gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Monthly Archives: February 2014

Why is a bucket list called a bucket list?

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I thought it would be good for me to start a bucket list to set some goals for myself in life. So here it goes!

Live in another country
Attend the Olympics
Learn how to fly a plane to overcome my fear of flying
Have goats as pets/run a small goat farm
Adopt a child from the Czech Republic (my origins)
Play with sea otters
Have a DIY wedding
Watch either an open heart or brain surgery
Master a perfect French accent
Open an independent cinema/book shop/art gallery/wine bar
Ride around Paris on a bicycle
Continue to enjoy cooking and trying new recipes

 

Well, this is a start and I’m sure I’ll add more to it in my head as I think of more things I’d like to do in life.

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The Plague

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I am plagued by indecisiveness. I always have found it difficult to make decisions, from little things like picking what movie to watch to big things like choosing what college to go to, and it has become more of a problem lately as I have been faced with really important decisions that affect the rest of my life – i.e. picking a career and deciding who I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Why do I cringe when I hear the word passion? You would think that it is very easy to decipher what your passion is, but it’s not for me. I have been trying to identify my passion for a long time and it is becoming more and more evident just how important it is to do so now that I am part of the ‘working world’ and no longer a student.

The thing is, once you have identified a passion, you have to evaluate whether or not that passion is what you want it to be – whether or not you like it and can be proud of it. Sometimes I feel like I have succeeded in identifying my passion, but then when I think about it it’s not really something I would be proud to tell people about; or not necessarily that I wouldn’t be proud of it, but that perhaps in some way it’s not as worthy or as ‘good for society’ as some other careers.

It’s hard for me to let myself just feel what I feel and accept a passion without feeling the need to exert control over it. I feel like I’m constantly trying to control how I feel or what I want to feel and justify my interests before I let them turn into passions. I guess you can say I have control issues – not necessarily when it comes to other people, but more so with myself.

Blue is the Warmest Color

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Upon seeing my first preview for Blue is the Warmest Color I didn’t really know what to think about it except that I loved the music selection by Beach House. By the second or third time I saw a preview for it, my interest was hooked. The night I went to see the film was memorable and I distinctly remember that it was raining and there weren’t many people in the theater. I got popcorn, as I usually do, but it didn’t seem to last me very long because the movie was lengthy, rounding out at 3 hours. By the time the movie was over and I left the theater it was 11 o’clock, later than I usually leave a movie theater and it was raining again. I was excited to see the film, but I had not idea what kind of treat I was in for; it’s the kind of movie that you remember the whole experience of going to see it, and not just the movie itself, which are always fond memories for me.

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I can honestly say that Blue is the Warmest Color is one the most beautiful, genuine movies I have ever seen, which I was not at all expecting going into it. Its NC-17 rating is definitely justified, as there is a fair amount of sexual content in it, which I can imagine turns off certain audiences that would otherwise really like the film. However, for me, this is not what I remember about the film. What I remember is the incredible sincerity of emotions expressed mostly by Adele, the main character, but also by her lover Emma, and the authentic love story that it is. Their relationship exemplifies an exploration that most of us have probably thought about, but not necessarily carried out. I for one know that I have questioned my sexuality, but have never had a sexual experience with a woman and don’t plan to. It is, however, something I have thought about and I am not ashamed or embarrassed about it.

The French language is beautiful and it particularly stood out to me during the literature classes that Adele attends. The ideas expressed in the classes made me envious and wish I was there. The plot flows so well and it does feel like a long movie, as it is, but it certainly keep you intrigued the whole time. The soundtrack is appropriately placed alongside each scene to evoke certain moods, which, for me, was particularly strong during Adele’s birthday party, as the video above demonstrates. Then there’s the party in celebration of Emma’s artwork and the conversations at the party feel so real, as do most all of the conversations in the film, and made me wish I was part of it. Adele and Emma open up to each other about philosophy and art and you can really feel the intimacy between them, not only physically but also intellectually since they’re always learning from each other.

The film is not without heartbreak, but it wouldn’t feel as authentic if it wasn’t, since heartbreak is such a natural and inevitable facet of love. Their breakup is incredibly sad and although Emma may seem overly harsh, her reaction is fairly accurate; even so, I found myself sympathizing with Adele. I felt the heartbreak the most towards the end when Adele and Emma meet again after having been broken up for a while and I could literally feel that there was still love between them, and although they have a reunion of sorts, it ends with them going their separate ways again. I really felt for Adele in a way that I’ve never felt for any other character in a film before. It’s an incredibly powerful scene. I could also identify with Adele in the way that she desperately tries to move on with her life without Emma, but unsuccessfully so. I think anyone who has been broken up with can identify with her in this way to a certain extent. It’s striking how the actresses are able to show so much real emotion on screen, which makes it feel as authentic as it does and evokes the powerful response from its viewers that it does.

The French title of the film, La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2, suggests that we might perhaps see a sequel with more chapters. I certainly hope so, as I am dying to know more about Adele’s life and her intimate relationships. Although with the controversy over the filming of the movie, it may be unlikely that we will see more on this project from these two actresses.

Her

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Her transported me to a different place, as movies often do, but I literally felt different when I walked out of the theater. The quaint street that the local, independent movie theater is on and the people strolling about seemed different to me, and as I got into the car and drove home I felt a tiny sense of transformation – not in a significant personal way, but like the world around me had transformed. It hadn’t, of course, but the film’s futuristic setting stayed with me after the film as I left the theater. Instances like these when your perception is changed and things just don’t feel right, even if not in a bad way, are bizarre. I felt refreshed and intrigued by this new world that I had just experienced.

Theodore’s relationship with a character who doesn’t have a physical presence reiterates the fact that even when we are in a relationship with someone or have people in our lives, we are still fundamentally alone. He is obviously physically alone, but also emotionally unfulfilled even though he is in a relationship of sorts. So for me, this doesn’t so much speak to loneliness as it does to aloneness, which is such an intrinsic part of our nature. But it also captures intimacy in a unique and genuine way that is compelling and leads you to think about whether or not one actually needs physical intimacy in a relationship. Jaoquin Phoenix who plays the role of Theodore carries the film very well and keeps you intrigued the whole way through even though so much of the film is centered on him and him alone.

I loved the movie. Although the premise sounds superficial, it exhibits real human emotions and challenges in a genuine way and transports you to a different kind of world.

The beauty of food

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Labor Day

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Labor Day is a film about loss, one of the hardest things that we face in life but also something that we all inevitably experience. I know it hasn’t gotten the best reviews, but there were definitely aspects of it that I really appreciated. I thought the cinematography was beautiful and captured light and intimacy very nicely. At times the plot felt like inorganic and like it didn’t flow, but the film did have some redeeming qualities as it went on. The character development was good, especially of Frank and Adele, and watching their relationship blossom was touching. Food and the art of cooking was a nice addition to the film, which is something that I personally always enjoy. There is something about cooking and the way that it employs all the senses that is almost seductive and I thought the way the film portrayed food was captivating. There were elements of fear and suspense as the plot revealed itself and I began to feel sympathetic towards the characters who at first seemed unlikeable and emotionless. The plot takes place over the course of a few days, Labor Day weekend, but the present is intertwined with flashbacks from the past, which make the film feel longer than just a few days. This also allows you to get to know the characters better than you would otherwise. The sense of loss is the most prominent part of the film and it can genuinely be felt at times throughout the whole film, which is heartbreaking but very relatable since it is an inevitable part of life and something that affects all of us in varying ways. There was, of course, also a sense of hope at the end and it did have a happy ending, but it shows you how life is a journey with many hardships and only some rewards.

The movies

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It’s interesting how much time people spend talking about movies even though they’re not real. But I suppose this applies to literature and TV shows as well. But there’s something about the movies and how you can hear the rumblings of people sharing their opinions at the end of a film as the credits start rolling and the lights come on. Growing up, I vividly remember my parents and I going out to dinner after the movies and spending a majority of the dinner talking about the movie we just saw. It’s interesting to hear different perspectives from everyone and how thoughts about a movie come to you little by little, so there is always something else to say about it.

Movies represent life. We can see so much of ourselves in them, and not only us but others as well. This is what makes them seem so real to us even though they are completely fictionalized. They are, of course, based upon life as many of them represent true stories, but the way in which those stories are captured and put into a movie format is created and stylized. Movies that are based on true events are not organic, but are thoughtfully produced in every aspect from the sequence of the plot, to the characters, to the soundtrack, to the costumes, etc. Movies, even those based on true events, transport us to a different time and place, but are still connected to reality and that is why we can see ourselves in them so vividly.

Nebraska

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Nebraska is a film about aging, and it not only resonates with older people for whom aging is more of a concern, but as a young person I also felt like I could relate to it because it was very much about the children taking care of their parents and watching them age. While watching the film I started to think about my parents aging and how difficult it will be to witness that several years from now and it made me really sad. It must be very trying to see your parents unable to do things as they used to and unable to remember things that seem so subconscious. And then to think that this path only leads to death and the thought of not having your parents around anymore, ever, is absolutely heartbreaking. It is for me anyway because I am very close to my parents, but I suppose that not everyone is and so I can imagine that not everyone feels this way.

Nebraska provides an interesting commentary on rural, lower to middle class America. The vast expanse of the American west is apparent and not necessarily in a good way. Let’s put it this way – if you ever think of your town as being the worst place on earth, think again because it could be worse. I think the black & white cinematography only reinforces this sentiment, but it is also beautiful at times. The movie is quite funny, especially Woody’s lack of awareness and indifference, and his wife, Kate, with her inappropriate wit and criticisms of all those around her. The lack of communication combined with the unwillingness of people to listen and understand each other also sets the stage for a comical series of misunderstandings. I appreciate the authentic feel of the film, as it seems that several of the characters are real people and not actors. This is something that is typical of low budget films, so it was surprising to see it in a big Hollywood movie, but also refreshing. David Grant, Woody’s son played by Will Forte who has mostly done comedy, plays a very serious role and is one of the only sympathetic characters. He is the only one that is supportive and caring for his father from the beginning. The film is funny, but underneath the banter it has a very serious tone and brings to light the difficulties of aging, not only for the aging, but also for the young who have to watch it occur.

Inside Llewyn Davis

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Is it possible to like a movie even if virtually all of the characters are unlikeable? Yes, and the movie is Inside Llewyn Davis. The main character, Llewyn, although callous most of the time, does show a glimmer of emotion mainly when it comes to one thing – the cat for which he unwillingly becomes responsible. Even when it comes to his music, which is his great passion and the focus of the film, he does not seem as moved by it as he does by the cat. There are many unlikeable characters in the film: Jean, the girl who Llewyn perhaps impregnated and perhaps not, whose character seems underdeveloped and repetitively irritating with her criticisms of Llewyn, Roland, the grossly overweight pimp-like character with whom Llewyn rides across the country in a car, Mel Novikoff, his agent who doesn’t even believe in him, and Pappi, the owner of the bar where Llewyn often plays. There are, however, some likable characters too but they have less significant roles and therefore don’t have much of an impact on the film – Jim, Jean’s husband, who is innocent and sympathetic, Al Cody, who is also sympathetic as he takes Llewyn in for a night or two, and Mr. and Mrs. Gorfein, the parents of his deceased music partner who own the cat that Llewyn inadvertently becomes in charge of. The film definitely has a sombre tone to it, and if you’re a cat lover, the cats’ fate is very sad. Llewyn’s quest for success in his music career doesn’t go too well for him and his desperate way of life is appropriate for a struggling artist or musician’s way of life. The soundtrack is excellent and completely captures the 60’s folk music scene.   Despite the film’s mournful resonance, Llewyn’s apathetic character really works and it is Coen brothers classic.

The only one

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Being an only child, I am very absorbed with myself. Not in a selfish way, but in a contemplative, reserved way. I think this is  a trait that is probably pretty common among only children because growing up we spend so much time alone and we are our parents’ only concern, so we inherently receive a lot of attention and support. Therefore, only children tend to think about themselves a lot because that is how they are brought up. This tendency can result in a negative self-absorption and selfishness where one only thinks about oneself at the cost of others. But it can also result in a very contemplative and almost nervous concern for one’s life and future, i.e. what do I want to do in life, am I doing the right thing/making the right decision, what kind of people do I want in my life, what kind of person do I want to be, etc. This is not to say that people who have siblings do not have the same concerns, but there is something about only children and the time they spend alone and the way they are brought up, that I think fosters this kind of thought.