You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘film’ tag.

The Ballad of Narayama film posterOn Wednesday I made my first bento in almost two months… I had a movie date in Amsterdam with my friend Loes. We went to a special viewing of the classic 1983 Palm d’Or winner The Ballad of Narayama (Narayama bushikô), a film by Shohei Imamura. Last week was the Dutch première -yes, after 30 years!- and there are only a handful of screenings.

The film tells the story of Orin, a 69 year old woman in a rural hamlet of late-1900s Japan. It’s tradition, or rather law, that inhabitants reaching the age of 70 go to the top of the mountain (Narayama) to commit obasute: death by starvation, to limit the amount of mouths to feed. The eldest son is supposed to carry his mother on his back to her resting place. But Orin is still very strong and healthy…

The Ballad of Narayama is an unusual movie: at the same time pretty much “in your face” as well as burlesque — the latter possibly to soften the hardships of life that are shown. But it’s also something I’ve come across before in Japanese cinema. Isn’t the sometimes caricatural play not reminiscent of kyōgen theatre and kabuki? Anyway, I enjoyed myself regardless of the slow pace. The many images of nature are gorgeous and it’s interesting to witness how life in a poor Japanese country village may have been in another age. I was touched by the way Orin’s son was torn between his unwillingness to let his mom go, and not wanting to shame her by refusing to go along. His difficult journey into the mountains felt like a period of mourning and Orin’s first-born carrying her to her death mirrored the process of her giving birth to him. The cycle of life.

Title roll Ballad of NarayamaThe title of the film refers to a song about Orin’s life stage made up by her grandson in the beginning of the story (wintertime), recurring several times until The End, on the threshold of another winter.

Contemplating this I seem to have a theme going in my life at the moment. My current book is Wild by Cheryl Strayed, relating of her experiences hiking the Pacific Trail Crest (PCT) in her early twenties, a few years after her mother died. I’m totally absorbed in the story and can’t wait to read on.

But first it’s time to get back to the subject of this post. I was travelling to the cinema at dinner time so I’d eaten a hearty lunch earlier that day and made myself a simple dinner bento to have on the train.

Ballad of Narayama Bento (06-03-2013)

From top to bottom

  • Aubergine caviar with corn kernels, Italian crackers and walnut spread.
  • Lemon macadamia cupcake with lemon frosting (recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), more crackers, dried apricot and baby fig.
  • Cucumber salad with mini plum tomatoes, olives, radishes, chives, a cheezy dressing (recipe from Bryanna Clarke) and hemp seeds sprinkled over.

It was GOOOOD! I hope to have more bentos and nights like this. :)

Submitted to What’s for Lunch Wednesday #145 and Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking.

Autumn Bento (#119)

On Tuesday I took this wholesome fall bento to work (#119).

Autumn Bento (#119), 26-10-2010

Top tier
Eggplant-lentil salad on Romaine leaf, apple slices and sesame dressing for dip. Flower made of farmer’s cheese.

Lower tier
Celery stalk salad with walnuts & cheese on a bed of curly red leaf lettuce, garden cress, endive roll filled with couscous, goat’s cheese, pesto genovese and pine-nuts – and another ‘cheesy’ decoration.

About 8 ww propoints. All ingredients are organic except for the nuts & oil I used, most of the veggies are local too (cress homegrown).

If you’ve seen my menu plan for the week, you’ll notice this lunch consists of several leftovers: aubergine-lentil salad, Japanese sesame dressing and an endive roll. I had also kept a little aside of yesterday’s lunch: the celery salad. So you see? Making a bento doesn’t have to be time-consuming! Just think ahead and use what you’ve already made.

The kimono box containing this lunch is one of my favourite bentos. But one thing bugged me: it’s smaller than other boxes and I didn’t have a bag that fitted. Yes, past tense — because now I do :) And I made it myself! Cute, isn’t it?

Bento #119 snug in its new bag

Faithful readers might remember my previous bento post was about #116, the award-winning Tsukimono Bento. So what happened? Am I lousy at counting, or keeping track? (Computer says…) Nooo, I’m just way behind on (b)logging. And I bet you won’t mind if I just put numbers 117 and 118 up here too?!

Noriless Noriben (#118)

It will not come as a surprise to you that whenever I’m watching Japanese films, I’m on the lookout for bentos. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the marvelous lunches in Megane, a film about a stressed woman taking a holiday on a very relaxing Japanese island.

And when I checked the Camera Japan festival schedule this month, I almost passed out when my eye fell on a movie called Noriben – the Recipe of Fortune (Nonchan Noriben)… A whole feature film about bento!

Komaki has a seemingly impossible task ahead. She has just separated from her husband, moved back to her parents’ house and she wants to rebuild a meaningful life. For a 31 year-old mother, this is easier said than done. She has to deal with the expectations of her mother, an ex-husband who hunts her down and her lack of education. There seems to be one opportunity that can save her: Japanense bento, or lunchboxes. Follow Komaki through this struggle and let her teach you how to make a perfectly balanced lunch from rice and leftovers, looking like the Italian national flag!

You can view a trailer of Nonchan Noriben at the official website.

This typical (?) Japanese comedy was fun to watch. It inspired me, but unfortunately I didn’t really get any new ideas out of it. The few animations of bento composition went way too quick for me! LOL. Thankfully Maki, the Big Onigiri, takes us through them step-by-step on JustBento.

Of course I couldn’t go to a movie like this without bringing a bento of my own! Especially since we were meeting up with MaaikeB & family, who’d probably expect me to ;) Here’s my four o’clock bento for five.

Noriless Noriben (#118), 16-10-2010

Round bento box

  • usagi ringo (apple bunnies)
  • mini cream cheeses: herbs, walnut & pepper
  • fresh walnuts
  • curly red leaf lettuce

Oblong bento (from top to bottom)

  • green tea mochi, baby figgs & cranberries
  • kisir (Turkish bulghur salad; a favourite) with cilantro & caper on a bed of lettuce
  • tzatziki & cucumber

On the side

  • Japanese ‘WANT’ rice crackers (up front)
  • SkyFlakes toast & spring onion rice cracker toast

When you click on the picture you’ll jump to Flickr where you can view bento#118 together with Maaike’s GORGEOUS bento box filled with her DELICIOUS home-made carrot cake. *craves*

The five of us had a great day out, also watching a documentary about foreigners (Western people) in Tokyo, They Call Us Aliens, and wrapping it up with a Japanese teppanyaki dinner.

Amelisweerd Hike Bento (#117)

The last bento I want to share came along on a walk in Amelisweerd woods at the end of September. I hadn’t gone on a hike for a long time — let alone solo — so it felt really good to finally do so again. And of course I had to treat myself to a nice, simple bento :)

Amelisweerd Hike Bento (#117), 29-09-2010

Top tier

  • salad of lettuce, tomato, fresh basil and crumbled feta cheese.

Lower tier

  • ‘apple of my eye’
  • dried apricots
  • pesto dressing for salad
  • sweet ‘n spicy nuts

On the side (in the SnackTaxi bag)

  • ‘orange sammies'; sandwiches with orange coloured spreads: organic cheese with pumpkin & pumpkin seeds and Tartex veggie spread.

Submitting this post to Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Mondays {no.4} & Shannon’s What’s for Lunch Wednesday (week 22).

Meatless Monday button Bento Lunch

Dancing Concessions Monday Movie Meme logo
For today’s Monday Movie Meme The Bumbles asked us to name our favourite prison films. Listing Shawshank Redemption is not allowed! LOL

* Following links is at your own risk — beware of spoilers in plot descriptions! *

Still from Shutter Island One of the first films I thought of is Martin Scorsese’s recent feature Shutter Island. Sort of an oldfashioned B-movie that is real fun to watch! With ‘future hero‘ Leonardo DiCaprio playing an US Marshall called in to solve the mysterious disappearance of a psychic resident out of Shutter Island prison — yes, which is of course set on an isle :) Bringing to mind that other famous escape from a prison island: Escape from Alcatraz, with Mr Clint Eastwood. I was 9 at the time and don’t remember much, so I can’t put it in my top-3 ;) Hey, I was 3 years old when Papillon came out, so I dare not even mention that classic! LOL
Still from A Prophet Another movie I saw this year was the impressive Un Prophète (A Prophet) which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film. I would not dare use the word ‘fun’ in this case, because it was quite a depressing experience. If you’re one of those optimists thinking goal will help criminals to get back on the right track, you need to go see this picture and wake up.

Sandy from You’ve GOTTA read this! threw in American History X and I’ve been thinking about whether to add it to my list too. I love that picture and believe everybody should go see it; it’s SO good. (Who doesn’t love Edward Norton anyway? And why doesn’t he play in more movies? *mope* ;) Still, I don’t really remember it as a prison film, so I’m excluding it with a heavy heart ;)

Birdy (still from the movie) If I was allowed to recommend only 1, my absolute favourite film would be the cult classic Birdy by Alan Parker (music by Peter Gabriel). Matthew Modine and Nicholas Cage — God, they’re young! — prove to be high class actors in this mesmerizing movie. Yes, I know we all have doubts about Cage sometimes, but think back to his part in Birdy and you can rest assured ;)

Now of course I’m cheating a little because Birdy is not really locked up in jail but in a mental hospital… Still, he’s in detention and when I think back to it, it really feels like prison. As it did to Birdy!

Under Lock and Key ~ Peter Gabriel (2:25)

Did I miss anything YOU would put in your top list of prison movies?

BTT logoThis week’s Booking Through Thursday is about Olympic reading.

You may have noticed–the Winter Olympics are going on. Is that affecting your reading time? Have you read any Olympics-themed books? What do you think about the Olympics in general? Here’s your chance to discuss!

The Winter Olympics do not interest me AT ALL. I’m actually waiting for them to end so that my usual (radio) programs will be back on. Alas, there’s not much to gain since I do not spend much time in front of the telly at ‘normal’ times, so I do not read more these days either.

BUT. The question triggered me to write about a recent Olympic movie I saw this month on the International Film Festival Rotterdam: Atletu. It’s a biopic (directed by Davey Frankel and – leading actor – Rasselas Lakew) of the first African to receive Olympic gold, the Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 summer marathon in Rome. It was a great boost of confidence for the people of Ethiopia and the African continent. The amazing thing was that he ran the 42+ kilometers on bare feet! Not because he wasn’t used to shoes (that’s a typical western thought ;) but because the pair sponsor Adidas provided didn’t really fit. So he preferred to discard them.

Abebe Bikila barefoot running Olympic marathon in Rome, 1960

Abebe won again in the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, even though he had had an operation for acute appendicitis just a few weeks before. Not only did he establish a new world record, he was also the fist athlete to win the Olympic marathon twice!
A car accident prevented him from winning a third time… But even as a paraplegic he continued to have an interesting sports life.

The life of Abebe Bikila is quite remarkable, so I wonder why there hasn’t been made a film about him before. And what a pity that Atletu isn’t as good a movie as it could be. I found it a bit boring at times: too much recounting of facts, too many flashbacks for my taste. His accident was tragic of course, although from the movie I got the idea he wouldn’t have wanted you to pity him — and that at the same time that he was quite bitter about it. That clashes with one of his famous quotes:

Men of success meet with tragedy. It was the will of God that I won the Olympics, and it was the will of God that I met with my accident. I accepted those victories as I accept this tragedy. I have to accept both circumstances as facts of life and live happily.

Scene from the film Atletu (Ethiopia, 2009)

Of course it is always fascinating to see documentary footage in a feature film. But there’s the risk of competing with the newly shot material. A nice touch was to have the adult Abebe travel to the place of his youth, so that we got to see the beautiful landscapes of the area where he had trained to become a long distance runner (great shots). And yes, Rasselas Lakew played Bikila very well. Really, this could have been an amazing film. Unfortunately it just doesn’t have ‘it‘. Still, it was one of the favourites of the festival audience. So never mind me ;)

A fun fact for film buffs: the well-received movie Marathon Man honours Abebe Bikila with a scene in which Thomas ‘Babe’ Levy (Dustin Hoffman) escapes his torturers, barefoot outrunning a car.

Ha. I couldn’t seem to get myself to write a post about our visit to the IFFR. Now (at least) I’m down 1 of 5 movie ‘reviews’! I plan to finish the rest before my ‘Day at the Oscars’ on March 6th… It might not be a marathon, but it certainly seems an endurance race to me!

You would think that during these cold days we’d like to watch some sunny movies… But not The Bumbles. This week’s Monday Movie Meme is all about winter!

Of course everybody thinks of the fun Coen Brothers film Fargo first. Me too. But two other movies sprung to mind even before that!

Image from Cold Fever Cold Fever, by the Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridrikson. I absolutely loved this movie about a successful Japanese businessman whose plan for a 2-week winter holiday in Hawaii (to play golf) changes when his grandfather reminds him that he should go to Iceland for the 7 year anniversary of his parents’ death.
Image from Wintersleepers Winterschläfer (Wintersleepers) by the German director Tom Tykwer. A movie about an unfortunate accident in an Alpine resort that had me contemplate the concept of ‘guilt’ for a long time after…

Both these films are gems to look back on in my personal movie history and I’d love to see them again. Ha! The dvd of Cold Fever should arrive any day now!

Image from Frozen River But there’s also a more recent movie I would like to mention: last year’s Oscar nominated film Frozen River, by Courtney Hunt. It’s a story about two working-class women who smuggle illegal immigrants in the trunk of a car from Canada to the United States in order to make ends meet. A hard life that seemed quite realistic to me — what would I do?

I get a warm feeling thinking about these great movies. Let’s cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate, right now! ;)

After the crime
I’m not Truman Capote so I’m not going to take as long as he did to write his book In Cold Blood and ponder 7 years over a review. Let’s just get it over with.

In Cold Blood is a faction novel: fiction based on facts. It tells the story of a horrible murder that happened in Holcomb, Kansas, on the night of Friday 13th 1959. Is that where our superstition about Friday 13th originates from? (No, it’s not.) That night, the much loved Clutter family was slaughtered in cold blood by two young man that had met in jail: Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. The book concentrates on the events leading up to the killing, the quest to find the murderers, their trial(s) and eventually their execution.

Cover In Cold BloodI’ve had the book on my shelf ever since I saw the biopic Capote in which Philip Seymour Hoffman plays an awesome leading role as the author. But I never picked it up for fear of being bored… Because of the movie I already knew what had happened, see. But I’m glad I no longer procrastinated! I buddy read it with the Boekgrrls in November 2009; exactly 50 years after the crime. And it was quite a powerful experience.

Knowing about the case was no problem at all: the events are revealed at the beginning of the story. That’s partly what’s good about the book: although the outcome is public knowledge, it is still interesting to read. Most times… it is a bit slow in some parts as well.

The Clutter FamilyI admire how Capote skips around the actual murder for quite some time; getting us to know Herb Clutter, his wife Bonny, daughter Nancy and son Kenyon. Meeting Dick and Perry ‘warming up’ with some petty crimes. The author guides us through the days preceding and following the massacre, showing us the town and its people, following the detectives that are hunting down the killers. And then finally, the moment of horror.

In Cold Blood is supposed to be the first in a genre that is now well-known: ‘true crime fiction’. Capote was looking for inspiration as a writer when he read a small newspaper article about the case in Holcomb. It took him 5 years of ‘investigating’ and another 2 to finish the book. Its suggests to be factual (presenting letters, reports etc.), so many of the people involved criticized him for not being completely true to the case. Capote himself replied that it was obviously a novel = fiction.

Capote in Clutter Home

An interesting question is why Capote was so immensely fascinated by this case that he worked on it for so many years. I recall from the movie that the author seemed extremely ‘attracted’ by the perpetrators, especially Perry. And the weird thing is that even I felt sorry for him at times — or even sympathy, no matter that he was such a ruthless killer. On of the strongest scenes in the book is Perry’s confession to KBI (Kansas Bureau of Investigation) officer Albert Dewey. The murders, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith

*** spoiler alert *** The suggestion that Perry Smith would have suffered from schizophrenia is pretty convincing. Unfortunately for him at that time in Kansas state the Durham rule was not yet in practice. This act decrees that “an accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawful act is the product of mental disease or mental defect“. I must say that I’m against the taking of any life, which means I do not approve of the death penalty in any case – not even in a horrible crime like this.

Bookish connections
Capote’s childhood friend Harper Lee accompanied him to the Midwest as his research assistent. I recently read her most acclaimed novel To Kill a Mockingbird which she wrote a few years after the Holcomb tragedy. It has nothing to do with this case, but it does deal with legislation and justice, telling the story of a murder courtcase in Alabama. Capote is depicted in the book as the boy Dill. But Lee is never mentioned in Capote’s In Cold Blood.

BTW from the movie Capote I had gotten the impression that the author himself would play a role in his book as well, which he does not…

Perry’s childhood during the Great Depression, his family travelling the country in search of work, also brings to mind John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which I had read just before In Cold Blood:

‘Tex John Smith Family picking berries in Oregon. 1933′ Was the caption under a snapshot of four barefooted children wearing overalls and cranky, uniformly fatigued expressions. Berries or stale bread soaked in sweet condensed milk was often all they had to eat. [His sister] Barbara Johnson remembered that once the family had lived for days on rotten bananas, and that, as a result, Perry had got colic; he had screamed all night, while Bobo, as Barbara was called, wept for fear he was dying. [p.177]

Women Unbound buttonBecause of some quotes about the role of women, the story also made me think of the October Boekgrrls’ buddy read: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, which is set in fifties as well. Since I’m participating in the Women Unbound challenge, I’ll give this topic its own heading.

The role of women
Bonny Clutter was a very troubled housewife (according to this book = according to Capote? The people in the village? Her family?). Bonny herself believed that a pinched nerve was the cause of her problems. But to the contemporary reader it is obvious that she was depressed; which might be postnatal depression as is suggested in the book, but I rather believe her unfulfilling everyday life must have amplified it. In the past she had been living in Wichita for 2 weeks, having her own apartment and a job. Doctor’s orders. And it seemed to help…

[..] but she had liked it too well, so much that it seemed to her unchristian, and the sense of guilt she in consequence developed ultimately outweighed the experiment’s therapeutic value. [p.26]

So she turned into a woman that:

[..] had reduced her voice to a single tone, that of apology, and her personality to a series of gestures blurred by the fear that she might give offence, in some way displease. [p.23]

Then there’s Nancy’s attitude to her father Herb Clutter.

‘[..] Can’t you make your father understand that?’ No, she could not. ‘Because,’ as she explained it to Susan, ‘whenever I start to say something, he looks at me as though I must not love him. Or as though I love him less. And suddenly I’m tongue-tied; I just want to be his daughter and do as he wishes.‘ [p.19]

I don’t have any intelligent thoughts about this but I do think it says a lot about the way women wore culturally imposed and emotional straitjackets at the time. It seems to have been engraved in our x-chromosomes — and the leftovers sometimes pop-up… Because although it’s 50 years later and I’ve been raised by a feminist mom, I’m embarrassed to say that the feelings described are not completely unfamiliar to me. (Can I get another Honest Scrap Award now, please? ;)

Other thoughts on the book…
I did think the Clutters were a bit too good to be true — except for poor Bonny of course, who was such a troubled, incompetent mother & wife :\

If I had not known the book was based on facts and written relatively short after the real events, I would have sworn to have come upon an anachronism:

[..] Nancy had cleaned up, put all the dishes in the dish-washer, [..] [p.49]

OMG my well-to-do grandparents (or should I say my grandma?) first got a washing machine about a whole decade later! Let alone I would know anyone who had a dish-washer at that time… But hey, I wasn’t born yet either ;)

Movie connections…
In Cold Blood has made such an impression that I was reminded of it during several movies I saw shortly after. That happened because of the schizophrenia in the horror movie Bug and the bloody massacre in Jennifer Lynch’s Surveillance.

But it doesn’t end here; the bookgroup read will result in a film follow-up real soon! Some Boekgrrls are coming over to watch the 1967 film In Cold Blood with me. It got 8 stars in the Internet Movie Databse so I’m having no worries about being bored because I already know the story ;)

Clutter home in recent times

Hello Japan! is swinging into 2010. January’s topic is ‘Music to my ears’. I found it really hard to decide what musical subject to concentrate on, so I am presenting a 5 part series of ‘Music Lessons’ on Fridays. Welcome to the final session, #5! And enjoy your weekend :)

Don’t you love to start your weekend with some ‘feelgood’ music? I know I do! :) But who would have expected me to do so with J-Rock??? Well, here’s a cover song that makes me happy each time I hear it: Can’t take my eyes of you (椎名林檎), by Sheena Ringo. So energetic!

There are several ways to write her name in romaji (using the Latin alphabet for Japanese text). It’s Shena on Nippop.com, Shiina in Wikipedia. Me, I’m writing Sheena, because that’s how I came to know her first.

Sheena Ringo is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist, oh.. and ballerina ;) As an artist she chose her childhood nickname Ringo (apple) instead of her real name Yumiko, because she used to be a shy girl and blush a lot: turning her cheeks red like apples. But later she also declared that she gave herself the name of an object, following manga cartoonist Sensha Yoshida whom she likes (his first name Sensha meaning ‘battle tank’).

Sheena Ringo is a great all-round musician. Last year she wrote some songs for another Japanese band I enjoy listening to: Puffy (AmiYumi). And good news for a film fan like me: in 2006 she directed the music for the movie Sakuran. I read about it in chasing bawa’s blogpost and I’ve been on the lookout for the dvd ever since!

Of course I can’t just leave you with a cover of a 1967 hit performed by Sheena Ringo; she usually writes her own stuff. Here’s the fine song Shūkyō (宗教 ‘Religion‘) from the album Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana (5’07”).

It’s really weird: looking back on 2009 I seem to have only seen movies from the past decade… (2000-2009). Not consciously though!

Usually I’m quite conscientious in keeping track of what I’ve seen, but this time I noticed some titles were missing… I hope I recovered them all by thinking hard about it! That’s why I’m late posting my list ;)

I’ve chosen two pictures as best movies of 2009; a feature film and a ‘documation’, or ‘animentary’.

Starting with the motion picture: my favourite film of 2009 was Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank. Man, it was GOOD. We had a lot to talk about afterwards, but unfortunately I didn’t write it down so I forgot most of it :\ I guess I’m getting old! LOL

Fish Tank is a movie about Mia, a difficult adolescent in a working class environment. She’s got a pretty tough life, but she’s tough herself and strives to get the future she wants. It is not always an easy movie to watch (shouting and strong language being the least of it). But it is so much less depressing than a Ken Loach movie, the master of Social Realism! I found the story realistic, but hopeful and energizing. Inexperienced leading actress Katie Jarvis really is amazing as the angry teenager. It is said she was plucked off the street by director Arnold while she was having an argument with her boyfriend, LOL.

Really, if you get the chance: GO SEE FISH TANK! Meanwhile, I’m very much looking forward to Andrea Arnold’s adaptation of Wuthering Heights

But I said I have two favs for 2009. If you would put a gun to my head and force me to choose just one, I think it would be the other: Waltz With Bashir. I wrote a review on Graasland, in Dutch. It’s an animated documentary, hence my labels documation and animentary — I haven’t decided yet on the best term. What would you call it?

Waltz with Bashir depicts its Israeli director Ari Folman in search of his lost memories from the 1982 Lebanon War. All interviews were filmed in the ordinary way, and animated afterwards. That gives the images a certain atmosphere. Now that I’ve told you that, look for example at the house and garden of Ari’s friend in Holland. Thanks to the method used, the interviewees are relatively anonymous. But you do hear their actual voices.

I was really impressed by Waltz with Bashir. The story is interesting and humane. I didn’t know much about the Lebanon war and I usually don’t watch animation — so I didn’t expect to like it much. What a surprise that it turned out to be so good! I actually believe I understand a little better what it means to be (and have been) young in Israel and its surrounding countries. But not only that: the strong imagery of the film also makes it just very attractive to look at. And the soundtrack is great too! As I wrote in my Hello Japan! post about Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, it is one of my two most popular music discoveries of 2009 as well :)

Waltz with Bashir is the first animated film ever to have been nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Foreign Language Film.

Now, before I close with my complete list of all 35 films and 13 tv-series I watched in 2009: what is your favourite movie of 2009???

Movies watched in 2009

Mourning Forest ( Mogari no Mori ) Naomi Kawase ( 2007 )
Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle ( 2008 )
The Wrestler Darren Aronofsky ( 2008 )
Changeling Clint Eastwood ( 2008 )
Waltz with Bashir ( Vals Im Bashir ) Ari Folman ( 2008 )
Frost / Nixon Ron Howard ( 2008 )
Contractpensions, Djangan Loepah! Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmich ( 2008 )
Man on Wire James Marsh ( 2008 )
The Reader Stephen Daldry ( 2008 )
Tokyo Sonata Kiyoshi Kurosawa ( 2008 )
Brideshead Revisited Julian Jarrold ( 2008 )
Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk Greg MacGillivray ( 2008 )
Milk Gus van Sant ( 2008 )
Chérie Stephen Frears ( 2009 )
Adaptation. Spike Jonze ( 2002 )
Departures ( Okuribito ) Yôjirô Takita ( 2008 )
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure Sean MacLeod Phillips ( 2007 )
La tourneuse de pages Denis Dercourt ( 2006 )
Megane Naoko Ogigami ( 2007 )
Dark Water ( Honogurai mizu no soko kara ) Hideo Nakata ( 2002 )
30 Days of Night David Slade ( 2007 )
Boy A John Crowley ( 2007 )
Frozen River Courtney Hunt ( 2008 )
Fish Tank Andrea Arnold ( 2009 )
Grizzly Man Werner Herzog ( 2005 )
The Number 23 Joel Schumacher ( 2007 )
Revolutionary Road Sam Mendes ( 2008 )
Incendiary Sharon Maguire ( 2008 )
Surveillance Jennifer Chambers Lynch ( 2008 )
Bug William Friedkin ( 2006 )
Survivor Marjolein Duermeijer ( 2009 )
Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino ( 2009 )
Snatch Guy Ritchie ( 2000 )
La Siciliana Ribelle Marco Amenta ( 2009 )
Flags of Our Fathers Clint Eastwood ( 2006 )

Television series

It’s impossible to say which one I liked best. In 2009 I saw Six Feet Under, Dexter and Ashes to Ashes, all series to die for!

The Last Enemy
Criminal Justice
6 Feet Under
(all series)
Spooks (several series)
Burn Notice
Ashes to Ashes II
Tess
Sense & Sensibility
X-Files
Dexter I
Dexter II

24 day 7
Sopranos (several series)

Note: television series are NOT included in the diagrams.

The 2009 Classics Challenge ended on October 31st.
2009 that is. Hence the title :\
And only today I got to write a short wrap-up post in which I have some good news, and some bad news to share…

Let’s start POSITIVE. I finished reading my 5 classics for the Entree Level of the challenge in time! I did tweak the list of my admittance post a bit (substituting titles), but that’s allowed. So below you’ll find the books that made it to the finish line.

The cover pics are links to the posts about the books here on Graasland. Well… that’s how it’s supposed to be anyway. Because the BAD news is that I still haven’t reviewed all of them! Baaaaaad Gnoe. I hope to make it up by stating a short (ha!) opinion right here, followed by a quick recap of the other reviews. And you never know; once the fuses are blown (is that the correct phrase?), when the pressure is off — I might actually get to writing a full-scale evaluation of Brideshead Revisited and Revolutionary Road ;)

Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
I saw the 1981 tv-series of Brideshead Revisited twice, so I couldn’t help seeing — and hearing! — Jeremy Irons in my head whenever Charles Ryder entered the story. (Likewise with the Sebastian Flyte character, although I didn’t know that the actor was called Anthony Andrews. It’s just Sebastian.) I loved the book and I got to understand the story better than I did before. Everything seemed to go SO much quicker than on the telly! I seemed to have forgotten big parts, like all that happened after Sebastian went abroad… But what I enjoyed most is that I understood why the novel is called Brideshead Revisited. I had never noticed it before and I think it’s grand. Maybe it was left out of the television series? Gosh, now I need to watch it a third time! ;)

After reading Brideshead Revisited with my online bookgroup, the Boekgrrls, some of the women came over to watch the 2008 adaptation on dvd. Of course we had a fun night, but I didn’t like the film at all. It was way too explicit about the homo-erotic motive that was so subtly hidden in the book. Maybe Waugh would have liked that if he had lived in our era. But for me it took the edge of the story. Also, I hated that ‘they’ had tried to find clones of the original actors — Matthew Goode even sounded like Jeremy Irons. Well, of course with a voice like Sir Irons (really, when is he going to be knighted?), such a thing is not really possible, but they obviously tried. Shame.

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird was a quick and entertaining read ad I’m glad to have read it. The story immediately grabbed me and I liked the atmosphere of doom, suggesting that ’something was going to happen’.
Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
Revolutionary Road got under my skin, but in a different way than Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (see below). After I had picked it up I immediately got immersed in the story. But it’s quite depressing… The feeling of doom hardly left me during the day, even when I was not reading! It’s obvious from page 1 that something bad is going to happen. And still, the end came as a painful surprise.

The story revolves around image. “The important thing, always, was to remember who you were.” Frank and April Wheeler think they’re special, even though they live in the suburbs, like their peers, and Frank has a job in an advertising agency that is not much of a challenge. It is shockingly recognizable: don’t we all think we’re different? I kept seeing Jon Hamm = Don Draper in Mad Men, as Frank Wheeler btw. But that might have something to do with the cover picture ;)

Again, I watched the movie adaptation afterwards. Unlike Brideshead Revisited I really liked it — although I’m not sure if I’d have appreciated it as much if I hadn’t read the book.

I Am a Cat (vol.1), Natsume Soseki
After reading volume 1 of I Am a Cat I wasn’t sure yet what to think of it. I’m not much of a person for satire and I preferred the parts concentrating on the cat over sections digressing on humans. Reading the 2nd volume helped me form a clearer opinion — but only the 1st tome counts for the Classics Challenge ;) The fun thing was that while reading I Am a Cat I came across several parallelisms with graphics I read at the same time; Coraline and Mutts. That must mean typical cat tricks are pictured lifelike!
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath ended as my favourite read of 2009. I had been holding off this classic for a long time, not knowing what to expect, and even for about a 100 pages into the book I had my doubts. But after a while it really got under my skin — and I still can’t get it out of there. Heart rendering. A Must Read for anyone.

You know what? I believe reviews are not even required for the Classics challenge! Phew, three things to cross off my to-do list in one go. I am so relieved! I might even join the new Classics challenge in February/March… Or I may not ;) Let’s see what the future brings.

I always enjoy reading Sandy’s Monday Movie Memes on You’ve GOTTA read this! Last week I came close to joining in the fun (on a Sports topic, no less :-o) and today I really couldn’t resist. We’re talking MONSTER MOVIES! Or is it movie monsters? ;)

Well, meet some of my memorable favourites. Monsters, I mean.

The Plant in The Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Cute sapling turns into a man-eating monster demanding to be fed. Hold on to your critters and loved ones!

Louis de Pointe du Lac & vampire Lestat in Interview with the Vampire (1994)
One evil spirit to feel sorry for and another to avoid no matter what. The first time I noticed Brad Pitt is actually good at acting ;) And Tom Cruise only needed to dye his hair to look crrrrrreepy ;)

King Kong in King Kong (1933, 1976, 2005)
Gotta love ‘m, don’t you? Just one big scared animal. Not scary. Okay, he made a bit of a mess, but don’t we all sometimes?

Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Could Johnny Depp ever look frightening? Noooooooooo. Beware of those claws though!

Gollum in The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)
Okay, he doesn’t really count — I only saw a short piece of one of the movies of The Fellowship of the Ring. But I saw HIM and I loved Gollum in Tolkien’s book trilogy — he is uncanny and oh so sad.

De Plaaggeest (The Bully) in Bassie & Adriaan (1978)
As a child I was really scared of a prankster looking like a joker in a well-known television series about a clown and an acrobat, Bassie & Adriaan. And I mean HORRIFIED. It was just an obviously dressed up guy but hey, I couldn’t sleep!

The Monday Movie Meme is hosted by The Bumbles.

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

Archive

Currently grazing


Gnoe herding…

Enter your email address to follow Graasland and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Doe mee met 438 andere volgers

Gnoe Bookcrossing

Graasland on Flickr

Bento #211; first of 2014 O_o

Bento #211; first of 2014 O_o

Vegan high tea in 't Waalse Erf

Meer foto's
Volg

Ontvang elk nieuw bericht direct in je inbox.

Doe mee met 438 andere volgers