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grenfell

Director Steve McQueen Discusses His New Film On Grenfell

Oscar-winning film director Steve McQueen is gearing up to release his film on the Grenfell Tower disaster nearly six years after the tragedy occurred. McQueen is hoping the film’s release will help push for justice. 

According to McQueen, who recently spoke with The Guardian in an exclusive interview, the 24-minute film was shot from a helicopter in December 2017 before the burned tower in west London was wrapped in white plastic. 

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McQueen discussed that the film was made with heavy involvement and consultation from the survivors of the tragedy, along with neighbors and families/friends of the victims. The community, like McQueen, is hoping the film will lead to further answers, prosecutions, and potential jail time to those involved in the Grenfell Tower tragedy; more than 5 years after it occurred. 

“You must understand that the violence that was inflicted on that community was no joke, I didn’t want to let people off the hook. There are going to be people who are going to be a little bit disturbed. When you make art, anything half decent … there are certain people you will possibly offend. But that is how it is.”

No individuals or companies have been punished for their role in the tragedy, which led to the deaths of 72 people. 

“I wanted to put the building in perspective of our everyday [life]. It’s not isolated. That is important because you [the viewer] put it in the perspective of yourself,” McQueen said

McQueen also discussed how he “sat on the film after it was shot because it couldn’t have been shown within three or four years [of the disaster].” 

Ed Daffarn, who escaped from his 16th-floor flat, said: “Sitting there looking at [the tower] captured the pure violence of what was meted out to us by the perpetrators. It has come at a good time. We need Grenfell in the public consciousness.”

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McQueen also explained how he became more motivated to create the film once he heard that city officials were planning to wrap up the tower in plastic.

“It was almost like a race against time. Once things are covered up, they are forgotten about, or it can be more convenient for people who want it to be forgotten about,” he explained. 

The film itself, according to reports, is silent besides the sounds of wind, cars, airplanes, and birds in the distance as footage shows the tower and zooms into spaces where individuals died during the tragedy. 

“It is like poring over a map – a satisfying survey of an impressive civilisation. Then the charcoal black lattice of Grenfell appears and the soundtrack cuts to silence and the camera circles the tower for minute after minute. It is haunting and upsetting,” writer Robert Booth stated. 

“It’s about the building and suspending it in time, and looking. Holding, holding, holding. [The tragedy] was deliberate neglect. It was no accident. There were so many people, so many companies, so many factors … It was all a deliberate act of neglect and, to a certain extent, greed,” McQueen said. 

The film is currently set to be exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery in London from April 7th to May 10th.

movies

‘Smile’ Writer and Director State’s Film’s Interpretation Of Mental Illness Was Intentionally Complicated 

New horror movie ‘Smile’ is becoming a hit at the box office this month. Parker Finn, the film’s writer and director, recently was interviewed by Polygon magazine at Fantastic Fest to discuss how he thinks the movie’s connected to so many audience members due to its representation of anxiety, trauma, and mental illness in general. 

“I think it’s so relatable. Everybody walks around carrying these things inside of themselves that are deeply rooted in them at their core, that are based on their histories and traumas.”

Finn continued to discuss how he wanted to use that feeling that so many can relate to, “and also explore what it might be like to have your mind turning against you. For me, that’s one of my greatest fears.”

Finn suggests that “due to events around the COVID-19 quarantines, feelings of stress and anxiety have become their own parallel epidemic.”

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“I developed and wrote and ended up shooting this movie all during the pandemic, when I think we were all traumatized and feeling a sense of isolation and a fear of transmission. The idea that trauma could beget trauma was really present in my brain, and I think it just crept its way into the script,” he explained. 

Finn also broke down how society has become much more open when it comes to talking about mental health and the many different ways it impacts humanity. 

“I think it’s something that as a society, we’ve all started to confront more. I think it’s in the air. It’s something we’re all aware of: Everybody’s got trauma of some sort in their life, whether it’s great or small, things they carry around with them that they don’t talk about.”

“We all put these masks on to hide our trauma, which was very much a motif in the film, with the smile being a metaphor, a mask,” he says, referring to the common feeling of “hiding behind a smile” that many individuals who suffer from mental pain can relate to. 

The movie itself follows protagonis Rose, played by Sosie Bacon, as she navigates her own deep traumas from her childhood in relation to her mother’s death. Rose herself is a therapist, so while she’s used to helping others navigate their own mental health journeys, she’s not used to feeling her own internal struggle and confrontation with her past. 

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“I wanted to do something that felt like what it would be like to be to experience [a breakdown], to put yourself in someone’s shoes and maybe look at [other people’s experiences and traumas] in a way we haven’t considered before,” Finn says. 

“I think it’s a universal theme for everyone, this idea that we’re all afraid of not being believed, especially by the people closest to us. That’s terrifying.”

Finn explained how he worked with psychologists throughout the production of the film to get the most accurate representation of when others don’t believe someone when they discuss their personal struggles, as well as convey the pain that one feels when they feel like they’re not being heard. 

“I think it’s always a balance, but I wanted to trust the audience and respect their intelligence and their emotions. And I love messy movies. I want people to feel different things. And sometimes you want to provoke them. Sometimes you want them to feel a ton of sympathy or empathy, but you always want to make it complicated for the audience. That’s when a movie is doing its job, right?” he expressed. 

Finn’s hope regarding ‘Smile’ is to “add to the conversation” surrounding mental illness in a horror context so that the movie is not only scary on the surface, but in its deeper meaning as well. 

“I think as a society, we’ve started to speak better about mental health and therapy and trauma, things like that. But we’re still not really there. It’s not something people understand. So I wanted to use this as a parallel and a device to explore something that hopefully would get people to think a little differently about what it might be like to be actually experiencing those sorts of things,” Finn concluded. 

Female Singer

Sia Drops First Song, ‘Hey Boy,’ From Her Directorial Debut Film ‘Music’ 

Sia has been a pioneer in the music industry for years now. Even if you don’t listen to her own personal music, you’ve definitely heard a song or two in your lifetime that was written by the artist. In fact, one of her most recent projects, ‘This Is Acting’ was a compilation of songs she wrote for other artists that had been rejected throughout her career that she thought deserved to see the light of day. 

Now, Sia has announced her eighth studio album titled “Music – Songs From And Inspired By The Motion Picture,” she also released the first song and video from the project titled “Hey Boy.” The film marks the first time Sia has held a full on directorial position for a feature length film beyond just her own music videos. 

The film, according to Sia, is about a young girl named Music who looks at the world in a very unique way. Music is played by Sia’s biggest muse Maddie Ziegler, who has been featured in most of Sia’s music videos throughout the past 5+ years. Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr. also star in the film. 

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The video and trailer for the film have already been released along with the announcement that the movie will have a special limited theatrical release by IMAX in February 2021 pending the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The album in its entirety will be released in February 2021 through Sia’s label Atlantic. The song “Hey Boy,” which has already dropped, was written by Sia herself and Jesse Shatkin and Kamille; Shatkin also produced the track. 

Sia’s team described the film as a “wholly original exploration of the healing power of love and the importance of community. Sia’s music is integral to the story of the film as the characters examine the fragile bonds that hold us together and, through fantastical musical sequences, imagine a world where those bonds can be strengthened in times of great challenge.” 

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The album is 14-tracks long and was written both specifically for the film itself, but was also inspired by the film as they made it. The singles “Together” and “Courage To Change” were both released by Sia earlier this year as a means of bringing awareness to climate change and the power the human race has to make a change, however, they were also released while Sia and her team were working on this film, and therefore will also be included within it. 

An accompanying original cast soundtrack album is scheduled to be released this winter as well so that all the individual voices that made the project possible have a moment to shine. Sia has been largely off the radar within the past few years as a solo artist at least. Her most recent solo album was the 2017 holiday collaboration album she created with Greg Kurstin “Everyday Is Christmas,” and most recently released musical project was a collaborative album with Labrinth and Diplo appropriately titled “L.S.D.” 

Now, fans are excited to see what the creative genius has in store for her next project and directorial debut. According to Sia it’s one of her favorite projects yet that she’s worked extremely hard on, so she’s excited for the world to finally see it.