Collapse of two cultures: might be scary, might be dangerous, might be funny

Have you ever thought  are there really so many differences between cultures, countries? Sure, there are, but sometimes these differences are so magnified due to some sort of all political disagreements. Perhaps, one of the most known example of this situation of USA-USSR relationship, and today it would be USA –Russia relationship. So, it is always interesting how these difficult relationship are shown in movies. Of course, very rarely it is shown objectively, mostly it‘s from someone‘s perspective, but it is a good thing when it is shown with humor (especially, if it‘s done nicely, lightly) though sometime it‘s far from being funny.

Pretty often one side or other uses those well known stereotypes with which politicians try to brainwash us, our minds. But when you think about it, these differences aren‘t that big, stereotypes are way too silly to be true and, in fact, all this bullshit is used only to raise hate, fear and other bad things.

So. Today I‘ll discuss another Russian comedy „Moscow-Russia Express“. I can‘t say this is a brilliant stuff to watch, however, it has some good points. First of all, through the self irony lense we can observe the curiosities of Russian lives, silliness of stereotypes that Americans bring with them about Russia and how these two worlds come together. They even hired an American actor to have a stronger effect and build some sort of a bridge between the two countries.

Michael Madsen one of the American actors to star in Russian film and to encourage the American-Russian relationship :). Kidding. Actually, American actors are invinted to star in Russian films mostly because of marketing purposes, because why not? He‘s famous, known, people like him, plus, everyone will be curious to see him in local film production.

Getting to the point

This film is about a regular guy‘s – Sergey (Sergey Svetlakov) story who is ready for everything to make a good video that could reach lots of views on Youtube. Thats‘s what this guy do, it‘s his occupation – to become famous on Youtube (because anyone with the help of the Internet can become famous for anything). Actually throughout the entire film we can observe lots of Russian Youtube videos that are funny and crazy based on fools and roads theme mainly that make up a very bad combination. Those who like these kind of videos might be quite pleased to see them in the movie. But mainly, this film is about how you can‘t understand Russia by your mind, especially if you‘re a foreigner :). However there are certain things that even a local won‘t be able to understand: like, male mermaids.

All this is true, just like the fact that in this movie we did not escape the Russian patriotism subject as well. All this being proud of being Russian, being proud of living in Russia despite all the bad things happening here. Of course, it is all shown quite sarcastically, exotic in some way, however, this pride stands higher that intentional sarcasm and ability to laugh at yourself. Moreover, this pride of being the representative of a certain country, nationality is visible in every place of the world, in the same USA there‘s plenty of movies, TV shows where we can see and feel the message of how America is great, how great it is to be American, etc. But of course, there are also TV and film production that sends this American pride message in a sarcastic way.

I so enjoyed the conducter character. Such a faboluous woman, so cartoonically played. Actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite did a good job playing this character which is so not typical to her. It was a blast to watch her. And travelling in a overfilled train might be the biggest adventure you‘ll have in your life :). Or it will prevent you from travelling by train forever.

Talking about the soundrack… Well, I‘ll give 10 points for the soundrack. The way all the songs were picked… They amazingly fitted to certain situation in the movie. However, for those who don‘t speak Russian that won‘t work and seem right  and funny, because they won‘t be able to understand those lyrics of the songs.

Stepping aside, I just have to mention the limit of crazyness that people might reach. Or, maybe, I should mention the absence of any kinds of limits if you‘re ready to risk your own health, life just to make a short video, upload it on Youtube so it could reach millions of watches. Seriously? I don‘t understand this. Really, I don‘t. I don‘t understand this need to post these videos or photos of yours all the time. I don‘t understand this need to be followed, liked, etc. on social media. I mean, I prefer living an actual life instead of living it on social media.

Another thing – plane / flight fear a thing we laughed while watching this film. But actually, it is a quite terrible thing especially if you have to fly on a plane. You know, any kind of fear is terrible, it sucks to have fears. It makes our life so much harder. Better not have them.

To the things I did not like:

  1. I understand that drunk people, drunk and agressive people might seem funny in a comedy film, but to portray your entire country like that (even though the rest of the world thinks it‘s exactly how it is) doesn‘t look good somehow. To portay citizens of your country as killers, thieves, etc. (even if there are such people) and laugh at this in some way seems self humiliating. I might be wrong, but when there‘s too much of all this it does not seem neither funny nor pleasant.
  2. And to learn and understand Russian soul does not mean to get drunk and in fight and never give up. Just like it does not mean to understand a German you have to drink beer in huge quantities and eat bratwurst, or drive like mad man, shot in a street to understand an American. No. To understand specific nationality it takes so much more time and effort to put. And to count only on stereotypes isn‘t the best option, though this particular film is entirely based on stereotypes about Russia coming both from American perspective and Russians itself (and those coming from films made in these countries).

 

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A colorful life of Masquerade

Lately, I‘ve been writing so much about films that books were left aside (unfortunately). Well, it‘s time to correct this mistake and discuss books. So, for that reason I‘ve decided to discuss Mikhail Lermontov‘s play „The Masquerade“. It‘s a famous play; it is played in many theatres in different countries. It might not be THE most interesting, beautiful or whatever story to read, but it it is one of those stories that I think is a MUST to be read for a well educated person.

I‘m not going to re-tell the entire story of this play, because I don‘t think there‘s a huge need for this. I‘ll just try to point certain things relating it to story that I think are interesting (well, at least for me). One of them is the importance of social status.

Social status plays significant role in people‘s life no matter how we disagree with it, or how we don‘t care about ir. Nevertheless, it does and it did the same way back in the day, somewhere around XIX century. For the main character of „Masquerade“ status is really important too. Not only because it gives you permision to live in a certain way, but because if gives you freedom to behave in a certain way (and with this I don‘t agree). He lives and behaves the way his status allows him. But is it really so? The fact that someone is rich does not allow him go against rules or laws. The fact that his moral rules differs does not mean they are superior than common moral rules. Yet, law is the same to everybody no matter how you don‘t want to agree with it.

Arbenin (the main character) is also known for killing his wife out of jealousy. Yeah, I realise that the play was written in XIX century and things were different back then, however, whether or not your wife was cheating on you, you have no right (any kind of right) to kill her. Period.

These are the things, emotions, thoughts that occured in my head as I was reading this story. I don‘t know if these were the things that Lermontov wanted to point out. But I pointed them out for myself, that‘s how I interpreted this story. Now, let‘s move on, and discuss some other things.

What I like about this play was its structure. It is really good that it is written mostly in monologues not in dialogues. On the one hand, it is easier to read and follow the story. On the other hand, the characters develop so much better. It‘s like you can actually enter their inner world, something that is on the other side of their appearance. You see them thinking, suffering, you see them making mistakes, but all this is happening while they speak. It‘s like you‘re not standing behind them as they act, but you‘re in their body and are both the observer and the one who acts at the same time. Fascinating.

But why the story with such a nicely sounding title ends up so tragically? I think because of the unwillingness to talk, to check the facts – these simple things sometimes makes lots of troubles. Well, that‘s what happened to Arbenin: his wives‘s bracelet was at her friend and this friend gave it to the man with whom she flirted at the masquearade. And that‘s the reason why Arbenin started to feel jealous. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But in this case, not only these stupid circumstances pushed Arbening to kill his wife, but also other people. Those who knew the truth but remained silent. Those who could say the truth and save poor women‘s live but didn‘t. Those who made things even worse. Sadly but there are oh so many this kind of people out there. And the most scariest thing about it is that these kinds of people are closest to you: friends, relatives, family…

One more thing I‘d like to ask: is there a certain border when love becomes frightening? I think there is. And Arbenin showed exactly that border. When you don‘t trust someone, when you‘re super jealous it can become worst feeling ever. Probably exactly then people decide to get rid off of their second halfs. It‘s at the same time amazing and terrible how such a beautiful feeling like love can be so destructive.

One more interesting detail: I somewhere read that Lermontov‘s „Masquerade“ was based on whether a true story or true details. I don‘t know if it‘s true. But if someone does it would be great if you could share with this information, or some links where we could all read about it.

A (final) fareweel to Millenium series

The time has finally come to end up with Millenium trilogy films. It‘s a bit sad, but the things are the way they are so let‘s move on and finish them in a decent way.

The third part – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nestwas the most exciting to watch. Not only because of all this tension you could feel from the very first seconds of the films, but also because you knew THIS IS IT. The story has come to an end and you‘ll finally get the answers to all of the questions. And this time it is for real. How do we now that? It‘s because Lisbeth‘s story is finally being written and published. Mikael (the super journalist) takes care of it. The truth is finally revealed. The truth and all the secrets, even those whose existence was unknown to us. This part for me, is also the most mystyrious one.

In this part we once again face new characters. But this time these characters are new to Lisbeth and extremely significant for her life, because they are responsible for what her life was turned into. So the story tangles up even more. It‘s crazy. Sure, it have been tangled up even more if „setting people up with something“ would have worked better. Then maybe Mikael would have gotten to jail for having drugs and lots of money at his place.

I loved how Lisbeth was played in this part. She was as weak and vulnerable as never. Or at least she pretended to be so. She was silent. Yet, her non-expresive face told us somuch more than dialogues or monologues could. But at the same time as remaining silent Lisbeth is forced to be open and tell everything about her past (by writing her own autobiography), she has to face her past publicly and personally, her traumatic past. This is quite interesting, this duality of not speaking, but saying everything. I think it‘s the highest level of art to speek while being speechless. I suppose it‘s not as easy as it seems. But hey, Lisbeth wasn‘t the one who had to face her past and its consequences. The exact same thing happened to her father and many others characters. It‘s always oh so fun to watch judgement day scenes.

I must mention that Lisbeth was not the only silent character in this film. Niederman‘s (Lisbeth‘s brother) character remained silent throughout the film too. And it‘s fascinanting, because he didn‘t even had to. Silence said more, his facial expressions said more, his look said so much more that words could ever do.

I loved how it was shown that people chose Lisbeth‘s side (her doctor even tried show her attention). I mean in this case people chose the outlaw of society, the one who usually is left aside without support or help. This time it was quite the opposite. And it was great, because everybody has the right to be protected and defended. This film is also a great example… well, maybe not example, maybe illustration that politicians have very dark secrets. And this can be said about every country and its politicians. Politics, in general, is a quite dark field, a dirty game of a big people. And I also loved Lisbeth‘s entrance in court. That was wild 🙂

However, this film lasted way too long. It was hard to keep yourself alert and watch. Some of the scenes could have lasted way shorter. Although, even in this case there was some missing parts from the book. Like Erika‘s quiting Millenium and hiring at new job plotline is missing, which in the book developed quite nicely.

My attention to details this time also caught something to mention. It was too obvious that the actor who played Lisbeth‘s dad (who was claimed to be old) did not look old and wore a make – up. And as a character whose face was lit up on fire he also looked too good.

The ending of the film was pleasant and disappointing. Pleasant, because things turned out great. Disappointing, because the situation between Lisbeth and Mikael left questionable: is it over between them, or there could happen something. You get the feeling that there might be another part of the film in the future. Maybe. Who knows?

A worth of friendship

How I love to watch a sweet, positive, nice, light film that not only can make me feel relaxed after a long hard day, but it can make me laugh, and also has a meaning. And that‘s the simpliest description of „I Love You, Man“ movie. It  is really a nice thing to watch. And the soundtrack of the film puts you in the right mood too, and it‘s all so great. But let‘s move on to the „meaning“ things and discuss them.

The storyline of this film goes around Peter – nice, well-mannered, educated, polite man who has no male friends and somehow it is thought to be wrong and not mannish. Why? So this leads us to the main idea of this film: friendship and the differences in female and male friendship. One of the most common beliefs that women tell EVERYTHING to their best friends. Like men don‘t do that. In fact, sometimes men tell so much more than women do. Yup, men do talk a lot. But should both men and women tell that much to their friends? Is there any borders that they shouldn‘t cross and limits they shouldn’t waste? Maybe there are certain things that should remain untold, especially if they involve two or more people? You know, I want to give straight answer, but I don‘t think I have one.

Another question that kept me bothering while watching this film was what is wrong if a man gets along very well with women? What is wrong with a man who is friends with women? Does this fact make a man less of a man? Why is it still thought to be weird? I don‘t get it. But then this leads to other questions, like: is it abnormal if a man doesn‘t have male friends, or a woman doesn‘t have female friends? I don‘t have answers to the last question though I would like to have, because for me it seems interesting. I just don‘t think that these days would be relvant to classify things into normal/abnormal because in my opinion the borderline of these things is barely seen which makes you imposible to conclude something and leave it unprotested. Before moving to another paragrapgh, let me quickly ask one more question: what is wrong with having mom or dad as a best friend for both men and women? Is it that miserable? Isn‘t it great when as an adult you can also be friends with your parents. Isn’t it great to have close and friendly relationship with your parents instead of an alieated relationship? If it‘s not than why is it a good purpose to laugh at someone because of it?

Let‘s go even deeper – does everyone need to have a best friend? Why? Is it impossible to live without a best friend? If the answer is NO then why all this „Best firend“ topic is fussed about all the time? I think there are people who can‘t live without other people (call them friends, buddies or whatever) in their lives they are in constant need to mix with people. But there are also people who can and, personally I don‘t see nothing wrong in it. Moreover, let‘s not forget that for some people making (new) friends is not an easy thing to do. Some of us are shy, some of us keep the distance and don‘t let others easily into our world. That‘s how some people are, and there‘s nothing weird about that.

Maybe, the issue occurs when we are pressed by someone to have friends? You know all this public opinion, others knowing better what is good for us and how we should live our own life. But then again, why should we do things that others want us to do and expect us to do it? I think we don‘t have to. We choose the path of our life and we walk it. No one should decide for us just because they think it is right. It goes this way in everything. Having friends/ not having, too.

Married couple. Boy, are they hilarious sometimes. Especially if you observe them from the perspective of a single person or not yet married and thinking when you will get married there‘s no way you‘re going to be that way. In this film we also have a hilarious married couple to observe (Zooey‘s friends) and compare them to Zooey and Peter couple. Married couples have weird rules sometimes (not that other couples don‘t, but somehow with married people it looks weirder). And it‘s really interesting to observe married couples (even if their relationship aren‘t happy) for some sort of your personal research or analysis purposes. I don‘t know why it is so, it just is.

Now, let‘s go positive way. I (and this is only my personal opinion) think that you don‘t have to go out and desperately seek to find yourself a friend (husband, wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, love) like it is shown in this movie. When the time is right all those people WILL enter our life anyway. And they do, sometime they are soul mates, sometimes they are a totally opposite to what we are, but in both ways it might turn into something great. All we need is time and patience (writing this sentence  “Patience” by  Guns n‘ Roses‘s  kept playing in my head, I don’t know why) for things to work out the right way. And it happened to Peter. He finds himself a friend – Sydney. Now, Sydney is completely opposite to Peter with all his worldviews, rules, moral values and habits. He’s a boy, a grown up boy. And he‘s really straightforward.

One more thing to discuss – I swear. How come women (well, men too) are so jealous when their men (women) are having good time with their friends and family? Why do they think that if they are together men (women) should ONLY be with them and forget their family and friends? In a relationship no one‘s a property of the others, so they can’t treat your partner as a property by forbiding something. And being jelous about if he‘s/she‘s spending time with friends and family is simply weird.

Secrets of a long lost symbol and further journey through Dan Brown‘s world

There are writers that you fall in love with once you read their book. And it‘s always a pleasure to read something new written by them. Everyone has their own author, or maybe few of them. I do too. One of them is Dan Brown. I remember I‘ve made a post about one of his books, so pretty much I‘ve already told why I like him, so I won‘t go into the same details. All I want to say is that I like how he writes, I like his writing style, creating a story that might be completely untrue, but you will believe it as if it was true. I love how he incorporates history, historical facts, religion, science, figures and symbols from all these fields and joins them all together in this masterpiece of his. I admire this ability of his so much and I wish I could do something like that… However, at the same time in this book there‘s so much of everything that you don‘t even know whether it‘s good or not. On the one hand, you get so much interesting information and things to think about, but on the other hand, these things start to look too unreal. Oh, well… Let‘s move on and discuss „The Lost Symbol“ book.

This book also involves Robert Langdon – a character we all know. See, this is one more reason, that makes Brown‘s books interesting to read. There‘s a character that goes from book to book, so all these stories has duration and connection, and you can see how the character develops. Yes, there might be similar situation, yet it still is interesting. Remember Sherlock Holmes stories they all are the same: mystery/crime – solving it – it is solved schemed stories that are still interesting to read. The same with Robert Langdon – he‘s a scientific, nerdy superman that keeps you alert all the time as you read the story.

This time thes story involves mystries of Capitol in Washingto D.C. No more Italian history and art. This time story is filled with detective and thriller elements and of course mysteries, mysteries, mysteries that has to be solved. And these mysteries are gathered around the organization of Masons. And this organization is known for all kinds of conspiracy theories, mystique stories, so one way or another, it makes us pay attention, because there are lots of people who still think there is something mysterious about Masons. Maybe there is? Who knows. The exact same thing can be said about all these secrets on a governmental level. Sure, there are such secrets, but are they really that groundbreaking? Who knows? Maybe. And that‘s maybe why we know about them only under the title „Secret‘. And this is why we are attached to this book because of all the secrets. Everybody likes secrets and things that might be true, but known only to very few people. The same thing with gossip. Everybody likes them, even though they say the opposite. Of course, if certain things described in this book would have been so secret neither Dan Brown would know them, nor he could write about them and make fortune out of it.

Another thing that fascinates me about Brown‘s writing style is his passion about the places he writes about. Like this time, he so vividly and passionately wrote about some places in Washington that I actually felt this huge wish to go there and see everything myself. And believe it or not, not often books (and their writers) make such an effect on me like „The Lost Symbol“ did.

But more than just historical, ancient secrets, in this book is also raised family relationship issue. Especially between wealthy parents and their kids who pretty often act irresponsible due to their wealth and what they can do with their money. But sometimes kids have unexplainable hate and heartburning for their parents or certain actions made by their parents. It‘s difficult. But when a person lives with these feelings for too long bad things happen.

Religous aspect is also very interestingly developed in this book which is great, because somehow people still think religion and whatever it concerns is really boring and out of date. This is very misleading, because religion is a very interesting topic and wide topic. Moreover, nowadays lots of things are happening to different interpretation of different religions, there are lots of religious fanatics who are really dangerous and scary. So, actually, learning and  studying religions is not only interesting, but I think is also very useful for not to be misunderstood and not to misunderstand it ourselves. How can these books help us? Maybe in no way, but it can be a great trigger to start learning things. And that‘s a pretty good start.

So, all in all, every science is awesome in its own way. And I think we should stop claiming that learning things is nerdy, because actually it is great.