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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Babette’s Feast, a Frenchization

In a remote 19th-century Danish village, two sisters lead a rigid life centered around their father, the local minister, and their church. They take in French refugee, Babette Hersant, who agrees to work as their servant. After winning the lottery, Babette wants to repay the sisters for their kindness and offers to cook a French meal for them and their friends on the 100th anniversary of their father’s birth. It proves to be an eye-opening experience for everyone.

As they say, Babette’s Feast is “still the gold standard of food movies”. I use it here because I find it’s a good example of… well… the reasons why people love the French – when they do 🙂

Babette is the perfect example of the Intruder/Revealer type. She disturbs a system, here a rigid grey life, with her “way of being”, which is here the love of food, et la gourmandise.

Nothing is the same after her…

Gourmandise is the French word for “love of good food”. I think you don’t have this word in English, which is maybe cultural (Mayflower spirit?). It’s like a positive, smiling way to talk about… greed. Yum!

On this pattern, there’s another movie, with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp : Chocolat.

I agree : this spirit can be a bit disturbing for obedient Anglo-Saxons. Each time I’ve been in France with an American friend, this person was like amazed (in many ways : surprised, annoyed, afraid) about our freedom, our “not following the rules that much” ways, our casualness, our inefficiency too – and the food. The food, always, and again.

Here (like in other countries like Italy), c’est un Art de vivre, an Art of living. And we fight for that! Many of our cheeses are and will stay forbidden in America : not “safe” enough, not enough disinfected, sanitized…

Here I pity the French who live in America : they’re all missing… the cheese! And also, I will now search for “cultural differences movies”, where Anglo-Saxon’s culture irrigate our exhausting Frenchiness.

 

Tool : what from other country’s culture thing do you need in your job, in your life? What if you ask a Japanese expert about your company? What for? Where are the axis of progress?

Have a nice day!

OK, here’s a little Camembert to say goodbye.

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Crime Novels are boring, Mr Whodidit, so what?

Crime Novels are boring, because there’s a murder or many murders (boring), a policeman or an investigator (boring), and at the end, we’re told who did it (boring).

There’s a trick I wrote about : read the end. Now you know Mr Whodidit, then read the book normally, and have fun with all the tricks the author uses to mislead you.

Well, writers have many levers to move, and they do it. Why? To debore the bored reader, right?

  • Show who did it at the beginning (Columbo)
  • Two investigators or more
  • More violence, or comedy
  • Change rhythm : get slow, or hysterical
  • Weird detective (Twin Peaks)
  • More scientific, political, etc (find a field)
  • Research in a foreign place or country
  • Trick (Silence of the Lambs : a killer helps to find a killer, haha)
  • More estheticism, more complexity (Blow Up)
  • Disappearance of an element (no body, no murder, no detective, no solution, etc)

Each attempts seems boring to me, but sometimes is works, Okeyyy. That’s the purpose (and the dial of this article) in poetry, advertising, photography, writing, etc :

How do you recover a bored audience?

Thanks for reading!

JP

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Light a fire under my fantasy flaw : Words VS Action

This article was triggered by a friend in the USA, telling me that many men from other countries asked her to visit (all this linked to love and attraction, etc…), but… “Who takes a plane to visit ME?”.

I read many interviews of filmmakers, who love to write stories and scenarios, and like to work for days on the editing process, but these directors hate shooting because it’s a compromise of their script – or at least they find it boring and complicated. You’re surrounded by a huge team who spend their time to fix problems, right? With actors who are fragile, lost, or complicated. They know they HAVE TO do it, though.

I think I’m this kind of guy. This is a flaw, and this is bad. I tend to live in a fantasy world. I like ideas, books, and metaphors. I like to say “Let’s keep it a dance”, but I don’t propose real tango lessons. I fantasize about traveling but I don’t even have a passport! I’d love to visit Luca (Italy), Yalta (Ukraine), or Petaluma (California)… and I don’t even have a car.

I’m not a doer, I’m not a strong person, I’m a dreamer and we dreamers tend to overthink instead of moving our asses. I know it can be felt as a betrayal by action people…

I should light a fire under my ass (ohh these American idioms with the word “ass”) but I don’t and won’t. Somebody could light it for me, but that’s lazy to easy to say that, right? And if I don’t move it could hurtburn my bottom, poor me! Condemned to stand up for the rest of my life…

Nevertheless, I think that you could find a sidekick lover, a partner who likes your conversation and dreaming capacities (fair’s fair), who settles in, takes their place next to you, not to become an engine or a pusher, which would be exhausting, but who knows you well enough to guess when to trigger this lever they know about. A single well placed sentence and a dreamer can become a strong action happy man. Tadaaaa.

OK, too easy, and lazy, right? It was probably…

…a dream 🙂

Have a nice day!

(Fair’s fair… I like this one!)

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#Antonioni #quote

We know that behind every image revealed there is another image more faithful to reality, and in the back of that image there is another, and yet another behind the last one, and so on, up to the true image of that absolute, mysterious reality that no one will ever see.

Michelangelo Antonioni

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Stalking Curses & Sisyphus’s like Loneliness : Chronicle 5

I already wrote a little article about this question : Why do people blog? Why do people post on Instagram? It was a long list of hypothesis, but at the end, I bet that people post to be loved. I read this week that the worse thing for depression is Instagram (because, as I guessed well, people often want to show to the world that they are “very happy, blessed by life and in love”, which makes the viewers jealous or at least a bit depressed because themselves are obviously NOT that happy, right?).

You click a hashtag, randomly, and you see billions of pictures. Why do people post on Instagram? The key word is “motivation”. Some take pictures and post them to :

  • Get followers
  • Share their work
  • Meet people with same interests
  • Indicate to others how happy and blessed they are
  • Show how interesting they are
  • Make people laugh
  • Show their “beauty”
  • Reveal beautiful places they visit
  • Indicate they are in couple, in love
  • Indicate they are sad, alone, or tired
  • Put a stalker in pain
  • Show their artistic talent
  • Show their project

Etc! One good question is :

When you post something somewhere, are you aware of your audience, or do you work only for yourself, your happiness?

I watched Paterson and I immediatly thought about another movie : Dead Zone : Christopher Walken is in coma for many years after a car accident. His wife remarry. Then he wakes up. His loneliness is then unbelievable (and the actor fantastic at it). It’s a world of ice. And he has a power to see the future…

Paterson (Adam Driver) is terrible alone too, but it’s VERY different. He has a beautiful young wife, a job (he’s a bus driver), some friends in a bar, and he writes poems. He’s quiet, modest in a modest life – he doesn’t talk much about his poems (though he continuously meets other people – a rapper, a little girl, a japanese man – interested in poetry). He writes in his bus, while he has lunch, in his basement. Nobody reads his poems. He sees struggling people around him (two young men lost with flirting, a colleague and his numerous family problems, a broken-hearted black man in the bar) and stays impassive and calm, benevolent. Idem with his girlfriend (who is a sweet dreamer, a dabbler artist). We all see he is not really connected, to anybody. He just goes on with his life, quietly putting words in his little booklet…

Walken and Driver are standing up. They are the loneliest characters I’ve seen ever (well, apart from Tennessee Williams’ plays). Both find something to do, though. They find their “mission”. The first one leads to drama (it’s from a Stephen King novel, after all). The second one is revealing a “way of being in the world” : being there without being very concerned (cf Inside Sidestepping) or affected. It talks about Sisyphus and about the Waldgänger, too…

It broke me heart, yesterday night, like a Chekhov or a Carver short story can do…

Slide, mortals, don’t bear down

 

Thanks for reading! Have a great week-end!

 

(I love this little dances of words too : Walken and Driver/Driver plays a bus driver/Paterson lives in Paterson, New Jersey/etc)

 

 

 

 

Pastures New & Feathers Song : Chronicle 2

Douglas Kennedy says that there are two ways to meet tragedy. The first one is the bad luck coming from nowhere : brain cancer, car accident – among encounters with idiots and traitors. The second one is our own (and sometimes powerful) ways to make bad choices, auto-sabotages and other subtle ways of self destructing.

“Mission : not to be duped by myself” and it is easy to say : we all are, at one moment, pastures new seekers. Et donc…

I bought Libération, the newspaper, because yesterday was the first day of our new president in France. French people are funny, they already complain about this guy. They want change, but every attempt puts the whole country on strike!

Well, he’s been elected, right? He’s 39 years old and I’m 51 today, that’s a bit disturbing ! So I watch all the messy mess and I smile : people will very soon Facebook “Macron Go Away”, like with the previous president. But he won’t go away, for sure. I’d say : shut up and let him work.

I read a long interview with Ridley Scott. He talked about Francis Bacon (the painter) as an inspiration for his chest buster. He talked about The Duellists, so graphically gorgeous (after Barry Lyndon) he was accused by critics of inventing “too beautiful images”. “Fuck off”, he said : “I used no filters!”.

I remember the letters A L I E N in the movie theater when I was a student, and today I went to the cinema to watch Alien Covenant for my birthday.  In the movies I saw a blowing wink towards Giger (knowers will know) and a surprising re-creation of The Isle of the Dead, by Böcklin. If you want to play Google, you’ll learn that Giger painted his own version of the painting…

I was a very young man when I saw one of the five Böcklin versions, in le Musée d’Orsay, in Paris. I stopped in front of the gigantic painting for maybe half an hour. Tremendous shock.

Yes I found a white feather just after I bought Libération. My brain said : “??!”. Is a feather is a tool to write, or a symbol?

“The gods weave misfortunes for men, so that the generations to come will have something to sing about.” Mallarmé repeats, less beautifully, what Homer said; “tout aboutit en un livre,” everything ends up in a book. The Greeks speak of generations that will sing; Mallarmé speaks of an object, of a thing among things, a book. But the idea is the same; the idea that we are made for art, we are made for memory, we are made for poetry, or perhaps we are made for oblivion. But something remains, and that something is history or poetry, which are not essentially different.”

Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights

Misfortunes towards words. I know better now. Maybe.

Thanks. Good day!

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