Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What I've Been Watching #7

HATESHIP LOVESHIP (2013) » I'd never thought I could see Guy Pearce, Nick Nolte, Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Jason Leigh in the same film but well, it happened. Awkward and adorable, this is a nice so-called indie gem - a slow paced story about love, loss, grief, recovery and eventually, hope. You know the drill, ordinary people and modern world problems. 

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014) » This one is beyond brilliant! Not only it struck me as one of the most visually pleasing movies I've ever watched but also made me feel nostalgic in a bittersweet way, given its dramatically dreamy tone set in 1930s Europe. Phenomenal characters, eye-candy cinematography, a lovely storyline loaded with wit and an absurd sense of humour... Not to mention the stellar cast. How wonderful! It's sad. It's funny. It's quirky. It's Wes Anderson.

TOMBOY (2011) » Zoé Héran 10-year-old Laure, who pretends to be a boy (Mikhael) as she moves into a new neighbourhood. The film follows Laure's struggle to experience life as a transgender, hiding the truth from her friends. I think many people (parents and kids) should watch this coming-of-age French film, in order to understand a bit more about gender identity, social interaction, and the innocence present in every childhood, instead of hiding behind their own taboos.

GUINEVERE (1999) » Believe it or not, I loved this film. I know, it's full of clichés and it's not exactly a masterpiece... Harper (Sarah Polley) is a mousy young woman living in San Francisco, who turns down a Harvard degree for an older man, this Irish bohemian photographer named Connie Fitzpatrick (Stephen Rea) who takes advantage of how impressionable she is. She becomes his pupil, protege and lover... Oh, and ego-feeder, of course. They embark on a free spirited lifestyle which obviously will end in tears, given the fact he's a self-destructive alcoholic sharing his dingy apartment with a vulnerable girl who's not sure if the experience of a lifetime means salvation or downfall.

NORA (2000) » Here's an incredibly underrated film with an insightful directing and ravishing acting. Ewan McGregor sings, Susan Lynch steals the show and the photography itself is reminiscent of an impressionist painting. Even if James Joyce isn't your cup of tea, his passion for Nora Barnacle has to be! She was his wild muse - just read his smutty letters to her. Their journey from Dublin to Trieste triggers inspiration in Joyce and also jealousy, resulting into an emotional chaos. Instead of focusing on the writer's mind and work, the film explores his intense love story with Nora loaded with steamy sexual content and emotional tension. The early 20th century costumes are to die for, I loved Nora's hats and dresses. In a nutshell, I loved it.

MARIE KRØYER (2012) » Another dramatic and fascinating biopic, this one about the Krøyers, insanely beautiful Marie and the famous Danish painter P.S. Krøyer. Directed by Bille August, this film narrates the marriage and adultery of Marie, Kroyer's manic depression and treatment attempts and the tragic consequences awaiting both. A tale of love, scandal and insanity, with a slight Anna Karenina vibe, featuring breathtaking Scandinavian scenery that made me google "copenhagen stockholm ryanair" right after watching this period drama.

Monday, July 28, 2014


A rare early morning on my way home, back from a secluded beach, capturing the quiet details of my own emptiness and the emptiness present in the details. The silent streets of my hometown are loudly loaded with painfully bittersweet memories.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Weekly Randoms #9

I love all things ginger.

 New in.

Fish and chips reinvented.

Living room details.

Let me eat cake!

On my way to the supermarket.

Monday, July 7, 2014

John Luke

John Luke (1906 - 1975) was born in Belfast and some of you, like me, have never heard of him until today. This talented modernist landscape artist, muralist, sculptor, printmaker and figurative painter worked in a shipyard before taking night classes at the Belfast School of Art. After winning a scholarship and a prize in the following year he went to London to study fine art painting, drawing and sculpture. During WWII he gave painting a break and retired to a cottage in Co. Armagh, making a living as an art teacher.
Luke spent his final years in poverty, misery and solitude in a flat in Belfast and died in 1975. Isn't it ironic that the highest price paid at auction for one of his paintings in 1999 was around £41,500? His artwork appear in several public and private collections from the Ulster Museum to the Queen's University in Belfast. This is my tribute to John Luke, one of the most brilliant Irish artists I've ever heard of.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Inspiration: Cracks (2009)

This is one of my favourite films. Directed by Jordan Scott (Ridley's daughter!) and based on a novel (which I haven't read yet) by Sheila Kohler, Cracks is a beautifully composed coming-of-age drama, a lyrical and emotionally intense delirium from its tense atmosphere to the sophisticated setting. Set in 1934, it follows the story of Miss G, a young and spirited teacher, and her pupils at an English boarding school for girls in the countryside.
The cool and sensual Miss G, played by Eva Green, is everything to the girls: enigmatic swimming instructor, charismatic teacher and mesmerising unorthodox role model. She fascinates and captivates her pupils, isolated from the world in that austere secluded school, with thrilling adventure stories of her romances and adventures around the world. Her students admire and respect her as she commands their lives. Everything changes upon the arrival of a new Spanish student - she is aristocratic and cultured, threatening and simultaneously desired. As the film goes on, the layers of Miss G and her own nature begin to unfold... and what a disturbing character she is! Innocence gets corrupted and ravished. Obsession and jealousy take place and tragedy ensues. Let's just say I've seen healthier teacher-pupil relationships.
My jaw dropped at the wonderful costume design by Alison Byrne. Period styling at its best! Knitted cardigans, pinafores and exquisite collars portraying girlhood and innocence. The filming location is also idyllic, most of it in Ireland apparently. Oh, and the decoration is top notch.
Eva Green's performance is hypnotic - she looks beautifully haunting and magnetic in every shot. And yes, I fell in love with Miss G's inspiring sense of style right away: high-waisted trousers reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich, classy silhouettes featuring floaty flamboyance, artsy outfits giving off an avant-garde bohemian vibe, Hollywoodesque silky scarves with golden accents, richly textured fabrics like embellished velvet that looked fabulous on screen, glamourous shades of blue, green and grey... Downright delightful!
Oozing allure and passionate charm, Miss G's intriguing and quirky attitude is depicted so well through her exotic yet dramatic wardrobe, reflecting her personality and hinting at her dark secrets. She projects the idea of a well-travelled woman who teaches the girls in an unconventional way... Not everything is what it seems, however. If you haven't seen this film yet, go watch it.
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