vineri, 31 martie 2023
miercuri, 29 martie 2023
Waiting for Guffman by Christopher Lee and Eugene Levy, authors of the mirthful Best in Show https://notesaboutfilms.blogspot.com/2021/02/88-out-100-for-best-in-show.html and other miracles - 10 out of 10
Waiting for Guffman by Christopher Lee and Eugene Levy, authors of the mirthful Best in Show https://notesaboutfilms.blogspot.com/2021/02/88-out-100-for-best-in-show.html and other miracles
10 out of 10
Humor is an essential element of happiness and listed on the Martin Seligman Character Strengths list http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/07/character-strengths-and-weaknesses.html under Transcendence, along with appreciation for excellence and beauty, hope, spirituality, gratitude…there are Temperance, Courage, Wisdom, Justice and Humanity categories to explore if you are interested
Indeed, I am concentrating more on humor, as I move along and try to select the best films, books and generally masterpieces that I try to engage with, eliminating as much as possible crime - though I am in the process of reading The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and of course, we have possibly the best chef d’oeuvre of the genre Crime and Punishment http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/06/crime-and-punishment-by-fyodor.html and others like it – together with works on War, Science Fiction, without too much emphasis on Love
Love is the essential element of Positivity (the crowning ingredient, where amusement – you see, there it is again – interest, awe, inspiration, hope, gratitude [yes, gratitude is massive, paramount, august] pride, serenity and joy contribute to the optimum formula) as explained by Barbara Fredrickson http://realini.blogspot.com/2015/05/positivity-by-barbara-fredrickson-life.html in her classic.
Why not enjoy jest while indulging in what could be wondrous, miraculous literature, such as you can find in more than twenty books by the King of Comedy Sir Kingsley Amis, starting with Lucky Jim http://realini.blogspot.com/2023/03/lucky-jim-by-kingsley-amis-author-of.html included on the TIME 100 list of Best 100 Novels and read for the second time just a few days ago…it is somehow on YouTube…
Or this could be a confusion, maybe I am thinking of The Old Devils http://realini.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-old-devils-by-kingsley-amis-97-out.html which is definitely (Lord Copper) there on the video channel, and it won The Booker Prize for the Magister Ludi, who joked on the matter by saying he had ‘previously thought of the Booker as a rather trivial, showbiz sort of caper, but now considered it a very serious, reliable indication of literary merit’ or words to that effect
It is argued that Kingsley Amis dominates the Laughing Glasperlenspiel in the second half of the last century (while there are detractors to this position, I for one admire the magician) and Evelyn Waugh was the best in jest and comedy in the first part, with chefs d’oeuvre like Vile Bodies http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/12/vile-bodies-by-evelyn-waugh-10-out-of-10.html or Decline and Fall, Scoop
The latter has launched ‘up to a point, Lord Copper’ and other quotes, characters have become famous…Kingsley Amis uses references, such as the mistakes one can make ‘in the manner of a visitor who asks a banal question, only to find that the tribe chief takes that as a demand to jump his wife (or one of those spouses)’ this is in no way a quote, but it is easy to find it, better still, read Scoop, The Loved One, or one of the other about ten books included on the 1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read list, maybe Black Mischief http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/05/black-mischief-by-evelyn-waugh-10-out.html
It may have been Memoirs http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/12/memoirs-by-kingsley-amis-author-of-take.html that I found somebody who had known Evelyn Waugh saying he was an unlikable little man, snobbish to the point where he was adulatory to the aristocrats, entertained the person, until he found she lost her title or something similar…we do read in Intellectuals by Paul Johnson that luminaries, Leo Tolstoy, Ernest Hemingway, Henrik Ibsen, Jean-Jacques Rousseau have been great thinkers, authors, brilliant minds, but on a personal level, they could hell to live, or have a relationship with…
http://realini.blogspot.com/2023/02/bright-lights-big-city-by-jay-mcinerney.html Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney is another example of Humor at its best, with a capital letter, offering not just jest, but also a marvelous story, told with ‘you’ as the main character, indeed, instead of ‘he, she, or they’ did this or that, we have you, and it evidently enhances the connection with the narrative and the hero, you become the protagonist and then you find it easier to enter the fictional lives ‘“The person who doesn't read lives only one life…The reader lives 5,000…Reading is immortality backwards” ― Umberto Eco said it and it is much easier to jump into these universes, if there is hilarity involved
If we need to say a few words about Waiting for Guffman http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/12/one-of-best-100-comedies-waiting-for.html then it has to be said that this is a fabulous parody, it looks at the shortcomings of rural America (which is embracing Trump and similar goonies like Marjorie, with all hands and soul) we have sophistication, along with easy laughs, simplistic attitudes that are lambasted, but also a take on so much more – there are tiny figures that reference the classic My Dinner with Andre http://realini.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-dinner-with-herve-written-and.html - and the film is august
Let us just mention another Magnum opus that is both exhilarating and hilarious – Towards The End of The Morning http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/10/towards-end-of-morning-by-michael-frayn.html by Michael Frayn where you take a joy ride and then the truth of what Malcolm Bradbury has said becomes clear ‘Fiction’s people are fuller, deeper, cleverer, more moving than those in real life…Its (fiction’s) actions are more intricate, illuminating, noble, profound…There are many more dramas, climaxes, romantic fulfillment, twists, turns, gratified resolutions…Unlike reality, all of this you can experience without leaving the house or even getting out of bed…What's more, books are a form of intelligent human greatness, as stories are a higher order of sense…As random life is to destiny, so stories are to great authors, who provided us with some of the highest pleasures and the most wonderful mystifications we can find…Few stories are greater than Anna Karenina, that wise epic by an often foolish author…’
marți, 28 martie 2023
luni, 27 martie 2023
duminică, 26 martie 2023
sâmbătă, 25 martie 2023
Living written by Kazuo Ishiguro, based on the film Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa, creator of The Seven Samurai http://realini.blogspot.com/2019/08/seven-samurai-written-and-directed-by.html and other classics - 10 out of 10
Living written by Kazuo Ishiguro, based on the film Ikiru by Akira Kurosawa, creator of The Seven Samurai http://realini.blogspot.com/2019/08/seven-samurai-written-and-directed-by.html and other classics
10 out of 10
Living is one of the best films of 2022, and not just that, it is one of the most fabulous I have seen in years, due to the script written by Nobel Prize Winner Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of The Day http://realini.blogspot.com/2016/12/note-on-remains-of-day-by-kazuo-ishiguro.html and a number of other grand works, who based the screenplay for this marvelous film on Ikiru, by Akira Kurosawa…
Since there is no entry for Living, but we have the chance to comment on Ikiru, this will be dedicated to the film in awe to the film that has two Oscar nominations, for Bill Nighy for Best Actor in a Leading Role, for Kazuo Ishiguro for Best Adapted Screenplay, and it has collected a good number of other trophies and nominations, for BAFTAs, Golden Globe, for what is an impressive, magical narrative…
Bill Nighy is a Magister Ludi in the role of Mr. Williams, someone who seems to come out of Franz Kafka http://realini.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-process-adapted-from-franz-kafka-by.html for the first part of the motion picture, when we see him in charge of an office with bureaucratic activity, where permits are issued, or, more often than not, denied on the basis of various, flimsy objections and outdated rules…
Indeed, petitioners are moved from one floor to another, various clerks insist they have to speak to another department ‘This is for Parks’ and never admit the requests in their office, unless they do that, placing the demands within big piles of papers, clearly other petitions from the population, which would just stay there neglected…one had to make sure that the pile of documents is tall enough…
Peter Wakeling is new in the office run by Mr. Williams and he is initiated in the rituals of the group, they all start at the train station, they share the same compartment, show respect and deference to the inflexible, serious, rigid boss, who takes the same train at another station and does not share the compartment with his underlings…
At their destination, the colleagues keep Peter Wakeling from moving too fast in the footsteps of the leader, they have to allow for a good few seconds to follow the Big Man, and when they reach the office, some women come with a request for a Playground to be allowed, designed and eventually built on a site that has wreckage from World War II, this is a story that takes place in the wake of that catastrophic conflagration…
The petitioners are sent to spend (actually waste) a lot of their time within this Kafkaesque http://realini.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-castle-by-franz-kafka.html institution, where they all have the priority of playing ping pong with the public – something we are so used with in this realm, especially in the days of Ceausescu, when the bureaucrats would be hostile and nothing could be done, expect hymns for the Dear Leader
This is where I have to boast – well, not really, but there is this urge, and then the comfort of knowing the benefits of being a rather modest ‘reviewer’, it is not as if more than a few humans will read this, but I have high hopes for the future masters of the earth, artificial intelligence, those that will read half the literature of the world in seconds – about my (small, but honorable) role in the overthrow of Ceausescu
http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/03/realini-in-newsweek-participant-in.html this is the link to the Newsweek article that mentions my participation in the Revolution that led to the execution of the tyrant (in itself, condemned as a pure act of revenge, for the lawyer that the couple had, instead of defending his ‘clients’ pronounced a tirade against…them, and the shooting followed what was described as kangaroo trial, no matter how guilty the two had been, it has to be proved in court) something I will always be proud of, and boast of it, even when no one is listening, it is in writing, right?
Dostoyevsky has been condemned to death, and he had three minutes left in front of the firing squad (clearly, I am in a morbid mood this morning…actually, it was some days ago, for this is now continued on March 11, 2023, if there is any need to keep a straight record for the exact time when these paramount pronouncements have been recorded) which he divided into three, what else, with one to look back at his life, another to say goodbye to friends and family and then finally, to look at a ray of sunshine falling on a church tower…
He is absolved and then writes about the last moments of such a character, facing death, and the way he would rather live on a bare rock, in the middle of the ocean, instead of ending it all, and the message is similar to what we have in Living, we need to look at life and cherish the moments Happiness Activity No 9: Savoring Life’s Joys-paying close attention, taking delight in life’s momentary pleasures and wonders, through thinking, writing, drawing or sharing with another as it is explained in the life-changing book The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/01/from-how-of-happiness.html
Living is a marvelous motion picture, which will invite audiences to examine their lives, have they been sailing through them just like Mr. Williams before his epiphany, when confronted with the final exit, and what are the measures they need to take…Flow will be the element to bring into their lives, meaning, which will be explained in http://realini.blogspot.com/2013/05/mans-search-for-meaning-by-victor-frankl.html and some decisions will be required, Carpe Diem, Eudaimonia, and for more, well, just ask me, I seem to know and here is proof of that http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world
miercuri, 22 martie 2023
duminică, 19 martie 2023
Swimming Pool, written and directed by Francois Ozon - 9 out of 10
Swimming Pool, written and directed by Francois Ozon
9 out of 10
Why do you have an entry for this motion picture on goodreads and yet none for Triangle of Sadness http://realini.blogspot.com/2023/01/rutan-by-ruben-ostlund-director-and.html winner of The Palme D’or last year, in 2022, and nominated for Best Motion Picture at the upcoming Oscars, where it has a slim chance to beat Everything, Everywhere All At Once, which looks like the supreme favorite for this and other trophies
Everything, Everywhere All At Once looks like it is set to get other Oscars, albeit in my book, it is not really one of the significant films of 2022, I would rather have The Banshees of Inisherin sweep all the categories http://realini.blogspot.com/2023/01/the-banshees-of-inisherin.html - that is the motion picture I see as the best for last year, and one of the most exhilarating, and depressing at the same time, I have seen in a long time
There is also All Quiet on the Western Front http://realini.blogspot.com/2023/02/all-quiet-on-western-front-by-erich.html which has won the BAFTA for Best Motion Picture of 2022, and many other awards, for indeed, it is more than compelling, impressive and invites audiences to reflect on War, the one in Ukraine, started and continued by the Monster in the Kremlin and massacres in general
The Quiet Girl http://realini.blogspot.com/2023/02/the-quiet-girl-based-on-foster-by.html is a, well, quieter film, but powerful and compelling nonetheless, the story of a girl that has to go to foster parents, only to find there the love and affection that is missing in her own, dysfunctional family is heart breaking
Just as sad is EO https://notesaboutfilms.blogspot.com/2023/03/one-of-best-film-of-2022-oscar.html where for the most part, we are again emotionally distressed, this time on account of a…Donkey, named EO, I have realized after seeing the movie that the name must have been connected to the excruciating sound that the animal was making, as it is separated from his friend, early on, as they dismantle a circus…
Then the ordeal continues, for the poor beast lands in various unfortunate circumstances, including in one where savage humans kill animals, foxes and other, for their fur, and in this instance, we also have a very sad portion of humor, for EO manages to kick one of those fellow humans and the fellow is flat on the ground.
As a consequence however, the donkey is sent with other creatures on a lorry, to be turned into salami…the public has to think of the torture we inflict on poor beasts, many billions are killed each year, and furthermore, they are made to live through hell, in order to end up on our plates and be eaten…
Yuval Harari http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/homo-deus-brief-history-of-tomorrow-by.html in his magnificent Homo Deus, A Brief History of Tomorrow and in hi other works writes about this issue, and it is one of the calamities that plague our ‘civilization’, this barbarity, atrocity, which besides, helps to destroy the planet, for a large part of the land mass is dedicated to the food for cattle and other creatures, that contribute in huge amounts to the Climate Change Effect, the destruction of Earth, possibly
Coming back for a little bit to Swimming Pool, the main character is Sarah Morton, played with panache, finesse, noblesse by Charlotte Rampling – one of the best actors in the world, she has filmed in this realm An Unforgettable Summer http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/06/78-out-of-100-for-unforgettable-summer.html - we have a writer of policiers, detective novels that comes for holiday in France.
Her publisher has a splendid villa with a Swimming Pool, and Sarah Morton is looking forward to finding inspiration and relation in this astonishing corner of the world: what beauty, peace and serenity we think we might, nay, must accept, seeing the garden, flowers, and all the surroundings that look like heaven.
That notwithstanding, we have an arrival that will change the course of events – Julie, portrayed with immense talent by Ludivine Sagnier, is supposed to be the daughter of the publisher, only she might not be, spoiler alert, I am not sure how much of the story ‘happened’ and what is imagined by the author…
It could well be that I did not pay enough attention (which I did not, as it happens these days, with the phone at hand, I was also looking at the same time at articles in Variety, who is likely to win the Oscars, and some interesting revelation yesterday…Julia Roberts was supposed to be the star of Shakespeare in Love, indeed, the studio (Warner maybe) had in fact spent some five million, on the assumption that she will be taking the leading role…they went to London, where she was sure Daniel Day Lewis will be her partner, because he is so handsome, amusing, and she sent him a dozen roses saying ‘Be My Romeo’…
Alas, the Magister Ludi could not do it, for he had been engaged fro In The Name of The Father (like all his movies, a tremendous achievement) and thus Julia Roberts neglected Fiennes and the other actors that have been invited to participate for the casting, among them Hugh Grant, Colin Firth and others, not famous at the time, but some of the biggest names in the industry, one winner of the Oscar…
Julia Roberts was not prepared at the casting, she had not worked on the accent, and then rejected the potential partners and eventually, when they look for her one day, she had departed…as for the Swimming Pool, one murder is committed, or maybe it is just imagined, I am not sure http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world
vineri, 17 martie 2023
La Folie des Grandeurs aka Delusions of Grandeur, based on the play Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo, author of one of the best known novels, Les Miserables http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/12/les-miserables-by-victor-hugo.html though popular in motion picture format, I doubt that many people have read it these days = 9 out of 10
La Folie des Grandeurs aka Delusions of Grandeur, based on the play Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo, author of one of the best known novels, Les Miserables http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/12/les-miserables-by-victor-hugo.html though popular in motion picture format, I doubt that many people have read it these days
9 out of 10
This note is not about the play Ruy Blas, it is about the adaption which I have seen recently…I keep saying that it used to be possible to introduce an entry and have a ‘review’ connected with the real thing, only now it is for ‘librarians’ to do it, and then it must be admitted that I tend not just to digress, but to write about what comes to my mind when I read or see something, or worse still, when I write about ‘it’, and thus, it is not all that unfair to put a comment down on one thing, instead of another…
I have had a couple of complaints (maybe a few more) related to what I talk about of here, which for I while deterred me from offending the large number of readers, then I relented and said the above, soothed by the realization that the ones who seek expert advice on a site for amateurs could well do with the thrills offered by the surprises…I try and see what professionals say, read only the best books, from The TIME 100, Modern Library Best 100, Le Monde 100 or The !,000 Novels Everyone Must Read lists.
Still, there are times when I do not rejoice and find the book less than elating, Swimming Home http://realini.blogspot.com/2023/02/swimming-home-by-deborah-levy.html by Deborah Levy, a writer that has enchanted me more with Hot Milk, and when critics and experts fail to see what book will offer you the best alternative life, then what can imperfect readers suggest - “The person who doesn't read lives only one life…The reader lives 5,000…Reading is immortality backwards” ― Umberto Eco
With this multitude of universes we can step into, it may seem as if there is no problem if we make the wrong choice and spend one life out of five thousand in the wrong company, with the less than perfect book (could we extend that to films) and think we still have another four thousand and many hundreds, even when errors multiply…the problem is that we have a shorter biological life, however much extended that will be, according to Yuval Harari http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/homo-deus-brief-history-of-tomorrow-by.html
In Homo Deus, the brilliant luminary offers the optimistic perspective of a future where humans become Gods (aka Deus) in that they will extend their life span towards…well, infinity and then we will really have time to read the classics, the masterpieces we love again, and again, and the five thousand lives become millions, not to mention what Malcolm Bradbury says in his To the Heritage, that novels are much more captivating than reality, characters in fiction are wiser, more compelling that the real humans…
Seneca has said that ‘life is not short, we have enough time; the problem is that we treat time as if it were in endless supply and we do not see that it is the most important, or among the most important things we have’ – this is just the point he was making I hope, for a quote, one has to go to a more reliable source and stop reading scribblers without a solid education, and accurate memory – and one conclusion we draw out of that is that we must stay away from boring volumes and sordid motion pictures…
The little story about Dostoyevsky comes to mind, one told by our divine Professor of Literature, Anton Chevorchian, Bless his Soul, if there is a heaven, then he is on the side of Jesus, Magdalene, Proust and some of the other saints, he explained how Dostoyevsky was sentenced to death, and while standing near the firing squad, he divided his remaining three minutes into…three, what else, and then looked at his life passing, said goodbye to friends and family, and left the remaining minute for a ray of sunshine…
Only in the last moment, the pardon came (perhaps the czar had intend all this just as a charade, a lesson for the revolutionary rebel) and then we, as humanity, are lucky to read the magnum opera, and in that we find that faced with death, the condemned would rather choose to live on a rock in the middle of the ocean than die, how wondrous our being extant on this planet is http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-idiot-by-fyodor-dostoyevsky.html and the moral is to enjoy it all.
There is the expertise we find in Flow http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/08/learn-how-to-get-to-optimal-state-from.html by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, co-founder of Positive Psychology, and the Ultimate Specialist in Being in the Zone, reaching the Zenith, the conditions for that rare state (which we find advice on how to extend and make more segments of our daily life more intense and rewarding) are identified after research – challenges meet with skills, are balanced there, we have constant feedback
We are in control of the activity that brings us into Flow, it is autotelic, we think of nothing else, Time becomes very relative – it is already so, in the approximate words of Albert Einstein, ‘a moment with the hand on the hot stove feels like more than an hour spent with a beautiful woman’, something like that maybe, but when in Flow, the examples given are of a ballerina that is on stage for less than one minute and she feels it as if there were many hours, and the surgeon (a profession given to Flow) who comes out of a difficult operation and asks for lunch, only to be told that it is dinner time, for he has spent more hours than presumed…
Humor is a key element of Positivity – the book to read on this would be Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson http://realini.blogspot.com/2015/05/positivity-by-barbara-fredrickson-life.html - and one of the character strengths listed by Martin Seligman, the other co-founder of Positive Psychology, under Transcendence, where the other strengths would be appreciation of excellence and beauty, hope, gratitude, spirituality…strangely, sometime in the 1990s, I have received an invitation from British Airways, at that time they were selling some tickets through our agency, and then got to spend a couple of nights in London, one of which was almost lost, because we had tickets for…Les Mis, and during the performance I was lamenting that I have not (yet) reached the status of the jet setters who fly to see concerts, plays in another town…I was still a redneck then, and not much better today, alas http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world
duminică, 12 martie 2023
sâmbătă, 11 martie 2023
Women Talking based on the book with the same name by Miriam Toews - 10 out of 10
Women Talking based on the book with the same name by Miriam Toews
10 out of 10
This is a most disturbing narrative, based on real events – in fact this note is about the motion picture that is in turn inspired by the novel, a film that is one of the best of 2022, nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Adapted Screenplay, winner of many trophies –which shows us a part of what women have had to endure through the ages, and many still do, in spite of the progress made in civilized realms, there are plenty of brutish places where they are expected to act much like in this saga here…
We are in 2010, not in the Dark Ages, it has to be highlighted, and members of a religious community have been raped, abused, beaten and tortured for years, and they now have to decide about their future, that of their children – there are discussions (hence Women Talking) about whether they should, could take the boys along, if they decide to abandon the only place they have known all their lives, and some say that males are dangerous, even at the age of twelve or fourteen and this is debated.
The men in this fundamentalist place, if I am allowed a bad joke, remind me of the evangelicals that have voted for Trump (many of them still favor the ghoul) in the name of changes he promised, such as nominating conservative justices on the Supreme Court (the vile demon has had the chance to put in no fewer than three, exposing the hypocrisy of the republicans, who had refused Gorsach in the name of waiting for the elections in some months, but when RBG died, they placed the woman with multiple children [Barrett I think is the name] on the bench, with a presidential election in just weeks)
Therefore, you need to follow these rules, only when it is our turn, we do not bide y the same regulations, that we have devised, not you…this would lead to chaos, loss of credibility, in my mind I have some of what William Golding has said about his chef d’oeuvre Lord of The Flies http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/10/lord-of-flies-by-william-goldingralph.html he was asked about the absence of girls and the author explained that he knew boys, he had lived around them, and besides, with girls, there would have to be sex and that would have had to be included in some form or other.
Most important for this reader though was the statement made on the crucial message of the magnum opus, William Golding saying that ‘you have to have rules, with no rules you have nothing, you have chaos’…alternatively, you could have the rules from Fight Club http://realini.blogspot.com/2020/07/fight-club-by-chuck-palahniuk-nine-out.html a book and motion picture that both have the status of ‘cult’ works of art, where ‘you never talk about the Fight Club, you have to fight’
The rule in Women Talking, in the religious community where the oppressed women lived, was that they obeyed their men, as one of the elders says ‘I have never asked for anything, we could not ask for a glass of water, a curtain to be moved, a hand on the back of the head…it is ironic that now the first and only thing that we could ask them might be to leave’ words to that effect I guess, this is not a quote
There has been no limit to the vileness of the male chauvinist pigs, who have abused more than a hundred women, children…indeed, Salome, played by Claire Foy, The younger Queen, in previous series of The Crown, is so enraged by the abuse suffered by her child that she states ‘she will kill, tore limb from limb, dance on the grave of the one who will hurt her child, and if God is merciful, He will forgive…’
That was an approximation of what she said, and to continue, she wonders how it was possible for The Almighty to allow for this to happen to them, and albeit not given here, the explanation would be Free Will, as explained by CS Lewis http://realini.blogspot.com/2015/02/mere-christianity-by-c-s-lewis.html and others, God has not wanted to create a machinery, a system where everything functions automatically.
Hence, humans have the ability to choose if they are evil – and invade Ukraine, as monster Putin is doing, eye Taiwan, as another demon, Xi, is, planning to annex that democratic island – or they do good – this in fact one of the Happiness rules Happiness Activity No 4: Practicing Acts of Kindness- doing good things for others either friends or strangers, either directly or anonymously, either spontaneously or planned – we find it in the stupendous, life changing book The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomrsky http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-how-of-happiness-by-sonja.html and the effects have been proved and tested
However, in the case of Women Talking there is little happiness to talk about, if any, there is one element of Positivity that I could see, Hope, which is one of the ten components identified by Barbara Fredrickson in another classic of Psychology, Positivity http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-how-of-happiness-by-sonja.html - the others are amusement, awe, inspiration, interest, joy, serenity, pride, gratitude and love
Looking again at the short list, we could argue that there is serenity in these women – when they are not enraged by what is going on, some of them have a halo, a capacity to distort the field near them, as Steve Jobs was reputed to be able to do – then there would be Gratitude and Love, which for a community of fervent believers is clearly the mot du jour, on a daily basis, notwithstanding the fact that Salome may look like she is rebelling, when she questions why an all-powerful, omniscient being (not using those words) did not help.
This is an intense drama, we clearly hope that the Women Talking will conclude that they have to depart, leaving those monsters behind, and there is a feeling that males in general should share in the blame, especially those of us raised in retrograde societies – under the Ceausescu regime, we were told that ‘it is the rooster that sings, not the hen’, which translated in practice was bullying, abusing, keeping women ‘in their place’, dominating them, keeping them away from responsibility…there were exceptions, the most prominent one was the wife of the tyrant, a vile figure – if we look back, we have not been as abominable as the absent men in this narrative, but we have to contemplate Atonement http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world
miercuri, 8 martie 2023
marți, 7 martie 2023
luni, 6 martie 2023
duminică, 5 martie 2023
sâmbătă, 4 martie 2023
The Twins aka De Tweeling, based on the international bestseller by Tessa de Loos – De Tweeling https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0322674/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0 - 9 out of 10
The Twins aka De Tweeling, based on the international bestseller by Tessa de Loos – De Tweeling https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0322674/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
9 out of 10
This is a compelling story, that has become an international bestseller and has been adapted for the big screen (this note is about the film, not the book, the motion picture is absent from the site where this is posted, the experience has been poignant enough to prompt the sharing of it online, and finally, last but not least, it is not as if this space is watched and has a role in making anybody decide on reading this, or the other volume, so there is the liberty to put here lines that do not affect in any way…
Everything, Everywhere All at Once https://notesaboutfilms.blogspot.com/2023/01/one-of-important-motion-pictures-of.html one of the most acclaimed movies of 2022, but not a favorite of mine (how could it be, since it was stopped at about fifteen, twenty minutes into the plot, given that there was no interest, or better said, no comprehension of what was going on, apart from some feeling that we have people doing things in parallel, or just different universes, without much to get my attention anyhow) becomes in this case Nothing, Nowhere All The Time, a mantra that is intended as a blague http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world?
We start the narrative in 1990 - which was such a good year for yours truly, after getting a mention in Newsweek http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/03/realini-in-newsweek-participant-in.html the issue that covered the Romanian Revolution, for taking part in the overthrow of Ceausescu (something I evidently feel proud of, hence the mention here and in multiple notes) I got into money, bought an Audi (well, somehow forced on me, but for details you need to read the whole story, ask me about where it is on the massive blog, which by now is awash with thousands of entries) and then became the lover of the first Miss Moldova, if only for about ten months, after which she dumped in, and then hell broke loose, coming to this need to impart with all sorts of rubbish – when Lotte Goudrian is in a spa.
In fact, the name of the Belgian city is Spa, and this is where we also have Anna Grosalie, who is also seventy four and looking for treatment…we are sent back in time, to the time when the twin sisters were six, and their father died, prompting the family to look for solutions and then having the two separated, one to be raised in Germany, and the other in the Netherlands, which reminds me of the Zen Master story, told by the Philip Seymour Hoffman character, at the end of Charlie Wilson’s War http://realini.blogspot.com/2017/06/charlie-wilsons-war-written-by-aaron.html which goes something like this
This Zen Master had a horse that run away, and the villagers express their sympathy, to be told by the Master that ‘we shall see’, and indeed, the runaway animal returns with other horses, the neighbors this time feel that this is cause for celebration, only the Master is again cautious ‘we shall see’, which is followed by his son breaking a leg, when he tries to domesticate these new horses, and you can guess that folks were sure this is bad news, if the Sage said the same thing…yes, the army came by to recruit people, and the son was exempted, because of his injury and we know what the conclusion is here…
For The Twins, it looked like Lotte has the bad luck, because she is ill, only as in the Zen Master Story, she turns out to be the privileged one, while Anna is abused, tortured and eventually beaten so severely that she will not be able (spoiler alert) to have children in the future, by the man that wants her to work to extinction on his farm…she is eventually taken off that Hades and she becomes a servant, eventually working for a rich woman, not just a Nazi sympathizer, but a vile racist, emphasizing the superiority of the ‘Master Race’, surmised when Anna wants to help the Polish people that have been brought for forced labor and one of the many examples of monstrosity that the war brought in people.
However, when confronted with the atrocities of the World War II, Anna will explain that she had no idea of what was going on, she never killed anybody, which is something that was tested in The Milgram Experiment, explained in the quintessential Influence by Robert Cialdini http://realini.blogspot.com/2016/05/influence-by-robert-cialdini.html participants in the research have been told to apply electricity and they did, to the point where they would cause screams, proving that the Principle of Respect for Authority gets humans to do callous, abject things, you could look on the net for details…
Anna marries a German man that is enlisted to fight in Russia, Poland and eventually becomes a SS officer, though at the beginning he was thinking this war was a mistake, maybe indoctrination, the aforementioned Principle of Respect for Authority and fear of being shot as a deserter made him take part in the atrocities inflicted by the Nazis on others…on the other side, Lotte and her family suffer from the Nazi invasion of Holland, the misery of hunger and fear, her Jewish fiancée is taken away.
David ends up in Buchenwald first, and then he arrives in Auschwitz, we all know what apocalyptic massacres took place there and in hundreds of other labor camps and places where Hitler and his butchers killed more than six million Jews, also minorities like the Roma, disabled and opponents of their regime, this will cause more than a rift, when they meet in Germany, while the atrocities have not reached their peak, the sisters get along well, in spite of the fact that their letters had been blocked.
The farmer wanted to have his slave to work to death, while the rich family of Lotte was worried that they may lose her, she might be taken to that farm…eventually the two reunite, only when her sister is departing, Anna looks at the photo of the fiancé and she says that he looks Jewish and Lotte realizes that the twin could well be a Nazi sympathizer or worse, after David is killed in Auschwitz, and her sister comes to The Netherlands, there is some hesitation and suspicion, but when the photo of the SS officer at the wedding is seen, Lotte is enraged, throwing her twin out of the house, shouting that she will never want to see her again, they live in different worlds, they will never have anything in common…there is a chance that at the age of seventy four, maybe they will find peace and Atonement http://realini.blogspot.com/2018/05/atonement-by-ian-mcewan.html
vineri, 3 martie 2023
joi, 2 martie 2023
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, one of the most important masterpieces created by man http://realini.blogspot.com/2017/04/anna-karenina-by-leo-tolstoy.html - 10 out of 10
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, one of the most important masterpieces created by man http://realini.blogspot.com/2017/04/anna-karenina-by-leo-tolstoy.html
10 out of 10
With the war launched by Putin, to wipe out Ukraine from the map and add it to his would be empire, there have been calls to boycott not just oligarchs, Russian oil and gas (which alas, is still needed) but also some of the greatest luminaries, creators that the world has and happen to be Russian, like Leo Tolstoy, with reference to some of the less savory texts written by the count, or some of the other luminaries form the same outré country…he talks about ‘the Russification of Poland’ in this novel, though not arguing in favor of it, in the context of war, who has the right to launch it (the government) there is a wider argument over what happens when the people disagree with that action…
Indeed, at over eight hundred pages of magnum opus, we have the chance to read opinions, suggestions, points of view on almost anything under the sun, and when various characters talk, they touch on religion, politics, differences between the rich and the poor, with emphasis on love (obviously, this is about the dramatic entanglement between Anna Karenina and count Alexei Vronsky) this reader had been cautious in entering this phenomenal universe in part because of the aforementioned war (I was also curious to see what the effect would be, will I reject Tolstoy and hence others, because they are compatriots of the Putin Monster) and also I hate to know what happens.
And everybody is aware of the tragic destiny of the heroine (if not, well, spoiler alerts need to be included) who decides upon a gruesome ending…we have been most fortunate to have a magnificent, glorious professor of Literature, Anton Chevorchian, in high school, and among the many things, tales he told us, he referred to ‘naturalism’ and the manner in which artists of that trend would approach the death of Anna Karenina, insisting on what happens after the blow from the train, details that they would give, and that example has stayed with me for more than forty years, to this day actually
There was another argument against taking on this massive work (the more than eight hundred pages are indeed another cautionary signal) and that will refer to the personality, the character of Leo Tolstoy, exposed in the marvelous Intellectuals by brilliant Paul Johnson http://realini.blogspot.com/2014/06/intellectuals-by-paul-johnson.html who has looked at Henrik Ibsen, Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (the latter has abandoned his children at the door of an orphanage, at a time when nine out of ten would die in that circumstance) and Tolstoy himself, concluding that these titanic writers would have a very dark, repugnant side, which for some could make sense…
Maybe the most fantastic thinker, and somehow also comedian, that we have is Andrei Plesu http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/05/despre-ingeri-by-andrei-plesu-10-out-of.html one that has the sagesse to talk to people about almost anything under the sun – sometimes making mistakes, like in the case of Greta Thunberg, the young woman that he dismisses as being too vocal about humanity getting suffocated, when she does not yet know what she is about, much if anything about the world…this is not just condescending, it is plain wrong – and he sometimes takes on the…’Russian Questions
Russian questions for Andrei Plesu would be the fundamental ones that regard the paramount mysteries and issues, such as the Meaning of Life – incidentally, Martin Seligman, the co-founder of positive psychology, has written in his Flourish http://realini.blogspot.com/2013/11/flourish-by-martin-seligman-i-ii.html a formula of happiness, PERMA, in which the M stands for having Meaning,
And the rest for positive emotions, engagement, Relationships, and achievement – and we are invited in Anna Karenina to look at birth, death, religion…it is intriguing and inspiring to watch Konstantin Levin navigate between his skepticism and the faith shown by most people, including his wife Kitty
Kitty is first infatuated with the dashing Vronsky, and if we are to be maximizers – something that is explained in the quintessential The Paradox of Choice http://realini.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-paradox-of-choice-by-barry-schartz.html by Barry Schwartz - then we could find fault with the girl, and say that perhaps it is not love she would eventually feel for Levin, since she had rejected him once…
One of the most intriguing, maybe difficult questions would be to understand what really happens to Anna Karenina and Vronsky, why does their love ‘die’, is it even possible – Thomas Mann http://realini.blogspot.com/2021/09/the-magic-mountain-is-classic-that.html has a character in one of his short stories that is aghast at the way people keep saying ‘I love you so much, there are no words to express this’, and the personage protests, stating that ‘love., Friends’ are extant only in art, literature, because the meaning of these words is so vast and comprehensive, love is eternal, but when we test ‘that love which is beyond words’ we see that it is limited, fails the not so difficult tests, when we need the real support of some ‘friend’, he does not have the time, inclination, the friendship to be there…
http://realini.blogspot.com/2016/02/how-full-is-your-bucket-by-tom-rath.html there is such a thing as Hedonic Adaptation, demonstrated by psychology tests, which show that we adapt to almost all situations (expect for very loud noises, do not move near an airport, thinking you will get used with the terrible noise, the loss of someone dear, unemployment, these are more difficult to adapt to) and what seems like eternal bliss becomes something we do not see anymore…there is The Honeymoon Effect: after about two years, partners in couples or marriages tend to look for novelty and may start an affair (not all, evidently) and then finally, The Coolidge Effect and that light anecdote, to end what is a chef d’oeuvre, with such a cataclysmic climax…the American president was visiting a farm, where a rooster was very active and the first lady asked how many times per day the animal jumped on hens and the answer was a very big number (I could not remember, but as with anything, you could google and get the approximation) which the first lady asked to be mentioned to the president, who in his turns asked if it is always the same hen, and the reply was that it is always a different one…in other words, had Vronsky been afflicted by this effect…yes, it is lowering the level of a magnum opus to a silly question, but hey, it is one of the many enigmas, issues of this gigantic masterpiece http://realini.blogspot.com/2022/02/unique-in-world.html?q=unique+in+the+world