Tag Archives: breaking bad

Share the Love for Film and Theater

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Washington, DC is on the map in the international film and theater world. Groups, clubs and societies have been formed in recent years to support the cinematic interests of Washingtonians. We had the opportunity to speak with members of The World Bank / IMF Theater and Film Society to discuss their involvement with DCIFF and the independent film industry.

What is the The World Bank / IMF Theater and Film Society?

Society Members: We were founded by a World Bank staff member about 3 years ago, and recently revamped the group after a diversity event to try to get people interested in joining. We currently have around 100 members from all different cultures and backgrounds that are interested in film and theater. We try to meet a couple times a year in addition to attending plays, screenings and participating in local film events. We always take opportunities to watch films such as reviewing submissions for the DCIFF.

What is your interest in films?

Society Members: Some of our members have experience producing, directing and acting, and then others just like watching films and going to the theater. It’s wonderful to have such people from so many different international backgrounds, but all with a like-minded interest in learning about other cultures through film and theater. We love sharing within the community.

How does the DCIFF group reviewing process work?

Society Members: Once we review the films, we like to meet and discuss what we learned, our personal thoughts about the film and our overall ratings over wine, cheese and chocolate.

What was the reviewers’ overall impression of the films?

Society Members: ‘Where is the love?!’ [laughs]. Most of these films are very dark. They’re filled with death, torture and horror. Although they could be hard to stomach at times, it was interesting to see how you could end up giving the film a high rating based on an intriguing storyline and technical application. The dramatic storylines did make it hard to judge fairly at times. Maybe next year we’ll see more romance and comedies!

Was there anything else that caught your attention about the films?

Society Members: It was interesting to watch foreign films coming from different cultural backgrounds because there were several mistranslations or simply inaccurate elements to some of the stories that took place in some of our native countries. On one hand, it was distracting and frustrating to see the inaccuracy, but it was also fascinating to think about why the filmmaker would include it in the first place. It just got us thinking whether the director did it on purpose or is even aware of the mishap at all. We love that our group is made up of such diverse members. It’s very fascinating to hear the reviews from different cultural opinions. The perspective was completely different and refreshing to hear.

Would you participate in the DCIFF reviewing process again?

Society Members: Definitely! We love having the opportunity to watch movies from around the world and discuss it with our fellow film lovers. The topics are often related to what we do for work with a special interest in international development and communities. It’s really a great way to have a work-life balance that brings us together through a common and fun interest.

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Mixing Bad: where are all the great chemical films?

A few steps from the corner of K and Sixteenth Streets is the American Chemical Society (ACS). a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress that represents chemists.  It is also the world’s largest scientific society. I recently sat down for lunch with ACS’s Lead Communications Officer, Joan Coyle to discuss the history and connection between chemicals and film along with Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D. Darcy is a scientist, a world-class mixologist and coincidentally, a film fan. One of his favorite quotes is in The Insider (1999) when conscience-stricken, Phillip Morris chemist Jeffrey Wigand, played by Russell Crowe, utters, “I love science.”

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Darcy Gentleman and Joan Coyle (from ACS)
– photo Russ Imrie

“Much of the chemistry seen in Hollywood film occurs in sci-fi and super hero movies,” Coyle said, “Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it’s bad. Chemicals [and science] in film inspire kids to enter the field and demonstrate how chemistry is a big part of our everyday lives. The bad part is inaccurate scenarios reinforce misconceptions of science.”

Chemicals and science (often gone very badly) have been used as plot devices since the early days of film. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) was particularly ghastly, following closely on WWI’s mustard gas butchery. In the 1990’s, Sean Connery starred in two films that bracketed popular ideas of chemicals and science. Medicine Man (1992) focused on the jungle search for obscure medicinal plants and unknown therapies while The Rock (1996) revolved around a suspenseful terrorism plot to wipe out San Francisco using nerve gas.

Conversely, within the last few years, scientists or chemists seem more positively portrayed in pop culture. For example, the character “Q”, the Quartermaster in charge of James Bond’s spy gadgets, had previously been played by older British actors, such as John Cleese. Instead, Skyfall (2012) director Sam Mendes chose 31-year-old Ben Whishaw, the youngest and most attractive to reprise the role.

“It’s [also] important to remember Hollywood produces films to make money—not to teach science or chemistry. An encouraging trend, though, is the increasing number of consultants hired to get the science right. In fact, the producers of Breaking Bad consult with expert members of ACS,” Coyle noted.

Linked listing to chemical/science themed films and programs – thanks to Darcy Gentleman, ACS. 

Russ Imrie blogs on tech, security, and WTFs at supTweet