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mercredi 23 février 2011

It is a WONDERFUL WORLD if you care to search for it...

Man Asian Literary Prize to be announced on March 17

Kenzaburo Oe The Changeling Japan
Manu Joseph Serious Man Inde
Bie Feiyu 3 sisters chine
Tabish Khair The thing about Thugs Inde
Yoko Ogawa Hotel Iris Japan

Anthropological Comment:
Four out of the five finalists are from just two countries: Japan and Inde
Japan has a historic record of written literature, which was freely published. Two nobel prize winners in Literature Oe and Kawabata
India has a rich tradition of written literature ,but only in the last twenty years that open publishing has opened the doors for excellent new talents. India now is full to the brim with good writing in English: Ghosh Mishra Desai swarup tejpal
Just to name the few that comes to mind effortlessly, there are hundreds virtually hundreds of others.. Especially from the south, who won Booker a couple of years ago, Anita Nair who is a poet etc etc . The list is long.

Compare that to countries with manipulative governments, which try to impose ideology of some sort: Malaysia or singapour or Indonesie
All produce very poor quality literature
Just this morning, I received this note from a fellow professor traveling in South East Asia for six months
I missed the West whilst in Malaysia, because though people were friendly most lacked any competence or interest in performing their work roles, which made functionning there hard. I should also confess that I've gone from tolerating Muslim societies to avoiding them. Penang was becoming unbearable precisely because it has too much religion.

I shall write and confess my love for Malaysia but sometimes I wonder whether it is my proclivity to enjoy the company of MunChing that I am confusing with my malaysian experience and its positive impression upon me.

The results of the Berlin Film Festival you already know.
Asghar Farhadi and Peyman Moadi picked up prizes at Berlin
IRANIAN drama "Nader and Simin: A Separation" won the Golden Bear for best picture at the Berlin film festival on Saturday, while its ensemble cast also picked up the best actor and actress prizes on a triumphant night.

Director Asghar Farhadi's portrayal of a marriage in crisis was firm favorite for the coveted award, and its victory was the first for an Iranian picture, said organisers. In the movie, one family is pitted against another in a gripping legal tussle which highlights the gap between middle class "intellectuals" and poorer, traditional Iranians for whom religious beliefs and honor tend to be more important. It was praised for its subtle exploration of Iran's class divisions and religious conservatism, which it managed to combine with the tension of a crime thriller.
Asghar Fahradi's film won the best film but there were many other notables some of whom were recognized.
Alexander Mindadze Innocent Saturday Ukraine
Volker Sattel Under Control Germany
Alexander Zeldovich Target Russia
Khodorkovsky documentary from Russia about the Oil Tycoon who is falsely accused and imprisoned
Turin Horse Bela Tarr Hungarian Master of Miserabilism (other films include Sotantango) this film was also recognized at this festival
Asghar Farhadi is one of the well known Iranian film makers the only other film I know from him is About Elly
Ulrich Kohler Sleeping Sickness Germany I think this film was also recognized at the festival. This is much more anthropological a work, with a white doctors love for africa and a french doctor of african origin who comes to africa and his discomfort at the urban ness of self and the rural and ritual nature of african lives.. A theme much like some movies about Indians from USA coming to India to look for roots such as Namesake but in this movie there is a conflict between the White doctor who loves being in Africa and the french doctor of african origin full of french values..
There was also another movie presented called Drileiben a triology..

Other movies True Grit by coen brothers The Prize from Argentina The terrorists from Thailand about the Green/Red Shirt protests of last year Margin Call about Wall St /USA

As I am extremely partial to Japanese movies I am watching Confessions, which is also an Oscar contender I think.

Add to that Norman Lewis' extremely readable travel books, I have just finished re reading his travels in Burma, done more than fifty years ago! still reverberates with the vibrancy of a new found love...

Life is abundant, go out and look for it, and you will find it..
The drama is folding in the Arab World... at no time are the words of that great student of Arab History rung true...
you can read my comments on an article by Bernard Lewis at

the above note dedicated to the love and affection shown to me by MC in KL and NM in Tehran.