gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Tag Archives: film

“One Kiss”

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The Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago was running a European Union Film Festival for the month of March and I took full advantage. I went to see eight movies and I was sad that I didn’t make it to more, but I beyond enjoyed the ones I did see. I loved many of them, but there was one that stuck out to me for its existential authenticity and realistic portrayal of what it is to grow up during your teenage years and navigate the nightmare that is high school. It was an Italian movie called One Kiss directed by Ivan Controneo.

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The protagonist, Blu, played by Valentina Romani, who is relatively new to the acting world, did a marvelous job of taking on a difficult role filled with teenage frustration, as she has to learn to maneuver around the limitations placed on us by others during those high school years that can be so challenging for people to overcome. What helps her overcome this is a friendship she forms with a new kid at school, who happens to be gay, and waltzes in like he owns the place in dramatic fashion. They then take on a shy, quiet guy under their wing and the three of them have adventures akin to those of Jules, Jim, and Catherine in Truffaut‘s Jules et Jim, and Matthew, Theo, and Isabelle in The Dreamers. These parallels are quite obvious, as the three of them dance several choreographed pieces recalling the famous dance in the cafe in Jules et Jim, and run through their high school hallways like Matthew, Theo, and Isabelle run through the Louvre in Paris, in The Dreamers, which is in itself a parody to Jules, Jim, and Catherine running through the Louvre in Jules et Jim.

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Their adventures remind you of everything you ever wanted to do in high school but were too embarrassed to do because you were afraid of what others might think of you. But Blu and her two partners in crime just don’t give a f**k and prove how much fun you can have if you liberate yourself enough carry out your wildest dreams. The soundtrack is stellar which only intensifies the freedom they exert, as well as the freedom you feel while watching them and living vicariously through them, even if only for a couple hours for the duration of the film.

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The three of them don’t live in such a free, happy state all the time though. These moments of bliss are definitely interspersed with the hardships they face, which are truly painful. And at the end of the movie there is a shocking finale that had much of the audience jump in their seats and gasp a sigh of terror. Despite this, it is a beautiful movie about what it is to grow up and it will surely become an Italian classic for a younger generation.

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.

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.

Love/Movies

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You may not be able to stop thinking about someone, but the reality is, he/she may not be thinking of you at all. Rarely do people feel the same way about each other, and rarer still is it that people fall in love quickly, as is portrayed in the movies. Why do the movies give us such false hope when it comes to the nature of love and relationships?  Then again, the movies are fairly unrealistic about their portrayal of most things simply because they are edited and typically condense a profound amount of time into two hours – thus resulting in an idealized vignette that we like to take as true and real. While relishing in such filmic vignettes brings us joy, we have to remember that they are what they are: fictionalized, idealized scenarios that seldom match up to reality.

The Woman in Gold

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I recently saw The Woman in Gold, and as I am usually touched by movies, I was particularly touched by this one. I could relate to it because although I am not Jewish, my grandparents are from the Czech Republic and their families had everything taken away from them by the Russians. The scene that particularly touched me was the one where Maria had to say goodbye to her parents before escaping. I couldn’t help but cry. My grandparents left Czechoslovakia separately and they couldn’t even tell their families that they were leaving. My grandmother left on a scholarship to study in Paris with the promise of returning, but of course, she never did. My grandfather hired a spy and left in the middle of the night with only a briefcase in hand. He made his way to a refugee camp in Germany and then eventually to Paris where he rejoined with my grandmother. I can’t imagine leaving my family without saying goodbye and knowing that I would never see them again, which is what transpired with my grandparents. In the movie, Maria and Fritz’s escape was very dramatic and nerveracking. I guess what I liked most was simply how emotional it was. I don’t know if it evoked the same kind of emotion in others, who might not be able to relate to the film at all, but I imagine it was even more touching for those who have a similar story.

Theory vs. Emotion in Film

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When we say we like a movie, what are we really saying? Sure we can appreciate and admire  films for their form or content and we can like them for the ideas they convey or for their beautiful cinematography, but what is it that leads us to say we like a certain film? It’s the feeling they evoke in us. There are film theorists who will go great lengths to describe what signs are present in films that cause us to like them, or the ways in which certain films connote or denote things that make them ‘good’ films. But I don’t think that all that theorizing gets to the heart of what makes us like films. I think the power of film really lies in how they make us feel, rather than certain qualities that might be inherent in the film. How often do we like films solely because of their form or content and cast aside the emotions they evoke in us? Perhaps there are truly genuine film connoisseurs who can look at a film only for the ways in which it excels in terms of its medium (and I’m sure there are), but I find it virtually impossible to separate my emotions from my appreciation for a film while I am watching it. If this makes me an average film spectator, then so be it. I would rather remain an emotional film spectator than take the emotion out of the film-vieweing experience and look at films purely from an intellectual standpoint.

Machines

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Do you ever think to yourself – I wish I knew how my computer worked? It might sound like a silly question, but truly most of us have no idea how our computers actually work, and yet we use them everyday with incredible ease. What happens when we hit the command key? How does hitting that key correspond with some little chip in the computer’s innards to make something happen on the screen? It’s an incredible thing when you think about it, and we take it for granted.

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This question popped into my head last night as I finally got to see The Imitation Game (which is an excellent movie, by the way), and it occurred to me that not only do we not understand how our own computers work, but we don’t really know how many machines work. Surely, mechanics, engineers, and mathematicians understand how machines work since they are the ones inventing them, but the average person really has no idea and simply reaps the benefits of these machines. I’m thinking of machines such as cars, medical equipment like an MRI machine, machines in factories, etc. What marvelous inventions they are that can do work beyond the comprehension of most people. The device created by Alan Turing in The Imitation Game was the birth of computers, and not only was the film extremely well-done, it evokes themes that are really important such as technological advances, the treatment of homosexuals, and the common social handicaps inherent in geniuses.

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Magic

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Because film creates magic…

I’m sorry for the poor image quality. I definitely encourage you watch the real thing…the final scene of Amelie (or even better, watch the whole thing!)

Safe and sound

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I really liked this song by Capital Cities when it first came out, but I only recently discovered the music video. I always love period pieces, and having just taken a class on the silent film era, I appreciate the few allusions to silent film, and I like its originality and blending of time periods.