A quick review

Why Love by Gaspar Noé is everything but a film about love.

!!! This review is going to be very subjective and non-professional.

In this movie, the parisian film maker said he wanted to show a love story without eluding the sex scenes. I was very excited about it. If you are wondering, I am not a big fan of his work but I admire the fact that he seems to film whatever he wants to film.

I thought I was going to like this one. Reading the plot and some interviews of Gaspar Noé, I was expecting a movie where we could sneak into the intimacy of a couple, sharing the pleasure of two characters in love, being a part of their life through many passionate moments via long and sensual exchanges (verbal or physical).

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Before the movie I was like Yeaaaah…

Now I feel like I just watched a movie with flat dialogues between two (or three, or more) people constantly hurting each other and fucking to feel alive. I have to agree with people though: this was not strictly a porno because the sex scenes sometimes were soft and slow and the girls had pubic hair. (No need to say I was happy to watch it alone and not with my mom…) The sex was ok. The rest painful to watch.

In GQ France, Gaspar Noé himself even said he wanted to show a love story but not during the steady stage (wtf?) of real love and trust. More the passion’s fever.

Mon but était de raconter une histoire d’amour. Pas l’état amoureux stable entre deux personnes qui s’aiment et qui sont confiantes. Plutôt la fièvre de la passion.

He just made a point. Why did he have to call his movie Love then? If only he had called his movie LustIt is indeed a story about desire, destructive passion, lust. They cheat. They lie. They cheat and lie. Of course, they also do drugs and have sex with several people at the same time. Well, a regular couple really. From the very begining, this couple had no chance. Lust without trust -and so without love in my opinion- does not end well. Actually, if this movie was an article on the internet, it could be called “Top 10 Reasons Relationships Fail: Follow Our Instructions To Destroy Your (Love) Life.” (the main and boring character ends up with the wrong woman and an unwanted baby).

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…and then I watched it.

I would like to quote R., an awesome friend: “Haddaway used to say in his song what is love, that the baby must not hurt him not hurt him no more. Is that what people strive for nowadays? Is that what love is supposed to be? Lots of sex with bags of walking std and a miserable couple?”

You know what? Maybe the movie shocked because the contents were pretty (very) empty compared to the many sex scenes, not just because of them. Also, I do not like being manipulated: “I am going to show you love and sex = No, you showed me sex and self-destruction.” To the people claiming that this is a movie about love, I am wondering if they are having fantasies about a love/hate relationship because they never truly experienced passion/lust or if that is truly how they see love.

I love trust. I love sex. I love having feelings. I was not moved once. I was not really turned on neither (at least not more than porn). What is left? I guess I did not like Love, The Movie, and I am the first one to be disappointed.

What about you? Your thoughts about the movie?

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Blue & Cold

Back from a one month trip in Thailand where it was nice and sunny (sometimes hot as heck), I am feeling a bit cold if not sad here in France, although the temperatures are quite warm for the season. Instead of fooling myself by pretending I am still doing Tai Chi/Yoga on the beach or swimming in a turquoise blue water, I need to get back to reality. Enjoying winter. The blue and the cold.

What is better than art to do so?


These poetic and calming drawings by Cendrine Rovini.

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The new movie of Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant, will help you appreciating winter, the cold, the snow, the sound of the wind in the trees. I loved it and I think it is the prefect winter movie, to watch alone or with your wonderful boyfriend/girlfriend.

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Images


My own flying fish video.

Merry Christmas: Fish flying in the sky.

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The art of Angela Brookes, a british artist.

Her preferred print techniques are etching, using mostly soft-ground, aquatint and spit-bite, often with two separate coloured plates, and she is currently working with dry-point in conjunction with carborundum, and with dry point and mono print. Here the drawing and inking can be more direct, allowing a looser, more expressive quality to her prints. She keeps her print editions small, often only 10, and likes to vary the wiping on the plates, hence ‘ev’, edition varies, and ‘unique print’.

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Wondering: Symbolism & Pop culture

The reasons why Symbolism should inspired more people today are obvious. What you can read about this artistic movement is disturbing because it seems to fit so well in our current state of mind.

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Edgar Maxence

Symbolism initially developed as a French literary movement in the 1880s, and was in many ways a reaction against the moralism, rationalism, and materialism of the 1880s that had come to dominate Western European culture, and proclaimed the validity of pure subjectivity and the expression of an idea over a realistic description of the natural world. This fin-de-siècle period was a period of malaise – a sickness of dissatisfaction. Symbolism served as a means of escape.

Moralism, rationalism, materialism and, shall we add to that, consumerism. Besides, aren’t we in a “period of malaise”? Do I need to say more?

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Odilon Redon

As opposed to Impressionism, in which the emphasis was on the reality of the created paint surface itself, Symbolism was both an artistic and a literary movement that suggested ideas through symbols and emphasized the meaning behind the forms, lines, shapes, and colors. The works of some its proponents exemplify the ending of the tradition of representational art coming from Classical times. Symbolism can also be seen as being at the forefront of modernism, in that it developed new and often abstract means to express psychological truth and the idea that behind the physical world lay a spiritual reality. Symbolists could take the ineffable, such as dreams and visions, and give it form.

Symbolism successfully did what Pop art tried to do a few centuries later, but with talent. Yes, for me, there is no debate: the most controversial art movements of the 20th century, the so-called Pop art (and his scammer leader Andy Warhol) is just a big fraud. I never felt any spiritual values or connexion with any work I have seen. Art is subjective, of course, but art should also have a non-profit-making basis, which was obviously not the purpose of Pop art. It also said Symbolism opened a door to modernism: with the creation of new technologies, internet, blogs, online communities, we obviously need a new pair of eyes to understand our world. 

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Odilon Redon

Wanting to imbue their works with spiritual value, these progenitors of Symbolism produced imaginary dream worlds populated with mysterious figures from biblical stories and Greek mythology as well as fantastical, often monstrous, creatures. Their suggestive imagery established what would become the most pervasive themes in Symbolist art: love, fear, anguish, death, sexual awakening, and unrequited desire. Woman became the favored symbol for the expression of these universal emotions, appearing alternately as wistful virgins and menacing femmes fatales.

These recent Peplum films, from Gladiator to Alexander, Troy, 300, Alexander, Noah or even the very bad Kingdom of Heaven, walk in the footsteps of Symbolism inspirations. Super-heroes movies follow the same pattern, I believe. It seems that the film industry find a big inspiration in myths and Biblical sources and that a regain of interest for these subjects in the past 15 years can not be ignored. Cinema gives us an overview of a déjà-vu ambition and try to make people escape from the boring and depressing reality, in the manner of the symbolists but through another material. As for “wistful virgins” and “femmes fatales”, it seems that nothing changed or am I wrong?

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Gustav Klimt

In terms of specific subject matter, the Symbolists combined religious mysticism, the perverse, the erotic, and the decadent. Symbolist subject matter is typically characterized by an interest in the occult, the morbid, the dream world, melancholy, evil, and death.

Vampires, zombies and others creatures, new forms of utopia or sexuality: does it ring a bell? Books or movies, these subjects are everywhere. Although in our pop culture, the world “decadent” does not totally apply because everything is often too polished. 

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Gustave Moreau

This was just an initial idea, I am not trying to say that “before was better” (there is no such a thing, except maybe if you are referring to The Garden of Eden), only that the spiritual values  that governed and guided our symbolists usually are, in our current pop culture, forgotten for the benefit of visual performances, false polemics, naive love stories or general interests and I find it a bit sad because there is a lot more to be inspired about. Indeed, what is left?

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Gaetano Previati

Sources : http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/symb/hd_symb.htm  and http://www.theartstory.org/movement-symbolism.htm

Commentaries worth the hype

If you are interested in pop culture, pop music, fame, success, bad choices, cult of appearance and so on, you might read the excellent article about “The Slow and Bitter End of Lady Gaga’s Career” by Kat George. Well written and well analyzed, it explains a lot about Gaga’s perdition in term of “music career”. Please keep in mind that she is currently focusing on her love life and emotional blooming with Beau Taylor Kinney. I secretly hope it is going to end badly, giving her the ressource to create (and be good) again.

http://bit.ly/1BBwvqR

Time for a smart cinema review with “A Movie About Luciferian Philosophy”. “Lucy” is certainly not what I would call a “good movie”. After all it is a Besson movie, give him a break, it is knowingly made to entertain the audience, with a superficial reflexion about humanity, moral values (Morgan Freeman hello!) and some actions scenes. That is what we like -or dislike- about it. However, it was fun to read another kind of point of view, far from the “good” or “bad” kind of review.

http://bit.ly/1EFWJfq 

Why you should watch the british series The Fall

1) For the story. Wikipedia says : “The series is set in Northern Ireland and follows a PSNI investigation into a string of recent murders. When the PSNI are unable to close the case after 28 days, Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, of the Metropolitan Police, is called in to review the case. Under her new leadership, the local detectives must track down and stop the serial killer, Paul Spector, who is attacking young professional women in the city of Belfast.”

It’s not about who the killer is but how : how people are working together as a team to find him, how the killer lives like a normal human being in his lovely family, how personal relationships can affect the professionnal world. It is a police investigation but you do not feel you are watching an episode of CSI or NCIS and for that, thank you.

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2) Because the world in The Fall is not black and white. There is no such a thing as a Manichaean world. Good people in one side and bad people in another side is an archaic and old fashion way of thinking and if you are tired of it, The Fall is for you. Bad and good, evil and purity, immorality and morality are often a question of judgement. The team behind the british series tries with success to break these rules.

3) For the casting. I mean, no wrong at all. It works ridiculously well. From the charismatic leader Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson, perfect) to the serial killer Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan, intriguing and obscure), from Paul’s wife to Stellas collegues: it is all good all good I tell ya’!

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4) Because it is a feminist series. If you did not know what to think about the “feminist aspect” in the famous series Games of Thrones (yes? no? maybe?), The Fall makes it pretty clear. First of all, Stella Gibson is a modern, classy accomplished woman, not afraid by her desires. Second of all, dialogues sound sometimes almost like feminist’s pamphlet. Ok, the serial killer is once again a frustrating and disturbing man with a difficult childhood killing accomplished and beautiful young women but I like to think it just add to the feminist part, by etablishing a link between these women and Stella’s position, playing her role in a man’s world full of weakness and testosterone. Not easy. The diversity and complexity of the female characters is also highly enjoyable.

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5) For the dialogues. It is not a very talkative series but dialogues are just brilliant. Every speech, every words tell us something about his character, about the story, about reality. Non-sense is not the Fall.

6) It is beautiful. This series is a piece of art, I mean literaly. Images and music are like poetry. The cameras sometimes capture a moment of grace and that is when you totally forget you are watching a police drama. Parallels between two scenes are smart and not empty, parallels between the two main characters (the detectiv Gibson and the serial killer Spector) are “risqués” and we all like risks, specially in art.

The Fall is also a series of emotions, about human feelings, morality, immorality, women and men, violence and of course sex. A series about life shall we say. A second season is on her way. Lucky us.

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Xavier anyways

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Look at that pretty face. Look further: there is a smart, talented and burning brain coming out of it. If you have never heard of Xavier Dolan, you are missing one of the most talented filmmaker of the new generation (yes I am not afraid to say it!). This young canadian born in Montreal makes movies like nobody else: his vision of the world and his sense of aesthetic are absolutely incredible. He already made three movies (J’ai tué ma mère at the age of eighteen and Les Amours imaginaires): the main official subject might be love but it is way more than that. Once you have seen one of his movie, there is no way you are not going to watch the two others! It is addicted.

His last movie Laurence Anyways, probably the most mature and complete, will get stuck in your head way longer after you watched it. Moreover, Xavier Dolan seems to have great taste in literature, art, and music: what more can we ask for? A new movie? Wait, it is happening! We all are so excited about his new project but will have to wait until mars 2014 (at least in France) to see Tom à la ferme, presented as a “psychologic thriller”. It is good to know that he is exploring new possibilities and taking risks. Watch out, the best is yet to come.

Amours

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