Archive for January, 2013

The Golden Globetrotter I


intouchables
Of all the nominees for a Golden Globe award, 70th edition, the first one I’ve seen was Intouchables (The Untouchables) directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. Sadly I don’t’ remember much of it. But as far as I can recall is, at first glance, about this white rich guy in a wheelchair (François Cluzet) and a black guy (Omar Sy) taking care of him. Based on a real story it depicts the friendship between the two but the real emphasis is on France’s ethnic, social and political profile. It’s more like an anti-Sarkozy statement than a story about friendship.

It’s a movie about how the “banlieues” and the center should reach out for each other and form a solid bond for the good of The Nation. The rigid, white upper class lusts for life again through an adrenaline shot from the energetic, colored lower class that gains acceptance and financial satisfaction in return.

A personal history is enlarged to reflect a desired, post-Sarkozy, status-quo for a whole nation.

royal
En kongelig affære (A Royal Affair) directed by Nikolaj Arcel is also based on reality yet not on private destinies but on public ones. Denmark is embracing the ideals of the Enlightenment about state and civil rights through an insane king (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) influenced by his German physician (Mads Mikkelsen) who falls in love with the queen (Alicia Vikander) who’s British.

An ordinary love triangle is ennobled by the most revolutionary reforms it produced in 18th century Europe. The tragedy that naturally follows is caused by the good old hybris, the exact type that later led to the fall of the Enlightenment itself: excess.

En kongelig affære is worthy of our undivided attention as a history lesson but also for its first class acting performances and exquisite directorial pacing.

game
Then Game Change directed by Jay Roach came along and I found myself on a very different page of political history. Recent history has this undeserved quality of being ridiculous while nobody’s laughing. If there is any laughter is far from being relaxed and is usually followed by frustration, disgust, anger and panic on as many different levels as there are earthlings.

There is a positive distancing effect in contemplating contemporary political history through art that can add bits of catharsis to our laughter. Still, the world really sucks and thank gods for Julianne Moore, Ed Harris and Woody Harrelson for making it easier to bear.

To be continued….

Horseshoe


horseshoe
Is the midst of the aughts, I don’t remember the season, I live close to the city limits of Kolozsvár, in Kerekdomb, an area with old, modest family houses that looks more like a village than a part of a city. I had to get up really early, at 4 a.m. We are leaving on a one week Transylvanian tour and I hate this early departures. We most probably have a show at 9 a.m, 250 km far from Kolozsvár, in the middle of nowhere where a few dozens of children will be impatiently waiting for us in a cold, so-called cultural center that looks more like a stable.

I have to cross half the city to get to the meeting point. I decide to walk because, miraculously, I woke up fresh and I already managed to pack my rucksack lightly the night before. It is still very dark outside, middle of the night kind of dark. It is probably Autumn.

At 4:30 I’m in the street, completely awake and considering it would probably be wiser to take the first cab I find. But street lighting is encouraging to my night walk yet protective with the sleeping houses, fences and trees. There is no one in sight and not a single car passes me by.

I managed to remember these details later, much later, but from what was about to happen I have never forgotten any.

I exit my little street and turn right on a larger one. After about 50 meters I turn left on another street that in 60-70 meters becomes a viaduct above the city’s railway station. I can see the viaduct in a mild electric light and after a couple of steps later I freeze. On the deck of the bridge a horse appears, trotting towards me. Actually there are two, three-fou’-five, six…No, seven horses are trotting down!

They’re getting closer and closer, their glittering eyes completely ignoring the flash and bone statue of the rucksacked pedestrian me. Six of them are dark-colored, the seventh horse is white, a bit behind and has a loose horseshoe that sparkles every time it hits the asphalt but the animal keeps his gait as cool as the other six.

The rhythmic clinking-clanking sound of all the good horseshoes together with the broken one’s that’s off-key, washes my brain, empties my chest. Now they are passing me by and I can vaguely smell their skin, their breath. I can vaguely hear the air brushing their big bodies. Now they left me behind, I look back at their croups and the little spark of the loose horseshoe is burning my eyes.

They exit right, whence I came in.

From the moment I saw them till the moment the street went silent again I completely forgot my life, I probably forgot my name and my aim too. I was a thing, an it, able only to record the event and totally unable to process it. When they disappeared around that corner forever, a longing, I have never felt before nor since, hit me with such a force that it had at least seven horsepower.

As I walked up the viaduct I was thinking common things like “these are tears of joy!”, “unbelievable!”, “oh, my God!” but mostly “waaaahhhh!”. Then I saw the proof: steaming horse manure scattered on the other side of the bridge. I heard my self laughing very loudly and I took several deep breaths.

From that point on I forgot everything about the rest of my journey to the meeting point, I forgot the entire week that followed and I even forgot which show we were touring with. The next thing that I remember is that the first time I talked about those horses was when I arrived back home.

“Mi ricordo, si, io mi ricordo”


Dear Cinema, It has been a really long time since you scratched my itch. The past six-seven months my itches were itching very much beyond your possibilities to scratch ’em. Now my itching is yours to scratch again. End itch theme!!!!

The truth is I ran out of words and reasons to write about you and I don’t even have a reason for this. Do you think reading too much of Albert Camus lately has anything to do with it?

First let me tell you about a painting because this made me grab the pen again. There is a painting in Canada I bumped into accidentally. Right at the first glance I felt that usual yet unfamiliar shock when I could feel the galloping synapses connecting, the endorphins producing, the mechanism of pleasure awakening. The sensation was increased by the last synapse that connected me to a movie. Of course, when something you instantly fall in love with reminds you of something else you love is the most common and perverted of all pleasures. Nevertheless is a pleasure worth to remember.

There is a scene in Amarcord by Fellini when the whole village sails out to sea, on little boats, at night, to get a glimpse of a majestic cruise ship. When the ship arrives the poor villagers are so happy and awestruck they’re actually feeling like taking part of the extravagant life on the deck.

Fellini shoots the scene allowing the big body of the ship to take over the screen. What’s left free is filled with a little night sky and the mesmerized, enthusiastic villagers.

Now, seeing this little painting made me feel like I believe those characters might have felt seeing SS REX. I perceived this painted ship detail with all my senses. Thank you, painter!

hulla

The art of painting using a still, flat, colored image to catch the attention of our brain, can produce a more memorable effect then the movies. Movies are desperately trying to impress us with 3D, 4D, amazing sound effects, odors and kinetic theater chairs. I fully understand now the big disappointment some have felt when the movies started talking or when colors invaded the silver screen. The receiver’s imagination was gradually put to rest.

But, I know, being a king and a beggar belonging both in an art gallery and an amusement park is your main and most fascinating feature. Even though lately you failed to rapture me don’t get me wrong Cinema, I still love you more than I love your closest rival, Theatre. And there were some good moments between us this months too. About those, some other time.

Cheers!

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