At age 53, Martin Strel decided to swim the length of the Amazon, eclipsing the world record he already held for swimming the Yangtze (he previously conquered the Danube and Mississippi). In his home in Ljubljana, Martin starts training with the help of his son Borut, who's also his publicist and who narrates this film. After months of preparation, they head to the launch point in Peru, but over the next 66 days, Martin's obsessive personality and stubborn alcoholism create challenges even greater than the river itself.
Continue reading: Big River Man Review
The documentary is not a hysterical human rights diatribe (even though Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins are present in voiceovers). Peosay points out that Tibetan society was never Shangri-la. It was a highly stratified culture, with armies of peasants serving a fat aristocracy. What everyone shared, however, was a lifestyle built entirely around profound spiritualism. When the Chinese communists invaded to stake their claim to the massive Tibetan plateau in 1950 (Tibet had always considered itself independent of China but didn't have any particular international recognition of that fact), one of their claims was that they had arrived to redistribute land to the peasants, just as they had done in the rest of China. Unfortunately, the landowners were the clergy, and the Tibetan people wouldn't tolerate the abuse of the monks and lamas who served as their spiritual leaders. By 1959, a full crackdown was underway, and during the Cultural Revolution, more than 6,000 monasteries were destroyed. By the time of Mao's death in 1976, one in six Tibetans -- more than a million -- had died of starvation or met a violent end.
Continue reading: Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.