Dream Catcher

Kim Longinotto’s beautiful and emotional documentary about the tireless sex worker advocate Brenda Myers-Powell. Really brought home to me how so many people are reacting to things that happened to them as children. Things they had no control over.

Brenda Myers- Powell is just incredible. Her strength, openness, lack of judgement and tireless work is changing the lives of so many girls, women and their families.

“It’s not your fault,” “you deserve happiness” such powerful words.

Expand your financial knowlege

Expand your financial knowlege

I watched The Big Short, the brilliant film based on Micheal Lewis’ even more brilliant book. The film does well to highlight the human impact of the last recession, although it doesnt focus on the people (everyday lay person, not the bankers) that it really impacted, it does point out that these numbers on computers are actually human beings.

I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the last financial crisis. It began as I entered university so I did not directly feel the effects but it really affected my perspective on money, work and security. I’ve done a lot of reading, watching and listening and I’m constantly fascinated by really smart people telling me that finance is too complex for them.

It’s crazy not to try to understand money, even if it’s only how to manage your own money. Our entire system is based around money. The work we do, what we value or don’t, what we do in our spare time, what schools we go to, where we live. We need to know how money works and it’s relationship to humans.

There’s denying there is a lot of complexity but the basic truths are constant. The markets are driven by people not machines, and people are easily influenced so recessions aren’t anomalies in the financial system, they happen every few years and the patterns are pretty similar.

Here are some of my favourite books, films and podcasts that dispel the myth that it’s too complex.

Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki- My Dad gave me this book in my early teens and it basically changed my view on money, work, entrepreneurship and education. It took me beyond what we are taught at school. The focus is mostly on real estate but the basics it teaches about understanding cashflow, debt, that your home is not an investment, that financial advisors get paid to sell you certain investments are incredibly insightful.

Motley Fool Podcasts– brilliant podcasts on investment news, I really enjoy their philosophies on investing as a long game.

Richest Man in Babylon– this book by George Samuel Clason gives financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. The principles are simple and true.

Debt Thomas Sankara– brilliant talk by Thomas Sankara on the flawed ideology of debt.

Inside Job– brilliant documentary take down of the last financial crises

Micheal Lewis books– Any of the Micheal Lewis books on finance. I’ve read or listened to pretty much all of them. They are brilliant at showing the human side which is often replaced by statistics (there were no humans involved in the making of this derivative). My

Thinking fast and slow- this book is a brilliant insight to how truly irrational we are and how we can be easily influenced.

Four Horsemen- A bit apocalyptic at times but some eye opening insights to be found in this documentary. It explores finance in the west, the death of empires and the global effects of our actions. It was the first time I learned that the Federal Reserve is a privately owned bank. “Exult in the crimes of others and in our nobility of opposing them.”

Eye opening documentary

The collapse of The American Dream explained in Animation- pretty self explanatory. Short cartoon that reveals a lot of the backdrop to our financial system that is often hidden.

Enron, The Smartest Guys In The Room, Directed by Alex Gibney-  Fascinating documentary the story of big financial catastrophes is often the same sadly.

The Corporation

The Psychology of Human Misjudgement- I love Charlie Munger. His interviews and talks are all hilariously brilliant. His research and findings on the social side of finance are fascinating.

Why we look down on low wage earners- School of Life video

Odetta’s Song

Odetta’s Song

The gospel according to Matthew, 1964 is just a beautiful film. I love this part of the film,the three wise men visiting Mary and baby Jesus accompanied by the negro spiritual ‘Sometimes I feel like a motherless child’ sung by Odetta.

As always I read the wikipedia entry to get the background of the film. I was fascinated to learn that the film which was hailed by the Vatican as the best film on Christ ever made was made by Pier Paolo Pasolini a strong critic of Christianity.

“Given Pasolini’s well-known reputation as an atheist, a homosexual, and a Marxist, the reverential nature of his film could come as a surprise at a first approach, especially after the controversy of La ricotta. At a press conference in 1966, Pasolini was asked why he, an unbeliever, had made a film which dealt with religious themes; his response was, “If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.” Therefore he sets his criticism against a backdrop of sheer religious concern, for the role assumed by the Church, the organization, for centuries.” taken from wikipeadia

Merry Christmas 🙂

Instruments of change

Instruments of change

Land fillharmonic is an absolutely beautiful film. Watching it last week at the Take One Action Film Festival, I expected a heartwarming tale of human ingenuity, turning garbage into musical instruments. The documentary was so much more than that. 
It takes us from the ochestras inauspicious beginings, a worker in the landfill using his craft skills to make instruments for the free music classses to the heights success, performing around the world for world leaders and with icons such as megadeath and then back down again, with the realities of living in a flood site with the effects of global warming. All through this we see the community not just the kids, their families, neighbours, friends, taking control of their destiny, dreaming and building their community.

I loved that there was never the sense of the orchestra leader/ teacher Chavez as a hero coming to save the kids. He was working with the community like a true conductor. As an instrument, reacting to and channeling the world around him, creating synchronicity to bring something new and great into the world.

Chavez spoke about the change he was seeking when he first started working in the community. He’d thought that changing the environment could change peoples lives. However the reality made him realise that this change would need to be at the source, the people creating the waste that they were living in. It’s the unintended consequences, our choices can affect people on the other side of the world, the mountains of waste, and global warming are just some of these effects.

He remembered the effect music had on him as a child and wanted to give the kids in the community an opportunity to experience this. Culture is a “human need” as he said. The orchestra allows the teenagers to grow not just as musicians but also as individuals. Learning about emotional and physical maturity. It unites the community, working together to make things better for all.

Another thing that struck me was the need to create opportunities. You would never know that these young people could be talented musicians if they weren’t given the chance to try. I was incredibly moved when one of the girls said thanks for giving us the opportunity to dream. It’s especially poignant after watching Viola Davis’ amazing Emmy speech. “The only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else black is opportunity.”Opportunity in many cases is the great divide.

Fantastic movie all around. Definately watch it if you get the opportunity.