‘The Rider’ is Poetry on Screen

“The Rider” opens this weekend in selective cities. If it’s screening in your area, don’t miss it.

The Rider

What is a cowboy to do if he cannot live the cowboy life again? Too remote? Substitute ‘cowboy’ with any other activities you love to do, or a role that defines you. Take that away, and what do you have left?

The film focuses on the struggles of a rodeo star and expert horse trainer Brady Blackburn as he rebuilds his life and identity after a severe head injury. Upon the prognosis of his doctor, Brady should never go back to riding and rodeo again, for another injury would be fatal.

“The Rider” is an American feature, unique in its subject matter while its director is an unlikely candidate to share the insight. Chloé Zhao was born in Beijing, had studied in London, then Massachusetts and New York. “The Rider” is her second feature. In her short directorial career, she has gone to Cannes twice, nominated in 2015 for the Caméra d’Or (“Golden Camera”), Cannes’ award for the best first feature film, and winning The CICAE Art Cinema Award in 2017 with “The Rider”. That is, among other international accolades. Zhao is an exemplar of a global citizen in filmmaking.

Chloé Zhao

The actors for “The Rider” exude authenticity, for they are actual cowboys and their family, all playing themselves. Brady Jandreau takes the role of Brady Blackburn, reflecting his real-life persona, a cowboy who is much admired and respected in the rodeo community. His father Tim and sister Lily form the Blackburn family in the film. Zhao’s directorial skills shine forth as she leads the non-actors in front of the camera, capturing them in their natural speech and actions, in particular, offering viewers realistically the dexterity involved in the wrangling work. But the film goes much deeper than the actions.

Recovering from the near-fatal injury pits Brady into a precarious existence and conflicting relationship with his father Wayne (Tim Jandreau). As a tough cowboy himself, Wayne had all along brought Brady up to be resilient and competitive, but now father had to dissuade son from the risky pursuit of bronco riding and rodeo activities. Nursing a wounded body and a tormented mind, Brady has to deal with the painful task of redefining himself. Temporarily working in a supermarket and wearing a store uniform makes Brady a displaced person, a persona out of meaningful context, both to himself and to those who recognize him as they come into the store.

While there are tense undercurrents with his dad, Brady cherishes the intimate bond with his sister Lily (Lily Jandreau), who expresses herself from her own peculiar, internal world. Kudos to Zhao for casting the real-life brother and sister in the film, they need not be experienced actors to conjure up some genuine, moving scenes.

Much of the film’s effectiveness goes to the inspiring cinematography, exposing quietly Brady’s tormented soul. The opening sequence sets the stage right away with riveting close-ups of a horse and its breathing. As the camera turns from beast to man, we see the extent of the injury Brady sustains as he gets out of bed and follows the routine needed to care for his own body, striving to return to a past life and regain some sense of normalcy.

In other sections of the film, the camera pans the vast landscape of the South Dakotan plains with a tiny figure that is Brady walking or riding through. “The Rider” is visual poetry on a subject that is seldom explored, and cinematographer Joshua James Richards is most effective in transposing Brady’s internal quest lyrically on screen: “A horse’s purpose is to run in the prairies; a cowboy’s is to ride.”

Brady’s good friend Lane Scott (Lane Scott) is a painful reminder of the risks a cowboy takes. Paralyzed and brain damaged after a fall in a rodeo event, Scott now communicates barely by spelling out words one letter at a time signing with his fingers. Poignantly, Zhao depicts Brady’s every visit with Lane in the hospital as an encounter of love and hope without sentimentality.

Zhao is nuanced and eloquent in creating impressionistic scenes. And when horse and man are juxtaposed in such intimacy, the parallel is striking. As Brady puts it, when a horse is badly hurt it has to be put down, that is the humane thing to do; when a cowboy is badly hurt, he has to continue to live, for that is what humans are supposed to do. As we come to the turning point of the film towards the end, the presence of family love and support appear to be the key to moving on.

A rare gem of a film. Watch it with a quiet heart.

~ ~ ~ ~ Ripples

 

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Don’t just drive past Three Billboards

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is a ‘Coen-esque’ feature with Fargo (1996) star Frances McDormand. This might well be one of the better Brit-U.S. collaborations in recent, tumultuous years. And McDormand just might head to another Best Actress Oscar win after Fargo.

Caution: The following discussion involves a minor spoiler. Not so much a spoiler in plot but in idea. I can’t be more obscure in reviewing the film if I’m to delve into meaning.

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In British writer/director Martin McDonagh’s debut feature In Bruges (2008), the main character, a hitman, Ken (Brendan Gleeson), explains to his angry crime boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) why he didn’t kill his young protégé Ray (Colin Farrell) as Harry had ordered, saying: “He has the capacity to change. We all have the capacity to change.”

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is McDonagh’s damatization of this pivotal idea in full force: We all have the capacity to change. Viewers may not like the characters or their speech, but the dark comedy leads us to the point where we’ll find it worthwhile to hold our judgment, no matter how despicable they behave or speak. And that is the main reason for the gratifying ending of Three Billboards: Change. A change from distraught to calmness, from tension to release.

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Indeed, language is the spoken expression, the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath and beyond language is the essence of a character. McDonagh’s script is starkly effective in presenting the different sides of his characters. Not that we should make excuses for their wrongs, but that everyone has a backstory and a present reality to deal with.

Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) has lost her teenage daughter Angela (Kathryn Newton) to a most violent, horrific crime, ‘raped while dying’. She is frustrated by the inability of the police to bring in any arrests. The three billboards she pays for outside Ebbing, Missouri advertise to the world her rage, targeting police chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). It’s her intention that the publicity they draw could lead to some effective police actions.

McDonagh is apt to instil humour into the sombre subject matter. The dialogues are sharp and the actors deliver. Call it a dramedy if you will, but the spontaneous laughters generated in the theatre are bittersweet, for they are acerbic depiction of racism, injustice, and the grieving rage of the unconsoled.

The three billboards pit Mildred against the town except for her co-worker Denise (Amanda Warren) in the gift shop and an admirer James (Peter Dinklage) in the bar. Her action has put her otherwise devoted son Robbie (Lucas Hedges) in an awkward position in school and inflamed her ex Charlie (John Hawkes), whose 19 year-old girlfriend Penelope (Samara Weaving) is totally oblivious to what’s going on in town. Dixon (Sam Rockwell) from the police station shows his utter disgust with unchecked impulses.

While the ensemble cast deserves kudos, the pivotal acts fall on three characters. Their superb performance augments the incisive and thoughtful script.

McDonagh wrote the role of Mildred Hayes with Frances McDormand in mind, and she delivers with a punch. Her actions as an angry and helpless mother is stark and brutish, but McDonagh also shows us her vulnerable side, a mother who is regretful of the argument she’d had with her daughter on that fateful day, mournful for a daughter who’d never come home, and embittered by the ineptness on the part of the police. McDormand indwells her role so effectively that she makes me see only the angry Mildred, and totally forget the pregnant, innocent police woman in Fargo.

Sam Rockwell’s dimwitted, racist Dixon stirs up non-stop laughs in the theatre. His ultimate change is the powerful force that makes the latter half of the story so gratifying.  Rockwell’s performance is spot-on. McDonagh wants us to have a last laugh on him too: Dixon’s heart may have melted by some kind, motivating words from chief Willoughby, but his intellect remains intact.

Woody Harrelson plays Chief Willoughby with a heart. He is a tough police chief and yet underneath is a kind man, a loving husband to his wife Anne (Abbie Cornish) and a devoted father to his two young girls. Furthermore, Mildred is not the only one bearing life’s harsh blows. While Mildred reacts with rage, Willoughby deals with repressed fears.

A few kind words can cause immense change. And when one person changes, the ripple effects are contagious. The latter part of the film with its twists and turns slowly reveal how positive changes ripple on. For often underneath the hard surface lies a moldable heart. I particularly appreciate the audacity of McDonagh’s writing. Among the tough and macho, love is noted as the key to hold up oneself as love leads to calmness, and calmness to thoughtful actions.

Tying up the emotional bond is the music, in particular, the Irish folk song “The Last Rose of Summer”. Thomas Moore’s lyrics and the soft yearning of Renée Fleming’s voice sings out the sad tune in Mildred’s heart, a cry for justice and the dispelling of emptiness and loss. In the opening scene, the song introduces us to the three billboards as Mildred drives by and contemplates her vengeful scheme, the song reprises as vengeance engulfs a distraught heart and leads to a violent act. Ironically, that scene becomes a pivotal turnaround for Dixon in the police station.

‘Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone
All her lovely companions are faded and gone
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes and give sigh for sigh

The juxtaposition of a quiet Irish folk tune with a fictional, small American town dealing with the fallouts of a horrific, unsolved crime may sound incompatible, but it’s poignant and effective here.

Old loves are irreplaceable, yet regrets cannot heal deep wounds. Lovely companions may have faded, but new ones can be forged, albeit not the same nature, but there’s  hope for new bonds. The last rose of summer dissolves to the first red leaf of fall. It could still be a beautiful season.

~ ~ ~ ~ Ripples

The Shape of Water is all Enfolding

In his review of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Roger Ebert described it as a fairy tale for adults. Well Roger, the director of fantastical cinematic imagery has given us another one. Compared to Pan’s Labyrinth, this is a simpler and less horrifying tale. The Shape of Water is a delightful love story with a gratifying, requiting end.

The Shape of Water is set during the Cold War, in 1962 U.S., inside a high security, science research centre. Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) oversees a new arrival from the Amazon (South America that is), a monstrous beast, and if he cares to really examine the creature with an appreciative eye, a beautiful Amphibian Man (clandestinely played by Doug Jones). Yes, the reverse of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.

In the research centre is Dr. Holffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg), who has to tend to his covert mission, it is the Cold War after all, but from a scientific point of view, does have an appreciative eye for the creature.

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At the bottom of the rung are the janitorial staff, Elisa and Zelda, and with them the story comes alive. Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer’s duo performance is worth your movie ticket. They are the heart and soul of the story, something which the villain lacks. As a fairy tale, we can identify who that is right away, and the irony of who the monster is quickly becomes apparent.

Elisa is mute, she cannot speak but can hear what you say, so be careful. She knows a language that you’ll need a translator to understand, so be careful about that too. Thanks to Zelda, her official interpreter, she knows what not to translate as Elisa speaks her mind to ruthless Strickland.

Elisa’s neighbour is Giles (Richard Jenkins), an artist who does appreciate the Amphibian Man. He is of immense help to Elisa, a faithful friend to her despite endangering his own life. As a fairy tale, we see the good among the characters in sharp contrast to the villain.

As she cleans the facility, Elisa soon comes to appreciate the Amphibian Man, and the creature soon relates to her as she is, not as a handicapped, low-ranking cleaner. The two forge a bond stronger than any dangerous obstacle. The film moves into the second half as a thriller and leads us to see how love overcomes such obstacles. Love not just between the two obvious characters, but from those built upon friendship and mutual respect. As for the Amphibian Man, he is more powerful than just brute force as the story reaches its climax.

As the Awards Season is well underway, all leading to the finale, the Oscars, we see The Shape of Water gaining tremendous momentum. Among other accolades, it won the AFI Award for Movie of the Year, two Golden Globes: del Toro for Best Director and Alexandre Desplat for Best Original Score, and just received 12 BAFTA nominations. While Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer both get acting noms, they face strong contenders such as Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird).

The Shape of Water is a simple depiction of human longings and our universal need for connection. It’s a fairy tale love story and not a treatise on controversial subjects for debates. It offers some interesing cinematic visualization, like the beginning scene of Elisa’s apartment under water. The underwater romantic rendition towards the end of the movie, coincidentally, elicits another indelible cinematic moment from my memory, an underwater love scene also involving a woman who cannot speak, a film with which Marlee Matlin won her Best Actress Oscar with her heart-wrenching performance, and that’s Children of a Lesser God (1986).

Surely, water, the shape of it, all enfolding, is the main idea, for that’s what love is like.

~ ~ ~ 1/2 Ripples

 

 

‘Certain Women’: To Connect on a Vast Landscape

The common denominator is the landscape: Montana. Open country, clear, fresh air. The expanse of space could mean the freedom to roam. As we look into the four female characters, however, the vastness of the landscape and the cold winter could infer separateness and the need for connections. In the internal landscape, an assertion of self.

Director Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, 2008) has chosen three short stories by Maile Meloy to form a cinematic triptych. Meloy’s stories are lean and succinct. Correspondingly, Reichardt’s style is minimal as with her previous works. She brings together three loosely linked stories that can stand on their own. To review them in a succinct way, I’ll use three words as my focal point for each.

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Authority

Laura (Laura Dern), a woman lawyer in Livingston has to deal with a disgruntled client, Fuller (Jared Harris), who was injured in his construction job. As he has accepted a settlement, he can have no further claim for tort. Laura has explained this to him time and again, but he refuses to believe her until one day, they drive a few hours to another town to seek a second opinion from a personal injury lawyer, a male. As Fuller listens to the lawyer stating the same reason as Laura has been telling him all along, he just says ‘Okay’ and seems to accept the fact. Laura laments: “If I were a man, I could explain the law and people would listen and say ‘Okay.’ It’ll be so restful.”

A few days later, a hostage-taking incident occurs in the middle of the night, and Laura is called by the police. It’s Fuller taking a security guard hostage at a government office and wants her to go in to read him his file regarding compensation. Laura goes in and calmly diffuses the tense situation. The incident sends Fuller to prison. He seems content when Laura visits him. Laura finds a changed and much calmer Fuller. He appreciates her visit, and just wants an occasional letter from her to keep in touch. Laura does have authority after all, albeit may not be as she has hoped in the professional front. Her influence rests on her considerate demeanor making an impact on a personal and human level. And for this, Fuller learns to appreciate.

Authenticity

A city woman Gina (Michelle Williams) wants to build a country dream house, not to move in but as a weekend home. She has her eyes on a pile of sandstones that belong to long time resident of the land, Albert (Rene Auberjonois). The sandstones hold the history of the area, for they are from the original school house. We see the cracks in Gina’s relationship with her husband Ryan (James Le Gros) as they try to smooth-talk Albert, Gina seemingly caring but assertive in what she wants, while Ryan is apologetic and conciliatory. Why would a city woman want a pile of old sandstones for her country home? For authenticity, Ryan tells Albert. Ouch, is that supposed to be helpful or is he being sarcastic? Further, their daughter Guthrie (Sara Rodier) seems to be harder to placate as she is dragged along to the country reluctantly. The crevice in the mother-daughter relationship looks to be a tough fissure to fix.

Alienation

The most moving segment comes last. A young lawyer Beth Travis (Kristen Stewart) has to drive a few hours several nights a week after work from Livingston to Belfry to teach a night course on school law, a prior commitment before she found her present job. At the night class, she encounters a ranch hand, Jamie (Lily Gladstone), who drops in out of curiosity. The short moments of sharing as she accompanies Beth to a diner after class for a meal before she drives back home stir up deep longings. Gladstone’s restraint is particularly moving. Nuanced performance from both.

While she may be adroit with horses, it’s a human connection that Jamie yearns for. She comes to every class until one night, the students are told that the class will be taught by another teacher as Beth has quit due to the long drive. Eager to look for her, the ranch hand drives to Livingston to search for a lawyer named Beth Travis. What follows is an aching attempt to reach out towards an unrequited end. The last scene of the same horse-tending routines Jamie gets back to speaks poignantly. Life goes on despite…

~ ~ ~ 1/2 Ripples

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Source materials: Short stories by Maile Meloy “Tome” and “Native Sandstone” from the collection Half In Love, and “Travis, B.” from Both Ways is the Only Way I Want it.

Seattle International Film Festival 2017

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is the largest film festival in the United States, with an annual average attendance of 155,000. The 43rd SIFF kicks off tomorrow, May 18. For 25 days until June 11, film lovers in the Seattle area will be treated to a smorgasbord of films to whet their appetite: features, documentaries, shorts, premieres, competitions, from archival to avant-garde, and any genres to match their mood. SIFF 2017 offers close to 400 titles coming from over 70 countries.

What’s the difference between watching films in a Film Festival (FF) and watching movies in a theatre? You might ask. First off, in a FF, the international aspect is emphasized. True, you’ll have to read subtitles for those not in English, but watching foreign language films is one of the easiest ways to appreciate another culture and expand empathy. You’ll likely find there are more things in common than differences among us all.

Another special feature about FF is that many of the productions are from independent filmmakers. Hollywood and blockbuster movies are the mainstay in our Cineplexes, but in FF’s, we can savor the creative fruits from individual artists. Every year, SIFF receives over 4000 independent film submissions. It is therefore an honor for a film to be an ‘official selection’ at a major FF.

Some of them have come to compete, in other words, you will see quality productions. The SIFF website notes that more than 70% of the films screened at the Festival will not return to theaters. Many of these are works of film arts that are not distributed in commercial theaters. Of course we wish them all the best, especially quality ones and competition winners, as film industry buyers and distributors will be eyeing for good films at FF’s, ready to distribute them for the largest exposure possible later in theatrical releases.

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In the Seattle area this weekend? Love French films? I’ve a recommendation for you. Here’s my capsule review.

The Midwife

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Two venerable French actresses in one comedy drama is a major attraction from the director of Séraphine, Martin Provost. Claire (Catherine Frot) is an expert midwife, the encourager of new births. Her personal life though isn’t as up-lifting. One day her deceased father’s former mistress reappeared in her life, hurtful memories re-emerge. She is Béatrice, played by the legendary Catherine Deneuve. Their reunion sparks off comic and dramatic clashes. Béatrice is everything Claire avoids: booze, cigarettes, red meats, frivolity. Yet reconciliation is the only way to deal with their lot in life.

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The Midwife will screen in Seattle this Friday and Saturday May 19, 20, and Tuesday, May 30. CLICK HERE to SIFF’s webpage for more info, trailer and tickets.

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Related Post:

Séraphine and the Wrought-iron Chair

The Salesman: A Timely Film

It’s time we get used to reading subtitles.

The Salesman is one of five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film in the upcoming 89th Academy Awards on February 26. Due to the executive order banning travellers from seven Muslim countries, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi will not be attending. The director has indicated he will not accept any exception made for his case. Co-star Taraneh Alidoosti has stated she will boycott the ceremony as a protest.

Whose loss is it that Asghar Farhadi is banned from coming to the Academy Awards?

After the untimely passing last year of Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy, 2010), Farhadi continues to carry the legacy of fine Iranian filmmaking with international accolades. Starting with About Elly, which he won Best Director at Berlinale in 2009, Farhadi went on to capture both the Oscar and the César Award in France for Best Foreign Language Film with A Separation (2011). The Past (2013) brought him two Cannes prizes. His newest work The Salesman won a Best Screenplay for the writer/director and a Best Actor award for his star Shahab Hosseini at Cannes last year. Now North American viewers have a chance to see this engaging family drama.

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The story starts off with an evacuation of an apartment building on the verge of collapsing. A couple, Emad (Shahab Hosseini, A Separation, About Elly) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti, About Elly) are among the anxious residents fleeing the building. We can see large cracks on the wall in their bedroom. Responding to the shout for help, Emad diverts to his neighbor’s unit to carry his adult, mentally ill son on his own back to go down the stairs. A seemingly spontaneous move in the rush of evacuation, Farhadi lets us see an act of kindness from his main character.

A friend offers Emad and Rana a recently vacated apartment unit to stay. Its previous tenant still has her belongings stored in one room. She has left in haste, a shady figure who has frequent male clients coming to her unit. Emad only learns of this after a violent incident that happens to his wife. Rana is alone in the unit one night. She leaves her apartment door ajar for Emad, thinking he will come home soon while she steps into the shower.

Emad returns home to see traces of blood on the stairs and soon learns that his wife has been taken to the hospital emergency by neighbors. We as viewers do not know exactly what has happened but can conjecture by the circumstance. We see a traumatized Rana with stiches on her forehead. She is released to recover at home, but refuses to let Emad call the police. Later, as Emad discovers a cell phone and a set of keys left by the intruder, he decides to investigate on his own and takes matters into his own hands.

Since the incident, husband and wife begin to drift slowly apart, Rana being reticent and Emad vigilant. Here we see Farhadi’s signature cinematic handling: incisive depiction of domestic tensions shrouded in Hitchcokian suspense. We soon forget we are watching an Iranian couple living in Tehran. As with his previous works, Farhadi is effective here in engaging his viewers and to elicit empathy for both the husband and the wife despite their very opposite response to the attack.

Emad and Rana belong to a local theatre group. They are presently rehearsing for a run of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, playing Willy and Linda Loman. Farhadi deftly intertwines the on-stage and the real-life couple with intricate parallels. In the play, we see the demise of Willy Loman and the end of a relationship; in their real life, we see Emad and Rana’s marriage deteriorate, and a demise of a different kind for Emad. The cracks on the wall above their bed at the opening scene is now an apt metaphor, their once close bond slowly crumbles.

Actually, there are two plays involved in the film. The obvious one is Miller’s. The other is easy to miss. During the day, Emad is a teacher. In one scene, we see him teaching a play called The Cow, a work written by the prolific Iranian writer Gholām-Hossein Sā’edi. Reminiscent of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, The Cow evokes much enthusiasm in his class of teenage boys. The play is an allegory about a man who owns the only cow in a village; his daily life is closely tied to the animal, his identity defined by his ownership of this unique possession. When one day he loses his cow in an accident, he ends up turning into one.

Here are two prominent lines. A student asks: “How can you turn into a cow?” Emad answers: “Gradually.” Sounds like a joke, but no student laughs. Farhadi subtly leads us to see how.

The last part of the film is the most crucial. Emad’s good detective work leads him to come face to face with the attacker. He has him locked in a room in their previous, vacated apartment. Playing to the attacker’s fear of revealing to his wife and family what he had done, Emad calls them to come over. Farhadi is brilliant in leading us to a situation where we as viewers are challenged to empathize all his characters despite their opposing sides, and to weigh in on what we would have done. He puts his viewers in the position not as a judge, but witness.

Slowly we are led to see how a man can lose the veneer of civility and change into something else as he allows revenge dominates his emotions. The kind and helpful man we see in the opening scene is now shrouded in a different sentiment. In the most nuanced and quiet manner, Farhadi lets us visualize Emad’s earlier reply to his student, how a man can gradually change into a different being. Or, is it a latent potency we all have that different circumstances would elicit a different aspect of our self?

At this juncture, Farhadi reveals to us a multi-faceted man. A helpful neighbour, loving husband, well-liked teacher, and a cultured stage actor. When put in a situation where vigilante justice takes over, and revenge molds the mind, or even when the social expectation of being a protective male head in a marriage prevails, is Emad free to act? If the accused pleads for his own release, and the victim herself is willing to forgive, should the husband carry out his reprimand? On the other hand, should the attacker just go free?

In the final shot, we see Emad and Rana sit beside each other as make-up is applied to get them ready for their parts as Willy and Linda. Their expressions in the mirrors make one haunting image to end the film.

Banned from entering the United States, what Farhadi will lose are the glitz and glam of the Oscars. By his absence at the ceremony, the Academy will lose the chance to honor an internationally acclaimed director who is a master in revealing human frailties and eliciting from viewers the very empathy we so need in this testing time.

Fortunately we can still watch his film.

~ ~ ~ ~ Ripples

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Abbey Road & Notting Hill

FRIDAY OCT. 7

For the last day in London, we wanted to grab the chance to go see places we hadn’t been to before. Our plan for the day: first to Abbey Road, then Notting Hill.

This is probably the most famous zebra crossing in the world. And that of course is the location where The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover was taken. Tourists would gather right at the crossing, stopping cars frequently.:

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… and actually pose crossing it, making numerous takes, cause it’s just hard to find no cars coming, then snapping the right pics at the right time in the right pose:

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The other side of the zebra crossing is the famous Abbey Road Studios where The Beatles recorded their albums:

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We couldn’t go into the studios, but there was a gift shop adjacent where signs were posted to chronicle the historical significance of the Abbey Road Studios. Sir Edward Elgar opened the Studios in 1931. In 1939, King George VI recorded his now famous “King’s Speech to His Peoples”.  Seventy-one years later in 2010…

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“Oscar-winning ‘The King’s Speech‘ score recorded. Actor Colin Firth’s speech is re-recorded with the microphone made by EMI for King George VI.”

Looks like we’d come to something truly historic.

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After Abbey Road, we headed to Notting Hill. I like the movie Notting Hill (1999), have seen it several times especially now it’s on Netflix, but have never been to that part of London. I’d done some Googling before I left home. Notting Hill is the actual movie location, and the famous 2-mile long Portobello Road Market there is one of the best street markets in London. And it’s open on Fridays and Saturdays only.

It was an overcast and chilly Friday morning, the clouds hung heavy, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. We took the Tube from Abbey Road Studios and got off at Notting Hill Gate Station.

In the movie, Portobello Road is where William Thacker (Hugh Grant) has his Travel Book Shop. He walks past the stalls in the Market to get to his shop.

So here it is. Portobello Road, a colourful street lined with antique and curio shops, and on Fridays and Saturdays, open stalls selling all sorts of interesting items, a bazaar like a movie set.

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Here’s William’s Travel Book Shop location, now a gift shop. In the movie, that is where William meets American film star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) the first time. William is totally oblivious to who she is, while a shoplifter recognizes her and has the gut to come right up to ask for her autograph. That’s William’s intro to movie culture. Here’s the location:

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Afterwards, William buys orange juice across the street and bumps into Anna again, spilling juice on her dress. Thus, leading her to his house with the blue door nearby to clean up.

The tipping point of the movie happens on both sides of that blue door. Apparently tipped off by William’s hairy roommate Spike (Rhys Ifans), a large crowd of paparazzi wait outside that blue door the morning after Anna stays over, ready to snap anything of the star. Unfortunately it’s William who opens the door in his T-shirt and boxer, and after, Anna in her sleep wear, and last but not least, Spike opens again in his brief only.

Well, here it is, that house with the blue door, 280 Westbourne Park Road:

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And of course, the first movie I saw after I’d come home was Notting Hill, again.

That’s a wrap of my five-day London experience, my Thelma and Louise escapade for 2016 with my cousin. Obviously, no… we didn’t drive off a cliff.

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This is a Saturday Snapshot post. Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

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Here’s a recap of my Five Days in London:

London: West End Theatre

Tate Modern: Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition 

Day Trip to Cambridge

British Library & St. Pancras Station

Paterson: Of Pug and Poetry

Some movies are like the roaring ocean, waves mounting upon waves rousing up excitement, eliciting continuous, sensational reactions. Some are like a bubbling brook, smaller but still boisterous, teeming with life and sounds. The film Paterson is a quiet stream, water gently flows along, seemingly uneventful, and yet, you can sit there by its side and just watch its quiet swirling.

Paterson has been screened at many film festivals this year. I missed it at TIFF, glad I could catch it when I came home to CIFF. For a film about poetry and a loving couple (not dysfunctional, for a change) with a British bulldog named Marvin, a character in his own right, and helmed by a Palm d’Or winning director, it’s got to be a unique experience.

Director Jim Jarmusch has been garnering accolades at the Cannes Film Festival since 1984, with his early feature Stranger Than Paradise. His most commercially known work probably is Broken Flowers (Cannes Grand Prize of the Jury, 2005) with Bill Murray and Julie Delpy. This year, Paterson has once again brought the director to Cannes as a nominee for the prestigious Palme d’Or. 

Jarmusch ought to be applauded for making a film on poetry, for who in this day of mega explosive, blockbuster productions would think of turning Williams Carlos Williams’ poetic notion into a movie. Yes, WCW himself was a resident of Paterson, New Jersey, and his 5-volume epic poem Paterson must have been the source inspiration for Jarmusch.

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The movie Paterson is about an admirer of WCW and an aspiring poet whose occupation may be furthest from the creative process. But that’s exactly the point. Where do we get inspirations and ideas? What kickstarts our creative process? Do we need to climb to the top of the mountain, soak up a magnificent sunrise to unleash our creativity? Apparently not.

We see in the film that the most mundane of everyday objects, like, a box of matches, can spark off a new poem. Jarmusch has his own style of cinematic poetry making: the deadpan, casual expressions of his main character, thus, embedding humour in the serious. Adam Driver (While We Were Young, 2014) is probably the best person to star in this film, not only in name, but in his demeanour. He is Paterson, a bus driver with a daily route of driving bus route no.23 around the small town of Paterson, New Jersey.

We follow Paterson for a week. He gets up at the same time, around 6:20 am, plus or minus 5 minutes, eats his breakfast cereal, carries his lunch box and goes to work. He drives his no. 23 route around town, overhearing passengers’ small talks, brewing in his mind thoughts and ideas, writing down lines in a note book when he has a chance, has his lunch sitting on a bench overlooking the Great Falls of the Passaic River, then back to work. After work he goes home, has dinner with his loving wife Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), walks the pug Marvin, ties him outside the bar, goes in and have his beer, chats with bartender Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley), meets the regulars Everett (William Jackson Harper) and Marie (Chasten Harmon) and listens to their stories, then walks Marvin back home and sleep.

As viewers we see this seven times over. Reminds me of Groundhog Day (1993). But Jarmusch is clever in sprinkling subtle humour and surprises, quite like life. Paterson is a contented soul, driving a bus may be as fulfilling as writing poetry. Wife Laura is more experimental, and takes charge of her creative expressions more explicitly, like learning the guitar to reach her dream of being a country singer, like interior decorating her home according to her obsession with black and white, or baking cupcakes in her own signature style as a step to opening her own cupcake store. Whatever, the two are a loving, contented couple. Creativity manifests in various ways.

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And then there’s Marvin, who may be the best pug in pictures. He has a role to play too in this mundane plot. His story line is, again, life as well.

That’s about all I’ll reveal about the movie without giving out the spoiler, yes, even for this seemingly uneventful film. But as I write, I’m thinking of another matter. This film is probably screened only at very limited cities, at arthouse, independent cinemas. So, why am I writing about a film that not many of you will actually be able to see? What exactly is the relevance of writing something that few may relate to? Or… is the review a piece of writing that readers can respond to despite not experiencing the film itself?

If you have some thoughts on this, I’d appreciate your input. Throw your two pebbles into the Pond and create some ripples so I’d have an idea.

Having poured out this puzzling thought that has been troubling me for some time, I’m reminded of Paterson’s poetry writing in the basement of his home, his notebook filled with his private thoughts and lines, which nobody has ever or will ever read. What’s his purpose then?

~ ~ ~ 1/2 Ripples

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Other Related Reviews on Ripple Effects:

Silence the Movie Arrives in the Most Unwelcome Time

While We Were Young: Wearing the Hat of Authenticity 

A Quiet Passion (2016) at TIFF16

TIFF16 Review: After The Storm

“After the Storm” was screened at TIFF in September. Next week, it will be at BFI London FF and after that, the Chicago IFF. My review was first published on Asian American Press. I thank the editor for allowing me to post my review here on Ripple Effects.

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Japanese auteur Koreeda Hirokazu graced the Toronto International Film Festival once again this year with his new feature, “After the Storm”. Since 1995, with his multiple award-winning feature “Maborosi”, Koreeda has been a staple at TIFF, which has screened every one of his feature films. His recent works are still fresh in many viewers’ minds, “Still Walking” (2008), “Like Father, Like Son” (2013), and “Our Little Sister” (2015).

With all the avant garde and experimental, new waves of filmmaking bursting out at film festivals every year, Koreeda’s traditional style of storytelling offers a fine balance and an affirming voice. His films focus on the contemporary Japanese family, bringing out themes arising from the individual and extending to the universal. Humanity is what Koreeda is interested in, and his treatment of human foibles and failures is kind and forgiving. “After the Storm” is no exception.

Ryota (Abe Hiroshi) used to be an award-winning author. But for years he has not produced any more works. Divorced from his wife Kyoko (Maki Yoko) and sorely missing his 9 year-old son Shingo (Yoshizawa Taiyo), Ryota is at the bottom of his life. Months behind in his child support payments, he is laden with debt, entrapped by a gambling habit that’s hard to kick. It runs in the family it seems, for his late father had also been a gambler. With his work at a detective agency, Ryota would try all means to squeeze extra cash out of his clients, including deception and even extortion.

Koreeda’s dealing of Ryota is gentle and sympathetic. While he may look unkempt, the six-foot-two actor Abe Hiroshi has his charm and charisma. We see the nasty side of Ryota as he slips into his mother’s cramped unit in a housing project, looking for anything of value he could lay his hands on for pawning. A moment later, Koreeda lets us have a glimpse too of the other side of Ryota, that of a son to an ageing mother Yoshiko (Kiki Kilin). The mother-son portrait is witty and tactful, punctuated with heartwarming humour. It is a reunion of the two actors, also as mother and son, from Koreeda’s 2008 feature film “Still Walking”.

Mother knows best, even when your son doesn’t live with you any more. Deep in her heart, Yoshiko wishes to see her son reunite with her daughter-in-law Kyoko whom she is very fond of. She also treasures the affectionate bonding with grandson Shingo. If only they could get back together as a family, that would be a big relief and comfort, growing old can then be much bearable.

One evening, a passing storm keeps them together in Yoshiko’s home for the night. The impromptu reunion, though awkward, is probably gratifying for every one of them. Koreeda is, alas, a realist. Life is full of disappointments. However close they have come to bonding once again, the moment is short-lived. But the reminiscence and dynamics of the small family’s once intimate relationship regurgitates enough to spark off a renewal for Ryota. While they may continue on with their own separate ways, a new perspective has subtly wiggled in. Perhaps, there’s hope after all. The young, green grass covered with raindrops the morning after the storm is a refreshing metaphor.

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The film was shot in the housing project where Koreeda had spent his youthful years. That was where his mother lived after his father had passed away. In the Q & A session, Koreeda admitted that certain incidents in the film did happen in the director’s own family. When writing the script though, once he has created his characters, Koreeda would let them run free and so they would develop themselves. Their stories just came out naturally.

Answering questions in Japanese with a translator beside him, Koreeda humbly thanked his Toronto audience, whom he had in mind when he made his films, as TIFF had screened every one of his features. He noted that as we grew older, we had to deal with disappointments, for life often didn’t turn out to be what we’d like to see. “After the Storm” shows us that Koreeda has dealt with his characters’ life disappointments with a forbearing spirit. As for viewers of his films, Koreeda does not disappoint.

~ ~ ~ 1/2 Ripples

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Other reviews of Koreeda films on Ripple Effects:

Our Little Sister: A Respite from Summer Superhero Movies

Like Father, Like Son: Parent and Child Reunion 

A Quiet Passion at TIFF16

“A Quiet Passion” is a biopic of the reclusive 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson. It is written and directed by the esteemed English auteur Terence Davies, who brought us the adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel “The House of Mirth” in 2000, “The Deep Blue Sea” based on Terence Rattigan’s play in 2011, and last year’s “Sunset Song”, a beautiful cinematic rendition of Scottish writer Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s work.

Literary filmmaking is Davies’ repertoire. If a movie is about a poet, under his helm, it is only natural that it would be crafted like poetry. In this sense, “A Quiet Passion” is a fine example. Every frame is meticulously composed and lit, the atmosphere dense with meaning. We also hear lines from Dickinson’s poems read out as voiceover. We experience poetry in sight and sound.

However, not all poetry is of the Romantics, roaming vales and hills, dancing with the daffodils. Davies’s Emily Dickinson (Cynthia Nixon) is confined in her father Edward’s (Keith Carradine) Amherst house. Her main human interactions are with her immediate family, a stern father, a depressed mother (Emily Norcross), an attorney brother Austin (Duncan Duff), and her younger sister (Jennifer Ehle). If she ever felt claustrophobic, there’s her sister-in-law Susan Gilbert (Jodhi May) and her close friend Vryling Buffam (Catherine Bailey). Too narrow a social circle? Not really, for they are all responsible for sharpening her views and words. And they make a wonderful cast.

 

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Terence Davies, Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle, Jodhi May, Catherine Bailey
Under the direction of Davies, Cynthia Nixon (of ‘Sex and the City’ fame) portrays Emily Dickinson with an austere persona restrained by social mores and troubled by unrequited romantic pursuit. She might have been a rebel with a just cause in confronting restrictive societal norms, but I was surprised to see Dickinson here as a verbal combatant, a bitter and belligerent soul. Somehow from my limited reading of her poetry, that image has not set in my mind.

“A Quiet Passion” is a mixed bag of oxymoron. In an austere setting, characters deliver ornate speeches like you only hear in a stage play. Shrouded in a confining milieu, you hear comedic exchanges and humorous, deadpan facial expressions, even LOL moments. While the cinematography is meditative and calm (as in Davies’ last work “Sunset Song”), the feeling evoked is unsettling anticipation.

Emily’s supportive and devoted sister Lavinia (Vinnie), well played by Jennifer Ehle (of Elizabeth Bennet fame), gives me a breath of fresh air, for often she is the quiet passion supporting the poet, a gentle strength and a moral compass. Vinnie is the pragmatic and rational voice, like reminding Emily that Rev. Wadsworth—on whom Emily has a romantic crush—is a married man. But she is ever so sweet and pleasant as Jennifer Ehle is, even when admonishing.

The sisterhood between Nixon’s Emily and Ehle’s Vinnie makes me think of another literary sisterhood, that of Jane and Cassandra Austen. But what a difference. I long for Jane’s joie de vivre, something that’s missing here in this relatively harsh portrayal of Emily Dickinson. Further, I couldn’t help but compare this film with another that’s also about a poet: Jane Campion’s “Bright Star” (2009), a beautiful cinematic rendering of the English Romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his muse Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish).

The last scenes are as severe as they are heart breaking. Death may be a frequent motif in Dickinson’s poetry, as Emily had experienced the passing of her parents, but the constant pounding of her own illness makes me think of another oxymoron: superfluous suffering. The repeated scenes of seizures Emily goes through in the last section of the film may be a bit too much to watch for some, although Nixon has certainly given us a true-to-life performance. I can’t imagine all the takes she had to repeat, acting out those excruciating seizures on her bed.

When asked about the seizures in the Q & A after, Nixon replied that she had not done any research or specifically prepared; she just went ahead and did it. All the research had been done by Davies. He had read up on volumes of Dickinson’s biographies for the film.

What “A Quiet Passion” has done for me is stirring up my curiosity in finding out what Emily Dickinson the person was really like, and, I want to delve into more of her poetry. I have to remind myself though that the cinematic portrayal here is only Davies’ own interpretation and personal response to her poetry. I just like to explore on my own.

~ ~ ~ Ripples

 

 

 

‘Our Little Sister’: A Respite from Summer Superhero Movies

The following is my review of the film “Our Little Sister” by the acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, published in Asian American Press. I thank aapress.com for allowing me to post it here on my blog.

For those who might think a Japanese film would never make it to your local cinema, check this list of U.S. screenings:

http://sonyclassics.com/ourlittlesister/dates.html

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Premiering last year at Cannes, and later screened at other international film festivals the world over, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Our Little Sister” finally trickles into the local theatres of North American cities, which is timely. In a world rocked by tumultuous strife and unrests, this latest from Kore-eda makes a quiet solace, offering a taste of the ideal in human relationships and harmony despite brokenness.

“Our Little Sister” is Kore-eda’s most recent work after his 2013 Cannes Jury Prize winning “Like Father Like Son”. Following his usual subject of relationships in various family situations, “Our Little Sister” sees Kore-eda at the helm as director, writer, and editor of this production based on the popular Japanese graphic novel “Umimachi Diary” by Yoshida Akimi.

The three Koda sisters have not seen their estranged father for fifteen years. Sachi (Haruka Ayase), Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa) and Chika (Kaho) are now adults, living in the family’s traditional home his father had long deserted in the seaside town of Kamakura. His recent death sends the sisters to his funeral, awkwardly, meeting the woman who had stolen their father’s heart. But it is an inciting incident that changes all their lives. They meet their half sister, 15 year-old Suzu (Suzu Hirose). Herein lies the turning point for the four sisters. Moved by her little step-sister’s mature and quiet demeanor, or maybe stirred by her own older-sister instinct, Sachi invites Suzu to come away and live with them in Kamakura. Suzu gladly agrees.

The new Koda household now is a haven of happy sisterhood. Living under one roof, we see minimal conflicts and constant congeniality. Viewers from a different culture may find the saccharine relationships unrealistic. Are there not any conflicts at all? Of course there are. Kore-eda deftly leads us to some slow revealing. After three quarters of the 120-minute film, we begin to see inner turmoil rise to the surface.

Suzu had to take care of her father in his illness and seeing him to his last breath due to the incompetence of her mother; here is a young teenager bearing the burden of an adult. Now living with three older sisters, Suzu can finally enjoy the childhood she has missed. She quickly captures the attention of other students in her new school with her soccer skills, congeniality and maturity.

In the Koda household, Suzu is the angel of harmony, stirring up love and life. Kore-eda may have spent too much time on the leisurely-paced, day-to-day living such that viewers might feel the lack of conflicts to move the story along. I credit the style to Kore-eda’s realism and a candid camera focusing on the subtleties of nuanced interplay among the characters. Like his previous films “I Wish” (2011), the yearning for family connections of a young boy is shown by his actions and not so much by words, or in “Like Father Like Son” (2013), wherein conflicts are portrayed by contrasts and parallels. Here, while still nursing a deep resentment towards her father for deserting them years ago, Sachi struggles with the moral parallel now as she carries on a relationship with a married doctor at the hospital where she works.

Moral dilemmas, what to choose, how to live, and the search for identity are the issues Kore-eda’s characters have to deal with, but in a way that is quiet and gentle. He introduces us to other endearing characters in the town, adding numerous episodes to build up a human mosaic of harmony in the presence of brokenness and even death.

The scenic seaside town of Kamakura provides a beautiful backdrop for cinematographer Mikiya Takimoto (“Like Father, Like Son”) to shoot the film, reflective of the idyllic life that can be had, even in an imperfect world. The arching branches of the cherry blossoms, landscapes and seascapes mark the healing power of nature. But also like the petals of the cherry blossoms, which third sister Chika likes to pick up and gather in her palm, life is ephemeral.

Reminiscent of Ozu’s films, the passing train is a visual metaphor for the passage of time, changes, and the transience of life. To enrich the visuals, Yoko Kanno’s original score sweeps us through with warmth and tenderness, as a supporting voice telling the story. “Our Little Sister” is a heartwarming film for the unhurried heart to savor.

 

~ ~ ~ Ripples

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Related Posts on Ripple Effects:

‘Like Father Like Son’: A Parent and Child Reunion

Yasujiro Ozu and the Art of Aloneness

Thoughts on Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups

In the beginning was The Tree of Life.

That was the first work of divergence in the enigmatic director Terrence Malick’s body of work. His first four films spanned three decades–Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998), The New World (2005)–productions that adhered to a relatively conventional storytelling approach, albeit still marching to the beat of his own drum. Then came six years of silence.

In 2011, we saw a new cinematic form come out. The Tree of Life emerged like a new life after a long metamorphosis. It was genre defying, with real and imaginary visuals replacing narrative plots, voiceover replacing dialogues. Dually cosmic and realistic, it boldly explored subjects that spanned eternity, from the Creation to the Afterlife. The story focused on a small Texan family during the 1950’s. The latent conflicts and tensions in the family’s relationships, father, mother, husband, wife, sons, brothers, brought forth a series of existential questions. Whispers of inner anguish, doubts, faith, and the search for redemption fill the movie theatre.

I was stunned by Malick’s audacity. This wouldn’t sit well with critics or viewers alike.

Apparently the thought of rejection didn’t bother the auteur, for the next year saw a repeat of the style. For those who thought The Tree of Life was only a one-time experiment were met with the confirmation that yes, this is Malick’s new cinematic style. To the Wonder is another film seemingly devoid of plot, a visual poetry of love, loss, and the human soul. We see again more voiceovers replacing dialogues, characters drifting through dreamscapes. The Tree of Life was only the beginning. Malick has created a new form of cinematic storytelling.

Then came Knight of Cups in 2015. The director that had taken thirty-two years to make his first four films gives us a trilogy of thought-provoking, genre-defying features in just four years. Knight of Cups is slowly trickling into limited screens this spring, but only an ephemeral appearance. In selective cities, it came quickly and was gone. The movie industry is big business, and box office sales is the bottom line, a fact that doesn’t seem to be a concern for Malick.

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Knight of Cups starts off with a parable. A knight sent by his father, the King of the East, went into Egypt to find a pearl from the depths of the sea. But when the prince arrived the people poured him a cup that took away his memory. He soon forgets his identity and his mission to look for the pearl.

The allusion to Pilgrim’s Progress is also invoked. From that, we know the tale of one man’s escape from the City of Destruction and his quest to search for the Celestial City.

Visually on screen, an earthquake shakes up a sleeping man. We later learn that he is Rick (Christian Bale), a successful screenwriter in L.A., well networked with the rich and famous of Hollywood. Rick is roused up from the quake, tiptoes barefoot through shattered glass to get out into the street, an apt metaphor of his life, fragmented, broken like the debris on the ground.

Thus sets the stage as we follow Rick into the high life of Hollywood: parties, night clubs, Gatsby-esque wildness of L.A. and Las Vegas. The film cast interestingly is made up of well-known names from Hollywood (bravo at the parallel). Through all these, Rick appears aloof, a stranger in his own land.

Ummm, not unlike Camus’s outsider.

His agent tells him: “I want to make you rich. All you need to do is say yes. Who do you want to meet? I can arrange.”

Almost as close as another such luring promise… “all this I will give you, if you bow down and worship me.”

 But the outsider is a tormented soul desperately seeking meaning, not riches or fame. Ambivalent relationships with a skid row brother and a father (Brian Dennehy) who is in turmoil living through the suicide of another son are the slings and arrows hurled at Rick. “I died a different way, “ we hear him say.

Women? Six of them, at one time or another. Played by Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Freda Pinto, Imogen Poots, Teresa Palmer, Isabel Lucas. They appear as vignettes, drifting in and out of his life; not all in waste, each has something to offer. One of them has uttered:

“We’re pilgrims on this earth. We’re not leading the life we’re meant for. We’re meant for something else.”

Or take his ex-wife Nancy (Cate Blanchett), a benevolent doctor who works with the poor. She could have been an inspiring figure, but they had to part. “I just want to be loved,” she says.

Of course, Rick can’t give what he doesn’t have. He too is searching for that powerful love that can complete him.

“Redeem my life… Justify me,” we hear Rick’s voiceover, a thirst which no human can quench.

He must rouse up from his sleep. Remember who you are and your mission. Remember the pearl? Go look for it. “How do I reach you? How do I find my way there?”

I’m glad from the fragments of internal dialogues, I can hear some positive words: “God shows His love through suffering… He leads you through. Regard them as gifts… more precious than happiness… Be thankful for suffering.”

Who would have thought? The reverse of common sense? But then again, how true. 

“You gave me peace, mercy, love, joy. You gave me what the world can’t give.”

Accompanying all these voiceovers is the captivating cinematography. It is interesting to see how three consecutive Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant 2015, Birdman 2014, Gravity 2013) converts soulful anguish onto the screen with lyrical, visual metaphors and well-paced changes of scenes. Faster paced for the ephemeral hedonism, slower for the meditative and transcendent.

The transporting effects are made complete by the musical score. Yes, that’s one of the main reasons I’m so mesmerized by Malick’s recent films. Knight of Cups has a long and expansive playlist with over 50 titles. Among them are these stirring pieces that capture my full attention, Wojciech Kilar ‘s “Exodus”, Arvo Pärt’s “Symphony No. 4 Los Angeles” and the film composer for Malick’s previous two works, the New Zealand born Hanan Townshend’s musical creations.

But one melody stands out and with the scenery on screen stirred me the deepest.

Now what’s the name of that piece? The music overwhelms me with a kind of existential longing, pathos, and deep resonance. 

Yes, got it. I later found out from the movie soundtrack, it was Solveig’s Song from Grieg’s “Peer Gynt”. I made a quick purchase and downloaded the tune and have been listening to it ever since. Like the effect of Smetana’s “The Moldau” in The Tree of Life, I know it will remain in my mind for some time to come.

That’s the reason I still go to the cinema. In that pitch-dark and relatively empty (what do you expect) theatre, I can sit quietly, watch, listen, and think.

~ ~ ~ 1/2 Ripples

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Related Posts on Ripple Effects:

The Tree of Life Movie Review

Days of Heaven