In the summer, I am often looking for a quick and interesting read. However, the typical summer beach read does not really appeal to me. I love a great character driven story set in a real place. The answer was a children’s book called Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan, set in 1919 in Africa (present day Kenya) just after the Great War with a strong female lead. Thirteen-year-old Rachel Sheridan, with her indomitable spirit, narrates her entanglement with an unscrupulous couple after her British missionary parents die.
A hospital serving the Kikuyu and Maasai tribes is the legacy left by Rachel’s parents along with Rachel’s love and respect for the people and their culture. How horrifying to read how the hospital is abandoned and Rachel manipulated into leaving her beloved Africa. However, in the midst of all the drama, the author’s figurative depictions of African animals in relation to humans stand out in my mind. Two of my favourite quotes from the book are: "If you are among evil people, you must be like the lion, gathering strength and awaiting your time." “The people in there are like buzzards. They will peck at you until there is nothing left”
Nevertheless, Whelan weaves hope into the story as she foreshadows Rachel’s desire to return to Africa and its people to carry on her parents’ medical work. The author deftly uses nature and birds to carry joy into the lives of Rachel and others as she adapts to life in England amongst strangers. Listeningfor Lions is historical fiction at its best.
Studio Ghibli has been responsible for some of my favourite movies. They have great characters and stories, provoke wide ranges of emotions, and often do what you least expect. The Red Turtle is no exception. This time Studio Ghibli teamed up with the production company Wild Bunch and Dutch director Michaël Dudok de Wit to bring their story to life.Studio Ghibli and their partners have created a unique and touching story – and they tell it without words.
This is a film without dialogue. There are some occasional vocalizations, but no actual words are spoken at all. The storytelling was so well done and it truly has no need for words. The greatest thing about the lack of dialogue is that the original intent of the story can be conveyed to any audience. There is no need for subtitles or dubbed dialogue which can sometimes lose something in translation. The story is told through the events that occur, the facial expressions, and the rich soundscape. A combination of sound effects and music round out the storytelling. Since there are no words, the music plays a large part in speaking for the characters and the situations. It also creates the emotional landscape of the film. French composer Laurent Perez del Marhas done a magnificent job creating the music that represents everything in this film, from the characters to the setting and everything in between.
The animation has a more simplistic style, which oddly allows for more to be expressed. At first I thought the facial features would be hard to read since they were different from most animation I have watched, but the emotions were simply and directly portrayed. While most of the film is drawn using computers, the backgrounds were hand drawn with charcoal and then scanned into the film. I would never have guessed that they were charcoal drawings, or a different media at all. The visuals worked together seamlessly to create the complete picture for each scene.
The story of The Red Turtle follows a man who is shipwrecked on a small island. He explores the island to find ways to survive, and then starts building a raft to escape. He tries to escape but is thwarted by some unseen thing in the water that breaks up his raft. After several failed escape attempts, he discovers that the creature preventing him from leaving is a giant red turtle. To say any more about the plot would be wandering into spoiler territory, but I will say that the story goes in directions you probably couldn’t imagine. It is at times heartwarming, exhilarating, intimate, and epic. This movie is must see for all age groups of all languages.
The 2018 LINK Festival takes place this year on Aug. 25 – 26 in Victoria Park, Kitchener. The hours are from noon – 9:00 pm on Saturday and noon – 7:00 pm on Sunday. Lots of dance, fun and learning is anticipated. Everyone can enjoy music and activities and link up with family and friends. There’s even a parade!
The festival has three areas of music – a Drumming Village, a Main Stage and a Steelpan Yard. The Drumming Village with its drumming circle allows creative ways for self-expression. You can bring your drums and percussion instruments to experience this mood changer and energy booster.
The Main Stage will feature many African & Caribbean performers and the Steelpan Yard will resonate with steel drum music. You can play a bit or dance to the sounds of Acoustic Steel and Tropical Steelband.
The activities include an Art Village which showcases local Afro Caribbean and aspiring artists’ works. At the Children’s Village kids will find lots of fun activities including face painting, candy art, a limbo contest and lots of sports & games. Waterloo Regional Police Services and the Fire Department will also make appearances.
The Carnival Parade starts in the Children’s Village at 3:00 pm on the Sunday. Carnival is like street theatre or a living opera. It’s an opportunity to wear a costume, dance and interact with others. Go to Mas(querade) Camp in order to create your own costume or borrow one of many dazzling costumes freely available starting Monday, Aug. 20th.
And if you’re looking for a break from all the dancing and music, play a game of dominos available both Saturday and Sunday. For more information about the LINK Picnic Festival check their website Here
- Dani, Information Services
A Foreign Affair
directed by Carlos Vermut
Magical Girl is a Spanish film that tells the story of Luis, an unemployed teacher whose 12 year old daughter, Alicia, is dying of leukemia. Upon reading her diary one day, Luis discovers that one of her dying wishes is to wear a dress that is a replica of one her favourite anime character wears. He looks it up online, but it is far beyond anything he can afford through legal means. Just as he is about to commit robbery, he has a chance encounter with Barbara, the wife of a wealthy psychologist. He sees her as his chance to get what he needs and devises a scheme to blackmail her. Unbeknownst to him though, Barbara has a very dark past, and she comes up with a scheme of her own...
I really don’t know what to make of this film. The acting and directing are well done (the actress who plays Barbara won a GOYA, the Spanish version of an Oscar), and the story is well-crafted, hinting at things and leaving just enough unexplained to let your imagination wander. I suppose my only criticism would be in the last act, where things take a dramatic turn without a clear explanation why. But even so, it fits with the movie and is well executed, so I’m not sure what the problem is. I’m just left with an unsettled feeling in the back of my mind, which makes the film a success, I guess?
In a nutshell: I can’t say whether I liked or disliked Magical Girl—after watching it I feel like something is wrong without actually knowing what.
Dungeons & Dragons is a came of skill, luck, and, most of all, storytelling. Generally one player, known as the Dungeon Master (DM)or the Game Master (GM), creates a world within which the game is played. This can be done using premade information from official Dungeons & Dragons guidebooks or can be entirely the creation of the DM. Within this world, the DM will create a storyline for the game (or 'campaign'), and the other players will create their own characters to play within it.
From there it's up to the dice, the DM and the other players to weave a fantastic story together! The DM will set up a situation, the players decide what their characters do, and the roll of the dice lets everyone know how successful the characters were. Each character's species, specialties, weapons, armor, items and other choices help increase the chances of the party's success and glory, and (slightly) decrease the whole party's chances of being eaten alive by a dragon.