I know plenty of grown ups who’d be reluctant to sit through this and I myself reached the end feeling rather chuffed that I’d skipped the full 14-episode series that this represents a condensation of.
In spite of the spectral presence of all those narrative excisions, the limited amount of science in this SF proposition plus a modicum of wokeishness, I really rather enjoyed it.
Director Catherine Hardwicke, known for Thirteen and Twilight, always handles adolescent angst with acuteness and style, and left me pondering why the replicants of the Blade Runner franchise have never been so subtly ambiguous, ethnically and sexually as Aisha here.
Sunday, February 05, 2023
I know plenty of grown ups who’d be reluctant to sit through this and I myself reached the end feeling rather chuffed that I’d skipped the full 14-episode series that this represents a condensation of.
Sunday, January 29, 2023
And so we made it through to end of Dark, and shortly afterwards I learned that 1899 had been cancelled by the Netflix algorithm-keepers after just one season, ostensibly because only 32% of viewers had turned out to be completers.
I cannot say I am entirely disappointed about that, as I think we've both had our fill of the creators's metaphysical schtick for the foreseeable future.
Indeed, the longer Dark went on the more it started to echo some of the obvious weaknesses of its successor show. It was perhaps at its best in the first season when time was taken to show characters' emotional evolution, engaged in activities not entirely related to the build-up of plot convolutions.
It then reminded us of previous European explorations of the uncanny, such as Les Revenants. It had the seemingly obligatory spooky child, lots of characters chasing their tails and others, apparently a bit more clued up, who'd occasionally interrupt proceedings to deliver expositionary set-piece speeches which, when you thought about it, didn't really explain that much at all.
If much of the dramatic tension in the first season had derived from characters withholding information from each other, there was an open declaration of a new season's resolution to share the truth more liberally as the second set of episodes kicked off.
I'm not sure that the story was either scientifically or philosophically as sophisticated as it wished to appear. The balance between intellectual complexity and representational simplicity was often off and I did let out a sigh when Schrödinger's cat popped up for a late cameo.
At least the eventual landing was a lot more satisfactory than that experienced by the passengers of other puzzle box shows I could mention, such as Lost.
Yet loose ends there were, and there was more than a whiff of rotting red herring in the background throughout the last few installments Baran Bo Odar and Jantje Friese resisted the temptation to devote the very final episode to resolution and instead introduced an entirely novel plane of complexity. There was even a small gag about the loose ends which would not be tied up right at the end (regarding one character's damaged eye).
I think they had an outline of where they were going from the start (always a good thing) yet the route taken was a bit more 'on the fly'.
If one borrows from Einstein in the rather condensed fashion they seem to approve of, the whole of spacetime might be viewed as a series of discreet, disconnected units. There are thus any number of pathways through this 'labyrinth' yet, crucially, from the perspective of a human storyteller, some are bound to me more satisfying than others.
And this in the end is one of the issues I have with their style: the order and flow of the scenes seems somehow sub-optimal, and increasingly so as one proceeds.
Add to that the presence of parallel realities in which narrative arcs are scrambled and certain characters alive and dead at the same time, it's not surprising that a significant chunk of the audience might tend to become rather less sticky.
Perhaps the biggest issue that I had with the finale was the rationale for the choice made by Jonas and Martha. They seemed to be doing it ultimately to secure a happier middle age for a character called Regina, a relatively minor personage overall I found I cared less about than her mother. And it was never clear that happy Regina in the originating universe would not have simply got on with her ordinary fate even if the split worlds were also permitted to persist. Indeed, all the more likeable characters had been tied up in 'the knot' and so were in a sense erased by Adam and Eve's sacrifice.
Friday, January 27, 2023
Sadly J.K. Rowling is unlikely to be moved off the naughty step she has been placed on for consistently flagging up where this kind of madness has been leading us.
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Meghan, Meagan or Megan is a long-standing Welsh diminutive form of Margaret.
The first time I came across it was as the name of a character in a Clint Eastwood western in the 1980s, but it thereafter became one of the most popular names for North American girls and for reasons I will not go into here, there has always seemed to me to be something inherently phony about this suddenly bloated prevalence of the name. There is a crucial scene in this movie, involving a toy bow and arrow, that I think vindicates me in this petty prejudice.
One can undoubtedly find something a bit Kar3n in this android and her creator. I was anticipating a more open ending, but in the end we are only left to ponder who might be held legally responsible for this trail of bodies, human and canine.
You might think it is an AI-era update on Chucky and Child's Play, but in truth this is less a sermon on our increasingly inappropriate bonding with devices that appear designed to talk to us but are in fact fairly malignant listeners, than yet another piece of classic squeaky-bum entertainment for pedophobes.
It is said that it is the arbitrary nature of children that makes them so horrifying for some adults. That unpredictability is perfectly encapsulated here in two of M3gan's key kill scenes, the first featuring another inauspicious child and the second a CEO who encounters her in the corridor of his own corporate lair.
In spite of a slightly frustrating slow build, I do think this will likely become one of the more memorable flicks of the its kind this decade.
Monday, January 23, 2023
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Back in the early 90s V went alone to a party in the (London) Docklands which consisted, as Harry & Meghan notes in that toe-curlingly condescending manner of the Commonwealth, mainly of “black and brown people”. Later she reported back to me with interest how many of the people she might have considered ‘black’ at this event, didn't appear to identify as such.
A couple of years later we were holidaying on Saint Lucia with its “black and brown” majority, and again she noted how skin colour did not seem to her to be such a predominant obsession there either.
However, on that same trip she found her own identity placed under siege by complete strangers for the first time since leaving Guatemala, on a sailboat packed with Americans.
She had so grown used to being treated as an individual in London, essentially as an indeterminately mildly-exotic foreigner, that this sudden (highly) aggressive imposition of tribal qualities (Hispanic stereotypes galore, etc.) was really rather unnerving for her.
And she would later go on to be shocked how US Immigration officials, almost all of them Hispanic in descent themselves, behaved with her whenever she passed through Houston — they clearly fixated on the identity, the one they wanted to see, and not the person.*
She would compare this disconcerting experience with the first time she crossed into Italy — high up on an Alpine pass — where the official seemed genuinely thrilled to stamp an unusual passport, and to flirt a little.
Prior to that, the only awkwardness she had come across traversing borders in Europe was the “what does your father do for a living?” question posed at Calais, a form of interrogation which reminded me of a visit to the grandparents of my then girlfriend on Long Island in 1985.
Ask any Guatemalan — from almost any social background — to choose between the Consulate of the US and that of other developed nations in the capital in terms of a place where they are likely to be treated primarily as individuals, and you would not be particularly surprised by the result.
In the six-part documentary the Duchess of Sussex claims she did not identify as black until she moved to the UK, one of the most disingenuous statements — of many — that the couple made during these interviews.
It struck us that if you are going to tell the story of race relations in the UK — Stephen Lawrence, offshore slave economies and so on — you might also mention how racial mixing is currently more commonplace in Harry’s country than his wife's, and how many people of mixed-heritage just quietly get on with being British.
Yet thanks in part to a cultural obsession with this matter that is broadcast from across the Atlantic, even Rebecca Hall now feels the need to talk about “passing”, as if she were a converso living in New Spain back in the early days, dodging the Inquisitors lurking behind every cactus.
The notion that Meghan, regardless of any other aspects of her persona and history, should have been treated by Britain as a biological gift, is one I am pretty uncomfortable with.
And so should be all those “black and brown” people in the Commonwealth for whom she would also be regarded as a major — and now supposedly spurned — turning point, though it does not appear to have occurred to her in the least that citizens of nations with relatively few white people might not be quite so inclined to culturally weaponise their melanin — or at least not on such a hair trigger.
The matter would surely have been handled less patronisingly from all perspectives, if Harry’s bride had been say, Malaysian — which reinforces the impression that the Duchess's nationality has been as much a factor as her biracial heritage.
I can see how freedom would appeal to the errant 'Spare', yet it is also clear that he has allowed the form of it espoused by his chosen spouse to galvanise a telling muddle in his own little head. Yet he’s obviously not really constituted for this way of life, and is likely to suffer from the longer-term consequences far more than she is, not least because he will spend the rest of his days trying to rub out the blood like Lady Macbeth.
Watching the 80th Golden Globes the other night, I was struck how, in the state of California at least, freedom, identity and ambition have become a single conglomerate.
There is more than a hint of this amalgam in the manner Harry now talks about his own situation. That is what I was referring to the other day about his internalisation of Meghan’s agenda: he married someone with particular needs when it came to the signalling of status and has now 'gone native' in the classic over-hasty manner over in Montecito.
He talks in all restaurants are McDonald’s terms about the Daily Mail, as if the ‘paps’ in the trees around his Californian crib are all paid-up spooks from across the pond, and refers to the public money he benefited from for so many years as if it were a turd that needed to be scraped off the bottom of his wellies. (Writing in the Guardian this week, Rachel Cooke has noted that “gratitude is not something with which Harry seems to be much acquainted”.)
And then, in spite of its thorough ghastliness, the Netflix documentary could easily be put to use in the future for didactic purposes at film schools — to demonstrate the difference between show and tell, as well as providing useful examples of subtexts, and how narratives can be constructed via withheld information.
* It says a lot that Hispanic would now be swapped with Latinx, a term most Spanish-speakers have little idea how to pronounce.
Netflix has given us the first German-language adaptation and whilst the package includes visceral, set-piece representations of trench warfare, it somehow also does some significant dis-services to its source.
The war movie from the loser's perspective comes with a set of its own self-flagellating tropes (Russia's 9th Company, Germany's Stalingrad and any number of American Vietnam flicks) and these have been generously applied here, along with a bit too much hindsight.
I know, everyone kind of dies in the novel as well, but the essence of that story is the absurdity of the experience from the POV of the individual recruit caught up in combat and this person's national allegiance is never the essence of Remarque's story, yet here we have a parallel narrative of questionable historical value which has been attached and which ultimately tells us little of interest about the bigger picture circumstances at the end of WWI.
Sunday, January 15, 2023
The biggest battle in the lives of the upper classes is perhaps not the one between them and the ‘normal’ folk outside their privileged circle, it is more of an internal struggle, between the high brows and the low brows.
There is in fact a third, slightly harder to pin down group: those who are only really interested in horses and other ‘country pursuits’, though this tribe overlaps a bit with the other two.
When our late Queen was on the throne, there was a time of relative stability, because the horses held sway. Charles III however, considers himself a fully signed-up member of the cultural elite, and although his wife used to be into horses a fair bit, she now has a book club.
William and Kate are pretty middle-brow, but now more than ever aligned with Charles and Camilla against the deleterious effects of the dummies, a group Harry in which has always been a stand-out and occasionally problematic member, as indeed was his mother.
I think Harry might have initially over-sold Meghan as a way to re-establish equilibrium. There were bridges she could build, but not the ones everyone else was focused on. Yet in spite of her self-appointed role as a voice, it’s clear she has little of great interest to say. An alternative kind of culture war will quickly have erupted within the royal residences as the end of the longest reign ever approached.
Idiots might be counted amongst the most innocent victims of unconscious bias. They can’t exactly help it, can they?
But from the point of view of the high brows they are natural troublemakers, and it certainly doesn’t help that some of royalty’s biggest fans ‘outside in the real world’ are fairly permanently lodged in their camp, which makes this the prejudice that dare not speak its name, more taboo than racism in certain contexts.
The first time I set eyes on a Twingo was when I was living in Brussels in 1994.
Saturday, January 14, 2023
The third installment of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan has left me speechless, the kind of speechlessness that is its own antipode, involving an urgent need to yabber about it.
And about one soundbite in particular, where Harry seems to be laying into Meghan’s paternal family on her behalf (where the insensitive, internecine offence was the relatively harmless one of staging silly photographs) and then comes out with something like this: “It’s amazing what people will do when offered a lot of money” (!!!!!!!!!!!.....!!!!!!!!!!!!)
My jaw hit the floor so fast I had to check the azulejos for a dent, and barely heard Harry taking the fall himself for the breakdown in his wife’s relationship with her father. He appears to have internalised her agenda to the point of having no self-awareness whatsoever.
We had just seen Meghan’s niece Ashleigh in an interview clip reminiscent of a staged POW interview in which she avowed, not without obvious inner conflict, that she completely understood that it was her mother’s fault and not Meg’s that she had not been invited to the wedding.
The Duchess of Notmuchness herself added that a cabal of unnamed counselors had effortlessly convinced her of the need to make this regrettable cull, and that she had duly given her niece the dreaded conference call bullet by letting her now of her sudden exclusion “on speakerphone’, no doubt accompanied by appropriate assenting murmurs from the shadowy figures already alluded to.
And all this interspersed with only vaguely relevant expert chatter about the Commonwealth, more insinuation than serious historical analysis. (If it’s such a big scam, why have countries that were never part of the Empire been queueing up to join?)
That and occasional pop up appearances by Archwell executive director James Holt, a man who surely epitomises everyone’s worst nightmare of a new intake Tory MP.
Now, when someone is a victim of genuine racial prejudice they are, by definition, innocent. There is nothing they could have done to deserve the prejudice.
A little lower down the scale of biases, conscious and unconscious, one comes across hings like snobbery and mild xenophobia, which I am certain played a role in the dysfunctional Palace dynamic, but here the Duchess is on less certain ground, because these are prejudices that it is possible to stoke. (There are, undoubtedly, ways I could carry on here that would result in the receipt of the full package of ‘gringo serote’ responses.)
It’s clear from this programme that Harry and Meghan do not want to stray too far into areas where blame might more easily be shared. Criticisms arising from these arguably less irrational biases would be more awkward for them to address in a documentary such as this, essentially their calling card into the California elite.
So it is the injustice of Britain’s external rather than internal socioeconomic system that are emphasised, in order that this tallies with the current American understanding that identity grievances always trump class grievances.
This is the month we discovered, via both 'H' and Shaky, that the vulgar scrubbing of of one’s dirty linen in public is now a massive industry and a potential source of what the talking heads in this documentary refer to as inter-generational wealth. Harry’s tawdry sell-out snaffled 200x his father-in-law’s tabloid earnings, for the memoir alone. (In the case of Shakira, one could at least argue that she commercially integrated her hang-ups into her long-standing ‘creative process’.)
Anyway, there’s very little in all of this that is really in the public interest. All parties could usefully have just tuned out and shut up. Myself included, I suppose. But I have three more episodes to go. The first two were, as many have observed, a snore-fest, but I am wide awake now.
Outside of the Netlfix output it is the sheer exuberance of the double standards that has energised me. Harry would like his dad to have Jeremy Clarkson carted off to the Tower for crimes of public misogyny against a woman he doesn’t know personally, and yet on the audiobook version of Spare refers to Rebekah Brooks as 'a loathsome toad...a pustule on the arse of humanity'. (Which episode of GOT is he referencing?)
And there is more than a hint of chauvinism in Harry's characterisations of Kate and Camilla and elsewhere the couple trade in the type of stereotyping that they seem to object to so much, especially of British society and its manners.
I think if Harry had come home from the war and, remaining steadfastly single, devoted himself to a campaign of vicarious revenge against Camilla on behalf of his mother’s ghost, I’d be a little more on-side. In strictly literary terms the narrative would have some bite. All those highfallutin references to Hamlet which his ghost writer puts into poor unread Prince Haz’s mouth would be just about bearable.
But this way he has gone full appendage, his revenge a dish best served as a side salad to Meghan’s own playhouse pains.
Beyond all the horrifically tedious stuff about bridesmaids’ dresses, it would actually matter if publicly-funded press officers were found to have been selectively muck raking. It’s an allegation Harry has consistently used in interviews to justify his own more overt and personal barbs, but there is enough in the Sussex narrative that crumbles under fairly basic fact-checking to make one disinclined to immediately believe other allegations they seem unable or unwilling to back-up.
Monday, January 09, 2023
Almost everyone has weird and difficult relatives; and I think (almost) everyone is prepared to admit that when especially troublesome situations arise with parents, family, friends and other third parties, one is usually never entirely blameless in how they subsequently pan out.
Thursday, January 05, 2023
I've been a little bit disappointed with a lot of the dedicated festive programming from the UK, but this was far more than a mere felicitous revisit to the much-missed, wistfully-evocative comedic set up of the Detectorists...though in the end this story-line might well have been saved for Easter.
I'm not sure the BBC has produced a better show in the last decade. Everything about it is a eyes-only treasure. Sadly, this installment very much had the feel of finality.
Maybe the AH a-holes could get a spin-off? Much of the gentleness would inevitably be lost, and it would of course be Nobyjones.
Or perhaps, Mudlarkers?
Some pertinently unpolished generalisations follow...
Travel around continental Europe and in provincial restaurants all over you will tend to come across large family groups enjoying their evening meals.
Of the youngest members of these gatherings you will often observe how they have been trained - are being trained - in the codes that they will carry with them as unwritten rules for the rest of their lives. e.g. when to get up from the table and when not to, how to use a knife and fork, when to speak, how, if at all, to interact with serving staff, and so on.
You might also gather that these are not loose groupings of individuals but mini-tribes with their own implicit hierarchies.
That it not generally how things work on this side of the pond, but many Latin Americans that travel to Europe do appear to grasp the often subtle differences and elect to adapt to the local culture.
I remember one Boxing Day in the mid-nineties when we had been invited to a formal, largely inter-familial dinner at the home of the parents of one of my closest friends, and we were taking along V's 9-year-old niece CL, then in our care in London.
V took time to carefully brief CL in advance on the behavioural minefield ahead, for from the first few weeks after her own arrival in the UK she had made it her business to tune into all the hidden signals and to learn how to operate within the system, so as not to cause any major embarrassments, particularly with the older generations.
This willingness to adapt to local mores is not one of the most noted characteristics of many Americans from more northerly latitudes. Just noticing where things are done differently often seems a bit beyond them.
At Cambridge I dated a girl from Irving NY and when she came to stay at our home in Spain and we all went out for dinner, I would soon be suffering inner cringes on witnessing how her manners (in the broadest sense) in a formal outside setting were causing my parents some serious distress. When she once called a waiter over to order something for herself I thought my mother had just spotted a gorgon.
On the face of it, this was a fairly trivial clash of cultures, yet it is what I suspect lies at the heart of Meghan's travails as a would-be royal. The Windsors are on many levels one of the best examples — and therefore on others, worst case — of how how British families of a certain disposition tend to function.
Being myself married to a 'foreigner' I can see how this is not a one-sided problem, how Brits can respond a little more hysterically when their rules are apparently violated by outsiders. It's not naked xenophobia per se, but the unwritten nature of many of our codes tends to mean that we struggle to express the discomfit resulting with any sort of lucidity.
A few months ago I was in a bar-restaurant in Belize, at the time I arrived largely unoccupied, barring a solitary diner and a quiet trio of locals. I sat down to read with a beer. Into this tranquility erupted a largish group of Americans. They began by rearranging the chairs and tables to suit themselves, apparently without seeking prior permission to do so. Then the conversation began, audible not just throughout the extent of this establishment, but probably the one next door as well.
The first thing you notice about these herds is the apparent disorder. New York is in general a far more cultured place than LA, but for many Brits it is still a bit terrifying how, in social situations where competition is usually suppressed on our island, the inhabitants of the Big Apple appear doggedly determined to signal their relative status to all and sundry to the point of absurdity and frankly, tediousness.
I can see how Harry might not have anticipated some of the problems with introducing an upwardly mobile celeb from California into his own domestic milieu. Figures in the media, perhaps myself included, have dissed him for apparently not explaining even the most basic ground rules, but upon reflection, it would not have been so straightforward, even for someone a bit more clued up than 'Spare', to articulate that which has remained almost wholly in-articulated since our childhoods.
To an American, particularly the sort that has always acted as if there ought not to be any limits, a lot of this must seem almost ineffable, uncanny even.
Perhaps the most counter-intuitive code of all amongst the 'establishment' is the one relating to showing off. Signalling one's status, at least explicitly, in a manner a would-be member of the US elite would understand, is an absolute no-no.
This is why Joe Biden made a fool of himself the night before the Queen's funeral. He applied his own rules to a situation where almost everyone else invited to the Palace had apparently comprehended a need to work within the native etiquette.
So Meghan was doomed. ‘Rude…abrasive’ thought William. ‘Media narrative’ retorted Harry, and Meghan herself would have been utterly oblivious to the supposed improprieties.
For these are attitudes and behaviours which are essentially laid down very early on and no matter how hard we try to free ourselves of them, they persist.
They hardly even try.
Has anyone ever spotted an American-born Hollywood actor who, no matter how sophisticated the character is supposed to be, appears to know how to operate cutlery with their non-dominant hand?
And yet here a scurrilous piece of journalism in the Daily Mail takes her husband Lord M's name in vain as an accessory to a bonkers conspiracy theory which is only being regurgitated now in order to prep this newspaper's readers for the spare's equally deluded narrative next week.
The trouble with Harry, as Julie Burchill wrote yesterday in the Spectator is this...
Prince Charles has typically been considered the ‘eccentric’ member of the Royal Family for many years; Harry now makes his poor old dad seem as normal as Mike Tindall. Barely able to conceal his excitement as he darkly refers to ‘the leaking and the planting’ which takes place within the Firm, it reminds us of a more innocent age. Back then, a prince who talked to plants was as wacky as it got – rather than a prince who talks to the global media about how much he craves privacy, which is a whole other level of lunacy.
Wednesday, January 04, 2023
While we continue to stand in line waiting for the 6-course treat that we anticipate José Andrés and Family in Spain will be, we served ourselves The Menu by way of an amuse bouche.
In truth this was also an experience I had longed for since the first emerged and it did not disappoint.
Yet it's not perfect, perhaps appropriately, as this dark and satirical thriller tells the story of a celebrated yet self-loathing chef's attempt to produce the perfect menu (to end all menus) and how, into his island-based restaurant and lair strides Anya Taylor-Joy's 'Margot', an unexpected blemish in the emulsion.
There was a very recent debate about how best to take down the takers of the world set off by Triangle of Sadness. One of the co-scripters of this movie, Will Tracey, has some notable previous in this respect with Succession, and some of the writing here is superb, especially for the three English leads, but some of the other guests present as weaker caricatures, and one could conclude overall that the movie is better at mocking the industry and its high end pretensions than its punters. (Östlund's gaggle of super rich on the luxury cruise seemed more grounded in circumstantiated observations of how the haves tend to interact with the service industry.)
There are some great performances from the leads, but the pièce de résistance turns out to be Hong Chau as the Maîtresse D'. I went back and re-watched her "tortillas deliciosas" scene a couple of times after just desserts had been served and the credits had rolled.
Where to start with the absurdities of this situation?
One of my mother’s most prized possessions was one of these, an antique gold swizzle stick, a gift from her long term beau, that was the primary tool in her personal méthode de-champenoise…in order to remove the bubbles from her bubbly.
Sunday, January 01, 2023
I'd been following the Hoja Nueva story on Instagram for several years and this is not quite the documentary I had anticipated, or rather it is, but it comes with added layers of human ambiguity.
There is undoubtedly a treat for anyone with an interest in the conservation of tropical forests and their wildlife, but I was repeatedly reminded of my own first extended periods in such an environment, aged just 20, and the complex, often jarring thoughts and emotions this period ingrained within me, for life.
So as well as the story of two fledgling ocelots undergoing ‘re-wilding’, learning to survive in their own natural environment, we have two young people from colder climes, also struggling on many levels to find an equilibrium in a forest that will only ever be a borrowed sanctuary for them.
One of them, Samantha, a very focused and determined young post-grad from Seattle, the other, Harry, a former British squadie damaged by his experiences in the Afghan war. Harry’s quest for redemption rather swamps the wildlife narrative.
At the the start of the film the pair would appear to be a couple as well as partners in the project, by the end there has been a severing of the relationship which the directors at least partially paper over, but they allow Samantha the sole opportunity to pass comment and this serves up the most jarring moment in the movie, because she compares her volunteer to her abusive, alcoholic father and at this point everything we have seen has suggested that Harry was the more vulnerable member of the partnership and that her relationship with him at least partially exploitative. *
There may well have been more going on, unseen by the cameras, but this makes the presence of the editor, and that of the anonymous camera-person in many key scenes suddenly all the more palpable.
And at this point one starts to ask the questions one had parked. How is Hoja Nueva set up, academically...financially? Why is there so little actual science embedded in this story? Has Harry's redemptive arc been preserved at the expense of all other reportage here?
Specifically we learn almost nothing about the ocelot (leopardus pardalis) and its habitats that we are unable to see. For sure, on sight alone Keanu makes a stunning impression. Yet this is a species with an especially troubling relationship with humans. I remember being appalled when informed inside the Cockscombe Basin Jaguar Reserve how many ocelots were at one time killed each year for their fur: 200,000. (I forget how many had to die for each coat, but this was in fact the even more shocking statistic.)
Wildcat is a pairing of simultaneously heart-rending and heartwarming human and animal stories that don't always tether entirely satisfactorily. There's definitely a section (Harry's family visit) which works very well as inspiration for younger, would-be conservationists, but as I have noted, it has been set within more enigmatic and occasionally darker material.
Keanu’s story as a wild member of Amazonia continued after the cameras were put aside. Samantha found him badly injured from a hunting incident and had to find a way to patch him up alone at night in the forest with only the help of a distant Vet on the blower.
* Another remark she slipped in — about how she ended up working with wildcats instead of wolves — also rang an alarm bell, or two.
Zwicker lamented the 'politics' of her home state, yet as we seen over the past few years, Peru is by no means a nation without politics, so the apparent implications of this observation immediately brought to mind that subset of gringos in Guatemala who have apparently fetched up here in order to live by their own rules...who like to posture as living resourcefully "off the grid", when they aren't really.
It's a phenomenon almost as old as Latin America, the Jesuits being a stand-out early example of outsiders in search of a place where they might take advantage of what they perceive as a comfortable distance from the mores and regulations of local secular society and its institutions. And as we saw with the missions in Paraguay, this can sometimes lead to a spiral of negative outcomes for all concerned, not least the ‘innocents’ for which the other tussling parties have a duty of care.