Theeb — Beware of Wolves

Song of the Day: El Amaken by Mohammed Abdo

5D0562D3-5BA9-44CA-A976-71C85C8E0D5B-10093-0000080EC673856D

I usually avoid the ‘Middle-Eastern’ sub-tab under the ‘International’ section of movies on Netflix, because the selection is so limited. However, this past Friday, too tired after a long day of work and in need of entertainment; I found myself browsing the section. One of the movies caught my eye. The description read: ‘World War I: The Arabian Desert has become a danger zone of spies, assassins, and thieves. One boy is about to cross it.’ Hardly much seemed enticing about that description but I still found myself clicking play. (That Netflix gives terrible descriptions to movies that are sometimes misleading and sometimes completely off the mark is hardly a new phenomenon  there is even a dedicated sub-Reddit and countless articles written on the subject.)

Continue reading “Theeb — Beware of Wolves”

El Orfanato/The Orphanage

Song of the Day: Reminiscing by Ailee

IMG_0458

I was going through my very long list of movies that are still awaiting a review, and one caught my eye. The Orphanage, the 2007 film by J.A. Bayona. I remember leaving the cinema thoroughly entertained in a brilliantly, shudderingly, suspenseful manner.

Anyhow, I re-watched it this weekend for the purposes of this review, and maybe there is a correlation between age and fear: the older you get, the more susceptible to fear. Or maybe I am the exception here. It scared the living daylights out of me and I found myself screaming like a banshee in a house by myself.  Continue reading “El Orfanato/The Orphanage”

La Vin de Sourires

Song of the Day: ‘You See Big Girl’ by Hiroyuki Sawano

I have been doing an overhaul of my hard drives and in the process I’m finding many pieces of writing that have hardly seen the light of day. It almost feels the same as when one finds money in the pockets of a jacket or coat that one hasn’t worn in a long time; and though you know it’s your money, it still feels like a gift.

One such piece is a long-forgotten poem that I wrote in the heyday of 2007. That was definitely one of my favourite years of adulthood. I had just graduated college and the possibilities that life held seemed endless and the world seemed like such a wonderful place. I still believe those things however with a touch of cynicism and caution thrown into the mix: The world is cruel but also very beautiful. The battles one has to fight daily are surmountable but they chip away at one slowly; the bigger challenge is to keep those chips as minimal as possible.

Continue reading “La Vin de Sourires”

Imagining Islam: Can one speak of a scientific understanding of Islam, or must one rather talk about the Western way of imagining Islam?

IMG_0370

In a short account designed for a broad Western audience, it is useful and even necessary to start with that question. Ever since the 1940s when national liberation movements emerged, there have been continual debates on this issue, many of them sharp and passionate. Continue reading “Imagining Islam: Can one speak of a scientific understanding of Islam, or must one rather talk about the Western way of imagining Islam?”

The Metamorphosis — Franz Kafka

Song of the Day: ‘I Feel So Smoochie’ by Kurt Elling

kafka_starke_verwandlung_1915

“A novella about a man who finds himself transformed into a huge insect, and the effects of this change upon his life.” That was the summary on the back of the copy of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka I recently checked out from the library to read for the purpose of this review. Now with a summary such as that, I can hardly see why one would pick up such a book in the first place. However, I read this book years ago, actually a few months before I read Nikolai Gogol’s short story, The Nose, and at the time I was struck by the similarities of both, and was left wondering why two men, a century apart were both fascinated by the idea of a man transforming into something less than human: one into a giant bug, the other reduced to a nose.

Our protagonist, Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to find that he’s become a near human-sized beetle (probably of the scarab family, if his household’s charwoman is to be believed), and not a particularly robust specimen at that. His reaction is understandable. He is confused, bemused, and thinks that it’s a momentary delusion that will soon dissipate.

Continue reading “The Metamorphosis — Franz Kafka”