; movieschocolatebooks: November 2013


Friday, November 29

Film by Ronald Bergan

So if I don't watch movies, I read about movies and the latest book on this subject is Film by Ronald Bergan. Let alone the appealing topic, I was drawn to the book by the ''oh so memorable'' cover, showing Mrs. Robinson's sexy leg, in black stocking and Benjamin Braddock's aka Dustin Hoffman lost gaze. Now, how yummy is that? It is one of the best books on movies I have ever read from a historical point of view. A room on the top of the largest entertainment industry, illustrated with great pictures of sensational movies, Film by Ronald Bergan, is a must for every respectable cinephile.

The book is divided into interesting chapters on the story of the seventh art, on how movies are made, detailing on movie genres, the contribution to the world cinematography of each European country and not only, the most outstanding directors of all times and, finally, the best 100 top movies. From a historical point of view, the evolution of cinema is presented by decade, with the most representative events or movies that defined that specific period of time, even the box office hits of the time. It is not only a historical approach but also an illustration of the social and cultural changes that concurred. My favourite decade is, by all means, The Roaring Twenties- an effervescent time when the radio was invented, the movies turned from silent to talkies, when jazz journalism was born, when the bob haircut and the charleston were the kings of fad. The advent of sound was both a bless and a curse since famous actors that made their name in the silent era had to overcome their fear or lack of voice and go talkies. Back to the teasing cover of the book, I remember being totally smitten by The Graduate not only due to the great performances, but also because of Simon & Garfunkel's song, Mrs. Robinson, which marked the beginning of the trend for pop-song soundtracks for the movies.

Growing up on the movies of the 80s left a strong impression on me. It was the time when movies went big, lush, adventurous, magnificent. Movies had it all: romance, science-fiction, fantasy, action, adventure. The studios were big and strong and certain directors -Steven Spielberg- came to be known as the men with the Midas touch. Top Gun, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi, Batman, Back to the Future were among the movies I grew up on, when going to the cinema was the peak of the week and when my passion for movies turned into addiction. Addiction got nurtured by the success of the videotapes and cheap renting houses when Class of 1999 was among those unexpected B category movies of the beginning of the 90s that turned cinema into second option.

The new indies from the 90s turned out to be the way up to maturing my tastes and directors such as Quentin Tarantino, the Cohen brothers, Cuaron, Kieslovski began making a style of their own that exulted originality and spunk. From movie pitch -illustrated as an important stage in the process of creating movies- as described in Altman's The Player to post-production, the entire process is fascinating. The World Cinema chapter of the book is excellent in emphasising the most remarkable creations of the seventh art, a guide to the movies that must be seen and never forgotten. Romania is shortly mentioned as the country that made 15 movies per year since the 1960s -I wonder- among which the best-known were Liviu Ciulei's Forest of the Hanged and Lucian Pintilie's Sunday at Six.
The world's best directors of all time are then shortly presented in terms of personal style, themes, movies and artistic credo. The best 100 movies of all times are masterpieces at international level, movies from all ages and times that left their mark on the history of humanity. And if you want to make sure you haven't missed important stuff, check the list of winners of the world's most prestigious film festivals. An unmissable book!

Sunday, November 24

Turtles can fly

How can a king's wealth be measured? In golden coins, in the love of his subjects or in the richness of his heart? What makes a king the powerful ruler that he is? Knowledge is the answer. Yet, power is a fleeting state of mind, especially since there are no valuable possessions to perfect one's realm. Kingdoms of broken hearts lie in-between war and peace, in nameless strips surrounded by barbed wire, machine guns and bombs. And among maimed limbs and souls, turtles can fly as director Bahman Ghobadi is trying to make us believe.

Even little kings like Satellite, a 13-year-old boy (Soran Ebrahim) from a refugee camp near the Turkish border in Kurdish Iraq, know that respect comes from information. So he makes people in the camp and the neighbouring villages, happy by installing satellite dishes meant to bring news on the American-Iraqi war. When not busy hassling, Satellite has the boys from the village gather landmines that he sells for them. One day, he meets the sad gaze of Agrin, who travels with her armless brother and a blind toddler she carries on her back. Love in the time of war happens too, so the infatuated Satellite goes to great trouble to win the heart of the girl; for all she knows, Agrin has a big, black hole in the place of her heart. Soon, king Satellite will not only lose his object of affection but his illusory kingdom as well.

This is a movie dedicated to all war casualties, children mainly, whose wounds go deeper than meets the eye and who are broken beyond repair. Shame, guilt, despair, blood are daily routine for children who find themselves fatherless, lost, trapped between worlds and nowhere in particular. Like turtles, they carry the burden of their own fate upon their shoulders, proofs of their disgrace and bleeding hearts, reminders of the atrocities they have to live with. Like turtles, they migrate endlessly, trying not to face their truths and lies, hidden from the light, little candles flickering in the darkness. Two survivors, Hengoa, an armless teenager, and Agrin, his sister, who was raped by soldiers during the attack on her village, carry each their open wound: the boy uses his mouth to disassemble mines and his head to fight back, whereas Agrin hates the blind toddler she has been carrying upon her back, a constant reminder of her disgrace. Agrin hurts the little boy much to her brother's disapproval who wants to keep him at any cost. He will shortly learn that any kind gesture comes at an excruciating price.

It is hard to believe that turtles will eventually fly, given their broken wings and spirit and since there seems to be no bright future for such creatures of despair. The director shows no mercy, except for Satellite's broken foot; however, it is not about his own hope in the better things that are to come, it is rather the viewers' hope in the last shred of humanity. Also, Mr. Ghobadi takes no side as far as the war is concerned, neither expressing any hope in the American intervention nor any faith in Sadam's ruling. His movie is not about the adults shaping the face of the world, but about the children caught in their battle for power. There is some magical touch in the way the movie unravels, a sort of softness that wraps around the frailty of the broken bodies and souls. It is a touching movie that speaks of useless wars and their casualties, about the way wars and their atrocities mould the soul, flesh and spirit of those caught up in their melee.

Monday, November 18

The Counselor de Cheltuitus Banus

Ridley Scott ...fail. The Counselor este un podium de high class actors. O defilare fastuoasa, as putea spune epopeica, de barbati hot ai cetatii viselor. Avem in distributie numai pietre pretioase ce vin sa sustina un film mai mult decat slab, cu un subiect alambicat si neexploatat la valoarea a ceea ce ar fi putut fi un proiect marca Ridley Scott. Si ''defilarea frumosilor'' incepe cu Michael Fassbender, apoi urmeaza Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Goran Visnjic, chiar si aducerea '' la viata' a lui John Leguizamo. Acest covor rosu de staruri aducatoare de public feminin, este sustinut si de cealalta parte de o rascolitoare Cameron Diaz si o stearsa Penelope Cruz. Actorii ar fi putut face atat de multe alte lucruri interesante, decat sa joace in acest film, ar fi dat atat de mult si ar fi putut straluci la adevarata lor valoare, daca nu ar fi fost o straduinta de a reusi intr-un proiect de film ce este atat de slab, incat a fost nevoie de nu mai putin de cinci actori de prima clasa pentru a-l realiza.

Subiectul este clasic...drogurile, lacomia, femeile care sucesc mintile barbatilor si fac din ei instrumente de obtinut ceea ce doresc dansele, cartelurile mexicane ce nu iarta nimic, coincidente ''cusute cu ata alba''si nascatoare de actiuni radicale si extreme, actiune ce sare fara legatura de la un moment la altul, mafioti ce pot sa realizeze crime incredibil de minutios pregatite, dar care mor stupid de simplu. Cam asa este ''The Counselor''. Filmul este impanzit de replici ''de retinut'', de ''cuvinte de duh''...de parca ma aflam pe un news feed pe facebook. Este un film facut cu toate ingredientele necesare realizarii unui blockbuster, este facut pentru bani, pentru minti usoare si nedoritoare de mai mult... Este facut pentru masa de spectatori mancatori de popcorn si grabiti catre altceva...catre ''the next thing on fashion''.


Michael Fassbender din ''Shame'' sau ''Inglorious Basterds'' este vandut succesului, nu exista in acest film... la fel si Javier Bardem. Brad Pitt are farmecul sau, isi face rolul frumos, elegant, ca la carte...desi poate mai mult- este un Adonis fermecator si catchy. Cea care straluceste efectiv, in acest film, este Cameron Diaz. Este o felina, o diva desteaspta si periculoasa, o lacoma surprinzator de apetisanta, ciudata si provocator de sexoasa; invarte barbatii si obtine ceea ce vrea de la ei, are replicile pregatite si isi face rolul atat de languros, incat la un moment dat ai impresia ca prostul gust a ajuns o arta a celor bogati si lacomi (ma refer la imbracaminte, bijuterii, machiaj, replici taioase si spuse in raspar) ea stie tot, ea face tot, invarte si ceea ce nu parea de invartit... prea mult...devine obositoare. Penelope Cruz este stearsa ca prezenta actoriceasca, eleganta, modesta si nepotrivita mediului de '' prea mult'' al filmului. Este sotia avocatului- rol principal, Michael Fassbender.

Sincer... acesta este un film de duminica seara, un fel de clatire a ochilor atat feminini cat si masculini, este un film ce nu te solicita prea mult, ca o masa de afaceri la restaurant, unde este servit mecanic si te duci pentru ca ai o agenda de bifat, nu pentru ca ai placerea si dorinta de a te bucura de compania cuiva si pleci infometat, caci aveai alte trebuiri de rezolvat, nu sa mananci. Este un film fara fond, desi plin de bogatie vizuala si actori buni, ramai nesatisfacut, gandindu-te la ceea ce ar fi putut fi, la ceea ce ar fi putut realiza un asa casting.

Saturday, November 16

Post Tenebras Lux

The Devil is red, thin, with a Pink Panther-like silhouette, sexually gifted, silent, always carrying a non-animated toolbox. The purpose of both demon and its toolbox are never revealed, yet skillfully hidden in the events that build around Juan and his family, the main characters of Post Tenebras Lux (the title is a Latin phrase meaning “after darkness, light”), a movie that bears the fascinating touch of Mexican filmmaker, Carlos Reygadas. 

Again, this is a movie where time is versatile, the narrative flows back and forth and the personal touch of the director feels powerful in every scene. Domestic life does not successfully blend with picturesque, rural Mexico, and the discrepancy between Juan (Adolfo Jimenez Castro) and his family's way of life and the virgin surroundings is pointed by the sound of chainsaws, violent outbursts, sexual orgies, and  geographical dislocations. The movie is a creation of the director's fantasy and the reality around him, a voyage into the Reygadas's memories and biography. Rugby scenes, explicit sex scenes from a European spa, domestic fights, Juan's violent behaviour towards the dogs are all fascinatingly drawn in a dreamlike world shot with a distortion effect around the edges, in an impressionistic style.

The Devil's toolbox is home of the seven deadly sins that are skillfully described in every sequence of the movie and reflected in the name of Juan's aggressor, Seven, always chopping trees. First, there is wrath (Juan beating his favourite dog), sloth (Juan's lazy help who fails to follow his orders), lust (Juan’s addiction to porn), gluttony (the fat woman in the sex spa with swingers), greed (Seven's attempt to rob Juan's house), envy (class differences) and pride (Juan’s). Juan, his family, the rest of villagers are all participants in the Devil's playground, subject to their own frailty and hidden desires. The first thing the Devil cunningly inserts in their minds is discouragement, the priceless tool that brings along all negativity and evil, the backside of hope. Words can lift people's spirit or bury their faith forever and the Devil is a master of words. Red, silent, revealed only to the innocent eyes of Juan's boy, the Devil is deeply built in each of us, yet powerless in front of unity. Rugby feels the same as playing inside the family; together we are one, divided, we stand alone. 

Dreamy, hallucinating, Post Tenebras Lux offers you a story that is anxious to be revealed and decoded. Give it patience and have faith in the optimistic haze of the film; Carlos Reygadas won the Best Director Award at the Cannes Festival for its rare, experimental vision and beautiful photography. Once again, movies make mesmerising, vivid journeys into the humane depth of ourselves and beyond the farthest limits of our imagination.

Tuesday, November 12

The Past (Le Passé)

Trapped between past and future, in a guilty, painful present, Asghar Farhadi's haunted characters of his latest movie, The Past (Le Passé), are prisoners of their own fears and lies. Men and women, little or grown-ups, are all busy building castles in the air, hearts torn between what was meant to be and what may be. A pregnancy is the only certitude, perfumes are much trusted saviours, unresolved feelings flow around a broken house, paint and smoke wrap around the senses and minds of them all.

Similar to his previous picture -A Separation-  Asghar Farhadi's The Past (Le Passé) is about the loneliness behind our choices, a sensitive approach to life itself. The director takes a rather common situation -getting a divorce matter settled in order to embark upon a new life, with children of previous marriages brought together by the prospect of a new child- and turns it into an emotional, provocative story of loss and suffering. Dysfunctional families have a frailty that cannot be rendered into words, yet this talented director succeeds in building a dramatic veil around this misfortune triangle of Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), the former husband, Marie (Bérénice Bejo), the estranged wife and Samir (Tahar Rahim, A Prophet), the new man in her life. Ahmad flies from Teheran, four years after having left Marie and her two daughters due to a depressive condition, to mutually end their marriage, at the request of Marie who is with Samir's child. The all live in the same house, with her two daughters and Samir's little boy ever since Celine, the wife of Samir, drank detergent, eight months ago, ending up in a coma.  

Asghar Farhadi's movie has no beginning and no ending in the traditional narrative structure of his previous movie, yet the resemblance lies in the investigation behind the love triangle. Samir's still legally married to Celine, who committed suicide upon finding about her husband's affair with the beautiful chemist, Marie. How did the wife find about the secret affair remains to be unveiled, yet this painful search for the truth reveals the unresolved feelings each of the three have for their past lovers. Marie is bitter in her treatment of Ahmad, even cruel at times, intentionally trying to hurt him or take revenge for having deserted her. It is obvious to the whole world, including Samir, that when two people still find reasons to fight after four years of separation, there are some deep, unresolved feelings that are anxious to surface. Samir, on the other hand, feels guilt, remorse and probably, still loves the mother of his child lying mute, lifeless in the hospital bed, waiting for the right scent or the warm touch to be brought back to life. Or not. Yet he is trapped between duty towards the woman bearing his unborn child and his pending emotions for Celine.

A powerful movie, with great performances - Bérénice Bejo, the quiet beauty of The Artist, even won her the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013- and excellent directing, The Past (Le Passé) is built like an emotional domino ready to shatter and drag along all the unspoken truths along. Ahmad's presence in the house is disturbing to Marie, her daughters, Samir and even Fouad, the cute, tormented little boy who, at times, steals the entire movie. When Marie is unsettled, her lover acts unlovingly, her eldest daughter, Lucie -a budding Marion Cotillard version- is lost, Samir is distressed by his little boy's anger, Ahmad is drawn into his past and all balance is disrupted. And again, truth shall not set you free or deliver your soul. Some truths are better left unspoken, hanging between blunt utterance and silent concealing, heavy burdens to build inside ourselves. The past is written in our vibrant memory more alive than the present and more painful than the future; there are slices of life that belong neither to the past, nor to the present and will forever shape our future. Resolution stands stark in between.

Monday, November 11


Loss of identity and striving for accomplishment find the two male characters of Joachim Trier's movie, Reprise, in medias res. The movie has a nonlinear narrative that takes the action back, forth and beyond. It is sizzling to the point of throwing its viewers into a secret, private league of their own. In a word, Reprise is far from making it big into the mainstream cinema and peculiar in the use of Fingerfucked by the Prime Minister as its recurring song -a movie for connoisseurs.


However, there is something about the film that moves you in terms of performances and the topics that are subtly touched by Joachim Trier's paintbrush. Or should I say intimate lens? Philip (Anders Danielsen Lie) and Erik (Espen Klouman-Hoiner) are two buddies who love to read, have uncertain feelings and views where women are concerned, and have been part of a group of other friends ever since primary school. Philip writes a novel, yet his success and his new relationship with Kari are too much to handle, so he has a nervous breakdown and is committed to hospital. Erik is by his side when he returns and encourages him to pick things from where he left off, but Philip has a hard time coping with reality as it is. It is now Erik's turn to have his novel published. Recognition comes with a high price since it offers no key to identity and self-accomplishment. You need to distance yourself from everything familiar that pushes your buttons, leave poetry aside, and embark on a voyage towards yourself. 

Writing is such an exhausting process that, upon closing the final pages, you feel strangely drained, yet empowered. The feeling can be so overwhelming that the writer needs to lose himself to a world of his own. Remarkable characters live whereas their ordinary maker goes into agony. Philip wrote a book and met a great woman at the same time and it turned out to be too unbearable for him to cope with both; love and writing burnt him fast and completely. When he returned from hospital, words seemed to fail him, he looked at those around him with different eyes and had to make a tough choice, counting from ten to one: Kari (Viktoria Winge) or inspiration. And again choice itself proved to be depleting him of physical strength. To Philip, love was the driving force, whereas to Erik, love stood in his way of becoming an authentic, meaningful writer.

Such choices are beyond our conscious reach; we are simply drawn to the fleeting light, aware of the danger of having our wings burnt, yet too numb to act differently. The way the two friends and their group is described is poetic and manages to capture their essence of youth- a time of soul-searching, loving, losing, succeeding, hurting, disappointing and hating. Ups and downs are personal for each young man, no recipes, no judging, simply surviving this stage in their lives. Beaches, Paris and Oslo are the places that resonate with their feelings, inspiring to their young minds, decisive to their choices. But are emotions and dreams likely to be refelt? Is reprise an option or a deluding idea? Well, in Joachim Trier's opinion, some things are bound to pick from where they left, others are prone to other vulnerable choices.

Reprise is a movie I wish I had seen in my early twenties, when I needed answers and looked for the essential questions; it is a slice of life as it is, no embellishing resolutions, no fake emotions. Simply living to the best and the fullest!

Thursday, November 7

Now You See Me de Cheltuitus Banus

Vrei magie? Vrei sa te simti bine si sa fii absorbit de magia Hollywood-lui? Ei bine...uita-te la: 'Now You See Me'. ESTE LAS VEGAS, BABY! ESTE SARE SI PIPER! ESTE TOT TACAMUL, FELUL UNU, FELUL ''N'' SI DESERT! Este Hollywood de calitate! Dupa un astfel de film iti dai seama de ce acolo se creaza vise. Realizezi ca esti inca un copil in cautarea dulciurilor si 'circului' copilariei. Realizezi ca vrei un spectacol cand te duci la cinema...dar un spectacol de calitate, cu detaliile toate puse la punct, fara scapari, fara usi ce se deschid o data pe o parte si apoi pe cealalta, fara ceas la mana vreunui antic.Vrei o ciocolata din fabrica domnului Wonka, vrei Craciun, vrei artificii si tremur in stomac. Vrei sa vezi un film -spectacol pe ecranul alb al cinematografului...sau macar o diagonala cat mai mare a tv-ului la care sa ai optiunea 3d si sa privesti de acasa tipand si incurajand personajele, traind cu ele si incercand sa le intri in creier.

'Now You See Me' are toate ingredientele pentru a te face entuziasmat de cinema si filme...este cocktail de magie, trucuri, lumini, actori mari, medii si mici, alesi foarte bine- cu personalitatile lor ce se muleaza perfect pe personaje, cu un strop de New Orleans si Mardi Gras, Las Vegas, New York...oh!! yes, my amazing New York, o frantuzoaica vorbitoare de engleza intr-un mod atat de sweet, incat trebuie sa fii stana de piatra sa nu zambesti auzindu-i accentul, rasturnari de situatie, si romantism Hollywoodian perfect asezonat celorlalte intamplari... nu se putea fara un sarut de final care sa incheie povestea intr-un mod tipic american. Este visul american de revista. Personajele J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) sunt alese misterios, pentru o misiune ce pare ca o intelegi ... am zis bine 'ti se pare'.

Este o rasturnare de situatie atat de fluida si frumos realizata incat nu te deranjeaza, ci te incita...vrei mai mult, vrei sa nu fii dezamagit de urmatorii pasi...si nu vei fi...vei fi uimit de creativitatea si ingenuozitatea lor. Te vor hrani corespunzator. Sunt pasi magici, cu insemnatate reala, cu un fir logic si realizabil. Lasa-te condus macar un pic de frumusetea necunoscutului, nu mai rationa, lasa-te purtat de frumusetea pasilor increzatori in si cu magia copilariei, cand nu te gandeai la consecinte, ci vedeai povesti si personaje din povesti la tot pasul, cand oamenii mari ti se pareau plictisitori, tristi si prea seriosi in realitatea lor...Lasa-te purtat de frumusetea a ceea ce este absurd...in cazul acesta ''cei patru calareti'' aflati in slujba '' Ochiului'' magic- suna copilaresc, nu-i asa? In realitatea noastra, au introdus magie, au introdus copilaria si adolescenta fiecaruia dintre noi - sa nu va inchipuiti ca veti vedea mare lucru, ci doar un strop de romantism, chiar si in ultimele scene, romantioase si prea siropos de exemplare. Dar spre deliciul meu... pentru a-l face mai catchy si pentru a face apel si la partea romatica a fiecarui privitor de film, nu numai ca politista INTERPOL vorbitor de franzeca a aparut, ci si Parisul cu podul ferecat cu lacate...podul dragostei... daca aveti impresia ca am spus ceva din subiectul filmului, va inselati. Nu am zis decat o mica parte din el...o parte ce nu a mai putut sa ramana secreta.

Frumusetea unui film ca acesta este vizualizarea si trairea lui. Macar pentru magie si trucuri deconspirate, pe care fiecare, mai ales adolesceti sau adulti, voiam sa le explicam pentru copilul din noi. Macar pentru actorii lui si mai ales pentru Morgan Freeman, care aduce vocea devenita faimoasa prin Through The Wormhole... toti actorii sunt ei insisi in aceste personaje, sunt adusi laolalta uimitor de frumos...Felicitari celui ce s-a gandit la ei, la acest minunat mix de realitate si necunoscut...it's a breath of happy air cu putin 'je ne sais quoi' francez, zambete si entuziasm ce trece orice granita. Este filmul show-lui perfect pentru public doritot de cinema bun, stralucitor, incitant, curat.

Tuesday, November 5

Passion by Cheltuitus Banus

'Passion', Brian de Palma, Rachel McAddams, Noomi Rapace, engleza, germana, ''Crime d'amour'', adaptare, film rupt in doua, stil european, stil american imbracat in haine europene, zapaceala, o usa ce se deschide mai intai pe dreapta, apoi pe stanga, o masina ce parea bubuita la nervi, apoi doar asezata strategic, fara nicio zgarietura....

Film ce pare bunicel, pentru o dupa amiaza si apoi te scoate din ale tale...Adica, ce naiba se intampla de fapt?? ... O sefa blonda, frumoasa, sexoasa, ochioasa, kinky, imbracata in stilul americano-european cuminte isi duce subalterna pana la limita indurarii... si de aici, se rupe filmul. Din imagini clare si curate, colorate si precise, devine intunecat si sumbru, timpul fizic nemaifiind clar delimitat.... catchy la inceput....dezamagitor spre final. In toata aceasta ''salata'' apare my black swan..Noomi Rapace...my lovely European shy princess..my lovely discret little mouse, my lovely dark girl, who will never be a Hollywood princess, she is a a bare foot princess walking and running with boys, and motorcycles, pentru care o rochie este ceva rar si nice, nereprezentativa...ciudatenia ei, sarmul ei este intunericul din ea. Hainele ei, coafura, privirea si mimica, structura fetei creaza un personaj in sine. Nu ai cum sa o faci Hollywoodiana, strici filmul american, sau o 'sifonezi' pe Noomi. Ca sa o ai pe ea in filmul tau...adaptezi Holllywoodul ei...imbraci blonda noastra in haine europene , faci filmul in stil european...chiar si brian de palma a inteles asta...Si pentru asta? Apelezi la Hitchcock style, luminile lui, cadrele lui, muzica si unghiurile lui... ziua devine noapte, diferentele intre ele fiind neobservabile o faci astfel pe Noomi sa se integreze filmului tau...totul pentru ea- este filmul ei, nu al lui Rachel McAddams, frumoasa sefa blonda, mereu surazatoare, cuceritoare de priviri si atragatoare de stralucire....intre noi fie vorba- chiar si Icar s-a ''ars'' de prea multa stralucire.


Filmul este o adaptare a francezului ''Crime d'amour''- 2011...si nu ii face cinste...mai deloc. Mai bine ramanea francez, ramanea raw si european intrutotul...ca film european este catchy, Kirstin Scott- Thomas este o 'real gem', este ''de acolo'', ca si celelalte personaje ce participa la crearea lui...limba franceza este un personaj in sine, asa cum germana participa la europenizarea si realizarea filmului lui De Palma. Filmul lui 'Passion' este stirbit cumva, este neterminat, este in lipsa de ceva...o simti si vrei mai mult, te astepti la mai mult... asa am simtit. Eu l-am vazut pentru ca mie imi place Noomi Rapace, are acel ceva dark in ea, dar un dark linistitor, serios si potrivit doar ei...este tacuta de cele mai multe ori, priveste cu subanteles, vorbeste putin, daca rade te inspaimanta, ti-e teama de ea razand...o urmareste inca Stieg Larsson si al lui Millenium... a devenit amprenta ei. Noomi Rapace este ''the thing'' pentru care acest film trebuie vazut...in rest, mai luati o punga de popcorn...

Monday, November 4

Smash! Chocolate by Nidar

The Norwegian seem to like unusual combinations such as salty crackers or corn cores and sweet chocolate. They even claim Smash! by Nidar is their own invention, unique in the whole world. Not entirely true since the Japanese turned to be as inspired as our Northern friends and invented corn cores covered in matcha -http://movieschocolatebooks.blogspot.ro/2013/06/matcha-sweets-japanase-snack-review.html. So far for originality, but who cares as long as we love the little whale-shaped crackers or the greenish little beanlike snacks? The taste is different and as usual, chocolate is the undeniable queen.

A rather new brand in the business -it started in 1988- Smash! gathered quite a lot of fans around and nowadays, Norwegians consume approximately 250 million pieces of Smash! every year. Which means the little devils are quite addictive and a combination that doesn't feel too fattening or too sweet. Research has shown that the Norwegian and the Finnish share the same interest for salty sweet and especially young people love to chat and eat. Also, several attempts to combine flavours failed and nowadays, there is only one Smash! thing: the salty one, in different shapes. They have come to the conclusion that it is so good that they are not willing to share it with the rest of the world, so Smash! can only be found in Norway.  
Crispy snacks are one way of keeping people busy on certain occasions, not to mention a way of making friends quickly. It was a product that was rather appreciated to the last piece by my kids than by a more refined chocolate eater as myself. However, I am not complaining since it offered me the opportunity to try something unique and strange, at the same time. Food and chocolate in particular require a certain open-mindedness that will definitely reward your leap of faith and take your taste buds to the seventh heaven. Take my word for it!

Melkesjokolade by Freia

An unforgettable trip to Norway needs to be celebrated with style, so my first choice is obviously chocolaty. Freia Melkesjokolade is a classy appearance, wrapped in yellowish garment, dedicated to Edvard Munch's work. His 150 anniversary takes place this year so, alongside an exhibition of  250 works from all periods, Freia, a Kraft Foods-owned company, also honours this Modernist pioneer. Thus it is a chocolate with a scent of milk and culture that makes you feel special and part of the history.

It is smooth, not very sweet, containing 30% cocoa solids and smells really nice. It looks and feels like a little schoolgirl ready for the school party, smelling of milk and tasting a bit like almonds. It is a happy chocolate bar that hides a bit of history on the inner side of the wrapping. The owner of Freia asked the famous painter to decorate one of the canteens in his chocolate factory in 1921. Munch painted 12 pictures on the walls of the canteen for female workers -once again, the indestructible connection between women and chocolate, right? Two years later, the frieze paintings were moved, under the painter's supervision, to the Freia Hal, where there are still hanging today, to the very satisfaction of the workers -http://www.munch150.no/
Melkesjokolade by Freia is Norway's most famous chocolate bar, a popular brand that is supposed to give a sense and taste of this interesting country. As I have already mentioned, Freia's success went straight on the Swedish market where because of a conflicting trademark had to change its name into Marabou - http://movieschocolatebooks.blogspot.ro/2013/01/marabou-cea-suedeza.html. It also chose a different logo, that of a stork. Name or no name, it is still about the quality and Melkesjokolade by Freia is definitely a bar to try and enjoy. The girlish little bar did not fail to make my day, A Norwegian one that took me back to the lit streets of Oslo. It may not be a refined Lindt Excellence little marvel yet it will always mirror my Norwegian experience: full, unexpected, mind-blowing.


Room in Rome

Chance encounters have a magical touch beyond comparison; they are brief, meaningful and bound to fade away as easily as they settle into shape. According to values, mentality and age, the two people involved in the affair are more or less open about their sexuality and feelings; Brief Encounter, Before Sunrise were rather focused on the journey both characters undertake rather than on the instant connection and the way it intensely burns. Julio Medem's Room in Rome brings a different touch to the theme of chance encounters in the way the characters are drawn and the intensity of the moment.

This story neither involves a man and a woman, nor does it take place in a railway station or on a train. Yet, it is also about a voyage two young women take into their own intimacy and inner world. Natasha (Natasha Yarovenko) and Alba (Elena Anaya) meet in a bar, like each other and end up spending a night together in a hotel room in Rome. At first, Alba is the confident, emotional one yet towards the second part of the movie, Natasha opens up and blossoms in the eyes of the viewers. There are times when the movie feels strange in the way it glides between magical images of Cupid and Google Earth search for places or watching short movies on the mobile phone. Still, I believe these mundane nuances are used by the director to reinforce and contrast the depth of the connection between the two women. 

The story is touching, the movie is well-filmed, the room and the music are characters themselves in a picture that turns out to be engaging and sensitive. The room is full of history, a mixture of the glorious past, with scenes of both the Roman and Greek history, and the modern times, with laptop, Google Earth and mobile phones. In between, the two women love each other tenderly, stripping threads of their souls and wrapping them around each other's heart. The room is an atemporal realm, where deceit goes as far as hurtful truths, where time is on the lovers' side, a real heaven under Cupid's powerful arrows. Natasha and Alba love between the sheets, in the bathtub, with their bodies, souls and minds. They surrender to this brief moment of passion like there is no tomorrow as if this is a one-time chance to reveal their true essence to a kindred spirit. Music is a recurrent theme, hallucinating and impressive, composed, orchestrated and produced by Jocelyn Pook. Yet, the most remarkable is the Loving Strangers performed by Russian Red, a soft and sad melody.

Sex is a rather sensitive theme and it takes a careful, tender touch to be rendered on the screen. It is a mutual effort that involves both actors and director, with a great deal of attention to the manner of filming and the script. It shouldn't feel as an adult movie, nor is it supposed to turn into something trivial or meaningless. Julio Medem beautifully painted a love story that took sex and intimacy to the next level in terms of subtlety and finesse. 'Your skin. Your skin is incredible. Your skin is like the Russian Steppe.' says Alba to her little Russian friend, delicately caressing her white body. It feels so natural and sweet and probably a thing only a woman could say to another. Room in Rome is not a gay movie or a movie for women only, it is a film that speaks of spirits that connect instantly and forever in the most unusual circumstances.

Sunday, November 3

Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate by Cailler

They say form is very important and they are right. Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate by Cailler has a wavy form that immediately grabs your attention. It is part of the Sublim collection launched in 2009 that doesn't fail to live up to your expectations. They say the entire history of the brand is wrapped in a single tablet and they are right again: once you open it, you cannot miss the milky scent. Straight from the heart of the Gruyère uplands, it took a woman's touch to turn an ambitious dream into a fascinating product.

You may not know it but chocolate makers have been sprinkling salt over either black or milk chocolate for some time now. So it is not any novelty, yet it makes an interesting, unexpected combination so nothing too regret about choosing it, especially since I travelled half the world to get it. Effort, as usually, makes victory worth while; Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate is sweet, crunchy, with caramelised pieces of salt (10%). The chocolate is smooth and soft, neither too sweet nor tasteless, perfectly matching the salty pieces of caramel. They say the flavour is more intense due to the quality of the Swiss milk, locally produced and to the two hundred-year tradition in chocolate making. 
Swiss are good at so many things and chocolate is definitely one of them. Cailler is Switzerland's oldest chocolate and although they are nowadays owned by Nestle, if you find yourselves in Broc, you can still visit the old Cailler factory. They make different types of chocolate, among which I have previously tried Cailler cremant, such as Frigor, Femina, Ambassador, and Branches. Behind each of them, there is a fascinating story; for instance, Frigor was inspired by the love story between Noël Cailler and his wife, which inspired the design of the famous red boxes of the 30s. This is another thing I like about this chocolate brand: their commercials and old posters. 

People keep asking me about my passion about chocolate. Apparently, to most of them, it is quite incomprehensible and probably shallow since, instead of talking about important issues or not at all, I jib at endlessly babbling about chocolate. I believe there is no limit to our passions and interests, no deterring from following your dreams. Also, healthy obsessions keep the spirit high and the mind wrapped around beneficial hobbies like responsible chocolate consumption and everything related to chocolate manufacturers, chocolate brands, chocolate combinations and places worth visiting in search of your passion. It is a hard job but someone has to do it!