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Archive for the category “Classic”

Love After Valentine’s Day

Is it always a good time to talk about love? I didn’t really expect me to talk about such a mystical and yet ubiquitous subject matter like love but I got quite a handful of readings about it the other day, which I intend to share with everybody.

I’m reading the book Inferno for the second time. As I was going through Canto V, where one of the most celebrated writers in history, Dante Alighieri, illustrated the damnation the lustful suffers in hell, these lines caused me to pause for a little bit so I decided to read it over and over again:

Love, that can quickly seize the gentle heart, took hold of him because of the fair body taken from me—how that was done still wounds me.

Love, that releases no beloved from loving, took hold of me so strongly through his beauty that, as you see, it has not left me yet.

Love led the two of us unto one death.

Such beautiful composition! Aren’t they?

Then I remembered that for this week I’m actually studying the life of Rachel, Jacob’s second wife. And her story tells us of a predicament about love—presently a cliche—the love triangle. It was Rachel whom Jacob loves and adores but Leah had him first; it was her who bore Jacob his first sons. God sees the unloved Leah as He sees the barren Rachel, and both He blessed (Genesis 25 – 35).

All these make me wonder. Do any of us in this world know what love really is? Are all the definitions we have assumed, reflected, analyzed through the course of our experiences enough to grasp its full meaning?

Relationships isn’t really my strength. In fact, I already had six failed relationships and currently have several complicated ones with family and friends. I discovered that love is too big a word for me that I could never truly understand it apart from what Jesus did on the cross. The thought of love without God, without knowing who He really is is an impasse, a dead end. Love is too incomprehensible because that is who God is.

It is funny that as I think of ways to end this post, I found out that the devotional I read today was wrong. I accidentally advanced to the next chapter. But it did provide me a fresh insight about God who has purposefully plotted all the details of my life. I skimmed through the page that I was supposed to read today and I truly felt God’s love speaking to me.  Earlier this week, I was being skeptic about Genesis 30:22 that says, “God remembered Rachel; He listened to her and opened her womb.” And I felt dismayed because to me it implied that God forgot about Rachel, but I am wrong. To prove that He listens to my thoughts, He answered me straight to the point and with such great humor and love; my devo reads:

God remembered Rachel, but He had never really forgotten her. When the Bible uses the word remember, it doesn’t mean that God forgets and then suddenly recalls. As if the all-knowing, all-powerful God of the universe suddenly hits his forehead with the heel of His hand and says, “Oops! I forgot all about Rachel. I’d better do something quickly!”

No, when the Bible says God remembers something, it expresses God’s love and compassion for His people. It reminds us of God’s promise never to abandon us or leave us without support or relief. He will never forsake us. He will never forget us. He will always remember us. (Source: Women of the Bible, Spangler and Syswerda)

To give my short musings about love a perfect ending, let me part not with happily ever after but with this verse from Luke 1:49 which to me is equally romantic:

The Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name.

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The Reality of Oneness

If you are lucky enough in life, you’ll find that person who will dream the dreams that no one has ever dared to. If you’re really lucky, you will have that person by your side fighting for the same things you’re fighting for.

So there we have it; the truth that it is in times of happiness and greatness that we will often find ourselves most alone and friendless. As I have been losing my wits figuring out where I am headed to in this life, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of watching these films. They serve as a creative reminder that finding THE ONE is life’s most precious mystery and understanding this mystery is a prime human need. We all want to get lucky, don’t we?

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

High Noon

High Noon

Funny Hepburn-Astaire in Funny Face

Having had some good news to end the week and having an Almighty God with whom I can put all my worries on got me all elated and quirky again with the good old classics.

The first impression was Funny Face might have been Devil Wears Prada’s inspiration for its effortless fashion bazaar. But when philosophy got all mixed up with Fred Astaire’s dancing authority and Kay Thompson’s absolutely erratic banters – and the given fact that Ms Hepburn was a living jewel at her time (Oh her charm! the big screen I suppose would never be enough for it), I immediately knew that  Funny Face is worth the spike on my electric bill and my meal budget, and that Devil Wears Prada has absolutely nothing to do with such great classic.

What Good is It for a Man to Gain the Whole World?

Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee in a drug-endemic Miami, was able to get everything he has laid his eyes on — or shall I say his balls have ever dared coveting. In his way up to becoming a drug-lord linchpin (so he thought he’s invincible and eliminating him is way too impossible a plan), his greediness slowly turned his sanity into a bloody rift of survival and losing everything he had worked for his entire life.

Scarface which stars Al Pacino as Tony Montana easily set the standard in making gangster-movies. The underground world of drug-trafficking should of course convey to its audience that element of fear and disgust for moral decay and violence; but along with that, as a viewer, it is inevitable to walk away from the TV set without admiring how fashionable, cool, iconic a bad-ass mob leader like the Godfather father star has always been; Al Pacino gave his role what was entirely missing in the plot of Scarface –and that is justice.

Woe Betide Love (Or is it the other way around?)

An impoverished poet, indebted to his boorish and obnoxious friend, John Keats (Ben Wishaw) had taken the pall of life and perhaps, death, too, as it had first taken the life of his sick brother. With nothing to live for, nothing to live by but his passion for his writings, Mr Keats embraced the remaining years of his life musing in silence under his tattered coat. Until a seamstress, whom he fondly called ‘mixstress’ breathed air into his sullen days, Mr Keats found love, the muse of his inspiration, in Ms Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish).

How else can I describe their darkling passion for each other but through the beauty and life of one great creation, such as poetry. “Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept mystery,” just as their love was a refuge where they can find understanding, comfort, and acceptance. “If poetry does not come as naturally as leaves to a tree then it had better not come at all.” What do they need out of love but the truth, honesty, and a bond strong enough to fight conformity. “Poetic craft is a carcass, a sham.” Was there ever a strategy, a concoction of spells, mathematical and scientific formula to love, to feel its greatness and depth? to learn about its pain? about its gain and losses? Their love story was the essence of a poem.

The film upholds so much value about love. The colors when the characters were devoid and filled with love, the score that gave it a sweet, lonely departure, the supporting characters that made loneliness lonelier despite of their presence, and the utterance of words from a poet and a seamstress — two people who were totally different, with statures in life that cast them unmatched for one another — I must say, there lived a poetry, a love that betide nothingness and everything else.

 

Revolutionary Road and the Question It Dared Ask: Do we have the courage to get out of mediocrity?

Released in 2008, Revolutionary Road didn’t quite make the headlines in my own little world. It was only 3 years later that time permitted me to immerse myself  in the complications and beauty – however awry the plot turned out- of this magnificent film.

Revolutionary Road is a classic novel written by Richard Yates. It took Sam Mendes (director) and Justin Haythe (screenplay writer) four years to finally get the film into full production. Listening to their commentary, I could only imagine how exhilarating and cathartic it is to read the novel — and if only to base my judgment on how the film’s production team was able to fuse all cinematic elements into one  dynamic, timeless oeuvre, it certainly validates what a masterpiece it was back then as it is now.

For one, Richard Yates was able  to put  into writing and into the conflicting personalities of the characters one forgotten possibility – that in life, chances don’t come in bundles, that people (couples per se)  couldn’t just massively give out a number of chances just to make the craft of loving, of being a good partner, of being in a relationship work. There will always be that one, sole chance that could transform or shift a living paradigm, and the failure to grab that chance, to make the most of it will define the difference between fighting  for love and letting it fall apart.

The dissatisfaction as they continued to live a suburban life in Connecticut plagued the once happy relationship of the couple, Frank and April (Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet). As they struggled to repair their disintegrating relationship through compromise and to make light of the truth through manipulation, self-gratification, and love, they found themselves trapped in a reality where decisions made in conjunction with what is right and wrong were clouded by sheer obscurity. Moreover, they found themselves disconnected from a reality where one’s courage to leave his or her own comfort zone, to change and challenge a present system of living is constantly met with ridicule and cynicism.

Making reality not so much a tool to beautify a film (as far as glamour and vanity are concerned) as to using it in depicting a foul, enraged, crumbling element of life  is an essential factor that makes Revolutionary Road a great film.

How can I not impose that you watch it 🙂

All About Eve and the Classics

So many times that my inclination to watch classic movies stirred up heated discussions with my friends. Now that I’m on it once AGAIN, I have quite a reflection as to why I became so faddish about anything that is classic.

Timeliness and timelessness, and Depth

A theme or a story that encompasses the beauty and complexities of human experience, of that lustrous humane element that makes film so much of an art as it attempts to capture a distantly inexpressible quality is more often than not an absentee in the present choices of movies we have today. And these elements, say, the complexities of the characters, the conflict, the setting, the message – when all these elements were put together – would lag behind our mind; It can discomfort us or keep us drained, disturbed, and moved; these elements make film other than a medium of entertainment an ageless companion from whom we can experience and learn so much.

The Pioneers

I can’t help but be amazed at how with little influence of technology filmmakers back then were able to create the greatest movies which techniques in writing, screenplay, direction have set the benchmark and standards that we still use today in filmmaking. We are standing on the shoulders of giants.

 

So, here’s a classic movie equipped with a well-written script, impeccable performance from Bette Davis, as the aging Broadway star in the persona of Margo Channing (I was gonna say impeccable enunciation, too) and a domineering graciousness and antagonism (classic bitchiness) that really got me tied up on my seat, All About Eve certainly glamoured me into recommending it.

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