Monthly Archives: July, 2017

Folded

Folding arms
In wait of an unexpected unwant
Form and context
Leaves them in struggle
How to portray the thoughts
That appear unbidden
Without giving away
Every last detail of misgiving?

A dog barks somewhere
And a hand is raised
The game play changes
But the rules remain
Arms become outstretched

Aquarius review

The fantastic Brazilian film Aquarius is out on DVD/Blu-ray now…
Here’s my review over at FM and below…

AQUARIUS_UK_2D_BD-500x500

Aquarius is a resolutely intelligent work detailing a whole lifetime of experience, passion and commitment to the things that matter most in life (not in any particular order): art, family, love and community.

Sonia Braga gives an intensely radiant performance as Clara, a 65-year-old retired music critic and widow born and raised into a well to do family in Recife, Brazil. While enjoying a comfortable life of leisure amongst friends and neighbours, it becomes apparent that a development group has its eyes on the home that has been an integral part of her life for so long – the original 1940’s building the Aquarius. All of her neighbours apartments have been rapidly bought up, leaving her as the only resident left. The unscrupulous modern developers – personified by the young graduate of an American business college Diego (Humberto Carrão) – are dead set on acquiring the whole building and will stoop to any means in order to do so. Clara soon realises she has a fight on her hands, and must incorporate her considerable powers of determination in order to see that a semblance of justice prevails.

As a detailed pinpointing in miniature of many of the demands facing communities across the world, regardless of class, nationality or background, on a social level Aquarius provides an assortment of talking points. Most obviously is the modern fact of neighbourhoods and areas becoming redeveloped creating tensions amongst neighbours and families, often coupled with greed, opportunism or both. The film constantly portrays this threat and the paranoia inducing tension it has on Clara in a creepy ways. This psychological thriller aspect of slamming doors, mysterious noises from upstairs and strangers or workmen encroaching on the privacy of home all leave their mark. Clara has to display a steely toughness in order to stay put and the film is great at chronicling her trials and tribulations while displaying the daily activity of her interactions with family and neighbours. This plus a healthy sexual appetite only strengthen Clara’s formidable realness and humanity.

The passionate encounters – in Clara’s case one very successful and one not-so – serve as a reminder of her aunt Lucia (who we meet in the first chapter set in 1980) who linked a dresser piece of furniture with intense and memorable love-making. Part of the success of Aquarius as a film is this ability to traverse different times through memory and feeling. It is a singularly powerful and poetic film, and has quite rightly already won itself top plaudits in the minds of anyone interested in place, memory and identity.

 

 

Neruda review

Pablo Larrain’s Neruda is out on home release now.
Here’s what I thought over at Flickering Myth and below…

neruda 01 - Luis Gnecco (Pablo Neruda)

Taking the conflict between poet and political senator Pablo Neruda and the anti-communist Chilean government as its background, this latest from Pablo Larrain (NoThe ClubJackie) plays out like a metaphysical chase movie, with the rich imagination of the writer being harnessed as a creative suit of armour to protect him and his interests.

During political congress in 1948, Senator Neruda (Luis Gnecco) accuses President González Videla’s (Alfredo Castro) government of betraying the  Communist Party and is then impeached and a warrant put out for his arrest.  Police Prefect Oscar Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal) is assigned to arrest the poet.  Fearing for his safety, Neruda tries to leave Chile with his artist wife Delia del Carril  (Mercedes Morán) but they are turned back and forced into hiding.  This new life of refuge and uncertainty inspires the poet to create new work new myths and new legends.

Peluchonneau - Martinez

While the setting and mood of the piece is beautifully represented and there is genuine tension built up with Peluchonneau’s determination to ‘win’ his arrest, the film as a whole is starkly unconventional and all the better for it. Without giving away too many details, the story is partly based on Neruda’s private imaginings, and how much is fact or fiction becomes increasingly unimportant. What is necessary is the power of belief, memory and poetry itself, to build up a workable formation of reality. So, we have a deconstructed – and then re-constructed – biopic.

outside/inside/start/end

the end is the start
the start is the end
this is a straight line
but watch how it bends

i look
i see
an explosion of red and black
just outside my window
i do not know if i am looking
outside
or inside

the end is the start
the start is the end
this is a straight line
but watch how it bends