Author: Clara Mae

Finding Beauty and Life in Marco Hülser’s Masala Chai

Masala Chai Marco Hülser (director, writer, and editor), Shamin Kulkarni (cinematographer) Subodh Pramod, Gouri Mahato, Sushanta Thapa, Yogesh Chavan, Mohammad Chacha (cast) November 11, 2017 (Reel Asian Film Festival) Masala Chai is a documentary about a drink that’s the lifeblood for many in South Asia: a simple caffeine boost for some, a way to drown out hunger pangs for others, and for many more a means of survival. Masala Chai follows the lives of five chai wallahs–a person who makes and/or sells tea–as they go about their lives in vastly different cities, social situations, and levels of privilege. We...

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The Problem With Apu Is a Sincere Look at South Asian Representation

The Problem with Apu Michael Melamedoff (director), Lara Aqel and Miguel Drake-McLaughlin (cinematography), Rebecca Beluk and Kristen Huntley (editors), Hari Kondabolu (writer) Hari Kondabolu, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Aziz Ansari, W. Kamau Bell (cast) November 19, 2017 The Problem with Apu is a one-hour truTV documentary that deconstructs The Simpsons caricature of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the convenience store owner who speaks in a stereotypical Indian accent, in order to open up a conversation about South Asian representation. While focusing on a single fictional character naturally has its limits, Kondabolu widens the scope by interviewing a variety of subjects — South Asian actors,...

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Alien: Covenant Decenters its Female Protagonist in Favor of a Man

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Alien: Covenant, as well as discussions of rape analogies. Is the Alien  franchise a feminist one? It depends on who you ask. If, and how, and why a film is feminist has always been up for debate in film criticism circles. Feminist films are often thought to be ones helmed by women who work to subvert the camera’s “male gaze”; in that sense the Alien  films fail, as not a single woman has directed or written any of the four main films or two prequels, although Aliens, in my opinion the strongest film of the...

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Backlight: Further Weinstein Repercussions and Twitter Boycotts

These past two weeks it’s become increasingly clear that Hollywood is run by a handful of rich, disgusting, decrepit old white men; luckily, many in Hollywood are now coming forward to criticize the culture of abuse and harassment. Here’s hoping all these painful conversations will lead to further change in the industry. We also have creators who are working hard to put out diverse and inclusive projects, affecting the industry in their own positive ways. Harvey Weinstein and Harassment in Hollywood The repercussions of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s investigative New York Times piece on Harvey Weinstein continued to...

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Pacific Rim Uprising UnCancels the Apocalypse

New York Comic Con finally gave us the first look at Pacific Rim: Uprising, and it looks brighter, louder, and larger than Guillermo del Toro’s iteration. During the Pacific Rim: Uprising panel that took place in Madison Square Garden, director Steven S. DeKnight set the stage for the audience. The action in Pacific Rim: Uprising takes place 10 years after the last film and focuses on a new generation of Jaeger pilots who know “only a world of chaos.” Possibly alluding to the atmosphere of hate that’s become more visible in the wake of the U.K. and U.S. elections, DeKnight emphasized that a big message...

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