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Solitude with the movies

Well I have to write somewhere,so I am going to do something a little nostalgic and leaning to that perspective of Martin Scorsese…

Whilist I was watching the double treat of two Italian Neo-Realist films,I wished there is another person to share my experience when I seen the pregnant Karin climbing up that treacherous volcano in Rossellini’s Stromboli (1950) where I wept when she screamed God have mercy on me or that dread Magalnda have in Vulcano. I asked my mum and dad to join with me on this screening despite knowing that my parents are not that interested in these type of films. It feels lonely when you watch it on your own when watching films is an event of community.

I bet all you other cinephiles do feel that same feeling as me and that is why I am sharing my experiences with you.

My parents are from a poor background and they do not spend their childhood at the movies and focused on the practical aspects in life. It all started with me writing a book  in high school about what I wanted to be “I want to be a film director” . Maybe I was spurred after seeing a film version of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) for my literature class.

Of course for my reading about film,I assume those few names that struck me,Alfred Hitchcock,Andrew Adamson-the director for The Chronicles of Narnia. I have no knowledge of who are these people…

There you know the story that Julie Taymor’s Beatles musical-Across The Universe changed my perception of film. I think my real habit of being a cinephile all started with me ticking off the AFI 100 films,with David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. It changed my whole being,as I could not sleep thinking about that windshield and Peter O’Toole’s jaded face for not saving Arabia after marathoning for four hours.

Of course in film school,we started watching films,Hitchcock,Vittro De Sica,Muramu,Fritz Lang,Wes Anderson,Jean Renoir..so many names..Sadly most of my classmates do not share that same passion for old films like me..They are more tech-savy than me  I really wanted to keep that habit to watch films,but due to the stress of school,it ebbs and flow at time. The only time I could marathon it was the holidays. It’s hard to find people with similar interests in old films.

I tried to persuade my family to watch these films with me,I managed to succeed a few times but I respect that decision they do not want to watch with me.

90% of the time I watched the film all alone. It’s disheartening as no one will discuss with you the aspects and symbolism of that film. No one will geek with you on how beautiful Brigette Bardot was in Godard’s Le Mephris. No one will wonder how the director created the vision. They just see if it was entertaining and that is all. As quoted by Tom from the Glass Menagire (One of my favorite Tennessee Williams plays)

“…People go to the movies instead of moving! Hollywood characters are supposed to have all the adventures for everybody in America, while everybody in America sits in a dark room and watches them have them! Yes, until there’s a war. That’s when adventure becomes available to the masses!…” – Tom

We just wanna forget this world. I have that struggle of being analytical and yet enjoyed the film itself.

Looking back perhaps the beauty of watching films by yourself,is that no one will pester you with massive SMS or knocking. You are your own audience. You feel the things and there you judged it yourself. You are not influenced by the person. You can express it in your writing platform,where I started on writing my anime reviews of what I feel. Perhaps it was that habit that is even healthier than what most teenagers do as Frank Carpa,the director of It’s A Wonderful Life famously quoted “Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream, it takes over as the number one hormone; it bosses the enzymes; directs the pineal gland; plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to film is more film.” You cannot get enough. It is alright if you have faces of horror that you loved Old Hollywood films,it’s alright if they cannot get the coda of The Bicycle Theives,it’s alright that you blurt out random trivia about the making of Taxi Driver. All people who are passionate over their things do feel secluded. However there is hope,once you can find the right community like what I do. You never feel alone. I am glad to go for that route of cinema. I do love that darkened room,with the film shutter rolling and being absorbed in the beauty. I do love exploring the filmography of my favorite directors. I do love reblogging the GIF sets of the films I loved. I do loved reading what people would think about that particular film.

So don’t be discouraged over the darkness of being alone when you watched that Kurosawa film at either your laptop or Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen. Eventually this is what you loved to do and I will do a pumped fist if you forget what others think about your habits and just doing what you love. To us it was cinema,as what Francois Truffaut quoted “Film lovers are sick people.”.

We cannot get enough of cinema.

 

Film restoration Asia retrospect

Well hello everyone,I am so super sorry for the silence of that blog. I have been a very bad admin as I am busy with my dissertation on Wes Anderson (which thankfully I am done) and lots of coursework!

However I was given perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to pursue my interest in film history…Film restoration! As I do mentioned earlier,it was Lawrence of Arabia (and Hitchcock’s Rear Window) that make want to pursue my love for film preservation

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That is where I am gonna tell my event…originally this programme is collaborated by the mother of all film restoration center,Cinema Bologna in Italy and National Museum of Singapore. They do ave the practical classes which I originally wanted to do but due to cost skip that thing. Oh well luckily they have free lectures and screenings for me to go to,thanks to the invitations of lecturers.

Here is a funny story I would like to share,originally there is supposed to be 3-5 of my classmates who signed up with the program. On the first day they came in,but I did not see them for this entire week. It is such a pity because they are so many lessons in regards to film restoration,so I would summarize my thoughts of that programme

The Highlights

1)Two Italian Neo-realism films in a row!

Nice! Personally I do think that I need to watch more Italian Neo-Realism films-the last one I watched was Umberto D which is like ages. Of course one does not simply skip a double dose of Italian Neo-Realism films. It was interesting as both broke the conventions of what I perceive of Italian Neo-Realism films,Rossellini do have that flair that is very opposite to Satiro’s sparse style and I liked it. Both are very strong films of their own…However Stromboli(1950,Rossellini) etch a very strong impression,that I nearly teared at the ending.

2)Meeting Apichatpong Weerasethakul

I know his name due to Uncle Boommee (2011) by actually him discussing his debut film was an eye-opener. In addition I do have a quick chat with him and he is a very easy guy to talk too! Apparently The French do love his films. It makes me wanna watch his body of works (Recommendations for him please)

3)Lawrence of Arabia and Taxi Driver restoration (in addition watching Taxi Driver)

It’s sad that Glover Crisp is unable to discuss his works on the restoration of these two Sony Classics! However by the look of the restoration clips,I was tearing up on the inside. It looks gorgeous on screen…I mean seeing the clips on the big movie screen it was mind-blowing. I was cursing to myself that Singapore should bring this,I mean if you are looking for film restoration-Lawrence of Arabia was one of them. The main head Dario said that it was the most remarkable restorations in 10 years.  I did approach the head of my local cinematechque if it is possible to bring that film here. So crossing my fingers to get this film on the big screen

In addition guys,if you do manage to catch Taxi Driver on the big screen,I swear it was the most magical moments here. The cinematography looks amazing,I was soaked to that film. It was mind-blowing beautiful.

4)Why do we restore films talk

Perhaps I see it as the most important talk among this week,yes you can have the practical aspects of fixing each film strip but why do we restore? It’s not glamourous. It is to give future people a glance on the past as we seen films as time capsules of cultural and historical significance. I nearly teared at the end and gave a quiet hell yeah. It retouched that core why I wanted films to be restored.That quote that Gian Lucan (The head of Cinema Bologona) said “You never battle alone” just tugged me.

Things what I learned from this week

  1. The state of Asian film archives blew my mind big time,for a while I have been bugging my local archive if I could take part. That panel enlightened me on that state,film preservation is Asia is considered second priority. I think we need to change that! I mean we need to get people excited about film preservation
  2. I do need to be more unaware about the filmmakers around my region…Watching Lewat Djam Malam (1954) by an Indonesian filmmaker that I do not know,gave me a shocker….I feel that film reminded me of a teen melodrama Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause..Yes it’s local yet it have a global film. It happened that I blog a picture on tumblr and there is a response of it…It happens they wanted to watch that..Sadly the films of my region is not easily available…so there is a big problem..
  3. Lastly I do feel that young persons need to be excited about film preservation,being the only person who is neither an archivist or a working adult but a film student. It is a shame that we do not take these lessons… I know it’s not interesting as shooting it but personally we need a love for old films and do not disregard them as films that are stuffy and old. As Martin Scorsese said “Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our life time, we need to keep them alive.” If we do not care about the films. It could be gone and it’s sad. So I am hoping that the museum would at these people.

Overall it was an eye opening event on film restoration,I would like to thank the ushers who greeted me fondly when I came early,a lady Yvonne who I bumped at the Taxi Driver screening always eager at my thoughts,Mr Gian Lucan Farellini for such a moving speech on the preservation of film and the cinematechque team who made this event possible. I would like to end my thoughts of that event with a quote of Martin Scorsese,an advocate of film preservation

” And that’s actually part of the wonder. Whenever I hear people dismiss movies as “fantasy” and make a hard distinction between film and life, I think to myself that it’s just a way of avoiding the power of cinema. Of course it’s not life—it’s the invocation of life, it’s in an ongoing dialogue with life.”

These films spoke about our lives whenever the past or now. That is why we need to preserve that heritage

An appericatetion to Rushmore (1998)

“You’ve gotta find something you love and do it for the rest of your life”

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Living in Singapore, we are reaping the kids to be successful n climb up the social ladder. However there are some people who are not so.

Incase you are wondering why I decided to talk about this film. I just finished attending my grad ceremony. While I am happy that I have qualifications of these stuff,I can see elements of Rushmore in me. I would to talk my love of this film.

As you guys know I am in love with Wes Anderson’s films. I considered my second film god to David Lean. It’s quirky n textured wo
Story goes on high achieving Max Fischer who is recently expelled from school suddenly falling in love with Ms Cross and making friends with Herman Blume.

Sounds a little bit aloof and at most surreal ? However I will try to convince u guys that inside it’s the heart we can relate. I would be highlighting this point
through out this post.

First I would like to highlight Wes Anderson’s brilliant use of music. I always like Wes Anderson’s eccentric choices. Here it was soundtracked to the British Invasion bands (those who are unaware in music-it was a period where British bands are big in the 60’s). If I have pick out my fave music moments from Rushmore-
The quick one who gets away-The Who
Ubtiqously one of the most fun revenge sequences n interestingly he chose the second half of the song. In addition the acting of Bill Murray was amazing

Making time-Creation
How to show off Max’s abilities in Rushmore by a pretty badass montage? Plus the song was catchy.

Ooh la la-The Faces
This ending,it was a nice way to tie the loose ends of Rushmore. Plus the melancholic air of tht song fits so well. I did listened to the Criterion collection commentary of Rushmore,apparently it was pretty sad.

Recently I have a soft spot for The Wind by Cat Stevens for its quietness amidst the noisiness of the British Invasion bands n Here Comes my Baby is pretty cute.

Secondly it was the production design of it,which will president the next few films here. I particularly like the husband’s bedroom to show the trapped nature of Ms Cross.

However you can have great visuals n a kickass soundtrack. I always feel that the narrative must be strong in order to connect the audience. While some of Wes’ films feel a bit on the aloof side,Rushmore is perhaps the most relatable films among Wes’s filmography (along with Darjeeling). How many films can u totally relate to.

Perhaps max is my spirit animal I do notice my gestures is like him and so.. I watched these films when I faced a crisis n it reassured that I would be fine.

Perhaps one of those films I loved..

Thinking back on my Wes Anderson paper

Well hello guys again,yes I am still alive and I would try my best to keep it updated as possible. However I cannot gurantee as my third year is getting busy with projects and of course that dreaded dissertation paper that every student have to do. Now speaking about dissertation paper,O.K you have 8,000 words to write with your specialism. Well for the majority of my cohort,they dreaded it like the plague and meanwhile I was going “O.K no biggie” as I have ideas on writing on my topic on Production Design (It was the neglected child of the film theorists gang-you better change something O.K?)

Now here comes my story, being in my nerdy phase of watching The Hobbit and LOTR. I thought that it would be fricking awesome to do a dissentation on it. However my fairy-tales and mythology nerd have somewhat took away my topic. Luckily I do have some backup topics on what I want to write,I am also itching to attempt to do Wes Anderson’s mise-en-scene for my writing (I mean it was a Production Designer’s dream). My lecturer was like yup,your idea is more solid. So it sealed me the deal of Wes Anderson as my dissertation. Of course I was elated with joy that I get to watch Wes Anderson’s filmography again and writing about that guy is pretty sweet.

For the past few weeks I have been kinda of talking non-stop but Wes Anderson films to everyone who breathes even to my mum (Of course one of my classmates make me have a fangirl freakout when he mentioned that he finished Grand Budpast Hotel). I watched his films (with commentary thanks to criterioncommentaries when I was freaking out that my TDL (The Darjeeling Limited bluray cannot play in my DVD). Whenever I have a chance to get a seat at my local MRT (It was kinda like Singapore’s version of the tube or Subway) I scribbled notes on the settings and costumes,and process what it means. Every night I milked out Mother Google in finding articles about Wes Anderson (which was very little) and read it to get understanding. I changed my Itunes music to my playlist of Wes Anderson’s soundtracks and film commentaries (God bless Criterion collection for these beauties). I thought of people that need to work with him. Whenever I listen a song from the soundtrack of his,it flash me back the moment where it was held.

There is one moment I became Sherlock in his mind-palace  during Production Design class (with the punch of milk tea in the morning). I cannot stop but to think about Wes Anderson’s sets

I cannot fathom my fascination about him,his eye of detail is just killer-OMG the plate become significant and even the scruff thanks to his hands. I sometimes feel pretty inferior to Wes Anderson’s gorgeous production designs. I became restless. I just feel amazed and in awe of my new idol. I became sucked into his worlds of irony and brokeness.

However the reading of the key texts on aueter theory was pretty much a bitch. Usually I can understand a text easily and somehow it absorbed in my brain. I cannot wrangle what Francois Truffaut and Andre Bazin is trying to say,even the late Andrew Sarris have left me pretty baffled. The film gods are probably laughing at me on my lack of understanding.

Fast forward to this week,I have just received feedback from my lecturer in regards to my proposal. It wasn’t great as I think. I suddenly have my “The Graduate” moment when Benjamin is pretty shocked on Mrs Robinson’s seduction

I have to submit that proposal this week on Monday,with projects on..It’s gonna be  a bitch….. I have that writer’s block. Today I attempted to reconstruct my proposal to be clear as I humanly can (I am pretty much everywhere like Sherlock). I questioned why the hell do I want to write about that director that I slowly grew respect on. I could have done David Lean,my ultimate film god or something simpler but why Wes Anderson?

There I have that revelation after attending someone’s funeral after my feedback session. While hearing all of the eulogies and trying to be the rock of my twin sister,weeping eyes of for a person we barely knew. I immediately of  that scene of the first film I watched in conjunction of my paper-The Darjeeling Limited . That scene where the Whitman brothers witness a funeral of the boy Peter (Adrien Brody) is unable to save. It was set in Wes’ slow-mo shot with the song “Strangers” by The Kinks. Everyone was silent,all united by grief like his family members and friends dear to that person. I suddenly seen a vignette of my sister as Peter,that scene in the toilet where he was moved by Jack’s story as she cried for that stranger she is unaware of. Slowly it unveiled to me that I relate to The Darjeeling Limited (and slowly falling in love with this film)-I was like Francis (Owen Wilson)-I can be bossy and ambitious,my eldest sister was like Peter and my twin was like Jack (Jason Schwartzman),she kept most to herself and only tell me. I fought with my siblings like this. On that night after the funeral service,I can’t sleep so I decided to journal that night and I recalled moments when I see  myself as these characters he created-Max Fischer(Jason Schwartzman) from Rushmore

I m not too good in film school technically. I am pretty ambitious like him. I loved his saying “Do something you like and do for the rest of your life” gave me that comfort especially receiving my results.

The Royal Tenenbeums which I watched a few days ago is like my family where sometimes it gets pretty dysfunctional but we loved each other in the end.

His characters are just like me,struggling the problems of the adult world in their childlike way. All have vignettes of me in so many ways. That revelation struck me on that night. Perhaps why I wanted to write that paper so badly that I make everyone pretty annoyed about me loving Wes Anderson. It is because Wes Anderson touched me on that personal level. If David Lean woke me up on the beauty of cinema with his epic of Lawrence of Arabia. Perhaps Wes Anderson touched the heart in saying how can cinema impacted me personally. His wry characters navigating a broken world which is otherworldly grounded in reality. Some people find it indulgent,others loathed of his boringness. Whatever. If it touched the right people at the right mindset,then that is the beauty of cinema. Maybe it give me that clinging hope and strength to tread through my semester of writing nothing but him. So Wes…whenever you are busy preparing for the release of Budpast (BTW excited like hell)…thank you very much…..I said that I am very proud that my dissertation would be about your fantastic works which one day may touch people as much as me.

The western goes East

Hey everyone! Apologies for the silence as I have been busy. Well good news I am back to film school and I would like to share with you on my workshop experience. Well I am in my specialisim so I am majoring in Production design (super underrated area in film) and minoring in Screenwriting. Ok here is the thing I am not too good in creating my ideas clear despite having too many! Well it’s a struggle for me,but look at the bright side… It’s much better for me fiddling the camera n Premiere Pro lol.

It happens that the brother of Hugo Weaving (aka Elrond from the LOTR fans adn Mr smith from the Matrix) came over to my school to conduct a workshop. Of course I was fangirling because I get to meet a sibling of a famous celebrity. Ok you must look professional as it was someone big. Apparently he is friends with my head

Well you get to be taught by him,he was the funniest,warm and overall pretty awesome lecturer. He has the coolest background ever,a film critic,screenwriter n even an organizer. I sense the Weaving siblings are darn talented. He share fun snippets of his life n his knowledge do enlighten me! He even shared a story of how Hugo Weaving got his role in V for Vendetta.

For films-wise,well I get to know the Western genre better. Of course if you are interested,my reviews are here (Expect for The Good,Bad and The Weird) The western goes east. It does help to fill up for screenwriting and plus I do get to create my fierce bitch character here.

Well if you guys do have that chance to meet him for lessons,it was a great one!

Pan’s labyrinth and its influence in narrative with The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey

Well hello today,given that the desolation of Smaug is coming up on December 13th (Yes I am super excited for that!)..I shall talk about The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey treatment would be like if it was under Gullimero Del Toro’s treatment in terms of narrative and perhaps design-wise… I decided to write this because there is a comment which I read that there is some resemblance of Del Toro’s treatment for J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit despite Peter Jackson’s direction to the film itself. For those who followed the production of The Hobbit would be aware that Peter Jackson was considering to adapt the Hobbit in 1997 but decided to explore LOTR. After the success of the LOTR Trilogy (2001-2003),there Peter Jackson explored the idea of creating the The Hobbit. When announced in 2008,it was said that Del Toro was attached to that project as screenwriter and director.  However due to creative differences-Del Toro left the project but he was attributed as screenwriter for the film. Therefore I would dissect the aspects of the narrative which is similar to Pan’s Labryrith and the Hobbit.

For those who are unfamiliar with Pan’s (I suggest you guys go and watched that film!!! It was the most beautiful fantasy film that I ever watched),it was about a little girl Ofelia who went to a labryrnith and was given 3 tasks to accomplish her destiny. Those who have a strong knowledge of fairytales and mythology would spot subtle references everywhere in this fairytale film. F0r instance,the pale man could refer to the Greek mythological monster Lamia and while Ofelia’s underworld dress and shoes referred to Dorothy’s Shoes in the Wizard of Oz. Del Toro actually kept a sketchbook during his process of creating Pan’s whenever it was the illustrations of famous illustrator Arthur Rackman or perhaps his experiences with dreams to create such a layered parable. With that experience,Del Toro could have created a multi-textured film for The Hobbit

Looking at the source adaptation of The Hobbit,those familar with Lord of The Rings this was the so-called ‘prequel’ of LOTR (Lord of The Rings) by J.R.R Tolkien which focused on Biblio Baggins’s adventures with a group of nomand dwarves. It was fruitful ground as there is aplently of room to play with Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth whenever it was the mysterious misty mountains or the lost dwarf city of Erebor. Peter Jackson explored Middle Earth in his trilogy LOTR with breathtaking sights of New Zealand (Peter Jackson was Kiwi)

In looking if Del Toro would have created Middle Earth is vastly different,The Hollywood reporter posted a video exploring on Del Toro’s direction and the producers said it would have a ‘more fairy-tale’ like aspect and a different visual aesthetic. Perhaps that fairy-tale element was seen in the progoule of both films that frame the mood and tone of the film,was the fall of the characters

For The Hobbit,it gives a sense of warmth for those familiar with the LOTR trilogy where the main protagonist (Old Biblo Baggins played by Sir Ian Holms) was recalling a warm memory and we are cut to a sketch of young Biblo (Martin Freeman of Sherlock fame) and here we are transported to the events before the Hobbit.

For Pan’s we are transported to Ofelia’s dying moment and we zoomed into her eye,the remaining memories as the princess of the underworld. There it zoomed to the destruction of Fascist Spain which shows the contrasting world where Ofelia lived.

Both opening scenes needed the use of fairy-tale narration to create different tones,for The Hobbit,it was used as if Biblo is retelling his experiences to us in personal perspective and perhaps to his nephew Frodo. He is giving us his perspectives on the things he seen and do. It reels us back to that feeling when you watched LOTR again,the comforting feeling when we seen the Hobbits in the shire. On the other hand,Pan provides a somber tone of the situation Ofelia was facing and her predestined destiney.

Secondly it was seem that both films used on the 3 tasks plot,to illustrate the character’s journey and growth in the story. For Ofelia (Moanna),these tasks symbolize on Ofelia’s outcomes,for the first task on getting the key from the toad that inhabit the tree represents either her baby brother who caused problems or the rich fascists who sucked the money according to Matt Graeff’s analysis on the creatures in Pan’s Labriyrith,which cuts to the rich people eating dinner together. These tasks could symbolized the female sexual awakening for Ofelia herself especially when the tree represent the female reporductive organ which Del Toro do mentioned on the warm “womb-like” tones for the underworld especially in the end where Ofelia wore a red coat and yellow dress in contrast of the forest-like colors of the real world.

On the other-hand Biblo was accomplished with a huge task of defending the infamous dragon Smaug,at first he was approched by Gandalf wearing the colours of yellow and turquoise that symbolized his stable and safe place in Hobbiton. He refused that task,and later unexpectedly seen a company of dwarves as he wore his patched dressing gown to show a breaking of his comfort zone. However during his push to go on an adventure,he was wearing his ‘adventure’ outfit which echoes Holms’ outfit in LOTR. He accomplished his first task as the Burgular,to accomplish his task as the burgular. Perhaps what is the most symbolic of the tasks in the unexpected journey  Biblo have to do,is the cave scene especially on the ripping off the brass buttons which ultimately showed his unintended push and eventually he grows to be more courageous which paid off in his fight-off with Azog. His dirtied down clothes shows on his readiness to save Erbor and show that he pushed his comfort zone out to be more courageous physically and mentally.

Thirdly I could see some thread of Del Toro’s influence in the narrative in An Unexpected Journey,is perhaps the use of vast influences from different literary and artistic influences into their mise-en-scene and story.

For The Hobbit,Tolkien used Norse and English mythology and languages to create a layered story and with the film’s adaption. Philip French commented on the veins of influence of The Hobbit as “echoes of the Old and New Testament, of similar journeys from Homer’s Odyssey through Morte d’Arthur to Gulliver’s Travels, and there are all the essential mythic elements.” Dan Hannah,the production deisgner of the Hobbit commented on the atmosphere of the film to be more “whimsical” and light-hearted as ” the script and the story itself of “The Hobbit” is that it’s written for a younger audience, or a younger reader.” and he  commented on the Lonely Mountains’s cinematography as “ at times resembles paintings by John Martin and Caspar David Friedrich, and is beautifully photographed by Jackson’s regular cinematographer, Andrew Lesnie, who has that feeling for landscape that’s such a feature of antipodean cinema.”  It shows the lighter side of Middle Earth which was apt as Tolkien wrote the Hobbit before WW2,in which he wrote Lord of The Rings

While Pan,like The Hobbit is richly textured with Catholic influences like the story Ofelia told her unborn brother on the forbidden rose perhaps resembling Christ and his return on Earth,the horrifying image of the Pale Man limping was influenced by Goya’s macrebe works and the detailing of Arthur Rackman’s lines. They even got Greek Mythology influnences like the Faun and Janus the god of Time. What makes Pan so intriguing as how Del Toro weaved the political turmoil of Fascist Spain,for instance the monstrous creature The Pale  Man,represent the greed of Vidal and the corruption of religious figures as Del Toro explained his thought process of creating the pale man as wanting a “church-like and a concentration camp feeling, with shoes piled up in corner; this perverse creature has a lot of food in front of it, but only eats children—innocents.”

In conclusion,white it was a pity that we would never seen the full impact of Del Toro’s vision of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I could see little remants of Del Toro’s influence on the narrative,the various influences of the story of The Hobbit provide fertile imagination perfect for Del Toro’s hands. There he provided us a perfect fairytale narration to set the tones of the films,like Biblo warmly recollecting the memories of past and Ofelia’s predestined fate. The tasks these protagonists have to hold to achieve themselves higher,like Biblo’s experience in the caves make him grew up as a courageous character and Ofelia’s sexual growth by her tasks assigned by the faun which she was rewarded to immortality and happiness in the underworld. Indeed both films provided worlds for us to escape into and perhaps get lost here.

Therefore I would end with a quote by J.R.R Tolkien

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

Lawrence of Arabia live stream part 2

Lawrence of Arabia live stream part 2

Hey Guys,I would be showing the second part of Lawrence of Arabia,feel free to comment and chat with me thanks

Best LOTR moments

Well hello guys! Apologies for the silence as I have been busy with internship! It dawned to me after visiting Hobbiton in New Zealand,what I need to do is to watch LOTR and the hobbit. Well I watched the Hobbit and I loved it! With the release of The Desolation of Smaug (yes I am excited),I shall count down my favourite moments in this beloved franchise. Anyway it was my personal opinion and feel free to comment your favourite moments in LOTR

The Fellowship of The Ring

Arwen V.S The Nazguls

Yes Jackson took some liberation for Tolkien’s female characters,but this scene is pretty amazing especially the score and when Arwen chant the water barrier spell.

Bonmoir’s Death

Well he is one of my favourite LOTR characters,and despite his fall of being tempted by the ring (and nearly killing Frodo). That scene where Bonomir acknowledged Aragorn as his ruler,just plain beautiful and the acting was amazing here.

The meeting Between Aragon and Arwen in the garden

If you think LOTR is just simply lots of awesome battle scenes,think again….It showed me that fantasy films can handle romantic scenes and I must say that the relationship between Arwen and Aragorn is just wonderful. The chemistry between Liv Tyler and Viggo Morentersen is just passionate and lovely. I would like to include that scene where Aragorn was awakened by Arwen after the battle

The Two Towers

The curing of Theoden

I love the makeup effects of comatstic Theoden,it was damn beautiful but that scene is pretty wonderful and I loved the softness Sir Ian McKellen do to the enchanted Thedon. Thereafter there is a heartbreaking scene of Theoden griefing over his dead son just show the redemption element in LOTR.

Sam’s Speech “there is good in this world”

Despise that Two Towers was not my favorite film the trilogy but this little moment that shed light into the darkness. Sean’s sincerity in this scene with the jutaxplostion of the race of Men and Gandalf fighting at Sauron’s tower was no less inspiring. I think I shed a tear or two when I was watching that

Gandalf’s return

Yes I was doing the Frodo No when Gandalf the Grey died,but the awe Pippin and Merry seen Gandalf alive makes us tear up…

Treebeard discovering his forest

One phrase:BAMF trees! Yes I love the Erts’ designs in LOTR (It have that Arthur Rackman element which I loved) and that special effects are amazing. Saruman,you have make one tree really angry. Tree-Smash!

That is why you should not cut so many trees,they will create hell for you

The Return of The King (Yes I am slightly biased but the best moments are from this film)

Arwen’s Vision

Yes I chose another Arwen and Aragorn scene,oh man the music and the visuals of it is just plain beautiful. The suspended motion of Arwen crossing her journey added that ethernal scene was no less tear-jerking especially the gaze of the child

“The Edge of the Night”

Well LOTR have a chockful of songs,but if I have to choose one song-it would be that song. That juxtoplostion of Dethethor eating his food in an animalistic manner,and Faramir charging for battle unprepared irked out disgust on Dethenor and yet heartbreak on Faramir’s fate. Even the acting of Billy provoked that reaction of horror.

“Death is another path”

This part is so philosphical about the journey of life and it brings hope to otherwise bleak subtext of the battles

“Rohirm Take Charge”

If I have to choose for the best battle scenes in LOTR,Return of The King have so many to boot. This is perhaps the most inspirational battle scenes ever. If you do not tear up on the commandoes screamed “DEATH” from Eowyn to Merry. There is something wrong with you. And there they charge,I nearly tear up here.

And of course the epilogue of Return of The King,what a way to end the fantastic trilogy…It was nothing but emotions….JEBEUS…

Aragorn’s coronation-O.K I am tearing up on Aragorn bowing down to the hobbits and saying “You shall bow down to no one”..It was no less inspring and shows that even the smallest beings can make a big difference.

Oh yes the Gray Havens sequence is too painful and you feel so bad for Frodo. For the first time,I seen a fantasy character feeling so human. Of course Frodo’s kiss to Sam and his smile is just so heartbreaking. I love that line that Gandalf say that “Tears are not for weeping.”

Well Jackson could end the Return Of The King with the bang with the coronation of Aragorn or the emotional parting of Frodo leaving for The Grey Havens. However he chose a quiet ending of Sam closing the door which brings closure to that franchise. When I watched that ending,I feel that a part of me just died because I followed the characters along the way and seen their adventures. Here closing the door,is metaphorically saying that a chapter ends for LOTR.

Now I am done with that,a little bonus scene from The Hobbit which I really liked,ideally the majority would choose the hug between Biblo and Thorin (Yes it cause so many feels). However I chose that scene of Biblo receiving his sword and I thought it was very thought-provoking for me. Indeed LOTR showed that quality here

film geek’s watching

The aural experience of WW2 by A Man Escaped and The Pianist

Hey everyone,I have just rewatched A Man Escaped yesterday and I cannot pinpoint but to see such similarities to Polanski’s The Pianist in their cinematic methods to creata an aural experience for World War 2. Therefore this would be my discussion for today’s posting

“The eye solicited alone makes the ear impatient, the ear solicited alone makes the eye impatient. Use these impatiences.”-Robert Bresson

Those who are not familar with my case studies,I would give the brief outlines of these films which both are based on true accounts of people who survived the treacherous conditions of World War 2. For Polanski’s The Pianist-it goes about a radio pianist Szpliman (Played wonderfully by Adrien Brody) who have been forced into the darkest period of WW2-The Holocaust,and his trials and tribulations to survive these odds. On the otherhand for A Man Escaped (Un condamné à mort s’est échappé) ,it goes about Nazi resistance fighter Fontatnie,who was thrown into a German POW camp and about to face a death sentence however he have plans to escape the camp. Both films have their main protagonists faced opposition from the Nazi forces,for Szpliman-it was the discrimination of his religion while Fontanie,was the planned coup to bomb the Nazis.

It was interesting to note that the directors both have experienced the WW2,for Bresson himself-he was imprisoned in a labour camp for a year and half and while Polanski have a traumatic experience of the holocaust,where he was separated by his family and only saved by a farming family and later reunited by his father after the war. For the Pianist,the scene where Szpiliman was saved from going to the concentration camp was based on  a similar experience Polanski encountered. While Fontanie’s ropes and hooks are based on Devingy’s hooks he actually made for the escape. Therefore they managed to incorporate their experiences both visually  into their works.

Now I would like to focus on they managed to heighten the mood aurally,both films are lead by a particular classical music piece which shows the character’s journey arc,for The Pianist,it was Chopin. To Szpilman,playing Chopin is basically his life and identity which linked to Chopin whose pieces were considered as the pride of the country himself. We opened the scene with Szpliman being calm and collected while doing a recording of  Nocturne in C# Minor. There we are shocked by the bombings which deafen our ears. It symbolized about his personal world being crashed. Even when he was hiding,he goes by and imagine himself playing his piano and we hear that Chopin motif of Nocturne in C Minor,which shows the escapism from the situations he wen through. However it was that music piece which eventually saved his life from being killed by a German Officer.

We opened the scene reeked with silence,on Szpliman attempting to get the pickle out of a jar and failed. It added to our minds the fear whenever he will be discovered. There it broke up with the question and of course we hear Szpliman speaking again since the hideout. He was fearful yet uncertain. There it was heighten by the walking of the footsteps,where he sits in and played that piece. It was nothings but faces of awe and pure beauty,that even the officer was moved by his playing.

It did paid off where Szpliman,now in better health performed in a live concert with a united Poland where he performed Chopin. Therefore Polanski’s efficient use of Chopin,symbolized the identity of Szpliman from the somber Nocturme to a slighty optimistic Grande Polonaise Brillante Op. 22 that the passion for music actually saved his life and sanity.

While on the other hand,Bresson’s use of Mozart’s Mass in C Minor-Kyrie added an underlying tone on Fonatnie’s emotional fate. Interestingly Kyrie Elesion,in Latin means “Lord Have Mercy” which shows Bresson’s Catholic background and highlights the struggle Fonatnie have on believing he can escape. David Bordwell seen this music motif as “his main means of direct contact with other prisoners.” We seen Fontanie as aloof and skeptical about the faith,especially his scorn to the Pastor,”If God is good,why don’t he help us” which highlights the doubting faith. As the film goes,this music motif,shows his growing trust and faith in others which leads to a young boy Jost which the mass was played. By using this motif,it added that idea of faith being difficult to be wrangled alone but we need others in order to be alive spiritually.

Here both films have the efficient use of silence to create the suspense and aloofness the characters have to face,while Szpliman’s lines are very sparse to show off the Jewish voice being cut-off. We only hear him speak on the first half,to show the growth of Jewish opposition and him playing the piano infront of the general. We are only allowed to follow Szpliman’s journey by his actions and emotions whenever it was his fear in hiding or his little victories. While on the other hand,we got into Fonatnie’s wrold by his voice-over to help us follow the story which Bordwell analyze was either  “clarify the action“,”receive other vital information through the commentary. Sometimes the narration simply states facts” or “what his thoughts had been “. For instance where he think over how he opened the door or perhaps his fate when he was freed from his death sentence. However it sounds distant as it never pinpoint where it came from “since we never learn whether Fontaine is thinking back over these events or recounting them to someone.” The only times we heard him speak physically was the exchanges between the POWS or Jost,the young boy. There it was sparse as we are more focused on his small actions like chiseling the spoon or writing letters to the wall. It highlights again on Fonatnie’s aloofness with that environment.

Now here is how the sound design of these films come into play to heighten the mood of these films. For A Man Escaped,we are surrounded by the sounds of prison life,and the motif of his freedom was the sound of trains he heard from his prison window. Everytime he gets nearer his goal-the train sounds will heighten. Bresson wrote on efficient sound in film that “the noises must become music”. Even at the pivotal scene where Fontanie and Jost are escaping,we fear for the protagonists’ inability to escape by the loud ringing of the bicycle sounds,the soft gravel sounds and even the footsteps gave us the worry that they would be caught. On the other-hand for The Pianist,where Szpliman was in hiding at a friend’s apartment-we get to hear the “sights” where there is  abrupt noises everywhere and it seems to raise higher as he watched the violence passively. It shows the trapped nature that Szpliman faced,that he is even unable to save his own family.

Therefore in conclusion,both filmmakers managed to create the atmosphere of WW2 by the use of sound. Despite going into different directions,they actually played the sound in order to drive the action. For Fontanie it lifts the idea of faith is not without any driven actions ” in Bresson’s view, to intervene on our behalf. But our own actions, and our determination despite the obstacles in our path, are the most important factors in our survival and in overcoming the evils that life confronts us with.” like how they used the sound of the chiseling spoon to show an aspect of faith. On the other hand,in The Pianist it could be said that the chaos could not shut off a person’s spirit even at times of darkness,like the contrast of deafening silence to the Chopin pieces which symbolized Szpliman’s identity. They used their real-life experiences and translate it to the screens where we journey the characters themselves.

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