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.
From March 1 to April 30, BFI Southbank has been hosting the comprehensive two-part retrospective season of the Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of M’s favorite film directors of all time. Many of the films shown are recently restored versions (film details & schedule).
A director, novelist, poet, linguist, painter and journalist with an outspoken political agenda, Pasolini was one of the most controversial and provocative directors of his day, who tragically ended his life on the beach near Rome (Wikipedia). His non-aligned leftism and defiant homosexuality can be seen in many of his films, as well as his cynical and critical view of religions, both Christian and pagan, as a foundation of European identity. With his roots in the neorealism, he ignored the rules’ of conventional film, and reinvented the language of cinema as a kind of poetry and used tableau compositions inspired by Renaissance painting. Pasolini’s works have inspired some renown filmmakers, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Derek Jarman, Gus Van Sant and Martin Scorsese.
I am not a big fan of Pasolini’s style which was often unnecessarily provocative, scandalous, absurd, and too metaphoric to understand, the similar reasons why I don’t love Jean Luc-Godard either. But I went to see Mamma Roma (1962), because this film shows real people who struggled to live after the Italian Fascist era and World War II. Mamma Roma is a mother who does everything, even trapping and blackmailing others, to make her dearest and only son to live a decent life, not like hers, but the movie ends badly despite of her sacrifice and effort (detailed plot). Overall, I enjoyed this film a lot. Ex-prostitute, Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani) is a stereotypical Italian mother who loves and protects her beloved only son with all the cost though sometime too much, but also an universal mother figure who only hopes her child’s happiness, so everyone can understand and sympathize with her way of living, though it may not be the right way. The cinematography is beautiful and atmospheric, showing the contrast between the newly built housing complex and Roman ruins in suburb of Rome. Some languages are rather immoral and vulgar. According to M who spent his teenage years in Rome, some Romans who live in impoverished area at that time could be like that, so I guess the movie is ultra-realistic in a way.
Here is a little information from Venice, sent by the artist Stefano Devoti who made an art work for the London’s restaurant In Parma By Food. He is in venice now at the Fiorenzo Fallani studio that host “Nice to Print You” program, where you can have an unique opportunity to work with a print master. You can also visit the studio full of contemporary art history, to bring home an unique object done by their hands – if you have a plan to visit this beautiful city of Venice and do something unique.
テート・モダンで新しく始まった「Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye」展（6月28日〜10月14日）は、エドヴァルド・ムンクの20世紀の作品を集めた展覧会で、主にオスロのムンク美術館から貸し出された、60点の絵画と映像・写真作品を展示している。ノルウェー出身のムンクは19世紀象徴主義の画家で、20世紀初頭のドイツ表現主義にも影響を与えたことで知られる。残念ながら彼の代表作である「叫び」の展示はないけれど、ムンクの作品の特徴である同じテーマの繰り返し、セルフ・ポートレートへの執着、そして映画や写真といった当時としては画期的なメディアや技術の作品への影響にスポットを当て、違った角度から彼の作品に光を当てている。
Tate Modern’s new exhibition “Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye” (Jun 28 – Oct 14) examines the work of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863–1944) from the 20th century, including 60 paintings as well as his work in film and photography, many from the Munch Museum in Oslo – though his best known work of “The Scream“ (1893) is missing. Munch has traditionally been portrayed as a 19th-century symbolist or pre-expressionist who influenced GermanExpressionism in the early 20th century. This exhibition shows us his works from a different angle and highlights his use of single motifs, his preoccupation with self-portraiture, and the influence of contemporary media on his work.
Munch often repeated a single motif over years in order to re-work it and created several different versions, such as The Sick Child (1885–1927) and Girls on the Bridge (1902–27: in the photo above). He adopted photography in the early 20th century and focused on self-portraits, which he obsessively repeated, such as in Self-portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed(1941). Influence by technological developments in cinema and photography can be seen on much of his works, such as use of prominent foregrounds and strong diagonals, and the visual trick of figures moving towards the spectator as in Workers on their Way Home(1913–14). He also created striking effect in some of his works such as The Artist and his Model (1919–21), using electric lighting on theatre stages.In the 1930s he developed an eye disease and made works which charted the effects of his degenerating sight.
Many of his works on display are not as shocking and dreadful as The Scream, but his paintings with dynamic composition and use of deep colours scream out the same pain and anguish Munch had suffered through his life. Understated yet powerful exhibition, and I like it. → more photos: BBC
This is the movie we saw in a cinema after a while, Austrian movie “Michael“. This is a debut film by Markus Schleinzer, who participated in over 60 feature-film projects including Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher and The White Ribbon, and premiered in Competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The movie emotionlessly and detachedly describes the last five months of 10-year-old Wolfgang, a kidnapped boy, and 35-year-old kidnapper / child molester Michael’s life together. There is no scene that Michael calls Wolfgang by name, as far as I remember, so I don’t use the the kid’s name here.
Michael, a seemingly meek insurance agent who lives mandane life, has a dark secret: he’s holding a boy captive in a locked room in his basement. Michael’s life is a repetition of attending work, returning with his shopping to cook dinner in his neat and tidy homein boring and doomy Austrian suburb. In the movie, Michael is neither violent or agressive toward the boy, but behaves rather fatherly; patting on a head, preparing dinner and cleaning up dishes together, sometimes play together. Kid’s room is spacious, clean and neat, though there is no windows and always locked, but there are toys and TV. Michael cuts the boy’s hair, celebrate Christmas together, and even takes a trip to a mountain. However, he is still an abuser. The boy spends all day alone in a basement until Michael comes back, without being able to see his parents and friends and freedom to go anywhere. He is totally helpless and has no other choice but to obey what Michael orders him, including Michael’s sexual gratification. There is no explicit scene but it is implied – it is quite disturbing. TIt is heartbreaking to se the boy’s face when he was demanded to do what he really doen’t want… Michael is also a control freak – everything has to be in order. Though he seems gentle, but in fact he controls every aspect of the boy’s life. He sometimes shows some humane side, such as crying alone, but I can’t comprehend his psyche that allows him to destroy little boy’s happy life otherwise and to give a psychological torment. I can’t say how the move ends, though I desperately want to, but Michael pays the price of what he did. However, I hate the ending like this, suddenly screen blackened, and doesn’t show what really happened to the boy!! Now I have mental indigestion…
Recent two notorious confinement cases of Natascha Kampusch case and Fritzl case both happened in Austria coincidentally. “Michael” resembles the Kampusch case, but what Natascha actually experienced was much worse in compare to this rather moderated and neutralised movie (M read her book 3,096 days and told me what happened). I guess a film, seen by general public, has certain restriction and can’t show scenes too horrifying and upsetting.
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!