02 February 2020
Welcome back to the Week That Was series where I highlight a few things from the interwebs which I thought were interesting, noteworthy and probably worth your time. Usually a couple of links spanning an article📝, tweet(s)📱, video🎥, graphs 📈 and/or any other media with some brief commentary, summaries or callouts for context.
Quote Of The Week: Books
“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change (as the poet said), windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.
Pictures Of The Week: Joker
From Beirut and Hong Kong to Bolivia and Paris; Joker face paint and masks continue to appear during protests - supplanting the Guy Fawkes mask, popularised by the movie V for Vendetta, which had previously been a staple from Occupy Wall Street to the streets of Caracas.
Crowned the most profitable movie in history (after joining the Billion 🤑 Dollar Club with a modest $62,5m budget) the critically lauded Joker struck a popular chord, tapping into the Zeitgeist of growing economic frustration and worldwide anger at increasing inequality.
Video Of The Week: Parasite
A film which could be considered a thematic cousin to Joker was Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 masterwork Parasite, which explores questions about society, inequality and desparation with a unique script, fantastic cast and a masterful display of craft by the team behind the camera.
Undoubtedly my favourite movie of 2019.
It’s an excellent addition to the filmography of Joon-ho, who returns to filming in his native South Korean after the thematically similar societal critique movie Snowpiecer - which had been written in English.
This breakdown of the crucial montage shot in the first act is a superb piece of film analysis.
Chart Of The Week: Wuhan Virus
Book Of The Week: Open Veins Of Latin America
I posted a quote from a book I’d been reading last week, and having finished it I definitely want to recommend it. It’s incredbly well-written, almost in lyrical pamphleteering style - presenting brutal truths similar to say reading Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold’s Ghost. To quote a Goodreads reader whose review caputured it beautifully:
Galeano is a Uruguayan journalist/writer who has written a magesterial three-volume expansion on this book since it was published in 1970. It is really a jarring read, especially if you’re not familiar with how badly Latin America has been exploited by first Spain and Portugal, then the British Empire, and then the United States. Galeano is particularly critical of the imperial forces beyond the shores of Latin American that have bled it dry for 500 years, but he’s also sharply critical of the “national bourgeoisie” of the independent nations of Latin America who allowed the ongoing exploitation at the expense of their poor, rural, and indigenous peoples. He also lays bare the workings of power and money that underlie the endemic poverty and violence of the continent. The book is simultaneously polemic, history, social science, and poetry (on that last point, I do wish I could read Spanish, because my feeling from reading this is that it must be stunning in Spanish). This really whet my appetite to learn more about Latin American history.
Media Of The Week
You’ve probably seen some of the incredible results now possible with AI-assisted nightmode photography available on a number of modern smartphones - which can use limited light sources to stitch together nightime photos which seem like they’ve been taken during the day or with artificial light added.
This technology is used to quite stunning visual effect in the new Netflix documentary series Night on Earth
Oh…and one more thing
Thanks for reading. Tune in next week