Monthly Archives: August 2009

Dicky and his Mid-Life Crisis

ist2_4467667-fat-man-runningOne day, Dicky looked at himself in the mirror: God…is that me? I am fat! That can’t be ME!

Dicky nearly had a panic attack. No, to be precise, he had his mid-life crisis.

What did he do? He jumped to a flight, started backpacking in Indonesia, rented a jeep driving around the island, ate local food, 5 meals a day! When he was back to Germany, he lost 10 kilos. He drank ginger tea, green tea, ate a lot of fish (must be hard to manage, Berlin is nowhere near the sea).

He started running…first 3 km, then 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25…….I could picture him run in the parks like Forrest Gump, with the determination to get back his shape so he wouldn’t scare the hell out of himself when he faced his mirror again. (Is there a statistics saying that more men look at themselves in the mirror than women? I’m pretty sure I read it somewhere with a great interest.)

I just wonder whether there is another way to deal with mid-life crisis. Maybe stop checking out himself in a full-length mirror.

Later he even quit his high-profile-burning-fast job, . Started his own business.He got more freedom, he is a much happier man.

“Nobody asked what car i ride, who I am or what I do… once you look better and are not too stupid, everything’s fine…”

I doubt about his theory. If you don’t have a good figure, if you are fat, everything will be still fine if you are loaded with 2 or 3 yachts in Monaco, a private jet waiting to take off any time. Lieber Dicky,  you were just not rich enough!

But I have to agree with him to a certain extent. It goes without saying that if you are middle aged, not established, not talented, a fat figure is not going to impress any chicks whether they are spring chicks or sophisticated mature hens. This society is all about looking good. Sounds superficial? You don’t have to be handsome. Most people weren’t born with a strikingly beautiful face. You just need to have a reasonably good figure, spend some time in the gym, eat healthy, dress sensibly…ok, if you don’t know how, hire a personal shopper or wardrobe adviser. (hey, I’m here to help:-)

Of course, rich people have their mid-life crisis too…such as wifeys walk out on them and demand half of their assets (or even more).

And yes, as Dicky said, everyone has mid-life crisis. We just deal with it differently. You don’t know when you get it. You can’t time it. You feel it when it hits you.

“men get it more than women… women have more time to live their dreams they live longer… and women always speak so much and fast, day and night because they know that men don’t live so long and so they have to tell men everything as long they’re still alive……” Dicky concluded.

Bah…….

No kidding

Charlie Croker wrote a book – One Out of Eight Brits. There some some rather useless but interesting statistics…here is one about women in Britain: 1 out of 5 women in Britain doesn’t wear a panties at work!

I wonder why.

Answer 1: To 100% eliminate VPL (visible panty line).  Fed up with thongs that make you so uncomfortable that you want to kill whoever designed them. (Must be a man).

Answer 2: To boost your confidence. If you don’t have a perfect figure to show off, then leak out this little secret at work, it might turn a few heads on your way to the fax machine.

Bagdad Café

bagdad_cafe

Bagdad Cafe

Bagdad Cafe, also known as Out of Rosenheim, is a quiet film that speaks volumes about how human relationships influence each other even in the bleakest environment.

I have been to Rosenheim once. It was on my trip back from Austria. I didn’t see the whole town. As I remember, it was just like any other small town in Bavaria, clean and quiet.

So, the film started with this typical buxom woman from Rosenheim being dumped in this dusty barren place on her way to Las Vegas. What happened then?

It’s not a usual feel good film that falls into every category of cliché. Stereotyping the film might have, but it was one of the winning features that created a sharp contrast and clashes between Jasmin and those in the middle of nowhere.

I was particularly impressed by a sequence of Jasmin Münchgstettner sitting for Rudi, who painted a series of portraits. The progressive montage was such an excellent work that created a surreal and comic visual effect on screen without the need of more dialogue.

Taking off her clothes in front of the camera wasn’t anything new for German actress Marianne Sägebrecht. I heard that this film was inspired by the actress herself.

It certainly was a challenge to present nudity in a new light. Bagdad Café achieved it and blended it flawlessly to the simple plot with Marianne and Jack’s wonderful acting.

I must admit I wasn’t in a great mood before the film started playing. The song written for the film is so beautiful. It had a soothing effect to calm me down right in the beginning.

For the first 10 minutes, I thought it was going to be a boring slow film that I couldn’t watch to the end. Instead, I was captivated by the subtlety throughout the film. It is a real gem that shines through a pack of marbles.

This is not a film that you are likely to forget for many years to come.

Doctor and his patient

Translated from someone’s Chinese blog:

A pretty woman came to see a doctor. Doc asked her to take off her clothes for examination.

“Doc, I’m not very comfortable taking them off in front of you…”

“Ok, I turn off the light, you tell me when you are ready.”

In the dark, “Doc, I’m ready, where should I put my clothes?”

“Here, just put them on the top of my clothes”

Mesrine: Killer Instinct

mesrine_killerInstinct

It all started with another gangster film of the year – Michael Mann’s Public Enemies. I guess I was dazzled by Johnny Depp’s mesmerising eyes and expressions I saw in the trailer. Plus, I still had this vivid memory about Godfather – somehow men in tailored suits, pin-striped double breast, always fascinated me.

No, it wasn’t Johnny Depp. It was Mesrine – Killer Instinct that blew my mind away.

The opening sequence was a blast. It detailed Mesrine’s final moments by employing multiple split screens, a technique dominated cinema’s silent days. The effect of such technique is stunning. It wasted no time getting viewers in the mood.

I wasn’t familiar with Mesrine’s audacious crimes and prison breaks. Gangster films are not my favourite either. I am however always interested in how such a grim and bloody subject can be presented on the screen and how actors/actresses brought the roles to life.

Vincent Kassel looks sinister and even ugly in my standard. His two eyes are way too far from each other, his nose is not straight, and his facial expressions can be quite disturbing. His charisma outshines everyone in this film. Even Gerard Depardieu’s acting appeared rather flimsy. Then, in a sequence of Mesring being tortured in the prison confinement, as a solo actor onsite, Vincent Cassel hardly spoke a word, his groaning, his body language made you realise what a powerful acting can do and what makes a gangster film a master piece, which will no doubt stand the test of the time.

I am looking forward to Mesrine: Public Enemy No.1 at the end of this month.

IL Divo

Il Divo

Giulio Andreotti:  The most difficult dictatorship to hate is your own.

I am not interested in politics in general. I thought any director who wants to make a film out of a politician is heading to box-office suicide . Maybe I was wrong.

I saw the Italian film Il Divo.

Although most of the time I got lost in unfamiliar events which took place in Italy. I Still want to argue that Il Divo is a success to certain extent, at least artistically.

Spielberg could have turned it into a commercially very successful film with a cast like Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, another God Father like film. I guess Italians in Italy would not like to see his film, or at least I wouldn’t. And I am not even an Italian, I don’t even know much about Italian politics either.

It is a film not judged by average audience, but by film makers, by the audience who are aware of that part of Italian political life – Giulio Andreotti’s, 5 times (or 7 times? ) Prime Minster in Italy.

I was enchanted by the brilliant acting of Toni Servillo. Paolo Sorrentino reunited with Toni after The Consequence of Love won the well deserved international recognition.   The film’s another strength rests on the capability of portraying the personality of Andreotti.

The cinematography is absolutely fascinating. The sequence of the scenes is slick and editing is seamless. However, the captions in both languages were annoying. Otherwise I could have enjoyed much more. I can’t really say I like the choice of some American pop music. What for? Did they really enhance the film? Italian politics has its own protocols, anything foreign such as the African music played at the party scene in Il Divo looked rather surreal and out of place.

Coco Avant Chanel

coco_avant_chanel_smoking_2

It wasn’t a perfect day for going out. London was wet, wet, wet.

I had such a terrible journey to Curzon Mayfair. Jubilee line terminated at Waterloo. Everybody was out of the train. I boarded another train, got off at Piccadilly Circus, got on a bus, got off at Green Park, then braced the rain and wind, walked towards Curzon cinema.

I love this small cinema, which is tucked away at the heart of Mayfair. It’s an oasis for people who truly love films and the art of film making.

For the first time, I got a ticket with a seat number. Normally, you can sit anywhere and the cinema was always quiet. But not for this film. Very soon, the cinema foyer was packed with the audience. I looked around, yes, they all looked sophisticated, cultured and decent. And of course, most of them are middle aged.

It’s not a film about fashion, fashion in this film is just the background, and the whole film is about how a young woman rising from her humble start.

In biopic genre, Coco Avant Chanel is a success. We all know Coco lived a long life. If you tried to make a film based on her whole life, you were heading to failure. Many biopic films already failed in this respect. Biopic’s difficulties lie on how to present what’s more significant and what’s not within 2 hours.

Anne Fontaine’s film focused on only early years of Gabrielle Chanel. This gave her enough space on a huge canvas to paint a rich picture of a young Coco Chanel – determined, subtle and crafty.

Another success is to choose Audrey Tautou. She does strike physical resemblances. It was a role Audrey was born to play. Having seen the film, Audrey did not disappoint Anne, the audience and perhaps Coco Chanel herself would have to agree Audrey pull her all heart, energy and soul into this film: her long gaze and the way she elegantly held the cigarette…

At one point she compares women in love to ‘submissive dogs’… then she fell in love with an English industrialist. Her romantic affairs with Boy seemed to overshadow her career as the film’s driving force… But before you jump to such a conclusion, you know this film really wasn’t about the height of her career. Her affair with Boy was an important part of the making of a determined young Coco.

There was this long shot on a busy beach. She stood there with her back facing the audience…in her own designed hat and dress – her signature elegant simplicity outshines every woman on that beach. All those women belong to la belle epoque period – women wore ridiculous big hats with feathers, suffocating tight corsets to create maximal visual effect for male audience…But not Coco Chanel, she was about to embark on a journey to the beginning of the modern woman.

Don’t miss out this film, even if you are not a real fan of Haute Couture. After all, Chanel was such an influential iconic figure in fashion industry. She is a legend. And this film is well-made and beautifully directed.

其实我连大名鼎鼎的5号香水都不曾用过,也不是买不起,主要是不太适合自己. 但是这部电影拍的实在不错! 自传电影很不好掌握分寸的,何况香奈尔如此长夀, 一不小心,不是顾此失彼就是泛泛而谈. 此片选取的是香奈尔成名之前的故事, 以时装做背景, 穿插浪漫爱情故事, Audrey的演技又上了一层楼!