; movieschocolatebooks: December 2015


Tuesday, December 22

About Elly or how the weather rules the heart

Happiness is contaminating. Or, at least in Asghar Farhadi's movie, transmitted like some exotic disease. Women, garrulous and chirping like sparrows, make the perfect medium. They are young, educated, modern in the way they dress, confident in marital matters. They make the world spin around with their lies. What's not to love when they come out the most beautiful pairs of lips?

The talented director of A Separation and The Past  is trying his hand at secrecy in a story tangled with little bends in the truth. We have three married couples, three small children and two single people. One of the wives, Sepideh plays the matchmaker for Elly, her daughter's nursery teacher. She wants to marry her off to Ahmed, recently divorced and returned from Germany. They go away for the weekend and end up by the seaside. After the first night -full of joyful remarks and innuendos at the potential couple- Elly wants to leave. Sepideh argues against her early departure and left to watch over the kids, Elly disappears. 

The story makes a good excuse to study guilt, blame and group crisis. The initial joy and easiness crumble and the friends turn against each other. A mere remark, a joke, an innocent avoiding of the truth lead to an escalating disaster. The story peels off like an onion of many layers under the eyes of the viewer and the skillful director who spins off both narrative and characters. We stand witness to the changing moods, confessions and events. We are taught the potential danger behind a white lie and how it can affect and alter reality and lives. As the tension grows, fissures are found in the people and their version of the truth. Cloudy weather, rain, wind, menacing water all contribute to the tension, building it against the initial state of happiness. 

What catches the eye is the idea of miscommunication and how we have a tendency to lose ourselves amid the crowds, may these be as familiar as possible. We fail to connect to others and wrap ourselves in comforting layers of lies or unearthed truths that cover the rawness of the selves. The movie is also depictive in the peculiar struggle of modern ways and Islam traditions: the unsaid truths, the status of women, the appearance versus truth dichotomy. It is a snippet of Iranian life as it unfolds between duplicity and uncertainty. The way we fabricate truth appears to be universal, inlaid inside our very human nature. As usual, the road to hell is paved with the very best intentions. 

Thursday, December 17

Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Cea mai frumoasa carte din lume, citita altfel de NICO

O carte de short stories. O carte usoara, atragatoare si cu mult lipici pe pagini, pune lipici pe degetele noastre, cu cuvinte si rasturnari de situatie atat de normal povestite incat socheaza. Povestirile acestea sunt viata, viata noastra. Momente ce ne fac sa spunem…''wow nu imi vine sa cred ca tocmai mi s-a intamplat asta'''sau ''mi se pare incredibila povestea ta,, sau ,,nu iti vine sa crezi ce tocmai am patit'' Ce poti sa patesti? ….viata.

Povestile lui Schmitt sunt viata mea, a ta, a oricui. Sunt povesti cu femei si vietile lor. Nu credeam ca un scriitor poate scrie atat de frumos si de adevarat despre o femeie, despre femeia din mine si nu numai. Scrie despre intamplari ce schimba viata, intamplari ce vin ca o palma de trezire, ca o satisfactie a unor greutati, ca un sentiment ce la un moment dat zguduie totul in noi…cartea acesta este viata insasi. Este usoara, lina, fluida…dar cu vartejuri inopinante. Este o carte cu si despre femei de tipuri diferite… sarace, bogate, triste,vesele, inversunate in lumea lor neinteleasa, femei ce se mint singure, femei ce spera la un dram de fericire, femei arogante, femei pozitive, luptatoare, dar si resemnate….femei. Femei mame, sotii, prietene, iubite, adorate, uitate…feme unice sunt adunate intr-o carte caleidoscop. Un caleidoscop de femei unite printr-un fir invizibil, un fir al indarjirii de a merge inainte, chiar si atunci cand acel mers devine chinuitor, somnambulic, aparent fara sens…. 

Image result for Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Cea mai frumoasa carte din lume,

Ideea este sa mergi inaitne, sa nu te opresti pentru ca la un moment dat totul capata sens. Poate ca tu nu vezi sensul, poate ca tie, personaj principal al cartii tale, al vietii tale sensul iti scapa, dar cineva, candva, va da sens vietii tale, va vedea ceea ce tie ti-a scapat, va declansa in tine o actiune, o reactie, un buton al sensului vietii tale. 

Cartea are opt povestiri: Wanda Wipping (aroganta cea temuta si de gheata), E o frumoasa zi cu ploaie (femeia nemultumita de sine, frumoasa invidiata…luptatoarea mea preferata), Intrusa (femeia organizata…durerea nevazuta, nesimtita, durerea fantoma), Falsul (femeia cinica), Totul pentru a fi fericita (femeia iubita), Printesa desculta (femeia misterioasa), Odette Toulemonde (femeia pozitiva si do right woman), Cea mai frumoasa carte din lume (Femeia mama si cea mai rascolitoare de suflete de mama si suflete de fiica scriitura). 

Tocmai am insiruit titlurile short story-urilor ce compun cartea. Nu e mare lucru… Sa nu credeti ca am povestit ceva din carte. Nu. Am spus doar ce tipuri de femei, sentimente, trairi si intamplari poti intalni. Cartea te lasa cu intrebari. Te face sa iti pui intrebari de genul: Eu as putea face asa ceva? …Ce as face in locul ei? Oare as reactiona la fel? Daca mi se intampla mie, as fi la fel de puternica, de intelegatoare, de pozitiva? As rezista oare? As putea sa merg mai departe? Carte te lasa cu intrebari…ceea ce cred ca este bine, pentru ca te scoate din paginile ei, devine parte din tine, din cotidianul tau si asa realizezi ca si tu esti o poveste, esti o carte cu viata, DA! tu, cel ce citesti aici esti o poveste. Depinde doar de tine sa fii o poveste ce merita citita, o poveste pe care altii sa fie bucurosi sa o citeasca sau o poveste ce urmeaza sa fie descoperita. Tu esti povestea ta, dar si a celor din jur. 

Parerea mea este ca scriitorul a reusit ceea ce orice scriitor isi doreste, sa il iei cu tine dincolo de starea materiala, fizica a cartii…sa il porti in realul tau de cititior. Sa te gandesti la povestile spuse de el. Ei bine, Eric- Emmanuel Schmitt a reusit asta. ‘-Of, ce vreme nesuferita exclama barbatul de alaturi Ea se mira singura cand se pomeni rostind: -Nu, va inselati. Nu trebuie sa spuneti ce vreme nesuferita, ci e o vreme frumoasa cu ploaie’ Vedeti? Este doar o chestiune de altenativa, un alt punct de vedere…o alta perspectiva. Poate ca la un moment dat nu vezi partea plina a paharului, de aceea trebuie sa mergi inainte….pentru ca in timp, cu rabdare…apare un alt punct de vedere. Chiar si timpul are nevoie de timp.

Saturday, December 12

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff or how people are made of myths

Fates and Furies is dissecting marriage, both sides of the coin: his and hers. The story's catch comes from the feast of language, the mythological references and the fluidity of the narrative. Lauren Groff has a certain nonchalance about seizing things with the eyes of her mind and then putting them on paper. Her easiness with language and the nuances of things she peels off both people and tales, make her writing layers softly addictive. Once your eyes grow accustomed to her dancing letters, words begin to haunt you in a repetitive manner. Her books makes by far, the best book of best lines there is. 

All you have to do is write the best sentence you've ever written. Then 10,000 more of the best. Then find a way to string them together into the story of something.

Lotto, the husband, has his story written under the auspices of Fates, whereas Mathilde's account of marriage comes to alter the reader's perception with her Furies. We shift angles and points of view in an attempt to answer some important question: Is this how we live along people, not truly knowing their innermost thoughts and feelings, their hidden paradoxes, their tormented inner monologues or does this stand for a peculiar marriage? The truth lies on both sides, mostly, in-between the commonalities. We make unbearable beings to ourselves and most of the times, impossible to tolerate by those close to us. It brings me back to Julian Barnes and his belief about the militant and the moderate in every marriage. Switching roles on a constant basis is the very essence of every relationship's liveliness. We either do it or bury ourselves under the treacherous founding of this institution. Add children to the mix and it is the perfect recipe for failure.

Lotto and Mathilde have no kids, few responsibilities and the freedom to make mistakes. In their close to perfect relationship, one remembers the good, the glamorous, the exciting side of life and marriage, whereas the other has a story of struggle, frustration and aching to match it all. It makes one wonder about the success of their relationship, at least in the eyes of the others. Would Lotto's egocentric nature have survived and thrived, had it not been for Mathilde to pick up the pieces and readjust, rewrite, reshape, redecorate the entire edifice of them? Is this the ultimate proof of love, the need to relinquish one's true self to build the other? It takes strength and resilience and much patience. It is not designed for everyone. Lotto's genius is meant to live on and weave its path with Mathilde one more time to deliver her from the dark and to reinforce the conviction that in our attempt to build others, we build ourselves.

As for the book, Fates and Furies met right where I was. It is how such books come across and how they are bound to stay in your mind. It spoke my kind of language, revealed itself unexpected and raw, like a warm wound that grows into a limb, a necessary part of you. I live organically inside my books and then, as I move one, I leave myself there, only to reclaim me later. Later on, the book shall read differently as I am bound to be a different reader. Meanwhile, there is much drama in steady seas, as the author herself put it.