“Ghost Writing: Carceral Legacies, Haunted Bodies and Spaces” by Mauve Perle Tahat

One of the most terrifying ghost stories the U.S. has is incarceration. The prison is a haunted grotto. Prisons and prisoners are haunted by traumas caused by white supremacy. People admitted to these spectral spaces are part of its phenomenological architecture. When prisoners leave they are forever escorted by phantasmal histories. Most tangibly they will be cursed by restrictions like probation, employment and housing discrimination, voter suppression; the philosophical underpinnings of the prison itself are part of this ghost story. Prisoners, then, become ghosts themselves, observing society without a place in it, destined to float around disembodied until something sets … Continue reading “Ghost Writing: Carceral Legacies, Haunted Bodies and Spaces” by Mauve Perle Tahat

The Price of Peace: A Review of Nguyen Phan Quang Binh’s ‘The Floating Lives’ by Tini Ngatini

I recently came across a Vietnamese film, The Floating Lives (Canh Dong Bat Tan), which was released in 2010 by Nguyen Phan Quang Binh. Although this film is a few years old, the issues that the director addresses still feel fresh and progressive from my perspective as an Indonesian woman who teaches courses on women, gender, sexuality and religion. The plot follows the life of man referred to as Mr. Vo, a severely broken-hearted man whose wife has left him for reasons the film does not reveal. Fate has left him a single parent and a duck farmer. By the … Continue reading The Price of Peace: A Review of Nguyen Phan Quang Binh’s ‘The Floating Lives’ by Tini Ngatini

Frank is Not a Man: A Reading of the Sam Mendes Film ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Tini Ngatini

Have you seen Sam Mendes’ 2008 film ‘Revolutionary Road’? What does “Revolutionary Road” actually mean? And what happens if you do decide on going down that road? Where will it lead you?   Revolutionary Road explores these questions through following the journey of a young couple, April and Frank Wheeler. The “Revolutionary Road” is simply a road to being a “Man” which supposedly leads to a meaningful and happy life.  In the film, being that Man means living up to an anthropocentric view of mankind defined as “…the most valuable and wonderful thing in the world….[a being] who is somehow … Continue reading Frank is Not a Man: A Reading of the Sam Mendes Film ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Tini Ngatini

The Archaic and “Masculine” Beauty: A Review of the Film ‘White Silk Dress’ (Áo lụa Hà Đông) by Tini Ngatini

“My mother said a white silk dress is a symbol of Vietnamese women’s immense suffering as well as their generosity. Through traumatic hardship, through horrific destruction caused by countless wars, the Vietnamese white silk dress still maintains its beauty. The beauty of a Vietnamese woman cannot be characterized by white skin, rosy cheeks and red lips; but by the elegant laps of a white silk dress.”   Embedded in the above closing statement from the film White Silk Dress  (Áo lụa Hà Đông) is an illustration of how sacrifice, which Keenan said in the Question of Sacrifice, is understood in our … Continue reading The Archaic and “Masculine” Beauty: A Review of the Film ‘White Silk Dress’ (Áo lụa Hà Đông) by Tini Ngatini

Shutu Stays with You by Anindita Bhattacharya

Trigger warning: suicide, sexual violence As a seven-year-old, one of the poems I loved reading and performing at elocution competitions was Rabindranath Tagore’s Puratan Vritto (The Old Slave). I do not know why it felt so easy to remember it, maybe because I realized irrespective of all the mechanical readings for the sake of memorizing, every time I reached the end of the poem, I had tears in my eyes and the process never felt monotonous or cumbersome. It felt cathartic. My mother would be surprised to see that the poem touched such a chord with me, and she would … Continue reading Shutu Stays with You by Anindita Bhattacharya

The Origin of Madness : A Philosophical Review of the Film ‘In the Mouth of Madness’ by Tini Ngatini

Do you ever wonder how people go from completely sane to wholly mad? Or, think about how each of us is equally exposed to the possibility of catching insanity every time we open ourselves to the outside world? One of these answers can be found in the film In Mouth of Madness (1995) directed by John Carpenter. The film understands madness as “that thing [which is] messing with the church [values]”; “that thing that offers pain and suffering beyond human understanding.” Madness is an abstract being that “wasn’t here [in this material world] before l wrote it”, says the character … Continue reading The Origin of Madness : A Philosophical Review of the Film ‘In the Mouth of Madness’ by Tini Ngatini

Do We Have a Choice in Getting Out? by Anwar Uhuru

The recent release of the film Get Out written, directed, and produced by Jordan Peele has created a whirlwind on social media and in the infamous kitchen table talk circles. The caveat of having a considerable amount of education is that you can never view a film or any cultural artifact without being hypercritical. I had the opportunity to be a “regular consumer” of the film. I sat at the movie theater (Regal Cinema at Union Square) and tried to ignore the fact that I am practically 6’2” sitting in a seat that felt like the person in front of … Continue reading Do We Have a Choice in Getting Out? by Anwar Uhuru

The Looker: John Berger by James Carraghan

I was making my way through Ways of Seeing when I stopped at the end of the third essay and sent a text message to my friend. Within a few minutes he had responded, telling me that he was reading the same essay, at the same time, for a class; he had the same thoughts and was going to get in touch with me. This was not to be the last time this would happen. I worked my way through the rest of the book, finding germs of the theoretical lenses I would be studying in theory-heavy courses outlined with concrete … Continue reading The Looker: John Berger by James Carraghan

Where We Build Our Rebellions: Review of ‘Rogue One’ and the Political Ethics of Star Wars by Wes Bishop

By now most have seen Disney’s latest installment of Star Wars. The first of the “standalone” films, Rogue One tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance learns of the evil Empire’s plot to build a planetary destroying weapon, how they discover there is a fatal flaw in the designs of said weapon, how they plot to steal its plans, and how they ultimately give hope to the fledgling rebels. The movie has been widely praised by critics who were excited to see a film in the franchise which focused on the “little guys” who actually fought the rebellion, sacrificed … Continue reading Where We Build Our Rebellions: Review of ‘Rogue One’ and the Political Ethics of Star Wars by Wes Bishop