Monday, October 28, 2013

Greengrass docu-style strikes back

Paul Greengrass has once again lifted his docu-filming style on a pedestal while directing Captain Phillips, drama-action film based on a true story – captain’s memoirs.

After United 93, 2006 semi-docu drama about hijacked plane during the September 11 attacks, Paul found another serious issue to address through an old channel, but new leading guys, Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi, actor and film director from Somalia.

© Copyright Columbia Pictures 2013
Captain Phillips portrays a story of a captain of a cargo ship going through troubled international waters near uneasy Somali coast. Faced with Somali pirates, Tom Hanks, portraying a captain of the ship, delays attacks as efficient as possible until International Maritime Organization (IMO) and US Seals react.

Paul’s film intro has set a focus on a family momentum and a clear comparison between American and Somali lifestyle: on one side Somali pirates’ leaders choosing their ‘soldiers’, and on another side Hanks discussing his child’s potential employment issues with his wife, portrayed shortly by Catherine Keener. From this moment on we can feel that the story will unwrap as a competition, between Hanks and Somali pirates’ leader, Muse, phenomenally portrayed by Abdi.

Paul Greengrass’s semi-docu personal directing style is less evident at the beginning when we see footage from Abdi’s boat and his struggle to ‘show-off’ to his ‘soldiers’, but more evident in depiction of boats: fresh daylight cargo ship on one side and darkish Somali’s boat on another side.

Portrait of Hanks is magnificently edited through the piece, especially at the far ending when the agony on Hanks’s face is so spectacular that only because of those last 5 minutes I would suggest a Nomination for the Oscar.

With fantastic inner-ship simple cinematography by Barry Ackroyd (United 93, The Hurt Locker), and strong elements of poverty, international concerns, and third-world reality, I believe that Greengrass proved us once more how good he is in dealing with serious issues through 7th Art.

We often say that artists use their works to portray something fundamentally serious in an effective yet simple manner. It is safe to say that with Captain Phillips Paul Greengrass has succeeded.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dogs: Fashion accessory

In the last decade we were witnesses of increase of presence of dog breeds on high-fashion shows, strutting down the catwalk proudly, while giving a special glance to its catwalk owner, the model next to, and a brand itself.

Many scientists, such as e.g. Ph.D. professor from University of British Columbia, Stanley Coren, shrewdly observed that a pet dog improves your mental and physical health. Maybe driven by scientific research, or perhaps own sense (and sensibility), but it is quite obvious that fashion houses often include these lovely pets as catwalk and model accessory. We can easily say that it is/or becoming a trend.

Mulberry Spring 2014
London Fashion Week 2013
One of the most prominent and rather obvious examples of this is wonderful English fashion house Mulberry. Being well-known for amazing leather goodies, in the last couple of years it was almost inevitable to forget Mulberry four-legged friends. Last month at London Fashion Week we had an opportunity to see their example how dogs can finish the catwalk puzzle.

Tommy Hilfiger S/S 2013
 © Copyright Craig McDean
Tommy Hilfiger, an American lifestyle brand is also a very good example of this trend. Their ad campaigns are always filled with lovely French breed basset hounds that give an additional light to their clothing and accessories. 

I am not sure what the official data (if any) are saying, but I am pretty sure that when you see a dog on the street, in papers, magazines or TV, you have that small or rather big grin on your face. Dogs often provoke very soft (sometimes embarrassing) reactions from viewers. Therefore, it makes me wonder, can we say that fashion houses add pets to catwalk for the same purpose as baker does when she/he puts a cherry on top of the cake?
One way or another, we must admit, the concept is effective.

I am one of those who have a soft (embarrassing) happy reaction when I see a dog. Oh, and yes, when I see a good piece of clothing.

Monday, September 10, 2012


One of the most important fashion venues, New York Fashion Week takes place this week in the cultural capital of the World. At the same time Vogue Fashion Night Out, #FNO is on. In both cases, fashionistas will face their fashion “fear”, whether they are ready to be impressed by the fashion flood in stores around the world. As far as #FNO, I do hope they are well prepared…themselves and their bank accounts.

Copyright 2012 Vogue UK
As one of the fashionistas who will not be able to attend this amazing “street show”, I reserve my post here, with imaginative flashes by the newborn colours, stand by feeling of “what to expect and what's behind the curtain”, and wait until social networking tools start sharing the views of unexpected.

I am of the opinion that even if your reply on RSVP for these venues is “No”, it will not undermine your affection to find these events irresistible. Fashion is that way: global unexpected love. Those beautiful tempting mornings with coffee and Vogue are on the same page as these venues. With every page you turn you feel the curtain is opening and something extraordinary will come out. Strength of the page, frame on TV set or web page is quite inexplicable, and we love every part of it.
Fashion is a pure manifest: what’s happening now it will be visibly marked forever. Which brings us to very important question: How important is to feel the ongoing trends to the aim of understanding ‘em?

Max Mara aw 2012
Copyright 2012 Mario Sorrenti

Nowadays it is quite clear that Nations will go XL this season. Baggy pants, baggy sleeves, baggy coats, baggy jewelry and baggy accessories. Proof for this statement can be seen on every corner. While looking at designers’ collection for this fall, we do notice that every single one of them included one or a few XL pieces. One of many examples, yet quite direct, is new collection for upcoming season by Louis Vuitton, distinguished French fashion house, which was remarkably shot by great Steven Meisel. Everything is more than just Large…Romantic…or Coloury. It is also carefully detailed with remarkable objects. Another pretty complete proof for XL this season is new collection by Italian fashion house Max Mara, whose nowadays huge coats and sweaters can “drag” you down the street in such a luxurious way that you will amaze your environment.

We don’t need to go further to prove the statement that Nation does go XL this season, but do we feel it? Do we understand it?

Few days ago I was walking with few members of my family (easy to guess what gender it was), and while debating on wardrobe choices, for some of them it wasn’t easy to accept the XL trend. Reasons for neglecting the trend were just queuing. As a XL acceptance member of minority in this little group, the question/answer had to pop out whether you want it or not: You understand the deep meaning of it, hence you accept it?

Whether we do hit the meaning of XL for the designer or not, as long as we are able to find our own post in it, we managed to expect the unexpected.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Suburb lifestyle goes into higher level-Manchester trip

One suburban lil lady decided one day that it was about time to visit UK soil for the first time, but not on an ordinary level.....Lil lady decided to visit the place previously made and underlined somewhere between a dream and reality.....Manchester, UK.

A trip to UK, from Croatia, was a non-stop "mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios" label. Was it because she was pretty much aware that she's gonna see her guy after some time, meetin' his parents or just the fact that she's gonna step onto a UK soil for the first time, not really sure.....But what she was aware of is certaintly the fact that she's the only Balkan girl onboard! Shocking no? An almost 3 hour flight, I pod touch music with Placebo, Alice in Chains and The Stone Roses in the background and a lil snacks, she was finally above the Manchester airport on the point which her heart started bangin' so loud to embarrassment.

Stepping onto the UK soil was amazing. I am aware of the fact that this sounds pretty much tacky, but believe me.....maybe it was. I don't think she would care, to be precise.....

UK border police was pretty much kind. Not that she didn't expect, but still.....She arrived from a country outside of EU with the passport and citizenship of a country that's not even close to enroll into the mentioned Union, so it was pretty close to another "breakdown". The only one, besides two Chinese, in the queue for international/Non EU traveler, she filled the Border form and kindly stepped in, handed her passport, and chatted a lil bit a border officer. Besides the fact that she was supposed to explain every single detail about her trip to UK and even explain what relation does she have with the mentioned person to whom she's going to, it was a pretty nice and constructive lil chat, which also included a very, now known fact, that she's a United fan for the last ten years!

The first thing she noticed, of course besides chick-flick huggin' and very well noticeable kissin' in the middle of the airport (I think you could actually hear the very famous three lil words "get a room"), is style. Or shall I say, no-style-at-all. Shocked? Pretty much. Not that the well known fact of suburb non-style cities wasn't present, but I must say she expected more. Come to think of it, if you are coming from a relatively poor country where, I must say you may notice pretty much stylish people, it's expected that you find more stylish people abroad, especially when it comes to a pretty rich individuals who live in UK. Not that she wasn't aware of the fact that that's Manchester and not capital London, but she did expect more.
Especially when she was slapped with the fact that fashion magazines are double cheaper in UK then in her own country! Stressed by that fact, she entered the "non-secure-money zone" in WHSmith and bought 25 pounds worth of fashion, music and movies magazines. I know.....A well-known psycho is revealed as well as the lil question which popped out: Do you have to be gay or be into Fashion business in order to dress correctly?

Walking through the Manchester for a week was a brand new/fresh start for her half-tormented mind. Besides the fact that she's reunited with her guy, she had a lot of things to think about, like what to wear on a typical Western/UK wedding. After a lil bit of reconsideration and consult with her suitcase, especially if you think about the fact that she wasn't aware that she'll be in a wedding before she came to UK, she decided to be a lil bit simple-classy, to show off that people from Balkan countries can really dress and feel more stylish in comparison to what people think, Balkan rednecks! Silky Penny Black short-sleeve shirt, half-wool dark green pants, dark blue Armani Jeans ballerinas and a beautiful 100% silk scarf, with colory small Desigual letter bag. Very simple, cozy, show-off style. Loud and proud.....and I must say she made it. The fact that the bride was very much interested in all of that including, as she said "gorgeous", it was enough for her. They probably thought "She really didn't look like she's from the Balkans".....That's the catch.
As far as the outfits on the wedding, besides the bride's wedding dress (I must say she was kind a skeptic, if it's not made by Vera Wang, Vivienne Westwood or similar, wedding dresses are pretty much the same kind, and not very original.....but this one was typical but very well made!), it was pretty clear that they are really not able to dress properly. You could have actually seen some pretty shocky images there. Wrong colors, wrong shoes, and Oh dear Lord.....wrong moves!

Conclusion would be simple, UK is still amazing.....but The Balkans are not that bad ha? ;)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Seductive Movie List?

It's rather interesting how a simple, yet seductive joke, so to say, can bring you to those quality memories you forbid yourself to forget, but again, you did forget...Scrolling/deleting files from my computer (office breakdown?), I bumped into a very interesting conversation (often those interesting conversations are with yourself, as this is the case) I had few months ago, while thinking "How to make a valuable, effective yet influential Movie List to person who is semi-enrolled into 7th Art, while not avoiding some directors, authors and their work?" While replying to that, some might say "odd" question, I realized that no matter how strong you're committed to 7th Art for years (I might easily say decades), you still have no idea how to form a List like this...or, to put it more directly, how the hell did you think you're even competent to do so? Definitely, we are witnesses, for years/decades, that people, while appreciating movies, try to "play along" with artists in order to be a "part of the big picture", even though they personally don't deal with Art in everyday life. Why Seductive List? Seduction can be interpreted in several ways of course...Here, I was more focused on "flattering" to artists themselves, through their work. Once you see The List, you will, I am sure, understand what I meant. Let me stop you no more...

The List
-not in a chronological, artful, cultural, mandatory or any other order-
Ladies and gents, let us begin with some small introduction, or shall I say, mandatory technical details about the extraordinary “ship” you’re about to embark on. The Author will be reviewing her knowledge of “hidden” directors, and through that review will be suggesting more than one movie from each director. The order of the movies is certainly not mandatory, but the follow-up agenda certainly is. The list you’re about to see has to be followed quite concentrated and well organized. During the selection on what to watch first, it's preferable to consult Author of the List. At the end, let me just say that I am fully honored to be your guide through this List.

Kuroi Ame, Shohei Imamura, 1989. Movie received two “small” prizes on Cannes Film Festival. Plot appears rather simple but not the cinematography. Movie focuses on the consequences of Hiroshima bombing. Reviews of the movie were pretty high, and as expected, reviews are argumentative. Director also wrote the story. Probably one of the best movies regarding the aftermath of Hiroshima. Maybe it’s worth fully to consider also his two achievements, Vengeance is mine, 1979. and Unagi, 1997. Director has many awards, among them the most famous are Golden Palm for above mentioned Unagi and Golden Palm for Ballad of Narayama, 1983.

Mickey one, Arthur Penn, 1965. Very good but rather simple plot. The movie is “famous” ‘cause of its impact on the Hollywood at that time. As you are probably aware, at that time Europe was leading with the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave), and Hollywood had to find an answer, a better cul-de-sac approach to their direction. Arthur Penn tried that here, with Warren Beatty in the main role. Movie has its film noir-ish “attitude”. Director was nominated three times for the Oscar, and all nominations were for direction. Besides above mentioned movie, you may consider watching Alice’s restaurant, 1969 (considering that you saw Bonnie and Clyde, 1967.).

Le Boucher/The Butcher, Claude Chabrol, 1970. Another Nouvelle Vague director, one of the leading people in “mysterious” frames. Amazing direction. Le Boucher is pretty much simple thriller, with the drama bits left out on the surface. Suggestion: Dr. Popaul, 1972, dark comedy. Director nominated tons of times for prestigious European awards.

Turtles can fly, Bahman Ghobadi, 2004. Typical presentations of refugees in Asia. Amazing story. Mandatory! Suggestion: This Iranian director was not fully known, until he made A time for drunken horses in 2000., and No one knows about Persian, 2009. Worth full.

The stoning of Soraya M., Cyrus Nowrasteh, 2008. Well made adaptation of French book, which is based on a true story. It talks about Sharia law and its inhumanity. I am not, personally, crazy about adaptations, but as you are aware, some of them can be pretty good. This one surely is. The director is famous for his docudramas. Scroll a little bit through his work. Might be interesting.

The secret in their eyes, Juan Jose Campanella, 2009. Won an Oscar this year for Best foreign film (this year was pretty “tough” in this category. Like I told you, besides Prophet and White Ribbon I already suggested, you may also pay attention to another nominee for Best foreign film, Ajami, from Israel). Movie follows a homicide cases with pure mystery bits.

Naked lunch, David Cronenberg, 1991. Adaption. Again. But a very important one. One of the best pieces by one of my favorite directors of all time. I always preferred Cronenberg ‘cause of his sense of reality into non-reality. Especially here, in Naked lunch. One of the best lines in movie-script history is at the beginning of this movie. Woman explains to him that she’s “Kafka high”. The reason is pretty simple, yet complicated…..The movie’s plot surrounds exterminator and exterminating the bugs. His woman is stealing the insecticide as drug addiction. And while she’s injecting the “drug”, she says that she’s “Kafka high” ‘cause of famous novel by Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis, where his main character turns into an insect. Don’t have to explain Cronenberg that much, he is well known director, but I will mention few mandatory movies (some of it you already watched, of course), Shivers, Rabid, Videodrome, Crash, Existenz and of course History of violence, the masterpiece.

Kes, Ken Loach, 1969. One of my favorite British directors of all time (of course, after Hitch) made a movie about a boy and his unusual grown up period. If you didn’t watch it by now, it’s definitely mandatory! It will appeal to you I can BET on it! Shows strength on a specific level. That’s why I’m suggestin’ it. It’s actually named in 100 best movies from Britain, if my memory serves me well, hm…..Ken Loach is pretty much esteemed in all film industrial circles. Though, they all paid attention to him after Family life he made in 1971., and after so many nominations and awards at Cannes film festival. Besides above mentioned, suggestions: Carla’s song, 1996. and The wind that shakes the Barley, 2006. (won the Golden Palm) which you have already seen.

Frank Capra…..My fav at that time. My cinematic baby. He will be the basis of my future Master thesis at my Faculty, ‘cause of his propagandistic cinematic work. But I won’t suggest his propaganda work, I’ll suggest something a lil more softly…..Mr. Smith goes to Washington, 1939 and Arsenic and old lace, 1944 a very strange movie. It was an adaptation of the play. He received so many awards that I can’t even count ‘em.

Madeo, Joon-ho Bong, 2009. Since that you love Asian cinema, there’s a possibility you’ve seen it already…..Amazing direction. She plays the role of the mother perfectly. Not so globally known, but it’s very good…..

Suna no onna, Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964. AMAZING CINEMATOGRAPHY! One of my favorite Asian piece. It was nominated for two Oscars actually, for direction and foreign film. Also at Cannes. Plot surrounds an entomologist who’s searchin’ insects on a beach. You’ll LOVE IT!

Hope and glory, John Boorman, 1987. A lil bit autobiographical about a boy in Britain during the World war II. It was nominated for 5 Oscars as I recall, including cinematography which is very good. Boorman is a fine director. He made Deliverance in 1972. Fine fine film. You saw that probably, it’s a classic.

Les uns et les autres (sometimes called Bolero, by famous Ravel’s composition) Claude Lelouch, 1981. My personal favorite. Has one of the best endings in movie history, with probably the best ballet ever filmed. It follows musicians and dancers through three generations through World war II. Very complicated plot even though it appears regular, random. Claude Lelouch is an amazing French director, made some fine films, among those are Les miserables, 1995., Vivre pour vivre, 1967. and Un homme et une femme, 1966. For the last one he won an Oscar for screenplay.

Luis Bunuel, my personal psycho, one of the best people from that part of Europe. He was nominated only two times for Oscars for screenplay, and both of those you have to see, The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, 1972., and That obscure object of desire, 1977. I could talk about him on and on and on…..But I won’t. Too boring. It’s enough to say that he was a genius. A cinematic genius. Besides above mentioned, mandatory are Viridiana, 1961., Belle de jour, 1967, and my personal favorite Un chien andalou, 1929., made with collaboration with Salvador Dali! Cinematic masterpiece!

Birdy, Alan Parker, 1984. You probably saw this. It’s too typical, but nevertheless I’ll suggest it. Probably the only acting from Nicholas Cage that it’s bearable (of course, after Leaving Las Vegas, 1995.) talks about mental problems as a result/consequence of Vietnam war. Alan Parker is very very weird. Though, he has two masterpieces, for which he received nominations for direction at Oscars, Midnight express, 1978., and Mississippi burning, 1988.

The longest day, Ken A., Andrew M., Bernhard W. and D. Zanuck – one of the most famous people from Hollywood, who started as a huge producer of the movies at the beginning of the Hollywood rise - 1962. The movie is brilliantly made. It’s divided into three sectors, and the division is not hidden, the division is obvious. Second world war, main day, three sides, American, British and German. If your father didn’t see it, HE HAS TO! Lots LOTS of famous people, well organized, yet well hidden. Won the Oscars for cinematography and Art direction. Well deserved!

Noir et blancs en couleur, Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1976. Won the Oscar for best foreign movie. Absolutely deserved. You’ll love it specifically ‘cause of plot. The plot is amazing, surrounds French colonists in Africa. None famous in it, and not important at all. I think you mentioned it… perhaps you’ve seen it already…..can’t remember.

Les sciences de reves, Michael Gondry, 2006. If not, it’s mandatory, but there’s a huge possibility you’ve seen it already. My favorite music videos director probably. The movie is weird. Charlotte Gainsbourg has a fantastic role in it.She did well. The guy in it depends on his dreams too much, and it gets out of hand. Well made.

Fish tank, Andrea Arnold, 2009. Remember the Red road I suggested…..the same director, another interesting plot which surrounds a 15 year old girl and her environment. It was nominated for Golden palm. Worth full.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Oh dear Lord…..I think I can talk about him over and over and over again. What a man. What a director. The stuff he made…..speechless. I could bore people with him all day long. It’s very hard to withdraw only a few movies for you to watch, but I’ll jus mention classics, Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss, 1982 – won Golden Berlin Bear, Der ehe der Maria Braun, 1979 – nominated for Berlin bear, Angst essen seele auf, 1974 – nominated for Cannes, and Lili Marleen, 1981 another masterpiece.

Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, 1996. Not a big fan of portraits of big artists, but this one I love. Jefferey Wright played Basquiat so so well…..and fuckin’ David Bowie is Andy Warhol by choice!!!!! Maybe a lil bit subjective here since that I like the work of Basquiat, but I wouldn’t suggest it if I don’t have a good reason. Artistic reason at least…..Even your dearest Courtney Love plays in it. She actually pretty good, though it’s a short act.

Taste of cherry, Abbas Kiarostami, 1997. I think I already talked to you about this very VERY slow movie. But a pretty much masterpiece on the corner of the slowness. The guy wants to commit suicide but can’t find anyone to help him in that deed, so to speak…..The film won the Golden palm that year in a very tough selection. Kiarostami was nominated for another fine film in 1999. The wind will carry us. Also a suggestion!

· And something rather crazy and horroristic for the far end - 
The black cat, Edgar Ulmer, with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. It’s a classic, which means you’ve probably seen it…..But I jus have to mention it, ‘cause it’s made amazingly for that period. Edgar Ulmer made Detour in 1945, another amazing movie. Both pretty eccentric but amazingly done.