Hello there, long time no see – I was busy falling down, creating scrapbooks, memories and friendships, having quite an unbalanced diet and dancing.
A big, messy pile of topics accumulates in my head every day, now it’s time to clean my mind shelves a bit, but not too much because cluttering is a lifestyle choice (clutter =to run in disorder) and I absolutely welcome it.
Imagine any discussion – with family, friends, colleagues, random acquaintances, it doesn’t matter. The amount of passion and determination I’ll put into the conversation depends of course on how interested I am in the topic, but mainly how well-informed I think I am. When you let yourself develop a certain level of getting away with words, you grow an ability to improvise along the way, it is supposed to be smooth and fun, like watching Fred Astaire’s toe – tap dancing.
I don’t have a ‘go to’ topic I like to discuss, but movies are my safe place and well, fortunately, almost every topic can be analysed through movies. Now, *insert a jump cut* I want to talk about feminism and how the misuse of the word (and what it stands for) by useless campaigns and public figures annoys me, but even though I have a huge rant slowly pouring from the tip of my fingers, I won’t write about it. Let the movies do the talking this time. In no particular order, chosen because I’ve seen them in the past year or so, and also because they simply celebrate womanhood without fake spectacles, fireworks and ridiculous T-shirt signs.
Even if you’re not a fan of getting out of the comfort zone of English-speaking film (but c’mooon), it’s necessary to sometimes give a chance to other parts of the globe. How to start? My advice is to follow the sunrise and go east, it won’t be boring. I’m not sure where I found this gem, maybe it was an Instagram recommendation that caught my eye during a random scroll. It was simple, I was drawn to the title – Caramel, it just sounded yummy.
The plot is similar to the name – sweet, warm and easy to follow, acting is natural, the film’s down to earth atmosphere evokes a feeling that is getting a bit lost today in our constant thrill-seeking existence. Wise men say: the story doesn’t have to be extremely complicated to be intriguing. Often we crave simple pleasures, like caramel candy for example. You can quote me on that one.
Female director Nadine Labaki created a miniature world taking place in a beauty salon in Beirut where five female characters spend most of their time enjoying each other’s company. You may expect a lot of differences due to our cultural backgrounds, but relationships, struggles and desires are the same everywhere. Strength and fragility, eccentricity with a lot of humour can be found among these women of all ages. Everything is so familiar, yet unique. A silent Middle Eastern girl power anthem.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
A title that guarantees a poorly written scenario and hysteric overacting is misleading to say the least. I wish I watched this brilliant story of growing up when I was in my early teens, awkward and uncomfortable with myself and pretty much everything else around me.
Different sexual relations, drug experimentation, dysfunctional family, a teenager dating an older guy… sounds like a dark, fucked up story with a predictable tragic culmination and a fluffy moral message in the end. Instead, it’s a smart, witty and incredibly creative film that stays in mind even if your teen years are left behind a century ago. The exploration of female sexuality doesn’t have to be vulgar and exploitative, it can be written into a direct, bold, yet unconventionally easy-going story. This film proves it by celebrating youth and turning insecurities into exciting new possibilities.
À Nos Amours
Maurice Pialat’s classic has been on my watch list for too long. I guess I knew I have to watch it from my pretentious ‘lover of everything artsy and French’ side, but I didn’t now if I would like it as much as I think I’m supposed to. It’s ridiculous, I know, but the most important thing is that in the end I wasn’t disappointed, AU CONTRAIRE mes amis!
First of all I was blown away by Sandrine Bonnaire’s performance, it was her first movie appearance and the character she’s playing is a confused, but determined 16-year-old. So, it’s not an easy one to say the least. Basically, Suzanne is everything I wanted to be when I was a teenager, but didn’t have the courage. Don’t get me wrong, this is much more than a cheeky teen romance story, it is also a raw depiction of a family falling apart and young girl’s anger turning into rebellious acts to affirm her existence. Sex and seduction are powerful tools in exploring one’s identity which is authentically shown in the film, and just like in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, not at all vulgar or cheap.
There are times when after watching a movie I keep thanking myself that I did it because what I’ve experienced actually improved my life a bit. Traditional values which lead to oppression of young women, stripping them away from what they appreciate the most – their freedom – this is how I would describe Mustang in the shortest way possible. An important topic to discuss, but oh so frustrating when you think about that is not just a screen fiction in some parts of the world.
Placed in rural Turkey, five young sisters are playing on the beach with some boys from school. Lots of laughter, fun and as innocent it can be, but considered inappropriate by the local conservative standards. After the incident, their lives change when family members start looking for candidates they will get married to. During the process of finding the suitable pairs for the arranged marriage, the girls become prisoners in their home. This is where Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides influence is clear, but this is not a copy or remake of the celebrated 1999 drama.
What washes off the bitter taste of this absurd situation while watching the film are the sisters, their unity and love for each other, thinking of clever tricks to make cracks in the wall that is crushing their youth and trying to break their spirits. Emotional, beautiful and inspiring celebration of girl power when it’s the most needed, when freedom and emancipation are endangered.
This Todd Haynes’ subtle masterpiece wouldn’t even be on this list if I haven’t seen it again a couple of days ago. After watching it, I felt guilty that the first time I’ve watched it when it came out, I didn’t ‘feel it’ and told my friends it’s not really worth a watch. Now I want to print out ‘WATCH CAROL PLS’ posters and hand them out to strangers on public transport. In my opinion, this is the best performance the goddess in human form Cate Blanchett ever delivered, and we all know she has a variety of amazing roles up her sleeve.
Love is a tricky topic to present on screen, to use in all forms of art actually. It’s universal, familiar to us all in some form, but also always unique and the artist has to be careful not to cross the line from being honest to turning into a cliché.
This is a love story between two women of different ages whose lives spontaneously cross paths and after that nothing is the same. You can say it’s love at first sight, emotions are thrillingly intense, but they remain calm enough to allow their relationship develop naturally. It just feels right and close to home.
I’ve always been a sucker for details in film, Carol is full of them, using them to boost up the film’s low-key but breathtaking aura. The element of society standing in the way of people’s happiness is also present since it’s the 1950s, not a great time to be openly gay and trying to live your life to the fullest. Carol is unapologetically being herself from the start until the end even though it means breaking the so-called social conventions. The story is set around the Christmas season which adds just a little extra magic to the atmosphere, and is also another reason why December is a perfect time to watch it. Maybe even turning it into a tradition.
– Tell me you know what you’re doing.
– I never did.