Monthly Archives: September 2013

WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT GETTING WET IN PARIS!

Through the opulent Renaissance architecture, luscious beauty of nature, soothing rain and mesmerizing blend of ancient with contemporary, Midnight in Paris is a visual treat for everyone. The movie strikes a delightful chord in the beginning itself with a romantic portrayal of this beautiful city, standing out no less than a paradise on earth.

Midnight in Paris is certainly Woody Allen’s love letter to the ‘drop dead gorgeous’ city of Paris. With a theme based on past glory, grandeur and nostalgia, Paris provides the perfect setting for such a movie.

The protagonist of the movie Gil (Owen Wilson) is on a short trip to Paris with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. By profession Gil is a scriptwriter in Hollywood but wants to make his mark as a writer. He is in complete awe of Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Mark Twain; he holds these writers of yesteryears in great reverence. Gil is nostalgic about the Paris of 1920s, bustling with connoisseurs of art, literature and music.   His imagination is perceived as illusion and denial by Inez, her parents and friends. The character of Gil is honest, someone who wants to avoid the life of excess and finds Paris marvellous in rain.

While everyone thinks Gil has lost his mind because of his desire to be a writer, he never tries to explain his actions to others. He finds himself completely drawn to this charming city; the hub of all intellectual and artistic activity.

He is overwhelmed with joy and astonishment when one night he is transported to the Paris of 1920s where he meets eminent personalities like Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and the like. Woody Allen has brilliantly depicted the mystique, charm and glory of the bygone era without overdoing it. The background score complements every mood in the movie and only enriches the experience of watching Midnight in Paris.

Gil’s to and fro shift between past and present isn’t adventurous as Back to the Future. It is fulfilling and satisfying at the existential level. Even though he is nostalgic about past and his novel also touches on the same theme, he never expresses the desire to stay in past. This is apparently because of his understanding that living in past is nothing but existing in a state of denial. He opens up to fresh perspectives not only in terms of his novel but also his personal life.

Owen Wilson has done a decent job as Gil and Rachel McAdams as Inez is fine. It’s Marion Cotillard as Adriana (Picasso’s mistress), Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein, and Allison Pill as Zelda Fitzgerald who have done a remarkable work by getting under the skin of their respective character.

Midnight in Paris is my first Woody Allen movie and it has cast a good impression with its seamless treatment of the subject of nostalgia. More than that he has made it impossible not to fall in love with Paris.

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LONG LIVE THE NIGHT

I find myself wrapped in a blanket of silence;

With just the cursor blinking on the screen,

It’s that hour of night

When everything is lulled to sleep.

 

I am not awake just to kill time,

Or hoping for sleep to stop by.

I am neither lovesick nor forlorn,

Just sinking in with silence when everything comes to rest.

 

The soft, rhythmic tune of the wind chime,

Only brings peace to my restless mind.

Its gentle sway and soothing sound,

Complements this silence all the more.

 

With the cursor blinking constantly

Making its presence felt without saying a word

Just like this tranquil hour

I wish time stops and never let this night pass by.

NINE WILL NOT BLOW YOUR MIND

Writer’s block is an inevitable dilemma for every individual who is associated with the creative field. It is difficult to remain creative throughout one’s pursuit of the exceptional or the inspirational. Even though it exists momentarily, it causes unease and restlessness.

Nine with its bevy of beautiful and iconic ladies is about a renowned Italian director, Guido Contini (Daniel Day Lewis) who is experiencing ‘writer’s block’. He is a fifty years old man who desires to be a child again so that he can get fresh ideas. He wants to escape from the humdrum of his busy and chaotic life. Throughout the movie, he complains of an ailment that never materialises in the form of any disease. During the course of the movie it is realised that the cause of his sleepless nights is nothing but stress and exhaustion.

Every stage of Guido’s life seems to be crafted by a woman. His life is not short of fame, wealth and fortune but is bereft of harmony and emotional stability. He finds himself torn between his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard) and mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz).  Guido comes across as a funny, amusing and restless character. His relationship with every woman in the movie provides him a different insight and perspective.

With its rich cast of talented actors like Marion Cotillard (Luisa), Penelope Cruz (Carla), Judi Dench (Lilli), Nicole Kidman (Claudia), Kate Hudson (Stephanie), Fergie (Saraghina) and Sophia Loren (Mamma), Nine presents a disappointing Broadway musical drama before the audience. The musical theatrics eloquently expressing his relationship with every woman in the movie is one of its main highlights. All these ravishing women put up a brilliant act every time they break into a song. Guido, engulfed by ‘writer’s block’ tries to seek inspiration from them.

Among the women, it is Marion Cotillard (Luisa) and Penelope Cruz (Carla) who steal the show. Nicole Kidman (Claudia) as Guido’s muse has played her part with the usual aplomb. Fergie (Saraghina) as the fallen woman is pretty convincing. Sophia Loren as Guido’s mamma adds an old world charm to the movie while Judi (Lilli) sheds a positive and assuring light as his confidant.

The movie has nothing great to offer except the Broadway musical theatrics. The story unfolds at a moderate pace but follows a linear mode with no remarkable climax. It is a one-time watch that will leave you only with one feeling; never judge a movie by its cast.

GOING UNDER A PAIR OF SCISSORS

I sat on a black chair with my head bent down and half closed eyes. My legs were perched on a footrest, and my left hand clasped my right one with a reassuring grip. I sat still on the chair with my tresses brushing against my cheeks on either side. I lost count of time from the moment I sat on that chair because I knew it would take a while.

My gaze could follow only one direction; down. A racy Bollywood number enveloped the room. It doused my anxiety or had a soothing effect on me, I can’t tell. There were momentary instructions of ‘neeche dekho’ and gentle nudging of my head with a finger from behind. This was followed by the sharp noise of metals clanking against each other.

After some time, the white floor seemed to be covered with a carpet of black and fluffy substance. I could feel the thing sliding down with every sharp snap; snap of a pair of scissors. The hands with the pair of scissors and the comb made a rush for every strand of hair jutting out inappropriately. It moved with dexterity to give my hair the perfect shape and length. The busy hands at work moved with a sense of calmness yet efficiency.

I am always particular about my hair but not today because I knew that something exciting awaited me. This time I would raise my head only to find a reflection of new ‘ME’. The more smoothly the hands worked, the faster my heart palpitated. I couldn’t prevent myself from clouding my imagination with my new look.

The justified long wait was finally over. After being snapped, tousled and brushed, I saw the reflection on the mirror with a gratified smile.  It was ‘ME’ but only with a pleasing difference.