Sunday Jul 22, 2007

Once

Don't let the trailers fool you.  Once, a movie from Ireland, casts a cinematic glimpse at the passion and art of music making. It refreshes the concept of the musical cinema while weaving multiple stories about separation—the enigma and engine of all art and drama (to restate a maxim first stated by the British art critique John Berger.)

Once mixes music and movement ("movie" = a little thing capturing movement) to appeal to the intelligence of its viewers. It "is," and "is not," simply a wonderful musical. It "is" because it is a movie with music and about music. It "is not" because it defies the Hollywood tradition of the musical containing large amounts of dance although it fills the space with simple movements of everyday life. 

If you like music, play an instrument, have been separated from instruments or people you love, or have made music with others, you shouldn't miss it. For more comments about the movie, see here. Other sources include: an NPR interview. It is also worth reading the official Once press kit to see how this John Carney movie came together.

Once: Winner of 2007 Sundance Film Festival, World Cinema Audience Award, Dramatic. Excellent piece of work. "R" rating for some use of four-letter words but no sex and no violence. A great story, very creative composition and magnificent music presented in a simple space.

See the Washington Post  ("For 'Once,' A Musical Strikes the Right Cord" and "Breaking into Song, Bursting with Ideas") and the Associated Press ("'Once' deconstructs and reinvents the movie musical intimately, brilliantly") reviews. I have given some more review links elsewhere.

Thursday Jul 12, 2007

Young Readers, the Apprentice and the Potter

In the last stretch of our drive back to Silicon Valley this past week, we had a chance to listen to the audio version of The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman, and the story ended, very conveniently, as we drove back onto our garage way.

Cushman's book reads not only like a wonderful novella but also as a meticulous work of historical analysis. It certainly has a very good potential for becoming a great movie---I would imagine, much better than any Harry Potter.

Perhaps, someone has already made such a movie, and not being much of a movie-goer, I just don't know about it.

I think the main premise of Cushman's book is that only through pain, suffering and persistence can one disclose new worlds and give birth to what is worthy of being.

Fear, in particularly fear of failure in its various forms, remains the greatest sin.

Harry Potter deals with fear as a hero among idols would but the midwife's apprentice awakens to the sinfulness of fear in its very opposition to the greatest gift given to everyone---life itself.

 

Sunday Feb 11, 2007

Turtules Can Fly

Recently, I had a chance to watch Turles Can Fly, another Kurdish film made by the Iranian film-maker Bahman Ghobadi and winner of several international prizes in 2004 and 2005.

It depicts an almost surreal world of children living in a ruined Kurdish village and refugee camp in Iraq, near the city of Arbil.

Disillusionment comes in a world caught between brutality, wars and invasions, and hope looks for cracks in the walls of this world.
 

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