On what foot will you dance? What if in a situation you don’t feel what you’re supposed to feel?

Being neutral, or hilarious, at a funeral. Feeling nothing after being fired. Laughing when you read a drama book. Crying in front of a comedy.

What if in a situation you don’t feel what you’re supposed to feel?

  • It’s surprising for people around you, which means there’s a social pressure, right? You are “supposed to”.
  • It’s surprising for you.
  • Or maybe you exactly know why you react “out of the frame” – but it’s a secret.

 

In “A Streetcar Named Desire”, a woman visits her sister in New Orleans, who lives with a violent man (Marlon Brando). You’re “supposed to” dislike a man who beats a pregnant woman, right? But Brando is so good (and he’s a movie character) that you begin to love him, then you hate him, then you admire his work as an actor, then… Vous ne savez plus sur quel pied danser : “don’t know what foot to dance on” – You don’t know where to stand.

And this is made on purpose.

 

What are situations when you don’t know what to feel, where to stand? Manipulation? Sudden truths? Out of focus? What triggers feelings-confusion? Are you tired? What is this gap, between what you feel and what you’re supposed to feel? What if it was wrong? What if your radar needed to be fixed… or other people’s radars??

 

Thanks for reading!

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What happens off screen on Instagram

In cinema and photography, we use in French two different words, hors-champ and hors-cadre.

  • Hors-champ is like “out of the field”, I’ve seen “off screen” or “off camera”. It’s what happened but has not been filmed.
  • Hors-cadre is more precise, it’s “out of the frame”, so it can happen just out of the border of the image, close to the edge.

In the movies, it can be used to hide an horrible thing (killing someone off screen but seeing the reaction of a character), and it’s a great idea in comedy : in George Cukor’s Adam’s Rib (with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn), some hilarious moments happen when a character goes out of the screen (in a bedroom where you KNOW there’s a problem) and screams.

 

All of you, my readers, read articles in past months about fake happiness on Instagram. A splendid bikini lady is smiling on the beach, holding a green smoothie in a hand and her lover’s hand in the other.

Now we’re going out of the era where we “believe” that shit (and be envious).

We all have a “off camera/out of the frame” culture now. We KNOW she spent two hours sweating under the sun like a debandaged mummy until she found a place, a light, an angle and a HDR picture she likes. The boyfriend/photographer in bored like a dying hen (with greasy hands). The assistant (often bikini girl’s sister) screams, cries, gets drunk and wanna die. And of course, as soon (at least!) as it’s done, the teeth-piano-like “smile” vanishes, the smoothie goes to the trash (who wants to drink this cucumber/mango juice?) and they all fight like rabid mangooses until the night (and next picture). Voilà!

Thus you begin to ask questions about humanity, like “Why the wars?”, “Why the diseases?”, “Why asking for autographs?”, “Why cruelty?”, and “Why posting fake #bikini #happiness #lovetraveling #admiremeplease on Instagram?”.

 

So we began to hear about these people stopping bouleshit, changing the comments they added under their pictures, confessing the bitterish moods of the shooting days : articles. What happens after that “revealing moment”? They study Roman architecture or begin to practice an instrument? They add another Instagram next to the other one, like “horrible making of”? They fight poverty? Meditate?

How could one use smartly this idea of “The public now knows the out–of-the-frame”, and smells the fake-iness from one hundred feet afar, without being sarcastic like Celeste Barber? Really I have no idea. I need more coffee. Want a pic?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Robert Wyatt : Sea Song

Let’s quit our comfort zone

Robert Wyatt was the drummer of Soft Machine. He one evening fell from a window and therefore became paralyzed; he uses a wheelchair since. Pink Floyd performed two benefit concerts, and their drummer, Nick Mason, produced the album Wyatt wrote in his hospital bed “in a trance” : Rock Bottom.

This album will make you uncomfortable. English prog-rock with avant-garde or modern-jazz seeds : It’s an enigma, a nightmare, a diamond. For some critics, it’s the best album of all times.

 

 

Sea Song is one of the most beautiful love song (the other one, for me, is Beach Boys’ God only knows). Imagine a wobbling harrowing Elton John piano slow track invaded with strange stars, bottomed with silver sounds in snakes and gorgeous harmonies. The lyrics are weirdly adorable. The piano break is risky, broken and drunk. The end is an almost ridiculous but touching incantations with sirens…

 

You look different every time you come
From the foam-crested brine
Your skin shining softly in the moonlight
Partly fish, partly porpoise, partly baby sperm whale
Am I yours? Are you mine to play with?
Joking apart – when you’re drunk you’re terrific when you’re drunk
I like you mostly late at night you’re quite alright

But I can’t understand the different you in the morning
When it’s time to play at being human for a while please smile!

You’ll be different in the spring, I know
You’re a seasonal beast like the starfish that drift in with the tide with the tide
So until your blood runs to meet the next full moon
Your madness fits in nicely with my own with my own
Your lunacy fits neatly with my own, my very own

We’re not alone

 

This always lets me brokenhearted, who knows why? It’s been written by a man in love, broken in his soul (hemiplegic drummer, you imagine??) : “I was just relieved that I could do something from a wheelchair”. I’ve rarely seen someone so… opened, in a song. It’s constantly two faced : beautiful but ridiculous, easy slow but with a frightening piano break, incantatory but childish, wobbling, a bit crazy, and strong. Brokenhearted, for sure.

It’s interesting to peel. Listen to the “normal form” of the slow in the beginning – the piano, the modulation (on “But I can’t understand”). The bass is interesting. The drum has been evacuated, the pulse coming from a tiny, fragile, minuscule repeated “POC” – as if this man was saying us : “See, I’m not a drummer anymore, but I can POC”. Awweee!

Symptom : this kind of song can be absolutely destroyed or badly sung live, or by other people. The essence of it will not and can not be touched.

 

 

“My funeral song”

“Possibly one of the most amazing albums ever recorded, and a psychedelic gem beyond time.”

“One of the top albums of all time. A true art expression.”

“what makes this legendary is the overall feeling it gives you. The “breathing” present throughout the tracks, the weird time-warped feeling you get at the middle of Red Riding Hood, Wyatt’s singing on the Sea Song, they all contribute to creating one of the best atmospheres. Along with some pretty neat tracks, make up for one of the greatest masterpieces to come from modern music.”

(26 pages of that here : http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/robert_wyatt/rock_bottom/ )

 

Then try this (it’s the 3rd track or Rock Bottom), LOUD :

 

 

 

 

“This” Tropism : what you read understands you

The King of Kings of the world, for this, is Marcel Proust.

Buy, one day, a good translation of “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu” (In Search of Lost Time). If you want to explore Proust, buy first How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De Botton, it’s a really great book, and a great key to this author. Buy it for your birthday! Say it’s from Jean-Pascal, OK?

I try, here, next to my little tools, to talk about “very little movements of the minds”, what we call here “Tropismes”.

There is ONE tropism you know pretty well, you blog reader, it’s this one :

When you read an article and you jump off you chair saying : “It’s true! I feel that too! Never seen it written though!”.

It’s lovely to suddenly see someone who struggles with the same tiny mind movements as you, right?

Someone wrote one day that

We read to know we’re not alone

Isn’t it true?

 

Jean-Pascal

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When your brain has pop-up windows…

– Focus, dear, where are you?
– I have pop-up windows, sorry…

To go blank. To zone out. I searched for English vocabulary, you see?

When do we have pop-up windows? Why? Someone? Somewhere? Is something in our brain capable of “taking the lead”, cutting us from reality to throw the whole package into dreamy states? Yeah, probably. Inattentive because faraway. Is it dangerous? What if it was a sign? Of what?

Let’s trigger a game :

Each time you have pop-up windows, you stop, you stand up, you stop everything, you take your car and you GO physically, exactly, where you were pop-up windowing. I mean really. NOW. What if? What will happen?

Will you, then, have other pop-up windows? Or will you be stopping your zoning-out to be just… there and happy?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Every bookstore is the result of its clientele

One day I saw an interview of a celeb journalist and TV show presenter, a person I like very much, directing good shows and a pretty good interviewer herself. She was asked why TV was so full of trash. I saw her face changing, she was really upset, then answered something very surprising : TV broadcasts were so bad because “It’s what the audience wants!”.

She continued on this mode, telling something like “If people were watching operas, literature documentaries and great movie classics, all trash TV would broadcast in front of nobody, then would disappear for ever, then we would have great TV everywhere!”.

Her anger was noticeable, and that’s why I remembered it clearly. When smart people complain, you listen. Then, you wonder, right?

Because of course this all seems to be too good to be true, and it’s easy to counterattack. People watch trash TV because it’s prepared and broadcasted to them, etc.

 

So, there’s a balance here to find. After counterattack I have to admit that we all have a responsibility here, nonetheless. It’s like when I hear someone complaining about dense traffic… from a car. I have to answer to this person that he is a brick of it.

In some countries, if you are stuck into a traffic jam, you get a ticket! Which, in a way, is fair : you’re a part of it, it’s your fault!

OK, there’s a balance to find…

 

I work in a bookstore, and I’m confronted with this “structure”. The axiom could be :

“Every bookstore is the result of its clientele”.

You can be appalled, but it’s true. For a part, at least.

Yeah, there are other dials to watch. You need to have serious booksellers on board. And you often have to sell tons of “best sellers” on end displays… to be able to present entire tables of great books (your choice) in the store. Etc.

In a serious bookstore, all kind of books are bought then presented on tables and shelves. Employees, then, watch (weekly) closely the sales, then books are reordered. Never sold volumes (for months) are a bit dirty or torn, and therefore sent back to editors, and this is it : little by little, the customers, by the way they act and buy, model and form the store.

You just need a year or so to adjust, understand and change your store to adapt to your clientele. If you have an architecture school a street away, your architecture department will grow, you’ll have rare books, theory books and even anthropology books for the thinkers around. A visitor will pass and will be in a awe : “Oh wow, what a great architecture choice you have!”. Yessss it’s thanks to the bookstore employee, but mainly because he found the clientele, too. It’s a dance, a tango.

There’s a balance to find.

There’s a split of responsibilities in front of trash TV, in traffic jams, in poor supplied bookstores. Suppliers, of course, but audience too.

Do you meet this structure too, in your job, in your life? Don’t hesitate to comment, here.

 

We have an old idiom in France, about couples : “L’homme propose, la femme dispose”. It’s something like “the man proposes doings, the woman makes the choice” – I’m sorry for the translation, it’s almost impossible to do it, but you got me, right? Tango.

 

Thanks for reading!

(Really sorry for my English today. Have a nice day!)

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Logan, Arthur and Motoko

I am a movie lover, un “cinéphile“. I read a lot about movies. I own thousands of DVDs and Blu-rays. I love Orson Welles, John Ford and Elia Kazan. I love Losey, Bergman and Miyazaki. I BUY movies. I’m able to spend a year to explore 1961 in cinema history (yes there’s a Wikipedia page for that). I’m able to watch all Tennessee Williams movies adaptations in a month, just for the extraordinary pleasure of… oh forget it.

But I download them too. A lot. I watch, and if I like I buy. I’m old school. I don’t have Netflix nor an Apple TV. I want the discs, the bonuses, the sleeves. Les galettes : the “epiphany cakes” (yesss we say that, for movie discs). Makes sense, right?

It’s August, so I found many American mainstream movies to download. Fast and Furious number 39 (or whatever), or Alien Covenant (I wanted to watch is again, because it’s a bad, wrong movie, but also because of Scott, Giger/Böcklin, the “two notes flute in the echo” music, and the stress before the shuttle explosion).

By the way, I wrote to the actress behind the voice of Mother, in Covenant. Great work!

I left 3 movies on the side, because I was sure it was shit.

Logan, King Arthur and Ghost in the Shell. All of them had bad trailers. Logan smelled “I want to end this character violently”. Arthur really smelled like duck-billed platypus shit. And watching Scarlett Johansson exploding a window 6541 times in slow motion on Facebook was enough to keep me away from it (talk about bad e-marketing -> another article).

All of them took me by surprise.

But beware : I’m NOT talking about Kitano’s Hana Bi or Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter (I can’t wait to find these in Blu-ray). Don’t even talk about Heaven’s Gate, Single Man or Fanny & Alexander (I have the Blu-rays, thank you). I’m writing here about mainstream movies, to eat with popcorn and have fun with.

Logan surprised me because it was more violent, tragic, or let’s say “less stupid” than some other X-Men I watched (I watched them all). I like these superheroes movies, but here I was surprised and wondered about the audience targeted by it. So what : Adult geeks? I don’t know, but I loved it. The Wolverine girl, Xavier in his chair, powerful but dying, the cross-to-X at the end, it awed me.

I was really ready to laugh sarcastically at Arthur. But Ritchie made Snatch and the Sherlocks, and I loved U.N.C.L.E., so I tried… And I found it brilliant! Smart and fast, funny at times (I LOVE when Ritchie plays with dialogs/possible scene, like when Sherlock Holmes will fight), and so powerful (ohhh Excalibur). A good evil character (hello Jude Law), a mage… A good one!

I will forgive everything to Jude Law since he played in My Blueberry Nights.

Ghost in the Shell climbed greatfully towards the spider-tank scene (I own the anime movie, and I needed to know what they’ll do with the tank). The face to face with mother ending crushed me. The sound is great. Kitano is perfect. Binoche is fantastic (strong, fragile, alive). What a great surprise!

Well, I’m thankful. I read today something like “Even if it’s bad, it’s OK if it’s made with the heart” – I don’t remember where : Gide or Valéry? All of them were made with some heart.

Then I wonder how to blog about Logan : what are and what could be other branches in the almost totally kryptonitelic ridiculous tree of Superhero Movies? About Arthur : what’s the drive in Ritchie : a casualness, a “I allow everything, shut up” energy? About Ghost in the Shell : how to make a robot alive? How to adapt a fucking Japanese cartoon with elegance? How to convince Scarlett Johannsson to play that?

 

After all this, you will ALWAYS need to clear your spirit from special effects, Excalibur’s devastation, jumping in an invisible electronic device, or fake claws. I suggest an Ingmar Bergman’s movie : Winter Light. Or just one quote of this movie instead :

“God does not speak because there is no God. You should learn how to love, instead of praying”.

Thanks for reading!

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