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Reviews Written by
Rebecca Papin "Literary Connoisseur" (Paris, France)

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Hotel Rwanda [DVD]
Hotel Rwanda [DVD]
Dvd ~ Xolani Mali
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.96

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Response To This Film Shocked Me, 6 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Hotel Rwanda [DVD] (DVD)
When my French husband told me he wanted to watch a movie about the civil war in Rwanda, I was SO uninterested. I knew the movie had gotten alot of hype, alot of press, and had been nominated for an Oscar (or many Oscars), but I was so uninterested in watching a movie about a war in Rwanda.
And that was my typically American response to such a great and humbling movie. Luckily, my husband kept bothering me about this film, and, I finally saw it.
This is the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager in Rwanda that housed over 1,000 Tutsis refugees during the Rwandan civil war. After the UN turns its back on his hotel, he and the refugees are left unprotected against the rebel forces. Paul is given an exit visa to Belgium for him and his family, however, he would rather give up his life than have the rebels slaughter the "cockaroaches" as the Tutsis were called.
I was shocked that the Americans did not intervene in this situation...until I realized that they, like myself, probably had little interest in the situation until somebody shoved it down their throats. This is a deeply political movie with so many violent scenes (1000 Tutsis laying dead on a road), (prostitutes being cut in two)that children absolutely should not see it.
I cried more than once in this movie. It humbled me.

In America [2003] [DVD]
In America [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Paddy Considine
Price: £2.47

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye Frankie, 1 Dec. 2005
This review is from: In America [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
An Irish family moves illegally to New York to escape the tragedy of losing Frankie, their only son. Once you know that the character of Frankie was based on, and dedicated to, the Director's late brother, it becomes all the more poignant. Christy and Ariel, the couples two remaining children, are sisters in real life, and treat each other with an amazing tenderness in the movie. The acting that the children do is incredible.
This is a movie about carrying on despite being in the darkest place you've ever been in. These characters don't HAVE a choice, they must keep breathing, must find jobs, must comfort each other.
I adored this movie. It was very sad, but so is life sometimes.

Valiant [DVD] [2005]
Valiant [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Gary Chapman
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £3.60

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Based on a True Story, Made Me Proud Though I Don't Know Why, 1 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Valiant [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I sat down to this DVD with no idea what it was about other than my husband thought it looked cute. I was dubious and doubtful, but it ended up bringing tears to my eyes (although I cry easily anyway!).
This is the story of a brave WW II British homing pigeon, named Valiant, and his quest to get his message back home despite difficult situations. He is part of Squad F of the Royal Homing Pigeon Service, and after one of his comrades is trapped by enemy falcons, notably General Von Talon, it is up to Valiant to get the message home.
I had no idea that over 50% of all the medals awarded to animal war heros in WW II went to homing pigeons. I didn't even know that animals were given medals during the war, and I can tell you that I was happy to see 2 or 3 cats had received medals as well.
A feel-good movie. The French mouse Charles La Girl is a fantastic secondary character worth the price of the DVD alone.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2014 2:49 PM GMT

Million Dollar Baby [DVD] [2005]
Million Dollar Baby [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Hilary Swank
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.97

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Sad...Makes You Glad You Aren't A Boxer, 28 Nov. 2005
The world is cruel. Million Dollar Baby underlines this theme over and over again: from Clint Eastwood's returned letters to Hilary Swank's unjust fate, we learn, the world is cruel. This is an incredible movie about two people that live on nothing but their dreams, and how they handle their realities. The ending will depress the hell out of you, but you'll feel like a better person for having seen this film....and glad that you aren't a boxer.

Dogville [DVD] [2004]
Dogville [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Nicole Kidman
Price: £4.71

35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and Brilliant...Most Unique Film I Have Ever Seen, 28 Nov. 2005
This review is from: Dogville [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I've gone back and forth between thinking that this film is incredibly sick and incredibly brilliant. I still can't make up my mind, so all I can say is that is the most unique film I have ever seen: a very sick and amazing film, showing the darkness of the human heart when there are no rules to protect its victim. It starts out very slow, but gets good after 30 minutes (it is nearly 3 hours long). The violence of this film surpasses Pulp Fiction, but in a much more subtle way (if I was to say any more I would give the whole film away). The symbolism is worthy of analysis...a film student could write for days about what they see in this film...and afterwards, your mind will be racing and trying to make sense of it all. This is, in my opinion, the best work Nicole Kidman has ever done.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 16, 2012 6:28 PM GMT

Son of Oscar Wilde
Son of Oscar Wilde
by Merlin Holland
Edition: Paperback

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Intriguing Perspective of Being Oscar's Child, 23 Nov. 2005
This review is from: Son of Oscar Wilde (Paperback)
As an Oscar Wilde fanatic (I have read literally everything ever written by/about him) I was drawn to this book because of the new perspective about him that was offered: that of his child. Not only is it interesting to read about his Vyvyan's memories about him, but the biography is written in such a vivid way that one can actually feel the pain Oscar's son goes through when his father is sentenced to prison and when he dies. This is a must read for an Oscar Wilde fan interested in gaining a new perspective on the legendary is the closest one will ever be to understanding what it was like being in his family.

Paris (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide)
Paris (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide)
by Paul Hines
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Eyewitness Travel Guide, 20 Nov. 2005
Being as I have at least 25 different Eyewitness Guides, I have to say that the Paris edition faced stiff competition. But, this is how highly I think of it: I have lived in Paris for 5 years, and still consult this guide on a regular basis. The pictures are gorgeous, the information is up-to-date, and the portrayal of Paris comes across as so very real. Even if you don't have the cash to come to Paris, you do have the cash to buy this book, and the book is almost better than being in Paris because you get to see pictures of all of the most important things without actually having to deal with the tourists (no offense). My only word of caution is that this should be used as a secondary source of information for a first-time tourist, not a primary source, because the maps are not very good and the practical information section is not really that practical. Overall, though, I highly recommend it.

F. Scott Fitzgerald: Trimalchio: An Early Version of 'The Great Gatsby' (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald)
F. Scott Fitzgerald: Trimalchio: An Early Version of 'The Great Gatsby' (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald)
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Edition: Paperback
Price: £28.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Early Draft of The Great Gatsby, 19 Nov. 2005
As a die hard Fitzgerald fan, Trimalchio has enhanced my love and understanding of The Great Gatsby. I really loved the signifance of the name Trimalchio, once I understood it. (For those of you who haven't read the 2nd century AD play by Titus Petronius in which Trimalchio is orignially referenced, Trimalchio is a slave who throws an extragavent feast that everyone laughs behind his back at.) Knowing the reference gave such new depth to my understanding of Gatsby's character, for who was he really if not an updated Trimalchio? Something else that seemed rather interesting to me were some of the white supremecy illusions that Fitzgerald sprinkled lightly throughout the novel, notably in conversations with Tom and Daisy about the "Master Race". I also noticed a Swastika Holding Company noted in one of Nick's outings to NYC. That alone, the Swastika Holding Company within an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, is worthy of a dissertation. This early draft seems far darker than The Great Gatsby, yet far clearer in character definition. I understood Gatsby and Daisy's characters far more clearly in this draft. This is an absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous preview of what would become "The Great Gatsby" and I highly recommend it.

A Royal Duty
A Royal Duty
by Paul Burrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Glamourous Shadows of KP and BP, 19 Nov. 2005
This review is from: A Royal Duty (Paperback)
Royal butler Paul Burrell takes us into the glamorous shadows of Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace (BP and KP, as he calls them) and explains royal life from both sides of the throne. As fascinating as it is to learn of the daily intimacies that the Princess and Burrell shared, it is equally fascinating to learn of the protocol the royal servant had to endure in his early days. I read with great interest of how Paul and Maria were the first pair of royal servants to be allowed to get married, and how servants were supposed to be out of sight as much as possible, to the extent that they would hide in closets to avoid being seen by any member of the royal family as they were walking by. I read for the first time about the grace and favour apartments, how servants were requested not to look the royals in the eye, and how anyone who is not a HRH is required to courtsey or bow to those that are HRHs. I loved learning about all of the politics that go on "downstairs" and what all of the elaborate titles, such as Master of the Purse meant. I was also intrigued by the different dinner rooms they have at BP for different levels of servants. Absolutely fascinating. I loved hearing not only Diana's story being told in a fresh and informative light but also hearing Paul's story as well. I think it is a double treat to read about not only the life of Princess Diana but also a servant who rose from being a hotel assistant manager to the Royal Butler of not only Princess Diana, but also Queen Elizabeth. Burrell endured so much and made so many sacrifices to rise to the position of Royal Butler to Princess Diana, and it is absolutely fascinating to read about the Royal Family accusing him of stealing her records and other things, after all he did for Diana. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time and I am the better for having read it. I strongly recommend you read it too.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 7, 2014 12:07 AM BST

Hemingway : The Paris Years
Hemingway : The Paris Years
by Michael Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel What It Is Like To Live In Hemingway's Paris, 19 Nov. 2005
This is an engrossing book that makes you feel like you are actually walking alongside Hemingway during his early years in Paris. I could feel the cold that he felt on his cheek, I could see the smile that Hadley gave him every time he walked into their dark little apartment after a hard day of writing in the cafes. This is due to Michael Reynolds superb, painstaking research, the photographs, and the copies of original manuscript that he included in this biography. I cannot stress enough how unlike an usual biography this is...Hemingway literally leaps out at you from the first sentence and pulls you into his world, lets you experience his poverty and first marriage in Paris, the birth of his son, the arrival of his first mistress, and the amazing literary scene in Paris that has now apparently died for good. Hemingway has amazing quotes on writing, life, living through your failures, and it was a pleasure to get to read the library list of every book he checked out during this time period. This is an amazing book, and the best biography I have EVER read in my life.

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