A typical familly… with dead grandma in the house

Or to be accurate with grandma‘s ghost. And to be fair, none of this makes any familly typical at this point. However, this is a story about a family: a regular Russian family. In this family we see a hypochondric dad, a mom, their teenager troublerd daughter and a grandma – Ada (she‘s the boss in the house), and all this family is „The Family of Ada “ / „Ada’s family“ („Семейка Ады“). This is a story about a poor family (so don‘t expect much glamour), they live in an apparatment in poor neighbourhood (with nosy old neigbours), far from Moscow center. They lack of money, and clearly I didn‘t get the point where do they take the Money from: mom sells stuff, like cosmetic, dad seems not to work and grandma tries to win a fortune through lottery. Plus, there‘s a lot whole of old stuff at their place. But that‘s not the point, it‘s just  details.

The point is, that Ada dies. It‘s a pre- New year‘s accident: she was setting a Christmas tree, she was old and one thing led to another… She died. However, she returned as a ghost that only her family members could see. Not enough that Ada is dead, came back as a ghost she also left their appartment to her other son. Now that‘s a good news. All this was her farewell-learn-to-live-on-your-own present. Overall, grandma‘s character is awesome.

But Ada isn‘t the only crucial character. Maria / Matilda is also a very important character for this movie. She‘s this teenager who lives a life with no perspectives or motivation, just like her parents did all their life. And what‘s even more scary she understands it but is uncapable to do anything. Well, maybe to run away. And she gets this chance to leave, but then all the secrets come up.

Maria / Matilda meets her uncle (she never knew she had one), her dad‘s twin brother. However, with the appearance of her uncle things start to become even more intense. Maria‘s / Matilda‘s uncle Piotr lives completely different life than she and her parents. He‘s rich, fun, working as a producer so he constantly meets celebrities, he lives a full and luxurious life and he brings bright colors to her life. He even introduces her to her favourite band. And then the fairy tale ends as Maria‘s / Matilda‘s uncle turns out to be her father.

And at this point we face this family secrets issue. Most of the families have them: smaller or bigger. The problem is at what point should they be held and how to deal with them. Because, let‘s face it, sometimes it can be too hard to handle them. And why are they made in the first place? To protect? Prevent from pain? Sooner or later it‘ll happen anyway. Like with Matilda. It‘s good that everything ended quite well, but to find out that the man you thought was your dad is actually your uncle… I mean it‘s groundbraking news, it‘s like your entire world crashes down. Don‘t you think?

Another issue: can a showed up out of nowhere dad just take a child to live with him? Just like that as if nothing ever happened? Sure, it‘s easy you just show up, bring a lot of presents and you‘re a good dad. It‘s just buying, bribing your child, it‘s not about caring, loving or thinking about him. It‘s thinking about your own ego. To show up in child‘s life out of nowhere is already traumatic and to change his world upside down is absolutely catastrophic.

What touched me the most in this movie, was Matilda‘s telling the story of her grandma died and her realisation that if she could have helped her grandma she could still be alive. It was very sad scene that shows us that pretty often we refuse to help the ones that asks us for it. And at the same time we don‘t even realise that this might be the last time they asks us for it, and that one day we might regret of not helping them.

In this movie is also very interestingly shown that grief might come later. In case of Matilda that is exactly what happened. Her grief of loosing her grandma came at the end of the movie, though she died in the beginning. Well, in real life grief Works differently on different people as well. For some it comes immediately, for some much later. That‘s just how we are – we all are different, individual cases. Maybe there‘s something wrong when people can‘t experience and go through grief?

All in all, when you think about it, it‘s quite a tragic and sad story showed in a funny way. And even though there‘s this element of fun and comedy it still touches you in a dramatic way. And at the end, grandma showed up to reveal the secrets and bring back the family together. And the appartment…? It was just a joke.

Once in a while, discussing one movie or another I mention certain cast selection. This time I‘d like to mention Mikhail Yefremov (some might know his father Oleg). It‘s an extrmely talendted actor who can play probably anything. In this movie he played twins and he did a great job portraying two different people.

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Psychoanalitic trio

Today I would like to discuss a very interesting film about three very interesting personalities, moreover, it‘s a story about true people who lived once and the whole world knows them.  I‘ll be talking about „The Dangerous Method“ film that tells us the story of Carl Jung, Sabina Spielrein and Sigmund Freud – people who lived very interesting lives.

We are introduced with Sabina as she becomes Jung‘s pacient due to her hysteria. We are introduced with the way Jung treated Spielrein and what discvoeries about her condition and what triggered it he made. Basically, we are introduced with Jung‘s approach to psychonalysis which was, in fact, offered to him by Freud. Here we also can observe that women‘s mental health (especially nervous breakdowns) is a  very difficult issue, having very serious reasons. All this mental health issues can come up because of the way women are treated (especially by men), it can affect them very deeply, but people sometimes (still) think that women get crazy because they don‘t get enough sex. Bullshit. As same as to claim that ALL of our problems come from our childhood and our relationships with parents. I thing that throughout our lives (right from the minute we are born) we face and are affected by lots of traumatic experiences that marks our mental state. And those traumas not Always are based on sexual reasons.

But it was interesting to see woman feeling guilty about being sexually arousen, especially when that happens because of weird stuff like being spanked naked by your father. I don‘t say this is something a person should be proud of, but feel guilty? About what? Your physiology, or psychology you can‘t always control.

If you aren‘t eager to read all the stuff that Jung, Freud and others have written on psychoanalysis, then this movie is great opportunity to catch up with some parts of this. Of course, it would be  just a tiny part, but still. It‘s interesting to observe how relationship between Jung and Freud change. From admiration and friendship to this collision with harsh disagreements and I would even say jelousy (judging by this movie, it seems that Freud was jealous of Jung‘s wealth – „Don‘t trust aryans. We‘re jews“ he told to Spielrein). But can‘t disagree that Freud (an old fox that he was) didn‘t start this huge sexual, psychoanalytical revolution. I mean, he opened the gates and gave a chance for developing it. That‘s huge.

And all this explanation of dreams. It sems what can one get from analyzing dreams? There‘s just loads of stuff, images that has no meaning. Freud managed to prove that there actually is something there. And that there hides important and even difficult things. Like human sexuality. It only seems to be an easy thing, but actually, the whole understanding of it and expression of it is quite a difficult question.

What I liked, was the way a line between monogamy and polygamy is drawn. And how to cross this line for some people is hard, but as soon they find the right trigger they are willing to cross that line, as well as, Jung crossed it with Spilerein. And Otto Gross worked as that trigger quite well, because he thought supression of one‘s libido leads to nervous breakdowns and that‘s why for psychoanalyst to have sex with his patients is OK. In general, relationships between men and women are portayed very interestingly, unusually. Maybe it‘sbecause of the historical time, maybe it‘s because of who the main characters are. In any case, it is interesting. But at the end the main question remain unanswered: is monogamy possible? Is it possible for both men and women? And what makes it possible/impossible?

Sabina Spielreina was a smart and interesting woman. However, judging from this movie, she used to be sometimes as regular, jealous woman who let her passions and emotions take control of her. And K. Knightley‘s work made Spilerein look slightly too neurotic. However, her transition from Jung‘s patient to his colleague, becoming equal to him is amazing. And she is great example how Freud‘s and Jung‘s methods and ways of treatment worked. Nonethless, it should be mentioned that Spielrein‘s and Jung‘s attraction may have risen from the fact that they had so much in common, same interests. So maybe that is also the reason why the spark between them grew and Spielrein (in the film) makes a move on Jung which later turns out to be love, though in reality (as far as I know and I can be wrong) it wasn‘t proved whether there really was love between them. What I didn‘t like about her that she involved Freud into her and Jung‘s relationship. This was very immature and unfair to Jung. In general, after watching this film I felt kind of sad for Carl Jung. He was shown to be very unhappy man.

One more historic figure – Otto Gross. Gross was an extraordinary persona: free soul, taking everything he could take from sex (having sex with his female patients was OK to him) and maybe this explains a thought that all sexual limitations and boundaries results eventually in fulfilled asylums, because all neurosis come from the lack of sex and it was hard for him to understand that someone would refuse pleasure that you can get from sex. Nonsense. Maybe his lifestyle was the reason that his further life were leaded by veneric diseases, addiction and misery. Otto Gross ended his life very tragically: some say, he died of starvation, others say that he died from pneumonia, the thirds say he froze outside on the street. Yet, Gross was probably and illustration of psychoanalytical failure or weakness‘s of psychoanalysis. Now, this kind of life that Gross shared is described as rock stars lifestyle. However, putting all this aside, no matter what Otto Gross was like, but what he was and how he behaved, lived influenced and changed Jung. This is exactly the case when a patient changes doctor, not vice versa.

Well, this time I also should mention a very good cast choice. All the actors played their characters perfectly. And looked very similar to those whom they played. Especially, in my opinion, was made a great choice with Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel. I also loved that at the end we could learn what happened to these main characters. For me it was quite nice. Plus, it didn‘t leave the story unifinished.

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.

 

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.