LEILA ALAOUI: PHOTOGRAPHER, WOMAN, FIGHTER

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It was January 15, 2016, when we heard the news.

I had recently returned from a long trip to Brazil, and had reunited with my family in our hometown of Turin, Italy, to begin the new year together. On January 7, my sister returned to Washington, DC, with my father, so he could help with our new born nephew, whilst my brother-in-law, on that same day, took off for an assignment with Save the Children. Destination: Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

A week later, gunmen armed with heavy weapons attacked the Cappuccino restaurant and the Splendid Hotel in the heart of the city. The number of fatalities reached 30. As the news spread, we learned that my brother-in-law had escaped the attack unharmed, in spite of having been in the vicinities of the locations attacked (most frequented by foreigners and NGO workers.)

Fast-forward two months later, a friend and colleague takes me to visit Virginia Branson’s (the Virgin founder Richard’s sister) superb riad in the centre of the Marrakech Medina: El Fenn. She’s a guest there, as she’s writing the new Wallapaper guide to the Moroccan city.

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PASOLINI: REALITY PRECISELY AS IT IS

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NEOREALISM WAS THE KEY INFLUENCE IN POST-WAR ITALIAN CINEMA. ITS STATED AIM WAS TO BRING AUDIENCES TO ‘THINK ABOUT REALITY PRECISELY AS IT IS’ (ZAVATTINI).

I was twenty, not even – eighteen,
nineteen… and I had been alive for a century,
a whole lifetime
consumed by the pain of the fact
that I would never be able to give my love
if not to my hand, or to the grass of ditches
or maybe to the earth of an unguarded tomb…
Twenty and, with its human history and its cycle
of poetry, a life had ended.
(from Pier Paolo Pasolini, A Desperate Vitality)

On the one hand, without a doubt neorealism was the key influence in post-war Italian cinema.

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BE REASONABLE, DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE

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THE EVENTS OF MAY ’68 IN FRANCE HAVE BEEN SEEN AS THE EXPRESSION OF A RESURGENT MARXISM, AS AN EXISTENTIALIST REBELLION, AS A POST-MARXIST LEFTISM, AS THE POLITICS OF DESIRE, AND EVEN AS POSTMODERN POLITICS. WHAT WERE THE IDEAS AND ASPIRATIONS THAT DROVE THE EVENTS?

“Let us conclude: those who are unable to change methods when the times demand it doubtless prosper as long as they remain in step with fortune; but they are lost as soon as fortune changes. As for the rest I think it is better to be too bold than too cautious…”
Machiavelli, The Prince

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WITTGENSTEIN: LANGUAGE GAMES

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WHAT DOES WITTGENSTEIN MEAN BY LANGUAGE GAMES?
WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS ENTAILED BY THESE ARGUMENTS, AND HOW DOES TOM STOPPARD MAKE USE OF WITTGENSTEIN’S IDEAS IN HIS TV PLAY, PROFESSIONAL FOUL?

Coming back home one night, someone at reception asked me how I was, and I expressed my anxiety over certain matters. His response struck me: ‘You have to be careful, words are most powerful; through what you say you have the biggest influence on yourself. What you say today will be tomorrow.’

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MUSTAFA SABBAGH: REAL BEAUTY HURTS

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I think we liked each other’s work. That’s how it all started. Then a mutual friend went to do a do session with him. Mustafa and I got in touch, and we talked for hours, about everything but photography or reporting. We promised we’d meet, because he wanted to take some shots of me. I heard in his voice warmth and attraction, values certainly dear to me. In the end it took us 3 years before we met. My job takes me to trust rarely to have photographs taken by someone who can distort my persona. Putting art, skin, imperfection that actually makes a human perfect.

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FRIDA KAHLO: THE UNMISTAKABLY LATIN AMERICAN ARTIST

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“Some birds are not meant to be caged; their feathers are just too bright.” (Shawshank Redemption)

FRIDA KAHLO: THE UNMISTAKABLY LATIN AMERICAN ARTIST.

What would our life look like if its matrix were built around colour and pain? Imagine a canvas that portrays a naked young woman with Latin features lying on a bed, battered and stubbed by man. Her hands are dropping on the sides of the bed, like those of a martyr, palms open, like those of Jesus on the cross.

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