The very first film I ever saw in cinema was The Little Mermaid. I was (nearly) five and my sister must have been
three, she was so little that in the time before booster-seats, we (that is my cousins and me) had to put our coats on her seat. 1. obviously so she could see the screen but 2. so she wouldn’t fold double in the seats as she was too light to keep the fold up seat down! I remember there was a break in the film (which cinema does that these days?) and we had ice-creams. (They were cornetto’s, that’s how impressed I was by it all.) I had coloured in a poster and handed it on to get a real one. We forgot the real one in the cinema (whoops) but one of my cousin’s gave me copy out of her Donald Duck magazine. It wasn’t on the thick shiny nice paper, but it would do.
We sang the songs for weeks after with the help of a tape we played over and over; we even had a little mermaid toy to play in the bath with. I wanted to be a red-head (no actually, I made that up) but I was well impressed for a very long time after. Last year I saw the film again and I was very surprised it was only 90min long. (AND it had a break in the middle!) In my memory it lasted so much longer. After that first experience, I obviously went to see a lot more films, the first years they were mostly cartoons. Mostly Disney actually and we switched from the dubbed versions to the grown-up subtitled ones when Pocahontas came out.
As you can see, Disney was a major influence on my early cinema experience. Later I saw most Disney films on video or DVDs: I believe Hercules was even shown during a Latin class ( and before anyone starts: yes I know he is Greek but it was a small school ok, our Latin teacher also taught Greek. It was ok, we only had 6 people taking ancient language anyway.) I definitely saw Mulan with my sister in our local cinema and we can still quote from it. Come on, it’s an Oriental girl who kicks ass: we needed to be part of the movement. the movement was however pretty small. Disney was losing momentum and territory to Pixar. Computer animation was rapidly becoming the next big thing.
Even though Disney had already experimented with computer animation to explore different camera angles on Beauty and The Beast (which was consequently nominated for an Oscar) it seemed Pixar was exploring new worlds faster. Here I’ll just state that I also got older too of course and might have missed the hype of Atlantis or Treasure Island and perhaps already the rose-tinted spectacles go on when looking back on one’s childhood. Whatever the case, I hadn’t seen an animated Disney movie (bar Pixar collaborations) for years until a couple of hours ago.
The Princess and The Frog, based very loosely on the actual fairytale – in fact only taking the one element of it ‘a princess kissing a frog to turn into a prince – this was Disney as I remembered it. Beautiful drawings, catchy songs and a great sense of double layered humour. Set in 1930s New Orleans the musicscore was good ol fashioned jazzy business but the story surprisingly fresh and modern. Tiana, ‘the princess’ in this case is dreaming of her own restaurant and is working hard to achieve it. Double shifts and saving money to achieve her dream. The prince is a playboy who just got cut off from his parents fund trying to marry a rich girl to keep up his life-style. (Yes, this is gold diggin’ Disney style guys!) They go on a journey and learn lots of lessons along the way with the usual Disney sidekicks, this time a firefly called Ray and a trumpet playing alligator called Louis. (That’s right as in… yes.) Oh and let me mention the hilarious Southern friend of Tiana whose accent is so thick you could cut through it.
Ok, so for adults the moral of the story is pretty obvious as are the lessons about the difference between ‘wanting and needing’ . It is about middle ground, about compromise, about working hard to make things happen and having a little faith too. We should all wish upon a star sometimes…
I walked out, feeling all fuzzy and warm with lovely Disney magic, but this faded too quickly. It’s a shame foggy London is always lit, you cannot spot the stars, all you see are the lights on the passing airplanes. But when I crossed the bridge opposite the flat, I looked up and I spotted to my surprise several dimly lit stationary dots in the sky. It seems even in the modern city stars are there: you just need to want to see them.
This morning on the Tube, I read the first stanza of William Blake’s Augeries of Innocence on the Poems of the
Underground poster. It reminded me of my favourite poem by Blake, which I learned of by heart in my melodramatic teenage years (13-16yrs) but which over time has become more and more clear to me.
Tonight I saw Invictus the story of Mandela and the Springboks ( the SA rugby team). The story evolves around the political times and situation in 1995’s South Africa – the year of the Rugby Worldcup. Mr Mandela understood very well how important Rugby could be for his divided country and his active support led to a unity no one could have imagined five years previously. Now,I don’t know anything about rugby because the Dutch don’t play it. I also think Afrikaans is funny and if we all speak slowly the Dutch and the Afrikaners can understand each other thanks to the roots of their language, but it does take a very good-looking man to pull of the accent!
Matt Damon gave it a shot though and I applaud him ( Morgan, you know you are great, still the accent slipped when you spoke fast. Guessing they did this because it would have been even a longer movie otherwise: a fast speaker Mr Mandela is not.) Yet despite all the above and the slight over-egging (the music, the scene with child and cops, Clint was directing it and he does have a sense of drama dahlin’) it was a very engaging film. It painted a very touching picture of a country in a time of turmoil when it really could do with a lift and some inspiration.
I fully accept parts were dramatized for the effect, one of them being Matt as Francois Pienaar who in real life is about a ft taller than him. (Yet it still wasn’t as bad as Tom Cruise in Top Gun.) Another significant thing is the poem Invictus which Mandela gives to Pienaar as inspiration, it supposedly helped him through 30 years of imprisonment. It is in debate whether this actually took place, though it is known that the poem was real for Mandela.
Invictus by William Ernest Henley, tells about strenght of man: the master of his own fate and the captain of his soul. Nelson Mandela has obviously embraced this thought and has started to personify it. Which leads me back to my memory of this morning: just four simple lines, easy to remember and reflect upon now we are nearing Ash Wednesday.
One day, what seems a long time ago now, I wrote a post about ignoring love until it stopped hurting me. Today the combination of the poem and the film and no doubt the passing of time, made me realise that it was never love itself that had hurt me. The pain stopped.
For all the faults I have, for all up and downs in faith I experience, and for all the fat lot of good it may do me amongst the cynics and the critics, I still believe in these four lines:
It is Valentine’s Day 2010. I’m single, my male friends have decided to go all gay on me if I were to believe the status updates on Facebook. (Guys, it is hard enough as it is without you all switching alliances.)
So let’s touch upon, just for a second, the not-so-good movie they made for today. Realising I am bitter and twisted and a rapidly shrinking creative soul, but how on earth did they get such an A-list cast together with that script? I understand from both the Taylor’s (Swift and Lautner) point of few, maybe even Bradley Cooper who is just churning them out at the moment, any press is good press, but you Julia…and Shirley? What were you thinking!
Things haven’t looked this depressing since finding out that the voice-over of another really bad movie 10.000 BC was actually Omar Sharif. ( Or on another level, Gerard Butler surrounded by really bad CGI flames in Law Abiding Citizen though that inexplicable strip-scene does even that out or that classic Pierce Brosnan moment when he starts to sing in Mama Mia.) It is all show business I’m sure, because I have this feeling they all got paid enough to do it. Bitter twisted and single, what can one do than to ignore today and look forward to the rest of the year?
Luckily for us: THE GOLDEN TIGER HAS COMETH! YAY! I am very excited, 2009 has been hard for most of us and the year of the tiger, will bring us change and activity. Don’t fear, but do hold on to your hats boys and girls!
I believe it is time to show the tiger your teeth, display some courage it symbolises and by the time the more peaceful Year of the Rabbit comes around – who knows what Valentine’s day 2011 looks like!
Let’s all take heart and be excited: bon courage mes amis! x
Goodevening and welcome. Thank you for joining me on this Monday evening as we begin explore the wonderous
world of Life: the Existential Crisis Years- part 8097.
Now to get you up to speed: in our last episode we stepped away from the Quarter Life Crisis (QLC). A bold move perhaps, but for someone who has now reached 25 years of age and who will quite certainly not make 100 ( hereditary high-blood pressure: it’s a bastard.) it really was time.
So closing the doors of QLC behind me ( passing the friendly sign: Thank you for visiting- we hope to welcome you again or visit our website www.qlcrisis.co.za,) I marched on with fresh courage. My new resolution was to make the most of my life. So far so good. Yet several months on and no real forward changes have been made ( apart from feeling more confident and less prone to propel oneself right back through the glass swingdoors of the QLC building, which in itself is an achievement- I agree.) So with the latter in mind – I would hate you to think I was whinging yet again, I still thought about the makeability of life.
Why is it that the same people who say: ‘Everything happens for a reason’ then also back the other cliche ‘No one else can do it but yourself.’ Surely you cannot combine the two?
If everything indeed happens for a reason, could I just kick back and let life take me where it needs to take me- all the while hoping that if not the ride, at least destination will make me happy? Happiness being the thing to strive for. ( Can the thing/god/spirit/karma/ powers who make things happen for reasons be evil? What if they/it doesn’t like me? I mean it created childbirth right? And don’t give me the story of the apple, that was probably made up to cover up a certain somebody’s teeny-tiny engineering mistake – which in itself defies the She is Black-punchline: She would have fixed it properly.)
If it is me who has to make things happen, then what is the point? Even if I set up all the perfect situations to make my life the best it can be, am I not still reliant on other people or other forces I cannot control? If I am the only one who can fix my life, so are the others and then we all are just individuals crossing, and thus influencing, each other’s paths per chance. I have this visual of everyone in separate boats; free to steer it anywhere to find the things you want out of life, all of which are scattered around the ocean in which we all float, but no SatNav or Googlemaps.
Why work hard, move mountains, if you are never sure you can reach your goal? If there are no signs ( because you see – you’re the only one to make things happen, there are no ready made signs!) How do you know you are going into the right direction? Will I wake up one day and start steering my boat out of habit and finally reach my goal per chance because somebody else has decided to stop hogging it and move another way? Leaving the goal for me to collect ( And pass Go and collect £200?) Is it all down to dumb luck?
Maybe it is, if we take the definition given by Seneca. He didn’t call it luck dumb, to him luck was a result, a combination of man-made creation and chance: Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet.
Perhaps we come across things for a reason, but not every island or every piece of floating wood, has the same meaning for each individual. The full extend of their reason only becomes clear to us when we can use them to reach the goal we desire. At the same time, when the rightly prepared boat floats against the island it prepared for, it may suddenly seem like all the things in the boat are there for a reason. Whilst in fact we can only make sense of the island, because of the preparation which has been undertaken. I guess that preparation and opportunity define each other. In short: You cannot see an island in the dark if you haven’t picked up those floating nightvision goggles folks!
So here I compromise and find middleground. I will keep steering but I will also keep picking up stuff which I think I might need in life even though I can see nowt but water. One day I will hit solid ground and when I do – my boat will be so well prepared, Robinson Crusoe can eat his heart out!
This afternoon I saw another great example of food and love: Nancy Meyer’s It’s Complicated.
Yes, it is about a divorced couple having an affair ten years later and a naked Alec Baldwin might actually take a little appetite away ( Sorry Alec.) but it is also about love and… the food!
From fresh chocolate croissants, to roast chicken and mash potatoes and chocolate fudge cake, it all looks great. The vegetable patch with perfect tomatoes, the glasses with red wine…
It completes the picture, Meryl Streep as a fifty-something divorcee with three gorgeous children, a great career and amazing ‘girl friends’ or is that woman-friends, her life is a pretty picture ( apart from the teeny-tiny issue of having an affair with her ex.) She looks healthy, beautiful and she has a healthy relationship with food.
It is funny and with funny I don’t mean haha-funny, more sad funny; or actually not funny at all. It seems like a life-time ago that we were together anyway but after having picked up my last box with stuff from the flat that he is now leaving too, I still woke up this morning with the soul-hangover the size of a small African nation.