Recommended (or not) on Prime

I thought I’d do you the favor of listing some more quick Amazon Prime Video recommendations so you don’t have to waste your time wading through mediocre productions. This is assuming our tastes align, but have I gone wrong before?

You’re welcome.

I sifted through the mountain of Dickens productions to find these gems:

Dickensian– 10-Episode Series- Highly Recommended. I kept scrolling past this one, and then decided to try it. Dickensian, for me, was one of those transporting, elevating pieces of entertainment. It brings together a number of Dickens’ characters for an original story arc, a murder mystery, but so much more than that formulaic genre. It’s really about people, about human nature and what individuals will do to get what they want, at others’ expense. Some pursuits are petty, some are avaricious, and unfortunately all feel true to life. It’s also about sacrifices and the remarkable lengths that some will go to ensure that right wins in the end. And there is another truth explored: that real honesty–difficult reality brought to the light–is loving and cleansing, even to those who do not want to be reached.

Although sometimes dizzying with its carousel of plots and characters, and at times lacking subtlety in final resolutions, this is a beautifully filmed, scripted, and acted series. It is also great fun to recognize Dickens’ characters, made to live again in new stories that are nonetheless respectful of their original source material. And the men and women I don’t know–Jaggers, for instance, and Honoria–have sparked my curiosity so that I will have to look them up. Bucket of the Detective, who might be an original Dickensiancreation, is odd, clever, and warm-hearted enough to be one good reason I revisit the series every few years.

Oliver Twist-(1985) 12-Episode Series-Recommended. Because this is more than three decades old, I was skeptical about the production value. But while it does somewhat have the feel of being filmed on a stage, and costumes and sets are not always convincing, the acting and script are solid, and I found myself getting absorbed in spite of myself. I realized that this Oliver is one of my favorite Dickens TV adaptations to date.

David Copperfield (1999) 4-Episode Miniseries- Recommended. This is colorful, well-acted, and well produced, with funny and kind, evil and tragic characters. The actors are appealing, and the film sets beautiful. I would watch it again just for the wallpaper at the great aunt’s house–just splendid.

Our Mutual Friend 6-Episode Series- Recommended. Yet another Dickens adaptation, this production is a little hard to follow at the beginning, and actually more than a little creepy. Yet the story is not without hope, and the engaging, compelling actors won me over.

Movies with some real historical context that I enjoyed for their unusual settings and production values: Thousand Pieces of Gold and The War Bride. Both have their coarse, gritty details, but made me appreciate the predicaments of the characters.

Next, here are some that are okay picks if nothing else is on:

The Indian Doctor– This series, featuring an Indian couple in the 1960’s who took the doctor’s post in a small Welsh town, is a great concept, with charismatic main actors and beautiful filming. I got mostly through the third season, but have not yet returned to finish it due to over-the-top humor and obnoxious, cliched story arcs.

The Special Needs Hotel: This reality show about a hotel set up to train young people with autism, Down syndrome, and other special needs impresses the viewer with the effectiveness of the program and the kindness of the staff. There are some segments that are gems, such as one resident supported as he plans his big birthday party while practicing phone communication. But it is a reality show, so some awkward love scenes are clearly staged, to the detriment of the actors, perhaps, and for sure the discomfort of the viewers. In another big puzzler, the residents are offered alcohol at their dance parties. However, should a second season be offered, I would watch it.

Home Fires: This series about families left at home in an English village while World War II raged abroad had me electrified. I was delighted to discover a second season, to live again with characters who loved their families and struggled through physical and emotional challenges. Later, however, it felt like the stories burned less brightly, their moral core dampened by BBC writers once again. The series was then consumed in an abrupt blaze, a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers that was never resolved due to cancellation of the show. Watch at your own risk.

Aristocrats: Six episodes cover the lives of four sisters, English nobility from the 1700’s who make disappointing choices and still have to live with themselves. The series attempts to capture the long sweep of their lives, and so makes a jarring turn at the end, when main actors are replaced by older ones in order to more convincingly show these men and women in their dotage.

BBC’s Emma (2009 miniseries, currently offered through Britbox): I thought I would love this production, featuring Romola Garai. Every time I started watching it, it seemed superfluous given all the current Emma movies out there. It does have its charming, aesthetically pleasing, engaging side, good for dark winter evenings. However, I thought Garai came across too pouty and spoiled, making her Emma not likable enough to carry the scenes with Knightley.

Here are some to not bother with, in my opinion:

The Darling Buds of May: Cute concept, beautiful setting, and engaging acting, but the series celebrates excessive drinking and nontraditional living arrangements with lots of winks and merriment.

Lorna Doone: This was just meh for me. Two young people from opposing sides–one a daughter of a violent clan of outlaws–meet and carry on a dangerous connection. I stopped watching it, so I can’t tell you much else. It didn’t offer much depth to keep me watching.

Wild at Heart: Although some reviewers loved the series, I never finished the first episode. It sounds interesting: a family in England goes to South Africa and ends up staying to run a game reserve. But I thought the story details a little shallow and more suited to younger viewers.

What’s your list? Help us out and save us time by recommending your favorites and steering us away from less worthy material.

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Long-Lost First Movie of a Solar Eclipse Found, Restored

In May, 1900, British magician Nevil Maskelyne, Jr., travelled to North Carolina in the United States to observe and attempt to photograph the total eclipse of the Sun on May 28th of that year.  Maskelyne was the son of John Nevil Maskelyne, a celebrated magician who was also the inventor of the pay toilet.  (Neither should be confused with the unrelated Rev. Dr Nevil Maskelyne, the fifth British Astronomer Royal from 1765 to 1811.)  Solar eclipses had been photographed before, with the first completely successful photograph taken of the eclipse of 1851-07-28, but Maskelyne wanted to take the next step and make a motion picture of the eclipse.  He used a camera with a telescopic adapter developed by his father, which he had previously attempted to use to photograph the eclipse of 1898-01-22, but his film was stolen during the return to Britain so we’ll never know what it contained.

The film from the 1900 eclipse was stunning.  I have photographed four total solar eclipses (1999, 2001, 2008, and 2010), and even with modern equipment, dealing with the rapid and dramatic changes in light level in the seconds before and after totality is very challenging.  However Maskelyne managed to do it (nothing is known about his equipment or technique), the result was a total success, which was shown in British theatres.  The film disappeared shortly after its theatrical presentation and was believed to have been lost for over a century.  In 2018, a copy (it is unknown whether this was the original or a print) was found in the archives of the Royal Astronomical Society, whose curator did not know what it was, and upon consultation with the British Film Institute’s (BFI) curator of silent films, it was identified as the Maskelyne eclipse film.  The BFI’s conservators re-photographed the original celluloid film onto 35 millimetre film, which was then digitally scanned and restored as a 4K video.  Here is the restored film.  It is embedded here as a smaller video: click on “Watch on YouTube” to watch in full resolution.

Now, as eclipse videos go, this isn’t a competitor for those made recently, but it is one hundred and nineteen years old, the first successful attempt to make a movie of totality, and shows all of the principal phenomena of an eclipse including the diamond ring, Baily’s beads, inner and middle corona, and prominences.  It is a heck of a lot better than any movie I have made of totality.  It may taken the sleight of hand, sense of timing, and iron nerves of a master stage magician to adjust the exposure so precisely as the events of the eclipse unfolded—I know I could not hope to do it.

The Maskelynes were a creative family: Nevil’s son, Jasper Maskelyne, was the third generation of stage magicians in the family and, after joining the Royal Engineers after the outbreak of World War II, consulted during the war on camouflage and deception to aid British forces.

Here is an article from Atlas Obscura with additional details about the movie and its restoration.  This is the press release [PDF] from the BFI announcing the release of the restored film.

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All About Eve

All About Eve (1950) is an American drama, and was written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The film was based on a short story, The Wisdom of Eve (1946), by Mary Orr. Beautifully written and directed, the film won the Academy Awards for Best Film Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for Mankiewicz.

Bette Davis as Margo Channing and Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington, both won a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Oscars: Celeste Holm as Karen Richards, and Thelma Ritter as Birdie, both won a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. George Sanders, as Addison DeWitt, won Best Actor. The film also won Best Picture for producer Darryl F. Zanuck. The lovely music, by Alfred Newman, was nominated for Best Original Score. The film won many other awards and glowing reviews.

A notable small performances by a rising star was that of Marilyn Monroe as Miss Casswell. In spite of her intense fear of Bette Davis, Marilyn shines on the screen, and her star quality is obvious.

Of course, George Sanders is at his usual suave best, as Addison DeWitt, a theatre critic. He was the only person who seemed to have been impervious to the manipulative wiles of Eve.

Another small part was taken by Barbara Bates as Pheobe, the aspiring actress who hopes to replace Eve. Her screen presence was so great that she seemed headed for a wonderful career. Sadly, she ended her life at age 43, having suffered from mental ill health for a number of years. 

Gary Merrill, who plays Margo’s eight-year’s younger lover, Bill Sampson, was in reality seven years younger than Bette Davis. He divorced his first wife, and the same day, married Bette Davis. They were married ten years, and separated after a bitter divorce.

We’ve all known people like Eve. Nowadays, probably, she would be called a narcissistic personality: beautiful; charming; manipulative to the extreme; unbelievably destructive. The film is well-named, because to someone like Eve, everything is all about her. She insinuates herself into Margo’s life, and creates havoc. As she is accepting the award, she thanks Margo, Bill, Lloyd, and Karen. They all stare back at her coldly, as she has wreaked such devastation in their lives.

The story told in All About Eve, is universal; the younger person scheming how to replace the leader in any field. We see the lengths to which that person will go, and the emptiness of success. Finally, we are reminded that there is always the younger person waiting in the wings to repeat the process.

For a budget of $1.4 million, the box office brought in $8.4 million. This was a great commercial success in 1950.

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Borderless

Lauren Southern has a new documentary, Borderless, released on 24May2019. It concerns the immigration crisis in Europe. As with her previous documentary, Farmlands about attacks on white farmers and the general disorder in South Africa, her new documentary has professional-level production values. She traveled to several locations with her crew to investigate the nature and scope of human trafficking in Europe and Asia Minor. Even though it’s only been out for about two days, it already has about a half million views. It is free to view on YouTube (at least for now)* and on BitChute.

The film opens on the Turkish coast, near the island of Lesbos (Λέσβος). Because of its proximity to Greece, this location is often used as a staging area for migrants seeking to enter Europe illegally. Southern interviews a Turkish farmer in the area who explains how the area has become unsafe because of the influx of smugglers and migrants. She also interviews some Afghanis who are trying to make the crossing.

Southern moves on to Morocco, a staging area for migrants crossing to Spain. There are two autonomous Spanish cities on the Moroccan coast, Melilla and Ceuta, that serve as convenient launching points for illegal immigration into Spain. Even though there is a fortified border barrier, migrants storm the wall on a regular basis.

Back in Lesbos, Southern visits a refugee camp, interviews some inhabitants and a Médecins Sans Frontières physician who describe the conditions and dangers in the camp, and expose a scam whereby physicians falsify medical records to facilitate illegal migration. One of her producers  conducts an undercover interview with an NGO operative who explains how she trains migrants to game the refugee system.

There’s a lot more, including interviews with immigration-skeptic MEPs, a visit to the Bulgarian border with Turkey, interviews with residents of a small town in Ireland overrun with migrants. Southern’s reporting is closer to objectivity than to advocacy. She concludes that migrants are exploited by traffickers, NGOs, and governments without consideration or care about the effects on the local European population. She concludes with…

The story of a borderless Europe is one where nobody wins.

This film is definitely worth 90 minutes of your time.


*The original upload of this film on 24May was apparently taken down by YouTube without explanation. Perhaps it was an “accident.” However, the censors seem to be leaving the re-upload alone.

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The White Crow (2018)

The White Crow (2018) is a British film on the early life, and defection to the West from Russia, of Rudolf Nureyev, the ballet dancer. It was inspired by the book, Rudolph Nureyev: The Life, by Julie Kavanagh. I found the film interesting, and it inspired me to do a little research on Nureyev, to learn about his later life in the West.

The title of the film, the White Crow, is the nickname given to Nureyev in his childhood. It is the Russian term for an outsider, unusual, extraordinary, not like others. This does describe Nuyerev, as he is also said to have been narcissistic. This kind of personality certainly would not have been able to fit happily into the rigid Socialist system of Russia at that time.

The film is directed by Ralph Fiennes, who also plays Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin, the ballet master who encouraged Rudolf Nureyev in his career in Russia. The direction leaves a little to be desired, but Ralph Fiennes’ portrayal of Pushkin is appropriate.

Oleg Ivenko as Nureyev performs a lot of ballet dancing. Apparently, Nureyev didn’t have perfect technique, but then, who does? What he did have is almost more important: charisma and stage presence. I’m not qualified to judge Ivenko’s technique, but his performance and stage presence seemed adequate for the part. There was a lot of ballet dancing, as one would expect. I would have liked to see a little less of Ivenko and more of the other dancers in the film. Male ballet dancers are impressive with their leaps and bounds, but it seems to add to their performance when they dance with a ballerina.

One thing I did learn from this film, that I didn’t know: Nureyev was born on a Trans-Siberian train near Irkutsk, Siberia. His early career was with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, which I gathered, is where Pushkin came in, and Pushkin allowed Nureyev to live with him and his wife. Nureyev must have been bisexual, because it appeared he had sex with Pushkin’s wife. Pushkin seems to have accepted it.

The film’s depiction of the 1961 defection is pretty accurate, and although the defection was low key, does convey the tension around it. Rudolph Nureyev apparently was the first Soviet artist to defect to the West, and the whole affair was a huge sensation internationally.

This film is not a great sensation; nor one I would recommend unless you like watching male ballet dancers perform in tights.

Rudolph Nureyev had an illustrious career in the West. He danced with the British Royal Ballet Company, and the Paris Opera Ballet, being appointed Artistic Director in 1983. He died from AIDS complications in January 1993, aged 54.

Box office as of May 19 2019:   $705,669

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Bridge of Spies (2015)

Bridge of Spies (2015) is another excellent film from Steven Spielsberg and Tom Hanks. It was a United States and German international co-production.

My Film Group settled down with their wine, chips and chocolate, and were glued to the screen for the 141 minutes the film took to show. Afterwards, during our discussion around the film, everyone expressed their admiration for the film, and said how much they had enjoyed it.

Tom Hanks must be one of the most consistently busy film actors ever. He has made a huge number of wonderful films, and won many awards. His acting in this film helped make it the huge success it was at the box office. Steven Spielberg’s direction was excellent, as goes without saying. The film gained a nomination for Best Picture in the Academy Awards, among eight other nominations. It also received nine nominations from BAFTA.

The screenplay was written by the Coen brothers, and Matt Charman, and was nominated for the Oscar, and by BAFTA, for best original screenplay. The film also gained an Academy nomination for Best Production Design. This was well-deserved as the atmosphere of the 1960s is reproduced so accurately. One of our members is from Austria, and had visited relatives in East Germany at that time, going across the Glienicke Bridge and through Checkpoint Charlie. She affirmed that the atmosphere was totally realistic. It was difficult to believe that it had been produced such a short time ago, it so strongly evoked the time of the Cold War, and the building of the Berlin Wall.

Tom Hanks gave his usual, consistently good, performance as the lawyer, James B. Donovan, who was given the job of negotiating the release of Francis Gary Powers, a U.S. Air Force pilot whose U-2 apy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union. The exchange was for the Soviet KGB spy, Rudolf Abel, held by the United States. Mark Rylance played the Soviet spy so well that he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He also won the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, among other awards.

For a budget of 40 million USD, Bridge of Spies made a box office of 165.5 million USD.

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Unplanned

The film Unplanned tells the story of Abby Johnson, erstwhile director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, TX. It is based on her book of the same title. Ms. Johnson first joined Planned Parenthood as a volunteer when she was a student at Texas A&M in nearby College Station, TX. She eventually rose to become the director of the Bryan clinic. Her growing unease with Planned Parenthood’s policies and procedures culminates with her participation in an abortion with the aid of sonography. Visualization of the process finally pushes her over the edge and she quits, becoming an anti-abortion activist. She has previously told her story in speeches.

As expected this film as been controversial, leading Google to label the film as propaganda. The film is certainly polemical. Any film with a point of view could arguably be labeled as propaganda but that would mean almost everything coming out of Hollywood is propaganda. By applying the word this way it loses all meaning. Unplanned is reasonably balanced. People on both sides of the issue are generally portrayed as being well-intentioned rather than good or evil. The main exception is Ms. Johnson’s superior at Planned Parenthood, who is the film’s villain. Some of the anti-abortion activists are also depicted as being less than well-behaved.

I found the film both moving and disturbing. Though not especially squeamish, I had to look away on a couple of occasions. One cannot come away from viewing it without being affected. There have been complaints that the film is rated R but the rating is not unreasonable given the nature of the material. It would be inadvisable to take a child to see it. The film has a fair amount of reference to religious faith. From the point of view of a non-believer, this is not central to the film’s message; the film stands on its facts and arguments, along with some tugging at the heart-strings.

Highly recommended.

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propaganda

Google categorized the new movie “Unplanned” as a “Drama/ Propaganda” film.   They have not categorized other films as propaganda, even films that are famous as examples of propaganda.

After the Christian blogosphere circulated this on Thursday, it got noticed in conservative niche media yesterday.   Today Google quietly changed the category of “Unplanned” back to “Drama.”   Shame on Google.

I expect that all y’all know that “Unplanned” is an anti-abortion film that tells the story of Abby Johnson, who famously flipped from being a successful abortion clinic manager for Planned Parenthood to becoming an anti-abortion activist.   Perhaps you also know that the MPAA slapped it with an R rating, even though it is devoid of sex, violence or bad language.   Maybe you also know that Facebook and Google have refused the publicist’s ads.   And that Google has been downgrading search results related to the movie.

This is just another day in the culture war.   Another state passed yet another anti-abortion law today, adding fuel to the fire that will ensure that Roe v Wade gets a return engagement at the Supreme Court.

Maybe someday America can stop murdering helpless babies.

LORD,  have mercy.

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Idiocracy

On the RAMU last night, I was amazed to discover that there are people who haven’t seen the 2006 movie Idiocracy.  Here are the first couple of minutes which, in opinion, is the best part.

Two years before the movie was released, I published my own, much less funny, study, “Global IQ: 1950–2050”, which, based upon U.S. Census Bureau population forecasts for 185 countries around the globe and the IQ measurements and estimates from Lynn and Vanhanen’s IQ and the Wealth of Nations, estimated the mean global IQ at yearly intervals between 1950 and 2050.  In short, in 1950 the world had a population of around 2.55 billion with a mean IQ of 91.64.  By 2000, population had increased to 6.07 billion with a mean IQ of 89.20.  By 2050, the forecast is 9.06 billion and an IQ of 86.32.

There is a great deal of uncertainty and possible quibbles with any analysis of this kind.  I discuss many of these issues in the document, which provides links to primary data sources.

One thing to think about when contemplating this trend and the élites’ notion of “global governance” is that I can find no evidence for sustained consensual self-government in populations with mean IQ less than 90.

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Would you have liked to be the Last Emperor of China?

Thanks to Carol, we viewed our film this week in her lovely suite. She could accommodate nine of us comfortably. This was just as well, as it turned out.

The Last Emperor (1987) is an epic film. In Cineplexes, it ran for 160 minutes = 2 hours 40 minutes. The version my Film Group saw ran for 218 minutes = 3 hours 7 minutes. Apparently this version was specially created for TV to run over two nights. We sat through it without anyone stirring, or even suggesting it might be too long. Afterwards, it was suggested that an intermission would have been nice. Obviously, everyone loved it and were fascinated enough to not realize that so much time had passed. It certainly was an epic!

A British-Italian biographical drama, the film is about the life of Puyi (1906-1967), the last Emperor of China. The screenplay was written by Mark Peploe and Bernardo Bertolucci, and the film was directed by Bertolucci, the well-known Italian director. John Lone was excellent as Puyi, the last Emperor, as were the rest of the cast in their roles.

I was particularly interested in Peter O’Toole and his character as the Scottish diplomat who became the Emperor’s tutor and advisor, Sir Reginal Fleming Johnson, KSMG, CBE (1874-1938). Johnson was also the last British Administrator of Weihaiwei. Peter O’Toole played the part well. I liked the scene in which he wore the Highland Regalia. The Johnson clan doesn’t seem to have a red dress tartan, and O’Toole wore one of the green versions. The green hunting tartans are usually for day wear, and the red dress tartan is for formal occasions. I think it best if I don’t carry that train of thought any further.

This is a magnificent film. The historical background to the life of the last Emperor is, of course, the turbulent history of China over that period. It’s amazing that so much was condensed into a film only just under three hours long. What a life Puyi experienced! Born in 1906, as a child, being ruined utterly and allowed to have anything he wanted, including having his eunuchs flogged at his whim. On to being used as a pawn by the Japanese when they invaded China. In 1934, the Japanese crowned him puppet Emperor of Manchukuo, until the Red Army captured him at the end of the Second World War. During the Communist re-education program he finally admitted that he had committed war crimes by collaborating with the Japanese. Considered rehabillitated by the government of the People’s Republic of China, he spent the rest of his life as a gardener, dying in 1967. It certainly made for a fascinating film.

At the 60th Academy Awards, the film won all nine Oscars for which it was nominated, including Best Picture and Best Director.

On a budget of $23.8 million USD, the film brought in a box office of $44 million USD,

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Would Malcolm appeal to an American Audience?

Malcolm (1986) is an Australian cult film comedy, written by the husband-and-wife team, David Parker and Nadia Tass. Nadia Tass also directed the film. Parker and Tass are a team who have won many awards in Australia. Malcolm is a film in a class of its own, and very different. It won the Australian Film Institute Award (AFI) for Best Film, and seven other AFI awards, including Best Script and Best Director. This  film shows that the Australian film industry is developing, with it’s own, unique flavour.

Colin Friels is outstanding as Malcolm, the tram (street car) enthusiast who becomes involved with a pair of would-be bank robbers. Lindy Davies and John Hargreaves are excellent as that pair.

All the gadgets in Malcolm’s house, and the ingenious inventions used in the robbery sequences, were devised by David Parker. They really were a delight, especially the back of a tram used in a get-away. It can be seen at the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria, Australia. Model railway enthusiasts would love the little, model train delivering the mail from the mailbox.

Our Group of ten enjoyed the unusual film, and found the humour amusing, aoart from one of our American members, who didn’t really enjoy the film too much, as she didn’t find it funny. She is used to American humour, which is different. It’s intriguing that humour differs subtly between cultures.

On a raised-with-difficulty budget of A$1 million, at the box office Malcolm raised A$3,842,129.

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Do you like short stories?

Canadian writer, Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, for her short-story writing. This is the first time ever it has been given for anything other than literature: never for short stories. This month Kalpna Deepak chose to have our Group read as many of Alice Munro’s short stories as we liked. Kalpna is enthusiastic in her appreciation of Munro’s work, and gave us a highly educational presentation for our session this month.

Kalpna began by discussing Alice Ann Munro’s life. She was born in 1931, in Wingham, Ontario, little more than a village at that time. Her stories are built around life in such a small community, although she does mention Toronto from time to time, as being the “big city” in a different world. Kalpna, who is from Delhi, India, said that she related to the stories because they remind her of the small Indian village of her grandparents, which she visited from time to time when she was a child. What struck Kalpna is that human nature is the same in those two small places; so far apart, so different, yet so alike on the level of human interaction.

When Kalpna spoke of Munro’s work she mentioned the different aspects that appealed to her. The humour displayed by Munro in her writings, amused her. Munro also shows a great empathy for the subjects of her stories. A deep understanding of human nature is necessary to write with such courage and honesty about life as it truly is, not romanticized or fantasized. This gives the stories a universality that appealed to Kalpna greatly. This is what makes Munro’s writing great.

In the discussion that followed, many of us said they like the work of Alice Munro, but others of us mentioned that they had found the stories a little dull. Kalpna did admit that she has had 10 years of education in literature, so she is approaching the stories from a particular viewpoint. Alice Munro says herself that her stories are the way things happen, not why they happen. This means that they are not action pieces, but written to provoke thought as to what life is about.

Kalpna certainly increased our understanding of the work of Alice Munro. Now, when we read her short stories, we will do so from a different, much deeper perspective. She also showed that to appreciate a work of literature, it is necessary to know about the writer and from where the author is coming. There are many facets to the writing, such as those Kalpna pointed out, that can be noted. This background knowledge helps put the work into perspective, and increases our enjoyment.

When I rose to thank Kalpna, I only got as far as doing just that, then was stopped by the standing ovation from our Group. We had all enjoyed a delightful afternoon!

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