Category: A&E

In This Corner of the World: A Heartfelt Gem

Words: Hoang-Phi Quy

Animated movies in our time usually focus on genres such as fantasy and action. Luckily, I stumbled upon a historical fiction based in Japan during World War II.

Produced by Studio MAPPA in 2016, In This Corner of the World is a historical fiction animated movie set in 1944 during WWII. The film follows the life of Suzu Urano, an 18-year-old girl who recently moved out of Hiroshima to be married into another family, the Houjous. She slowly adapts to the lifestyle of a traditional housewife. Over time, she learns the ability to cook, clean, shop and sew for the family. While Urano has no children of her own, she is required to take care of her mother-in-law, who is ill.

As Urano adapts to her new lifestyle, the beginning of the war erupts, and things start to change. The famine and constant air raid sirens force her to once again accommodate to the world around her.

In This Corner of the World is a slice-of-life and drama set in Japan. It depicts the daily life and struggle of a regular, middle-classed Japanese household during the war. Urano’s struggle and adaptation to her surroundings create an extremely realistic feel to this animation.

The beautiful, hand-drawn animation creates exemplary scenes and shots. I would recommend this to anyone because of the animation, the story, and the morals and virtues that are taught throughout.

th/nk/dt/pb

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Greetings from Sarfraz Manzoor: An Exclusive Wingspan Interview

Words: Emily Hollwedel

Photos Contributed by: Sarfraz Manzoor

A young Pakistani boy around the age of sixteen is sitting in his room on a wooden chair in the dark. A party, bass thumping, can be heard from a few houses down, a party he can’t attend. He’s holding a cassette tape in his hand with the words “Bruce Springsteen” and “Born in the USA” written across the front. A friend from his class, whom everyone calls Roops, lent it to him. He’s skeptical: what could this rock star know about his life, his struggles? He’s in Luton, England, an ocean away from anything American. He’s brown and Muslim. In his other hand he clutches a Walkman, ready for use. He slowly slides in the cassette, and presses play, fast-forwarding all the way to ‘Dancing in the Dark.’ The song begins— the Earth shifts.

Blinded by the Light, directed by Gurinder Chadha, tells the story of this boy, Javed Khan, who is rather detached from his predominantly white community in 1987 Britain. It details his writing, his life, and how Springsteen changed all of that.

Above all, what makes it appealing is that it’s based on a true story. When writing his memoir, Greetings from Bury Park, journalist Sarfraz Manzoor reached out to Chadha and together they fleshed out a movie concept, and the project took off from there.

In an exclusive Wingspan interview I had the pleasure of interviewing Manzoor about his experiences with the creation of the film, Springsteen’s music, and more.

WS: How did music, specifically Bruce Springsteen, help you cope with your struggles and your life?

The cast and author of Blinded by the Light pose for a picture.

SM: Well, I guess it was just the fact that when I was growing up, there wasn’t really anybody I could look to, who could give me hope that there was a different way of life or a different route out of where my life was… I had no role models of anybody who could do anything different, and so I didn’t really feel like anybody who came from my background did anything interesting. And I guess when I listened to Springsteen I was like… his songs are about [working-class] people exactly like me, but he still has hope… I needed that at that time, you know?

WS: How did you feel when you saw the movie for the first time?

SM: To be honest, the first time I saw anything… it was the trailer… I just went absolutely ecstatic because this was even before the film. But having been on set, you see actors doing their scenes and stuff… I went ‘Oh my God. This actually looks like a real film’… when you suddenly realize this is no small deal here, we’re not mucking about. The other part that was weird is that you’ve got all these people who didn’t grow up in [Luton] who didn’t live my life, who all suddenly feel like they’ve got a connection to it. They’re like, ‘Oh my God, this dad reminds me of my dad’ and I’m like, ‘Well, that’s kind of not really possible, because it’s my dad I’m talking about’… the fact that this film is showing all across America; it’s actually just opening in France. I’m getting messages from Argentina and Israel [of] people saying they’re watching the film… it’s that moment where you realize the film is way bigger than just me.

WS: Growing up, I saw very few examples of positive South Asian representation in cinema… what kind of impact do you think that Blinded by the Light will have in terms of Asian representation?

SM: I think it’s already had that. I’ve had loads of people from the Asian community, saying, ‘Thank you for telling a story, I see myself in this film’… It was really important that the parents [in the film] were sympathetic, that they weren’t just simplistic monsters. Obviously, they see the world differently than Javed does, but you also see them struggle, you see them work, and you see them as decent people who in some ways are trying their best. [This film] shows that… you don’t have to necessarily make films that are niche just because you’ve got nonwhite faces in the film.

WS: What has the experience of this movie being out been like for you?

SM: It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, it’s been a dream, it’s been really, really emotionally powerful to share a story that’s very small and specific with the world. And it’s also been a dream come true— a month ago today, I was in Asbury Park for the premiere, and Springsteen turned up. Who would’ve thought when I was sixteen that Springsteen would turn up for the premiere of my film? There are certain things which are so crazy and really hard for the brain to take in, and that is one of them.

WS: What do you hope that people will take from this film?

SM: I hope that if they’re not already Bruce Springsteen fans, [that] they’ll give him a chance. I hope [that] they realize all of us have got more in common than what divides us— that race and religion and nationality are just labels, but actually underneath it, we all want to make our parents proud, we all want to make our dreams come true. And I also hope that it might help the next time somebody— a politician— tries to exploit hatred of Muslims and tries to make that a political thing to try and get votes from, I hope somebody will say ‘You know what? I remember watching this film with some Muslim characters and they seemed really nice; I’m not gonna go along with this sort of witch hunt and hatred because the truth is not what these politicians are telling me.’

WS: The whole movie focuses on the impact that music can have on an individual. What do you think makes people connect with music in such a way?

SM: What Bruce does, and I think that it’s something that the best people do, [he writes] really specifically about [his] life [and his] experiences, but [he does] it in such a way that people feel they can see themselves in the story. If you think— he’s talking about Asbury Park, he’s talking about the specific factories, he talks about the New Jersey Turnpike— they’re not just generic roads or generic towns, they’re actually specific places. But he does it in such a way that you think, ‘Oh wow, that could be a bit like my town!’ So the trick is that he is very, very specific, and by being specific it becomes universal… he creates this world, and it’s really detailed, and in that world we see ourselves.

 

To listen to a behind the scenes interview with the author, Emily Hollwedel, click here!

To view the entire November issue, click here!

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Photo Essay: Artists and the Creative Process

Captions & Photos: Keith Hitzelberger, Jordyn Blanken, and Liam Lovering

Recently, Art 1 spent the week developing their skills using color.  With colored pencils they practiced blending and completed a color wheel. By practicing these basic skills they can prepare themselves for more advanced projects and future art classes.

Art 2 began the week by practicing self portraits through the use of contour lines and mirrors. This allowed them to experiment with drawing from sight for a more accurate final piece.

After completing their contour line drawings, the students used this drawing as a reference to start their final project. Through the use of different mediums, they further animated their pieces.

Here are some of the finished products.

While surveying the art classes, we also took notice of the outstanding work decorating the halls of the nearby area. These pieces show the talent of many top artists at Centennial, showcasing not only the final product, but also the amount of hard work that went into its creation. This also motivates and inspires younger artists to improve their craft so they can one day showcase their work as well.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Urban Plates Restaurant Opens at Columbia Mall

Words: Javiera Diaz-Ortiz

The Columbia Mall has gained a new, modern restaurant. Urban Plates had its grand opening this summer, in late August. It is located next to one of the mall’s other modern eateries, Shake Shack.

Urban Plates offers organic, reliable options to please any craving. To add even more appeal, every single plate, sandwich, side, dessert, and even drink, is made from scratch in the Urban Plates kitchen.

Guests can see for themselves how much effort each cook puts into creating all of the products; the kitchen is visible to all guests, separated from the dining area by only a glass panel on top of the food bar.

When guests enter the restaurant, they are immediately taken aback by the interior decor. The restaurant has eye-catching colors and unique pieces, such as indoor gardens on its walls.

Guests can then choose to go into one of two lines. One line is exclusively for plates, while the other is for those craving a sandwich. Plates include selections such as free-range grilled chicken, or oven-baked, wild salmon, accompanied by sides like roasted brussels sprouts, beet and carrot salad, potatoes, among a variety of other options.

There is a separate kids’ menu with simpler, more classic meals such as mac n’ cheese. But, that does not imply the quality of food  plates such as the classic macaroni and cheese. This does not, however, suggest a lower quality of food. Even the simplest meal on the menu, the Macaroni and Cheese, looks and tastes like a gourmet dish.

All of the sodas are made at the restaurant, resulting in authentic drinks such as the pineapple cream soda.

After the main meal, guests also have the option of ordering dessert. Once again, the desserts are made from scratch at the restaurant. Selections include items such as the mango tart and the banana-cream pie, as well as a giant chocolate chip cookie.

Guests customize their order by going through the line at the food bar and requesting the main dish, sides, drink, and dessert from employees. To make the process run more smoothly, guests pay for their orders at the end of the bar, meaning there is no need for waiters.

While enjoying their meals, guests are often greeted by kind bussers who take it upon themselves to make sure that everyone’s experience at the restaurant is memorable.

Along with having a wide variety of options for food, guests are also provided with several options for seating. The restaurant has booths, tall tables, short tables, and an attractive, outdoor seating area for days with nicer weather.

Urban Plates will undoubtedly become one of the more popular sites at the mall as it offers alternative, healthy options in a welcoming, attractive environment.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Centennial Showcases Talent in Annual Dancing With the Staff

Words: Natalie Knight-Griffin

Photos: Eliza Andrew

On October 25, 2018, Centennial’s Senior Dance Company teamed up with a few lucky teachers to perform their annual Dancing With the Staff show.

There were four groups of dancer-teacher performances. In between each group was a video slideshow displaying the partners practicing their moves, most often with the teachers struggling to follow along, but nonetheless having a good time. Dancers interviewed their teachers of choice, asking questions along the lines of their previous dance experience and dance style of choice.

Tensions ran high as the judges debated results and audience members cast their vote. After fifteen minutes of intense discussion and audience voting, the dancers gathered on stage for results. The judges’ choice was Ms. Rebecca Vanover and Divya Proper, and Mr. David Riddler and Jen Solan received Honorable Mention. In fourth was Mr. Kevin Mccoy and Alison Betler, followed by Ms. Tori Hammers and Arya Bhargav. In second was Mr. Edward Fowler and Katie Pistner. Mrs. Erin Parisi and Eshna Ghosh received first for the night.

From rap to Irish dance, to throwback song choices such as “Call Me Maybe,” Dancing with the Staff was a success.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.

Three Halloween Movies Through the Decades

Words: Emily Hollwedel

The room is dark, the only light a dimly lit screen. No one dares to move, or speak, or even breathe. Hearts pound, and breaths hitch. Suddenly with a flash of an image and a shriek of noise, the people on the edges of their seats lurch backwards in a rush of fear. This is exactly how horror movies are supposed to make people feel- thrilled, anxious, and terrified all at once.

For decades, a wide variety of horror movies have been created to frighten people all across the world. Here are three iconic films from the horror screen just in time for Halloween.

Halloween – 1978

During a time when horror movies were considerably haunting, Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, tells the tale of Michael Myers, an escaped killer, and his attempts to attack a high school student named Laurie Strode on the chilling night of October 31. This film keeps the audience holding their breath throughout incredibly tense, dark scenes that follow. Viewers will find themselves wondering if they, too, are being followed, and if the monsters they’ve read about are truly fiction or not.

Scream – 1996

Wes Craven’s Scream was a breath of fresh air to horror in a time of sequels and repetitive nature. It follows a masked killer’s string of murders in a middle-class town usually resembling paradise. Sidney Prescott, a girl attending the local high school, is attacked multiple times by the killer, while coping with the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death, and during a party finds herself trying figure out who is behind the rising body count. The quick wit and charm of this movie comes into play through its self-awareness and sarcasm. Though somewhat cliché, it’s still amusing, and every moment is thrilling.

It– 2017

Andrés Muschietti’s adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel provides a recounting of seven outcast kids in the town of Derry, Maine, as they search for the interdimensional alien creature named Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the horrific summer of 1989. The film deeply contrasts the previously made mini-series by splitting the movies between youth and adulthood, as well as keeping up with the increasing quality of CGI that was not available in the 90s. With every element of a twisted coming of age story, the changes in the kids who are forced to face their fears head-on are shocking, but prominent by the end of the film. The truly frightful jumpscares and psychological pressure, speckled in the popular 80s nostalgia is high throughout each scene, making it both fun and petrifying for viewers.

For more breaking news and photos, follow The Wingspan on Instagram and Twitter @CHSWingspan.