In the Absence: South Korea’s Sewol Ferry Disaster

A disaster began to quietly unfold at 8:49am on April 16, 2014. The Sewol ferry, bound for Jeju Island in South Korea, began to sink. On board were 476 passengers, including 325 students on a school trip. Mobile phone footage records students struggling to stay on their feet in their cabins, the atmosphere calm but uncertain. Dashcam footage showed cars sliding across the car deck as the ship tipped. A passenger had made an emergency call at 8:52am, and through radio communications the authorities were notified. The ferry continued to sink.…

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Atlantics review – poetic Dakar love story

Although set in suburban Dakar, this beguiling debut feature from Mati Diop is a film that walks between worlds. The story is woven in the hinterland amid wealth and poverty, love and expediency, this life and the supernatural. It’s silkily enigmatic and unpredictable, and certainly unlike anything else you will see this year. It took me a second viewing to engage with the tonal shifts of the story of Ada (Mame Bineta Sane), promised in marriage to a wealthy man, but who loves Souleiman (Ibrahima Traore), a construction worker who…

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The Importance of African Storytelling in Film

Years a Slave, Blood Diamond, Tsotsi, and the most recent Queen of Katwe; have gone on global screens, showing the often distorted African story with authenticity and dignity. It’s an exciting time for African storytelling on the big screen. The most recent offering is Queen of Katwe. Set in Uganda, the film uncovers life in one of the most poverty-stricken slums in the capital, Kampala. Based on a true story, it shows a family that is striving for better life and making the most of what they have. Director Mira…

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Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove Wins $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award From Academy of American Poets

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove (photo via commons.wikipedia.org) Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia, received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, according to jbhe.com. The award is given annually to recognize “outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.” Established in 1994, the award comes with a $100,000 prize. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987 for Thomas and Beulah, Dove also served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995. She is the only…

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