7:30 PM, 19th May, 2017
For better or worse, Disney has been a childhood institution for almost a century. From the first Mickey Mouse cartoons all the way to this semester’s Moana, the studio has provided enchanting and sweet tales for us to treasure and pass down to future generations.
Life, Animated, whilst not a Disney film, is a tribute to this legacy, as told through the life of Owen Suskind. Diagnosed with autism at age three, Owen retreated into a world of non-communication, until his father observed his obsessive interest in Disney films and started successfully talking to him through the characters he adored. Using this as a starting point, Owen was rehabilitated into being able to interact with the world again, through the movies he loved.
This was my favourite documentary of 2016. It’s an inspiring, engaging, amusing and sweet story. Based on Ron Suskind’s (Owen’s father) best-selling book “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism”, this movie documents Owen’s journey through interviews, Disney clips of classic characters like Simba, Jafar and Ariel, and original animation, to show how the movies’ expressive, exaggerated elements provide Owen with the means to make the activity around him more tangible. And the scene with Aladdin voice actor Gilbert Gottfried rates as the most heart-warming scene in any movie I saw last year.
A unique story of an inimitable individual, Disney could not ask for a better endorsement than Life, Animated.
9:12 PM, 19th May, 2017
For as long as humanity has existed, fear has loomed large in our psyche, and our ability to go about our regular lives making the most of our situation is a testament to our resilience as a species. However, the curtain is regularly drawn back to scare us out of complacency and remind us that we should not just blindly trust our governments and corporations to have our backs. So if you wanted the next thing to keep you awake at night, then welcome to Alex Gibney’s Zero Days.
This is the inside story of Stuxnet, a US-Israeli produced malware designed as a weapon of mass destruction. Its main purpose for existence was to bring down sections of an Iranian power plant, but it then expanded to the world. Zero Days shows how such powerful technology may be overtaking its creators in regards to security and politics.
Gibney is most famous for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, highlighting the company’s corrupt business practices. He has also directed exposés on Scientology and the Catholic Church, so he is well-versed in tackling the themes of distrusting those in power.
Zero Days is yet another glass of cold water to the face, a necessary wakeup call for all of us to be aware of how technological creations need to be handled. It can be dense with information at times (I didn’t understand about half of it), but it’s still an important film that should be widely seen.