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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The 60 Best Dystopian Books




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Prepare to be disturbed, and utterly enthralled.

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What is it about dystopian fiction that keeps readers going back for more? Are we suckers for punishment? Maybe we find comfort in the reminder that yes, things could be worse. See our list of the 60 best dystopian books.
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"How little do I need, could I live with, and still find meaning?"

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Date: Jul 17, 2018 8:02 AM
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Leave No Trace

The critically-acclaimed film Leave No Trace has been racking up fans and praise since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Based on the 2009 novel My Abandonment, it tells the story of a father and daughter living off the grid and explores ideas around the consequences of war, escape, and making one's own life outside of society. Earlier this month, Topic's Mahalia Cohen spoke with director Debra Granik about everything from single fathers to how Shakespeare got into a story about survivalists:


What drew you to this story?
I was really drawn to the region and the environment in which it was set. I was very drawn in by the idea that the forest would be this place of pattern and texture—really photogenic.

It's an interesting mystery how this family is living undetected.
Right, and what would happen if they were detected? I liked wondering about how Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) fares in this environment. You know, what does she have in place in her life... what would be really hard about it? This is a really intense time. There are some people, including myself, who wonder 'what is the totalizing effect of social media and the way we're living with hyperconnectivity?' And Will (Ben Foster) was someone who was really wanting to deviate from that and pull out. And I thought that was fascinating.

Did you want to keep his backstory somewhat secret as well?
Yeah, I think, with that, I was very interested in the fact that you don't get much of a backstory, but you get very distinct clues that Will is grappling with and always in a relationship with post-traumatic stress. And Tom probably feels very responsible, without even knowing how much, to try to keep that from becoming paranoia, right? Explaining things to him, or interpreting, clarifying. She is aware that there's something that wakes him up in the night.

And yet he's supposed to be self-reliant.
At one point in the script, it had been a bigger player that he's someone who really enjoyed thinking about Henry David Thoreau and Walden. That he had aligned himself and felt good about other previous Americans who had wondered about how little do I need, could I live with, and still find meaning? You know, those all-time, massive questions?

Were there other sources for this kind of isolated life?
Some people have lived very monumental stretches of solitude. And yet even at the time of Thoreau's journals there was a way in which the idea of "communing with nature," that phrase had become such a cliché. I remember a beautiful description, by Bill McKibben, the naturalist. He was remarking on the fact that when you're still in a natural setting, there's a way in which, for hours, days, or years, you could feel not lonely because there's so many moving creatures around you.


Continue reading the interview here.

 

Listen to Granik narrate a full scene from the film here, and find screenings in your area happening now.

 
Trigger Warnings
303  BANGBANG
TRIGGER WARNINGS

Guns are why we are free. Guns are why we are not free. Our new issue grapples with our vexed relationship to firearms and our own Constitution then, now, and always. 
Riot
791.43   REPLAY
RIOT

During the LA Riots, and on the occasion of his 9th birthday, Nathan Silver made his first film. Here's what remains of it. 
Army Men
745.92    PLASTICMEN
LITTLE GREEN ARMY MEN

Where did these plastic toys come from? We look into their history and a crafty project one father and his sons have undertaken to reimagine them. 
UP TOP: Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie and Debra Granik on the set of Leave No Trace.
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