Our amazing Friday sunset in Canberra.
Historical film Mr Jones – about a Welsh journalist who risked his life to tell the truth about Stalin’s 1930s genocide in Ukraine – is out this month, beginning with a premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.
Unlike the Holocaust, the Kremlin’s forced famine genocide – known as the Holodomor – escaped the world’s notice mostly because Western journalists, many of them advocates of communism, spent decades denying it.
Conservative estimates of the death toll put it on par with the Holocaust, while others place the numbers much higher; up to ten-million Ukrainians killed between 1932 and 1933. The numbers vary so much because, unlike the Germans who documented every aspect of the Holocaust, the Russian authorities have done everything in their power to hide their crimes.
(It should be noted that the Kremlin committed another genocide, in Kazakhstan, at the same time, killing 42% of their population.)
Gareth Jones, played in the movie by English actor James Norton, saw the Holodomor firsthand, and went against the lead of Stalin-friendly journalists like The New York Times’ Walter Duranty to try and get the truth out beyond the Iron Curtain.
Jones was only twenty-nine when he was murdered, one day shy of his thirtieth birthday.
This film seems incredibly important in this day and age, with people once again reacting to rising fascism by identifying as communists and sympathising with Russia. As this Variety article points out, we live in a similar age to the 1930s, with propaganda and “fake news” dominating much of the press, and most of the world turning a blind eye to atrocities being committed by the Kremlin, and by the regimes in countries like Syria.
…That when the 1995 movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion was released on video in the United States, Columbia Tristar decided it wasn’t sexy enough.
And so they replaced the actors on the poster/cover with this:
It’s especially appalling as many consider Persuasion 1995 to be the best Jane Austen adaptation. With a cast of renowned theatre actors, it is nothing like that image implies.
For comparison, here is the real leading couple in the movie. (Seriously, that wasn’t sexy enough? This is Jane Austen, not Fabio!). I’m not sure if it still is, but the entire movie used to be available to watch on YouTube.
So, with a few days to go until Christmas, here’s thirty-eight-year-old Macaulay Culkin recreating Kevin McCallister from Home Alone in a Google ad.
Bright blue summer skies in Canberra.
How is it the ninth of December already?! It’s been a crazy-hot weekend in Canberra; inland it’s a good ten degrees warmer than in the cities on the coast.
I went to the sale at the National Library yesterday. If I have time I’ll write a post about it!