Friday, February 5, 2016

Words and Pictures -- a contest between language art and visual art

English actor Clive Owen & and French actress Juliette Binoche team up together to portray two teachers at a high school.  Jack Marcus is the teacher of Honors English while Dina Delsanto is the newly hired teacher of Art Honors. Both are struggling with their own creative projects while also teaching and encouraging their students to be more creative. Jack struggles with alcohol while Dina struggles with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) which makes it difficult to paint and do many other activities.

This film was directed by Australian director Fred Schepisi and the screenplay was written by Gerald Di Pego.

What starts out as a friendly rivalry between two teachers turns into a romance and a creative contest between words and pictures at the school. This is a really great film about the language and visual arts. I found it interesting, touching and amusing.

Here are some quotes from this film:

 "What you just gave me was oatmeal when you could have given me a New York steak."---Jack

"The dictionary says "art is human creative skill."---Dina

"I think a picture is a lot more powerful than words."---student

 "A picture is worth a thousand words."---Dina

"Words are your Gods and somebody is insulting your religion."---Jack

A picture is worth a thousand lies.---sign of Miss Delsanto's Arts Honors Class

"So you missed me but you greet me so antienthusiastically."---Dina

Scenes from this film:

Here's the trailer for this film:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Happy People - A Year in the Taiga --Documentary by Werner Herzog

This film directed by Werner Herzog & Dmitry Vasyukov is a documentary on the Taiga. Most of the action takes place in, around and in the wilderness beyond the village of Bakhta. The film footage was actually not shot by Herzog but by Vasyukov. Herzog re-edited the footage, added his own narration and had new music composed and recorded for it. Here's a link to his site promoting this documentary.

Here's a photo of Werner Herzog when he introduced this film at Doc NY festival:

Viewers of this film, we'll see the people hunting, fishing, gardening, building huts, making skis, making boats and other activities.

The cinematography captures the people, landscape, nature and animals with some of it being quite breath-taking! The people do hunt & fish a lot but they also grow their own produce because crops grow very fast during the long summer days. Remember it's very far north so there's lots of light in the summer & very dark in the winter.

Some quotes from this film:

"When I came here, I had a feeling that my dream had come true. You enjoy the beauty of nature, and you do your job at the same time. What's why they all end up by being hunters. Because hunting brings you closer to the taiga than anything else."

"Come to think of it, we are all killers or accomplices. Evne those people who are kind-hearted and tend to pity everything. Why? It's very simple. A farmer keeps a pig...but he knows in advance what he keeps it for. In order to kill it and to eat it or sell its meat. And even the person who is sorry about all this buys the pork from him. And the trapper is the same as that pig farmer...only he is--how would you say it--more honest. Actually, it's not even about honesty. This man knowingly raises--I used to raise cattle, and I could never bring myself to slaughter them. Because there is, say, a bull. You raise him for two years. It comes to you expecting you to show affection or give it some treat...and instead he gets a bullet in the head. In the taiga, the wild animal knows that no good can com from me, from a man. He tries to escape. Here, it's about who outsmarts whom."

"Trappers make t a big mistake when they beat their dogs for touching the traps. Of course you have to punish them and show your displeasure...but beating alone won't keep a dog off the traps. It comes to be afraid of the owner. It stays clear of the trap in the presence of the owner...but when the owner looks away, or at night, he is sure to steal the bait. And if it's afraid of the trap, then it will stay away. It's easy to train them. You set up a trap specifically for dogs. Let it spend some time in the trap...and realize that it's not a pleasant experience. Otherwise, it will be endless trouble for the hunter...and he won't get along with his dog. It will be afraid of him and sneak out at night to make the rounds of the traps...and waste the hunter's efforts. In short, you'll have no end of trouble with your dog. If you do it right, your dog loves you and it's afraid of the traps. What more do you need?"

Here are some scenes from this film: