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So Badadook (an anagram of ‘a bad book’) and a film from first time director Jennifer Kent, the title and movie themes also taken from the word ‘Babaronga’, the Serbian for ‘bad spirit’. Most critics have gone nuts about this Aussie horror and calling it the scariest film for a long time. With the release of ‘It Follows’ also terrifying those very same critics it’s slightly head scratching why these two weren’t released on Halloween. They would have made a bundle.
The film was developed from Kent’s award winning short film ‘Monster (2005)’ and a return to genre slasher horror in cinema. The mother and son bonding theme seems to have made the difference and perhaps a film that will hit home more for the female sex who protect the nest. I haven’t been scared by a horror film since I don’t know when so was looking forward to this and although I wasn’t that freaked out at least this one doesn’t adhere to cliché and cheesiness to get its jumps and screams. In fact the last edgy one I watched was also from Australia, Wolf Creek, a really nasty skull cracker of a movie.
Thirtysomething single mom Amelia (Essie Davis) and her young son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) have a difficult relationship in small town Australia. Their father was killed when Samuel was born and mom and son have yet to forge a loving relationship seven years on. Sam is obsessed by magic and demons and mom struggles to cope juggling her care home job and taking care of the slightly autistic and troubled kid, Sam regularly sent home from school for all sorts of mischief and antics.
Sam’s latest obsession is the Babadook, a kid’s book that turns up in their house. Sam is scared of the dark and claims the black hooded figure in the book visits him at night. Mum is fed up of hearing it and at the end of her tether, still grieving for her husband deep down. But when Sam’s obsession cranks up a few notches and keeps him off school, mom starts to lose it, soon on the tranquilizers as the two try to sleep through the night in the creaky old house full of shadows and menace.
She rips up the book in anger only for it to return in their doorstop after three loud knocks, the sign of the Babadook. Strange things are happening in the house. How can a kid’s fairytale come true? More alarmingly, a book that depicts mom eventually killing her own son is coming true.
Although the film didn’t really live up to its 5 star critic laden rosette dust cover it’s still a smart and well crafted horror movie. Intelligent scripting and feeling is not something you associate with the horror genre and good to see here, really cute here how the metaphor of their trouble relationship is expressed through the maleficent force. As the writer/director is a middle-aged woman then the metaphor may well be about women of a certain age suffering depression and menopause but that nagging darkness to the movie really works in context. I’m sure being a single mom is pretty difficult and hectic at times and this film really examines that bond and the natural tensions that arise when dad is not around and the son has no guiding male presence.
For its $2 million budget it looks fabulous in Blue Ray and the sound a treat as every door creak and light flicker are as crisp and sharp as the writing and spooky soundtrack. It did just $5 million back from its cinema release but I’m pretty sure this will quickly earn cult horror status and make good DVD money. If you enjoy horror movies and their nuance you will really enjoy this genre piece. Its not visceral in the way Wolf Creek was from Australia but certainly up there with the seventies style haunted house slasher movies. The acting by the two leads is exceptional, Essie Davis doing her Sissy Spacek and little Noah Wiseman up there as the odd looking Damien character. They really do put everything into this and it never ceases to amaze me just how good and honest child actors are. You may not be spooked by this but you have to admire the work that’s gone into it and the creepiness on offer, The Candyman one film that comes to mind when thinking how to sum this one up.
TV5 Monde is a French-speaking channel available on Virgin Media on 825. It's part of our XL package.
I said "French-speaking" because it doesn't just show programmes from French channels but also Canadian, Swiss and Belgian ones.
It is great for people learning/teaching French but it is also great for French people who live in England or anywhere else in the world as it enables them to keep in touch with their culture and to find out about the other French speaking countries.
I personally try to watch the Belgian news at lunchtime. I find the presenter friendly and there are differences of vocabulary between French from France and French from Belgium, which always make me smile (for instance they don't say numbers in the same way and I find it very charming!).
Most programmes shown are good quality ones although one of the daily French soaps "Sous le soleil" is so corny it's almost sickening but I suppose people with little understanding of French can follow the plot easily! So that's the only exception of average programme I can think of.
There are some really good films (drama, comedy, etc), some really informative documentaries (on economics, ecology, animals, films...).
I agree with the previous review on the lack of children's programmes. As a mother, I try to subject our son to as much French as possible at home but I feel TV5 need to introduce more programmes for children.
Be warned though that censorship is not as obvious in French programmes and there can be some swearing/nudity in the daytime. You've been warned! ;o)
Having studied French for my AS/A Levels it was inevitable that the only way to imrove my listening of the language would be through either listening to the radio or watching television. I am not a very big radio listener, however I do watch a bit of TV on both weekdays and weekends so why not make it educational for a change?
TV5 Monde is a French channel specialising in a wide range of programmes from cookery, documentaries as well as sports. It is accessible on Sky via channel 805 and I would compare it to BBC1 in terms of the types of programmes it offers.
~ Mornings ~
Weekday mornings are basically spent on current affairs and a special morning programme called Telematin which is like GMTV. As well as offering French news in 30 minute slots, TV5 also like to broadcast news from Canada, Belgium, Africa and Switzerland (predominantly from Francophone countries). The mornings are spent on educational pieces like D'Art D'Art and Un Livre...Un Jour but the real fun begins just before noon.
At 11.30am every weekday there is a fantastic little soap based in Marseille following a group of residents living through lifes little trials and tribulations, it is called Plus Belle la Vie and unlike our depressing soaps *cough* Eastenders *cough* tends to focus on happier and more intruiging storylines.
~ Afternoon ~
The afternoon's programming varies day to day however they do have a set of programmes with remain unchanged. The afternoon is spent mainly on quiz shows and topical documentaries. There is also a daily newsflash at 5pm lasting 20 minutes which summarises pretty much any important French and International current affairs.
To be completely honest, I don't watch much TV5 in the afternoon as it is quite dull during the weekdays, there are often several repeats of programmes and unless there is a film on, I tend to avoid it in the afternoon as much as possible. Although I do make time for the French version of Fort Boyard (despite the fact that it actually lasts 3 hours!!!).
~ Evenings ~
The evenings are dedicated to films, news and documentaries. One fantastic programme, Thalassa, is completely dedicated to anything and everything surrounding the world's seas and oceans. Although it is only shown on Tuesday evenings at 10.30pm (GMT) it does last for two whole hours and is fantastically filmed and educational, and often features little fishing villages in England that one wouldn't really know about before.
~ Weekends ~
The weekends are the best time to catch some good films, sport and just general entertainment. Around 90% of films shown on here are pretty recent (dating from 2000 onwards) and lasting only 1hr 30minutes usually. If like me you have seen quite a few french films in your time you will know that this is a blessing as most French films tend to drag on for ages however TV5 has done the smart thing and chosen films that can a) be watched in one go and b) be actually interesting! Also, for those who are learning French you will also be happy to know that 80% of the films shown have subtitles (wahey!) which makes the understanding of it slightly more easier!
As for sport, although it is rarely shown on TV5 live there are several 'emissions' which offer a catch up of the weeks football and general sports news and on the odd occassion that you get to see something live it ranges from Club Rugby to Judo.
Also, there are several special shows shown during the weekends in the evening which are aimed purely for entertainment. One such show was a charity event which was aiming to raise money for Aids lasting 4 hours packed with live music, juggling, circus acts and even some comedy routines. Although these are mainly promotional events, if you check the programmes now and then during the evenings you might be able to catch something just as fun on!
~ Kid's Channels ~
TV5 Monde doesn't really cater for children as much as it does for adults, the only dedicated children's programmes are very early in the mornings on Saturday and Sunday (which means you would be best to set Sky+ to record them for later). These programmes tend to be cartoons and one such animation is Blake et Mortimer which is slightly like Sherlock meets XFILES and is basically about two detectives based in London (see? they love us really!) who stumble upon secret societies and world's both set in the past and future.
Another delightful programme I would recommend to any child is the fantastic -C'est pas Sorcier- which is an educational show teaching children about anything and everything. For example the last show focused on the life of a cow in France and went through in detail everything there was to know about the different species, their daily life on a farm, the produce we make from their milk etc.
Each week our amusing presenters Frédéric and Jamy explore something new and their constant enthusiasm and different visual ways of describing and explaining the subject makes this programme a must see for kids and adults!
All in all, I would heartily recommend TV5 Monde to anyone looking to polish their French listening or just to enjoy watching programmes which offer so much to choose from. Whilst TV5 could do with some more live sporting events and a lot less repeats during the day, if you have a good look through you will spot some amazing gems on TV whilst also improving your French 'en meme temps!'