Luxurious story of a simple feeling

That‘s how I decided to title my post on „The Great Gatsby“ movie (I have to tell in advance that I haven‘t read the book). But really this whole movie is permeated with luxury, beauty, wealth – all these grand things and yet it tells us a story about love – simple as it is. Love that wasn‘t meant to be happy. But let‘s talk about one thing at the time.

What makes this film different   that it brings us back to the 1930s, yet the film is made in quite modern way which is not typical for that era films even though they might have been made much later. Plus, hearing rap music… What has rap in common with 1930s? But this combination in a film – why not? Plus, it‘s a very theatrical movie. Usually theatricality in films annoys me, but this time it was in the right place and in the right time. Theatricality was used  very tastefully. As well as some sort of cartoonic moments. They appear in this movie very carefully and in very delicate amounts.

I also loved that Gatsby‘s story is told by some other character – Nick Carraway, the story is told through Nick‘s lense, from his perspective and experience. Yet, Gatsby‘s story becomes his owns – Nick‘s story and this is very similar to John‘r and Owen‘s story from J. Irving‘sA prayer for Owen Meanny(I wrote about this book in my previous post). And he talks about Gatsby with such an admiration, respect as if meeting him was the best that happened to him. John talked about Owen the same way. Gatsby showed the world to Nick. The world he hasn‘t seen. The one he didn‘t know exist and that he could be (even if in a very tiny amount) part of it.

I so enjoyed this idea of not rushing to judge people but putting efforts in seeing the best they have. This thought said in the movie could be a gold thought, something that could be quoted. And it‘s true in the perspective of this particular story because at  first you get completely opposite impresion of Gatsby and Daisy (the two of them shared a history. However, their love wasn‘t meant to last) from those you gain, you learn as the story goes further.

For instance, at first I thought of Daisy as simple golden girl who lives a life without worries, enjoying all the pleassures of life. Yet, later she becomes colourless to me. In all sense. She turned out to be either a coward who‘s affraid to behave her way and use her head or she just pretended to be this way.

Gatsby also at the beginning seemed to be extravagant, arogant, wealthy man who needs so badly to show his fortune (well, actually, he threw them for Daisy) by throwing these parties (which, by the way, are awesome) at which no one knew how he looks. He is a very mysterious character. Now, later in the movie, for me, Gatsby‘s character opens up to be not that much of an extravagant, but lonely. He‘s incredibly lonely, desperately in love. Out this desperation, wish to impress Daisy he acts excentric, clumsy in a way, and a bit childish, but he sincerely did throw heaven right to her feet. However, his love sometimes reminds more like an addiction or obssession to bring back the best he had with Daisy back in the day. But you can‘t bring back the past.

I don‘t know what it was, but it was fascinating how one person – Gatsby (of course) without having any bad intentions was able to affect all these people and change their lives. What was that? Charisma? Charm? But there was something.

I have to mention this interesting way of interaction between characters. It‘s so intriguing: people have lovers, they cheat, and everybody knows (friends, family members) about it and do nothing, pretending everything is OK, yet the tension grows. This piece of element works every time. Especially, when the time comes for the secret of affair to be revealed. How to tell a husband / wife that you‘re inlove with someone else and you want to be with that person, or that you‘ve already been in other relationship for a while behind your spouse‘s back? Is there a right way to do it (all in all, affairs sooner or later become known)? Gatsby thought that the best way is to tell the truth. Yet, this wish didn‘t end for him nicely – Daisy‘s husband eliminated him from the game in the lowest way.

What shocked me, was Daisy saying right after she gave birth to baby girl that she was thankful to God and she hoped that her daughter will grow up and become stupid. I understand why she thought so, but it is still very cruel of mother to wish her child something like that in any way.

Everything that we see in this movie, all the relationships, situations looks kind of psychodelic. It‘s a chaos of everything happening all at once. And all this medling into other peoples relationship (like Nick is asked/ forced to do, like Gatsby does with Daisy‘s family, though it is quite hard and uncomfortable to be in the middle of something like keeping in secret an affair and helping it) ) makes it even more chaotic, and not very right. But hey, our lives can be really psychodelic, and it can happen quite fastly.

Movie also shows this huge division between people who lived in Long Ailend (bright and beautiful, gorgeous place with nice houses) and those who worked and lived in Valley of Ashes, an industrial dumping site (black and dirty, poor place). It‘s an enternal division between rich and poor, moral and immoral. And it proves that sometimes richiest, with good education people are the filthiest ones. However, all this idea about certain status that can be gained ONLY by birth or family is such a bullshit. Of course it is true, but it does not make a person any better and, moreover, it does not give the right to act like a jerk just because you’re richer than the rest of the people.

At the end I‘d like to say that this is a tragic love story where one phone call at end of the film could change things and we would say it ended happily. But it didn‘t. Gatsby‘s love for Daisy killed him. However, he was lucky to experience this beautiful feeling. And all those people who used and enjoyed Gatsby‘s generocity showed what they are worth without showing up to say the last goodbye. At the end everybody forgot him.

 

Advertisements

These were the days of their lives

There‘s been said about the band Queen and their vocalist Freddie Mercury tons of things. Yet, a lot of things are still being said, because this particular band made a huge influence on lots of people and musicians in the world. They left a mark in a musical history.

Recently, I re-watched the two part BBC documentary about the band called „Queen: Days of Our Lives“. What can I say? Since I‘ve read a lot of stuff about the band and even though lots of things shown in this documentary weren‘t new to me (a lot of things been already told and shown), but still it was a very interesting thing to watch. It was not boring at all. I mean, how could it be? It‘s Queen!

The documentary is full of beautiful Queen‘s music, old interviews, videos from old concerts and performances – various material from different years which is really interesting to see from current perspective. The documentary is so full of everything, but it could be even fuller, because there is so much that could be told about Queen. I loved that the remaining two band members – Roger Taylor and Brian May were actively involved in this documentary and they told lots of things (sure there were used some old interviews of John Deacon and Freddie Mercury, but it is just not the same as if they were talking currently).

I‘ve been thinking how to write the things I want to say. And I came up with the idea of simply pointing every single thought separately.

  • Charisma that obtained F. Mercury. Here, at this point, I think there‘s no need to discuss the magic over the charisma of Mr. Mercury. Without a doubt he obtained one. However, Queen wouldn‘t be Queen without each one of the four members no matter how charismatic Freddie was alone. However, his ability to control massess is phenomenal.
  • Queen is a great example that success doesn‘t come as fast and easy as it might seem it does. The band had to go through various difficulties, work really hard before they became successful. Maybe it was a good thing, taught them to cherish what they had and reach for the star even harder.
  • This particular documentary gives us a chance to take another look (exactly, look) at certain songs, albums, how they were created. You get a completely different understanding of them and respect for them (e.g. now I have completely different respect for „Seven Seas of Rhye“.

  • It was interesting to hear how author rights were split between band members. I didn‘t know about the rule that whoever brings the idea of the song will own the rights for it even though others helped in creating it (wrote music, or lyrics). On the one hand, it was a fair rule, but on the other hand, I think it used to bring a lot of tension into the band. Rule to split the rights equally makes much more sense, because either way everybody works on recording of the song.
  • Fredddie’s persona. Well, for me he was not such a huge diva as he is portrayed. No. He had his opinion at certain things, he had his own visions and he fought for them. Strongly.
  • Queen members were extremely precise and detailed in creating music and writing smart ass texts. They were very precise at what they were doing. And this is one of those things I like them so much and respect them.
  • Problems with contracts. Not getting money for your own music. They‘ve been fooled by their managers, robbed by them. Up until I watched this documentary I did not know about this. However, I can‘t say it was schoking. They were definetely not the first band or artist that were fooled by their managers or record companies. It‘sa quite known situation.
  • Freddie and his sexual orientation. I don‘t know why, but when we talk about Queen this topic always comes up. Sure, I understand that back in a day it was huge, it was shocking, but today? Does it really matter what orientation Freddie rally was? He lived a life the way he wanted, the way he liked. Sure, he did mistakes, we all do. But he also paid the price and he didn‘t put the blame for it on anyone. I don‘t think it‘s relevant to discuss his sexual orientation each and every time we discuss the music created by him and Queen. For God‘s sake, his sex life, it was his business. Who are we to judge? He had the right to live it the way he thought it was right, and if nothing bothered his partners why it should bother someone else?
  • For me, it was surprising to find out that no one believed in the success of „Bohemian Rhapsody at the very beginning. This song (one song!) was recorded in 6 different studios.It’s gorgeous as much as asong can be. And this example shows us how important it is to find people who will believe in you and what you do.

  • As well as, it is very important to have complete freedom to create. Usually musicians are limited, put into frames by their managers, record companies, because these people only think about the profit. And you can‘t blame them. It‘s their job. What about the creator? His primal goal is to create something beautiful, not get profit from it (though if he gets it, then it is great).
  • I didn‘t also know that the press was very harsh, I‘d say even angry with Queen. But, again, there‘s also nothing new, because press is always harsh with those who are successfull.
  • You know, as I was watching this documentary I couldn‘t get rid of this strange feeling. When you see someone talking about those who are no longer with us, it‘s sometimes so hard to realise that they actualy once were alive, especially if you were born after their death. You start to perceive them as some sort of mythical figures.
  • Taking over America back then seemed to be a very difficult mission to acomplish. But when you think about it, nothing really changed. To take over American music industry, audience is still extremelly hard for non-American artists, even though Internet has changed things a bit. And it is also interesting that you can be famous all around the world and yet fail in America.
  • Shows back then. If you were a talented artist you didn‘t need much, just good sound, vocals, well… and maybe lights. Today, I think it‘s the same: you don‘t need these grandiloquent things if you are that good to control an audience with your music and vocals.
  • One of the key moments for me in this documentary was the fact that May‘s dad was against him becoming a rock star, but at the same time it was May‘s dad who helped him become a rock star by helping him  with his guitar. Irony.
  • I did know that Jazz“ album was recorded in France, because it was simply cheaper than to do this in London due to high taxes.
  • John Deacon in this documentary was mentioned as „secret weapon“ of the band. He probably was that way: always quiet, shy, but writing damn good songs. Even though it is thought that Deacon is least noticeable member of the band I don‘t know what it would look like if he wasn‘t in this band in the first place. Sure, he doesn‘t play with Brian and Roger now and I think the band really lacks him, as same as it lacks Freddie. Queen was and always will be a four member band, that‘s what made the essence. You take one member, you take the essence away. Despite the fact that I am happy that Roger and Brian are continuing to work and tour as Queen, they continue going on with the legacy of Queen, I can’t admit that it is exactly the same as Queen that we know of. It‘s not, but it‘s the best we can have now.
  • Interesting to know that because of „Another One Bites the Dust“ Queen was thought to be a black band. And that this song made them very popular among black people and black people (listeners) made the song to hit the charts and become best selling record. Crazy, but at the same time so sad to learn about this huge division between black and white people.

  • Queen is an interesting band because it was loved by people, hated by ctitics and press. The band that was never in fashion, was always in fashion.
  • No matter how apolitical you can be but different political situations in different countries, especially in those where you about to tour touches your music, touches you as an artist and saddly you cannot escape it. For example, had no clue about their performance in Sun city and all the scandal related to that place (the huge problem of apartheid, racial segregation back there).
  • Paul Prenter‘s character was new to me and turns out a nasty one. I did not know about those dark moments in Munich that happened while recording „Hot space“ and his part in it before.
  • What this documentary taught us? That in a band (or any different collective) you always have to search for compromises, even though it might be hard. It‘s a simple truth, but it‘s essential.
  • Live Aid performance. After watching this documentary I watched that performance. It‘s truly one of the most majestic performances. Lucky are those who got a chance to see it live.
  • Learning something about Queen you can‘t escape hearing something about Freddie’s disease (well, just like about his sexual orientation). For me it was quite sad to hear that this tragic event made band members even more closer. Sad not that they became closer, but the reason why they became closer. I mean why can‘t things be opposite? Why can‘t something joyful make people come closer? It was extremelly sad to listen the band members, and other people talking about Freddie’s disease and how it was killing him. Very sad.
  • About yellow press. I understand that it works the way it works. People working there have to feed their families, pay for kid‘s education, etc. I‘m not defending them, I‘m just saying that they do their job. However, some thing in their job should be untouchable: children (especially under 18 years old), family members (if they aren‘t public people) and health (unless person is OK to make it public). But on the other hand, aren‘t we the ones who make yellow press work in the direction they work? I mean, we consume and demand that kind of information. Hell, we pay money for that. Then maybe we should take our part of responsibility for making someone‘s life miserable at the most sensitive moments of their life, like dying from some terrible, uncurreable disease?
  • Such a talent, such a bright person and his life and such a sad, tragic ending of this gorgeous journey filled with wonderful music. But even though it was short it still goes on through that music and songs.
  • Queen, as well as Freddie, are more than a band and a singer. Both the band and Freddie are Phenomenons. Nothing less.

 

At the end of 2017 I saw Queen perform with Adam Lambert. What can I say? I missed John Deacon, not to mention how Freddie is missing. But Adam did a GREAT job. He’s not Freddie, he is Adam who is a gorgeous performer of his own. He doesn’t need to even try be like Freddie. But what he does with Queen is incredible. Brian and Roger still kick ass. I loved how they paid tribute to Freddie reminding us that he will Always be a part of this band no matter what. And the entire show… Well, it was a lifetime experience, gorgeous show, the best show I’ve ever seen. Pure magic.

A woman in a man‘s hand

Like literally. That‘s the plotline of a movie I‘m discussing today. Russian comedy „Odnoy levoy“ tells us a story about famous sculptor into whose arm one day settles in a woman. He (Maxim) is a party boy, casanova, she (Sophie) is a smart girl, animal rights activist, complete opposite of what Maxim is. And yet she moves in in his arm. How? Well, she was hit by a car, Maxim came running to help her, took her hand and BAM. They suffered an electric shock after what she be part of his body. That‘s the plotline of the movie very shortly, because basically there‘s not much to tell. It‘s not the most funniest comedy to watch, nor it‘s not the mostinteresting movie to watch in general. It‘s not all bad, but it‘s not good enough too.

The strenght of this film is the opposite characters and their interaction. She is an active vegetarian, maybe even vegan, living a healthy life, protecting animal rights. She is this perfection. But I‘ll take a step aside just to tell even if someone is like Sophie I don‘t think they have the right to force others live that kind of life style, because personally, I‘ve noticed that these vegetarian and vegan people like to do so, thinking it‘s the only right way to live a life. Well, it‘s not. People are free to chooce and then deal with the consequences which can occur living any kind of life style.

He is an artist, living this oh so hard bohemian life – parties, cars, girls, rich female clients that end up in his bed. So it‘s a story about two people that have nothing in common, but they end up together… as One.You know a lot of things change once you get hit by electricity while holding someone else‘s hand. Especially if that someone is someone you like and it becomes your arm. This is a weird sentence.

This film nicely represents how rich people like to spend huge money ona very weird stuff, like sculptures of animals they‘ve hunted once before.

Generally, this film reminds me of „What woman wants“ with Mel Gibson. The main difference is that here the main character can‘t hear what women think, but his hand is a woman. And this kind of neighbourhood (let‘s call it this way) for a sculptor really cathastrophic. I men, sometimes it is trully difficult to live with a woman (or a man), but live with one as your hand, that has separate life… It causes way too much troubles. However, people can get used to, probably, evertything.

Though, one scene was kind of weird to watch. I don‘t know why but this dancing with your hand scene (even though the main character imagined to be dancing with an actual woman) was somehow strange. Despite this entire not-making-much-sense plot the situation of being left alone and empty felt kind of familiar. Rising feelings for someone who is totally opposite, different to you is also familiar and in some way natural thing. But that‘s pretty much all I can say about this film. I know it‘s not much, but it just did not impress me much.

Circumstances that bring Russians and Germans together

And yes, it turns out that even though Russians and Germans stand in the opposite sides of the ring (stereotypically talking) this brings lots of fun to us – observers. And, yes, comedies about Russians and

kinopoisk.ru

Germans can be both: funny and insulting, that‘s exactly what can be said about Russian comedy „Groom“.

Actually this film has two main themes that pretty often are used in comedies, because they simply turn out to be funny – it‘s family relations and, obviously, intercultural relations, in this case, Russian – German,but they actually are shown through a stereotype lenses, and that concerns not only Russian – German relations (a German man named Helmut (played by a German-Swiss actor Fillipe Rheihardt) comes to Russia on the 9th of May to propose to his gilfriend and then accidently her ex comes to visit), but also Russian – Caucasian relations. One of those stereotypes would be that a German man is a salvation for a Russian girl from peripher. Now why is that so? Well, because it is though that he is a foreigner, a western person, rich, has lots of perspectives… Blah blah blah. As same as the thought that Russian woman will fight for her man and is able to beat the crap out of anyone who will threat her man in any possible way.

But in this all stereotipical story one thing would actually be very interesting to observe. To see how people from diffrent countries could communicate with each other without knowing each others language, like at all.

What else seems interesting and also kind of weird in a sense, is the fact how people can joke in a cruel manner about things that are actually very painful. For me it was strange that Russians took as a major event of the comedy film the Victory Day and the jokes were built upon this event. Usually they aren‘t eager to joke about this day, and here we have an entire film filled with these kinds of jokes, like annual reconstruction of a Victory Day as some sort of entertainment for rich people taking German person in captivity. This was very surprising for me and, again, strange.

While watching this film I thought to myself: it‘s interesting how some people are studying acting to become actors, even though they have no talent. And some people are so talented and ment to be (comedy)actors, though they‘ve never ever took any acting classes. They just have this talent inside of them. That‘s all.

What really made me laugh was one thing said by the main character played by Sergey Svetlakov. His character said that ex-husbands do not exist, meaning like in the case with KGB agent – there are no ex KGB agents. Once you are a KGB agent, you‘re always a KGB agent. The exact same thing is with husbands – once you‘re a husband, you‘re always a husband, you‘re never an ex.

Oh, and yes, I once again mentioned Sergey Svetlakov. Because, yeah, he‘s a famous comedian in Russia and he plays in lots of current Russian comedies. Plus he can be the best illustration of the example of those talented actors who never ever studied acting. I should also mention a very talented comedy actress Olga Kartunkova. As far as I know she also did not study any acting stuff, but when it comes to comedies she’s wonderful.

Let‘s move on. This comedy also shows a well known, everyday seen action – filming everything with your mobile phone. In some of my posts I wrote that I don‘t get this. I mean, I understant that people want to save some of their moments, but seriously, if you‘re saving EVERY moment when are you actually living those moments? If you constantly filming everything, when are you experiencing it, enjoying it? THAT‘S what I don‘t get.

I also don‘t get this weird understanding of relationship and living in marriage. I mean if you are married (doesn‘t matter if you are a woman or a man) and you want to stay married, but also have some relationship on a side, yet your second half does not share the same view how can you keep her/him right next to you? Let her/him go. It‘s also the same when it comes to the situation when a married man has a lover because, you know,  he‘s a MAN, when a married woman has a lover she‘s a SLUT. Either it‘s OK for both, either for no one.

Another moral story coming from, as someone might called it dumb comedy: if you are rich it does not mean that you can act whatever you like, do whatever you want. No. Remember, that those people to whom you did a lot of bad things at the very end might be the ones, the ONLY ones who could do something that might safe your life for example. So wouldn‘t it be right to treat other people nicely no matter they‘re rich or poor. At the end we‘re all humans.

And what can I say at the very end? Fireworks in da house looks cool, but kids, don‘t try this at home for real  :D. After all everything‘s good what ends well. Don‘t you think?

We want ABBA!

I don‘t know any person who wouldn‘t know the Swedish pop band called ABBA. People might not be familiar with their music (though at least one song they should know), but  they must have heard the name of the band – ABBA. So today I‘m discussing „ABBA: The Movie“. Though it is more of a concert than a film (actually, at this point I don‘t know which is right: a film interrupted with concert, or concert interrupted with the film that introduces us to some facts from the band‘s biography), but it has a descent plotline – a radio journalist (or as it was called in the film disc jockey) had to cover up the biggest music stars of that time, because it meant a lot to make an interview with such a huge stars (well, it is still a big deal today too) and it takes place in Australia (just to show us how huge this band was / is).

Looking back at the band that reached its peak back in 1970s it is crazy to realize all this psychosis over them. I mean it‘s huge, it‘s insane. It‘s fascinating how easily a pop band from Sweden could take over the entire world. What oh what made them SOOO phenomenal? ABBA – four people that made beautiful, melodic music. People who spread actual happiness, joy and excitement with and through their music. Superstars – without any kind of doubt. Sincerity of their songs made them superstars.

Looking at them performing you get this nice and warm feeling. I can‘t explain neither why or how this feeling rises up. There‘s something bright and warm about them. I also feel nostalgic when I hear them sing. Though I don‘t know why, because I was born long after they‘ve split. They had so much to give to the people and they did. Maybe they did it too fast, that‘s why it lasted not that long. Actually, I can‘t even imagine them still going on, performing all together, singing all these energetic songs. I mean, that could have happened, I just don‘t imagine it. Can‘t imagine it.

Today, this film is a great chance to hear, see and enjoy those beautiful songs by ABBA that are loved by millions of people all over the world up to this day. Plus, can‘t go on without mentioning that markerwise ABBA machine functioned extremely well and it still does work successfully. Watching in this film all this merchandising insanity makes me think these guys must have had great people at marketing. Anyway, this film gives us – born so much later than 1970s, 1980s and beyond see how it all was used to be: preparing  for a huge shows back in the day. Those were the great days 🙂

Loved to see the difficulties of a journalist‘s job back in a day. I don‘t say it is an easy job today, but face it, back then it was so much harder, these reel-to-reel tape recorders – my God… No mobile phones, laptops, internet, travelling difficulties – the main character always late to take an interview and he can‘t contact no one to make an appointment and poor guy chases the band for the week. Insane. Not to mention that this job is really intense and dynamic: all these deadlines,idifficult interviews, people… Today it as actually even more intense and dynamic (despite all this technological superiority) due to enormous amount of information that comes and changes so fastly. But eventually the main character wins. Yay!

What to say at the end? I‘ll just end with the words of one of ABBA‘s songs, because they fit here the most: „Thank you, ABBA, for the music, songs you sang and thank you for all the joy you brought to us. Thank you for your music, for giving it to us“.