Ebola Warning – A Chilling Truth

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”
– Mark Twain
“Based on a true story.” “Based on actual events.” There is something scary about these lines that make any film even more scary. All of us know, film director James Wan using the same warning in most of his horror films. And maybe that slight possibility that the same incidence, can happen to us too underlines the horror in the film.
Not long ago, I had written about Found Footage films. I tried to explain my take on how realism can be used to enhance the experience of a film. I feel the film by Director Martin Sommerdag Ebola Warning [Biological Research Film] takes this realistic approach to a whole new level.

Ebola Warning [Biological Research Film] from Alpha Hawk Films on Vimeo.

As the Director has mentioned, this film is a byproduct of a personal experience. Not by the director himself, but by his father. He was a biosafety level 4 chief virologist and he went missing in 1997. He was declared dead by the authorities but his body was never found. The film is a digitized version of various classified documents together with the old super 8MM film reel. And the film points at a patient diagnosed with Ebola.

The film Ebola Warning was screened at both New York Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival in 2008. After which the director claims that a very strange incident happened. A gentleman approached him and telling him that he knows his father. They decided to meet the next day. But that man never came.

The video uses shots from a top-secret biological research film recorded by Centers for Disease Control in 1978. It shows a nurse collecting organic samples from the subject or patient. All under the observation of a mysterious guy dressed in black. I want to point it out to our readers that the patient zero (the first person to have contracted the disease) was identified in the late 70s.
Apart from this, the film keeps itself open for possibilities. It is equipped with an abrupt start and and abrupt ending, leaving it for the viewers to decide and interpret. For me, I am scared of biological weapons since I got the idea way back in school. What if the next super weapon is a biological one? A virus that can kill a country from the inside? How easy it is for a superpower to eliminate its competitors by releasing a deadly virus in a country! How efficient and how clean! The idea gives me goosebumps. The film has planted this conspiracy theory in my mind and it is going to be difficult to get it out.
I think I will have to watch something lighter to get this out of my system. Maybe I will watch another teaser of “A Beautiful View”

A Beautiful View [Teaser 2] from Alpha Hawk Films on Vimeo.

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The Reader by Stephen Daldry

“The notion of secrecy is central to western literature. You may say, the whole idea of character is defined by people holding specific information which for various reasons, sometimes perverse, sometimes noble, they are determined not to disclose.”

The film covers snippets from the life of Michael Berg from 1958 to 1995. The film lets the viewers travel in the memories of Michael, revealing his relationship with Hanna. The film takes place in Germany.

*Spoilers*

It starts off with an unexpected and passionate affair between Hanna (Kate Winslet) and Michael (David Kross). Hanna, one day rescues Michael who falls ill on his way back from school. Michael is 15 and Hanna is twice his age.  And this relationship, is no where near the concept of love, as we know it. Michael is with Hanna because he is discovering his own sexuality. On the other hand, for Hanna, Michael is a way of “reading” books. After some time, their relationship becomes “Reading first, sex later.” Both of them indulge into each other for fulfilling their own tiny desires. And although the society would not understand nor accept such relationship, it happens. After a few weeks, Hanna disappears, leaving no message for Michael and thus ends their romantic encounter. A few years pass and Michael who turns into a young law student finds Hanna again at a trial for a hideous crime during the second world war.

Societies think they operate by something called morality, but they don’t.

Hanna, along with a few of her colleagues is accused of letting 300 Jewish women die in a burning church when they were SS guards on the death march following the 1944 evacuation of a concentration camp near Krakow. Hanna refuses to defend herself and believes that she was doing what was right at that time. On the contrary, her colleagues try to pass the blame entirely on Hanna, making her the leader and as a result, the murderer of those 300 women. Hanna denies writing a report on the church fire but then admits it rather than providing a handwriting sample. This is the secret that Hanna wishes to protect more than her life. That she cannot read or write.

Michael connects the dots and realises Hanna’s secret. He wishes to save Hanna by disclosing this information but struggles as it will result in revealing his own little secret affair with Hanna. Hanna receives a life sentence and so does Michael. Michael imprisons himself and deals with his life in the shackles of loneliness.

Michael never visits Hanna in prison, but he sends her recordings of the books he used to read to her. Using the tapes as a reference Hanna learns to read and write by learning one word at a time. Just when Hanna’s life sentence is about to get over, she commits suicide. She leaves a note behind for Michael and asks him to give a some money that she has left behind to Ilana (Lena Olin); the holocaust survivor whose testimony had been the key evidence in the trial. Ilana refuses to take the money but Michael and Ilana agree that the money should go to an organisation that combats adult illiteracy.

The film ends with Michael taking his daughter to Hanna’s grave and telling her his little secret affair.

Phew! I think I have almost described the entire movie over here. But I felt it was necessary to explain what I learnt from this film.

1. The structure:

The film flaunts multiple acts interwoven accurately with one another. There are three major segments in the film and each segment has a three act structure of its own. Segment one would be the affair. Segment two would be the trial. And segment three would be the imprisonment of our lead characters.

2. Non linear storytelling:

This is one of the best non linear stories I have watched recently. I am a person who prefers content over style. And most probably a non linear structure is a difficult for the audience to grasp and connect with. But the film connects similar incidences in the past and the present so well that the non linear structure helps the viewer. It also emphasizes the changes Germany has gone through over these years.

3. Symbolism and Metaphors:

Although the film is promoted as if there are some dark secrets in it, actually things were pretty clear after one point. Just the way the stuff happened in the Nazi era is clear to the world. The film, in my opinion is more about the guilt and the sins.

4. Confrontation:

The two lead characters confront their sins. They accept the mistakes they made whatever the magnitude may be. Hanna’s primary mistake or misfortune was that she was illiterate. And Michael’s mistake was that he was naive. Both of them take responsibility for what they did in the past and that releases them from their respective prisons. Just the way the Germans do not try to hide what happened in the concentration camps, they confront the facts; the characters make peace with their past.

Michael (Young): You will leave life even more beautiful than you entered it.

Michael (Old, asks Hanna): What have you learnt?

Hanna: I’ve learnt to read.

(Symbolism: War and Peace – Hanna stands on the novel before she hangs herself.)

5. Lapse of Time:

The movie should be known for its pace. It is simply astounding where the film takes you in mere 124 minutes. It starts off as a completely different film and it ends on a different note. Much like Life is Beautiful. Another take on a similar subject, from a very different point of view!

6. Perspective:

Who is the protagonist of the film? Who is the point of view character? I am confused about who the protagonist is. It is certain that Michael is the POV character. The film remains honest to his point of view. We are never burdened with what happens at the prison with Hanna.

7. The narrative:

As I said, the film has a very unique point of view. It is not a prison movie. We don’t see what happens to Hanna in the prison. We don’t know whether she gets used to her life over there or whether she goes through a lot of problems. The film majorly focuses on the reasons rather than the aftermath. I felt it is a very risky way of going about it, but it works over here!

Overall, I feel the movie extends beyond its characters and it speaks about the Human Nature. The movie is about how the rights and wrongs are defined by the system and with passing time, the system might change drastically.

Societies think they operate by something called morality, but they don’t. They operate by something called law. The question is never “Was it wrong”, but “Was it legal”. And not by our laws, no. By the laws at the time.

#Sweet Romance – Welcome Reluctant Stranger (Between Two Worlds #3) by E Journey

Books, Food and Me!!

The blurb reads,

“Can a family bury its secret past?

Like her long-lost father, Leilani heals people. But can she heal herself? Accept the awful truth about her father―left behind when her family fled the troubled country of Costa Mora eighteen years ago?

Brokenhearted, Justin just wants to drown his sorrows. But he finds more trouble than he’s looking for when thugs assault him and a mysterious woman with a dead aim rescues him.
A young woman’s inner journey accepting her past spun within a tale of love and past political intrigue.”

welcome reluctant stranger

I enjoyed this sweet and clean romance. It made me feel all nice and good. I loved Leilani and Justin’s relationship and I can somehow relate to a whirlwind romance when things change before you know it.

I was approached by the author to read the book and I was a little concerned that this was the third…

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