Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Recommended Films in English

Here is a list of 21 memorable films I recommend for learners of English (with the names of actors and actresses whose voices you will enjoy hearing). I advise you to try and watch these films on DVD with English subtitles on first.

The Bridges of Madison County (with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep)
American Beauty (Kevin Spacey + Annette Bening)
Love Actually (Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, etc)
Match Point (Scarlett Johansson + Johnathan Rhys Meyers)
Babel (Cate Blanchet + Brad Pitt)
Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood)
Crash (Matt Dillon)
The English Patient (Ralph Fiennes)
Dogville (Nicole Kidman)
About a Boy (Hugh Grant)
Billy Elliot (Julie Walters + Jamie Bell)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Vigo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, etc)
The Godfather trilogy (Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, etc)
Blade Runner (Harrison Ford)
The Day After Tomorrow (Dennis Quaid + Jake Gyllenhaal)
A House at the End of the World (Colin Farrel)
The Truman Show (Jim Carrey + Laura Linney)
The Talented Mr Rippley (Matt Damon + Jude Law)
Dead Poets’ Society (Robin Williams)
Good Will Hunting (Matt Damon + Robin Williams)
American History X (Edward Norton)
Little Men

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Arguments Against Celibacy (The Tip of an Iceberg)

Suspected paedophile Granada priests acted like a sinister sect

Of the 10 priests and two laypersons who have been accused by one alleged victim, with the possibility that more witnesses may come forward, the group is said to have had a leader, specifically one of the three priests suspended from their duties on Monday in light of the court investigation.
Investigators are focusing on a parish church in the Granada district of Zaidín, where, the newspaper explains, the group leader worked and boys were allegedly drawn into the paedophiles’ sphere of influence by being taken on as altar boys or assistants.    
According to the court sources, the priests would try to brainwash these children in secret meetings, at which sexual matters were discussed and the boys encouraged to perform sexual acts with the adults, who assured them that there was no sin in such encounters. The case notes also describe how the adult members of the group also engaged in sexual activity among themselves.
The religious group, known locally as Los Romanones, a reference to the name of their alleged leader, would transport the minors to luxury flats and a house in Granada, as well as several coastal properties, to carry out their alleged crimes. So far, three priests and a teacher of religion have been arrested: Román Martínez V, Francisco José C M, Manuel M M, and Sergio Q M.
The alleged victim who has reported the offenses is today a 24-year-old teacher who has conserved his religious beliefs. According to sources who have had access to his testimony, the victim says he was abused between the ages of 13 and 17.
The victim received several telephone calls from Pope Francis, who offered his support and asked for forgiveness for these crimes in the name of the Catholic faith. The pope has encouraged Catholic authorities around the world to take stronger action against the sexual abuse of children within the Church. In this case, the alleged victim wrote to Pope Francis to report his ordeal after the Granada church hierarchy had ignored his complaints.
Pope Francis is reported to consider the suspension of only three priests as an insufficient reaction and has called the archbishop of Granada, Francisco Javier Martínez, to Rome in order to discuss the scandal. The role of the seven priests who remain in their posts is said by investigation sources to have been lesser in terms of the sex abuse, but they could be guilty of covering up the crimes and helping the three paedophiles to procure their victims.   
According to the alleged victim’s testimony, at least one other boy suffered similar abuse, while he also mentions the use of a girl by the circle, possibly as bait to draw in male victims. 

Related articles:

¡Encubrir también es delito!

Three priests arrested in Granada over pedophilia claims

Monday, November 17, 2014

British Artists and the Spanish Civil War

The bloody battle between the elected Spanish republic and a rebel group of Nationalists was one of the most important conflicts of the 20th century. The Nationalist-commanded bombing of civilians in Guernica – immortalised in Picasso's iconic work – was one of the first campaigns by Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe and reactions to it revealed the divisions between right- and left-wing groups in Europe. These ideological clashes were responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War just a few years later.

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the battle's end, the exhibition Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War draws on works by Henry Moore, Edward Burra, Wyndham Lewis and Roland Penrose in order to explore how visual artists in Britain responded to events in the Mediterranean. United in the fight against fascism, artists from across disciplines and practices became engaged with the conflict; either fighting in the war themselves, providing work for fundraising campaigns or creating independent pieces that made fiercely critical statements. On display are 80 such examples from this period, including painting, printmaking, design, textiles, sculpture, photography and film. Many have not been shown in public for several decades.

The exhibition also sheds light on the role female artists played in the conflict. Paintings of refugees Ursula McCannell – now 91 – produced when she was just 13 are displayed alongside her source photographs. Meanwhile a series of drawings by artist Felicia Browne, who was the first British volunteer to die in the war, capture Republican soldiers and Spanish peasants affected by the conflict.

Thanks in large part to the Surrealist artist Roland Penrose, Picasso's Guernica travelled to the UK in 1938 and toured to venues around the country. The display explores the impact its exhibition had on the British perceptions of the war, as well as its influence on artists depicting associated subject matter.

An undoubted highlight of the show is Picasso’s Weeping Woman. The artist made several subsidiary paintings based on figures in the Guernica mural, this one – focused on the weeping woman holding her dead child – is the last and most elaborate of the series.

Pallant House Gallery9 North Pallant, Chichester West Sussex PO19 1TJ01243 774557
Henry Moore, Spanish Prisoner, 1939