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

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


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

December 22, 2020

Lacanian Icarus: when Gina flew too close to the sun?

On the recent experience of nearly being no-platformed There are two identities in one when it comes to being part of a disempowered minority. The first is for yourself: all your failings, your insecurities, your doubts, and connected to this, your curiosity and quirks. Let's be Lacanian analysts for a moment: what we're talking about is the transg...
November 17, 2020

If I were to detransition, this is what I would write

Warning: this is a speculative piece of writing, not an official announcement, although I have recently begun to imagine an 'ideological' detransition (from trans woman to GNC male). Here, I'm trying to articulate and reflect on my thoughts and feelings, and imagining myself from a different perspective. In this post, I'm Gina v...
November 17, 2020

Trans Hell-thcare

The picture accompanying this post is important to me. I took it yesterday, 16 November 2020, unsure what I'd find. It's been nearly eleven months since I came off oestrogen for reasons I'll get into in a moment. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on me, bodily and therefore psychologically, but the accompanying selfie gives me a reassura...
October 17, 2020

What if gender-critical feminism came to power?

This scenario is inspired by a dialogue I had yesterday evening with a gender-critical feminist just before I went to bed. Here is what I dreamed: In the summer of 2021, the Conservative minister Liz Truss introduces legislation, making women-only spaces legally accessible only to those born female. This U.K. law includes a provision for funding al...
October 13, 2020

Responses to my blog post (1)

A frustrating aspect of my website is that when people write in, there's no trace of an email address so no way of getting back to people, and also no way of publishing their messages. However, I received such a nice response to my article just now that I'd like to include it here. It's from some who for the sake of confidentiality (in case it's ne...
October 11, 2020

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism

On adopting a more gender-critical transgender activism Note to the reader: This post is intended as a contribution to addressing the current tensions between transgender activism and gender-critical feminism. The way I see myself in relation to female i dentity, and the ideas I express here, are not a prescription for other trans women. The t...
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...