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andrew@4-mat.net (Preston, England)

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The Apple [VHS]
The Apple [VHS]
VHS
Offered by globalmovies
Price: 8.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating mock documentary, 23 Jun 2000
This review is from: The Apple [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Families are massively important. Seventeen year old Samira Makhmalbaf is following her father's, Mohsen, vocation in becoming a highly regarded film director. He also wrote the screenplay for 'The Apple' in which twelve year old twins, Zahra and Massoumeh, have been virtually imprisoned in their own home by their impoverished father and blind mother. Neighbours complained that the children had not bathed and could not speak. Makhmalbaf shows the twins attempting to function beyond their parents' wall after social workers have intervened. Their legs are so skinny that they can barely walk; this could be due to lack of practice or malnourishment. They lack social skills to the extent of being unaware that they have to pay for food.
What makes the film remarkable is that it is based on a true incident and uses the family involved. It seems staggering that the father agreed to participate, although he is portrayed as misguided rather than intentionally cruel. His comments reflect how girls are treated differently to boys in traditional Iranian society: 'God made woman for her to marry' and 'My daughters are like flowers. They mustn't be exposed to the sun or they would soon fade'. Yet this mock documentary refuses to condemn and therein lies its power. Even though the mother is seen swearing at her husband and the social worker, it is easy to muster sympathy seeing her terror when she goes out alone and a child dangles an apple in front of her.


The Great Eastern
The Great Eastern
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime melaqncholia, 28 April 2000
This review is from: The Great Eastern (Audio CD)
"Peloton", the Delgados' previous release, was the finest of 1998 so "The Great Eastern" contained considerable baggage. Often follow-ups disappoint. Either a band opt for a carbon copy or their new direction is less appealing. Fortunately, "The Great Eastern" retains the traits that make them endearing but these are enhanced by Dave Fridmann's panoramic production.
In a music world which echoes that of business and media in embracing all that is big, The Delgados remain refreshingly understated. Whilst their avowed intent was to create the most grandiose record ever, their lyrical introspection contradicts that aim. They capture perfectly self-doubt and self-loathing as exemplified by "American Trilogy"'s opening: "I became accustomed to a kind of social servitude and no one, I mean no one, could accept what I had become. Selfish, bitter, weak, Enough to make you sick." The tension between such sentiments and the chorus' orchestral sweep create a rare emotive depth.
Such conflict is equally effective in "Thirteen Gliding Principles" in which Emma Pollock and Alun Woodward" take alternate vocal lines and give the impression of a discussion at cross purposes, suggesting a more polite version of the aggressive interplay between Prolapse's Mick Derrick and Linda Steelyard. The swooshing of the string section adds to its impact. "Accused of Stealing", with Emma's smooth vocals and its subtle melody changes, is another highlight on a record bulging with sublime moments.
"Knowing when to Run" seems less personalised in its account of child abuse but from the opening, grandly funereal "The Past that Suits You Best" to the minimal, downbeat piano of the country-tinged closer, "Make your Move", "The Great Eastern" is an emotionally rich journey. Whilst their lyrics immaculately portray personal failings, their exquisite music mean that they avoid being purely a soundtrack for wallowing. Whereas their Chemikal Underground labelmates, Mogwai, attempt to subvert conventional song structures, The Delgados triumphantly prove that, with a bit of tinkering, classic songwriting and arranging can still be a source of myriad delights.


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