Amélie (2001)

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Amélie is a romantic comedy starring Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz. Amélie is a naïve young woman who decides to better the lives of other after she helps a man find his childhood box of treasures. She convinces her father to travel the world after stealing his gnome and giving it to a flight attendant to take pictures of the gnome on landmarks all over the world. She tries to get a regular customer and her middle-aged coworker together. She keeps Mr. Dufayel, aka “The Glass Man”, company as he paints his version of Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party”. Finally, Amélie helps herself after she finds a quirky young man’s photo album and falls in love with him. She plays a game of cat and mouse to get his attention and when they finally meet face to face, they begin their relationship.

I very much enjoyed Amélie. The tint gave the film a whimsical feel. The score was beautiful and simplistic. It added emphasis in the right moments too like when Amélie opened the door and found Nino standing at the door. Though I must admit, it confused me in the beginning when she started helping all those people but I liked how everything tied together in the end. My favorite character would have to be Mr. Dufayel. He’s insightful and sneakily pushes Amélie to explore herself and take risks. All in all, it was a great film and it deserved all the rewards it received. Plus, Audrey Tautou is my favorite French actress. Props to her. 🙂

L’écume des Jours (2013)

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Most people on finals week would cram, party or watching the most random shows on Netflix. I’ve found my addicting distraction in French films. Here’s the second film I have seen called L’écume des Jours or Mood Indigo.

L’écume des Jours/Mood Indigo is a 2014 romantic drama based on Boris Vian’s Froth on the Daydream. It stars Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris and directed by Michel Gondry. Colin (played by Duris) has the high life around him: his wealth, his friends – Nicholas and Chick – and his “pianocktail”. At one of Chick’s parties, he meets Alise (played by Tautou). They fall in love and get married. On their honeymoon, Alise falls ill and finds out that a water lily is growing on her lung. The only treatment would be surrounding her with flowers, which is very expensive and causes Colin to exhaust his funds. Time passes and her condition does not get any better. Meanwhile, Chick and Alise’s friendship is strained due to Chick’s obsession with philosopher Jean-Sol Patre. Chick also exhausts his funds on collecting Patre’s works. Alise goes to extreme measures to help her friend stop his obession, which unfortunately ends with the destruction of the friendship. Colin, who is now broke, cannot afford more flowers to treat Alise and Alise dies.

It was nice to know a familiar face in a foreign film. Audrey Tautou played Amelie in the film of the same name, which was a big hit. Seeing how she performed well in Amélie, I knew Mood Indigo would be a great film, which it was. I loved the work “pianocktail”, which is a mash-up of “piano” and “cocktail”. This film’s whimsical fantasy reminds me of Amélie, which also that whimsical feel.

Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959)

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Les Quatre Cents Coups is a drama film starring Jean-Pierre Léaud and directed by François Truffaut. Antoine Dionel is a teenager living in early 1950s Paris. His mother, stepfather as well as his teacher misunderstand him and torment him. When he is caught plagiarizing by his teacher, Antoine quits school. Later he steals his stepfather’s typewriter to finance his plans to run away from home. When he tries to return it, however, his stepfather takes him to the police. Antoine is put in an observation center for troubled juveniles and a psychiatrist analyzes reasons why Antoine might be unhappy.

I recently watched this film for my French 3 class. I very much enjoyed the film. To me it reminded me of American films such as Rebel Without a Cause that dealt with what were “misunderstood” teens of 1950s society. It’s interesting to see the dynamic of the family structure of the 1950s where it was still normal to consider the teenager as a mini-adult rather than their own respective age. It is said Antoine Dionel is François Truffaunt’s alter ego and it is very clear that this fact is true By the way the film is directed, you can tell Truffaunt is basing it off his own life experiences as a child. Léaud does a good job in making Antoine Dionel a very real character also. You feel for Antoine from the moment he is falsely wronged for having the inappropriate poster of a woman in class to the moment he escapes to the ocean. It was a great film and it certainly deserves its praise.

December 8, 2014

“All I did was come up with what I thought was a fun idea that was the result of a little box that was attached to a television set. It just grew and grew and grew.” – Ralph Baer

Seeing how my favorite boys are video game fanatics, I’ll do this post for them. Mr. Ralph Baer, may you rest in peace. For those of you who may not know, German-born engineer Ralph Baer, 92, is the “Father of video games”. He invented the “Brown Box”, a simple, basically primitive compared to today’s consoles, that had about twelve games including golf, football and ping pong. This was the revolution that created today’s multi-billion dollar gaming industry. I liked this quote from him because even the smallest of ideas can create huge revolutions. And it doesn’t apply to just technology but literature, art, business, science, any field, really.

So go ahead you dreamer. Give your idea substance. Because, you never know, you may just spark a revolution. 😉

I, Sisyphus

Monsieur Curtis Des Marais wrote “I, Sisyphus” based on the Greek myth as the “perfect allegory to my love life”. For those of you who don’t know, Sisyphusis an Ancient Greek king who was deceived by the gods. The gods said if he could get a boulder to the top of a hill, he’d be rewarded. However, whenever he got the boulder near the top, it would roll back to the bottom making him effectively pushing it forever. It’s a great poem and I hope you enjoy it.

Sisyphus is now my name,
to push that boulder is my only game,
when I pushed that boulder near the peak,
it only rolled back down waging its vile speak

Sisyphus is now my name,
retrieving that boulder to retry the same,
when I push that rich sapphire boulder to the tip,
it’s pulled back down by the Earth’s paternal grip,

Sisyphus is now my name,
retreading that boulder once more laking shame,
once more it falls approaching the summit’s final rock,
weighed down by its hidden golden shackle bound by a diamond lock,

Sisyphus is now my name,
retrying my task yet again despite no gain,
I used my might to push that boulder up that mountain’s blistering snow,
only to have it roll back down to one who pushed it long ago

Sisyphus is now my name,
entering that endless cycle once again in vain,
will my boulder ever reach that final height
the vantage point of beautiful sight,
my boulder is a kin to Icarus approaching the sun’s light
binding me forevermore to my eternal plight
my heart’s desire is the culprit here to blame
so now Sisyphus can be nothing but my only name

-Curtis Des Marais

Ode to My World

My good friend Monsieur Curtis Des Marais is at it again! This poem is called “Ode to My World”. It is quite romantic and beautiful. Ladies, romance still exists in the world! The romantic artists are still alive and thriving! Whoever falls into the grips of this fella sure is lucky. Good job Curtis!

Your skin like porcelain of the Orient,
How Dutch tulips match your sent,
Oh skin so soft like an Indian saree,
Intoxicate me like Irish Whiskey and Barely,

Hair flowing like the American waves of grain,
So vibrant like the Night Lights of Spain,
So course like the thick Russian Snow,
Smooth like the silk of old Japanese Daimyo

Eyes a work that belong in the French Louvre,
A Masterpiece that sent 1000 Greek ships on the move,
How they look so sweet like a Turkish Delight,
Oh how they Sparkle like the stars of an Arabian Night

teeth so white like Ivory from a West African Bay,
a smile so warm like a cup of English Earl Grey,
gleaming like the lights of the Arctic North,
how I value it like Swiss bullion worth

Sailing the seas of your soul and walking the lands of your heart,
a conquest like that of Alexander, Khan, and Bonaparte,
personality serine as the rainforests and a spirit like birds flying free,
I give you this ode my darling… cause you are the world to me

November 7, 2014

Once again, my brother has come and given me the common sense to think things through and take things one step at a time. To put things into context, I am trying to decide what to do with my future. Finding out getting a Masters in Economics or Literary Arts at NYU, Brown or Princeton cost a lot of money (like $100 grand for one year type) wasn’t the best highlight of my week…and neither is realizing another celebrity writing amateur fiction and getting that published solely for the sake of their fame when you’ve tried since your freshmen year of high school to get something that questions the ways of politics, culture and romance in today’s society and have gotten rejection letter after rejection letter.

Here was my reason for frustration (aside from the things mentioned from above):

“No one values hard work anymore. It’s all money and how famous you are, which really stinks because I want to bring my family up. Being the child of Peruvian immigrants and knowing your parents’ situations when they were growing up, there is a sorta pressure placed on you. That’s a large portion of my ambition and motivation. Bring the family name up the social ladder and prove the American dream still exists. That you can start on the rock bottom and end up on top, or at least near the top. I don’t desire fame but I do desire recognition for my hard work and becoming a historical figure would be cool. I just want to be role model for younger people in society.”

Talbot’s response:

“Think about it in the grand scheme of things for a second. Where we are in life is in the top class of the world, even if it doesn’t seem like it to us. Where we are socioeconomically is way higher than most of the world can even dream of. So compared to most of the world I think we’ve made it. You can always go higher, true but at the same time in reality we’re really high up there. And as far as being recognized by society, Society is always gonna recognize the idiot fame whores in our present and a small part of people who actually deserve it. Its only after we’re gone that society can truly reflect on what good we’ve done for it. And not everybody is gonna be world famous. That’s the cold hard truth. But if we make any kind of impact at all in the lives of somebody, that could always end up being a bigger impact than we could ever imagine.”

Thanks bro!