PCN » Posts by Sarah Alexandra Leslie

Girls Just Want to Have School A Review: “Girl Rising”

“Girl Rising” is less like a movie than an extended commercial for girls’ education around the globe. Through a hybrid style combining dramatization and documentary, girls act out stories adapted from their life by acclaimed writers from their country, while famous actresses like Meryl Streep and Selma Hayek serve as narrators. Sprinkled throughout are scenes of a sunny, green field where multiracial girls in school uniforms hold up statistics about global poverty, the spread of HIV, and the power of education while Liam Neeson narrates.

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Why Don’t You Go to the Cinema? Reflections on Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Diana Vreeland’s living room is red. Red sofa, red walls, red flowers. Red patterned wallpaper mimics the red flowered upholstery. Fondly, Diana refers to the room as a “garden in hell.” In a photo in the film, Diana, also wearing red, doesn’t just recline, but floats on the sofa evoking characters painted by Chagall. Her apparent weightlessness is graceful, elegant, yet as the film unfolds, we see Diana struggling with the imposition of gravity. As a child, her mother compared Diana to her beautiful sister, referring to Diana as “her ugly little monster.” No matter how often we see clips of her brushing off the pain of her personal life, it is apparent that her mother’s cruelty affected her, yet somehow, she learned how to respond to her mother’s harsh words, shaping them into keys rather than locks. … Continue Reading

Beyonce’s Dream

Beyonce’s documentary entitled “Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream” is more like an extended advertisement than a documentary. Documentaries, I thought, before I saw this film, are meant to present facts about a person or an event. Through film devices such as voice-overs, visuals, and interviews a filmmaker illuminates the experience of a person or event. Despite the fact that it is non-fiction, a documentary employs traditional storytelling methods, teasing out the main conflict(s) and thus enhancing the arc of the story.

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Illuminating San Francisco with Music

February 11, 2013 by News

The Lumineers, a band that has quickly made its way to top 40 lists and radio stations across the country was nominated for two Grammys this year. They didn’t get to walk away with any awards last night, though a day after people seem enamored by their performance. For another cool look at the Lumineers, this one with a casual and spontaneous aire, click here. The video was directed by our friend Art Perez and filmed in San Francisco. Ho Hey!

The Lumineers are due to come out with an album and March and make more waves in the music scene. Look out! … Continue Reading

My 2012 End-of-Year List of One

Maybe you, like me, have a tendency to get stressed by all the top-ten lists that emerge at the end of the year. The lists are usually filled with books you must read, dishes you must try, restaurants you must visit, movies you must see. Rather than inciting enthusiasm for the possibility of adventure or entertainment, the lists often impart feelings of regret for all that that you could have experienced, but didn’t. Soon anxiety replaces your sense of loss because somewhere between number seven and three you decided you must pack it all in before the list writer deems you unworthy. If you’ve read all the way to number two you eventually toss the whole thing aside. “Fuck the list.” … Continue Reading

Adaptations, Alterations, Revisions

January 3, 2013 by News

A recent article in The New York Times by Melena Ryzik focuses on the revision processes of a few writers, all nominated for the best adapted screenplay. Most of the time and especially in Oscar season, reviewers and audiences tend to narrow in on the finished product. Occasionally, we are given glimpses of the film in production or pre-production, but mainstream media usually casts the spotlight on the completed work or its actors. Ryzik illuminates the realm without glamour that every artist is familiar with: revision. Ryzik adds some charming anecdotes along the way. Well worth a read.

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