Monday, March 26, 2012

From Silence to Sound

The last two movies that I've seen were happened to be, as a purely coincidence, about the transition from the silent films to the sound ones. One of them is The Artist (2011). It is not necessary for me to mention how many awards it got from this year's Academy Awards, right? (it was the most favorite movie of the ceremony for sure). And the second one is a Billy Wilder movie that I wanted to watch for so long: The Sunset Blvd. (1950) (read the detailed review on Cinematic Ceremony)
The Artist (2011)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
The Artist showed to directors that you can still come up with a nostalgic idea and the audience can still love it. Personally, even though I think that the reason why it won the Best Movie and Best Director awards at Oscars is mainly because the academy likes movies with a story based on "Cinema" "The history of cinema", "The love of cinema", etc., it, indeed, was a creative come up by Michel Hazanavicius (the director and the writer of the movie). It got exceptional reviews from the most prestigious film critics, because we all LOVE cinema. We all LOVE this genius, creative form of art, we all LOVE to please ourselves by witnessing others' lives during the delicious moments of over one hour. And The Artist is all about these.
The Artist (2011)
I knew the main actor of the movie, Jean Dujardin, through the successful TV series called "Un Gars et Une Fille" (A Guy and A Girl) that I've been watching over three years, since I came to France. I can say, I've improved my French by watching this 26 minutes series everyday and enjoyed thoroughly with the funny scripts written by Alexandra Lamy (Jean Dujardin's wife) and performed by them.
The Artist (2011)
That's being said, back to The Artist, Jean Dujardin, who is undeniably very successful in making people laugh, performs a famous actor, George Valentin, in 1920s (during the silent film era). However, the transition from silent movies to the talking ones makes it hard for Valentin to confront the end of an era. A young lady that he accidentally meets tries to help him to get over his difficulties and reminds him that he can still do what he does best: acting. The Artist is a movie all about love, pride, glory, jealousy and envy.
The Artist (2011) 
The Artist (2011) 
Sunset Blvd. (1950) 
The second movie, The Sunset Blvd. (1950), directed by one of my favorite directors: Bily Wilder. You may remember him from his other movies if you have seen The Seven Year Itch (1955), Some Like It Hot (1959) and The Apartment (1960). Don't mind me to remind you here that Billy Wilder has won Academy Awards as producer, director and writer for the same film: The Apartment in 1960.
Sunset Blvd. (1950) 
The Sunset Blvd. is based on the story of a silent movie star who was left aside by her funs and the movie industry with the initialization of the sound film. The movie is marvelous and interesting at the same time when you look up for a little background information about the cast, the main actress, Gloria Swanson (as Norma Desmond) is a real silent movie star in real life. She contributed to this masterpiece with her real story also. The movie is about the passage of Hollywood to the talkies which Swanson has experienced herself. Swanson immortalized the silent movie director Cecil B. DeMille, who appeared as himself in the movie and his movies were famous for their endings with Swanson saying: "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up". And as a tribute to the silent movies era, Sunset Blvd. is closed up with Norma Desmond (Swanson) saying the same line.
Sunset Blvd. (1950) 
Don't you think, cinema is still experiencing a transition with 3D movies nowadays? Do you like silent movies?

for lots of interesting story on the screening of Sunset Blvd., please read this wiki page. and I'll leave you here with the excellent last scenes of these two movies:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I never knew daylight could be so violent

Florence is like a fairy jumping from one genre to another and singing aloud the whole time with a strong and shaking voice. All the creatures around find themselves following her. I feel like it's the rabbit, the bear, the river, the bee and all the others singing in the background with her.

Genre: indie, alternative, ~gospel

About one year ago, Betül recommended me that song:

Florence & The Machine 1 by utku lutek on Grooveshark

Then, recently at work, I've heard No Light, No Light over and over and got a crush on it! After days of listening, I could classify it as religious-epic-indie :P. It's that song that pushed me to write about Florence because it filled me up with emotions (together with 'What the water gave me', a hymn for water). About the latter, she said:

"It's a song for the water, because in music and art what I'm really interested in are the things that are overwhelming. The ocean seems to me to be nature's great overwhelmer. When I was writing this song I was thinking a lot about all those people who've lost their lives in vain attempts to save their loved ones from drowning. It's about water in all forms and all bodies. It's about a lot of things; Virginia Woolf creeps into it, and of course Frida Kahlo, whose painfully beautiful painting gave me the title."

Florence & The Machine 2 by utku lutek on Grooveshark

Not surprisingly, these songs are from the Ceremonials [2011] album that really has a ceremonial sound, or a gospel one, if you want.

And yes, Kahlo has a painting called What the water gave me (Lo Que el Agua Me Dio). And the theme of the song is Virginia Woolf's death; her walking into the water with her pockets filled with stones.

Frida Kahlo - What the water gave me

From the previous album, Lungs [2009], I've chosen several songs touching several genres: Britpop (Dog days are over), strong chorus effect lead by Florence's intriguing vocal (Rabbit heart), grunge-like (Kiss with a fist), typical indie (My boy builds coffins), entertaining:) (Hurricane drunk), rock (You've got the love).

Florence & The Machine 3 by utku lutek on Grooveshark

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dead Man's salvation

In the "Auguries of Innocence", William Blake says:

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

which is often quoted in the movie Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995), recommended to me by Betül.

Here is the lovely theme song from the movie:

Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch) by utku lutek on Grooveshark

Funky love; Soul

While I was writing my MS thesis during the lovely summer of 2011, I spent almost all my working time in a lovely coffee house called Cofeina at the Politechniki square, Warsaw-Poland. This list is a tribute to that sunny time of intellectual endeavour.

R&B - soul by utku lutek on Grooveshark