Gerald Durrell, author of thirty-something books, world-famous zoekeeper and naturalist tells the true or semi true (but definitely more possibly authentic than Dalí's autobio) story of his family's life in Corfu, Greece.
I have never been interested in biology but in-the-movie-still-a-kid Gerald is, probably more than most biology teachers. He collects animals, examines and supervises them and makes Greek friends while doing so. Then there are his siblings, the bit too promiscuous Margot, Leslie, whose hobby is shoot anything, anytime, anywhere and Larry, the writer. Their mother tries to raise them as well as she can but with her naive and kind attitude and the children's 'wildness', it is pretty hard.
The film is full of humour and basically anyone can find something in it that resembles the craziness of their own family (especially if named family is relaitvely big). The actors are great, my favourite is Larry's character, Matthew Goode is wonderful (he always is, remember Match Point).
In one word, the movie is sweet and a must-see for everyone who wants to see a witty movie, lack of all the stupid and this-can-only-happen-in-romantic-books/film kind of things. In fact, it is beautiful.
And here I am to present my all-time favourite Christmas movie, Mixed Nuts. This is anything but a typical festive film since it's about a lifesaving 'company' with its crazy but adorable employees (and employers). The cast is great, it includes Steve Martin, Anthony LaPaglia, Juliette Lewis, Adam Sandler, Liev Schreiber... and even my beloved Jon Stewart. Of course, most of the actors were relatively unknown when the movie was made (1994) but that does not reduce the quality.
The plot is a bit depressive but believe me, it IS funny (okay, it is entertaining if you, like me, are the fans of ironic, bittersweet humour).
I dislike telling others about the story of the film because it always has the risk of making something accidentally roll out of my mouth that I shouldn't have mentioned (like, the end, or stuff like that) so if you want to, and I can assure you, you better want to unless you intend to miss a Christmas classic, go watch it. Have seen it already? Quite possible... Go watch it - again. It's always fun to watch, especially when it's Christmas since we all know that nothing, including Christmas, is perfect and Mixed Nuts shows this side of the fest in its oh-so-sweet-and-miserable way.
Oh, and here's an example conversation, via IMDb:
[Philip gives Mrs. Munchnik her Christmas gift]
Mrs. Munchnik: A fruitcake?
Mrs. Munchnik: Remarkably like the one I gave you last year.
There are many 'egoist' artist in history (think Alfred Hitchcock) but no-one can take over this catalan genius. Named moment arrived in my life a long time ago and since then, I had to realize not only is he a great painter but his writing skills are extraordinary as well.
I am a Picasso fanatic and am always sad to see that out of 10 books on artists in a bookstore at least 7 is about Dalí and only one is about Picasso but I am always thrilled to see that out of that 7 books at least 5 is actually written BY Dalí.
I could write and talk hours about his works and how much I love to have him as my 'private catalan teacher' (he often explains what this or that means in catalan) but this time I would only like to talk about his biography (or pseudo-biography??), The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí.
First of all, this anything but a usual bio but what could one expect from him, after all? It is filled with speeches that kind of glorify him in the loveliest way, for example:
"At the age of 6, I wanted to be a female cook. At 7, Napoleon. After that, my ambition just went on growing. I wanted to be Salvador Dali and nobody else."
Other wise words are also to be found in the book...:
"What is an elegant woman? An elegant woman is a woman who despises you and who has no hair under her arms."
But despite all of his self-adoring life, after (and, as he claims, even before) he had found Gala, his wife, life itself has changed. He remained to be in love with himself but he has stated countless times how much he loved Gala (once he said he loved her more than his parents; than he said he loved her so much, after she dies he'll eat her and so on).
If you want to read (or give a gift to someone, anyone), trust me, this one is a perfect choice. It is entertaining, witty, has great thoughts and introduces the life of one of the most influential and famous artists of the 20th century more authentically (okay, according to some, not really authentically but definitely wonderfully) than anyone else could do so - by Salvador Dalí himself.
And if you are also into movies, especially elder ones, you might show some interest in a French gentleman's offer: his website, dominiquebesson.com gives you the opportunity to check out some movie posters from all around the world (along with pre1900 ones!) - believe me, unlike today's movie posters, they are real artpieces. And, of course, of you find your favourite or just want to give the best gift for a real fanatic, you can also buy the posters (there are some under €200 and above €2000, you can refine your search according to era, designer, actor/director, price, etc.) - believe me, they are worth it, just like a contemporary painting.
PS. Oh, and this is exam season that means I can not pay as much attention to fashion as I want to. But today, while I was checking the blog Superfantasticpicturetime, I found the picture of this young lady and thought I'd put it here:
I love the shoes, I love the red details, I love the coat, I love the haircut, I love everything.
I know La Môme is not a new film but I happened to see it today and was really impressed. For your information, it's about Édith Piaf, the legendary singer and for this reason, the music is fabulous. Marion Cotillard is wonderful in the movie, her acting skills are definitely the ones if a great talent - the moves, the look, the voice, everything, everything, everything is perfect. The other actors are good as well and I like how the movie manages to bring 'that Parisian feeling' to life.
The story, of course has many sad sides, but I have observed that drama is exactly what I like about movies - life does not has a happy end all the time after all.
What else could I say? The last song of the movie tells it all. If you want to see a not so light but thought-wakening film about love, loss, success and dignity, I recommend it. And last, but not least, all this based upon ture events, true emotions and most of all the life of an extraordinary personality who had all the humour, whimsicality and will to make it happen and bear it all.
The same thing happened with Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. Coelho is one of the world's most popular writers and he is one of my favourite writers as well but when I decided to read my second book by him (the first one was my all-time favourite 11 minutes), I also decided it would not be the book that actually made him famous. It wasn't really a decision, just a feeling that I sould opt for other novels. But, as I said, I always make these much-anticipated things mine, and now it was time for The Alchemist.
And I must confess, I might have made a mistake. The novels I have read by Coelho were more mature than this, not that this is not mature or something, it's typical Coelho, of course I read it in no time (2 days - when was very busy with other things, too) and was kind of disappointed. I love the story, I even like the usual mythical names (Personal Story, etc.) and tales but while reading it, I kind of seemed to have enough of the fact that in the book, everyone is wise. I understand poor and undergraduate people are most of the time wiser than those who have I don't know how many PhDs but still, come on, not everyone is like that! There are special people out there but the world is not black (e.g. shallow) and white (e.g. wise)!
But, once again, I love Paulo Coelho, I love his novels, his thoughts, his lines and words and everything and since The Alchemist was not my first read novel by him, if it were, I would have loved it more. But having read his later works where not everyone knows essential but not-known-by-everyone things.
So, it's true what the cover says - A magical fable about following your dream - and the point of it is clear. Sometimes we have to go back to the start, to the basics to understand things, to find things we had thought were without value actually valuable (remember the Coldplay video, The Scientist when the whole vid goes backwards. Perfect.).
If you haven't read it already, I absolutely recommend The Alchemist, with every single novel Coelho teaches something else and whenever you read his works again (like I did with 11 minutes), you happen to find something new every single time. Isn't it what makes an artpiece, let it be a book, a film, a song, an opera, a painting, an anything else ART and MEANINGFUL and VALUABLE?
So I was absolutely happy to get a pack of Raffaellos - they are heavenly, as always, this time in the form of a bell; typical Christmas pack, I love it.
But my favourite of the year is my borther's gift - Lindt Santa Claus chocolate. As you probably know, Lindt is the best chocolate on Earth, super delicious, extra quality and their packages are always wonderful as well. Along with Italian company Sorini and Ferrero, they are my favourite sweets company...
(click HERE to see it in full size, it is too wide, Blogspot cannot show it properly)
I know I have already mentioned in a previous post how much I love winter and the sweets that come with it but after Santa Claus day, I am never lack of chocolate and simply can't wait what Christmas brings along. So, just an advice (that you are probably aware of): if you don't know what to buy or just want to sweeten your gifts - think good quality Christmas sweets - Lindt, Milka, Ferrero, Mozart... all the big ones know how to make delicious and extremely good looking gifts.
I am glad he made the list, being - as far as I can recall - the only composer on it. The reason "why he is smart" is 'He's the anti–John Williams, capable of breaking hearts with a single guitar.' No-one could say it more perfectly. And ever since I've heard his beautiful score for 21 Grams, he's been my favourite contemporary composer.
He is a natural born talent - cannot read music, plays by ear. Now that's what I call miraculous, and, of course, beautifully heartbreaking.
So, our dear Mr. Allen turns 72 today. Happy Birthday to him, of course, and I can't wait to see his upcoming projects and I hope he'll keep making this life more bearable with his masterpieces for a very-very long time.
And, you know, at least I share one thing with the genious Woody - our love for Venice, Italy.
“Who, being loved, is poor?”
“Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.”
“Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.”
“It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.”
“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.”
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
“If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.”
“The heart was made to be broken.”
“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
“What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
“There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.”
I do not know what the situation is abroad (I guess it's better than here), but in Hungary there is a whole book full with selected Wilde quotations. Par excellence!
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithlessand therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.by
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
This is what I like about style - it's not just one thing or another. It's complex. Here we have one of the most successful desingers (the one no-one is tired of waiting for when it comes to his fashion show), sitting in his library (with books, obviously, so - literature) with a 1986 painting on the wall a 'sixties Dominique table', to quote W and the picture itself is arty as well. Style is in the picture yet not every ingredient of it - that would clearly be impossible.
I love that Richard Prince piece on the wall - the writing is witty and bittersweet! It says "I waited on the corner for my blind date. When this girl walked by, I said, " Are you Linda?" She said " Are you Richard?" " I said,"yeah". She said," I'm not Linda." - if it's not readable.
You can read the article HERE and do not forget to check the slide show sonce the pics are not visible in their original width and there are more pics of his place and collection!
Sorry for the bad quality and the size, I took this pic from the episode itself and couldn't make it better.
And here is the one I ran into at Praktiker...
Breathless is very bohéme and funny, it's extremely good. Paris in the 1960s-1970s could be pretty good to live in, youngsters were hippies in a way but were too French to dress that ridiculously, so basically, they were stylish rebels.
It also warms my heart that Michel, the 'hero' of the movie uses the name Laszlo Kovacs as an alias - and it is a very usual Hungarian name, something like Johm Smith for Americans - there are hundreds of men called Laszlo Kovacs.
It's full of great quotes (for example, "it's silly, but I love you. I wanted to see you, to see if I'd want to see you").
I won't tell you what the movie is about, but I do suggest you all to watch it - avantgarde, chic, witty and entertaining. Need more?
So, photography. I have many favourite photographers, but today is for someone special: Elliot Erwitt. Considering I have huge difficulties picking my favourites, visit his official site and/or check some masterpieces I have posted here. I love it that he always catches the moment that makes you think and stare for more than one moment and black&white photographs seem to be closer to me (except for fashion photography and Peter Richweisz, and... some others).
Okay, probably this last one is my favourite. Maybe because it was the first one I saw by him, I don't know. I love his pictures of dogs, they have something unique about them, something more than those pet pictures you see nowadays.
PS. If you happen to be in Tuscany (Italy) between 24 November and 16 December, don't miss the Lucca Digital Photo Fest where his works are shown.
Lucca Digital Photo Fest
(Images: various sources and definitely not my own images...)
First of all, The Swing by Fragonard. It was love at first sight, the whole atmosphere of the painting captivated me though it is not that visible and perceptible through this small size picture. For the bigger version, click HERE
The Street by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. When I first saw it, my thought was "vogue". It represents fashion, style, elegance, modernity, urbanization, everything. It's not something no-one else could paint, but it definitely has something capturing, something that makes you stare at it for minutes.
Speaking of staring at paintings for a while, here is Bertalan Székely's Self-portrait. Whenever I tell my friends I would like to go to the National Gallery in Budapest (where it hangs), their response is a quick 'I won't go there with you', because most of them are aware of the fact that to me, a visit to named gallery stands for running to the chamber where this painting is and - not kidding - staying there for hours. I scrutinize it from every angle and from every distance, I like it so much. Even the supervisor lady called for her colleague to check on me to find out what the eff I was doing in front of that picture for such a long time, and it kinda happens all the time I visit the gallery. I don't what it is, but I love this painting and I love the man who painted it and who can be seen in it.
Scream by Edvard Munch - it's pretty much like when you feel like you're screaming in a chamber crowded by people but no-one seems to notice you. It's not that crowded, but the two gentlemen behind the screaming person don't really care, at least in my opinion. It shows me solitude and despair, that's why I like it so much.
Now two non-paintings:
This lithograph by Honoré Daumier got the describing 'Nadar elevant la photographie' as a name (it means something like 'Nadar raises photography', as far as I know, I can't speak French) and it's so windy, so 1800s, even so Jim Carrey in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events that it's simply not possible for me not to like it.
Henri de Toulouse-Latrec's Jane Avril is also a lithograph and I love the bohemian vibe of it, how he manages to depict the Parisian way of (night)life towards the end of the 19th century.
Of course, these are just a few paintings (and lithographs) I like, I could go on and on for ages!
So when I heard the Titanic exhibition comes to my country with actual artifacts that used to go down with the ship and even a piece of the Titanic herself, it was no question if I go.
When you start your trip, you get a similar boarding pass with a passenger's name and brief story - when your visit ends, you can check if you (and those who have traveled with you) survived (I died...).
The first object visitors see is the bell that was used to inform the crew about the iceberg – it is available to examine from every angle and believe me, it is spooky.
Then there were pictures of the passengers and information on their lives (who they were, why they chose Titanic to travel to the US, etc.) and quotations from newspapers, passengers and the creators and desingers of the ship.
The objects were outstanding, the decades they had spent on the bottom of the ocean are obviously visible and the shoe and hat and letters and playcards someone once used, someone who died in the cold water, young and full with the hope of a new and better life. These words might seem corny but when you are there and think it over, it is really heartbreaking in a way.
The much anticipated piece of ice that was there to show how cold it could be for those stuck in the middle of the ocean didn’t impress me much – it wasn’t even salty water and that is colder than sweet water so it was nothing special – everyone knew ice was cold after all! But the piece of Titanic that could be touched was outstanding – now I am a part of it as well, at least according to my dreamer self.
Oh, and there is also a place where you can smell perfumes brought up from the wreck – it was carried by a passenger who survived, but the samples sank. Let me say, they are anything but good but it is definitely because they had spent about 80 years in 3800 meters of water!
The exhibition travels all around the world - it stays in Budapest until February 5.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
But I am not here to write about it. What I want to write about one of the spooky videos Lestat has made (okay, that were made for Lestat while they were shooting TQotD). There are 3: Redeemer, System and Forsaken. My favourite is Forsaken and you can watch it HERE.
When I first saw the video it captured me and I couldn't set myself free ever since, not that I wanted to.
I have always thought it would be splendid if someone realized how scary those old horrors could have been when they were premiered and how scary a contemporary horror film would be made with that technique.
I am talking about Weine's Dr. Caligari that might seem ridiculous watched with 21st century eyes... So someone finally discovered it and not only Forsaken is made with that particular technique, it is also a kind of remake of Dr. Caligari's notable scenes:
(Sorry for the bad quailty, I had to take the stills myself...)
Forsaken is perfect and, of course, better than Caligeri - it sends the shivers down your spine, not because it's that "scary", of course it is a bit (at least not less scary than a usual horror), but it also has the irony. What makes it spooky is the fact that it is very dark, the lyrics are beautiful and thought wakening, and the discursive moves. Stuart's pretty face versus Lestat's brutally romantic murderer self is an excellent contradiction that actually works, since, you can never know who is a demon, literally and non-literally.
I do not want to write more, I could but I guess it's only me who's stupidly obsessed with the theme... So, as a finale, a trivia via IMDb:
Dr. Caligari writer Hans Janowtiz "claims to have gotten the idea for the film when he was at a carnival one day. He saw a strange man lurking in the shadows. The next day, he heard that a girl was murdered there. He went to the funeral, and saw the same strange man lurking around. He had no proof that the strange man was the murderer, but he fleshed the whole idea out into his film."
Though Coco is more plastic, I prefer the Italian one because the rest of the pics are wonderful (just like the other ones) and the outfits are actually wearable.
Numero pictures: Fashionista
PS. Joaquin is 33. Happy Birthday to him! :)