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Django Unchained: A Happy Ending?

The recent film from polemical director Quentin Tarantino, ‘Django Unchained', is a ‘Spaghetti Western', a genre that emerged during the 1960s. It is a story about a freed slave, who with the help of a German bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. This critical review will focus on two characters that play a pivotal role alongside the hero Django (played by Jamie Foxx).

Django´s Wife

The ‘captive' Broomhilda, is the principal motor of the story; Django desires revenge on those who tortured her and the will to rescue her is what compels him into the adventure. The story is typical of Westerns films; what is known as the ‘captivity narrative'.

Usually the white woman, representing the values of Christianity and civilisation, is held captive by savages who, through torture and rape, put in peril the values she represents. She is finally rescued after courageous resistance to physical and psychological exploitation. However, in the complicated ideological bloodbath of Django´s story, Broomhilda´s rescue does not represent the triumph of civilisation over savagery, or the opposite.

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Oscars 2013: Daniel Day-Lewis Makes History

In typically glamourous fashion, the annual glitzy Oscars ceremony took place in Hollywood last night, with few real surprises. Ben Affleck's Argo took home the top award after being named Best Film, whilst Daniel Day-Lewis made history by being named Best Actor for an unprecedented third time.

Day-Lewis lived up to the tag as red-hot favourite to take home the award for his leading role in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. Jennifer Lawrence continued her meteoric rise in Hollywood after claiming Best Actress for her role as a young widow struggling with her mental health in Silver Linings Playbook.

However, not quite everything went right for Lawrence on the night, as she lived every nominee's nightmare- falling over on the way to collect her award. Luckily she saw the funny side, and after she tripped over her dress, she started her speech with the line: "You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell over and that's embarrassing".

The Big Winners

Unlike some years, no single film really dominated the awards, with Life of Pi taking the most with just four. Ang Lee won his second Best Director Oscar, whilst the film also took home awards for cinematography, original score and visual effects.

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The Rise of the Student Cinema

At universities up and down the UK lovers of film are joining together and setting up their own cinemas. Though they have been around for years, student cinemas are on the rise. With high definition projectors cheaper than ever, it has never been easier for student societies to create a cinema: for students, by students.

Some student cinemas are run by huge societies, with daily screenings in large lecture theatres. Others are far smaller, intimate groups of people who put on their own weekly screenings for other fanatics. Either way, there is no great secret why student cinemas are so popular- they have loads of benefits over traditional chains.

Cheaper Tickets

The most obvious benefit is the price. Cinema tickets seem to be going up in price all the time, and chances are you're going to have to shell out over a tenner for a ticket at most cinemas these days. In contrast, you can go and watch a film at a student cinema from just £2. Most student cinemas also have membership schemes, making tickets even cheaper for regular filmgoers.

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Oscar Nominations Announced for 2013

This afternoon the Oscar nominations for 2013 were announced in Hollywood. The annual awards are the top prize in cinema, and hundreds of nervous film crews, actors and directors were all waiting to hear if they'd received a nod.

As the nominations were revealed by actors Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone, it soon became clear that, as is often the case, the list was dominated by a few films. Steven Spielberg's Lincoln took most nominations with 12, whilst Life Of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook also both did very well.

Whilst most of the major awards are led by Hollywood's finest, there are a few more unusual titles in the mix. Michael Haneke's Amour for example is up for Best Film, Best Actress and Best Director. 

The winners will be announced at a typically glitzy ceremony on the 24th February. In the mean time, check out the full list of nominations below and pick out who you think deserves to win.

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Cannes 2012: Four Films from Africa

Séamas McSwiney is our guest film correspondent with decades of experience in film journalism, and work published in some top international publications. He is reporting from Cannes 2012, and today looks at four films from what is ofter an forgotten continent.

"It's a Cannes constant to comment on the absence of films from the African continent. Perhaps quality cinema production could even be considered a rough benchmark for economic development. This year there were films a plenty from South America and the Asian presence is now a constant both in terms of film production and audiences. China will be the new goldmine for revenue generated by the silver screen and by its digital offspring.

Still, there were four films flying in from four separate corners of the biggest continent: two from North Africa, Egypt and Morocco, dealing respectively with The Arab Spring and jihadi suicide bombers; and two from sub-Sahara, East and West, telling stories that again confront the dangers and indignities that deprivation will drive people to.

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