2016/03/11

Day Zero: About endings and new beginnings (Texasville - March, 11)

"Liftoff. And may God's love be with you".

Here we are, guys. The end of countdown. The end, my friends. The Omad challenge is over - on a high note, I must say. Amazing movies, blah films, beloved productions and, mainly, lots of love from those who stayed with me through this period of time. A beautiful note, for sure.

Another Earth
Throughout this year (the stereotypical one, composed by 365 days, despite us being on a leap year), some scattered thoughts and feelings came to me. What was changing on my relationship with movies and my perceptions of world and people. I was forcing the choice of movies or just going with the flow? The challenge was a boring obligation or a nice opportunity to view cinema in other ways? I usually question everything, and it wouldn't be different in this daring proposal I presented to my disappointed self one year ago, on March 10, 2015.

The main thought was how time is in fact an illusion. I'd guessed at first that it would take longer to reach this ending point. Actually, it passed in such a fast pace, I'm mesmerized to have reached Day 365. And it looks like it is a lot of movies, but it isn't really. I also had expected to watch all the movies I wanted to see, but again no.  Another wrong idea. The pile of "to-see-films" under my TV got bigger. My watchlist on imdb.com is not small either. And I have my eyes in so many films that I want to meet that I'm not sure a life time will be enough for that. Instead of fill the many holes on my filmography, Omad opened a million others. It proves how fragile the idea of chronological time is. 

Only Lovers Left Alive
There were also practical concerns. A movie watched after midnight belongs to which day? Late at night, tired, what would be a better choice? Holidays, partying with friends, classes, appointments in general... Through all that I would have to make time for the day's movie. Once, I even resorted to the Netflix on my cell while attending a party. I should clarify that I was helping a friend to organize a dinner for her birthday. While we were waiting for her guests to arrive, I quietly found a comfortable space and watched The Upside of Anger. My friend came to see what the movie was about. Some of her closest friends were a bit perplexed that I had to see a movie on that exact moment. Well, that was life for an year. It was so much fun, actually.

I've been talking about the great support of dear friends and their will to participate actively of this challenge that had the purpose of giving a sense to my days when my other plans went to hell. It is with a smile, though, that I remember all the times that I had to leave a place and say goodbye to the perplexed, amazed and amused faces of those not so close friends and acquaintances who could not believe I would go home only to watch a movie. Not by chance it is called a challenge, right?

Away we Go
It was really challenging sometimes, of course. 12 movies here were watched in parts - I'd started them at one day, finishing it on the other. Maybe I'm biased, but I think it is a fairly low number of difficult moments, which were rare compared to the whole. Anyway, I'm happy that I didn't give up on any day. Even if I was upset, tired, sleepy, drunk or just without the slight desire to see a film at that moment. The thing is that the most surprising and beloved movies came to me exactly on days like this: Away We Go, Elvis & Annabelle, Restless, The Art of Getting By, It's Kind of a Funny Story. I'd look for a movie to watch on Netflix, in a state of sheer discouragement,  and it ended up being incredible. That's how Joe named this lucky search as The Magic Shuffle - and it did work beautifully every time.

There were a few days in which I wasn't open to any movie that could be too good - I wasn't worthy of them on those moments. A so so movie would have to do. This way, a film like The Dust Factory became a part of Omad. They're not just poor productions, they're absolutely blah. Well, we have blah days on our lives, and it is just fit that movies as a part of the daily routine would follow this kind of natural trend.

On other days when I wouldn't do justice to anything new, I'd chose reruns of what I have watched before or movies from Omad that I hadn't been able to get away from. Only Lovers Left Alive - there's butterflies in my heart only by thinking of it. How I love, love, love this Jim Jarmusch film. Begin Again and Laggies (both with Keira Knightley) I will see again soon - I've watched it full two times this years, and many, many isolated parts on TV during breakfast. By the way, this new year will be full of reruns. On Omad, they were 52. A big chunk of this challenge.

François Damiens in Delicacy
Talking about numbers, here goes some statistics for you. Omad is composed by 382 films, 112 of which I've watched on a movie theater. There were 14 double showings and only 3 triple ones. I've watched 62 with friends and family; the rest I've met all alone, as it is usual for me. My nieces' kids were my most constant company, of course, specially my oldest great-niece (yep, you've read it right), who is one of my favorite persons in the world. It is not a surprise that she watched 25 movies with me (it was a quiet year for us, I must say). Fla, my beloved older niece, was with me in 10 movies, followed by Rudd, with 9 (who initially had declared the wish to see at least one movie with me per month - we almost got there, Rodrigo!). Mari, an adventurer traveller, was able to see 5 movies with me, which is a miracle - she is not usually in town. Even my resistant mother was by my side in 3 films <3 Thank you, guys! We surely had a great time. My gratitude will be for life, you know that.

Sam Rockell in Moon
Some performers had a more constant cameo on Omad. A few I haven't met before, as François Damiens (4 movies), one of my favorites now. He is so against the grain, just a wonder to see. I've seen Anton Yelchin before, of course, but I was amazed by him during this year, he truly made an impact on me with films as Only Lovers Left Alive and 5 to 7. He is also in 4 films here. You'll sneer at me, but I end this challenge with two new crushes (is it the plural for crush???). Chris Evans (4 movies) proved to be much more than Captain America. I don't dislike the Marvel super hero at all, but in Snowpiercer he is something else. And in Before We Go, his directional debut, he is so cute and heartbroken. Other love of mine here is, of course, Tom Hardy, with the record cameo on Omad: 6 films. I must also mention Sam Rockwell, who steals the scene in every of his movies, even in a smaller role  - he's been here 4 times in 3 different movies. Tom Hiddleston's Adam almost spoiled all his other roles for me (he was here 4 times in 3 movies). Domhnall Gleeson is getting more and more attention, and he made a strong appearance here in 5 movies. Oscar Isaac is worth a note too, with 2 films. But numbers don't tell all, and my forever favorite surely is Mads Mikkelsen, who only was on the cast of 3 movies on Omad. What a shame.

Chris Evans in Snowpiercer

Damn, I almost forget to talk about Mark Ruffalo. Just for that he gets his own paragraph :) I try to follow his career closely. We saw him 7 times on Omad, on 6 movies. Soon, I'll see again one of his first roles, in Committed (2000), a fun and heartfelt and crazy small movie with Heather Graham.

Eva Green in The Salvation
Girl crushes? Eva Green for sure (2 movies), she is stunningly heartbreaking. I don't remember who asked me (It was Rudd, he reminded me of that today :) if I liked Keira Knightley a lot, because there's some movies with her on Omad - six, to be exact. I had to think about that carefully, and the answer is no, nothing special. However, I can relate to her characters, she carries an honesty in her performances that is admirable actually. And I surely enjoy her movies (she has a good taste for picking scripts I must say). Finally, Tilda Swinton is who I'd like to be if I could choose <3

One of the most recurring directors? Anders Thomas Jensen, proving my love for Nordic cinema, with 3 movies. Two Georges, Miller and Lucas, were present on marathons of their famous series - Mad Max and Star Wars, as happened with Robert Zemeckis and the Back to the Future franchising (3 movies) and James Cameron with Terminator (2 movies). Alfred Hitchcock has 4 of his outstanding films here. Another brilliant filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick gave us 3 of his productions based on literary works. Jaco Van Dormael, John Carney, Joe Wright, Mike Cahill, Erik Poppe, all admirable filmmakers, have 2 movies on Omad each.

Wadjda
All man, have you noticed? Susanne Bier, one of my favorite directors, gave us the confusing Second Chance. The deserved mention goes to women that dared the sexist system prevailing in their native countries in order to tell us the strong tales of women and girls on these cruel realities in Mustang and Wadjda.

71 movies came from Netflix. The streaming provider is not just a nice plus anymore, but turned out to be absolutely mandatory for me nowadays. It is not a merchandising, I assure you. But it is undeniable how it is becoming a bigger part of the daily life of those addicted to movie and TV shows around the world. If you don't know it, give it a chance. It is an easy and legit way of finding great productions to watch. The original Netflix productions are outstanding too.

At last, 4 movies were filmed on Iceland, my dreaming place in this crazy world :)

Up to this day, there were 11.382 pageviews, mostly from Brazil, US, Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, among many others (I loved to read their names on the statistics). The most popular post was Paper Towns (Day 128), followed by Daybreakers (Day 46), Only Lovers Left Alive (Day 6), Another Earth (Day one and Day 365), The Pillow Book (Day 50), Restless (Day 114), Before We Go (Day 208), Blue Ruin (Day 233). I'm not sure about how the blogger's statistics work, but it's hard to believe that those numbers are accurate. It is overwhelming, actually. 

  
Land Ho!


Ok, enough numbers for now. Let's talk about the movies that almost ripped my heart out of my chest in different ways and magnitude. It may sound surprising to you, but I would say Snowpiercer if you had asked me to quote just one movie that represents the current world for me. I could see the surprise on some friends' face when I told them that. But it is true. When I see all the absurdity and horrid violence that are a fundamental part of the modern political and economic systems, I immediately remember this film. I also believe that the solely outcome to all this unfairness of the hideous reality is the same as presented by Snowpiercer.

There were others, of course. Oldboy I'd like to erase from me for good. It is brilliant, but it is something that I'm not sure I would choose to see if I'd be fully aware of what it is about.  A 1.000 Times Good Night tells about the womanly struggle in life. It is so beautiful and uncompromising. Movies that took my feet from the ground and undid me in a way that was hard to even breath: IdaSon of Saul; Haemoo; Detachment; Fill the Void; The Patience Stone. The Nordic productions always have a scathing way of looking at life and human struggles, as Troubled Water. Two Estonian movies amazed me, Tangerines and I Was Here.

Rust and Bone
There were those who broke my heart in a quieter but equally fierce way, as The Broken Circle Breakdown; Room; Rust and Bone. There were also the indie productions that never fail to amaze me. They're so simple and so accurate at the same time, filling our hearts with so much love: The Art of Getting By; Begin Again; Away We Go; Olmo and the Seagull; It's Kind of a funny story; Elvis & Anabelle; Short Term 12; Delicacy; Laggies; Before we Go; 5 to 7; Lunchbox.

And what to say about the sci-fi movies that approach the many meanings of alive in this mad world by talking about what seems impossible? Predestination; Mr. Nobody; In your Eyes; Another Earth; Moon; Ex Machina - all those I simply loved.

Finally, there's the ones that prove that different ways of narrative, inventive forms of telling, are one of the greatest achievements of movies: Hiroshima Mon AmourOlmo and the Seagull; Locke; Anomalisa; Mr. Nobodythe abolutelly brilliant Son of Saul. And many, many others.

Hiroshima Mon Amour
Here, on this post, they seem to be mere references, names. In this year, though, they were my way of looking at life in general. In a more intimate note, they were a constant presence in my days, turning my eyes toward a million different directions and, above all, to myself. In the first and last movie of Omad, Another Earth, there's a question about what we would do if we had the chance to meet another us. What would we see? What would we ask to ourselves? Well, for me, the movies are the way of confronting our many selves. Those that are visible from the outside and the ones that are known just by us. And even those selves that are yet to be uncovered.

Jung wrote that the symbolism present in dreams are personal, non transferable. There are universal meanings for every symbol, of course. But in our dreams, a symbol makes sense in our own universe. It is up to us figure out what it is telling us. Well, movies are usually associated to dreams. There's the illusion aspect, the not real thing that we use to relate to dreams and movies. "I dreamt that I was falling from the highest building in the world", someone tells to a friend. "Thanks god it was just a dream" will be the most likely answer. You are dying a fierce death from all the intensity of the feelings in front of the screen, and the person near you gives the usual reply: "Why are you like that? It is just a film. It is not even real". Well.

Terence Malick, the filmmaker that films dreams, thoughts, feelings...
Knight of Cups

Reality is an odd thing to define. Because the other side of dreams - and movies - is that they speak to a part of us that it's beyond rational and factual. As happens in dreams, there's some part of us that we can only access by movies - and art in general. Fictional tales, symbolic images, the retelling of true events (which is still fiction nonetheless), they are not just what we perceive objectively. A film is not just an object to be analysed, and a narrative is beyond its decoupage.

This is one of the reasons why the experience with a movie is also personal, non transferable. We can trhough a cinema class and study the many aspects of production. It's a great subject, for sure. However, when we assume that movies are just this subject for analysis, we close the door for its many and amazing possibilities in our lives. We usually meet people trying to prevail their perceptions above others, as if there was a "true reality" in every thing. Personal, remember? We can discuss movies without knocking down different ideas and feelings about it. Again as it happens in dreams, instead of putting it in the "no real" box, maybe we could try something like "Wow, falling from the biggest building in the world? What did you feel? Do you relate that to anything? What a feeling it must be".

The word here is empathy. And fiction is an amazing way to be aware of otherness through its different medias - movies, songs, books. We should try to see, read or listen to a story in order to empathise to what we don't understand and also as a path to knowing ourselves better, a forma of being aware of what lives in the caverns of our souls, just waiting to come to light.

Locke
But that's just a way of seeing things through. There is an infinite array of others, of course. 

In Hugo (2011), there's a painting of Prometheus giving light to the first humans, who lived in darkness - they were not human at all. From his hands, the light goes down to earth in the similar way of the light that is generated by a movie projector. And that's another view of movies: a way by which the gods gifted us with humanity.

It is like that for me. Since childhood, I felt like an ET in the world around me. I didn't fit anywhere. I couldn't make sense of what was around me. It didn't help that I had a very reclusive life, in a ghost town that is nothing else than the capital of a country. My Rabbit's hole to the world were the movies I saw on TV and, after that, on movie theaters. On the moment, at the age of 11, in which I became a frequent movie goer I was truly born. From that instant on, I was aware of the bigger world which my town is a small and square part.

Hugo

Most of all, it is with the movies that I can understand not just myself, but others, and, by understanding, reach a kind of empathy that I wouldn't be able to achieve through any other way. Understanding, awareness, care, attention. Love. Those are all gifts Prometheus gave me with his light.

I thought at first that after these amazing 365 I would have to take a time away from movies. I couldn't have been more wrong. I cannot wait to reach the ones I wanted to see on this years, but wasn't able to. I cannot wait to discover new ones. My love for movies, life, people grew during this Omad year. I'll be eternally grateful for the tiny idea of challenging myself that came to me in a time of bleakness one year ago.

It's  like I've read once: the more cracks we have in our souls, more light gets through them.

Thank you for being here with me. See you soon, in the new adventures ahead.

All my love, Adriana.


Not in a movie theater!!!

PS: I wouldn't bring out a post on Omad without talking about a movie, right? But the focus on this day was thinking about the whole experience. That's why today's film is in this post scriptum. 

I didn't know there was a follow up to The Last Picture Show. I thought then that it would be interesting seeing a sequel, something that is related to the  past, to the original story, but presents something new - after all, that's the main tone of today's post. This way, Texasville was my choice. 

I wasn't sure I wanted to know what had happened to those characters, though. I had my own ideas about it, and I reckon that one of the strong features of The Last Picture Show is the uncertainty around those people's future. 

The curiosity won the war. Something that became clear since the beginning was that the darkest atmosphere of the first part was absent. A more delicate and subtle tone was adopted here. I could even say that this movie is a dramedy, actually. The characters are not just older, they are getting old. This way, their perception of things is different and it doesn't fall into more extreme manners. But it is still intense, dealing with deep feelings and issues.

The focus here is not Sonny, but Duane (I could finally recognize Jeff Bridges :). He is not the rowdy young man anymore, but a guy who is an important part of his comunity, even if his actions are still reckless.  But he is solid, and that's one of the main reasons why this movie captivated my attention. 

I would have foreseen bleaker futures for everyone. Anarene is still a small town lost in the middle of nowhere. Nevertheless, it is not dead as in the first film. The people in it keep it alive, amazingly as it seems since everyone is crazy. Or maybe just because of that.

I guess that there was a lot of expectations about this sequel. Peter Bogdanovich was daring in presenting a whole different movie from before, in a lighter tone. And there's so much love in this film, something that was absent from the first one. It is something that keeps everyone together. I think that was Peter Bogdanovich's response to all the despair and hopelless pictured 45 years ago. Not a bad answer at all. 


Texasville. Directed and written by Peter Bogdanovich from
the novel by Larry McMurtry. Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cybill
Shepherd, Timothy Bottoms,  USA, 1990, 123 min., Mono, Color.


PPS: I wrote this post with the help of some of my favorite soundtracks. First I heard Before Sunset, that presents a few songs by Julie Delpy (I haven't listen to it for a long time, it reminds the time I was writing my master's thesis, almost 10 years ago). After, I put on the Out of Sight CD, another one that was on the shelf for a while and that is as fun and clever as the movie itself. Thicker than Water, by Jack Johnson, is an amazing soundtrack and part of my studies on the master degrees also. Her was with me on the last lines of the main post, making me cry in plain sight of the people around me in a public library (What I was thinking when I chose writing about that in public I don't know). I got really emotional :) Finally at home, I put Pride and Prejudice on, another soundtrack that I adore, by the amazing Dario Marianelli.

PPPS: There's new blogs on the way. As soon as I publish them, I'll post the link to them here.

4 comments:

  1. Holy Jesus! I got thrills reading this post. Too much love!

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    1. Love is all You need!!!! And You gave so much love and support To Omad!!!! Inspire love, exhale gratitude <3 Thank you, dear friend!!!!

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  2. I'm very proud of being part of this journey. I felt inspired in so many ways for those movies, the conversations that we have about them, and all the great moments that came with it.
    So, thank YOU.
    Love you, Dri <3

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    1. Flavi!!! You are essential in Omad! And in my life, of course, since we were brats :) Your support was made me believe that I was doing a worthy thing. We really had fun, right?
      Love you too, my beloved <3

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