Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rewind #17

Ida: Lover's Prayers (2008)

Ida has been a perennial favorite of mine but for some reason it often takes quite a long while for each album to register in my conscience. I first fell in love when I heard the song "Maybelle" off their album "Will You Find Me". They have a beautiful soft sound that lulls you into a pleasant state of euphoria. Bordering on dream folk chasing the blues, Ida weaves a blessing upon the ears and I don't think I've ever heard something by them that I didn't appreciate. The albums all have the same feel to them and I suppose that's why it takes so long to really love them after first dropping them in your stereo. But it's a relentless sound that you can't quite shake and after a few months of constant listening, you've realized that they've moved in and have been sleeping on your couch for awhile. It's all good though because they are wonderful housemates that always produce wonderful background music for sitting around, drinking a good beer and indulging in conversation that elevates your soul. In the end, it's simply an exquisite sound.

The Diving Bell And The Butterfly: Julian Schnabel (2007)

What an imaginative film! I am a huge Julian Schnabel fan. His repertoire isn't very long but it's so obvious that he's only interested in making good artistic movies. "Before Night Falls" absolutely blew me away and I was so excited to see "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly" that I was almost shocked by it, the reason being that it isn't a very accessible film. The movie starts out from the point of view of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a popular journalist and editor of Elle magazine, who has suffered a massive stroke that paralyzes his entire body except for his left eye. His brain is entirely aware but he's completely locked-in to his body. Eventually the movie expands outside his body and mind but the movie holds you enrapt within Bauby's perspective for so long that you become a bit claustrophobic. The imagery that Schnabel uses to reveal Bauby's POV is unique and interesting and the running commentary keeps the viewer locked-in to Bauby's pain and frustration and wit. The story of his life isn't so dramatic but what he does after the stroke is amazing. Narrating his life through an interpreter, he writes an autobiography simply by blinking his left eye. Eventually we fall back to his life before the incident and his superficial existence that all gets wiped out in an instant. What becomes of the person after falling through the rabbit hole is a strange and disconcerting examination to watch. Yet, Bauby manages to discover hope and beauty within this new world and Julian Schnabel is the perfect person to help show us that world up on the screen.

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