The Top 10 Films of 2013

12 Years a Slave

12YAS-Poster-ArtSteve McQueen’s third film (following Hunger and Shame) and a bona fide masterpiece, 12 Years is an unflinching, uncompromising look at slavery in the American south. It’s painful and emotionally harrowing, and makes no attempt to make anyone feel good about not only this history but the long-reaching effects of it, which we’re still feeling today. 12 Years is not The Help, congratulating white people for ending racism in 1962. Instead it holds up a mirror to an ugly, unavoidable truth and asks only that we accept it and then figure out how to move on from there. It’s a beautiful film, almost lyrical at times, even for all the ugliness it contains. And with a central message of hope and survival in the face of soul-crushing despair, it’s one that, even though there are no easy answers, doesn’t give up on the possibility of healing. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s a necessary one. Continue reading “The Top 10 Films of 2013”

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Blackfish: Portrait of a (serial) killer whale

blackfish-posterEarly childhood dislocation trauma.

Routine child abuse.

Repeated victim of bullying.

Dissociative social disorders and anti-social behaviors.

Trauma-induced psychosis.

What does that sound like?

If you said, “The common background factors of serial killers, spree killers and school shooters everywhere,” you would be correct. You would also be correct if you answered, “The life of Tilikum, a captive orca.” Continue reading “Blackfish: Portrait of a (serial) killer whale”