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The latest from Janet Awe & friends…

Inspiration from Wadsworth Longfellow and My Mum

Posted on by Janet Awe

It’s 5am on August Bank Holiday weekend, in London.  I want to be out playing.

Instead, I am chained to my laptop all weekend, working on the final assignment for my Masters in Screenwriting, which is due in less than four weeks.

It’s very hard and I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself. But I’m remembering these words that my mum used to say to my brothers and I, when we were young, to try to get us to do our homework.

Thank you mum. x

Wadsworth longfellow

 

 

Books About Town

Posted on by Janet Awe

WP_20140712_002

Delighted to have found one of the Books About Town. There are 50 of these wonderful bench sculptures dotted around London, designed to look like open books, to celebrate London’s literary heritage and promote reading for enjoyment.

This bench is homage to The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde.

I feel like an intrepid hunter, having found it, and need to dedicate this post – and ‘my’ bench – to @OheMCee who I know was looking forward to seeing one ‘in real life’ as much as I was.

Just wonderful!

As if I needed reminding of how much I love my home town.

 

 

EIFF Review: The Guvnors

Posted on by Janet Awe
 Harvey Sylvester & Charley Palmer Merkell, © Fulwell 73 Ltd

Harvey Sylvester & Charley Palmer Merkell, © Fulwell 73 Ltd

Violence has a starring role in this film, as two generations of London gangsters go head-to-head.

Adam may be young but he works hard to maintain his reputation as the face to fear, on the South East London housing estate where he lives. Backed up, unquestionably, by his army of teenage foot soldiers, he terrorises his neighbours, steels from his fellow criminals and bullies his loyal minions.

The personification of an angry young man, Adam is driven to extreme violence by the inner demons and insecurities that manifest themselves in his need to be top dog. The only chink in his armour of bravado is his dedication to his little brother, who he shields from the realities of his life.

Mitch has been there, done that. Now well into his 40s, his nice family life is a million miles away from the old football hooligan days when his gang, The Guvnors, used to rule the terraces, as well as the streets, led by him.

They were very different times. Back then, disputes were resolved with the fist and even hooligans knew when to show respect. Nowadays, blades and bricks are the tools of the trade and fear has replaced respect as the currency used to gain power and keep control.

After a particularly nasty attack on a young girl, the local police round up Adam and his cohorts. Frustrated at their inability to prove what they know has happened, DC Meyler tells them that back in the day, The Guvnors would have put them straight.

That comment plays on Adam’s insecurities, to bloody effect and Mitch finds that no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape your past.

Doug Allen as Mitch © Fulwell 73 Ltd

Doug Allen as Mitch © Fulwell 73 Ltd

The Guvnors is a gripping, gritty and realistic script, full of great twists. It falls down slightly in a few places. In particular, more insight was needed into Adam’s absent mum, plus the biggest twist of the film generates little reaction from most of the characters, which really jarred for me. There’s also a fairly big oversight in the continuity – I’ll let you see if you can spot that yourselves. But, overall I really enjoyed the film. It’s another take on the generation of kids whose absent parents have led them to seek an alternative family in the worst possible places. As well as being an interesting – not often examined – look at what happens to ‘ex-nutters’, when they try to move away from that life.

Guvnors is driven by brilliant acting from Harley Sylvester – bizarrely, one half of the sugar sweet ‘hip hop’ duo, Rizzle Kicks (who I really like but would NEVER have imagined in the role of Adam) – as well as Doug Allen, who plays Mitch. Plus, a great supporting cast, including David Essex (!), as Mitch’s old boxing coach, Mickey, and Charley Palmer Merkell as Adam’s loyal sidekick, Trey.

Amazing that this is the first full feature of writer/director, Gabe Turner. He’s done a great job bringing this story to life.

[Watched at the Edinburgh International Film Festival - EIFF]

 

RIP Frankie Knuckles

Posted on by Janet Awe

Known as the Godfather of House, Frankie Knuckles was a massive part of the soundtrack of my life.  Really sad to hear of his passing last night, aged only 59.  The music, memories and love that he leaves behind are immeasurable.

So many classic songs. But Your Love has to be the one (having problems embedding this properly, so click on the name link, above or below!):

Your Love.

Film Review: Starred Up

Posted on by Janet Awe
Jack O'Connell as Eric

Jack O’Connell as Eric

Bold. Brash. Violent. Vulgar. Frightening. Funny. Jaw dropping. Gut wrenching.

Bloody brilliant.

Starred Up takes gritty realism to a whole other level. It had me cowering in my seat. Laughing out loud. Jumping from shock. And at one point not-so-silently praying that what I was witnessing wasn’t really about to happen.

Seen at the London Film Festival, back in October 2013 – and getting its general release in the UK today – this absolutely outstanding film totally topped ten days in which I’d seen some real corkers.

19 year old Eric Love is transferred from a juvenile detention centre to an adult prison – two years before he should really be sent. He’s ‘starred up’, meaning his file is marked, due to his violent behaviour. And from the moment he arrives it’s clear his card is marked as well. What happens next takes us on a roller coaster of emotions.

Jack O'Connell & Ben

Jack O’Connell as Eric & Ben Mendelsohn as Nev

We were really lucky that both the director, David McKenzie, and the writer, Jonathan Asser were there to do a Q&A after our screening. Before seeing the film, I’d read that it had been based on Jonathan’s time as a prison councillor. After seeing the film, there are no words to express my admiration at his writing. He truly has turned his work experience into an amazing film experience for us all. He’s managed to combine humour with downright horror and, somehow, still leave a glimmer of hope – all whilst confronting us full-on with the very worst of what we imagine goes on in our institutions. It feels like it’s been written with truth and compassion. And despite the machismo, vulgarity and violence, it still manages to have real moments of tenderness.

Jack O’Connell is outstanding as Eric. Whilst Ben Mendelsohn as his dad, Nev, and Sam Spruell as Governor Hayes, are totally brilliant, too. In fact, it’s a great cast – and an extremely interesting one, as some of the parts are played by Jonathan Asser’s ex prison patients.

During the Q&A, someone asked McKenzie if he’d studied the film Scum in perpetration for directing Starred Up. The answer was no. And I was glad. Whilst it’s natural to make such comparisons, it would be too easy to dismiss this as just a modern day wannabe. That wouldn’t do it justice. Starred Up stands tall by itself.

Go and see it.

Google’s Human Rights-Defending Doodle

Posted on by Janet Awe

 

Google Screen Shot 2014-02-07

 

I love Google’s current Doodle, reminding the world that the Olympic Charter states that ‘The practice of sport is a human right’ and using the colours of the rainbow flag. Perfectly timed, as the Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi – against the backdrop of Russia’s appalling anti-gay laws.

RIP Nelson Mandela

Posted on by Janet Awe

The sad death of a man who really did change a part of the world. Glad that he lived to see the impact he made and how much he was loved and admired. His Long Walk is now truly over. RIP Mr Mandela.

There’ll be sooo much coverage around this. I just wanted to post a couple of the ways that organisations I know have marked it.

Apple.com's home page

Apple.com’s home page

Screen on the Green, Islington, London

Screen on the Green, Islington, London