Friday, 19 August 2016

My favourite coming of age movies:

These are probably my favourite movies in general but oh well let's make a list in this specific genre, and because classing them from 1 to 10 is funner then not to do so (who doesn't like a proper list?) . These are not classed by greatness but by my personal preference.

10. The Garden State
that's life. if nothing else, its life. it's real, and sometimes it fuckin' hurts, but it's sort of all we have.
At twelve years old, this was probably my first "indie movie" and to say the least I was blown away. Ignorant of what other movies there could be out there, this was my favourite for a long time. I fell in love with all the characters and their quirks, especially Sam who in my opinion is not your typical "manic pixie dream girl". I would laugh and cry, and all its themes seemed to me so complicated and "deep". At that age I had never seen anything like it. And even though its at number ten, the images and quotes are still imprinted in my brain. I mean who can forget the scene when  Sam ( Natalie Portman) makes Andrew  (Zach Braff) make weird  and "original" noises in her room?

 Boyhood Movie Ending:
This is a masterpiece. Honestly, it's already a classic, I'm not going to wait twenty years to say so. The fact that it lost the Oscar to Birdman is as much a travesty as was Citizen Kane losing out to How Green is my valley ( not that Boyhood is at the same level as Citizen Kane but I'm just explaining how terrible Birdman was) Why is it only at nine, because it's not only about the boy, it's about his mom, his sister, his dad, about family life in general. I'm not a Linklater fan ( Bernie wasn't very well made and neither was Fast Food Nation)  and this movie didn't tug any emotional chord inside me like the other movies in this list did. Anyway this is just some stupid list I'm doing on my summer holiday. ( And the ending is just... beautiful, one of the best.

8.The virgin suicide 
The Virgin Suicides:
The book is one of my favourites ( I might write my personal analysis of it for the hell of it), if I ever wrote a book this would be it. Its everything that I love, death, youth and america ( I don't love death, I like the theme in books). It's so complex and layered, it's about the warped american male vision of woman, it's this morbid suburban dream, America's obsession with happiness, its the end of a decade, its an obvious allegory of of the fragility of youth represented by the death of the girls, but not only, its also about the death of the narrators, as they grow older and remember. This is one of the few contemporary novels that I feel will last, despite being set in the seventies it had a timeless feel to it, because it deals with timeless themes. Its should have been hard to convey all of this in movie, and even though I don't think Sofia Coppola entirely succeeded, she did a brilliant job to capture that morbid dreamlike suburbia, making it her best film. I don't know another movie that portrays so well that mystification of teenage girls.

7. Girl, interrupted
winona ryder quotes - Girl, Interrupted:
This is pretty much only in the list because it introduced me to Jared Leto whose eyes have been tormenting me ever since. Kidding( kind of) This is a beautifully shot  movie whose atmosphere and direction drown you in the claustrophobia  . The characters are brilliantly portrayed that they become real, no one is acting, its as though you were really in that asylum with them (making some tragic scenes unwatchable) Wyona Ryder (probably my favourite actress as you will see as we go along the list) is relatable and perplexing, we understand her and yet we feel frustrated by her . Why is this a coming of age movie? Just look at the picture above. As we grow up we question our sanity and that of the world around us, we believe that we are monsters and that everyone else are also monsters, how do we adapt when everything seems absurd? This movie underlines that by placing our heroine in a asylum. ( Yes I know that this was originally a memoir)

6. The breakfast club 
✖✖✖ The Breakfast Club ✖✖✖:  
I can't believe this is only at number six when I've probably watched it more than five times already. Do I need to explain why this movie is the best? I love all John Hughes movies: Sixteen candles ( the cinematography is  astounding, it's absurd and surrealist, that wedding scene is iconic, honestly if you don't believe me and can't remember, re- watch it) Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bullers Day Off, but this one is the one to rule them all. Its a great set piece? Teenagers on detention. I'm embarrassed to say that I cry every time when "The Brain" recounts why he was given detention. I absolutely understand what he means.

5. America, Graffiti 
1932 Ford Coupe, ‘American Graffiti’..Re-pin...Brought to you by #CarInsurance at #HouseofInsurance in Eugene, Oregon:
Who can forget this car? If there is one coming of age movie this is the one. Nostalgic, mesmerising, hopeful and yet not so much... The Wolfman Jack will always be here. 

4. Adventureland
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Yet another classic, this movie's cinematography  is just... exactly how I would shoot a film. Its perfect, the story, the humour, the characters, basically everything. Watch it.
Why am I writing less? Tired and no one will read this so...

3.Dead Poets Society
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I have one dream, one dream, to stand up on my desk to say "oh, captain, my captain" to a fired teacher who was just too out there and amazing for the school, while emotional music plays in the background. Honestly, I don't know another movie that has influences my "teenage hood" as much as this one has. Oh and Robin Williams was also amazing in Good Will Hunting.

2. Heather's
Image result for heathers ending
Its unfortunate that the best line of this movie is highly inappropriate (You know which one I'm talking about. To whoever is reading this) Even though I've probably watched The Breakfast Club more then five times, there was always a part of me who wanted to laugh at it, mock at its sincerity. Well, this movie was basically made for me. Its all that I love being ridiculed ( intellectual emo's, dark boyfriend, angst and high school movies in general), it turns them upside down and shows how ridiculous they can be. It's dark,  inappropriate , violent and yet the more enjoyable because of it. However, I would like to point out that even though this is a parody of adolescence it always mocks it with love and understanding. The filmmakers don't consider to be superior to their audience. They're laughing with you not at you. 

1 . Les 400 coups.
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Now, if The Catcher in the Rye is THE coming of age story ( in my humble opinion) well this is it's cinematic equivalent. The other movies on this list could be in any order ( except Heathers) but this is the number one, not only in coming of age , but in movies in general ( I would like to add to add that most movies are coming of age stories anyway). In my opinion there is no point for a movie existing if the cinematography is simply decent. It has to be striking, vibrant, iconic. Showing the world with a different perspective, a different lense. This movie does that. You just stare at the screen sometimes and ask yourself: How did he get the camera there? This movie is so memorable, I could replay it in my mind any moment. And lets admit it, that last shot is the Mona Lisa of cinema: his look is iconic, what is he thinking? And as he is confronted by the dead end of the sea, we wonder what will happen to him. Happily enough Truffaut has given us three more movies to complete this sympathetic kid's life ( Stoles Kisses, Bed and Board and Love on the Run. The fist two are enjoyable but the later is disappointing) 

I am sorry that there is not much analysis of the movies, but I wrote this quickly just for the fun of it.  

Just a quick question (that no will answer) ...

We're living in the twitter generation, the blog generation, the Youtube generation, in short ... the  who can shout the loudest generation. I have no problem with people contributing their thought on certain subject, but most of the time people haven't much to say. They're only adding to that excruciating  sound that is the internet like a flock of seagulls. People have always loved to complain ( I like to complain, that's exactly what I'm doing now , who doesn't ?) this generation particular loves to sound uprighteous and politically correct, but now there's nothing to complain about anymore, not that there aren't anymore problems. The problem is that people can only complain about one side of the story: "This isn't politically correct", " That just not right" , if anyone tries to contradict  "they" just   bark back . The "internet" don't have conversations any more, it's just a chorus of birds. All I'm asking ( not like anybody is ever going to read this) , why this need to ALWAYS say our opinion ?
I am aware of the irony that I'm  complaining  about other people complaining...
Shadows by Cassavetes

This movie has now become one of my all time favourites, not only is the making of it and its influence  fascinating, it is also a very enjoyable film to watch. This movie is the cinematic equivalent of On the road: spontaneous, youth and jazz. Three black siblings, pursuing creative careers in 1950's New York. Originally shot spontaneously in 1957( when it was released two years later, some scenes were added  to create a cohesive structure), there is no real plot. Don't want to write to much about it. Experience it and go watch it. Its great!

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Helena Almeida

Cool expo at the jeu de paume


Learn more with the link below

Nice drawing ...
Raymond Carver - Where I'm Calling From: Selected Stories- illustrated by SHOUT.:

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

I hate the use of the words vulnerable  and honest to describe art works, characters or people. It's  just really irritating, pretentious and often miss used.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Just to illustrate that paragraph I wrote yesterday ...  


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Shakespeare and co Café ...
I thought this was going to be a kitschy touristy shop, but I was surprised to find that it's actually pretty nice, the food is good and it gives a pretty convincing illusion of authenticity. I highly advise it, but like the bookshop I just wish it was a little less popular.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
J D Salinger artistic equivalent ...

I always associate J D Salinger to Edward Hopper. His paintings always invite to us to make them our own,  we can create our own stories behind them. Likewise , Salinger, lets the reader analyze the characters with him, with no definite answer on who they are after finishing his stories, which in a sense reflects how we all try to understand people around us in the real world. Ambiguity and melancholy characterise both artist's work. Just before the war with the eskimos is my favourite of  his work, short story or novel, its the most ambiguous and intriguing, you can interpret whichever way you like. These are some of my favourite Hopper paintings:
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Windows are an important metaphor in any artwork: illusion, dream etc. like in the Looking out  , the painting in the center. But the way that Hopper paints windows is similar to how Salinger writes stories. Its as though we are looking through a peep hole into their life. Illusion is a recurring theme in both of their work,like in the painting on the left New York Movies, there is a coalition between her thoughts, her worries, the world inside her head and that of the movie , two different worlds of imagination.

The ambiguity, the melancholy, the voyeurisme, our futile desire to analyze and  understand people  around us , is what makes both artist's work so captivating and similar.  

This is beautiful poem by Baudelaire:

Looking from outside into an open window one never sees as much as when one looks through a closed window. There is nothing more profound, more mysterious, more pregnant, more insidious, more dazzling than a window lighted by a single candle. What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what goes on behind a windowpane. In that black or luminous square life lives, life dreams, life suffers.
Across the ocean of roofs, I can see a middle-aged woman, her face already lined, who is forever bending over something and who never goes out. Out of her face, her dress, and her gestures, out of practically nothing at all, I have made up this woman’s story, or rather legend, and sometimes I tell it to myself and weep.
If it had been an old man I could have made up his just as well.
And I go to bed proud to have lived and to have suffered in some one besides myself.
Perhaps you will say “Are you sure that your story is the real one?” But what does it matter what reality is outside myself, so long as it has helped me to live, to feel that I am, and what I am?
- Charles Baudelaire 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Just writing ( no one is going to read this anyway)

Down in Vestal valley, on a cold winter’s morning, lays a child in the snow. He squashes the sleeping weeds on his back, and their spring. A melancholic, sickening sun seeps through the oppressive pale sky. The lonely white hills surrounding him defuse and rise into the wandering clouds. His lips shiver and quiver, the frosty wind whirls into his mouth, crystallising his tonsils turning them into icicles as in a grotto. His neck bathes in a glacial pool of resurrected mud and skeletons from last autumn leaves. Snug in his white duvet, snowflakes veil his face, he sleeps. At his feet, auriferous daffodils surge through, out of the depths, fluttering into the air, up to the billows of clouds. He sleeps, grinning like a child who grins after having pulled a trick. He is cold. He does not hear the children crying and shouting, neither does he hear the howling cars on the highway below, his resting face shimmers in the daylight’s froth. His hand lies on his chest. An inflamed red, Kool- aid like aqueous circles his skull. He is peaceful. He is silent.         
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                   I know this painting has nothing to do with the text but its one of my favorites. 


I have never been really into music, but recently I have been discovering some new stuff. Here's a list of artists and songs, because who doesn't like a list ?

  • Talking Heads. I particularly enjoy Psycho killer and Road to nowhere. They are out of this world weird.
                                                                   innovative, quirky, Scottish-born, US-based musician, singer songwriter, filmmaker, photographer and writer, David Byrne:  
  • James Bay,I was so impressed by  Hold back the water I thought it was a cover from Bruce Springsteen. The song is great, his voice could be better.
                                                            Come on let it go  Just let it be  Why don't you be you  And I'll be me?  Everything's that broke  Leave it to the breeze  Let the ashes fall  Forget about me    --James Bay:

  • Well I'm specifically obsessed with Come on Eileen by Dexy's midnight Runners 
Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen
  •      Valentina by The Hunts is pretty good ...
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  • Who doesn't like Simone and Garfunkel ? So long Frank Lloyd Wright is a personal favourite
                               .                               Simon and Garfunkel:

  • And the Lumineers are back with their single Ophelia  !!!! All time favourite band.                                                          
                                                      The Lumineers Announce New Album 'Cleopatra' with Single 'Ophelia' and World Tour Dates - It's been nearly four years since The Lumineers broke out with their crossover folk hit "Ho Hey," and after legal battles and a series of contributions to various soundtracks, on Friday (Feb. 5), the band officially announced its sophomore album Cleopatra along with a spring world tour.:
This image is so beautiful, so melancholic and absurd. One can imagine their own story based on this. It is a poem on its own ...

⇢|| it's rain tree 1969   ⇢||"156-365":

Reading books at the perfect time in your life and Sylvia Plath's fig metaphor

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and,  one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”

- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar 

One of the most beautiful metaphors on growing up, which is why this is such a wonderful novel, I couldn't recommend it more. This paragraphe meant nothing to me when I read it, but now I  finally understand what she meant. I also see the figs above me. I loved The bell jar,but I simply didn't relate or quite understand what Esther Greenwood/Sylvia Plath was going through. When I was a kid, I sneered at adults who said " Teenagers are trying to find their place in the world", but only now do I know how true this statement it . I didn't understand what being anyone meant. This is the same case with The catcher in the rye, I was amused by it, but it was only few months after reading it that I felt what Holden Caulfield felt, when he questioned that taxi driver on what happened to the ducks in the winter. This brings up a few questions,( Do we read books to young ? Do these books influence the way we feel as teenagers?)
I'm glad that I read these two books, and there is nothing wrong with not connecting to a book while you are reading it. But I certainly  want to revisite The Bell Jar. There are three books that came at the right time: I capture the castle by Dodie Smith, I was expecting it to be a sweet children's story but I was surprised by how dark and complex it actually was. This novel is the diary of a teenage girl, Cassandra living in a abandoned castle and struggling with poverty,  the reader is able to witness Cassandra growing up mentally and also see her writing develop. I have never believed more in a character then in Cassandra. The next novel is Zooey and Franny by J D Salinger. I prefer this novel to The catcher in the rye , I had a strong connection to Zooey and the last page is just beautiful. They are not very nice  siblings and are quite obnoxious,  but Salinger makes us care for both of them, forgive them and understand them. I will write another post on Salinger. Finally The Virgin Suicide by Jeffrey Eugenides, this novel is all I ask.The writing style, the themes and the metaphors are perfect. Eugenides doesn't overdo the metaphors either, and also have a purpose instead of being there for the sake of a beautiful image  . It walks a thin line between a news paper investigation and an allegory. I will also write a post about this novel for there is so much discuss.
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Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Big Short, Mia madre and the state of movies in general.

I don't need to do a  review of The Big Short you've already read them, its a fine movie. And that is exactly my issue, its a fine movie, nothing more. Amusing, yes,but Oscar worthy ? NO. The actors seam to be having fun good for them so are we, but all I honestly see is Ryan Gosling in a wig. As someone who was very young when the economical crash happened it helped me visualise it, so I learnt something. But I kind of felt like they were trying to hard to be the "clever movie", not to debauch because that would be too similar to the Wolf of Wall Street, but  instead the "clever" movie. If this is nominated for best picture well then that is just ... depressing. I know the Oscar has never been a serious award ceremony, more like a self congratulating party, but at least last year we had Boyhood ( which unfairly lost to the pretentious and meaningless Birdman). Boyhood felt like a proper movie, The Big Short more like a TV movie. I honestly don't think that movies are dying, I just think that there are too many, and most of them are terrible, so we have the impression that there aren't any good left. They're just harder to find.
If you want to see a great movie which I honestly believe to be a master piece, watch Mia Madre by Nanni Moretti . If there was one last movie to watch it would be this one, because it is about the death of cinema. One can either watch the movie as a emotional drama about two sibling letting go of their mother or that the mother is cinema itself. Watching the movie while knowing about the allegory is like watching it  with a new pair of eyes. I honestly see it as the conclusion of the Dolce Vita, after the Americanisation of Italy, Europe, here is the result...Watch it and really pay attention to the little details that make watching a film so much more worth while ( Why can't we see Rome properly ? What does the american represent as an actor and the role he is playing ? ) Oh and last thing if you love food, Japan and Crying the watch Sweet Red Bean Paste by Naomi Kawase, just a heartbreaking movie that will also make you hungry.

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A room of one's own ... While reading Virginia Woolf's essay I realised that I was lucky to be able to write freely and that I was not taking advantage of it...So that is what I am going to do ... Write. And I mustn't be ashamed or worry  if the writing is any good because I honestly doubt that any one will ever read this blog. I am just expressing myself because I can.

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Quick note: This is actually quite good,even though I was not that impressed by The waves . Her prose is astounding,no one can deny that, but I was never emotionally engaged with the characters, I never believed that they could be real. However  A room of one's own is much more fluid, I feel as though I am listening to her talk, as thought I were in her head. She has also persuaded me to read more Jane Austen, who's work I had always enjoyed but had never given much thought.