From remaking “Suspiria”

Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento. Today it’s a classic, grandiose and glossy. It’s also baroque in many ways : decors and colors are vibrant, the music is… not to be outdone.

Considered as a masterpiece, you have today to accept its… exaggerations. If your mind plays the game, it’s a very strange delight, full of great ideas.

When I heard about a remake I facepalmed, like many other movie lovers.

I’ll watch it soon but before that, I read interviews of other directors who reacted on the new Suspiria.

  1. One saying it was stupid to remake it because the first movie was such a milestone.
  2. Another one saying it was OK.
  3. The director, saying it made something totally different, with, for example, colors “à la Fassbinder” (the first Suspiria also happened in Germany).

Tilda Swinton, actress in the new movie, told something very smart (which made me write this article) :

As the story of the first Suspiria is very light (“An American newcomer to a German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a witches coven”), it can be used like an opera libretto.

I thought it was smart. I know dozens of “Manon Lescaut” or “La Bohème”, the Puccini opera, and each time it’s very interesting to see what they do with the characters, the decor…

What does Manon Lescaut want?

I don’t know I feel this is a good tool, but I need help. How can I formalize it?

  • “When you think remaking something is useless, but you have to find a good angle to realize it’s not”?
  • “When you have to think about something in a new way (borrowing from another field) to find a new interest in it”?
  • “Once you have a core, a spirit, you can weave things around, it’ll be interesting to notice the differences”?
  • “Working on decisions : let’s keep this from the original/let’s change that”?

Tell me?

What’s the point to remake something frame by frame (like they’ll do with The Lion King)?

“The Red Turtle” (2016) quiet, intelligent, and dialog free. Presented by Studio Ghibli.

After a storm, a man is alone on an island. There, he meets a red turtle…

It’s a French/Japanese animated movie, directed and written by a Dutch man. It’s just made of images and music, no word is spoken. It’s so quiet… and mesmerizing.

Have a nice day

JP

 

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Spending a day with a movie

I read an interview of Vittorio Sorraro, who is a cinematographer (the guy responsible of cameras, light, image, in a movie).

Thus I discovered that this guy worked on Apocalypse Now & One From the Heart (Coppola), Reds (Beatty) and 1900 (Bertolucci).

All these films titles, this list, jumped on me. They are all of the same type : you could spend a whole day around these movies.

Apocalypse Now is based on a Conrad novel. There’s a “Redux” (which means “brought back”) version which is a masterpiece. You’ll also find a documentary about the shooting, made by Coppola’s wife. You’ll find plenty of interviews about this craziness on the web and in books. Etc.

I saw One From the Heart just a few years ago in Blu-ray. I was awaiting an über-artificial bad movie and I found it very touching. All around is fake (everything’s done in studios) with the will to appear a decoy. Yes, it’s like Manet and his brush strokes, remember?

Reds is so underrated. Beatty won the Best Director Academy Award, but everybody seems to have forgotten this fabulous and mature film.

This could have been about big big movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Zhivago or Ran, but it’s not. Some little movies are so enthralling that… you will spend days exploring the maturity, the complexity of them. OK I add one : The Sheltering Sky.

What other titles do you have in mind?

 

Have a nice day!

 

 

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From “Looper” to “Star Wars VIII”

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was directed by Rian Johnson (born in 1973). As I often like to chain the movies I watch with a link, I watched Looper… his previous film, the day after. Looper is a splendid Sci-Fi movie and I watched a long interview of Johnson in the bonuses. I discovered an adorable geek with a fast brain, capable of talking about Casablanca, Akira, who wrote, organized and directed the movie, which “delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action”, 93% on Rotten Tomatoes!
  2. I really respect and understand that the Star Wars teams wanted this guy, as they wanted Gareth Edwards (born 1975)  for Rogue One. Monsters was a haunting masterpiece (though very low budget), and his Godzilla was… really different.
  3. I have a third example : Joss Whedon. Smart father of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly (then Serenity), a great “space western”. After Cabin in the Woods, he was swallowed by Marvel Studios, directing two huge Avengers movies.

 

OK, here’s the pattern : smart directors swallowed by huge systems to make the biggest blockbusters.

Could it be a special Peter Principle?

Did we lose the guys for good cinema? Why?

 

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Long cool movies for holidays Part 1

Winter holidays are linked to childhood. I was born in 1966 and there were 3 TV channels. Three. I was happy to spend a little time with the TV magazine, to circle good films with a red pen.

Today I remember these Big Budget Long Movies, with an Intermission, see? I remember Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (“with the guy of Mary Poppins”), Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, or Dr Zhivago. These let you, as a child of this era, full of tears, happiness and energy, and I’m sure it put a strong core into me. Something like… whatever.

 

Have a nice New Year’s eve!

Thank you Elia Kazan

Elia Kazan (1909 – 2003) was a Greek-American director, producer, writer and actor, described by The New York Times as “one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history”.

His autobiography, “A Life”, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Smart, fast, generous, complex, it made me study his films, Marlon Brando, McCarthyism, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, the “Methods” in acting, New York vs Los Angeles, the crisis of 1929, what it is to be a director, a migrant, etc…

Kazan is a controversial personality because he gave testimony before before the “House Committee on Un-American Activities”, and you can see an example on YouTube when he got an honorary Oscar at 90 years old, a few actors refused to applause him.

So, you could study this interesting struggle between what is quick-easy to judge as a “mistake”, and the huge talent of this man. I read his own book (he explains himself in many pages), I watched “On the Waterfront”, and I understood. It was like a relief…

I’m thankful today because he made me understand many aspects of the American culture, he whetted my curiosity on many other artists. I read the Arthur Miller’s autobiography just after Kazan’s book, and watched many movies adapted from Tennessee Williams (Kazan directed A Tramway Named Desire on stage and as a movie, both with Brando).

A book, and a year long travel, around this, in fact : “What is it to be a standing man?”. Thanks, mister!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Urban Cowboy, y’all

OK. As a movie lover, I knew Urban Cowboy was a good movie, but I never watched it until today.

I know something : for American people, the “South” is something, say, like… different. The accent, for example. So : imagine what it can be for… a French!

It’s a bit like all of you, but worse, you see? When I see a country music singer (with his hat), I have “this” smile. I’m sorry, but it’s VERY strange for us. Imagining to wear a cowboy hat in a joint, OMG…

One day, a American good friend of mine took a few hours to explain me country music, with the lyrics, etc. Broken hearted men, singing about sorrow, regrets and lost love. It left me in a awe (and, well, my own life was a sadness disaster at this time). I knew nothing about it all. It was interesting…

Urban Cowboy is the story of a dumb alpha male (John Travolta), quitting the family farm for the city of Houston. In a honky-tonk he meets a girl (Debra Winger), marries her, then becomes jealous of a stupid bad guy released of parole (she’s attracted, of couuuurse). Everybody rides a mechanical rodeo bull, etc.

So : East Texas in the eighties, country music and, as I saw in IMDB, “young couples without big bank accounts who have trouble getting along”.

The actors and the director manage to do something great : we, little by little, learn to LIKE these people. A simple minded sexist redneck, a dumb spouse falling for the first bad guy in town, etc. And we love them!

Well, it’s impossible not to love Debra Winger, right?

The hold of tragedy squeezes them all, and it becomes… important. It’s a good movie, I told you!

 

This is a useful tool, and a dial : don’t mock unknown cultures too fast, even if it’s the easiest path for you. Be serious, hold on, bend over, lean, study the most boring universe, and find your seeds. Little by little, I was interested in this film, and I found the music really great (lyrics included). Who will do the same with opera, or Italian classical music or Belgian literature?

Have a nice day, y’all!

 

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La Grande Vadrouille / The Great Stroll

Hi, my American readers! From San Francisco to New York City by way of Wellington, Fayetteville and Wichita, it’s SUNDAY, a special day, right? Time for a barbecue and Rosé wine, or maybe a good old French comedy classic?

La Grande Vadrouille is one of the best. It means literally “The Great Stroll”; originally released in the United States as Don’t Look Now… We’re Being Shot At!

It’s a big production, made in 1966 (a good year : I was born this year). Wikipedia says :

“For over forty years La Grande Vadrouille was the most successful French film in France, topping the box office with over 17,200,000 cinema admissions. It remains today the third most successful film ever in France, of any nationality”.

I copied pasted the plot from wikipedia too :

Summer 1941. Over German-occupied France, a Royal Air Force bomber becomes lost after a mission and is shot down over Paris by German flak. Three of the crew, parachute out over the city, where they run into and are hidden by a house painter, Augustin Bouvet, a puppet show operator, Juliette, and the grumbling conductor of the Opéra National de Paris, Stanislas Lefort. Involuntarily, Lefort, Juliette and Bouvet get themselves tangled up in the manhunt against the aviators led by Wehrmacht Major Achbach as they help the airmen to escape to the free zone with the help of Resistance fighters and sympathisers.

You’ll hear French good persons trying to speak English, fighting with a huge sense of… Frenchiness against the German occupiers… If you like The Great Race and other big budget sunny happy crazy movies, it’s for you.

Is it or Netflix or something? No idea. But if it is, give it a try!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Elbowing the Audience by killing the Suspension of Disbelief

“Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and,
instead of bleeding, he sings.”
R. Benchley

 

ONE

If you go see a theater play, you have to make a deal with yourself, even if you even don’t realize you do it  :

“I accept to believe that these people on the scene are real”

If you don’t, you’ll watch actors making as if, that’s weird, right?

This is not new, of course : Coleridge (an English philosopher) called it Suspension of disbelief :

“a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.”

You watch Braveheart on TV. You need your good “willing suspension of disbelief”, and if you don’t, you will laugh all along : you’ll see Mel Gibson (Australian actor) running in a skirt, pretending to fight for Scotland, hahaha.

And in a magic act, “an audience is not expected to actually believe that a woman is cut in half or transforms into a gorilla in order to enjoy the performance.”. Now imagine the work you have to do to accept an opera! 🙂

OK, you got the concept.

TWO

Creators and critics are aware of that. Nathalie Sarraute, a French writer, wrote a book (The Age of Suspicion), where she says that the novels’ readers less and less believe in the author “I know all” invention, and therefore that the writers tend to depersonalize the characters. Readers are more and more also critics, they analyze their pleasure, and you have to be smart and inventive to catch’em back.

In fact, this phenomenon appeared in many Arts.

  • In theater, directors began to play with the old “suspension of disbelief” trick : keeping the lights on in the room, allowing characters to call out to the audience.
  • In novels, the “omniscient narrator” began to speak to the reader (about his doubts, or the way the story was told).
  • In movies, characters suddenly watched the spectator, talking to him (Cf Pierrot le Fou, Godard).

THREE

I found this idea in interviews of movies directors like Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and Brian de Palma. Their idea is the same, I would formulate it like that :

“I KNOW for sure that I want to make movies for an audience who is AWARE that it’s a movie. I don’t want to put them in a classical “dream mode”, but I want to play with the audience with the fact a movie is like a clock, a fake funny mechanism MADE FOR HIM, therefore I constantly ELBOW THE AUDIENCE with nods, tricks, implausible twists and turns. They have fun not because they believe it, they have fun because they know I’m here with the scriptwriter working for their entertaining intelligence – so there!”.

So what is played here is not “sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment” any more, like in the normal Suspension of Disbelief. It’s a weaving between entertainment AND logic and realism. Inside the audience, the spectator AND the critic are dancing tango, with a smile. Intelligence is summoned, not only the dreaming capacities…

TOOL :

Where would you use this? Advertising? Poetry? Marketing? What would be a private joke to an audience? What is to elbow you spectators, and how to? Why? If you succeed, what happens?

You can also read : Strangeization.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Instagram : __bodylanguage__

 

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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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)

 

 

 

 

Mistaken & Mugged : Chronicle 1

Sometimes you just need a title to make an article. Not a good article, OK, just “an” article. Or a chronicle. I realized (it’s never too late) that many bloggers just write chronicles, little things of life. I have to admit that it works, it gives a color, and somehow the reader can grab a little seed from it.

My daughters are discovering a movie : Forrest Gump. I could hear the drawling southern accent (now I hear that) from the first seconds (happening in Alabama). Remembering the “Life is like a box of chocolate you never know what you get” thing. Seeing Forrest finding a feather, delicately opening his suitcase to put her in a book. Yes, “her”. For a French, a feather is “une plume”, it’s absolutely and strongly feminine. Her.

I used to find feathers a lot, a long time ago, as signs and coincidences. At this time, I was writing hundreds of letters for Swanny – who never read them (of course). You never know what you get, right? Now when I see a feather I see a feather. I try to.

Just watched Pina, from Wim Wenders (the trailer is here). This movie (about the great choreographer Pina Bausch) needs to be seen in High Definition. It succeeds tremendously in making us understand that dance is telling us things out of ideas, out of subtleties of words or even concepts. Then I discussed about Hip Hop Battles with my daughter. Thinking two things :

  • I don’t like improvisation. I have too much empathy for that. I can SEE the guy trying this and that, this is exhausting. Same in music. OK for masters, Coltrane and Monk, but generally I prefer written music. And rehearsed, organized dance…
  • I said to my girl – watch Pina. Thinking about this idea, this tool : If you’re good in your Art, you should read and study OTHER Arts, or other branches of the tree. I’d respect a lot an architect studying harmony in music, or a rapper studying Verlaine.

Most of my American friends tend to dissuade me to visit “The South”. Nevertheless, I will go (if I visit the USA one day). And Atlanta too. I love Faulkner, and Tennessee Williams, you know? Yes it’s a paradox : I live in the North of France, and I think I’d be happier to live in Portland, Seattle or Minneapolis, my type of climate, my type of mood. I dislike sedativeness :

I read this morning a frightening article about San Andreas Fault (it’s here : http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lopez-jones-quake-05142017-story.html ). I just remember this paragraph :

It’s human nature to live in denial, especially in California, where natural beauty is a sedative. We know the state is cracked and creviced from head to toe, San Francisco once burned to the ground, and we’re overdue for another massive shaker that could take lives, cripple the economy and leave millions of people without water and power for months.

As I study English daily, I daily find difficult words, new words, or vague words, like mug (can be a large cup, to rob violently, a face, or a stupid person). That’s very confusing : a ugly mug lost his mug, mugged by a mug?! So I typed “mugged”. For my title, remember?

I watched a live moment from the always whispering Filthyratbag (Celeste, it’s on Instagram), who is very enigmatic. You never know how to dance with her. I added a little drawing, là, en bas, down under. Quietly sarcastic, tenderly ugly, a new type of chekovian heroin, for sure. Always when I meet her work my left eyebrow climbs a bit.

I read a little the Japanese travel book of Nicolas Bouvier. Found this Basho haiku in it :

Summer grass, all that remains of warriors dreams.

The French way is :

L’herbe flétrie d’été
C’est bien tout ce qui reste
Du rêve des guerriers

What remains of MY dreams? Summer witted grass?

Also, this from Seng t’san :

Cessez de vous en faire
Et suivez le courant
Si vos pensées sont liées
Elles perdent leur fraîcheur

Stop worrying,
and follow the current
If your thoughts are tied up,
they lose their freshness

So, OK, I follow. Observer sans juger (watch without judging), Amor Fati and sequere deum!

Thanks for reading! Bon dimanche !

 

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Fruitful Constraints & Creativity

It’s an old tool many artists know : many constraints are fruitful. Mainly because a constraint is a problem calling for a solution, therefore you have to move, to be creative.

All jobs and activities have constraints : budget, environment, other people, time, space, your skills, your tools.

If it’s too loose, though, you feel a freedom, which can be messy. You can not catch anything. Stuck. You maybe need to tight something up, to find “your” freedom within a new frame.

Brian Eno invented the Oblique Strategies (mainly for musicians) as a card game. You pick a card and you have to obey (sometimes it’s terrible!). Some directors are well known to tell the actors to follow precisely something (the dialogs, or the places they have to move on the set, etc) before shooting. Some digital artists sometimes go out in a park with a pencil and a notebook. A photographer can go outside with the limit of 20 pictures taken, not much. And G. Perec wrote an entire book without the letter “e”.

Constraints are fruitful. You probably have many disposable levers for these. A poet can obey : write something in alexandrine; without any letter “p”, in less than 5 minutes. You may have to present a project in ONE minute only, and… with no words. What are your levers?

You can pull a lever to Zero, it’s the Total Constraint. For example, you’re a photographer and you go out without any camera. Just your eye. You’ll feel the need, you’ll feel your brain simmering. As you can only watch and… think, you’ll maybe have bursts of ideas (instead of taking pictures).

Of course it’s an example of “Amor Fati”, being content with what happens to you, even if it seems bad. Embracing fate : every constraint, if you can’t avoid it, should (and will have to) be danced with.

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : f_pilvi

Star Wars Rogue One, a Father & Kid story…

No spoiler here, don’t worry !

I think there’s a perfect age to watch some movies. I met people who showed Jurassic Park or Harry Potter to terrified 5 years old kids. No good !! Mais enfin !

My father took me by the hand at the age of ten, to see Stars Wars a New Hope, in 1977. He was 40. No internet, no trailers, it was a full pure discovery for me, and I remember this as if it was yesterday.

Now kids watch these movies on big TVs, they know things about Vader, Luke, Yoda and so on, I suppose, they saw photos, and trailers, it’s no big deal, it’s just different.

Today I went to the theater to see Rogue One – A Star Wars Story, which happens “just before” a New Hope. I loved it so much ! The casting is great, but also the music, the battles, and the mood of the seventies is present, without being sarcastic or retro. I found it real and delightful.

I saw it today, in 2017, 40 years after the other one. I’m now 50 years old. My father died two months ago. He was 80.

This loop : 10/40 – 50/80 makes my 50 very special. I like to find patterns, and today I maybe have vertigo about that. And Carrie Fisher just died too. She was… 60.

This movie happens just before A New Hope… which is exactly my mood these days.

Hope, loss, old promises. This is a little solemn, right ? My next blog article will be about this ! Back on inventing tools for you.

Have a nice day. Thanks for reading !

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Some French feel-good movies to choose from

Well, maybe you’ll need them one day ?

17 Feel-Good French Films

IMDB Feel Good French Movies

http://www.rendezvousenfrancais.com/top10feelgoodfrenchmovies/

Franglish’s favourite feel good French films!

20 Best French Films on Netflix

5 Feel Good French Films

The perfect pairing: five feel-good French films – and the desserts to eat as you watch them

The 10 Best French Movies for Beginners

14 Must-see Romantic French Films

You’re welcome

#blur #blurry #ferriswheel

 

 

Chekhov, Fellini and Sisyphus’ lesson : “Slide, mortals, don’t bear down”

Our need of consolation and comfort is huge, but you know, we all have to stand up and go on living. The Sisyphus myth is a great one to help us :

He was punished by gods by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it come back to hit him, repeating this action for eternity. Camus, the French philosopher, wrote an entire book about this, as a metaphor of the absurdity of human life, but he wrote also :

“one must imagine Sisyphus happy”

There’s another sentence I like, in French it’s : “Glissez mortels, n’appuyez pas” – “Slide, mortals, don’t bear down”. It’s maybe a way to say “Don’t be so serious”, but also “Taste life as it comes”, or maybe “Smile, whatever happens”, and also “Dance with what you get (the ice), and stop WANTING this or that”. Slide means also : light and fast. Casual ? Oh, you knoooowww, I’m French, so I fancy to add this one too 🙂

It’s so short and great :

“Slide, mortals, don’t bear down”

In Fellini’s movies, it’s the way Mastroianni wanders into life and interact with people. Elegant, but casual too. In Chekhov, it’s a way of saying without really saying “we all fail, that’s life, we do what we can”, maybe we should have, but we did not. In Tennessee William’s work, it’s in the style and the way he constructs stories : he DARES, he’s cool, he’s almost dangerous. I found it also in the way you can examine some complex Art pieces, from opera to modern music : if you’re too serious, you’re bored. Have a drink, smile and maybe add a little frenchiness to it. Slide, mortals, don’t bear down…

Tool : Find yours. It’s an elegant way to be there without being there really. A casualness, a lightness, a way to smile, a way to dare, also, a way to say “no” to be totally serious. This is not THAT important…

In a way, Sisyphus tells many things : smile, breathe, dance, adapt, be flexible, listen, stand up, be a dolphin. And get up and push and roll your rock up. Move forward too.

Sorry for my English, good people. If you find strong mistakes, just let me know, OK ?

#streetphotography #streetart

Jungle Syndrome of Mahler, Proust, Marx

I call “Jungle Syndrome” the feeling you have in front of the big-size-map of some masterpieces (or so-called), or artworks. I chose three examples : Mahler, Proust, and Marx. You can add anything you want : French Revolution, American Civil War, Napoleon, Italian Renaissance, ou alors tout Picasso.

Something, in these, is “too much”. Trop complexe, too rich, too interesting, too big. You pick a leaf, then you have a tree, a forest, a universe. Gasp !

I tried many times to explore Mahler‘s music. The last time I’ve been very persistent, reading about him and his life, watching concerts, listening to different versions of the symphonies. And hooo : it’s too big for me, too complex. 9 long symphonies…

Proust is the same. Thousands of RICH pages. Each page contains style ideas, it’s gorgeous, interesting, full of ideas and subtilities. And it’s lonnnng.

It becomes, each time, a strange weave between boredom and fascination (oui, c’est possible !), as if you could really guess that there are treasures and marvels to discover if you insisted. Efforts necessary, this time ? Yes.

Each time, I let it go. I did !

I did not try Marx, and just a little Picasso. These can keep you busy for YEARS !

You can give up. You will. But you can keep exploring, as well. Just to see what happens. Persistence.

This month I was trying to explain Proust to a friend. So I chose a random page and I began to read. The style was gorgeous, and the idea expressed in this single page let us floored in awe. It sparkled in the conversation. It triggered a urging desire to go on with Proust.

A few months ago I listened to Mahler a lot. This was exhausting for my ears, even if they are trained to listen to classical music. But I insisted, because I was amazed by the beauty of some moments. I was like in front of a complex architecture, trying to find a door.

I found one, then another one, then a movement, then… I kept finding gold nuggets.

Tools : In somes cases, even if it seems complicated, “too much” something, you feel it’s worth it, insist, be persistent. There’s gold, tons of gold : you maybe have to keep digging and find your own doors, find your gold.

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Why I’m so fascinated by the Americans…

I am and I will always be fascinated by the Americans.

I have pinned a map of the USA in my bathroom. I wander over it daily. I own books and books about America. Abraham Lincoln. Civil War. History. Daily life. Photographs. Culture. Etc…

We sometimes accuse Americans to be centered on their own country, but I didn’t even know that Boston was near the ocean, and nobody in France have a clue of what happens today in Albuquerque or Phoenix ! So there…

I love Americans because when you talk with them you quickly go to a place when you realise that they all come from Europa (or elsewhere, OK). They’re American but they come from Ireland, Norway, Germany or… France. Bonjour !

I love Americans because they… love the French. I don’t know really why. C’est l’amour ! Because we helped them in their Revolution ? Or maybe because of the food, or the way we take our time, I don’t know. And I think they’re fascinated by the way we talk, the way we use the letter “r” (try to say “ARBRE”, please) : Voilà, enfin, donc, encore, and… Allez !

I love Americans because they live in places I saw in movies (they go to the restaurant in Bodega bay (Hitchcock : The Birds), grow in Kansas (Wizard of Oz), or talk in Manhattan (whatever…)). They invented William Faulkner, Joseph Losey and Saul Leiter. And they saved our French ass in 1944 !

Of course, sometimes we don’t understand them quite well, because of religion, or the guns, or Trump, but “it is what it is”. I love their idioms. When I hear “Shit hits the fan”, I understand it quite well !

I love to learn words like “to elope”, “Intertwined” or “Rattletrap”. I love to learn strange things like “I’m a hop skip and a jump away from”.

Learning a  new language (and getting deeper into it) is a huge pleasure for me. So many times I’ve been helped by Americans about : subtilities, idioms, pronunciation, etc.

Americans, I noticed, have a special way to listen. If you take a breath because you want to talk, they immediatly “stop and listen”, and say “Sorry”, or “Go on”, which is a bit weird at times : we French constantly interrupt each other. Is it rude ?…

The cultural differences between France and America is really interesting to explore. I learned one day that a “dating kiss” is really usual in America, and you can date-try a few guys, no problem. In France, a… hum… a “french kiss” means a lot more. You have an example here or here. Kiss, in France, means exclusive love. Voilà !

Oh, on last thing. In America, if you shake hands with someone, it seems it’s like a Contract written in Gold under some God. In France, when you shake hands after a conversation, it’s more a way to say goodbye and “We’re OK, we’re in peace”. That can be tricky at times !

We like freedom too much of obey some “rules” with the forever color. And if we have to, we… strike !

#kansas #usa #map #frenchtoolbox #wizard #oz
#kansas #usa #map #frenchtoolbox #wizard #oz

The 25% Casualness of Movie Masters

Three-quarter Strength.  A work that is meant to give an impression of health should be produced with three-quarters, at the most, of the strength of its creator.  If he has gone to his farthest limit, the work excites the observer and disconcerts him by its tension.  All good things have something lazy about them and lie like cows in the meadow.

Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human

If you understand Nietzsche and you push this concept on the movies-area, you’ll find that there are many “too much tension” (and too many ideas) movies in the world. They are great, but only real masters manage to reach what I could call the Three-Quarter Strength Quality, merci Nietzsche. Casualness or nonchalance ? What is it exactly ?

Intention of effect kills the effect. When all levers (virtuosity, music, speed, invention, scénario, whatever) are pulled, it’s interesting, fascinating, intense, but you miss something. It’s exhausting

You find the Three-Quarter Strength Quality in some movies of Fellini (oh these lights moving on the walls in 8 1/2), in Godard (are these really “errors” in Breathless ?), even in Spike Lee’s work. There are useless dialogs in some Wes Anderson’s movies. The cheap budget of Serenity is totally accepted. Think also about all the oblique explanations in Twin Peaks. John Ford has his own way of “to not insist” on a good scene. Add John Huston’s Prizzi’s Honor. Grifters (Frears). Etc…

It’s a easyness, a casualness, an actor taking his time, a scenario which does not explain everything, a flaw in a camera movement, some rules not really followed at times…

When you know, you’ll notice this in many great movies. It’s powerful !

Tools & Levers : My, it’s easy to understand. Apply this Nietzsche thought to your work, your invention, your writing. Be smart, 25% casual, breathe, and you go girl !

(and OK I’m french, I wrote this with a little more than 25% of nonchalance, sorry)

#church
#church

 

Exploring movies from Tennessee Williams’s plays…

Once you decided to go under the surface of “news”, there are many ways to explore the movie history. I once imagined I explored a year of cinema : let’s begin with 1960. Let’s watch Psycho, l’Avventura, La Dolce Vita, Elmer Gantry, Exodus and The Magnificent Seven…

There’s another way. Which is to find the author. My best choice (from far) has been Tennessee Williams. You can watch : A Tramway Named Desire, The Night of the Iguana, Suddenly Last Summer or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Rose Tatoo, This Property is Condemned or Baby Doll (there are more, but these are masterpieces).

Check the Internet Movie Database !

For a month, forget Netflix and shows. Watch these movies. Read about T. Williams, his life, etc. You’ll plunge, then, in a strange world with a taste of the South.

Something between William Faulkner and Anton Chekhov. One days I read that these two were, for him, the two best writers of history.

There is no “tool”, here. Just a map. An idea. Make a step aside. Stop reaction on “what they propose you”. Choose your territory.

Moite, complexe, adulte : it’s clever-South, clammy adult movies for adults… You’ll have problems to go back to average shows, I can promise you…

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