Thursday, March 28, 2013

Blessings #1

Bodies Of Water - Twist Again (2012)

One drop of rain
in the midst of a field
that runs through the trees
and climbs over the hills,

across stones, rivers, flowers,
sprouting from the cracks
of a young one's dream
while lying aback

beneath a canopy of leaves
that catches the rainbow
left by the sun
plunging through holes

scattered across clouds
 to tumult upon the heads
of those on the ground,
who look up in the stead

of fear found below,
deep in their hearts
and no amount of prayer
shall allow it to depart

but though it lingers,
hope springs anew
from an aura that blooms
and helps them find truth,

though they do not know how
or whence it will come
but the promise of joy
keeps all that's undone

away from desires,
which tear at the flesh
and gorge at the trough
of all that is blessed

so that someday tomorrow
our children shall weep
at all the dismay
we did not keep,

because someone somewhere
said it would be
our privileged honor
to always be free

of suffering and pain,
the small price of being
a human upon this earth,
aware but never seeing.

Paris 36 - Christophe Barratier (2008)

Following an arrest for murder, Pigoil, the manager of a struggling cabaret tells his story. After his wife leaves him, taking their only son, Pigoil is a destitute wreck but he dreams about reopening the Chansonia, the music hall that he loves. Somehow he convinces the owner, a fascist stereotype, to let them and they manage to get things going for awhile. They only problem is they don't have a very good act. In comes Douce, a beautiful young woman with a voice to match and a history of her own that connects her to this little suburb outside of Paris. Soon she is packing the house, much to the chagrin of the landlord, who never wanted them to succeed and he'll do anything to stop them. It's an elegant tale that embodies a different era of film. The supreme touches that weave throughout the production elevate your heart and allow you to emerge yourself in this strange and magical place and time.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Blessings #2

Austra - Feel It Break (2011)

When had our heroes turned to villains? We've taken these archetype images that were so relevant in our youth and twisted them so thoroughly that our culture now reveres drug dealers and serial killers. Sure they may seem like they're accomplishing some good as they defy forces even worse than them, as we revel in the way they overcome the impossible, but what is it that allows us to identify with them in the first place? Or is it that we've rejected the concept of the pure human spirit embodied in the idea of hero worship? We've all grown up and realized that these fantasies of human glory are simply illusions that only tease us as we search for a refreshing drop in the desert of our souls. There is no purity in the world. There is only a complex and divisive struggle within us that extends out and affects everything around us. Sometimes we do things that are evil or stupid or greedy. Sometimes we attempt to be noble or courageous or conscientious. It's not always good nor is it bad. It just is. Which is why it can seem wholly interesting to identify with a protagonist who is as flawed as everyone else on the planet and somehow continues to thrive in spite of it.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Tomas Alfredson (2011)

During the '70s, the "Circus", the highest level of the British Secret Service is immersed in an incredible chess match with Soviet Intelligence. An operation is set forth to discover the identity of a mole inside the circus but when that fails, the hierarchy of the circus is shifted and new players take over. Are these new powers simply being controlled by the mole and Moscow? Only someone from outside the power structure can discover the truth. Enter George Smiley, one of those who were forced out during the power shift, who starts a new game that is played in the shadows of the original but perhaps with even more at stake. An engrossing and elegant tale, told through the lens of an absolute master who never reveals too much. You simply keep searching until everything is laid out in perfect detail.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Blessings #3

Lee Fields And The Expressions - Faithful Man (2012)

I couldn't breathe, like my lungs were full of smoke. I needed to expel the pungency from me but the the thought of taking that active step filled me with dread. Outside the curtain my devoted followers waited for the routine that they have come to love and respect. If only I still felt what they felt. Was it possible to start over after all these years? So often we settle into a comfortable place that eventually will not allow us to grow. I feel like I'm stuck in that place right now. But it' so hard to ignore all the years of success that have transformed into an empire of wealth and adulation. All I have to do is step out on that stage and I will see it shining in the light of their eyes. It will provide illumination for any material need that I wish but it also has the power to expose the path of deception I've tread for so long. So I turn away and the shadows wrap around me, swallowing the trail I leave behind. I'm cut off and the wilderness will either destroy me or help me become a new person. I suppose that I shall find comfort in the fact that I can look at myself in the mirror and truly feel a sense of freedom with what I see.

Incendies - Denis Villeneuve (2010)

When a mother passes away suddenly, twin brother and sister learn through the reading of her will that a strange mystery surrounds their beginnings. Now they must travel to Lebanon to find the father they thought was dead and a brother they never knew existed. Weaving through a trail of deceit and destruction that is caught up in the midst of the tragic conflict between the Christians and Muslims, the twins follow the path toward an entire history they never imagined could exist: their mother is a woman capable of incredible deeds of survival as well as the kind of viciousness that can tear apart a nation and she is strong enough to come out of the most heinous brutalization only to raise two children alone in a foreign country, while forever being reminded of her torture each time she looks into their faces. It is a tale of war and the hate that cascades from every action and an explicit reminder that no one can escape the effects of such a wicked instrument.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Blessings #4

Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise (2011)

When the two women found the body it was half-way in and half-way out of the water. Face down, the waves gently lapped at the man's waist, his arms above his head as if he were crawling from the surf. By the time the detectives arrived the tide had fallen below the knees. The women had been sent on their way by then, having given their contact information and received contact information for trauma counseling. It's not everyday that people stumble upon a dead body. A small crowd had gathered outside the containment area, but there wasn't a lot to see. There were few immediate clues beyond what was physically on the body and it was obvious that it had been in the water for some time. The lead detective, a man named Surley with a reputation to match, knew that if they couldn't find anything in the victim's background the path going from this final resting place would be pretty hazy. Sure, they could get lucky, but there were a thousand unsolved cases sitting in cold filing cabinets back in a warehouse somewhere. They only had so much time and very little support to follow through. Surley glanced up at the beach and the small cottages that lined the avenue beyond. The sun would fade soon and they'd be working in the dark. It was a perfect metaphor for the life of a homicide detective. Little did he know, but as he peered at the faces of the on-lookers the murderer was staring right back at him watching his every move.

Biutiful - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (2010)

He was a family man. In this cutthroat world of trade and commerce, he has managed to carve out a tiny piece of living beneath the facade. Down below the streets in the corners of the shadows, another form of market capitalism unfolds. It's not entirely legal, but it isn't much different from the one that is; exploitation and ruthlessness behind every transaction. In the midst of it all he's discovered that he has been handed a death sentence, an illness that will slowly eat him alive. Now he must decide how to help his family. How can he provide for their future once he's gone when they barely live day by day? The life that he took for granted for so long will soon unravel and all of the ways that he has tried to protect those he loves will no longer matter. He puts plans in motion and every step he takes reminds him of the harshness of this life, but amidst it all he begins to see the beauty that lives in every breath, every memory. It won't be easy and people may eventually take advantage of him as he has done to others. He strives for a stable legacy with the faces of his children motivating each decision. In the end, maybe that's all that he can take with him, perhaps it will provide some peace after all.

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Blessings #5

Polica - Give You The Ghost (2012)

He was programmed to bring control to a society that was coming unraveled. They were needed to keep order in a world where people no longer wanted to fight against their neighbors and friends. Those in power needed something else to help them remain on top, so by standing order 5702-341 the clone program went into full effect. Before the year was out there was a new line of defense against the riots that raged outside their gated communities. But no one counted on these designed beings to develop emotions and thoughts of their own. Yes, they looked human, in a way, but it was obvious to differentiate them with their body suits and headsets that were graphed directly into the skin cells. They could thrive on a simple supply of supplement that was injected through a tube and had no reproductive characteristics at all. But their faces resembled humans in every way and that may have been the one failure of their design. It was what lay in the eyes that allowed Kandra to fall in love, or perhaps it wasn't love exactly as some kind of mutual attraction that developed between them. Her heart went out to it when she looked into its eyes, that was all she knew. She wasn't expecting any physical connection to happen at first, maybe just someone to talk to, but it could kiss. It could touch her and before she knew what had happened she was immersed in a very strange companionship. They tried to run away together but they were apprehended and both of them vanished. But they were remembered as the first to break through the chains that were set up to separate humanity. They became a symbol that eventually brought us into the more compassionate and hopeful age that we live in today. We must always remember that no matter what is created to keep us apart, we somehow continue to develop the power to reconnect.

Attack The Block - Joe Cornish (2011)

Kids these days! They just lay about smoking weed, selling drugs and stealing from the good folk of the world. They're just good for nothing hoodlums on a one way ticket to the slammer, destroying the very fabric of our society and bringing down the property value of decent communities. What are we going to do with them? It's hard to find a use for em, is what I say. Except they're pretty good to have a round when a cluster of aliens from outer space plummet to the Earth in search of mating ground. Before we know it, they'll be running around with a vengeance saving our asses from total infestation. I suppose we should simply have some appreciation for the youth that will run things some day. Unlikely heroes, after all.

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Blessings #6

Chairlift - Something (2012)

She'd been behind the wheel of a cab for a long time and she'd seen just about anything that you can think of in that back seat. So, when the two girls started making out, she wasn't surprised. They were young, vibrant and beautiful, so before long, her eyes were drawn to them. The way that they reached for one another, the passion pushing together in urgency, caused a stirring within her. It brought forth memories from a time that suddenly didn't seem so long ago, though she hadn't dreamed about it in many years. Their open lustful mouths twisted and closed to pull at the dripping taste. Hands on skin, caressing then kneading into the flesh with their wanton display. A tingling sensation began to run through her thighs at the sight of them and she found herself staring in the rear-view mirror while the slick wet streets passed beneath the wheels of the cab. The car was in auto-drive, she could make these routes blind. She took it all in, not knowing how far the women would go. When one of them moaned, she heard the sound catch deep in her own throat, as well. Her moan reached the girl opposite her and she caught the driver's eye in the mirror. The girl noticed how they were affecting her and a warm smile beckoned. She looked away, back to the road and thought about the invitation hidden within the girl's smile. Long ago, she never would have hesitated to follow them but tonight she only felt like a ghost of what once was.

Blue Valentine - Derek Cianfrance (2010)

There's something precious in those first moments when a new sensation brings forth all these hopeful ideas. Oh, that dynamic feeling is beautiful in dramatic ways. A simple walk down a late night avenue offers a glimpse into the human dream that plays out before us all. Sometimes it's so easy to reach and touch in meaningful ways and those quick emotions are powerful enough to lift you up above the mundane workings beneath the surface. But time slowly leaks through and all those feelings, all of that beauty begins to dissipate. It turns into responsibility and monotony and work and not all of us are willing to put in the same amount of work. Then, when you try to fall back on the memories that held you together for so long, it's simply not enough. The past has turned into tomorrow and all it looks like is a cheap hotel with plastic covered dreams. The distaste turns into anger and the passion goes bad, pushing each other away where it once pulled you together. Sometimes it takes years for a relationship to end, the drama of a broken heart lost in the tired refrain that has become your life. It draws out of the ash with a whimper and slowly walks away, never to turn its head.

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