la liga

For the first time this season, Barcelona fail to score in La Liga

The Catalans failed to break down a well organised Getafe side.

A disallowed Luis Suarez goal summed up a frustrating afternoon for Barcelona as the leaders of La Liga dropped points for the second week running after a 0-0 stalemate with Getafe on Sunday.

After needing a late equaliser to grab a point in the Catalan derby at Espanyol last weekend, Barca could not break down a well-organised Getafe side, who showed why they have the third-best defensive record in the league. In irresistible form in front of goal in 2018, Suarez had the ball in the net just before half-time with a great finish from a Lionel Messi free-kick, but the home celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.

The Uruguayan striker then saw his header kept out by a brilliant Vicente Guaita save as the match moved into stoppage time, with Barca failing to score at home in La Liga for the first time since November 2016.

Ernesto Valverde’s side remain unbeaten in La Liga after 23 games, extending their longest run without losing from the start of a campaign.

However, they are now only seven points clear at the summit from Atletico Madrid, who won 1-0 at Malaga on Saturday with an early Antoine Griezmann goal. The Rojiblancos visit the Camp Nou in three weeks. “We don’t like to draw at home, but that’s football. Our opponents defended really well and we were unable to score,” Valverde told beIN Sports.

“Maybe we lacked a bit of spark, that’s possible. It is strange for us not to score here at our stadium.”

With Samuel Umtiti banned, Thomas Vermaelen not fit and Gerard Pique only on the bench, Valverde handed a first start to January signing Yerry Mina and partnered him in central defence with Lucas Digne. That pair were rarely overly troubled, but at the other end Valverde’s decision to bring both Paco Alcacer and Philippe Coutinho into the line-up did not have the desired impact.

They both lasted just over an hour, with Coutinho forcing a fine save from Guaita from a curling strike in the 58th minute.

Meanwhile, Ousmane Dembele came on in the second half for his first appearance since his latest spell on the sidelines, but the young France forward was also incapable of breaking down the Getafe back line.

Former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini came on towards the end to make his debut for Getafe, who are 10th.

Rico, Sevilla’s hero

Real Madrid moved back up to third with a comprehensive 5-2 win over Real Sociedad on Saturday in which Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for the first time this season. However, they are still 17 points adrift of Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand. Valencia, though, reclaimed third place with a 3-1 win over Levante late on Sunday.

Earlier, Sergio Rico was the hero for Sevilla with a penalty save and several key interventions as his side boosted their European hopes with a 1-0 win over Girona.

The only goal of the game at a sunny Sanchez Pizjuan was scored just over 30 seconds into the second half, with Pablo Sarabia making sure the ball went in after a Joaquin Correa effort was stopped on the line.

But, before that, Rico had intervened to prevent the home side going behind just prior to the interval, diving to his right to save an Aday Benitez penalty awarded for a handball by Luis Muriel.

Sevilla, who will face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final in April and host Manchester United in the Champions League on February 21, are sixth in La Liga.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.