Monday, 19th February 2018
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CALVARY

A priest is taking confession when a man comes into the box and starts telling him stories about his sexual abuse at the hands of a priest and how it ruined both his childhood and adulthood. The priest is more than sympathetic but it isn't enough for the man. He says that he is going to kill the man in a week's time on the local beach for the crimes of his sexual abuser. The priest thinks he recognises the voice of the man from the confessional but isn't completely sure so he spends the next week visiting various men that he thinks could be the man in question. Naturally enough all of the men that he does visit are more than a little odd but that doesn't faze the priest too much. He knows from his time working in the small lrish parish where he is that the people are intrinsically odd.

What is also making it more difficult for him is the fact that his daughter from London is visiting. The priest didn't get his vocation until late in life after his wife had died and his daughter has always found it difficult to deal with his vocation as a priest.

The film is by turns odd, funny, touching and more than a little bizarre and is very, very Irish in that regard. In the end the priest does go to meet his fate on the beach and while it all does happen as you might think it is no less shocking for that.

Brendan Gleeson is excellent in the main role of the priest and the backing cast of actors are also quite brilliant as well. A great Irish film.

THE TEA TRAIL THE COFFEE TRAIL

Both of these complimentary documentaries were fronted by Simon Reeves who in the first of the films goes to Kenya and Uganda on the tea trail looking at how one of the world's favourite drinks is grown and harvested. As you might expect this is no picture postcard look at how the industry operates, controlled by multinationals and worked by people on a barely subsistence level of wages. There are also stories of sexual exploitation by some of the female workers who have to give in to overseers sexual demands in order to get a good price for their work. It also shows how much the price for tea is reflected in the amount that the workers get for their labour and how much fair trade brands are so much better off for the workers in tea plantations.

Surprisingly the coffee trail documentary didn't go to South America to look into the world of coffee growers but went much further east to Vietnam which supplies more than 80% of the U.K. market with their coffee.

It is only relatively recently that the Vietnamese haveentered the coffee market but it has proved so lucrative that many small time farmers have switched wholesale to supply the market such are the profits that they can make. Of course there are problems in this not least the fact that there is very little rotation of crop cycles which means that the earth is being drained of most of its nourishment which is only storing up problems for the coffee growers in the future. Then there is the problem of working in a one party state which doesn't allow any dissension at all. There were interviews with political opponents of the state who spoke about their torture when they spoke out about government policies.

Both of these documentaries were insightful looks into something that we take for granted in our own lives here in the west, making you think not only about the two commodities in question but also about all of the other goods that we import from all over the world.

DANCING ON ICE

Obviously the closest, indeed too close at times, comparison for this show is Strictly Come Dancing and there are at times occasions where you think that they have ripped off the format from that show and just applied it to this one. Except that this is no Strictly and even though all of the so called celebrities on it are trying their very best there is no way that they are going to be able to convincingly execute any half way decent routines on ice when it seems all they are able to do is just try to keep themselves upright for the duration of their routines. And to expect viewers to sit through two hours of this is really like being with the dentist from the film The Boys from Brazil. Even when you see a celebrity face plant on the ice doesn't really fill you with schadenfreude after the first or tenth time.

Overall this is a dumb show for dumb people with very little going on on their Sunday nights in.

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