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TOPIC: netflix

Society

How Airbnb Created A Homeless Crisis In An Idyllic Australian Town

In the bohemian Australian seaside town of Byron Bay, rents are now higher than Sydney or Melbourne. And as Airbnb takes its toll, this small town has almost as many homeless people as Sydney.

BYRON BAY — It's a scene that is repeated almost every evening. Small groups form on the seafront, some take out a guitar around an improvised campfire among the rocks, a few acrobats hypnotize passers-by by twirling fiery bolas, and most clink glasses over a few beers, modestly covered by paper bags. They are all there to admire the sun setting behind the mountains bordering the northern tip of the beach, which stretches for about 30 kilometers, tinting the sky with shades ranging from pale pink to scarlet red.

Located at the eastern tip of Australia, an ideal geographical position where very beautiful waves are formed, Byron Bay, in New South Wales, is one of the most popular destinations for surfers. It is also home to one of the oldest surf clubs in the country, created more than a century ago, in 1907.

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Netflix Stereotype? A Real Ukrainian In Paris Sets The Record Straight

Ukraine's culture minister has attempted to make a bonafide diplomatic incident out of the depiction of a character from Kyiv in the vapid Netflix series "Emily in Paris." A native Kyiv writer based in France is outraged too, but at her own country's false pride and a government minister wasting everyone's time.

-Essay-

PARIS — So Ukraine’s Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko has written a letter to Netflix, expressing the outrage that he and his fellow Ukrainians feel about the ugly stereotypes of a character from Kyiv who recently appeared in the Netflix series Emily in Paris. As a Ukrainian in Paris, I have a letter for Minister Tkachenko…

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Why Modern Life Feels So Busy Even If We Work Less

It's about multiplying choices, not vanishing time...

MONTREAL — Many of us feel like time management is getting tougher. But why? Is it because we now work more than ever, or maybe because life in general has sped up so much?

It’s unlikely. Overall, people work less today than they did 100 years ago. And there is no clear evidence that the pace of life has accelerated.

So if it’s not more hours or faster pace, what’s changed? The answer is that the institutions that used to regulate our time have all but vanished.

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Germany or Sweden? Two Models Of Social Democracy Put To The Test

From afar, new Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz share much, both in their views and the political system where they rule. But subtle differences, which arose in the rubble of World War II, can be everything.

My dad has died ...

That was my first thought a few Fridays ago when I saw that Netflix had added another series to its growing Nordic-noir category: a six-part crime drama about the 1986 assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme.

Well, OK, my very first thought was trying to guess who they’d picked for the role of Palme’s assassin; but almost immediately after that, my second thought was that indeed, most certainly yes, Gunnar Karlsson had clocked out.

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Society
Yip Wing Sum

Debt Trap: Why South Korean Economics Explains Squid Game

Crunching the numbers of South Korea's personal and household debt offers a glimpse into what drives the win-or-die plot of the Netflix hit produced in the Asian country.

-Analysis-

SEOUL — The South Korean series Squid Game has become the most viewed series on Netflix, watched by over 111 million viewers and counting. It has also generated a wave of debate online and off about its provocative message about contemporary life.

The plot follows the story of a desperate man in debt, who receives a mysterious invitation to play a game in which the contestants gamble their lives on six childhood games, with the winner awarded a prize of 45.6 billion won ($38 million)... while the losers face death.

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Society
Robin Richardot

Emily Out Of Paris: French Quartier Is Sick Of Netflix Show

The first season of the Netflix show Emily in Paris was a boon for some businesses in the French capital's 5th arrondissement, where it takes place. But with production returning for Season Two, many local residents are exasperated.

PARIS — At the foot of the Pantheon, in Paris's 5th arrondissement, the trucks are back. A few steps away, the small and usually quiet Place de l'Estrapade is animated by the coming and going of cameras, projectors and costumes. All the hubbub is because of a project called "Charade." That's at least what the many posters hanging around the neighborhood explain, but that is in itself a charade — a cover to keep the paparazzi at bay.

The real story is that Emily is back in town. Emily in Paris, that is, the hit Netflix series that first aired in October 2020 and is currently shooting its second season. The recipient of two Golden Globe nominations, the show follows the adventures of a young woman from Chicago who moves to Paris. It's marked by just about every cliché in the book, starting with the scenery.

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India
Karan Thapar

Netflix's Playbook For Tyrants Has A Real-World Example In India

Op-Ed

INDIA — I don't watch many Netflix programs, but a series recommended by my cousin has struck me like a bolt of lightning. Called How to Become a Tyrant, it presents what it calls "a playbook for absolute power." Much of it is tongue-in-cheek, yet it's based on the actual tactics and strategies used by Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Il-sung, Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein. So if you take it seriously, it tells you what you must do if you aspire to be India's tanashah. And the remarkable thing is it feels uncannily like the country we're living in and the politics we're subjected to. Read on and see if you agree.

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Economy
Pierre de Gasquet

To Cannes And Back: The Subtle French Infiltration In Hollywood

Since Agnès Varda, Louis Malle and Michel Gondry, trying one's luck in Hollywood has become an obsession for some French filmmakers. But Netflix and friends are changing the formula.

HOLLYWOOD — Frank Zappa recorded his rock opera "Joe's Garage" there. The Beatles used its large auditorium for their meditation sessions. Halfway between Beverly Hills and the Pacific, with its imposing pink brick facade decorated with Ionian columns, The Village Studios looks like a huge room inherited from the 1920s. At the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Butler Avenue, the legendary West Los Angeles recording studio of everyone from Eric Clapton to Lady Gaga has been located in a former Masonic temple since 1968.

This musical sanctuary is where the soundtracks to "Crazy Heart" and the Coen brothers' comedy "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" were recorded. It is also where the opening scene of Leos Carax's "Annette" — co-written with the California pop duo Sparks (brothers Ron and Russell Mael) — was filmed.

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LES ECHOS
Nicolas Richaud and Nicolas Madelaine

Netflix And French Cinema: Love-Hate Sequel Of A Hollywood Past

After a rocky start, relations between the streaming giant and the French film ecosystem have improved thanks to Netflix investments in local production. But ensuring long-term independence of French films from the Hollywood system is still a battle.

PARIS — We might as well say it right away: With Netflix, the French cinema world doesn't quite feel like celebrating a successful marriage, as it did with French TV channel Canal+ in the 1980s. Still, relations have warmed considerably with the U.S.-based streaming platform. "As good Americans who respect themselves, they considered us, at the beginning, as a village of indomitable Gauls," says a veteran French film producer. "We have learned to tame each other."

Netflix has recently made some seductive moves in France. Last January, it inked a collaboration with the Cinémathèque française film archive in order to preserve historic movies, which will result in the restoration of Abel Gance's Napoleon, a film from 1927. In 2020, the American platform also made a deal with French production and distribution company MK2 to be able to offer films on its platform by the likes of prestigious directors François Truffaut, Charlie Chaplin, Jacques Demy …

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Geopolitics
Héctor Cancino Salas

Digital VAT? A Tax Windfall If Latin America Finds Consensus

Countries like Argentina, Chile and Mexico have begun charging a value added tax (VAT) on digital purchases. But that may just be the tip of iceberg, especially if governments can reach a regional consensus.

SANTIAGO — "Hello, and thank you for using our services," says the website, before adding: "We'd like to inform you that from next month, due to fiscal changes in the country, your membership fee will rise with the increase in digital VAT."

In recent months, millions of users of digital services in Latin America have received messages along these lines, and for a simple reason: The digital boom that's been fueled by companies like Rappi, Netflix or Uber, to name just a few, has caught the taxman's attention. And in most cases, it's the consumer who pays.

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India
Debangana Chatterjee*

'Cancel Culture' In India Looks Like Old-Fashioned Bigotry

Hindu nationalist groups want to force the cancellation of Netflix shows that celebrate inter-religious romance with Muslims — it's both censorship and ethnic prejudice.

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — On November 24, Richie Mehta's original Netflix series Delhi Crime, based on the 2012 Delhi gang-rape, landed an International Emmy Award in the best drama category. While this occasioned celebration among many in India, it also sparked an outcry for banning Netflix India — and a #BanNetflix campaign was launched.

What set the furor off, though was an episode of another Netflix show, A Suitable Boy, two days earlier: and the "inappropriate" on-screen kiss between a Hindu (Lata) and a Muslim (Kabir) character in the backdrop of a temple. Members of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) took no time to demand the all-out ban of Netflix India.

While the campaign may not have been particularly impact on Netflix India, legally and otherwise, the attempt at "canceling" the service is revealing. In fact, this has become a constant feature in India's public debate. Many recall the advertisement for jewelry retailer Tanishq showcasing a Hindu bride celebrating Diwali with her Muslim in-laws, which was met with a boycott campaign and even vandalism.

Of course in the West, ‘Cancel Culture" first arose in a much different context, notably around the #MeToo movement that sought to shame and shut down alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment and violence. The dynamic has expanded to publicly shame and silence a wide range of public figures whose ideas or words have clashed with the young generation's progressive ‘woke" culture.

The country is embroiled with controversies surrounding "love-jihad."

Unfortunately, unlike its Western counterpart (which itself raises eyebrows), India's cancel culture coupled with the dogma of Hindu nationalism has taken a malicious turn. Under this precarious political climate, anything that antagonizes the Hindutva ideology faces indelible wrath. Needless to say, the politics of Hindutva, at the behest of both the ruling-BJP party and its cultural counterpart RSS, is backed by an online army that has been carefully manufactured over the years.

Tthe current uproar against Netflix India seems perfectly orchestrated and well-suited to the needs of Hindutva politics. The timing is particularly noteworthy as it is erupting at a point when the country is embroiled with controversies surrounding ‘love-jihad". This is a concept dreamed up as a figment of Hindutva imagination, based on unverified claims and utter lies, that perceives an imminent threat of Hindu girls being lured into marrying Muslim boys, and eventually, getting converted. A recent draft ordinance was cleared in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh prohibiting "forceful interfaith conversions', also known as, love-jihad.

This goes hand-in-glove with the government's new-found interests in OTT (Over-the-Top platforms) regulations. Last year in October the government made its intentions clear on promulgating a set of ‘not to do" lists for the streaming platforms that include Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, as well as the digital news media.

How much liberty they will be allowed in the future remains vague.

On Nov. 11, in the absence of laws regulating these platforms, the government released a gazette notification to bring these platforms into the fold of the information and broadcasting ministry's jurisdiction.

While the government has not yet clarified exactly what awaits these platforms in the future, concerns over the looming censorship are worrisome. Particularly, for platforms like Netflix that have in the past contributed to the contents critical to many facets of the Indian society, how much liberty they will be allowed in the future remains vague.

What is disconcerting is not so much the controversy surrounding Netflix per se, but an overall paradigm of Hindutva politics activating this particularly Indian kind of "cancel culture."

As this brand of politics has engulfed the online space, we are know seeing how quickly it can get entangled in the key socio-political issues of contemporary India. The levels of online toxicity and the social impact seem more directly linked than ever.

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