Creative overload!! Art, film, Rome, Florence…

3 Aug

Life was so much simpler centuries ago… No Telly, no selfie sticks, no up skirting or rigged elections; no Internet or gaming, & plenty of time to reflect on the meaning of life.

Which I miss. I miss quiet time to just sit & think & look at the world around me. I miss time to reflect on its beauty & randomness & its natural spaces in all their glory. But I also miss time to reflect on the beauty of the world’s man made spaces- cities like Rome & Florence- places that are both ancient & new.

It’s been 2 months since I took my art & film students to Italy & I am finally starting to digest & reflect on the environment that pulls me in so completely every time I am there.

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Cinema & identity in Israeli film

27 Jul

One of the thorniest issues that cinema is obsessed with is identity- the profound question of who someone is & how the see themselves as well as how others see them. Reality, perception. Truths, lies… Wars have been fought, and continue to be fought, over the way people identify themselves.

French filmmaker Lorraine Levy’s 2012 feature LE FILS D’AUTRE (literally THE SONS OF THE OTHER but retitled as THE OTHER SON for the English speaking market) examines identity & perception through the eyes of two young boys, one Israeli & one Palestinian as their live are irrevocably altered by a simple blood test required prior to mandatory service in the Israeli military.

While examining the incredibly serious issues inherent in Israeli/Palestinian relations (using the border as a very real symbol f the theological & cultural divide the 2 boys face), Levy also looks at the individuality & human scale of the conflict: how does knowledge of the other change self-perception? How does closeness with the other change one’s interpretation f the other? Like the 2005 short drama, A GREEN CHARIOT, by director Gilad Goldschmidt, the dropped bombshell of a different truth pushes the protagonists to see themselves, and the world, in a completely different, possibly more accepting, way.

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Hell has frozen over but it’s so lovely…

5 Mar

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Actually – the inlet in Roslyn, NY.

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why this blog? good film=good home

2 Mar

So – its been a while since i’ve posted & i thought this might be a good time to remind myself why this blog:
why blog about film & art?
why do I feel so passionately about film & art?

I started out acting & working in production and then added teaching into the mix. Over the years, i have worked in theatre & film, at little indies & the big studios, in New York & Los Angeles. I have lectured throughout the Unites States, in Italy, England, etc. on film & art, have been interviewed For Print & broadcast while also being able to interview some heavy hitting industry creatives as well.

I feel that all the arts & all those experiences are related and after years of talking film and art with so many people, I felt like writing it all down & sharing it.

To me, Beautiful art & well crafted films are like a full, content, and happy home: they are refuges from the world-places ( emotionally, spiritually or physically) where you can go to recharge, contemplate life, laugh, cry & ponder everything that concerns you.

You can invite people to share your home, favorite film or the art that moves you: laughing over a great glass of wine, getting pulled into a complex film or analyzing the composition of a striking art work. You can also experience them on your own -seeking solace on a cozy couch, dropping into another world created by a filmmaker or letting your mind wander through gorgeous images, music & sculpture at your own pace.
Either way, your home -like great film & enticing art, is always there for you- protecting you,offering a safe haven while you relax, grow & create.
At home, there is always something to do, & with art & film- there is always something to consider.

So, Instead of just writing down in a journal what I teach in my film, art & English classes – I think it is more interesting to blog it all publicly – to share these observations & hopefully contribute to your own desire to see these films and view these artworks.

Being Italian, don’t be surprised if I include food and wine as “fine art” or “fun flicks” because like good film- good food & wines are nuanced & work on different levels.

Also, don’t be surprised at the occasional literary reference -because good film, art & books all tell a story – just in different ways & at different points in time (except for the Italian futurists – who were trying to show you different, continuous time all at once).

And, usually, the posts won’t be too long-( definitely not this long! Brevity can be paradise!

I hope to connect with everyone from all walks of life & various disciplines- including students, film lovers, art lovers, readers, foodies, film makers & artists- & I look forward to an exchange of opinions & ideas.

Hopefully this year has a tremendous variety of creative goodies for contemplation & sharing… & maybe you’ll see familiar films & artworks in a different way. Maybe this blog can become a home away from home, a drop in lounge, where maybe your soul will be as satisfied by the blog, as your palate is by a delicious, hearty homemade soup eaten while sitting on a cozy couch.

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The hairdresser – trim the hair, don’t trim the fat…

26 Jan

I find it repulsive that Hollywood & film critics are so repulsed by Women of size that they let their loathing interfere with their critique of a film about prejudice, self- image & perception.

Die Frieseuse ( the hairdresser) – the 2010 German comedy about a hairdresser, who happens to be a rather overweight woman who is trying to keep her world together while it is crashing down around her, does more than comment on size-discrimination… It forces the viewer to confront their own attitudes about appearance, weight, competence, performance & perseverance.

People come in all shapes, sizes & colors & from all backgrounds & circumstances. Most of us live this everyday, yet most of the entertainment we consume stars skinny white chicks. This film focuses on the fact that many people just want to have a nice life: a chance to be happy, to be healthy, to be loved & to support themselves in jobs that are personally fulfilling. It features a woman has health issues – some related to her weight, some not. It features the issue of illegal immigrant smuggling within Germany, & puts a human face on Thai immigrants in their desperate search for a chance at a better life. It looks at how best friends can betray each other & how husbands can’t always keep it in their pants. And it looks at a bureaucratic system in Germany that doesn’t serve to help industrious self- motivators who want to get off the dole & support themselves.

Yet criticism of this film revolves around the brief shots of hairdresser Kathi’s nakedness: her morning wake up rituals, her bathing and her sexual activity. Kathi’s life goes in and we see how. Think of the broad Israeli comedy A MATTER OF SIZE ( originally released as SUMO in israel & yes, pun intended) & the Farrelly brothers’ film about inner beauty -SHALLOW HAL. Choosing to present a story about diversity & acceptance, whether it involves race, sexual preference or size – should be applauded.

It is the reviewer’s job to comment on the film itself, not their own childish fears of a big naked tushie, or a man revelling in his partner’s ample bosom. Kathi’s nakedness is reminder that she is a physical being while the film serves to remind us that love, talent & beauty are not dependent on size 2 jeans & a fat wallet. Skinny obsessed Hollywood – get the hell over yourself.

Il bidone- epic fail of a father…

23 Nov

When you think about horrible fathers in film – you have to consider Broderick Crawford’s portrayal of con man Augostino in IL BIDONE.

Greedy, selfish, preying on the desperately poor on the outskirts of Rome, we have to decide if he has a change of heart when he sees his daughter. Does he truly wish to help her get money to get ahead in post war Italy’s job market or is he merely ripping off the family of a young cripple girl and stealing the money from his con artist colleagues – keeping it for himself? Does he have a career changing epiphany like the young painter or does he remain without salvation, unchanged & non- repentant for his actions?

Is he worse than the completely self-centeredstronzo dad in Caterina nella Città ?

You certainly can’t compare him to the loving, distraught
father in Biutiful or the self-sacrificing, adoring dad in Life is Beautuful.

So where would you place him on the list of idiot fathers that cinema has created?

A break from the regularly scheduled film comment….

22 Nov

This exhibit has completely crushed me! I thought I was familiar with and not very interested in tapestries ( unicorn series at the Cloisters, etc.) and was ready for a quick walk through but before I even got to the fabrics I was stopped in my tracks by the incredible detail and depth of his oils in the first room.
By the time I got to the “Conversion of Saul” I was so emotional I needed to sit. The detail, the scope, the intensity, I’ve only felt this way when I stepped into the middle of The Vatican, and that was as much about my pilgrimage to a place where my grandfather had never been able to visit before he left Italy, as it was about the scope, grandeur and holiness of the place.
So, I need to come back. I need to spend another few hours comparing, examining & muttering ” holy cow” ( as well as some more descriptive expressions of amazement) while trying to keep myself from laughing, crying and collapsing.
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