gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Category Archives: Film

When you host a naked party, but you’re the only one who’s naked…

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This was the setting of the most bizarre and comical scene in Toni Erdmann, the German film that was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars this year. It did not win, but the dry humor that prevails throughout definitely makes it a good contender. It’s a very long film, which I wasn’t prepared for, rounding out at about 2 1/2 hours, and its slowness makes it feel even longer. I almost left at one point because it started to drag on, but thank god I didn’t because at about the two hour mark, this scene of humorous hysteria ensued.

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The main character, Ines, hosts a buffet lunch at her apartment for her consulting colleagues in an effort to encourage team-building. The naked component of the luncheon is not exactly planned, but as Ines has trouble adjusting her tight dress right as the first guest rings the doorbell, she impulsively decides to answer the door naked after she struggles to get out of her dress. First a friend arrives, who then leaves because she does not agree to strip down, followed by her boss, assistant, and other colleagues. As they’re awkwardly standing around naked, Ines’s dad, who is the primary source of comedy throughout the movie, shows up in a looming, furry costume. While those at the party are mostly disconcerted by his appearance, it somehow brings Ines and her father closer together after a tumultuous relationship.This whole scene is carried out in a completely serious manner with everyone maintaining straight faces as if colleagues standing around naked at a party is perfectly normal, which is what makes the entire audience LOL!

Lost and Beautiful

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I recently saw a new Italian film, Lost and Beautiful, by Director Pietro Marcello. An ode to Italian neo-realist film, it is a slow-moving film with sparse dialogue and stunning visuals of the Italian countryside. It is told from the perspective of a buffalo calf that we see grow up into an adult buffalo, which is thought to have the power of speech by one of the film’s characters. This power of speech is what saves the buffalo from slaughter early in its life, and what it allows it travel nomadically throughout the Italian countryside.

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A stately abandoned villa is also a central subject of the film, which, in the care of a dedicated groundskeeper, survives total oblivion.  It is not entirely clear where the plot line is headed throughout the film, but the tragic end, at least in my mind because I am so fond of animals, culminates in the beloved buffalo being sent to the slaughterhouse. Though a very sad and melancholic movie, it is worth the watch simply for it’s stretching of time, which affords the opportunity of contemplation while watching something that is visually enriching.

“Swiss Army Man”

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I recently saw Swiss Army Man with Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, both of whom I really like (especially Daniel Radcliffe). It was a classic Indie film with bizarre and morbid humor. Much of the film is silent, from a dialogue perspective, but there are interesting sound effects to suggest what Radcliffe’s character is thinking or doing, and the music is happy and uplifting. There are scenes of utter playfulness, like when Dano rides Radcliffe as if he were a whale and when they play with puppets that represent their lives in the forest. There are also moments of utter embarrassment, like when Radcliffe learns about the nature of his male reproductive organ.

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There are also moments, particularly those related to Radcliffe’s consciousness, that are compilations of moments in life, tiny moments that we take for granted in and of themselves, but when strung together with other moments, they create some sort of meaning for us. For me, this served as a reminder that we can’t forget the little moments in life and sacrifice them for big exciting moments, because without the little things, the big moments wouldn’t even be possible. The cinematography and the way the movie is filmed make the little moments in between the big ones very evident in a way that is almost dreamlike, which only amplifies their endearment.

Equals

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EqualsI just saw the movie Equals, and for me, it was one of those movies that really has an impact on you. It’s a beautiful portrayal of intimacy and the kind of closeness that you can have with someone, but not just with anyone – only the kind of closeness that exists between two people in those rare, lucky circumstances. It’s about the inexplicable that draws two people together. It’s about how vital human touch is for our well-being. It’s about allowing yourself to feel things even if they are contrary to what you believe is right according to a standard that is set either by yourself or by what is constructed around you. It’s about how easy letting go is, even though some make it seem nearly impossible, and even dangerous or harmful to oneself and others. It’s about how beneficial having that kind of closeness with someone is to other parts of your life.

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Based in a utopian society where emotion is not allowed, two people are drawn to each other by forces that are out of their control. It’s cinematically spectacular, with extreme close-ups to highlight the raw emotion and symbolic colored silhouettes, which somehow speak to every sensory perception. I’m not normally a big sci-fi fan, but this movie is definitely something special. For your viewing pleasure, and to hopefully inspire you to see the movie, check out the trailer!

Pippi Longstocking

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I used to love Pippi Longstocking when I was little. I wasn’t a huge reader as a child, and am still not, but I did love the 1988 film version of Pippi Longstocking. I lived in Italy when I was little, and lucky for me, the movie has been dubbed in 18 languages, including Italian. So the movie that I know and love is the version dubbed in Italian. Yesterday, as I was scanning through channels on TV, I came across the movie, but in English of course. I was so happy to just come across it by accident, but I have to say that watching it in English felt very far removed from my childhood viewing experience of it. It’s amazing how much language can affect our perception of things. Recently, I also came across this touching article about Pippi Longstocking by Conni Schultz, which also brought back memories of this childhood icon for me.

This is the trailer for the 1988 film version I’m talking about just to give you a small glimpse into the joys that this Swedish feminist icon brings to kids (and adults).  I challenge you to not have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day…

Kitchen backslashes

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I recently saw the movie, Mother’s Day, and while not a great movie, it was at least entertaining. What did hold my attention though were the kitchens! As a lover of all things related to Interiors, I was so distracted during the scenes that took place in kitchens because all I could focus on was the backsplash or the light fixtures. What also sparked my interest was the fact that one of the characters is an Interior Designer and lands an awesome project, pictured below (interior designer on the right and awesome client on the left). If only it was that easy! Unfortunately I can’t find any pictures of the kitchens, but I guess you’ll just have to see the movie to know what I’m talking about!

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City of Gold

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city-of-gold-documentaryI recently saw the documentary about food critic Jonathan Gold, City of Gold, and it was not only inspiring for the palate, but also for the ethnic niches of Los Angeles. I have not been to Los Angeles, but I certainly want to go there now to try all the little family-owned restaurants featured in the movie. Gold’s ability to find all these little family-owned places is remarkable, and I wonder how he decides which ones to try.

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What I found most interesting were the stories of the immigrants coming to this country in search of a better life and ended up opening restaurants in L.A. to support their families. The success they have achieved with their restaurants is inspiring and the success of their children is equally touching. Gold brought up an interesting point about the way in which we can attempt to learn about and understand a culture through its food, and we may think we understand it after eating a fair amount of its food, but that we really only scratch the surface. There was also an interesting discussion of the connection between food and writing about food, that dating back centuries, especially in Chinese history, there are records of writings about food and its importance to a culture.

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The power of food, especially visually, is astonishing. In fact, to experience food visually through a movie rather than actually being able to taste it is almost a more powerful experience – maybe because it allows the imagination to dream about how it tastes based on how it looks, when in reality it may not taste as one would expect based on its appearance. So in a way, looking at food and hearing the stories behind it can be more exciting than tasting it with the potential of being disappointed. In any case, check out the movie! Jonathan Gold is entertaining, and it’s a treat for the eyes.

Film meets philosophy

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What a wonderful combination of one of my favorite directors and a female philosopher I greatly admire. Jean-Luc Godard reads Hannah Arendt’s “On the Nature of Totalitarianism.”

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Enjoy it here!

An Eye for Beauty

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You know those movies that just get you and you just get them? Not necessarily because they’re very relatable, but simply because of the way they make you feel and think about things. I recently had such an experience, and I love these experiences, but they seem to be few and far between. I saw the Canadian film, An Eye for Beauty, which I knew would be good after seeing the trailer, but the actual film really blew me away. I’m interested in design, so the discussion about design, although not extensive, definitely caught my attention. More so than that, though, the complicated human characters and relationships were really intriguing; not to mention the French language, which is always alluring. I won’t say much more about it because you should see it rather than just take my word for it.

Reality vs. Story

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I recently saw the new movie, Mr. Holmes, about the one and only Sherlock Holmes and was struck by something Holmes said at one point while talking to a female character. He’s talking to this woman who he’s been hired to investigate, and she confides her unhappiness with her life to him. In response, he contemplates whether it’s better for people to know the truth about things and confront reality, or if it’s better to tell people stories you know they would like to hear. No real conclusion is reached, but putting the question out there got me thinking about my own life. Which would I prefer? And which do I tend to tell other people? Certainly it seems easier to believe in a story and think of it as true, and I’m wondering if perhaps there’s nothing wrong with doing so. Whether one accepts reality or lives within a story, either one becomes reality for that person. So if one does live within a story, what harm does it really do, because it’s still real to that person? As long as doing so doesn’t harm oneself or others, it could be perfectly acceptable. Don’t we all indulge in the in stories anyway? It’s called daydreaming. I myself find myself fluctuating between stories in my head and the reality that I’m confronted with, and it seems to me like we have to reflect on stories to a certain extent just to put up with the reality that surrounds us. So perhaps it’s not either/or, but the necessity for both in order to carry on.