By: S. McManus
The red warning tape on my door reminds me to refrain from opening it. It wouldn’t be the first time I almost waltzed straight into the crime scene. How embarrassing.
Technically speaking, they really shouldn’t be letting murder suspects out and about in the hotel, but it’s quite desolate, to say the least. An unremarkable building surrounded by farms on either side, founded on old men’s love of golf, that wasn’t quite enough to attract guests in the frosty mornings of the off-season. In other words, it’s stay inside or risk hypothermia, roughing it with the cows. But in my humble opinion, I don’t think I have the look of a criminal, just some weathered down fool.
It’s not even five in the afternoon, and the clouds are already darkening beyond the unkempt golf fields. An early winter sunset. As the sky grows dim my own silhouette begins to form in the windowpane against the egg-shaped lights of the corridor. I squint with my uncovered eye to discern the gauze firmly wrapped around my nape and right side of my face, features looking almost a decade older than I remembered them.
Well, there might be one other reason why they haven’t bothered to at least cuff me or cut off the water for my hot baths. Any helpful information, witness recount, down to the reason behind my empty suitcase and why such a strange symbols curls around my hipbone, is gone. At least temporarily. (Not that they’ve seen my hipbone tattoo)
I guess that’s to be expected when your whacked in the head with a safe.
For all I know, this could’ve all just been one huge prank save for the fact my wanderings of the long, red-and-amber carpeted corridors always lead me back to this door. Maybe I was someone who enjoyed that kind of practical joke. A completely different guy with the suaveness and eloquence the old receptionist had described me as, and not a child stricken with the backpains of a much older body.
The red tape trembles in the reflection, and with a gentle creak, the door opens just enough for the county sheriff to poke his head out. Immediately, I’m drawn to his thick mustache. It’s white, but only around the edges, and shuffles around his face as he speaks.
“Oh, it’s you again.”
There’s no hostility in his voice, I think they’ve long figured my amnesia isn’t faked as a roundabout way of going free. No one seems to care all that much about the murder at all really, rather, it’s been used by the sheriff and his partner as an excuse to enjoy the hotel amenities, while not really investigating, bidding their time for my memory to return. The hefty room service tray discarded beside the door says as much.
As if he suddenly remembered his job, his face pinches together in a frown, “Get back to the triplets, I already told you, you can’t be alone, suspect!”
He waves his bare arm around for good measure and he slams the door shut again, cutting off any view of the mess inside.
I try not to think about it too much, but the murder itself seems to have been quite gruesome. No one’s exactly told me what happened (maybe thats how they’ll know if I remember), but the tale has ranged from a knife to the heart of poor Jackie Callaghan, cyanide, and a sudden heart attack while falling out the open window to his death.
Not that I think I’d leave an open window just lying around like that, it’s freezing.
As I make my way down to the reception I’m stopped by Ms. Connor, the private investigator who comes by every so often (and makes a big show of not making herself seen) to talk me into betraying and framing my “accomplice”. She grips my shoulder, smiles with her lip-stick-stained teeth, and nods as if I had already agreed to her grand scheme. This time though, she slips something into the front-pocket of my robe, just the right size and width of a letter, and makes her way out the staircase.
I take the letter out (discreetly, just in case there really should be a reason for caution), and trace the pen-man ship, still fresh enough to stain my fingers.
From my employer
I slip it back into the pocket as if stunned, stepping down mechanically lest one of the triplets suspect something. The thumps of the hotel-provided slippers I’ve been forced to wear in the absence of my boots ring even louder, but I make it to the plush armchairs by the fireplace of the lobby, where they’re already waiting for me, giggling behind their cards.
The triplets aren’t in fact triplets at all, but rather three similarly aged young women who are never apart. They’re made up of brunette, whose hair’s been fried from all the swimming pool chlorine, a blonde, whose hair’s long been ruined by bleach, and raven, whose hair seems to be fine but acts just a tad overly cheerful at all times.
Considering I supposedly murdered her brother, that is.
“At last, you’ve joined us”, Alice, the blonde, announces, placing down her cards.
All three put on an even brighter smile, that seem a little wicked in the firelight.
I nod absentmindedly, sitting down with a huff.
“That’s right, deal me in.”
This is where I spent most of my past week- playing cards with the three non-sisters, to the sad melodies of the lanky pianist who was probably gloomier than he had any right to be. Their chatter carries on throughout the game, trading recipes, rumours and accusations that if said in the wrong tone could lead to them being the ones at the other side of the questioning table.
They’re a little bit terrifying, these supervisors of mine.
Soon enough, I’ve tired of the same game of Blackjack and excuse myself to our rooms. They nod, and delve back into their conversation, in false distraction. They may look pretty and act air-headed, but I’m not foolish enough to think they’d actually give me an opportunity to try something.
Like contacting this supposed accomplice of mine, for instance.
I make it back to their rooms after retracing my steps with a few wring turns, bumping into the sympathetic concierge who can never recommend me anywhere other than the caves which are flooded this time of year.
As I push the key in, I notice the shoe box that’s returned since this morning when I sent in my muddy boots.
Opening the box, I find the boots shine immaculate, except they aren’t quite the ones I sent in this morning. These are boots I just barely remember, sitting in the corner of a suitcase, that belong to the me I lost.
Option A: Ignore the boots and read the letter
Option B: Investigate where the boots came from and ignore the letter
OPTION A WAS CHOSEN, CONTINUE IN THE NEXT INSTALMENT.
By L. Maksoud
This article is dedicated to Ms Leu. For, without her, I wouldn’t be able to look at business terms like ‘acquisition’ while researching about this & say- “hey, I know what that means!”.
There are around 150 billion stars in the Milky Way. If Jeff Bezos agreed to pay around $1.50 for each one, he could own every luminous spheroid of plasma in the galaxy, every speck of light we see in the stellar night sky. 51 round trips to Mars, the Star Wars franchise (50 times), 51 billion of those tuck-shop cookies everyone loves, 1,898,148 years studying at St Paul’s— these are all things the Amazon CEO could afford with his net worth of $205 billion dollars.
Last Wednesday, 26th of August, Forbes magazine announced that Jeff Bezos had become the first person in history to surpass said amount. An incomprehensible, obscene proportion of money, which skyrocketed into his business in tandem with the US facing its worst economic downturn since the Wall Street Crash of 1929. As low wage workers got laid-off because of the pandemic, some Silicon Valley personalities such as Bezos benefited from shifting consumer habits. This is in no way an eat-the-rich-and-boycott-Amazon article. I order from Amazon, i've used Kindle, I watch Fleabag on Prime. This is only a discourse about a man who built an empire so colossal in 26 years, that his divorce settlement made his ex-wife into the richest woman in the world.
She took his heart. And 25% of his Amazon stakes.
It is almost part of some prophecy that all tech billionaires start off in a garage. On par with Apple, Disney, & Google, Bezos set up desks made out of Home-Depot doors in his makeshift Seattle office, and started Amazon as an online bookstore. After he went public in 1997, selling shares at $18, slightly less than its given valuation of $300 million today (sarcasm), the company expanded its market into music, clothing, unveiled the Kindle & started shipping on Sundays. In 2004, they evolved into a multinational company after buying China’s book-and-technology-seller market leader, Joyo, for $75 million.
Can’t forget to mention how Bezos was named Time person of the year somewhere in this timeline.
In 2005, Amazon announced its loyalty program Prime. From 2009 onwards, the company started conquering and digging its flag into other industries; acquiring Zappos, the robotics company Kiva Systems, the video game streamer Twitch, bought the Washington Post which was struggling to stay afloat, and finally, Whole Foods for $13.4 billion in 2017. This acquisition was a turning point for the firm. Their physical presence was now as concrete than ever, & their shadow began looming over Walmart, its lurking competitor.
Today, Amazon is far past being a trillion dollar company; smothering businesses & preventing ambition and innovation with its growing monopoly. While his employees work 12-hour-shifts under grueling conditions, Bezos finds new ways of entertaining himself; such as with his commercial aerospace program, Blue Origin, in hopes of making trips beyond the stratosphere- innovating space tourism into alien places of a galaxy he could buy.
So here is why Jeff Bezos should buy me ice cream: Because if you collected a dollar per second, disregarding interest & inflation, you would need to have begun your collection before 4000BC to get to his net worth (Thanks for that info, Mr Puffett). You would need to start catching up with Jeff Bezos back when the Egyptians were still figuring out papyrus & agriculture was yet to become a ‘thing' in Eurasia.
Jeff Bezos should buy me ice cream because it wouldn't make a difference to him. Neither would doubling the National Cancer Institute's Budget, or donating eyeglasses to less fortunate people who can't afford it, or giving money to relief organizations, or investing a bit more to ensure his warehouse workers stop dying from COVID-19.
But he hasn't bought me ice cream or, far more commendably, aided humanity to the extent that he could.
Bezos is undeniably an intelligent businessman. But for now, he will be remembered for his wealth, and not for how he used it.
By: S. Celulari and L. Gilmartin
Yoga is way more than just a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline. Yoga is a lifestyle. It has the power to change your mood, body disposition and sleep through meditation, breathing exercises and postures. Once you adopt those habits to your daily routine, you’ll notice a clear difference in both your physical and mental health. It helps your body reach a deep state of relaxation reducing anxiety, stress and negative thoughts.
During quarantine many people have been facing anxiety and stress related issues because of the uncertainty of the virus. So, I asked Ms. Gilmartin, St Paul’s official yogi, to share a little of her yoga journey and hopefully convince you all to use it as a tool to release tension.
When did you first hear about yoga and what was your first impression of it?
In all honesty I can’t remember when I first heard about it....my mum did yoga for a long time, so I remember her going to classes and workshops when I was a kid. My first impression was, as someone who did a lot of ballet, that it was a long ballet warm up but without any of the dance part of it, so why would you do that?! Plus, there was the fact my mum did it – surely if one of your parents does something when you’re young, it can’t be fun or cool, can it?!
How has yoga changed your life? Mentally? Physically?
It always sounds very dramatic when people say something ‘completely’ changed their life, but it has had a significant impact. There wasn’t any thunderbolt or magical moment when everything become really clear (sorry!) but, over a long period of time, I did begin to realise that, physically, I was getting a lot of my strength back that I had developed when I was at school and did a lot of dancing. I also noticed that, when running, I was able to go further and recover quicker because, physically, my body was adapting and gaining both strength and suppleness. Mentally, again over a long period of time, I began to be able to identify changes in my mood or when I was starting to feel tired or irritated quicker and could start to use techniques to basically acknowledge that I felt rubbish and then try let it go. That’s something that I think I will probably be working on for the rest of my life, as I don’t find that naturally very easy!
How often do you meditate/take yoga classes?
On average I probably practice yoga 4-5 times a week – but that doesn’t mean I’m doing hardcore workouts that amount of times! I try and go to classes 2-3 times a week, but I also like to practice at home as well, even if it’s only for 20 minutes. Just having a bit of a stretch and being away from screens or work for a short period of time tends to make me feel a lot better and then I can go back to doing whatever I was doing before. Meditating I try to do a few times a week and, I will be honest, it is something I find challenging – my brain goes about a hundred miles a minute, so trying to turn the volume down on my thoughts is a real challenge for me, but a good one.
After many years of practice you’re now a qualified instructor. If you were to give beginners a tip, what would it be?
Most people say, “Yoga is boring”. How would you contradict this statement?
I think the idea of yoga equating to boredom is partially due to the view that in yoga you just sit with your eyes closed and either breathe on chat ‘om’ lots. Sure, there’s breathing and chanting (if that’s your thing…again, it’s not for everyone!) but actually, yoga does require quite a lot of inward concentration and focus – it’s about you and your body and what it can do. Also, we do live in a world where everything is super charged and immediate gratification and, because some of yoga is about stillness and maintaining postures that encourage the brain to slow down and become a bit quitter, it is something that seems to go against everything that happens in the world around us. Quite often, if you make the choice to do any form of physical conditioning (whether it’s yoga, the gym, running…) people often find time flies by because they’ve actively chosen to take time to focus on themselves.
Why does yoga relax you? Are there any theories behind it?
A lot of it depends on what type of yoga you choose to do – there’s more physical ones such as Ashtanga and Vinyasa, which have sequences and more movement, so feel more like a physical workout as well as the mental workout; it’s relaxing in the way that the body feels relaxed after a lot of different types of exercise – you’ve released tension, endorphins make you feel better and the brain feels more focused. Other ones, like Hatha (which is more gentle) or Yin (which is super slow and gentle and can result in people almost falling asleep it’s that gentle!) which focus on the breathing and holding gentle postures, it’s relaxing because all the cues you are giving your body are ones that are telling it to be still and calm. In terms of yogic philosophy, a huge emphasis is put on prana, which is the Sanskrit for ‘breath’. If you engage with the breathing as, ultimately, that is what yoga is about (the postures aren’t the main point), you will find one of the side effects is you relax; by breathing slower and more deeply, your stress and anxiety levels decrease as your nervous system gets the signal to calm down, your heart rate decreases, you lower the blood pressure, improve your circulation, relax your muscles…the physical elements go on and on.( I won’t go into yogic theories, as that can be a bit much, but the biological/physiological elements are obvious ones)
Sophia’s suggestion: Meditating is very hard. It takes time and a lot of patience to reach the appropriate level of relaxation and concentration. I would recommend starting off by using guided meditations. It can be podcasts; YouTube videos or Instagram lives. I personally prefer using the Zen app. In order to access all the different types of meditation you must pay an annual subscription. Zen is a meditation menu; it offers meditations with different goals/purposes and lengths. You’re able to pick the one that works best for you according to your mood and appointments. Try it out! Find the bond between your mind and your body!
This is not a trend. It isn't enough to post a black square online and call it a day. We know some of you are listening, learning and changing. So please show that too. Amplify your voices. This is about lives. About innocent people being deprived the right to live because of their skin colour. People who have families, jobs, and voices- which so many times are left unheard.
This is why we chose to be silent today and use this platform to offer resources and ways in which you can help. Most of us will never understand; we are privileged, and blessed with lives which exempt us from these conflicts. But this is no excuse to settle, to choose complacency over change- in a society that picks favourites.
Black Lives Matter is not an empty slogan for hashtags, something to be commodified, a movement with an expiration date on its relevancy. Blackout Tuesday was a week ago, but we are still in a moment of change.
And we feel that is slowly being forgotten.
You can read our June issue here as we didn't want the hard work of our editors and writers to go under the radar, though we urge you to take a look at this document filled with resources and ways in which you can help. Educate yourselves on injustice; watch movies, documentaries, read books, keep the change alive.
Click here for more information:
By Laura Maksoud
Take a quick glance at today's date, think about April, or even the first days of this month. Unless you're a universal oddity, quarantine has felt like its been dragging on endlessly, but every day just flies by. Last month felt like thirty minutes, but March felt like an eternity. How can a concept as permanent as time be so malleable? How can something so empirical and perpetual seem so inconsistent?
I spent the afternoon casually slipping this subject into conversations with my friends. I wasn't surprised to hear everyone feeling this disorienting unbalance. One told me that "it's always Saturday". The other that "Tuesdays feel like Mondays". My favorite was probably my best friend explaining how "Corona attacked time as well".
Being a person who treats unfulfilled curiosity like literal poison, leaving this pending was bound to drive me crazy. Now i'm not nearly a good enough physics student to try and talk my way through theories of relativity or quantum mechanics. But what I found after a few hours of articles and reports is that this lingering feeling is far more than just delusive or imagined. There's an actual neurological underpinning to it.
The first thing we need to know is the concept of internal time or, in other words, subjective time, and how complex that is.
You have probably heard of an internal clock- usually in relation to sleep cycles, after staying up too late finishing that history essay, or watching all ten episodes of Outer Banks in one sitting. But there's no such thing as one internal clock. Our brains are wired in a complex ad hoc system that regulates much more than solely the time you'll start feeling tired.
An example would be auditory information being synched with what you see, or how long you'll need to focus and pay attention to a specific task. That all works like a machine, a psychological metronome.
But complex systems are fragile, so it isn't any wonder that our sense of time reflects our circumstances. With all that's going on, it only makes sense for time to feel off as well.
This happens because of something psychologists refer to as Flow. This is when you're relaxed and engaging in a routine or productive activity, without any distractions, completely focused- and you essentially lose yourself in it. There is a sense of zen. The more Flow you have during the day, the smoother time will pass. It's calming, satisfying, and makes you feel fulfilled. A task becomes a pleasurable pastime, and minutes seem shorter, more valuable.
During this is also when you experience the emanation of outward-attention; when your thoughts are directed to creating things, learning, carrying out a specific job. But we're all housebound, stressed, no matter what your situation is- it's all relative. There's that constant inkling of anxiety, a disrupted routine, there's none of that Flow and, consequently, we have to deal with inward-attention. These are often negative, repetitive, obsessive thoughts which pour out of your mind and back into yourself because of a cognitive load. It shares a direct correlation to time slowing down. A prolonging feeling associated with depression.
For example, sure, online learning is difficult, tedious, but no wonder we're all going on full rants at 3AM about how we're all drowning in work. And even when we're drowning, we can't find the will to finish all the work and stay afloat. Deadlines seem distant, inspiration keeps waning and, when we haven't accomplished anything, time seems to have disappeared. Wasted away in procrastination. Speaking from a more personal perspective, that's not all- we're being exceptionally hard on ourselves these last few weeks. We demand more not only from ourselves but from friends, partners, crushes, parents, whoever it may be.
Time slowing down makes us blue, being blue makes time go by slow. It's a tautology serpent, one variable is the causation of the other in a never-ending cycle.
Of course, these ideas vary from person to person. A generally pessimistic individual, maybe with a history in anxiety or depression might be feeling this more intensely. Whereas, according to Dr Bardon, a philosophy professor at Wake Forest University, children are the ones adapting the best to these changes, they "experience Flow very easily. They can lose themselves in their imaginary world."
If you're a student like me, try and think about how long you could spend playing the same video game on your DS when you were younger, or how many consecutive hours of Wizards of Waverly Place you could withstand on the daily. You were in the Flow. If you're reading this and have children of your own, think about how energized your kids are, how keen they are to do things when all you want to do is lie down and do nothing.
As clichéd and parental as this might sound, the solution is to give your brain stimulus, to occupy your mind. I'm not going to tell you to fold clothes or finish that AMAZING, LIFE-SAVING, SKIN-CLEARING, NOT-BORING-AT-ALL biology project that Mr Dias set you (even though you should)- but if you're ever feeling stuck, something else I found is that listening to music is the easiest way to manipulate subjective time. It embodies this independent dimension of tempo and pace that helps usurp that notion of inward-attention mentioned before. It blurs the activity in your prefrontal cortex, which is fancy for "where this all happens", and you finally reach the Flow.
By S. Celulari
Mario Testino is considered to be one of the most influential and acknowledged photographers of his time. Born to a catholic family in Lima 1954, Mario has photographed icons and contributed to the success of significant fashion brands. Testino’s works have become great part of the fashion vocabulary and represent sensuality, energy, fire, intimacy and confidence all at once. He had multiple memorable sittings yet this article will outline some of Testino’s unforgettable portraits of the British royal family. Testino had taken various formal portraits of members of the House of Windsor but his artistic relationship with the royal family began in 1981 when he took his first spontaneous portrait of Diana for Vanity Fair in 1981. Since then, he has recorded many milestone moments of the royal family’s remarkable history.
Here are some of his most valuable images…
In 2012, The National Portrait Gallery exposed eight of Testino’s images of the Royal Family taken between 2003 and 2010. Hopefully, he will continue capturing heart-warming images of such influent people in the world.
Movies are seen as an escape from reality, an escape to another world, as a form of art that is equally transportive as it is entertaining. And with the current situation affecting the lives of everyone, who doesn't want refuge from the repetitiveness and tediousness of a quarantine routine? Here are your favourite teachers' (plus editors) recommendations for a self-isolated watchparty:
#1 - Ms Simpson
"I have two, very contrasting, entertaining watches...
The Outsider [pg-13]- a Netflix series based on the Stephen King book. Not for the faint hearted, it had me gripped from the first few minutes of episode 1. Brilliant tension, simple special effects and a great character in Holly (the private detective) if you like a thriller with a bit of horror, this is for you. Don’t watch it with the lights off!
The Crown [TV-MA] – another Netflix production, now running to three series, which looks at the life and times of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. I don’t know how historically accurate it is (I am sure much of it is dramatized and elaborated) but it is fascinating and suggests that life behind the closed doors of the palace, and under the watchful eyes of the ‘establishment’ is not all peaches and cream. It puts the royal family into a historical context which, for those of us who can remember some of the events in the series is fascinating. If you have even a vague interest in the British monarchy, you will enjoy this.”
#2 - Ms Griffiths
"So… picking my favourite film is really hard. I watch very different types of films depending on my mood. My favourite animated film is Howl's Moving Castle [pg]. Studio Ghibli is a family favourite and a tradition when my son was younger was to buy him a Studio Ghibli film every birthday and Christmas which we would watch together.
My other favourite family friendly film is a James Stewart film called Harvey [pg]. I just loved it when I saw it the first time. Also a winner - The Princess Bride [pg].
There were a few fabulous teen films when I was growing up. My favourite was Heathers [pg-13], but I was also a big fan of Pump up the Volume [pg-13]. I loved their anarchy.
As an English teacher, I do love a costume drama. My favourite costume drama would have to be Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon - I don't care what anyone else says: I liked it. It is one of my favourite books too and I won't pretend that there is not some artistic license but I think the reading is in keeping and Witherspoon captures Becky Sharp's energy and vivacity.
My favourite romantic film is Eagle Vs Shark [pg-13]. And I only just realised that the director also directed Jojo Rabbit [pg-13] which was my favourite recent film."
#3 - Mrs Leu
“My all time favourite is The Godfather [TV-MA] trilogy. Every time I watch it, it feels like the first time seeing it. The direction is amazing, not to mention Al Pacino's acting. Really like a gang mobster. I just can’t get enough of it!!!! I also like The Notebook [pg-13].... a bit cheesy, but cute to watch."
#4 - Ms Gilmartin
"I wouldn't say my favourite movie but definitely at the top of my list is one of my most recent watches: This is Where I Leave You [R]. To be honest, I had never heard of the film before and what got my attention at first was the show-stopping cast. Jason Bateman, Jane Fonda and Adam Driver are well-respected, incredible actors, I personally admire but had no clue they had done a movie together.
The plot follows the story of a family that, after the death of their father, returns to their childhood home and starts living under the same roof for a week. Conforming to a Jewish tradition requested by the family's patriarch before he passed away, the four grown siblings alongside their oversharing mother sit in their house for seven days and wait for people in the neighbourhood to come pay their respects.
Even though it may sound negative and miserable I would classify it as a dark comedy. For the content of the film, it has got quite an uplifting, heartwarming closure to the story. Worth the watch!”
#5 - Dr Cowley
"So my favourite film is very nostalgic for me and brings back amazing memories from my childhood...
It is Jurassic Park [pg] (the original) as it came out when I was right in the middle of my dinosaur obsession (I was 12) and desire to be a palaeontologist. It might seem really dated now, but seeing the dinosaurs for the first time was breathtaking and I was soooo excited! The theme tune still gives me shivers"
#6 - Mr Harris (Always next to Dr Cowley- even in lists!)
"My favourite movie is No Country for Old Men [TV-MA].
It won best picture at the Oscars in 2008 and is a really amazing tale of cat and mouse between an opportunistic local chancer in West Texas and a vicious psychopathic hitman with a weird haircut. I remember being in complete suspense throughout the movie at the cinema and then initially feeling slightly underwhelmed by the 'big ending'. However, I woke up the next morning and realised that was part of the sheer excellence of the film. It didn't need a big ending and left you wanting more. Sometimes the best films are all about perception rather than reality."
#7 - Mrs Santiago
My recommendation is a movie called Cinderella Man [pg-13]. In Portuguese the title is "A Luta Pela Esperança" with Russel Crowe in the skin of Jim Braddock, a boxer who literally had to fight for himself and for his family, a wonderful movie which teaches people that they should never give up! It will make you see life in a very different way..."
#8 - Mrs Santana
"My recommendation on Netflix is Unorthodox [pg-15]. I watched at the weekend and loved it. It is about a young Jewish girl who is a member of the ultra orthodox sect the Satmar Jews who live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She is in an unhappy marriage and is struggling with the pressures to have children and live the very strict lifestyle in the community. She manages to escape to Berlin and tries to restart her life there but she has had no formal education and no skills so she faces many challenges. It is very uplifting and interesting at the same time.
At the end of the series there is another 20 minute documentary about how they made the series. The series is based on a book about a woman with a similar story so the producers were very keen to be as authentic as possible so all the actors speak in Yiddish which is a mixture of German and Hebrew and their costumes are also very realistic.
If you enjoyed that then there is another documentary which is called Not one of us which is a similar story but is a real-life documentary about the Hasidic Jewish Community in New York."
#8 - Ms Narwan
"I have two recommendations! Four Lions [TV-MA] is a British film that is guaranteed to make you chuckle for all the wrong reasons, and spit out whatever snack you’re in the middle of eating. It’s a satirical look at the war on terror and the grooming of terrorists, and to say this film is hilarious is a gross understatement. The film also stars Riz Ahmed, who is an activist on matters of imperialism, colonialism and identity. However, it’s rated a 15 so is only suitable for some of the Senior School!
Breadwinner [pg] is a 2017 animated film which follows Parvana, an 11-year-old girl who lives under Taliban rule in Afghanistan in 2001. After the wrongful arrest of her father, Parvana cuts off her hair and dresses like a boy to support her family. This film is moving and shows the triumph of the individual in a society which is not always fair. This is rated an R, and is suitable for all ages. It was even nominated the Best Animated Feature Film for the Oscars. Give it a watch if you have a spare hour or two!"
#9 - Mr Wilson
"So in times like these I always like to think about Space. Escapism and perspective. Plus I want to be an astronaut. With that in mind let’s go with a movie set lightyears from Earth.
I have a long list of my favourites:
I suppose my recommendation for quarantine times is the low-budget film Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones. It’s fitting for our isolation times and has a brilliant twist."
#10 - Mr Diver
"My choice of film to watch during quarantine is:
Playing with Fire [pg] (Brincando Com Fogo). Just released on NOW this classic was presented as a fun film for the whole family, so I watched it with the family at the end of a long day of remote teaching and learning for us all. It had a really promising start with some good set pieces and the introduction to the main characters had some good lines and lots of laughs. We felt confident we'd selected a good one. Unfortunately, It soon lost its footing and went rapidly down-hill from there.
Making the best of our bad choice we soon began to revel in how bad the film was. Awfully staged slapstick scenes, ludicrous plot lines and some of the worst acting I have seen…ever. It all became ghoulishly fun to watch and a big hit for us, if for all the wrong reasons. Overall it proved to be one of the worst films I have ever watched! But so bad I would urge everyone to watch it, if for no other reason than to experience a master class in how NOT to make a film.
I am sure this will become a cult classic, I urge you to get on board early. Just don't tell anyone involved in the film why. Enjoy"
#11 - Mr Sousa
Sherlock [pg-13]: a very interesting modern take on Sherlock Holmes. Also, the role that made Benedict Cumberbatch's career take off.
Explained [pg]: explaining what's what from K-pop to the wage-gap, from tattoos to (before it happened!) the next pandemic in under 20 minutes.
The Good Place [pg-13]: a comedy about philosophy and the after-life. Oddly enough, it works.
Saving Capitalism & Where to Invade Next [TV-MA]: two documentaries about the issues of modern-day capitalism- and what to do to fix them.
Cuba and the Cameraman & Winter on Fire [TV-MA]: two first-hand documentaries about different "revolutions". The first one depicts Cuba from the early stages of the revolution to its crisis after the downfall of the USSR and the recent changes it's making to adapt to a new reality. The second one follows the rise of the people against the Ukrainian government in 2013.
Note from LM (editor) - The Good Place is my all-time favourite TV show. I've watched it every Friday night for the past three years. It helped me get through my IGCSE's and stressful school days so i'm pretty sure it can get anyone through quarantine! A great recommendation!
#12 - Mr Dias
"I have two brilliant series I've watched at the end of last year, quite similar in their background plot, which is the reason why I believe I had the second recommended to me by Netflix after having watched the first:
'Seven seconds' [pg-15]- a hit-and-run accident involving a black kid in a park in NYC is investigated by NYPD police officers, but they might be the same ones who left him to die in a ditch facing the Statue of Liberty.
And 'When They See Us' [pg-15] - the story of the Central Park 5, the five kids accused of rape and attempt murder of a white woman in Central Park, but were they really there? Did they really do it?
As you see, both these mini-series reflect the racial tensions in the US, more specifically, in NYC, at two different (but not so much) moments of the city's history. I realise now that they also dialogue with my first recommendation to you (The Help), as this one traces the background for the historical origins of these conflicts in America."
Side comment from LM (editor) - Mr Dias always has the best recommendations, has my seal of approval. 100%!
#13 - Mr Cooper Blanks (RCB)
The movie I have watched most (and would watch again and again and again and again) is The Maltese Falcon [pg-13]. Brilliant dialogue and super directing.
I love detective stories and this film brings together the most creepy crawly set of characters you would ever wish to meet (or not meet). From the wise-cracking and hugely ironic Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) to the deliciously devious and distrusted Brigid O'Shaughnessy (Mary Astor). Taking in the aptly named Kasper Gutman affectionately known as The Fatman (Sydney Greenstreet), the slimy and treacherous Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre), the childlike hitman Wlimer Cook (Elisha Cook Jr) and a super support cast.
In the same genre is The Big Sleep [pg-13] and the same (almost) cast is in Casablanca: give me these movies, a desert island to be shipwrecked on (with tv and electric etc) or my apartment and social distancing and I am in paradise.
#14 - Mr Collingwood
"My favorite film:
Fitzcarraldo [pg] by Werner Herzog (1982). Filmed in Peru and Brazil, the film centres on the character of Fitzcarraldo who wishes to bring opera to the jungle. In order to fund his dream, he must drag a steamboat over a mountain in order to reach an untouched rubber plantation. What made this film so incredible was that rather than using special effects, the director decided to drag the steamboat over the mountain too. He employed a local Amazonian tribe to support him with this endeavor. It's a film that every South American should watch and the film explores how obsession can soon lead to madness. It was this very film that made Mr Collingwood decide to book his flight to South America (although he has yet to fulfill his dream of visiting the Amazon rainforest)."
#15 - Mr O'Shea
"Once you overcome the one inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.
Wise words from Parasite [TV-MA] director Bong Joon Ho. I have been banging the drum for this film since last June- just ask my lower 6th IB film class who are likely fed up with me talking about it. There's a reason it won best film, best director, best original screenplay at the Oscars. It's a genre mash-up: comedy, tragedy, thriller, horror all wrapped in a biting social commentary. My advice- don't look up anything else about it, just head straight to Apple TV.
Also playing: If you want a pure, innocent, escapist adventure, go to Netflix and type in "Studio Ghibli". If you want an adrenaline rush, try Get Out [TV-MA] or 1917 [pg-16]. But if you just want to relax and channel your inner zen while you're at home, why not tap into the soothing tones of ASMR?"
Mr O'Shea's ASMR link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkwHSNg3wxQ
Side note from editor LM (editor) - We are definitely not fed up, you can never have too much Bong Joon Ho in your life. Parasite was my favourite movie from 2019, couldn't expect any less from our film teacher himself!
#16 - Laura Maksoud - Editor in Chief
Last September, I made a deal with myself that I would watch a movie every day until I finished my IB film course. Its been eight months and i've watched a total of 342 movies (excluding the TV shows that I keep up with). During this time, i've fallen deeper in love with cinema, and my perception of it has changed completely. I've realized that there are movies, and then there are movies: experiences that change you and shape the way that you think.
So, out of hundreds of movies, my first recommendation is Arrival [pg-13], which has the most intelligent premise i've ever gotten to know. It takes place after alien crafts land around the world, a linguist is recruited by the military to decipher their language and intentions. It uses sci-fi as a vessel for storytelling, a stage for romance, sacrifice, sorrow and love to play out. Dennis Villeneuve's cinematic translation of Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" is fluent, profound, and encapsulates the endless bounds of the human condition. It is clever, intense, and most importantly: a reassurance of the future, because, despite the hardships, what matters are the good days amongst the bad, the arrival and not the departure.
I've never met anyone who didn't fall in love with this movie. And in every rewatch, it has me asking "isn't Amy Adams' back hurting from carrying Hollywood on her shoulders?".
Plus you can watch it with your dad and he'll be happy with all the aliens and spaceships.
My second recommendation is The Room [TV-MA]. A movie known to be the best of the worst. An abomination directed by the visionary Tommy Wiseau, produced by Tommy Wiseau, and which stars Tommy Wiseau. It's incoherent, awkward, and genuinely painful to watch. The Room is a cult classic, a fascination amongst Hollywood personalities and also James Franco's favourite film. It's so bad that it has showings at least once a month in theaters in NYC. Fans gather at midnight screenings to throw spoons at the screen (the confusion is the heart of the matter). I've forced all my friends to watch this, and I don't think we've ever laughed so much in our lives. Get a taste of the sufferable nature of this film- linked bellow. And keep in mind that I can quote this movie by heart.
#17 - Sophia Raia - Editor in Chief
As an IB film student, I find it unbelievably challenging to pick only one favourite movie. We’re constantly exposed to so many incredible stories and memorable characters, I keep finding reasons to add more and more movies to my, once selective, list of favourite films. But although there are so many movies that pop up on my mind whilst I write this, my OCD is working non-stop on the other half of my brain, categorizing each of these names into different situations to watch them. This movie has inspired and captivated me in various different ways. I guarantee that having this film on your screen will make it much easier to go through the quarantine and hopefully, make you fall in love with it the same way I did.
Rear Window [pg-13] (Alfred Hitchcock) - Can heroes be trapped in a wheelchair? According to Hitchcock they can. Laid up with a broken leg L.B Jeffries, a famous photographer, is facing the worst of ennui inside his confined, tiny apartment. When “Jeff” and his socialite girlfriend (Grace Kelly) decide to spend their days and nights shamelessly spying on their neighbors, the roles are inverted and the protagonist starts doing on the screen what we do as an audience: OBSERVE. Now, if Jeff was able to get himself entertained by what he sees through his binoculars, without a shadow of a doubt you’ll be fully hooked by what you see on screen.
Stay safe and stay home!
Ps: ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ is one of Hitchcock’s finest thrillers and interestingly, his personal favourite. Special thanks to Mr O'Shea who introduced me to ‘pure cinema’ and made me become even more fascinated by this legend.
#18 - Julia Nemr (Website Manager & Editor-in-Chief of The Cub)
"Have you ever watched Eat, Pray Love [pg-14]?", my friend asked during our Carnaval break. Me - knowing I was possibly the only human being to never have watched it before - answered shamefully, "Is it that good?". I had no answer but the sound of the Apple TV remote as she spelled out its title on the screen. "You will not be the same person."
Wow. She was right. Breathtaking, modern, dynamic, lively, utopian are some of the adjectives I could use to describe it but the one which sums the movie up the most is "inspiring". Scene after scene, Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) never fails to conjure up the beautiful moments she created to escape the mundane life she despised so much. The movie is an adaptation of the biographical work of Elizabeth Gilbert published in 2006 and even though it is not to be worshipped for its cinematography, there are important life lessons to be learnt after watching it (especially in good company). It ground us in a way and brings us closer to ourselves, conjuring up courage to find our essence if we feel misguided. This concept sounds familiar doesn't it? Ah, sweet quarantine! If you are anything like me, once I accepted the fact that staying inside was literally inevitable, I knew I did not only have to stay inside, but this was the opportunity to look inside.
By looking inside, I mean shifting your focus from the inside out rather that from the outside in and letting a hint of solitude take over. This way, quarantine can be a time where you can learn and better yourself. Funny coincidence that Elizabeth Gilbert broadened her understanding by eating, praying and loving. These 3 can be practiced during a rough patch which we are all trying to get though. They say the that there is no wrong timing in this Universe and I couldn't agree more.
Recall the etymology of the word “kangaroo”. Back in 1770, Captain James Cook led a group of sailors to the east coast of Australia. One of the men pointed at the animal that hopped around and carried their babies in a pouch and asked: “What is that?”, to which an aborigine replied “kangaroo”. Only years later did the British find out that “kangaroo” actually meant “I don’t know”.
This story itself actually turned out to be a myth. But linguists use it to prove a point of the dangers of loose translation and misinterpretation.
Of course, two-hundred-and-fifty years later, things have changed. The world has become far more globalized. Around a third of the world’s population is exposed to english and, it is estimated that by 2050, half of the world will be proficient in it.
According to an article from The Economist: “It is the language of globalization- of international business, politics and diplomacy. It is the language of computers and the internet. You’ll see it on posters in Cote d’Ivoire, you’ll hear it in pop songs in Tokyo, you'll read it in official documents in Phnom Penh”
But the truth is: there will never be a universal language. After all, language is too tied up with our own identity, our own culture and personality (for all the British teachers who wonder "why can't they speak english all the time?"). And in the absence of one common tongue, we have translators.
These are the invisible heroes, intercultural experts who deserve way more recognition than they actually get. Translation is significant in so many ways. But most importantly, it serves as a vessel for linking nations together. As the American translation theorist, Lawrence Venuti describes it: “Translators imagine their work as establishing a relation not only to the source of the text but also to the receiving culture” This craft converts foreign to the familiar- whether the larger purposes relate to technology, politics or, in the case of this article’s main focus: award season.
Apart from this year’s never-ending wave of disasters, it will go down in history for its breakthroughs in cinema alone. After nine-decades, a prophecy that was seemingly carved out of stone was broken. The Academy Award for best picture was finally- and rightfully- given to a foreign film. That film being the South-Korean caustic, dark comedy “Parasite”
This monumental victory was the movie’s final win, but only part of a much larger chain of international recognition which dated back to May 2019 at Cannes, where director Bong Joon Ho accepted the Palme d’Or for his work.
Throughout this entire run, his translator, Sharon Choi, stood by his side. And after 10 months of tearful moments and 4AM-Taco-Bell-Hangouts with Hollywood’s biggest stars, she herself became an unforgettable face. And surely an anomaly and icon for this unseen profession.
Twenty-Five year old Sharon Choi was born in Seoul, South Korea, but spent her childhood in America before returning home. She graduated from the Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies and then studied cinematic arts at USC in Southern California
In an essay that she wrote for Variety, Choi explains that “the two years that I spent in the US as a kid had turned me into a strange hybrid- too Korean to be American, too American to be Korean, and not even Korean American. I kept up my english by reading books and watching movies, but I still didn’t know how to respond to the oh-so-casual “What’s up?” when I came back to LA for college.”
An aspiring filmmaker herself, and currently working on a script set in Korea, Choi was unwittingly stealing everyone’s place in the limelight. Her unwavering voice and aptitude in both languages earned the public’s attention as well as Bong’s admiration. In an interview for The Hollywood Reporter he stated: “She’s perfect, and we all depend on her”.
By Laura Maksoud, editor-in-chief