Monday, January 15, 2018

British film: National Theatre: Hedda Gabler

Gender issues or psychological profile?
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Francesca: An amazing, wrenching performance by Ruth Wilson in Hedda Gabler, left you wondering if she was she highlighting gender discrimination, or slipping in and out of madness?
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Henri: Many of us enter the shadows of insanity now and then. Some stay there longer than others. Ibsen knew that about himself.
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Photo: Jan Versweyveld
Francesca: She was trapped.
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Henri: So she said. But in a modern context, and Ivo had made it a modern treatment, there are alternatives to being trapped.
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Francesca: So you’re saying it was more of a story of mental illness?
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Henri: To a lesser extent we all think about and even sometimes do the things that Hedda did. She felt trapped, she felt powerless, she was jealous. It was the extremes she went to that made us think she was overreaching and overreacting. Taunting Thea. Sabotaging Eilert’s recovery from alcoholism. Suggesting he commit suicide by giving him a gun. Burning his manuscript.
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Francesca: Was she rational in these acts? Did she see it as important to her own survival?
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Henri: Possibly. But she was also unpredictably irrational. Smashing and strewing the flowers. Stapling them to the walls. No one saw her end coming. I see it as more about self-destruction and mental instability than just gender.
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Francesca: Chicken or the egg?
___________
Voice-over
This was no film of a theatrical performance shot by a videocam stuck in a corner of the theatre. The towercam swoops, the zoom focuses in on close-ups, the voices of the audience come from all around, an interview with director and cast is cleverly placed in the interval break film. In some ways, better than being in a cheap seat at the theatre. What a way to see a play. A must-see.
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Friday, January 12, 2018

Violet Sephotho as a political analogy?

Or was it an accidental analogy?
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Aisha: Number 17 in the series…
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Zahara: Of?
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Aisha: I’m talking about the Number One Ladies Detective Agency. The author claims to be non-political, but I can’t help but wonder about the ending of Precious and Grace.
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Zahara: Where Violet Sephotho wins the election by buying votes?
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Aisha: And he writes, “How could Botswana, of all places, choose as Woman of the Year a person as self-seeking as Violet Sephotho? Did people not realize? Were people such poor judges of character as to be unable to see Violet for what she was?”
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Zahara: Yes, but the reply is, “There are many things in this world that are not right.”
________________
Voice-over

Was it a coincidence that Precious and Grace appeared in September 2016 just before the U.S. elections were being decided? Did Alexander McCall Smith have a notion that the US presidential election would be won by Donald Trump overturning standards of decent behavior? Could he have been alluding to Hillary Clinton as being a self-seeking politician? Was he referring to what goes on in many other places in the world? Or did he intend no allegory at all?
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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Renaissance works from the Corsini Collection

Pictures at an exhibition...
Botticelli, c1500:
Madonna and Six Angels
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Simonetta: Nice collection. With Botticelli as a centerpiece.
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Giorgio: The Madonna? Your favorite here?
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Simonetta: It’s a latter work of his. When he’d switched from classical themes such as Birth of Venus and Primavera.
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Ghirlandaio, c1540:
Portrait of an Unknown Man
Giorgio: Ornate compositions. Lot of background. A lot of symbols. What a contrast to the portraits. Like the .
Ghirlandaio of an unknown young man. No background. Just a realistic face.
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Simonetta: Yes. Botticelli could do realism, could do portraits. But it seems he preferred idealism.
________
Voice-over
An interesting curation of works from the Corsini collection in Florence blending into various works held by the art gallery and other collectors in Auckland. Ranging from 1300s to the 1960s. Read the 118-page pdf of labels here before you go. Helpful.
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Monday, January 1, 2018

White Rapper Wrabbit

A rapper intones to a neat beat,
A wax wrapper reveals a toffee candy.
Out with the old and in with the new,
May 2018 bring regular revenue.
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WHITE RABBIT 
WHITE RABBIT 
WHITE RABBIT
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Propitious New Year Leaping Lapins!
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Friday, December 29, 2017

Ukrainian film: Piano

A piano as an antidote to conflict…
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Antuanetta Mischchenko
Bohdan: The director drew a good story from the chaos in the streets.
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Natalya: That she did. Centering on a piano. In a sense beginning as the Sakamoto film, CODA, did, with a focus on a piano as a beaten-up survivor of a tragedy.
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Bohdan: But in this case, the piano was a hub about which stories of musicians revolved. The extremist as pianist. The teacher from the conservatory.
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Natalya: But perhaps the most luminous person was Antuanetta Mischchenko, the girl who came to play the blue and yellow piano every day, and who rescued it from the streets.
___________
Voice-over

The filmmaker, Vita Maria Drygas, said she regarded making Piano as one of the most important events in her life. Most of us have a story to be told. The piano is a symbol, surrounded by people with punctured lives, a glimpse of contemporary Ukraine.
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Monday, December 25, 2017

French film: Sage Femme

A break during readings...
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Κατερίνα and 笠利
Deneuve: Isn’t it odd. We’re both called Catherine.
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Frot: And spelt the same.
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Deneuve: There must be fifty different ways to spell our name.
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Frot: Actually, over a hundred. I checked.
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Deneuve: And not just in France.
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Frot: No. From Ekaterina in Latvia to Caitlin in Ireland. Kaarat in Greenland to Kasari in Japanese.
_________
Voice-over
Great film: Sage Femme (The Midwife). 87% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Brilliant actresses: double Catherines: Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot.
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