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Staff Recommendations – October 2020

Staff Recommendations – October 2020

Film – 12 Angry Men
1957 / Director: Sidney Lumet / Legal Drama / 95 minutes

12 ANGRY MEN creates a mesmerizing drama out of an event that takes place many times every day throughout the United States: A man is tried by a jury of his peers. “Nice bunch of guys, huh?” one juror remarks sarcastically after a particularly heated argument. The juror, played by Henry Fonda, replies, “They’re about the same as anyone else.” That observation is central to the film, which shows the deliberation of a murder trial where a young Puerto Rican man is accused of killing his father.


Film – Valley of Saints
2012 / Director: Musa Syed / Drama / 82 minutes

War and poverty force Gulzar, a young tourist boatman, to run away from Kashmir with his best friend. But a military crackdown derails their escape, and they become trapped in Gulzar’s lake village. Waiting for conditions to change, they discover a mysterious woman, braving the curfew to research the dying lake. As Gulzar falls for her, rivalry and jealousy threaten his boyhood friendship and their plans of escape. Gulzar must choose between a new life and a new love. The first film set in the endangered lake communities of Kashmir, Valley of Saints blends fiction and documentary to bring audiences inside this unique world.

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Documentary – Koyaanisqatsi
1982 / Director: Godfrey Reggio / Experimental / 1h 27m

Drawing its title from the Hopi word meaning “life out of balance,” this renowned documentary reveals how humanity has grown apart from nature. Featuring extensive footage of natural landscapes and elemental forces, the film gives way to many scenes of modern civilization and technology. Given its lack of narration and dialogue, the production makes its points solely through imagery and music, with many scenes either slowed down or sped up for dramatic effect.


Documentary Series – Our Planet
2019 / Composer: Steven Price / Documentary / 8 Episodes / Run time: 48-53 minutes

Experiencing the planet’s natural beauty through an examination of how climate change impacts all living creatures in this ambitious documentary of spectacular scope. This series explores the Earth’s most important habitats, and celebrate the life they still support. It reveals what must be preserved if we are to ensure a future where humans and nature can thrive.


TV Series – Ramy
2019 / Comedy – Drama / 2 Seasons / 21 Episodes / Run time: 30 minutes

Ramy, the son of Egyptian immigrants, is on a spiritually conflicting journey in his New Jersey neighbourhood, pulled between his Muslim community that thinks life is a constant test, his millennial friends who think life is full of endless possibilities and a God who’s always watching.


Miniseries – Watchmen
2019 / Action Fiction / 01 Seasons / 09 Episodes / Run time: 52-67 minutes

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Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own.


Podcast – fiction/non/fiction
Literary Hub

See Also

Hosted by Whitney Terrell and V.V. Ganeshananthan, fiction/non/fiction interprets current events through the lens of literature, and features conversations with writers of all stripes, from novelists and poets to journalists and essayists.


Art – Mir Suhail
Cartoons & Illustrations / Political Cartoonist

Mir Suhail Qadiri is a political cartoonist and artist from Kashmir whose mischievous and penetrating work has captured the political history of contemporary Kashmir in recent years. In early August, as Indian forces continued their brutal crackdown on the uprising in Kashmir, he released a disconcerting collection of images that mobilised popular culture to draw attention to what was happening in Kashmir.


Reportage – Occupation Hazards: The heavy cost of revoking Article 370 in Kashmir
01 August 2020 / Praveen Donthi / Conflict / The Caravan

In this essay written by prolific Praveen Dhonti traces the year since the abrogation of Article 370 was revoked, he proves what the government and its cheerleaders claimed was a “masterstroke” and a “gamechanger” looks more and more like a historic blunder.

“A year down the line from the government’s fateful announcement, India’s plans for control of Kashmir are slowly unravelling. Even with all its spin machinery and misinformation networks, the government is struggling to portray the clash with China as a victory. Though the mood on the ground in Kashmir seems one of despair and defeat, there are signs that the game is far from over.”


(This list was recommended in the October 2020 print issue Staff Recommendations section of Mountain Ink.)

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