Archive for December, 2007

THE RED NOTEBOOK – Paul Auster

I often wonder if I act as a magnet for amazing stories, as I seem to attract it like crazy and I often ask if I am to blame for it… In “The Red notebook“, Paul Auster – one of my favorite writers – writes exactly about hazard stories, that he experienced himself or, heard from friends. Good to know that there are others just like me! He collects and describes those unbelievable events, making us question if there is such thing as a coincidence. Are we to believe in hazard or not? How much of a role plays luck in our lives? (The master film for such question is no doubt, “Match Point” by Woody Allen)

Paul Auster for instance, has experienced four flat tires in his whole life and in every of those occasions, the same person was sitting with him in the car!, in 3 different countries in a period of of 8 to 9 years! (Something like this could also have happened to me actually). He faced this as a sign that the friendship between the both wasn´t to last. Time proved him right!

By the end of the book I make the decision: I should definitely buy myself a Red Notebook in 2008!

December 28, 2007 at 10:02 pm Leave a comment

Road Movie

Driving under different weather conditions and having FUN!

December 28, 2007 at 6:04 pm 1 comment

THE CONSUME OF LOVE – Love as a commodity

In Patrice Cherau´s „Intimacy“ a man and a woman casually meet once a week to have sex in the floor of his dirty apartment, without words. As time goes by, the man starts to anxiously wait for the woman every week, up to a point that all his thoughts and week agenda are dominated by the encounters between the two. He starts both missing and following her, for there is an habit that becomes now difficult to break or change. He is confused by his own feelings and gets obsessed in getting closer to her, to the people who know her, to tell her how he feels. Not only does he want to reveal to her what these encounters mean for him but also to find out what meaning do they have for her.
This film always made me wonder about the apparently strange exchange of roles..

In “Intimacy” the man is the one who has the need to talk about what he feels, to declare his love and demand a reaction. And, I would say, cinema has taught us this to be a women´s role, for they are usually the ones to lose their heads, sacrificing everything in the name of love, making fools of themselves without thinking twice. Cinema is full of women driven by their passions – of course in the end, one has to reflect if this translates reality or is merely a consequence that cinema conveys – almost up to the present and with few exceptions – a male´s gaze? (But this is not the time nor place to answer such question).

To whom does the speech of love, the need to express one´s own feelings and demand a reaction from the other, usually belongs to?
K.G. (a male friend) has the argument that the character reflects the fact that both the director as the screenwriter are French, so he would obviously have a „literary“ urge to talk about his own emotions, for he cannot help himself. For K.G. this is a direct consequence of one´s nationality! I happen to find the cultural argument a very interesting one! From here it could be understood that latino men would never admit or discuss their feelings, because that wouldn´t be very manly of them, and German or English men would be obliged by the impact Romanticism had on their cultures to cry their eyes out and drag on about their own feelings!

D. (a girl friend) for instance, agrees that there is definitely something a bit odd with the film. For her, women are the ones always discussing feelings, taking exquisite pleasure in unforeseen theoretical details and demanding for reactions that somehow always seem to go in the same direction – a romantic one. Therefore, for D., this was a genetic consequence as in a woman´s brain the speech part is 90% more developed, she tells me.

K. (a girl friend) said she would agree that women talk about their own feelings more than men, if only I had asked her a few months sooner!!! It seems that lately she is totally done with listening to men´s love confessions (which have so far included different nationalities by the way). And this was the solid proof that nor gender, nor culture, play any role when it comes to reveal one´s feelings and demand a response to it.

So much for the cultural and genetic explanations! Still, it´s not possible to explain everything through pure individualism.

K.G., for instance, is of the opinion that women haven´t lived their emancipation to the fullest, and this would be the reason why they would still need to ask such things as: do you love me? How much do you love me? Do you really really love me? to exhaustion. For him, women who do that are totally phony as, in his perspective, it would only reveal that they still are not comfortable with enjoying their own physical pleasure pure and simply, and need to attach such words to it in order not to be “misinterpreted” by men (or what men expect of them).

All this gave me a lot to think of… could this be the reason why Claire, in Cherau´s film, doesn´t feel the need to share a single word with her occasional lover? Would her silence be the result that she’s being true to what she wants and she doesn’t need to disguise it as something else because deep down she made her choices?
For in fact, in the end of the film, she chooses to remain married, refusing to leave her husband or abandon her domestic life style, though she is totally bored with her marriage and she feels that her husband doesn´t have clue about who she really is.

(in progress)

December 28, 2007 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

THE DOUBT – John Patrick Shanley

Written by John Patrick Shanley, an American from the Bronx, this play speaks of something that, unfortunately, is a reality in my country and in its people´s mentality: suspicion and gossip! And how virtue, innocence, justice have been replaced as values for their very own opposite. Ambition and talent to manipulate the truth are rewarded in today´s world, everywhere. Nowadays, the truth is only the version which holds best.
The moral behavior of a priest is questioned here. One suspects throughout the entire play, that he has used his power and position to abuse a 12 year old boy at his care. But one is never 100% sure. Anyway the play is so much more than that…
It speaks of people´s vicious tendency for gossip and how gossip destroys one´s reputation and life. But it also addresses several other subjects, such as, 12 year old boys are no longer innocent children, sometimes they are fully aware of their own sexuality, which is something we are hardly prepared to admit and is quite disturbing. Furthermore, we witness here how women are completely powerless in a world where all hierarchies and systems remain male made and are male dominated. This play is also about women´s lack of power and impotency to change things. Specially interesting, this gender note underlies the whole play, but goes unnoticed by critics most of the time.
How gossip, suspicion and intolerance are today’s reality is stressed through the raising tension between the characters, brilliantly played by Diogo Infante and Eunice Munoz, representing the best of two acting generations.
Written in 2004, this play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Drama Desk Award and the Tony Award for Best Play.

December 28, 2007 at 4:51 pm Leave a comment

My kind of town baby!

Happily driving around… I am so happy to be in Lisbon! 16 degrees: Good bless this beautifull country! I specially missed my car and my books! I am nobody without my books!
Announcement:

“I officially commit to any naturally born male who offers me a wall with wooden shelves (no IKEA shelves please) and manages to gather all my books under the same roof. Experience in international shipping and language skills is a plus! (as my books are presently scattered between four different houses and two different countries)”.

Since a few years I’ve got this Christmas tradition, on the 25th I always go to the movies alone and see the most depressing film I can find. It started as an hazard but, it sort of turned into an habit. Three years ago, I was the only spectator watching “Recordações da Casa Amarela” by João César Monteiro (my favourite Portuguese film director), two years ago “The Pianist”, last year cannot remember and this year Brian de Palma’s “Redacted”. This film reminds me of my lack of political engagement, I am forced to wake up and do better!

December 26, 2007 at 6:21 pm 1 comment

Oscar Niemeyer

“We must dream, otherwise nothing happens”
Creator of Brasília, Pritzner Prize of Architecture and one of the top ten still alive genious in the world, Oscar Niemeyer just turned 100 years old, and still works everyday in his personal projects. He cannot sit still and do nothing, he says. For him, architecture is a synonym of freedom and imagination. For he knows that architecture is still for those who can afford it, he battles for justice and dignity, and believes that the cities of the future will be more harmonious. And when asked what is the most important thing in his life, he answers: a gesture of solidarity, a true proof of friendship, the courage of those who fought for a solidar and fraternal world and the love of a woman.

December 26, 2007 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

VINCENT GALLO – The Brown Bunny

Vincent Gallo

Vincent Gallo writes, produces, directs and interprets his own films, aside working as an artist and touring America with his band. His multitalents know no disciplinary borders nor limits, nor does his tongue! Provocative by nature, he was born in New York and has been a part of it´s underground scene for long.
Bufallo 66” and “The Brown Bunny” have given him notorious public attention, specially in Europe, against what some closed mind critics have stated – that “no one in America would see a single frame of his film” while refering to “The Brown Bunny“.
The fellatio depicted on the film arose much controversy. Though memorable without doubt, this scene remains, unfortunately, the only aspect people remember the film for. Instead of being disturbed by narrow coments, Gallo has turned this particular scene, with humour, as a teaser for his escort services as announced on his official website. Under merchandise, he publicizes himself as evening or weekend escort and sells his sperm for 1, 000, 000. 00 to all naturally born female, who can afford it! reporting to the fellatio scene as exactly the proof for his physical qualities and warranty of a good performance!
The “Brown Bunny” is a road movie, in which a low budget is a synonym for quality and creativity. A man – played by Gallo himself – consummed with guilt for a lost love tries to live his life further, couping with his own feelings of disorientation and impotency.
The miles he drives are a way to order his own memories of the past. Meanwhile driving, he cries and mourns, the road is like a therapy and a sort of way to survive, to keep on going.
Successive landscapes, weather conditions, interwined with american road songs, and beautifull shots, from the composition, colour and rythmic point of view, occasionate an amazing cinematographic moment.
I would say, that though people would think that in the first one and a half hours of the film nothing happens, this is exactly the best part of it, right before the story unravels. The narrative is only unfold in the very end, when one finally grasps the character, his motivations, why he is sad and cannot connect with women. Driving for miles is a way to deal with his hurt and impotency, and a way to go back to the key locations of his love story trying to make sense of it. The film is literally about a voyage, also into his past and himself, in order to coup with the guilt, hurt, sadness and impotency. And it speaks, without words and through images, about one man´s feelings. For me, it is a key film on how men handle their emotions, and deal with the language of love – in a visual way that is always engaged with action and functioning rather than, words or gestures.

December 19, 2007 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

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