A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
After everything in her life falls to pieces, including her marriage to wealthy businessman Hal (Alec Baldwin), elegant New York socialite Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves into her sister Ginger’s (Sally Hawkins) modest apartment in San Francisco. Jasmine is in a fragile mental state and depends on anti-depressants and vodka. She doesn’t cope well with her undesired new life and still behaves like an aristocrat, and calls her sister’s boyfriend and ex-husband ‘losers’. She reluctantly works as the receptionist in a dentist’s office, with a improvised goal to study to be a successful interior designer with her sophisticated taste. One day, Jasmine meets Dwight (Peter Sarsgaard), a diplomat who is quickly smitten with her beauty, sophistication and style, and finds a hope to get back to high life. However, her lies about her past lead to another catastrophic blow to Jasmine.
This comedy-drama hilariously but painfully portrays fall of a woman who had everything but lost everything except her pride. I was annoyed with Jasmine’s arrogance at the beginning but gradually started to feel sympathy and to pity her. She is forced to live like an ‘ordinary’ people that causes her a nervous breakdown, but she tries to cope with hardship in her own way though a bit clumsy and bit unrealistic. Cate Blanchett did play the role perfectly, and I can’t think about any actress who can do better than her. Also I am impressed Woody Allen as a man, can perfectly describe woman’s nature – closing one eye on her husband’s infidelity and illegal activity or telling a ‘little’ lie to protect her own happiness. I give this film a 5-star.
I didn’t go to Angel’s cinema Screen on the Green (past blog) for a long time, and during the break, the cinema has become a part of Everyman Cinemas. Accordingly, comfy sofa seating called ‘Premier Seat’ is introduced at the last two rows, and there you can enjoy a film like you are in your living room, with extra £2.00. There is a café/bar at the back that serves you a refreshment at your own seat. The cinema is also recommended.
The Europe’s biggest shopping centre, Westfield Stratford City located next to the 2012 Olympic park in east London, opened its door to the public today. Over 10,000 shoppers, some queued for up to 20 hours, flowed in the shopping centre to grab a bargain with Day One special discounts, and enjoyed a performance by Nicole Scherzinger, the former singer of the Pussycat Dolls and girlfriend of F-1 driver Lewis Hamilton, as well as less excited ceremony of cutting ribbon by London mayor Boris Johnson, together with gangs of the Australian Westfield group. It will be one of the big attraction for visitors to next summer’s Olympics. → See photos & details: Telegraph | Daily Mail | the Sun
A sister mall of Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush (I still haven’t never been after 3 years of opening!), this £1.45 billion & 1.9 million ft² (=about 25 football pitches!) shopping centre houses more than 300 stores, including John Lewis and Marks and Spencer occupying large areas of the mall, 70 restaurants, a 14-screen cinema, three hotels, a bowling alley and the UK’s largest casino (I didn’t know that casino is legal in UK). However, some retail spaces are still unopened but are expected to open before Christmas. It is estimated that the centre has created around 18,000 permanent jobs including 10,000 in shops, about 20% of which went to the local long-term unemployed.
This event is another reminder for me that the Olympic is all (at least big part of it, if not all) about business, no matter what idealistic and pompous words IOC uses. You need investment and money to host the Games and poor countries cannot afford to. And whoever pay for it wants share. Greece couldn’t afford it but hosted it with huge loans, and has gone bust. I am not complaining or rather understand the system, but I just don’t like hypocrisy to disguise the commercialism – everyone knows it already!
先日、チャイナタウンの近くにあるPrince Charles Cinemaで、現在公開中の映画「Biutiful（ビューティフル）」を観た。Prince Charles Cinemaは、最新のハリウッド映画からカルト、アートハウス、古典まで、違う映画を週に10本以上上映する、「repertory cinema（レパートリー・シネマ）」と呼ばれる独立系映画館で、映画ファンの間でカルト的な人気を誇る。サウンド・オブ・ミュージックやロッキー・ホラー・ショーなど、観衆が映画音楽に合わせて一緒に歌う「Singalonga Shows」や特別イベントなども行われる。現在地に移った1991年より低価格路線をとっていて、最近増設された上階スクリーンで上映される映画は£7.50（平日5時まで）/£9.50、地下上映分は£5.00（平日5時まで）/£6.00。年間£10で会員になるとさらにお得で、第1週目平日5時までの地下上映価格が何と£1.50！
We saw the movie “Biutiful” at the Prince Charles Cinema near Chinatown the other day. Prince Charles Cinema is a repertory cinema, showing a rotating program of cult, arthouse, and classic films alongside recent Hollywood releases, typically more than ten different films a week on two screens. The cinema has achieved a cult status amongst movie fans, and also hosts “Singalonga Shows”, screening of sing-a-long version such as The Sound of Musicas well as The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The cinema has operated low ticket pricing policies since 1991 when it moved to the current location. Ticket prices for recently added second screen in the upper levels cost £7.50 (weekday before 5pm)/£9.50, and prices for cinema downstairs are £5.00(weekday before 5pm)/£6.00. Prices with £10 annual membership are even cheaper, starting from £1.50 for 1st weekday matinees downstairs!
Uxbal is a man with a bright side and a dark side. He is a strong but caring and affectionate father to his two children, and struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with their mother, despite her problems with alcohol and instability. Uxbal is also a criminal who oversees a small underground empire alongside Chinese crime boss and Uxbal’s impulsive brother. Uxbal deals from drugs to construction, but unlike his partners in crime, he tries to treat those around him with dignity even as he trades in human misery. His precarious world begins to collapse when he’s diagnosed with a terminal cancer and has only few weeks left to live; he tries to put his affairs in order in the time he has left, but runs into big trouble (synopsis reference: fandango.com).
Like in 21 Gramsand Babel, the directors’ beautiful cinematography with intense sadness and Bardem’s powerful acting is impressing, but it was quite exhausting to immerse myself in the gloominess for 2 hours and 22 minutes of screening. Also I thought the relationship between Uxbal and the illegal immigrants seems to be too goody-goody and unrealistic, and some paranormal scenes with ghosts and stuffs were too much. Overall, a bit disappointed…
10月13日〜28日に開催中の、第54回目ロンドン国際映画祭（54th BFI London Film Festival/ LFF）が中間地点を迎えた。今年は、プレミア上映も含めて、世界各国から選りすぐった197本の映画と112本の短編映画を、16カ所の映画館を会場として一般上映している。今までロンドンにいる時は必ず行っていたんだけれど、今年は何だか乗り気になれなくて一つも観に行っていない。来週からの旅行に心が飛んでいるという事もあるけれど、その102ページにも及ぶ分厚いパンフレットを読む気がしなかった。いつもは、赤ペン片手にあらすじを読んで、面白そうな映画をピックアップして、カレンダーを睨みながら日にちを調整して（上映日は1日〜2日）、チケットを予約していたんだけれど。→去年の映画祭のエントリー参照。
The 54th BFI London Film Festival / LFF, running from October 13 to 28, is now in the halfway point. This year, the LFF gathers 197 feature films and 112 shorts, and has been screened them in 16 cinemas in London. We always went to the festival whenever we were in London, but we don’t feel like going this year for some reason. We also didn’t have much time to read its 102-page thick brochure, as our minds have been preoccupied with our trip from next week. Otherwise, we always checked the booklet with a red pen on a hand, reading the summary of the movies we thought were interested, and purchased the tickets, struggling to make the movies fitted in our calender (each movie is screened up to four days only). →last year’s post
LFF is a great opportunity for us to enjoy rare movies from unusual countries and art house movies that usual cinemas never invite, but it is utterly overwhelming with the large number, and can’t choose unless you focus on the genre or specific countries or regions – it is a big job…
BFI Southbank has been hosting the “Yasujiro Ozu” season, showing total of 33 films, from January 1st until the end of February. During the period, “Ozu and His Influence” shows 12 Japanese and foreign movies inspired by Ozu and his works during the same period. Ozu’s works has been shown in chronological order, and I started to go to see many of his films made during the WWII and after from the beginning of February.
When I was in Japan, I always saw foreign films and rarely went to see a Japanese movie. Embarrassed to say, I had never seen any Ozu’s movies before I came to London. Now I am far away from home, I got to be more interested in anything related to Japan, and I go to see a Japanese film anytime I have a chance. There is some places screen a Japanese movie, though not at major cinemas: BFI mainly shows old movies such as Mikio Naruse or Nagisa Oshima, and ICA screens more modern films. The London Film Festival also invites some Japanese movies every year.
Although BFI’s biggest cinema is hardly full, quite many people come and see Ozu’s works – Ozu is one of the best Japanese film directors, yet still his movies are quite old and may be not everyone’s cup of tea. When a screening in the smaller room (BFI southbank has 4 screening rooms; big, medium and small), the seats are usually quite filled up. The audience are from 20s to 60, 70s, and many of them are men alone. The front row is mostly taken and always more or less the same people sitting on the same seats.
I always feel relaxed and happy, every time I see Ozu’s movies, portraying an ordinary life and a famiyl relationship in good old Japan. Ozu always used the same actors and actresses such as Chishu Ryu, Shin Saburi, and Setsuko Hara, I started to feel an affinity for them as I have been knowing them for many years. Since when Ozu made his last film in 1962, the speech, fashion, gestures and values in Japan have changed dramatically, like a different country. I was not born yet that time, but I enjoy imagining how my parents and grandparents had lived through the times.