Month: May 2017

I Am a Hypocrite, But So Are You

I love animals, all of them without the exception, except for snakes, fish and some types of birds, especially chickens, they freak me out almost as much as snakes do. Let’s start again, I love cute, playful animals the ones you can have as a pet and teach them a couple of tricks  – dogs, cats, bunnies, hamsters. I’m not totally crazy about hamsters, I wouldn’t like to own one as a pet but I don’t mind visiting someone who owns them and play around a bit if they are in the mood. Can you teach hamsters some tricks?

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Oh and I used to be obsessed with getting a skunk as a pet, that was my main goal for like a year or two, but I gave up eventually because my only pet at the time was a mentally unstable cat so I thought getting a skunk who is known to be at its most energized behaviour just before the sun comes out would be a bit of a drag to say the least. I postponed my ‘getting a skunk’ mission until my cat runs away or dies or whatever. One fine spring day the cat disappeared, which was normal because if you have been living under a rock and don’t know, cats are the biggest whores on the planet. He (my cat) came back after five days all wounded up and weird, which was normal, because of the whoremones and all, then disappeared again and never came back. A couple of deliberately petless years later, we got a labrador and fell hopelessly in love with that funny, droopy eyed, perpetually hungry creature. Again, skunks are out of the question.

But, I digress. I made my point, I am an animal lover and I think people are often behaving like ruthless idiots when they buy a dog and leave it alone in the yard when they go on a three-week vacation thinking: Oh well, he’ll manage! Sometimes buying a puppy for your 8-year-old doesn’t turn out quite the way you’ve expected because puppy’s are like human babies – annoying and aggressively needy. When Pongo (the dog) was a pup, we didn’t get a good night of sleep for the first month or two because he would wake up at 4 am, start eating the furniture very loudly, or scratching the door while whining because he needed to pee. Even though he didn’t sleep much, he was hyperactive during the day, we have photos of our hands covered in blood to prove just how much energy he had. So, when the 8-year old realises the dog is too much of a responsibility and leaves it  for his parents to take care of, they decide it’s time to dump the poor bastard somewhere on the road far away from home because god forbid he finds the way back.

That makes me very angry, for sure. But here’s the other thing – I love eating meat, wearing leather shoes, leather jackets and I buy leather bags. Poultry, pork, lamb, beef, game, doesn’t matter, I love it, not that I’m a huge carnivore, but I like to keep my options opened.  I tried horse meat once, I don’t remember the taste but I refused to eat it when I found out it’ s a horse. Where do we draw a line? It partially depends on the culture and your upbringing, I drew it right before the horse.  Although,  now I probably wouldn’t say no to it if someone prepared it for me in a fancy restaurant. I would definitely say no to dog or cat meat because it’s just too weird.

When I tell my friends I would wear a nice fur coat during dark, cold winters even though a whole pack of fluffy animals had to die for it to be made so that my selfish ass can get warm and look stylish, they look at me with shock and disgust. I don’t blame them, I’ve seen the videos of the torture hell animals go through before the fur is ripped from their bodies but somehow I manage to separate the horrible process from the final product and if you think that’s horrible, it is highly possible that you do the same, as well. I prefer buying a more expensive real leather jacket because I’ll wear it for the next 10 years, while eco leather can be a replacement, it’s never the same quality. And for me, the fact that a less quality alternative exists is not a good enough reason to stop buying genuine leather.  Your laptop, your clothes, iPhone, basically everything that is a result of mass production… guess who made that and in what kind of conditions? Just google Steve Jobs child labour and please don’t tell me those are just ‘conspiracy theories.’

The world is a horrible place and horrible things are happening all the time and often the system makes as a part of those atrocities without us being aware of the inclusion. We could be aware if we wanted to, but too much awareness would drive us crazy. The difference between me, a leather bag, fur lover and a friend of mine who is against killing animals for clothes, but regularly buys a new iPhone and orders stuff online? We are basically the same, the only difference is the moment when we decide to close our eyes and pretend we didn’t see inhumanity and injustice being used as a tool in order to satisfy our selfish needs. There’s no way of being a functioning part of modern society while being 100 % ethical on all levels. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try,  at least trying to be nicer to each other for a start and make sure we are not setting the moral bar low for ourselves while it’s unreachable for everyone else. We are all trying to swim through the shit the best we can while creating all kinds of distractions and occupations.

I wonder how well would my dog and a skunk get a long with a bit of training?

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Symptom Recitle

You know, sometimes I want to talk about complicated stuff in sincere, simple way, but that’s way harder of making plain facts seem super intelligent. And sometimes I try to project my state of mind directly on the paper/keyboard, but the words turn out to be embarrassingly weak when compared to the original line of thought I had in mind.

And sometimes, while I’m in that specific state of mind, like now – nervous, jittery and restless for no particular reason, but for all the reasons, I stumble upon a short story, a poem, song lyrics that I have never encountered before, and they manage to describe everything I feel. How weird is that? Specific emotions, detailed thoughts, moodiness, pain and boredom, it’s all there. That’s why great authors and storytellers are timeless, they manage to recognize parts of themselves in everyone else. Or at least it looks as if they are not completely self concerned. Even if they are thinking exclusively about themselves, the talent allows them to express feelings in a way that is so familiar to us mortals. There’s no greater feeling than finding a safe place in stranger’s words.

This is my newest discovery, I’m sure it’s not a temporary fascination. Today we mark the date when I fell in love with American poet, writer and critic Dorothy Parker.

 

Symptom Recital

I do not like my state of mind;
I’m bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn’s recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I’m disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I’d be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men….
I’m due to fall in love again.

 

All About My Favorite Director: 5 Reasons why Pedro Almodóvar is a Creative Genius

Cannes Film Festival is about to begin, introducing the impressive selection of films competing in different categories with everyone’s attention especially directed towards the potential Palme d’Or and Grand Prix winners.  What makes the 70th edition of the most acclaimed European film festival even more exciting is that Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodóvar  has been named president of the jury, becoming the first Spaniard to be given that honor.  The prolific director has had six of his films shown at Cannes throughout the last two decades, winning the best director prize for All About My Mother (1999) and best screenplay for Volver (2006).

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Even though his films are exclusively in Spanish, that didn’t stop them from getting worldwide recognition from both critics and the audience. What is so appealing and unique about Almodóvar’s films that makes everyone who has seen at least one always come back for more? I’ll try to break down the director’s trademark characteristics in 5 key points.

 

Every genre is his genre

The problem is that I work in more than one genre. It’s impossible for me to aim for a single one because, for me, comedy is mixed with tragedy. That’s very Spanish, the way in which comedy and tragedy are inextricable from each other.

Transferring his eclectic taste into movies turned out to be a big creative success.  There are no  boundaries in Almodóvar’s stories, the viewer is often surprised by the way in which the story is developing. Also, his films are a great example of how the art of movie making is all about freedom of expression and having fun while creating the amusing plots and characters. This blend of genres is evident in every period of Almodóvar ‘s career- the early love stories mixed with provocative eroticism and political statements, to his newer films that contain mystery,  thriller, black comedy and horror elements. No one incorporates romance and suspense as skillfully as Almodóvar  resulting in emotional romantic thrillers like Broken Embraces or mystery melodrama Volver. 

 

 Memorable female characters

I feel that I can tell a richer and more entertaining story with women.

It’s not jut that he puts women in the spotlight as main protagonists, he makes them believable and goes well beneath the superficial explanations of what drives a character to act the way she does. Penélope Cruz, one of Almodóvar’s favorite actresses praised him as someone who perfectly understands the female universe and makes them feel protected so that is why she enjoys collaborating with him. The key of this capability stems from director’s childhood experiences,  he explained many times that he grew up surrounded by powerful, strong women.

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During the promotion of his latest feature Julieta, the Spanish filmmaker criticized Hollywood for sexism and not creating enough complex roles for women of all ages. On the other hand, some of his critics say he focuses on women too much, while his heterosexual male characters seem questionable and incomplete.

 

Visual style

Almodóvar’s filmmaking style may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’, but no one can deny that he has an amazing sense for details and using colors as an important addition to storytelling. Quirky characters are not based solely on their dialogues and expression, the visual representation means a lot in how the viewers interpret their actions. The first example I think of is Lucia from black comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown whose mental instability was emphasized by over the top make up and costumes, turning her into hilarious, almost grotesque character.

Almodóvar has never been afraid of using ‘too much’ color, he openly flirts with elements of kitsch evoking traditional Spanish culture,  but in a modern, progressive environment. Through years of making movies he learned how to control those exaggerated visuals in order to improve the film’s plot, but has continue to  employ the bright colors, no matter if it’s the clothes, make up, lightning, a chair, a telephone, etc.  The trademark of the majority of his work is the use of red which is directly connected to everything is so typically Spanish, but also draws attention to specific details, creating a tense atmosphere, and  simply works out so well in front of the camera. One of Almodóvar’s  most successful international features Everything about my Mother is the best illustration of the power of red. It represents strong, bold women and their life stories through dealing with broken relationships, love, motherhood, friendship, loss, etc.

 

Breaking the taboos

As much as he is not scared of colors, the Spanish filmmaker also doesn’t stray away from the unusual and hidden parts of human nature. A part from that, he creates space for characters who were in most cases pushed away from the mainstream – the homosexuals, transsexuals, transvestites. Ever since his debut 1980 film Pepi, Luci, and Bom Almodóvar  has been promoting artistic, individual and sexual freedom, questioning the social conventions and tackling stereotypes. It is impossible to forget elements like Gael Garcia Bernal’s transgender character Zahara and dealing with sexual abuse in Bad Education,  the deconstruction of identity in All about My Mother, challenging mother stereotypes in Volver, getting involved with the creepyness and obsessions in The Skin I live in, or experiencing painful feelings of guilt in Julieta.

Another important element is humor that is born out of unexpected, absurd, generally considered tragic situations showing the importance of context, for example the rape scene in Kika, or suicide attempt in High Heels. Despite of these chaotic events, the viewer continues to form emotional bonds and empathy towards the fabulously eccentric characters and that is what makes Almodóvar ‘s work authentic.

 

  The choice of music

It’s no secret that films in general wouldn’t be nearly as exciting and touching if they weren’t accompanied by music, so it’s no surprise that Almodóvar  doesn’t leave anything to chance in this department. He carefully chooses songs by his own preferences and is often led not by the artistic quality of music, but its references and emotional value. Original soundtracks for his movies have become hits of their own thanks to the collaboration with talented composer Alberto Iglesias.

Some of Almodóvar’s films are so strongly connected to their soundtrack that after watching them, we automatically connect actors and characters with a certain song proving music is inseparable from narration. When I think of the closing scenes of Talk to Her, I immediately hear the music, the dancing couples gliding through the stage appear afterwards. The most recognizable scenes have become so popular precisely for their musical intervals, like the incredible tunnel scene from All about My Mother which stays with you long after you’ve seen the film or Penélope Cruz owning that melancholic musical scene in Volver. For me, the most rememberable due to not only music, but costumes and incredible acting abilities is Gael Garcia Bernal’s performance of Quizas in Bad Education. 

 

Originally posted on Creators.co