; movieschocolatebooks: April 2014


Friday, April 25

2046 or the many faces of love

The future world of 2046 is a well-lit, ethereal space where trains rule not only the society as it is but also people's minds. Or else, how could we define the time ahead? A place where memories are left pendent or an atemporal universe where love is shelved into fulfilment? In a visually stunning journey, Wong Kar-Wai's movie 2046 ponders upon the consequences of loneliness and regret. Both past and future mirror the ruins of love as it breaks hearts and accumulates torment and it is funny how the realities of the futuristic world are more grounded in the present than the memories of the past.

In a rather complicated story of love and loss, Mo Wan Chow (Tony Leung) moves to Hong Kong to escape an unhappy love affair and get a job as a tabloid journalist. Once there, he checks in the Oriental Hotel, where he becomes involved with the resident woman of the neighbouring 2046 room, one of the owner's daughters, a prostitute, and later on, with a casino player called the Black Spider.Whereas in his previous movie, In the mood for love, the director depicted the relationship between a married woman and a writer, whose spouses were lovers, 2046 is the continuation of what happens to the character of Tony Leung who is trying to overcome the loss of the woman he loved, in the arms of others. Meanwhile, he is also writing a fictional novel set in 2046, on a train, of the same the number as the room where he met Maggie Cheung's character, Su Li-Zhen. Only broken people cannot unbreak their heart in the presence of love much to their desire to find it, once again. The memory of past love is deep within Mo Wan Chow's veins and he cannot escape the curse of remembering and seeking the presence of Su Li-Zhen in other women.

The story might be lengthy, confusing or too futuristic, yet the performances are poignant. Zhang Ziyi as Bai Ling, the prostitute who mistakes paid love for real emotions, is incredible in both looks and artistic inspiration. Her beauty is rich and tempting, her ache is impressive, her eyes are pencilled into eternal temptation. Mysterious and sensual, Mo Wan Chow (Tony Leung) flows through the rooms, stairs, lives of others in a snakelike sadness that will easily eat him up from the inside out.What is left of him is the wish to embark on the train of oblivion and reverie, on a one-ticket journey of no return. On the train, another man, Tak, his alter-ego, is pleading with an android waitress to find love together; whether her reactions are delayed or simply not to his heart's content, the woman never answers Tak's feelings, a mirror through time and space into Chow's heart.

After the cinematic experience, In the mood for love, Wong Kar-Wai takes us on a rather odd journey into the hearts of the lonely. It is a movie that feels a bit tricky in switching realities as the multiple layers of narrative go back and forth in time and space. It sticks with you for the quiet movements, the dancing shadows behind the characters' trembling souls, the tiny details that give savor to the plot. There is an almost organic need to touch the dancing feet, the small gestures that break the silences and aching hearts. The music is the shadow character in the movie, its intensity and sadness colours the humane emotions and give them purpose. Stairs, shabby rooms, naked shoulders, lips sipping from plain glasses, laughter that makes you feel alive, questioning eyebrows, tricky playing cards, saving or dooming numbers, silent indoor moments, an impatient pen left hanging midair- these are the details that survive once the movie ends. Wong Kar-Wai's style is a symphony of the senses, a joyful ache of the heart and a visual treat. It does not feel as whole as In the mood for love, for in 2026, there are all kinds of definitions for love: ripe, bitter, tasty, unrequited, passionate, denied, lost, fragmented, free, paid for, pawned, fatal.

Sunday, April 20

The Song of Sparrows

“The world is a lie, the world is a dream.” This is the song of redemption for Mr. Karim, the main character in Majid Majidi's movie, The Song of Sparrows. The film is an Iranian fable about the mystery of nature and the individual's place amongst its beauties. Secretly coveting to be unique, strong and proud as an ostrich, Karim comes to appreciate the grace of the rather common, unspectacular sparrow, which is the metaphor for the ordinary, unsophisticated life.

A simple, poor man, Karim (Reza Naji) is an ostrich wrangler, married to Narges (Maryam Akbari), father of two daughters and a son. A series of unfortunate events such as his older daughter, dropping her hearing aid in the very pond his son, Hussein is counting on for making him a millionaire and the escape of an ostrich which costs Karim his job, lead him to the streets of Tehran. The city is alluring with fancy buildings, tempting ripe fruit and plenty of free objects that Karim brings back home to redecorate his house. While trying to replace his daughter's hearing aid, he is mistaken for a taxi driver and thus, his motorcycle becomes his main source of revenue. Somehow, Karim swaps his good nature for a money-driven lust to accumulate and a desperate unwillingness to share with the very people from his extended family. Back in the village, people help one another and dispense their own with the rest of the community. In Tehran, people are mean, cunning, treacherous, rude, and uncompassionate to the needs of those around them.

The more Karim accumulates, the more distressed he becomes. He can't sleep anymore, he is unaware of his children's needs and dreams, starts ignoring his wife and begins to lose his empathy. The junk pile in his yard is huge and one day, while climbing it, life grabs Karim by the throat and teaches him a lesson. Bedridden, he is forced to pay more attention to the little things around him. His cousin and neighbours are helpful and considerate, the wife and children are more loving, and Karim comes to see things for what they are. Hussein has taken a job to follow his dream of filling the pond with fish and becoming a millionaire. His daughters tend to his wounds and spend their free time drawing on his cast. Little by little, his life is being rebuilt with tiny gestures and he rediscovers the beauty of nature and his place within its vastness. Just like the runaway ostrich returns home, Karim finds his way back into his family and his own heart. Counting his blessings, he rediscovers the beauty in the ordinary song of the sparrows which might not own the grace of ostriches, yet there is fulfilment and bliss in their common nature.

As an European, one might get struck by the differences in family dynamics or cultural perspectives, yet there is such beauty in their little lives and such serenity that you cannot help being moved by the sensitivity of Majidi's movie. Mothers and women for that matter might not stand out, still they are the driving force behind the men and their children's prosperity. The Song of Sparrows is a touching pleading for the glory of pastoral life without condemning modernism or urban life, since the director's approach is rather humorous and moving. It is about striving to find our place within the world, admiring the dancing of the ostriches from a safe distance, embracing our own happiness. The movie is very visual and charismatic and there are some excellent moments that remain imprinted on our retinas: Karim walking the black fields, a battered, blue door on his back and his own impersonation of an ostrich. Yet, all the wealth in the world leaves your pockets empty and sorrowful unless it can fill your bare heart with purposefulness.

Thursday, April 17

Lars and the real girl by Nico

It hurts ...''like a burn''. Not like a cut or like a bruise... but like a burn, a hug can hurt like a burn... O imbratisare te poate arde ca o flacara. Lars and the Real Girl este un film de suflet, calm si furtunos, deopotriva, este haios si miscator, te plimba prin mai multe stari ce fac din tine om. Si este un film despre oameni adevarati, fara super puteri, si super eroi, fara exagerari si fara asteptari si cerinte inalte...dar te duce acolo unde exista linistea, te face sa fii intelegator cu ''ciudatii'', cu cei care nu se aliniaza standardelor universal acceptate. Lars te face sa ai un second thought, atunci cand vrei sa iei in ras sau sa judeci o ciudatenie. Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider si Patricia Clarkson te fac sa vezi ciudateniile cu alti ochi; cu ochii celui ce nu cunoaste lupta ce se da in interiorul subiectului (dar vrei sa ajuti cumva, sa alini tristetea)... Tu, privitorul lui, ar trebui sa respecti un om ce are dorinta si nevoia de a fi altfel, de a-l accepta, de a-l iubi si face cat poti tu de confortabil, fara a-l judeca sau incerca sa il schimbi aducandu-l in lumea ta, in linistea ta. Filmul acesta pe imdb este foarte scurt si la obiect descris: 'A delusional young guy strikes up an unconventional relationship with a doll he finds on the Internet.'- exact ca primele impresii... te lovesc si raman pe retina si in creier. M-am lupatat cu aceast aprima descriere- seaca si respingatoare. Pe scurt, acesta este subiectul. Dar dincolo de aceassta fraza, avem o persoana ce a suferit atat de mult de tristete si singuratate incat refuza contactul uman fizic si nemijlocit, pentru ca il doare fizic...indiferent de atingerea ce o primeste si de aceea, face tot posibilul de a se feri de acestea. Iar pentru a pune capat tuturor acestor contacte dar si unei posibile idile, comanda o asa numita ''love doll'' - Bianca, de pe internet. Ea a fost creata pentru a satisface sexual, dar nu si in cazut lui...In cazul lui este persoana-obiect pe care el o poate atinge, fara sa il doara fizic, fara sa simta arsurile flacarilor ce il fac sa stea departe de oameni. Ea este din plastic, tace si face tot ce vrea si zice el.

Alegerea acestei papusi surprinde orasul (oras mic, toti se cunosc intre ei) dar nu il izoleaza. abia acum prietenii, familia si cunoscutii lui lars, realizeaza ca acesta are o problema. Discretia si retragerea lui au acum o imagine si un rezultat palpabil. Reactiile sunt diferite, de la om la om...dar schimbarile si participarea fiecaruia sunt atat haioase cat si emotionale. Ei, toti, vor sa il ajute sa isi revina si sa isi gaseasca linistea...sa isi gaseasca propria normalitate. Pana la urma, ce este normal? Sau...ceea ce este normal pentru mine, este normal si pentru tine? Linistea mea, este si linistea ta? NU! Suntem diferiti. Filmul arata ca poti sa te adaptezi oricarei situatii, daca ai inima si orizonturile deschise, daca iti impui sa vezi si altceva, daca vrei sa vezi si altceva. Este filmul infrangerii tristetii, este filmul care iti arata ce poate face tristetea si singuratatea dintr-un om. Este adevarat, fiecare are modul propriu de a o rezolva...unii fug departe, unii raman si se inchid in ei, unii ajuta pe altii uitand de ei, unii devin creativi si se expima prin creatii, unii se pierd in altii, unii plang si gasesc alinare in obiecte, pentru ca obiectele dupa cum spune Lars Lindstrom: [to Bianca, after she is given flowers] Those are nice, huh? And they're not real, so they'll last forever.'' Unii isi impun sa uite ce i-a intristat...dar de fapt nu uita, nu uita niciodata, chiar daca pun multe actiuni si amintiri frumoase peste tristete... Tristetea ce transforma oamenii, nu se uita, doar se ambaleaza frumos... Si vedem toate aceste lucruri in film. Pentru ca mereu, mereu este un motiv pentru care oamenii sunt retrasi sau se feresc de afectiune, de atingeri, de o discutie, de alti oameni... exact cum spune Dagmar: ''You won't be able to change his mind, anyway. Bianca's in town for a reason.''... and there's always a reason... Este un film de suflet. Nu este un blockbuster, nu este cu artificii si scene jaws-dropped...nu. Este un film despre tristete si oameni buni, despre priviri si atingeri ce conteaza si ranesc, este un film de vazut, caci nu am spus tot ce era de spus despre el... Ryan ...chapeau bas.

Wednesday, April 9

300 -Rise of an empire by Nico

300 partea intai, 300 partea a doua. Doua filme total diferite. Unul interesant si deschizator de drumuri, iar celalalt film indian, marca Bollywood- grandoman si redundant, din care am retinut doua scene, de fapt doua imagini si acelea continand-o pe salbatica si out of the ordinary Eva Green. Mie personal, imi place actrita, are un ceva, un ''here-i-am-and -you-can't-ignore-me-no-matter-what''. Imi place. Si imi place mult cum rade, cum se misca, zambeste, priveste...dar atat. Atat am retinut din film: Eva Green facand sex si luptandu-se si muschi multi, prea multi si falsi. Din punctul meu de vedere acesta este un blockbuster ce a dat gres maret. A dat gres in partea creativa si deschizatoare de ochi curiosi, in partea de casting, poveste, redare poveste. Tot astepti sa fie ceva, sa fie o actiune care sa te ia pe sus, sa te intereseze si sa iti gadile neuronii macar un pic. Acest film nu are actiune, nu are continut si nici noima.

Thank God it has a beginning. Da, are un inceput lung si detaliat...Mai bine faceau un film din el, decat din ce urma... Filmul are ca actiune o batalie pe mare, intre persani si greci. Mai specific, intre frumoasa, iscusita in ale armelor si rautatilor si foarte salbatica Eva Green, in rolul Artemisiei si eroul si Greciei, musculosul si abilul Themistocle. Tot filmul este o batalie si o lalaliala, camere de filmat ramase uitate pe un personaj, de parca se trageau filme indiene si actiuni incetinite de imagini statice generale si generalizatoare. Luptatori si personaje grecesti cu puternic accent englezesc, scotian, irlandez (enervat sunet pentru o actiune ce s evrea razboinica si unitara) si alte cele, cu o regina Gorgo, interpretata de Lena Headey, mai nou cunoscuta datorita lui Game of Throne, care nu este veridica in rol...O regina cocosata si cu mers imprastiat, neavand maretia unei adevarate fete regale, chiar daca se presupune ca ar fi fost ravasita de durere, dar in esenta spartana. Nu mi-a placut. Nu s-a ridicat la inaltimea primei parti a filmului, nu a fost mandra si apriga in exprimarea rolului ei... nu a fost leoaica, a semanat cu o lupoaica fara personalitate alfa, ce se vrea leoaica. No way... nu are ce cauta acolo.

Apoi este ea, leoaica filmului, salbatica neinblanzita ce nu isi gaseste egal, grecoaica ce isi reneaga originea, soldatul fara trecut, doar cu viitor, femeia ce isi reneaga feminitatea si poporul, drept razbunare a trecutului ce il vrea uitat. Este mandra, trufasa, ambitioasa, fara scrupule. Si sexy... si un pic trucata in momentele ei de rafuiala orizontala, ca sa spun asa... Pacat, pentru ca in prima faza apare cu sanii ei imensi si frumosi, dar normali, pentru ca apoi sa apara o Barbie playboy'ata ce te socheaza un pic. Dar felul in care se lupta si vorbeste este de felina abila si vicleana. Themistocles este si el acolo, ca trebuie sa fie, este eroul Greciei si personajul ce trebuia sa existe in film pentru a da un sens filmului. Fail...Eva Green a dus filmul..TOT. Sincer? ... Am pierdut 100 de minute din viata mea, aiurea... puteam sa crosetez sau sa beau un pahar cu vin, vorbind din amintiri despre ... Morometii sau Fratii Jderi...sau altceva.

The Sweet Hereafter

Lately, when watching a movie, I have started paying attention to the time and found myself wondering about my own whereabouts at that moment. 1997 was a good year of gains and losses and above all, of becoming. To some, mainly movie aficionados, this might have been the year of The Sweet Hereafter, the best movie there was. To me, both year and movie are greatly executed, multi-layered and powerful, in a soft way. Based on the book of a very talented Russel Banks, the story accomplished itself under the skillful direction of Atom Egoyan. And it goes without saying that I shall not let myself tempted into revealing all action. Instead, I shall tell you that The Sweet Hereafter comes fragmented as pain itself, in curt, intense waves that choke you to death. A kind of movie that is an unforgettable experience, one that swiftly aims at confronting your own fears or compels you to ask yourself the essential questions. Is there a line between right and wrong? Could love spring from the same wicked place as hatred? Is the mind kind or perverted? Can fate be easily maddened or does it have a mind of its own?

This is an excellent exercise in both directing and acting. A tragedy that culminates with the death of most children on a school bus is not the beginning nor the end of pain. Saving your own girl from death comes back to haunt you till the end, in the crooked way her life turned out to be. When do we stop being parents singing lullabies and turn into merciless doctors ready to perform a tracheotomy within minutes from death itself? Atom Egoyan strikes me as a man with a burden. It is not enough to be perceptive and a man of vision in directing; some stories need to go deeper, within the veins so that they could be rendered in perfect shape. Four narrative voices blend into a tale of guilt, pain, blame, sorrow, failure and survival. It is a mosaic of tiny shreds of life that at first, dance in Brownian motion, then fall into their own pieces just like the story of Robert Browning's poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin". The cunning piper who possessed the skill and the vengeful nature is Egoyan's personal manner of infusing the story with his own directing charisma and masterful vision. In Browning's world, the physically challenged are favored and the heartless, mean ones who fail to keep their promises are made to pay.

Nicole Burnell (Sarah Polley) as one of the four voices, the surviving, crippled wannabe singer is our modern piper. In this little forsaken town, where people know everything about each other, adultery and incest might be easily overlooked or at least, given a touch of normality, yet breaking a promise is unforgivable. Dreams are our most valued asset; whether they come as the one we love, our children, our homes, our jobs, we are willing to go all the way to see them come true. However, dreams are also a reflection of our broken nature, of the unseen burden we carry on our backs. Incest may be unbrutally illustrated in the movie, almost in an invisible manner but its consequences upon Nicole's spirit are obvious in critical times when she ruins everybody's chance to benefit from the awful accident. She has been taken her chance at a happy life and she is consciously depriving all others -especially good old daddy- of the coveted outcome. The frail balance has been upset and the happily ever after turns into a sour sweet hereafter.

The lawyer, Mitchel Stephens (Ian Holm) is the haunted father of a drug addict daughter who
is constantly trying to find the guilty party and demand retributions. None for himself, though his battle is a rather personal one, with his own demons and past mistakes. Estranged from his daughter, tired of always trying to rescue her, Stephens would like to find a guilty party in the death of the children.The potentially faulty bolt in the school bus fails to appear and Nicole's incriminating testimony shatters the parents' chance for retaliation. And he is left with more time at his hands to salvage Zoe, his daughter, and the people of the town are given the rest of their lives to adjust to pain. Brutally honest about Zoe's addiction and his destroyed personal life, Stephens has an incredible monologue about how darkness slowly stole his life away, turning him from a once happily father and husband into a bitter, lonely man.

Apart from these two frail, yet overwhelming performances, the movie has one of the most heartbreaking scores, that of Mychael Danna's lute that simply melts away your heart by softly rendering all emotions and painful choices in characters. The narrative is layered, deprived of chronology and the cracks in between the slices of sorrowful bits of truth are filled with great music, turning The Sweet Hereafter into a masterpiece.

Thursday, April 3

Enough said by Nico

I THOUGHT YOU LIKED ME... mi-a rupt inima replica aceasta....cea mai trista ever. Cuvinte care fie ca sunt spuse in realitate, fie ca sunt zise in filme, intristeaza. Enough Said este un film haios si trist in acelasi timp, este un film de oameni maturi, cu oameni maturi, cu umor pentru ei si facut elegant si realist...Exista oameni cu un astfel de umor ce binedispune.

In acest film vedem cum oamenii de frica sa nu sufere sau sa fie ajunga sa ramana siguri, scormonesc dupa informatii despre un posibil partener pana in cele mai nebanuite locuri. Vedem cum frumusetea unui om nu sta in aspectul fizic, ci in creierul sau, in felul sau de a se misca printre cuvinte si in felul sau de a se deschide in fata celorlalti, in curajul sau de a fi adevarat si a accepta ce ii place, de a zice ,,nu mai vreau sa te accept'' sau ''in seara asta vreau sa fiu singur'' si de a spune: '' It sounds corny.You broke my heart and I'm too old for that shit.'' Avem un el si o ea, divortati, trecuti de prima tinerete, relaxati, aflati in rutina zilnica, ce se descopera si se plac fara sa realizeze asta. Si cum intotdeauna exista un ,,dar'' si aici il gasim- ,,dar'' intervine dorinta de a sti mai mult despre celalalt, ca nu cumva sa se ranim si si sa fie pregatiti, sa stie totul dinainte (asta ne spunem toti) si aici intervine greseala... greseste cand vrea sa fie sigur/ sigura de tot si de toate, greseste cand vrea sa stie prea mult, cand vrea sa anticipeze si sa stie ce urmeaza, cand vrea sa stie toate defectele celuilalt...asta, si este doar parerea mea, pentru ca in tot acest exercitiu de a cunoaste tot despre celalalt de langa noi, uitam sa apreciem ceea ce ne ofera, sa apreciem lucrurile marunte...Si pana la urma, poate ca noua ne plac unele defecte ce altora le pareau de ne trecut cu vederea, poate ne plac lipsurile si minusurile celuilalt, pentru ca le completeaza pe ale noastre.

Mie una imi plac aceste ,,sparturi'' si ,,cioburi'' ce stirbesc un om. Nu imi plac oamenii perfecti si pusi la punct mereu, nu imi plac oamenii frumosi la modul general acceptat de majoritatea, nu imi plac oamenii draguti cu toata lumea. Imi place sa descopar ceva nou mie, ceva ce sa imi placa doar mie, sa vad eu ca acea persoana rezoneaza cu mine si caut asta chiar si in omul frumos si in cel doar interesant. In film vedem cum curiozitatea omoara viitorul, cum o pregatire prea minutioasa rupe inimi...si chiar lasa goluri in stomac... adica, te rog, arunca-te singur cu capul inainte si traieste experieta noua asumandu-ti-o si trecand-o prin filtrulul propriu, nu prin filtrul altora. Ceea ce iti place tie sau ti-ar placea tie, nu e neaparat nevoie sa placa si celorlalti. o barba nerasa, un fel de mancare, niste maini mari sau mici, o pereche de ochelari, o culoare de oja preferata de ea, un obicei al celuilalt nu e nevoie sa fie placut de toata lumea, si chiar ascultand nemultumirile celorlalti nu e cazul sa te lasi dus de val. Personajele principale sunt Julia Louis-Dreyfus, o minioana curioasa si spirituala si James Gandolfini, un barbat relaxat, cu simtul umorului fin si elegant. Nu voi povesti filmul. Filmele nu se povestesc, se urmaresc si se simt in functie de fiecare..