Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let's get movi(e)ng

Maria Toloudi, a good friend from my Greek past, from when we attended high school together, started recently a personal blog under the title 'Let's get movi(e)ng'. She is basically a sophisticated cinephile, as well as part time author of short stories, immensely compact with profound depths, that she occasionally publishes in a local magazine. She also recently started posting her stories (in Greek) in her other blog too (Νοιάζομαι). I have commented on her fiction writing style in a previous blogpost of mine, as some of you may have read.

In her recent personal blog she decided to post some of her unpublished short stories, but she mainly focuses on reviewing various recent movie productions that happened to touch a chord inside her mind and soul.

As we all know, in the sphere of cinematic productions, there is a large spectrum and multiple shades of gray of movie critics. Most actually provide a summary of the film script to conveniently fill-in a few paragraphs of their review, and further narrate a few key and cliffhanger scenes of the production; however, in their intent to appeal to the simple minds of the reader community, they often remain on the upper surface of what meets the eye in the two hours of movie attendance in a theater. Others conveniently copy what celebrity critics have already written and defended before. Indeed there are leading critics who either elevate a production to unseen heights of praise or dig it deep in the abyss of cinematographic incompetence. However, many film reviews are far from objective, and are virally planted in the media channels for commercial reasons, funded by the large production houses in the process of their new film market awareness and marcoms campaigns. A recent example of such is a quite negative review on Clooney's The Ides of March by a renowned New Yorker Magazine critic, however the marketing machinations of the funding houses behind ladykiller George's work have made sure the grand public worldwide got a far more distorted view of the reality. And the movie was presented as a 'must see'. Only time and history will show who's right and who's wrong.

Maria is a far more complex film reviewer than those described above though. As she does this for fun, she wouldn't care less if she decided to dig literally six feet under a production that most media praised to the gates of the movie heaven. She is simply genuine and expresses her perception of the truth after a deep study of her own feelings and ideas/concepts a given production have triggered inside her mind and soul. She writes her critics for fun, like I said, in order to share with friends and cinephiles alike her far deeper thoughts and profound ideas about the motives and intents of the movie director. You practically need to have actually watched a movie in order to grasp the deeper meaning of her arguments and ideas. Maria likes to explore ideas in the movie creator's mind far deeper than anyone I know, and she experiences things that mere mortals like the rest of us wouldn't even see if they hit us in the face. In that sense reading her reviews creates an entirely new experience as you suddenly discover things you haven't realized earlier, to the point you decide to watch the movie again, and either approve or challenge her proposed ideas and perceptions.

She once told me she wants to state the facts as she experiences them by watching a movie, but she nevertheless abstains from trying to impose her own personal opinion on a reader, allowing the space to him/her to create his/her own ideas and interpretations. In that sense, she basically turns her reviews into brain teasers, the short of thing intellectuals often love to make us deal with.

One such review she recently wrote was about Nanni Moretti's movie Habemus Papam (2011), a rating of 7 in IMDB.  She basically framed Moretti's profound intent behind this production in four key concepts: ChurchScience, Personal Responsibility and (Societal/Personal) Limits. Those four parameters, she claims, become the 'fil rouge' throughout the movie. She often comes back to them, to demonstrate her thesis in subsequent paragraphs of her review. Especially the parameter of human Limits becomes her perception of the Moretti's magic concept in his movie.

She also develops the idea that Moretti made the use of a 'Deus ex Machina' reference to 'theater' at the back end of the movie to 're-establish' the limits, as she puts it, and return to the socially accepted 'order' of things by requiring the characters avoiding being themselves, but 'pretend' instead, as like being theatrical actors (and I am not even sure I have properly represented her deeper interpretation behind that particular paragraph). It's an interesting point, especially in the light of many other Habemus Papam reviews, in which Moretti is being negatively painted for this particular reference to 'theater'. She would have loved to hear Moretti himself clarify his intents behind that part of the movie, she told me.

It's a pity her reviews are only written in Greek and cannot, as such, be experienced by aliens... It is also the kind of Greek prose that is extremely hard to translate to another language (she often uses a sort of post Alexander the Great Hellenistic Greek sentence constructs, however built upon contemporary  spoken Demotiki Greek). Even for native Greeks, it is often quite puzzling to see through her various sentence constructs, what she really set out to mean. She's a strong believer that an eclectic writing style, the one that touches the frontiers of good literature and art, should provide lots of space unfilled, and with occasional gaps, in order to allow room for interpretation. In that sense she writes in a style that is reminiscent of Ancient Chinese texts and the idea behind Far Eastern ideograms that only assume their final meaning and correct interpretation in the presence of a particular context.  I wouldn't be surprised to see most of her readers actually read her texts over and over in order to make sure they understood well what she really meant. In that sense, both her film reviews and short stories prose are quite challenging to grasp and require a descent amount of energy to understand... quite a bit of mental energy indeed. She wouldn't care less though, if you told her that for this reason her work would have difficulty to get a 'commercial' approval stamp. And her books to become best-sellers. She would care even less if her work's fog index required PhD level of a trained mind to grasp its deeper meanings. In fact she enjoys how that experience alone, when admitted by her readers, ends up stroking her own ego and gives her a sense of achievement of  the goals she set out to address...

Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wenn die Sonne der Kultur tief steht, werfen selbst Zwerge lange Schatten

An emotional Papandreou at the conclusion of the
winning confidence vote
When the sun of culture is low, even dwarves will cast long shadows (German aphorism attributed to Karl Kraus). I was thinking of this the entire week after George Papandreou took the world by surprise by his infamous referendum proposal. Initial reactions of many has indeed been too harsh to be described in any politically correct blog, potentially attended by nuns and minors. 
WTF was he thinking? Why did he do something like that! Sarko and Frau Merkel almost had a stroke. Obama pulled loudly a large number of 'WTF's out of his larynx. Luxembourger His Master's Voice JC Juncker barked like a chinchilla to frighten the Greeks once again. Poor sod Baroso and geriatric looking Van Rompuy rushed to add some compromising and much too useless statements too. 
'Professional' politicians got really scared, you see. A referendum for ratification of the most recent funding proposals? Are you friggin mad? Ask the Greeks, who already seen so much happening to them the last 24 months, and are now up against the coldest winter in their life whether they'd like to accept the big dog solution? What do people know? You see, in countries of law and order, citizens are generally much too thick! Like seven year olds. They should always be told what to do. And pay taxes for being told and guided. That's the essence of Democracy, my darlings. The ruling class of politicians will decide what's good for the people, right? Referenda are only made for the Swiss and the Golden Age Greeks. Not for 'Democratic regimes' Western Hemisphere style! What are you talking about Mr. Papas? Who told you Democracy is about the people? Didn't you ever hear the aphorism of all Democratic leaders of the world "We are all equal in a Democracy, but most of us with careers in the political ranks are more equal than the rest of you, poor bastards!With his referendum trick Georgie boy called their bluff in one single coup and uncovered the chronic lying of all those with career in politics, domestically and internationally, faster than you can pronounce Pa-pa-ndre-ou. Them raging wolves threw away their sheep furs and divulged their very own cynodont nature! Well done, Yorgo. You are an act of genius, my nigger! Despite the countless execution wrongs you've done during your last few years in government as a PM. I raise my hat to you, you dog...
Eventually the referendum was pulled back by George following his own party peers' outcry, and the opposition's dog's howling about snap 'elections'. Who needs 'elections' anyways? At least in China they mean something much more interesting when we hear them say 'iˈlekSHən'. However, the issue and necessity of a vote of confidence by the National Parliament remained, and by the early morning hours on Saturday November 5th, Papandreou, was able to maintain parliamentary confidence in his government's position, despite minor defections in his own party. In parallel, by virtue of this confidence vote, he also obtained factually the approval of the majority of the people representatives for the funding remedy provided by the European big dogs in Cannes on October 27th. 
All these days leading up to the vote of confidence, we saw countless 'dwarves' parading and showing their real faces with Byzantine type intrigues deploying about the matter, pulling knives on Papandreou's back unheard of in the history of mankind. Interesting truth: An unusually large number of female MPs jumped out of the woodwork to show their heels (not to mention any other body part of theirs, starting with 't', for risk of my being accused as anti-feminist). Apparently Greek women get promptly sacrificed by the genuine bandits inside their political clans, the Mafia Godfathers, because in a macho country like ours it is indeed quite manly and very heroic to 'burn' a woman on the altar, and maintain the play to the benefit of the wicked. I can't help but think of the Lennon lyrics here: Women are the niggers of the world. Greek women certainly are. In any case, the half dozen 'dwarf' women that I am referring to, with names I have only heard in relation to events of questionable ethics in the past (oh, yes, the party political pimps engaged tarts to do their dirty laundry, and then deny they even knew anything about it, not?) have yelled the smelliest bullshit arguments I heard of, totally unrelated to the real issues at hand. These are namely the GDP shrinking, lack of a real plan for boosting the economy, inability to shrink budget deficits, shortcoming of tax income in covering continuously haircut expenditures, and lack of human capital trained to produce economic output that'll start slowly but securely to reverse the tide.
Papandreou was literally massacred by the media and the politicians all over the world, but especially by his fellow peers, own party members and opposition. Everybody who had a mouth had an opinion, and shouted it loud. Most of the outcry came of course from the opposition, with Antonis Samaras of the Conservative party Nea Democratia barking like a mad dog and already behaving like the next PM. A worst exhibit of true incompetence, genuine egocentrism and total indifference with respect to what is best for the country I have never witnessed before in my life (except for Russ Limbaugh and Glen Beck, but at least these two nutcase will never assume governing authority, even in their wildest dreams).
Enhanced by Zemanta