Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Walk With Me

Walk-With-Me-poster

Walk With Me

It was during this film that I came up with the term chomper to describe the way such entertainments make me feel. Some forty minutes into this documentary (or was it thirty minutes, or twenty, or ten?), I felt myself become drowsy. Silently, and yet in a feverish desperation, I sought out the chewing gum in my bag that would help me stay awake. Then for the remainder of the screening, chomp, chomp, chomp I chewed on my chewing gum, wondering if chewing gum can be worn down to nothing within the space of an afternoon.

For Walk With Me is a boring documentary, even as Benedict Cumberbatch provides the rich, contemplative voice-over. My view of course can be dismissed as the expression of one who just doesn't get it, and it's true that formalized meditation is not the kind of thing I enjoy. During the film's moments of utter stillness, I did what I often do when I've tried meditation, and wandered into the dark recesses of my bored unconscious, mulling over whether the San Francisco 49ers of 1983 would have beaten the Chicago Bears, instead of losing their regular season game 13-3, if they'd only had the brilliant Roy Green and William Andrews in their offence (both players were passed on by the 49ers in the 1979 draft, and this bothers me more than I can explain adequately).

Still, Cumberbatch punctured my nostalgic angst by occasionally reciting aphorisms of wisdom from the Vietnamese guru Thich Nhat Hanh, in a bucolic but cold-looking retreat somewhere in France called Plum Village. A deciduous tree in winter was referred to, on how to become strong and enduring one must accordingly not be fragile or immature like the leaves that die. It was telling that Hanh's Mindedness involved shedding one's family and friends, at least for the most part – as I strain to remember, members of his spiritual group were allowed to visit relatives every two years.

I don't doubt or dismiss the sacrifice involved; spirituality at its core, surely means stripping away your connection to the things that worry us. Didn't Jesus Christ say that his only family were his followers? But equally, seeing the joy that one particular member of Hanh's group brought to her father when she visited him in the US, in a care home, I couldn't help thinking that seeing her father was a really good thing to do, in the spiritual sense and in any other.

Well anyway, the documentary continued in this way, showing people who had gathered to find contentment living side by side, but strangely detached from each other. It was living, but not really, like a dystopian Shangri-la, waiting for the biker gangs to arrive. The followers of Hanh sought solace in nature, while waiting for death, and no one barely spoke a word.

While I ventured on, as the followers of Hanh watched a final sunrise; I was in Soldier Field, Chicago, 1983, Joe Montana, rolling round the right side of a frozen stadium, floating a pass through an icy mist over the Chicago cornerback into the hands of the waiting Roy Green, who runs on to score the match-winning touchdown, and the 49er teammates on the sidelines embrace in exhaustion and exultation. The spiritual, I guess, is a personal thing.
The Shape of Water
Bad Education by Pedro Almodovar
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Friday, 25 September 2020

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

July 01, 2020

Silenced by The Scotsman

​ On 11 June, The Scotsman published a deeply hostile article against transgender rights and activism in an opinion piece about the JK Rowling furore by its deputy political editor Gina Davidson. After much distress, I wrote a counter article which The Scotsman quietly ignored, after they had offered to pass it on to their Comment Editor. I experie...
May 11, 2020

The Book of Queer Prophets, curated by Ruth Hunt

in Books

  The Book of Queer Prophets: 24 Writers on Sexuality and Religion The historically fraught relationship between Abrahamic religions and LGBT+ identities provides the backdrop to The Book of Queer Prophets , a collection of twenty-four meditations by public figures who identify as both religious and LGBT+. The book's curator, the for...
May 09, 2020

Queer/Transgender short film: Mesmeralda

Joshua Matteo's short film, Mesmeralda , merging horror with esoterica, is now out on youtube . As with his previous work Metanoia , we see youthful trans actors racing through the empty streets of a moonlit New York, haunted by symbols and stalked by a masked figure of violent intentions. Mesmeralda , as described by Matteo, is the companion ...
March 08, 2020

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare

Sterile like the moon: the joys of transgender healthcare Summer, 2016: Gina's Big Bang, as transitioning begins A bureaucratic question in a sun-lit room. My medical practitioner asks me if I intend to have children. The question lingers, but the self-loathing is instant. No, I won't be having children. The practitioner nods. She moves on to the n...
November 10, 2019

General Election

General Election 12 December 2019 I spent the last election in an office, alone but for the company of a colleague. We watched the BBC's coverage while I drank wine, downbeat and expecting austerity and the absence of hope to triumph. Then we saw the exit poll and hung around, disbelieving at the sight of the kindled embers and lukewarm glow of a f...
Joker
October 05, 2019

Joker

October 05, 2019

Joker

Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...