Saturday, September 23, 2017

Don't Look at Me that Way (film review)

Hedi (Uisenma Borchu) is the Mongolian neighbour of Iva, a German single mother living with her daughter Sophia. Hedi meets Sophia first and the two become friends but Iva is a little suspicious until she meets Hedi herself and the two women become friends and then lovers. Both women have male lovers as well and unusually for film (where normally bisexuality is portrayed as a phase until a character realises they're really gay / lesbian) the relationships are all just an acknowledged and accepted part of the two women's bisexual identity (though it would be nice if cinema could one day also acknowledge that bisexual characters can commit to a monogamous relationship and still be bisexual).

The relationship between the two women is very believable, as are both their relationships with Sophia, who is a lovely character, a really cheeky, amusing six year old.  Hedi is also a great character, treated to some degree as a scapegoat because she is different in so many ways to those around her, but also envied because of some of the freedoms her cultural difference gives her.

The scenes in Germany are interspersed with vivid scenes of Hedi taking Sophia to meet her grandmother in Mongolia, which are probably dream sequences though this isn't obvious.

I really enjoyed the film up until the point where Hedi starts a relationship with Iva's father. The cinematic trope of the much older man and the much younger woman has been done to death in my opinion and from that point onwards the film significantly deteriorates.

The film is directed by Uisenma Borchu and in this interview she talks about the film.

Don't Look at Me That Way screened at Edinburgh Filmhouse for BiVisibility Day and is showing as part of the Scottish Queer International Film Festival which takes place 27 September - 1 October in Glasgow

Friday, September 15, 2017

Some thoughts about submission guidelines for literary journals

As a writer I know that it is up to me to read submissions guidelines for online literary magazines. I also know (as a former editor of an online literary journal) that it is quite easy to have one page of submissions guidelines and to up date that every time the guidelines change rather than to have a different page of almost identical guidelines for every issue of the journal (all of which are live and easily accessible from other websites) and only the page for the latest issue mentioning that the journal is now permanently closed to submissions. I am more than happy to read a lengthy page of guidelines, but not to then find out that it was the wrong lengthy page of guidelines and that I should have read one of the other many lengthy pages of guidelines.

Also although as a writer I am obviously aware of the need to check whether a journal is still open to submissions or whether it is closed for the next few months, on indefinite hiatus, or totally closed down, I am also aware as a former editor that it is quite easy to have 'Submissions Closed' stated clearly at the top of the home page rather than the potential contributor needing to scroll down a densely packed page in size 10 font before they find a wee note that says 'closed to submissions'. 

I also know that editors are generally not paid to edit their journals, I certainly wasn't, and I know that any updating of a website takes time and indeed some websites are set up in ways that make updating tricky, but on the other hand poets are generally not paid for their work and it takes time to research potential outlets.

So, editors please remember it's time consuming for both sides. Those of us submitting to your journal have lots of other things in our lives and how difficult is it for you to take those small steps to help make things easier for us?

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Statue of an Unknown Woman

Edinburgh has more statues of animals than it does of women, which is pretty shocking. This, in Festival Square, is one of the few statues of women in Edinburgh and she isn't even a named woman! The inscription reads:

On bronze plaque in front of sculpture (incised letters):'WOMAN and CHILD' / Erected by The City of Edinburgh District Council. / To honour all those killed or imprisoned / for their stand against apartheid. / Unveiled 22 July 1986 by Suganya Chetty. / Sculpted by Ann Davidson. / 'VICTORY IS CERTAIN' / .EDINBURGH. / THE CITY OF EDINBURGH COUNCIL.

I took this photo while photographing street trees as part of the Woodland Trust's Celebrate Street Trees campaign. You can read my blog post about this campaign here