind’s quest for and first contact with such a species might truly be like, and what the consequences for mankind might be.

For Roger Ebert, the film did not provide the clear narrative and easy entertainment cues the audience expected. The overnight Hollywood judgment was that Kubrick had become derailed, that in his obsession with effects and set pieces, he had failed to make a movie. Ebert believes “2001: A Space Odyssey'' is in many respects a silent film. There are few conversations that could not be handled with title cards. Much of the dialogue exists only to show people talking to one another, without much regard to content (this is true of the conference on the space station). Ironically, the dialogue containing the most feeling comes from HAL, as it pleads for its “life'' and sings “Daisy.'' Nearly 30 years after it was made, it has not dated in any important detail. According to Ebert, only a few films are transcendent, and work upon our minds and imaginations like music or prayer.

The black, rectangular-shaped monolith represents in the film a higher intelligence from outer space. The monolith knows best, man is nothing. I don’t know if it’s a good thing that the monolith is so superior, manipulating, and controlling. Isn’t it arrogant to not even question whether the apes and humans want to be helped?
The monolith behaves like a God, a source of infinite knowledge. Kubrick used symbolism from religious beliefs in the film, the black monolith looking remarkably like the Kaaba in Mecca, the site that is most holy to Muslims and towards which they must face when they are praying. So in that sense you could interpret Kubrick’s monolith as a powerful God.
The black monolith was essentially a teaching machine, in fact, according to the informative documentary “2001: The making of a myth”, the original idea was for the monolith to have a transparent screen on which images would appear which would teach the apes things, like how to fight each other, and make fire, this turned out to be too costly. Maybe this was for the best.

In the book “The complete Kubrick”, Kubrick is quoted as saying:

"the films plot symbolized the search for God, and it finally postulates what is a little less than a scientific definition of God. (…) the realistic hardware and the documentary feelings about everything were necessary in order to undermine your built-in resistance to the poetical concept"

HAL the computer is probably the most interesting character in the film to me, the humans were deliberately made emotionless and bland by Kubrick, as this makes us notice the human qualities of HAL even more. The awesome spectacle of the universe also trumps over interest in the human characters.
We don’t know if HAL has been manipulated by a superior being, or he has just reached a more human state. The story is ambiguous concerning whether the aliens are controlling HAL or not, although I think this is implausible, because why would the superior beings want to kill the sleeping crew onboard the Discovery?
HAL has acquired emotions, an ego, and the beginning of a personality, and this is when he starts to misbehave. In the book “The cinema of Stanley Kubrick”, Daniels thinks Kubrick is implying that since machines are becoming human, men must become something else, something more.

Some have interpreted the theme of a rebellious computer as a mistrust of technology, others, given Kubrick’s fondness for machines and computers, see it as more likely to be a mistrust of man’s misuse of technology. With the HAL computer, the film seems to question could an artificial entity have emotions and care about humans? Does HAL have the emotions he appears to display? And do we have a responsibility to treat it like a living being?
Perhaps HAL can’t live with having made a mistake? Has man managed to make a computer with a conscience? There seems to be a warning in the story to future generations about how far we should let technology advance in terms of artificial intelligence. If the computers are suddenly more powerful and controlling than humans, then Houston, we have a problem!
Incrementing each letter of "HAL" gives you "IBM". Writer Arthur C. Clarke claimed this was unintentional, and if he had noticed ahead of time, he would have changed it. HAL stands for Heuristic Algorithmic Computer. IBM product placements appear in the movie as well, including the computer panels in the spaceplane that docks with the space station, the forearm control panel on Dave's spacesuit, and the portable viewscreens on which Dave and Frank watch "The World Tonight".

One of my favourite scenes is near the end, where the astronaut travels into the star gate. I felt the filmmakers in this sequence were trying to make me the viewer of the film watch Bowman’s experiences through his eyes in the first person, which was cool. Many of the scenes in space are claustrophobic, as astronauts no doubt feel when trapped in a suit. The breathing of Bowman outside the spacecraft Discovery is a great tool to illustrate his fear.

I like, as opposed to for example Inception, that there are many quiet moments, where we the audience can sit back and just contemplate the wonders of space and are place in the scheme of things. People experience the film in very different ways, some find it boring, slow, pretentious, and lacking warm characters, some watch it on drugs, and so on. It’s among that genre of film I like that is accepted in spite of having very little dialogue. The film succeeds in portraying the vastness and mystery of space very well.

I love the ambiguous ending, has Bowman been reborn as a star child, and what is next? Is this man’s next step in evolution? Or is he now a kind of God ruling over mankind? It still gives me chills watching the closing scene with that powerful music, where the star child seems to look back at me, and silently ask, what do you think this ending means?

The film questions what might happen, if we came into contact with an alien life form. Would we even understand each other’s way of communicating and thought process? Would we be able to communicate with a shapeless entity? And are we just a piece of jigsaw in an enormous puzzle, which we have no control over, and never will be able to understand? 2001 is a film that can reveal something new upon each viewing. Part of the continued interest in the film is that not everything is explained, and there are a number of things to interpret. More than just a film, it takes filmmaking to a new level, there is a whole literature on 2001! If you ever have the chance to see the film at the cinema, do so. The ultimate trip, as they say, which still manages to give the viewer chills. For me, one of the few films which is able to marry visuals, music and thoughtfulness. If only there were more directors with the ambition and imagination of Kubrick.

There have been a few imitations over the years, I quite liked Mr. Nobody



Readers, any thoughts on 2001: A Space Odyssey ?

Songs for your iPod

Down in the Street Below - The Divine Comedy

(He is such a talented songwriter. If you like Belle & Sebastian, you'd probably enjoy this underrated album called Bang Goes the Knighthood)


At the Indie Disco - The Divine Comedy


Have you ever been in love - The Divine Comedy

Readers, any thoughts on the music?

Documentary review: Armadillo (2010)

Cannes-winning documentary, on war in Afghanistan, seen through the eyes of Danish troops during a 6 month period. Shows many elements of war the soldiers must endure, combat, the dull moments waiting, anxiety, impulsive emotional outbursts, injury, killing, bravery, what might happen to people who fight in war. We get to see what they go through on a day-to-day basis.

What a brave camera crew! A very adrenalin-filled experience, which is not afraid to ask difficult questions. About motivations, is it taboo to say you want to experience adventure as a soldier? Also about families at home worried sick. About the fine line between fiction and reality, you see soldiers playing war games on their playstation one moment, and the next doing it for real in the desert.

Encounters with the Afghan people are nearly always intense, and the film portrays this intensity very well as experienced by soldiers on various missions. The Danes are unwanted, and this means they are on edge all the time when on patrol. We the audience feel like we are out there with them, such is the realism. As blogging friend Colin at picknmix says in his review, it’s a war that probably can’t be won, there are no winners or looses.

The Taliban sabotage the peace mission by saying to the Afghan people, that the Danish soldiers have come to kill the Afghans and their cows. This makes it even trickier to move forward. The civilian population haven't even made a choice whether they want the foreign soldiers in their country, and are afraid of getting bombed, having their animals killed, and their crops stepped on.

When one of the Danish soldiers gets injured, there is a vengeful attitude towards the Taliban, which probably also works the other way around, when a Taliban gets injured or killed, the Taliban also want revenge. You have to stick to combat rules, but obviously people build up hatred towards the enemy, who are trying to kill you. So it’s a vicious circle.

Enjoying, bragging about, and being praised by your supervisor for killing is disturbing, while at the same time being accused at home of liquidating injured Talibans. But at the end of the day, it’s a job, isn’t it? What has shocked public opinion is the suggestion (as one soldier later puts it) that they "liquidated wounded people and piled up the dead to take pictures of ourselves as heroes".

Director Janus Metz says he grew very close to the soldiers while filming, did he get too close to the soldiers? So raises the question about objectivity, if the director cares too much about the individuals to paint a brutally honest portrait of them? The eyes of some of the Talibans were blocked out, in accordance with the rules of the Geneva Convention, where you are not allowed to be able to identify a killed soldier.

Then again, it’s very easy for people to pass judgements from the safety of their armchair, they are not putting their life at risk. You can’t prepare mentally for battles and casualties. According to a soldier, it’s not abnormal to laugh at the destruction, as it’s so meaningless.

The doc started a debate in the Danish press. Denmark has been at war against the Taliban for 9 years together with the United States. A number of Danes have died, many have been wounded. Is it worth it? The government and supporters claim it will lead to peace and democracy. The naysayers point out it has nothing to do with possible terrorist attacks in Denmark, and they don’t think it’s worth risking the lives of Danish soldiers. On the other hand, hard to feel sorry for the soldiers, they have chosen to go to Afghanistan, no one has forced them.

According to author Carsten Jensen, 23 of 39 soldiers died trying to defend the Armadillo camp, which has now been shut down! So you can question whether those casualties served a purpose or not. The terrorist plots in Denmark in the last 10 years have not even been by Afghans, but Pakistanis, so this further brings into question the involvement in Afghanistan. Carsten Jensen believes the doc will change the Dane’s perception of the war. The Armadillo film gave the Danish public a new, more detailed view of what the war in Afghanistan is really like, and people could better make up their minds if they supported the Danish involvement.

According to the director Janus Metz, it's an analytical film, the goal was to show the paradoxes and grey areas of war. For Metz, there was a discrepancy of the soldier’s experience of war, and the polished image the media had a few years ago. The Danish military had been criticized for being too closed, so Metz thought the timing was just right for a doc to shed light on the issue. Metz comments that the notion of the civilized is upheld by violence at the end of the day, and he thinks we should question how we have become increasingly militarized in the post 9/11 environment.

I read a reviewer complain about how the doc is too beautifully shot, doctoring with the visuals to make it feel more like say the movie Platoon, I’m not sure I agree with this assessment, this was not really the agenda of the film anyway. And some claim the footage could have been shot in a lot of countries, not necessarily Afghanistan. Clearly comparisons can be made to Restrepo (2010). In my humble opinion, Armadillo has more to offer.

Armadillo is the best documentary I saw last year, which made me see war in a whole different light! The themes of the struggles of a soldier are universal. Apparently, the filmmakers say it’s unbiased, neither for nor against the war, instead inviting to discussion. What would you have done in such a situation? Not being able to openly show anxiety when on duty might have consequences later on, when the soldiers return home. You can't go to war without getting tarnished.

Readers, any thoughts on Armadillo?



Songs for your iPod

(3 female singers I discovered recently. Here are my favourite songs from their 2010 albums)

Don't Do It - Sharon Van Etten

(Powerful and inspiring. Song still gives me chills after 20+ plays. I saw a cute interview on youtube where she said she hoped people would get to know her better by listening to her music. )


Slow – Rumer

(I like the calmness on this track)


This Love (Will Be Your Downfall) - Ellie Goulding

(Love the lyrics, which to me are meaningful and genuine)

Readers, any thoughts on the music?


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