Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2014|
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Illustrator Evan Turk and Author Bethany Hegedus are flanked by Fairview’s Lincoln School faculty, administrator Dr. Dave Sleppin, and Superintendent DeLissio in center
by Sam Juliano
The Romantic Films countdown is nearing its conclusion, with the final post set to publish next week, on Monday, October 6th. The project has showcased some of the finest writing on films online, and some effusive praise is in order for all who contributed during the duration of this twenty week project.
We’d all like to again wish Allan Fish a full and speedy recovery to the operation he faces mid-week. Thanks to our muse Dee Dee for the lovely sidebar acknowledgement to our longtime friend.
The author and illustrator of Caldecott hopeful Grandfather Gandhi (Bethany Hegedus and Evan Turk) delivered an extraordinary presentation in my Lincoln School district last Monday. The themes of violence and bullying were part of the fabric of this remarkable discussion and slide show from the former high teacher who wrote this acclaimed book with the grandson of Gandhi. The 26 year-old Turk, a gifted artist helped make this show wildly engaging to the 4th through 8th graders.
Longtime friend, and former Fairview resident Peter Danish made a stellar presentation on his new novel THE TENOR at the Fairview Free Public Library on Thursday evening in front of a spirited group that included his wife Sanela.
Peter Brown and the son of children’s book luminary Richard Scarry appeared for an engaging talk about the work of Scarry’s father at THE WORD bookstore in Jersey City. Brown as always was fantastic.
We saw one film in theaters this past week, and attended the Chappaqua, New York children’s book festival on Saturday. With the start of October, many of us are anticipating some great films in the coming months as per normal late year roll outs of the prestige pictures. The Metropolitan Opera season also begins this week. (more…)
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by Ed Howard
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of the most moving and heartbreaking love stories in the cinema, an absolutely stunning musical masterpiece that sets its bright, colorful visual palette and sweet, soaring music against an increasingly bittersweet emotional range. Divided into three parts — departure, absence, and return — Jacques Demy’s sublime musical is the story of a love affair haunted by the separation of war. Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve) is a young girl madly in love with the mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), but their sweet, innocent affair is torn apart when Guy is called up into the army, sent to Algeria for two years. As in so many French films of this era, Algeria looms large, a tear in the fabric of life, an absence that’s felt at home in the missing young men, the years of longing and waiting.
The film is an interesting type of musical in which every single line is sung, but it rarely feels like there’s a proper song: instead, all of the dialogue is more-or-less naturalistic speech that’s simply sung instead of spoken. Even the most banal lines, like Guy’s interactions with customers and his boss at the gas station where he works, are liltingly timed to Michel Legrand’s alternately jazzy and romantic music. This style can be somewhat distracting and artificial at first but it quickly comes to seem as natural as if the characters were simply speaking. By setting everything to song, it never seems as if the music is interrupting the diegesis, cutting off the naturalistic flow of life with a musical number. Rather, life itself, with all its joys and tragedies, its banal incidents, its great loves and great sadnesses, has been transformed into one big musical number, a 90-minute musical number that encompasses both the innocent sweetness of young love and the much more complex, melancholy, mysterious loves and losses that build up over the course of the years. (more…)
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By Stephen Mullen
There is a strange irony to love stories. To be stories, something has to change – and so it seems if you want the film to end with lovers together, happily ever after, they have to spend the bulk of the film apart. Enemies, even. And on the other side – if you show the lovers together, show their happiness in the film, the story demands that something changes – they have to be parted. And so the irony – the most powerful depictions of love and desire in films are often in the doomed love affairs, while in films with happy endings, lovers spend the whole show fighting – a merry war perhaps – but war, any any case… Tragedies and romantic comedies – Romeo and Juliet; and Much Ado About Nothing – the models for so many love stories, in their broad shape at least. Blissful lovers parted; bickering enemies united.
But that offers a challenge to a clever storyteller – how do you show people in love and still have a happy ending? How do you honor the conventions of romantic comedy (about what keeps people who belong together apart), while showing them actually in love? I suppose there are as many ways to do this as there are romantic comedies – mistaken identities, amnesia, class expectations, the comedy of remarriage – or – this one. What if the lovers are pen pals? what if they have never met, but have fallen in love with one another in words, two lonely, clever people stuck in their hard lives in the big city – who find they have a bond? What about that? And then – they meet in the real world – and take a dislike to one another – and – then you’ll have a story! You’ll have a story where they are in love with one another from the start, and enemies from the start; they can be as romantic as they want; they can bicker and fight and put each other down to their heart’s content. (And cleverly – well enough they start to be impressed with their mutual nastiness.) Yes – then, you just have to play it out, the revelations, the consequences of lies and truths and self-deception – until, of course, it all comes together. (more…)
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