Saturday, December 31, 2011

Janus and the Statue of Liberty


The Romans worshipped Janus who is often depicted as a man looking back and forward, the god of ports, gateways (hence janitor), transition from state to another, from old to new.  The month named after him became the first month of the Roman calendar instead of the original March. Accordingly, today the world has entered first of January, 2012 Anno Domino.

Bible and lunar and solar calendars
English word calendar is a loan word from the originally Greek καλέω for announcing the new moon. This gives the Latin kalends for the first day of the month, nonae for the middle moon and ides the full moon (Roman calendar).

In this manner way Greek and Roman pagans (gojim, non-Jews) have independently used - and use today - Sun and Moon for calculating days, as the Bible says in the Geocentric description of the Fourth Day of Creation (divine week before Sun existed!)

And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth"; and it was so.

And God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.  
Genesis 1:14-19 KJ21

Janus who?
There is an excellent detailed article in wikipedia on describing the history, theology and cult of Janus. This article is very interesting but also quite filled with facts difficult to understand by us laymen who are not so deeply versed in Latin literature and classical Roman, Greek and Etruscan religions. It is highly recommended reading as an academic introduction to the study of Janus.

Modern Western people have been freed by the Bible from the polytheistic world of classical Graeco-Roman period. Genesis is a veritable slaughterhouse of pagan gods leaving only one true God, the God of Israel.

The fundamental change in world view, the introduction of Biblical monotheism - a view often shared also by atheists who actively deny His existence - has enstranged us from polytheism. It is not so easy for us to try to understand what Janus and other polytheistic divinities really ment for the ancients.
We may try to understand and decide to call Janus a "personification" of the abstract concept of beginning, which includes transition from one state to another including from one place to another, like doorways and harbours.

It is true that divinities are described in Greaco-Roman literature, art, history and theology in anthropomorphic terms. Janus himself, the first of everything, even of gods, is depicted as a man with two faces.

But ancient Egyptians depicted many divinities as animals and combinations of animals and humans, warning us not to rush too fast to conclusions about "spiritual personifications".

We have living polytheism that in some ways still represents the Indo-Aryan religions of the past influencing also the Semitic Near East. Hindus can teach us something about this type of religion common in areas where the Biblical monotheism has not penetrated. But this is a quite demanding way to approach the subject with many similarities but also many differences between modern Hindu and ancient Greek, Roman or Egyptian religions.

The Statue of Liberty - Libertas

Statue of Liberty, New York

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886.

The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States.

The port - Ellis island
Janus was originally the god of a society on the costs of Italy relying on seafaring for living "amphibious", of ports and transit. So he is a good symbol for the Ellis Island too, which has been for so many the gateway the the New World of America.

Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the site of Fort Gibson and later a naval magazine. The island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and has hosted a museum of immigration since 1990. A 1998 United States Supreme Court decision found most of the island to be part of New Jersey.

Janus and the Statue of Liberty
IMHO the Statue of Liberty in New York can help us to grasp in some way what a polytheist may have experienced when looking at the many statues in the temples in Greek or Roman cities.

To some the statue brings to mind historical facts about French revolution, the gift of France to newly born United States

Some people remember their grandparents arrival to Ellis island when the venerable statue came to the horizon in the midst of morning clouds.

Some people look at the statue and remember modern "legends" such as the X-men movie and the United Nations gathering in the presence of this statue.

Some people joined President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy to the almost religious celebration of liberty at the foot of this statue.

Yet, the sincere looking lady is not really a "personification of the idea of human liberty" even it is a powerful symbol of it.

It is not really a subject for personal prayer even due respect is given to what it symbolises.

It is not really a living god active in bringing liberty to the inhabitants of North America.

It is just a dead statue made of metal. Mighty peace of art, mighty symbol of human aspirations that goes beyond the borders United States of America.

A cold peace of metal put together by the gifted artist Frédéric Bartholdi to represent the powerful ideas of liberty that changed the world in the French revolution.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité!

Viva la France!

shouted the founding fathers at the British while writing the Declaration of Independence with the newly found ideas of liberty in their hearts and the Statue of Liberty echoes their mighty voice.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Prince of Peace

Isaiah 53

Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more grievously afflicted her by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Thou hast multiplied the nation and not increased the joy; they joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
For Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise and garments rolled in blood, but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon His Kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.

Isaiah 9:1-8

Christmas - Light to the world!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.
In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.
And the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came as a witness to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
 He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
 He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name,
 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.
 John bore witness of Him and cried, saying, "This was He of whom I spoke, `He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'"
 And of His fullness have we all received, and grace for grace.

John 1:1-16

Christmas night in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago

Isn't He something!

The Light which is so revealing, so truthful and yet not cold.

How He turns the darkest night into a celebration of love, joy and good will.

How He turns the feared execution method into the strongest symbol of forgiveness and love.

I mean, really, think about it - it was not exactly a nice night

The young pregnant woman had travelled a long way with her husband either walking or riding on the back of a donkey. There was no room in a hotel or motel in Bethlehem and she was about to give birth to a child. Not nice.

The purpose of the trip was also not all that nice - to be registered in the House of David for taxation by the occupying power. Whatever Joseph the Carpenter made, the Romans wanted their share from it And they were quite determined to collect the taxes, too.

If that was not enough to spoil the feelings the political atmosphere was not nice at all. King Herod was an Edomite and not of Jewish origins. The King did his best to please the Jewish population, that is true, but he was highly suspicious character and had even three of his own sons executed suspected of trying to take his crown.

Not for nothing Caesar Augustus said about king Herod... it is better to be his swine then his son. (hyos, hyios) for the pigs had peace in the Holy Land, Herod's sons rested in tombs.

No, not a nice night.

And look how He has turned it into the most loved night of the year, the darkest moment in the nature when Sun is low and weak.

Night of the homeless, born out of marriage babies, overtaxed, politically persecuted, children in danger of violent death

Christmas night in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.

Isn't He wonderful!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The not so great pot

The voice in the potter's workshop was rather quiet but clear and nasty:

"Slender! Do you not know that slenderness and stylishness are in the proportions, width and height? This squat base you have given to me is the opposite of slenderness!"

God noticed that the voice was coming from the midst of the ready vessels He had made. They had already cooled after firing and had been piled on a wooden table.The voice continued the litany of complaints:

"And look at this yellowish matte skin I have? Have you idiot not heard of polished red slip that shines so beautifully on the dinner table of an aristocrat family? Do you not know how to at least to imitate terra sigillata ware which has such a noble metallic ring to it and is beautiful to look at even in the midst of silver and gold?"

The pot was clearly not happy about the way Great Potter had made it.

"This ridiculous bevelled rim - is it supposed to make me look better. What banality and vulgarity - like a golden ring on the nose of a pig! Where did you study to become a potter?"

"I look just like a common mug made for everyday drinking and nothing better than that!"

Finally God said "well, you are a mug made for everyday use. Your squat base makes you very stable, the bevelled rim is good for human lips and the yellow matte surface is silky to the hand. You represent a standard model in my collection that is quite popular among my clients."

To be a mug or not to be?

Of course, God can break that mug to shreds and mix the grounded sherds to strengthen fresh clay for other kind of pottery.

But that would be pitty break and remake your life, don't you think?

The original design may not be fancy but it certainly is elegant in its own way and quite functional for the purpose it was made!

Bible talks about the mug of the nation of Israel

Thou wilt say then unto me, "Why doth He yet find fault, for who hath resisted His will?"
But nay, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, "Why hast thou made me thus?"
Hath not the potter power over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?
What if God, choosing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; and this, that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, whom He had prepared before unto glory, even us whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Romans 9:19-24

"Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, `What makest thou?' or thy work, `He hath no hands'?
 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, `What begettest thou?' or to the woman, `What hast thou brought forth?'
 "Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands command ye Me.
 I have made the earth and created man upon it; I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build My city, and he shall let go My captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts."
Isaiah 45:9-13

The Greatest Potter

  The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
 "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words."
 Then I went down to the potter's house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make it.
 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
 "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?" saith the LORD. "Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand, O house of Israel.
 At the instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to pull down and to destroy it, if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
 And at the instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good wherewith I said I would benefit them.
Now therefore go to speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, `Thus saith the LORD: Behold, I frame evil against you and devise a device against you. Return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.'"
And they said, "There is no hope; but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart."

Jeremiah 18:1-12

Monday, December 5, 2011

84th Academy Awards and Eye Salve of Truth

Ah, look at all lovely people, where do they all come from?

On Sunday, February 26, 2012 we are (or wish to be!) at the 84th Academy Awards presentation mingled with the glorious crowd of cream of the cream in movie industry. Academy Award nominees will be present and we are all dressed up in the best fitting attire we can afford, whether fashionably simple or stylishly fancy, our clothing hiding, revealing, emphasizing and de-emphasizing the private naked truth under it all.

Perhaps some of them are not just lovely, as in my modified words of Eleanor Rigby above but actually lonely as in the genuine lyrics by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Natural eye salve

Academy Awards ceremony is different this time as heavenly Eye Salve of Truth will be available at the entrance for free to those who want to have it.

By applying this ointment into eyes it is possible to see the naked truth about people. You will not only see more clearly in which way the physical appearances has been altered by professional make-up artists, hair stylists, plastic surgeries, fashion counsellors, tight corsets, push-up bras and false teeth.

For Eye Salve of Truth is very potent and will open your eyes to see also through any masquerading and those refined but actually quite fake expressions on people's faces. With it you can read correctly those quite subtle winks of eye and know clearly the difference between poisonous darts and genuine words of congratulation, between hidden deadly feelings of jealousy and hatred in a whiter than snow smile and truly felt love and joy. For the emotions are many towards the ones who got the coveted Oscar statues, whether deserved or not, and towards those who appear more bold and beautiful than others.

Be warned, though, that applying the Eye Salve of Truth at the coming Oscar gala may be a rather shocking experience. It may leave you wondering is there anything genuine among those who make themselves to look so happy and loving and warm persons - after all, we know that not only the nominees are highly skilful professional actors knowing when to shed a tear and how to behave according to the expected social rules of the game.

Be warned also that the Eye Salve of Truth has a very serious side-effect besides the penetrating enhancement of your inner vision:

Dr Jesus says that the Eye Salve of Truth will open your eyes so that you see yourself as you are.

And there is hardly anything more shocking than that in this life.

Eye Salve of Truth
Our Lord Jesus counsels Christians in Laodicea on Lycus (in modern SW Turkey):

Because thou sayest,"I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing," and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor and blind and naked, I counsel thee to buy from Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed and that the shame of thy nakedness may not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
Rev 3:17-19

That thou mayest see!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chinese in Britain - Miss Naked Beauty 2008

All made up or au naturel?

British Channel 4 reality series Miss Naked Beauty has six episodes that were broadcast in October and November 2008.

Both the name and official description of the series may be misleading if you do not read carefully:

Presenters Gok Wan and Myleene Klass join forces in Channel 4's nationwide search for the ultimate modern British beauty.

Miss Naked Beauty is the definitive hunt for a woman who embodies the confidence, sex appeal, spirit, brains and true natural beauty of a modern-day Eve.

The show sets out to challenge conventional notions of what is 'beautiful' by turning the traditional beauty contest on its head.

Forget the fakes and size zeros, the winner will possess natural beauty, but also have the brains and balls to tackle some of the uglier sides of the beauty industry.
Ch 4 website

Miss Naked Beauty series was nothing like a regular beauty contest hunting for the ultimate British beauty.

It indeed turned the concept of beauty contents upside down and presented viewers with a powerful real life study of eight lovely but - let us face it - quite ordinary looking young women. The series gives a rich and horrific description of the technical means placed at their disposal by modern cosmetics industry and advanced medical technologies in order to look even more beautiful.

Actually, the description is so realistic that I would probably have fainted in the hospital together with one of the contestants watching the operation in action.

And yet, the most touching part of the entire episode was so delicate, just a simple woman in simple tears (which probably brought her the victory).

The question presented to viewers was "do you like made up or "natural?"

To understand the point, let us imagine a young gentleman who finally gets to dance with the girl of his dreams. And in the romantic darkness with a true life Lady in Red he suddenly realizes... "these contain silicon".

Ask the young man how he feels ... and ask the over one billion dollar breast implant industry is the business profitable.

British Chinese fashion consultant, author and TV presenter Gok Wan (born 1974)

In the final episode even the forever smiling Gok Wan was rather quiet and seemed subdued, perhaps even surprised by the humanity these eight ladies had brought to his show. These were genuine human beings and no Stepford wives. They participated in the strangest kind of competition ... looking for naked truth ... and won his and our hearts and respect just by being who they are.

As for a second opinion from an influential Australian conservative journalist working for Daily Mail:

His next series Miss Naked Beauty, which he co-presented with Myleene Klass, was broadcast in October and November 2008. The series attracted controversy after Wan hosed semi-naked women, causing critics to question the motives behind the series; Amanda Platell described it as "vulgarity masquerading as self-help"

IMHO Platell's choice of word vulgarity indicates that her evaluation may be based on hearsay - anyone who actually has seen these women talking and acting in the series know that they are the opposite of vulgarity.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Chinese and romantic love

 Traditional Chinese wedding

"You Europeans put a boiling pot on stove and it gets cold. We do the opposite."

In fact I have no idea if this saying is genuinely Chinese but it probably contains some truth in it.

Judging from world population statistics such an approach seems to have been working just as well - if not better - than the Western cultural heritage of romantic love.

The tradition of romance becomes powerful during the Crusader period with that noble Love court of Eleanor of Aquitaine as an example of the times of castles, troubadours and husbands far away in the Holy Land. It surfaced again in the Romantic period, for example in the works of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) touching Western hearts of men and women then and now in literature, theatre and opera: Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.

In traditional Chinese culture the influence of Confucius (孔夫子 pinyin Kǒng Fūzǐ) is felt in the deeply rooted respect for parents, elders and also ancestors as in Taoism. The old ones know what is best for the daughter and son also in matters of love and marriage. And often they do.

The movie House of Flying Daggers describes pure romantic love that is tested by the actions of the characters in life and death battles.

Is it genuine Tang period atmosphere or is is a modern westernised story set in history of completely different type of relationship between man and woman.

In my opinion, romantic love exists in all humanity from cavemen to modern Chinese or native Americans. It is the matter of emphasis, matter of final decisions taken in matters of heart, that differs.

A girl or boy may today leave parents to run after the lover in a different city or even different country and it is considered more or less normal.

Chinese strictly traditional parents may also face - even in the Tang  period - the power of romantic love in their children and must react to it.

Similarly in the traditional Arabic culture where families decide, father decides (after the ladies of the two houses have quietly reached their decision) romantic love causes disruptions to orderly arrangements of marriages by social status, wealth and other important aspects.

For romantic love is love, an important part of the system created by God of Israel in humans.

It is perhaps not even limited to humans.

I have noticed that one of the dogs here had a constant favourite among the pack of more or less handsome male dogs seeking to become father of her puppies.

And it is said about the white swans that they are faithful lovers, the same couple reaching that quiet distant lake in the North year after year for the female to lay her eggs.

In our eyes at least the noble swans are highly romantic as the other swan may wither away and die if the significant other is taken from him or her by death.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What's with these Chinese, anyway?

I mean, really...

Zhang Yimou (born 1951) tells in House of Flying Daggers an unforgettable love-triangle in a way that sets new standards to cinematic art. And who can forget the opening and closing ceremonies of Beijing Olympics 2008 he directed?

Or Lang Lang (born 1982)...

Have you SEEN him play one of those delicate Nocturnes by Chopin? Is there anything easier, anything more natural, anything more enjoyable ... hiding the enormous technical challenges in total concentration on the musical message.

Have you HEARD Lang Lang play Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto 2?
If you have, you understand my point...

Or talking about grand pianos, Yuja Wang (1987) ...

Such a delicate young girl, and what force in those hands! Those who know about piano say that when hearing Yuja Wang you simply have to redefine how well that instrument can be played.

Culture, music, theatre, circus, movies... okay

but what about real life, like dollars, banks, factories?


The Chinese took that 19th century pioneering sociologist Karl Marx seriously.

Much more seriously than the Soviets, who made mockery of his ideas and whose experimental society, worker's paradise, collapsed in its ridiculous lies and corruption.

So seriously, that Communist China is today the biggest lender in the world to the capitalist USA. Who would have believed?

China is worried that the U.S. will default on the $1 trillion loan China gave us to, among other things, build McMansions and sell them to each other.

If China gets too worried, they'll stop lending us more money to pay ourselves while no one is buying McMansions, and interest rates will skyrocket, screwing us.  So Obama is trying to assure China president Wen Jiabao that we're good for the money.

Which we probably are.  In nominal dollars.  But wait until we get through inflating our way out of the problem.

Read more:

Maoism, hmmm okay..

But what about Christianity?

Have you heard about those Chinese mainlanders who have encountered Jesus Christ in those forgotten towns and villages behind the back of God?

And not just there.

Ye good ol' BBC reports:
"It is impossible to say how many Christians there are in China today, but no-one denies the numbers are exploding."

Really, what's with these Chinese, anyway?

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Like a flying dagger that magically finds its way to the target this amazing movie reaches accurately and deeply into the heart of all existence - LOVE.

For the Bible does not only praise love at the limits of human languages as in 1 Corinthians 13. Bible does not only say that God loves the world (John 3:16) or that love is from God (1 John 4:7).

The Bible actually says that LOVE is everything for 1 John 4:16 writes
God is love

Mystery of love
In the midst of the gorgeous palette of colours, bamboo green or the glory of autumn trees, Chinese clothing taking directly from authentic paintings, bloody beautiful weapons skilfully handled, arrows, swords, daggers, martial art that actually brings art into it - the cinematic narrative of master Zhang Yimou brings us, the viewers, in simplest terms to the greatest mystery of all - the mystery of love.

Mei (Zhang Ziyi) is just lovely, more beautiful than a forest of cherry trees in full blossom

Leo (Andy Lau) has saved the life of Mei and has loved her ever since he learned to know her three years ago. And yet, the heartbroken question

"How could you fell in love with Jin in only three days?"

Indeed, what is love?

What was missing from the relationship between Leo and Mei?

The answer is, as the Beatles once put it
All you need is love, 
All you need is love, 
All you need is love, love,
all you need is love.

Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) is like free wind, no commitments with the ladies, life goes on.

And yet, love stopped him dead.

Really, what is this thing, love?

The heart of Leo is filled with bitter rage and hatred for his best friend who won the love of Mei

"If I cannot have you, Jin shall definitely not have you."

Why not?

Such things happen, love's labour is lost and consequences can be devastating. Stuff for real life tragedy.

Mei pulls the dagger out of her chest and blood starts to stream from the wound. She dies in order to save the life of Jin.

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7

This marvellous movie does not try to explain what is love, it shows love in action.

And we all, regardless of our race, culture, historical period (Tang dynasty or other), understand. 

There is something fundamentally similar in all us humans that responds to love.

We all somehow understand that Mei chooses Jin instead of Leo although we do not know exactly why. Both most brave and handsome warriors, but there is this mysterious thing called LOVE.

"Why did you return, I told you not to return back"
"I returned for you".

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

The movie received twenty minutes of standing ovations after screening in Cannes Film Festival. It definitely deserved those from a highly critical audience.