Film: Blue is the Warmest Color

Last night I took it upon myself to become a little more cultured in some of the movies that people have been hyping about this past year.  I ventured aimlessly into the foregin film section on my list and chose, without thinking of the consequences, Blue is the Warmest Color.

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and starring the two fantastic actors Lea Seydoux and Adele Excarchopoulos, this movie reminded me that cinematography is an artistic medium that can define or cross the lines between acting and being, and telling and experiencing.

The story centers primarily around Adele who is still in what we would call “high school,” living in the northern city of Lille, France.  Faced with growing up and finding her footing, Adele explores her strengths and weaknesses through sexual encounters, love, and loss.  Pressured to have sex by her girlfriends, Adele tries to have a relationship with a boy.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t feel very fulfilled or complete after they have sex.

She then meets Emma, a blue-haired art student, and they instantly feel a strong attraction to one another.  They end up in a relationship, with Adele becoming a teacher and Emma, a burgeoning artist.  Even though both love one another, their lives are very diferent.  Emma’s circle of friends are lofty and intellectual, which makes Adele feel uncomfortable.

In the end, Adele, who feels neglected, has an affair with a male colleague from work.  Emma finds out and violently kicks Adele out of her house.  In a scene that is just as passionate as when they “make love,” Adele is cast out onto the street in a fit of moaning anguish.  The two meet again, once at a cafe and one last time at Emma’s art show.  Even though Adele is still in love with Emma, she leaves the art show and walks off into the distance with an unknown future in front of her.

Adele and Emma at an LGBTQ demonstration –Blue is the Warmest Color–
Adele leaving Emma’s art show –Blue is the Warmest Color–

I am aware that the three sex scenes are probably what make this movie most controversial in general conversation and glamour gossip.  However, I’d like to give my own impression of the film, but also examine some of its qualities that make it resonate with me.

To be honest, I think that this film is amazing.  The prowess of work shown by the actors and the directors lifts the stereotypes of an indie foreign film to demonstrate how a medium, that often gets trivialized into wowing audiences, can explore boundaries and provoke thoughts that seek to parallel the intellectual glory of the classics.

To the praise of some and the horror of others, this film has been named one of the first great classic love stories of the 21st century.  I understand that not everyone is comfortable with the portrayal of lesbian affection.  However, it is important to note that Adele never specifies what her sexual orientation is.  Emma is more comfortable with herself, and that can be seen in her family dynamic as well as her blue hair at the beginning of the film.  In fact, both women pointedly avoid labelling themselves.  In this way, Adele’s character is non-aligned in many aspects because, starting as a young girl, this is a story of her coming-of-age by finding out what she loves and what makes her happy.  Otherwise known as a bildungsroman, even Emma, who is slightly older than Adele, shows signs of development as the film progresses (i.e. stops dyeing her hair blue).

This is a point of criticism that Kechiche, the director, faced from the LGBTQ community and Julie Maroh, the author of the graphic novel on which the film is based.  In her graphic novel, Blue Angel (also known as Le bleu est une couleur chaude), the two women are openly lesbian.  Maroh spoke against the fact that the film was missing anyone who was actually a lesbian.  I guess it depends on what essence of truth one is aiming for?

Some qualities that really made an impression on me were the contemporary setting of the story and the realness of Adele’s interaction with her environment.
Taking place in 21st century France, Adele and Emma’s love story is caught up in a society going through change.  One scene takes place at a gay pride protest in which the audience and Adele get to see the complexity that goes beyond the notion of being gay or straight.

 Although there is criticism that Kechiche made the film and his audience see Adele and Emma through a “male gaze,” I’d like to give some credit to the male director for developing Adele’s character in a real and intense way.  Adele starts as a teenager who is taking French Literature because she loves it and doesn’t know what else to do.  Even though Emma begins to push her to become more lofty minded, I think Adele already is.  At the beginning of the film, she is explaining to her boyfriend the reasons she loves literature and the freedom to interpret it.

Contrasting that with the scene when Emma’s friends are speaking loudly about Klimt, Sartre, philosphy, and the female orgasm, Adele does not take part in the conversation.  Part of this is because she feels out of place, but I also would like to believe that her ideas and inspiration are forming themselves without the posthumous idealogical greats guiding her every step.  I guess my attraction to this movie is the loud statement it makes about the complexity of sexuality and the principal character who grows into her own power that I believe she has always had since the beginning.

So I wouldn’t reccommend this movie to anyone personally, but, if you can see yourself watching a three hour movie about love, sex, and coming-of-age without being immature, then I would encourage you to watch Kechiche’s movie and see how you interpret and react to some of the issues I discussed here and even some that I missed.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

Finding the Muse of Inspiration

Being with you is like walking through Monet’s painted gardens

As if a painter captured the way the light ripples and shifts as we walk and talk

The world feels different and I think it’s because of you

So many thanks for giving me a lens through which to see the world anew.  

Question: How do we find inspiration, and then what do we do with it?  Are we empty of inspiration afterwards?

 

Stand Against Racism

Thirty-Four Strings

There are 34 strings on a Dusty String Folk Harp. Each one is different. Starting at the top, the tiny translucent strings ping like the sound of rain falling on a crystal globe. Their tension cuts into my fingers like the fizz off the top of a glass of cherry cola.

My left hand reaches down to the pluck the lowest string. Its voice blooms slowly, growing louder and louder like the heavy beat of a stereo.

Grains of energy pelt the air, one by one as I pluck out a story, note by note, the sound of the universe.

They resonate together in a steady rhythm, certain parts growing to the loud crescendo of a waterfall just to fall soft like an echo of the past.

I reach for a chord, knowing its potential harmony but something doesn’t sound right. The strings twang and grumble against each other. They are too different!

Their wounded prides sting as they complain that the other is to blame for the poor quality of sound that they emit.  Neither, however, realize that they are both missing something.

They are out of tune but they cannot hear themselves because they are too concerned with the faults and limitations of the other. The vibrations stop, and my hand hovers in the air. With the flick of my wrist the strings are stretched and pulled: looser and then tighter.

I check them each time I adjust their tension listening to the wails as they resist. Change is hard, and tomorrow I will have to care for the harp again.

If I do not tune the sound of the harp like I do for the song of my own life, the wood begins to warp and the strings, my connections, will snap with a final burst of disparity, falling silent forever.

Photo
Hey look, it’s me! ^^

This week is about standing against racism.  Each of us has a song, a quality, a culture, and a physical feature that marks our lives.

Although facing these differences is hard, the sound of understanding that is made from attending the problem or conflict on a daily basis is entirely new, unique, and beautiful.

So stand up for yourself.

Your voice is strong because it is unlike any other. Stand up for others, making sure that their voices are heard too, because they are just as important.

Take time to be silent and at peace, listening to the character of culture forming and un-forming. Look for prejudice, fears, and dissonance and thus, be a diplomat reflecting life, love, and harmony.

From one end of the earth to the other, like a perfect cadence, we begin and will end together.

 

Harp Adventures

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Played outside this weekend!

The weekly schedule of posting has created a flow of ideas.  It has been slowly bringing me closer to the present mindfulness of just how full my life really is.  I feel a certain gratitude for the richness of living life to the fullest and having the opportunity to do so.  I’ve decided to start a new series and let’s be honest it won’t be an every week type of deal.  However, the harp is a major influence in my daily life and it should come up often.

Music is one of the most beautiful forms of art we can make.  As a resonance of sounds and dynamics even the voice of someone we love can bring us to tears and back into the present and to ourselves.  I have adored the harp since I was young and will continue to learn and grow from the lessons it teaches me.

Enjoy Harp Adventures as I make my way from song to song, difficult situations to liberation, and some pretty hilarious moments of me being a total nerd about it all.

 

 

Published in a Journal: A Continuation of Art

Here’s to another addition to 500 Days of Van Gogh!  Granted it has been a while since the last post regarding anything about Van Gogh’s work, yet, I can’t continue the art conversation without always raising the suggestion that art includes so much more than pictures and media.  It is ingenuity, hope, effort, and faith in the arising.  

The earnest process of Van Gogh’s work helps to illuminate the possibilities within all of us to change our lives and the lives of others for the better.  The better perhaps being just as complex as creating a work of art.  

That being said, I just got my first publication in a journal today!

Click here to see my submission: White Sky

Alright, while I acknowledge that the path of active publication isn’t my long term goal in life, the visual sensation of seeing your work in a literary presentation is pretty awesome.  For some reason, it felt as though being presented with a poem I had created added a new perspective to the creative process of writing.

I’ve had artwork presented in shows and competitions, however the nature of words and their meaning beyond the ink and spacing seems much more personal.  I am a quiet character by nature, so the vehicle of writing is a God-send for me to communicate my thoughts and feelings.

Often times, very quiet or sentimental people (official term: introverts) are criticized for not actively seeking out social engagement.  I don’t think that this type of preference is a negative attribute.  In some manners, the act of being alone to think or regain energy is similar to a type of mental and spiritual growth beneficial to all people.

This is not to say that the exchange of ideas and communication isn’t essential in life either.  However, the act of taking time to reflect and formulate individual opinions is also very essential in progressing in a certain project, situation, or in this case, a work of literature.

I offer no deep, personal explanation of this poem as the purpose of the White Sky (blank canvas, sheet of paper, the beginning) is a place to develop and challenge new ideas of your own.

…sporadic thoughts on life…

 

White Sky

White Sky

That my imagination

would leave room for the imagination.

A canvas to stretch and prime.

I move the sun above the earth and stop

Like an architect at her blank table

The mistakes of my ink bleed across the sky

Red, orange, blue, and white.

My favorite mistake is white.

Like the paper airplanes and

the lilies and the snow, new.

Daring me to try again and again,

I dash my pen and burn my eraser

Against the indomitable wall of white.

My mistakes cannot be forgotten.

They cannot be erased.

But they can be transformed.

Like the demeanor of a white sky

Listening to a heartbeat at peace,

It waits for the winds of something new

Stirring the clouds until pieces of blue break through.

~ Keys2Change

Chihuly: Art, Glass, and Ingenuity

While I never would have considered an artist who bases his work in Washington state to have such a large presence in Florida, the Dale Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, FL is one of the best exhibitions I’ve ever been to and certainly one of the coolest.

First off, the museum was designed and organized by a local architect Albert Alfonso and Dale Chihuly himself.  The fact that the artist had an input as to how the exhibition would be put together is a statement for the present-day artist and audience.

Dale Chihuly

The artist’s own input and design brings the audience significantly closer to the concepts, vitality, and genuine perception of the art being shown.  That is not to say that museums such as the Dali Museum, which is right down the street from the Chihuly Collection, aren’t exceptional.

However, there is a certain distance between the artist, the work, and the audience when paintings and sculptures are put up in chronological or relevant order with tiny plaques explaining a fraction of the significance of a piece.

Going to see art shouldn’t always have to be an archaeological excursion.  There is an excitement in discovering the past, but there is also excitement in being brought to the present to discover the close connections that art and the every day world have in common.

Connections such as current events and ingenious techniques only made possible by living in the time period of today, put

Chihuly’s “Pacific Sun” Seattle, Washington

our lives into a perspective that we may not have noticed otherwise.  As art is a reflection of society, the individuals living in that society, and the motivation behind such creations, it is important to understand the value of both the old and the new.

Alright, I meant for this post to be a bit more informative on the techniques and history of Dale Chihuly’s work, but it must be saved for later.  Until next time!