Page 6 November 2, 2017
Hazel Gaynor’s The Cottingley Secret
Delves into Fairy and Family Mystiques
The Cottingley Secret
ensure her grandmother’s medical bills are
paid, Olivia must face up to some hard truths
and make difficult decisions. There is a bit
of romance that presents itself unexpectedly,
as well as some unexplained phenomena that
occur in her bookshop’s window display.
Fairytale stories and verse shed some light
on the basic questions of belief. If you can’t
see or touch something, does that mean it
doesn’t exist? During the original Cottingley
fairies incident, the United Kingdom was
reeling from the injuries and loss of life.
The First World War Spiritualism (which
included belief in fairies or “elementals”)
was very popular and gave hope to survivors
that they may see their loved ones again in
another realm. Olivia also experiences quite
a few deaths in this story, and we come to
understand her growing attachment to the
fairy manuscript and to those persons involved
in the event. She has recurring dreams of a
little red-headed girl that get resolved as she
nears the end of the forgotten manuscript.
Author Hazel Gaynor did some extensive
research into the real story of those famous
fairies and she adds some extra information at
the back of the book that’s pretty interesting.
In a section she supplies for further reading,
there are titles she used as well as some that
might add some insight to a curious reader.
The El Segundo Public Library offers interlibrary
loan services for titles that we don’t
own in our library, but that might be found
in another nearby. Please stop in and let us
help you locate that special search item. •
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Oscar-Worthy The Square is a Satirical
Look at Affluence through Modern Art
Elisabeth Moss and Claes Bang in The Square. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
By H. Nelson Tracey for www.cinemacy.
About once a year, if we’re lucky, a movie
comes along that transcends the labels of
comedy, drama and other classified genres. It
will also prove that with top-tier filmmaking,
you can utilize a full emotional range to tell
a story. It is safe to say we have an entry
for this year in Ruben Östlund’s The Square.
A modern art museum in Sweden, vying
to be cutting edge while also needing to
sustain its overhead and encourage people to
actually visit, is getting ready for its newest,
boldest exhibit: The Square. At the helm of
the museum is Christian (Claes Bang) who
lives in a swanky apartment, drives a Tesla
and has no trouble scoring beautiful women.
Because this new exhibit is almost entirely
focused on helping people and trusting
strangers, Christian presents himself with
the challenge of upholding the artistic vision
of altruism throughout the rest of his life.
In reaction to his generally self-serving
behavior, the new exhibit pushes Christian
out of his comfort zone. Yet in every earnest
(or disingenuous) attempt to help other
people--his co-workers, the homeless, family
members--there is a bitter, comical pushback.
The results are absolutely hilarious, perhaps
because of how cringe-worthy and honest the
situations are as people react while trying
to fall into societal norms.
By using the world of modern art and
affluence as its backdrop, The Square allows
for bizarre features to be fair game
while also utilizing cinematic artistry when
necessary. Most importantly, this film is a
satire of the wealthy do-gooders who reek of
hypocrisy without even realizing it. In most
American films when we see characters who
are wealthy, it is typically either glamorized
or normalized. Here, as was true of his last
film, Östlund takes a critical examination of
wealth in a way in which we all can take
To English-speaking audiences, a trio of
recognizable faces each play a supporting
role: Elisabeth Moss as a naive reporter,
Dominic West as a self-serving artist and
lastly, Terry Notary--whose name doesn’t
carry star power, but whose resume includes
doing motion capture for the Kong and Planet
of the Apes movies. Here, Notary plays a
controversial performance artist and I’ll only
say his animal motion capture work gets to
play off extraordinarily. The star of the film
remains Claes Bang, whose deadpan delivery
as Christian, no matter what scenario he
finds himself in, is both endlessly relatable
and at times hysterical.
It is not required that you see Östlund’s
last feature, Force Majeure, before you see
this film. However, it does prime you for
what to expect from his particular style.
His preceding film also deals with painfully
comedic scenarios of an affluent family set
in a ski resort. That being said, the ideas
and aspirations that Östlund introduced
in Force Majeure are delivered in greater
extremes in The Square.
It’s too early to see what the competition
will be for the Best Foreign Language film
Oscar. History has proven that this specific
category has some of the most misguided of
the already fallible awards, but my reaction
would be that this film is a shoe-in. The
Square represents the first truly amazing
movie of the fall awards season.
The Square is rated R for language, some
strong sexual content, and brief violence. 142
minutes. Now playing at The Landmark and
ArcLight Hollywood. •
Check It Out
Reviewed by Roz Templin, Library
Assistant, El Segundo Public Library
Olivia Kavanaugh inherits an old bookshop
when her beloved grandfather passes
away. She’s in the midst of wedding plans,
engaged to a distant (both physically and
emotionally) businessman. She takes leave
of her job and plans to travel from London
to Ireland to investigate her inheritance and
settle her grandfather’s affairs.
Not only does she fall in love with the
old shop, but Olivia finds there is a cottage
to empty and sell as well as financial woes
to address. Her grandmother is in a nursing
home, suffering from Alzheimer’s, and she
doesn’t know which way to turn.
She finds an old manuscript that describes
the famous Cottingley Fairies--the photographs
taken in the Yorkshire village of Cottingley
by two young girls in the early part of the
20th Century. People (including Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle) believed they proved that fairies
really existed. “Notes on a Fairytale” is
an important part of Olivia’s story and The
Cottingley Secret reveals some history of her
own family that she didn’t know was missing.
During the months she spends in Ireland,
trying to make a go of the bookshop and
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