Maybe because of Valentine’s day, maybe inspired by a post on romantic filmsI just read, I started thinking about love and relationships.
Love is complicated -and bizarre sometimes. It has always been. We tend to say that romance is more difficult, and relationships more challenging nowadays than in the past, but that’s not really true! Just think about Greek mythology, ancient history and literature: Psyche and Cupid, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet…These stories are anything but ordinary, or simple!
True love, devotion, acceptance, cruelty, selfishness, jealousy, betrayal. When it comes to relationships, it’s not just pure and simple love. Ultimately, it’s all part of our complex human nature…
Motion pictures, from their very beginning, have captured all these feelings in countless love stories, ranging from light-hearted romantic comedies to profoundly dramatic true stories.
For this post I chose 12 films with unusual love stories. They all have something in common: they are original, provocative and thought-inspiring, the kind of films that you keep thinking about for a long time after seeing them…
1) HER, 2013
The plot: Theodore, a recently divorced lonely man decides to purchase OS1, the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system. He quickly finds himself attracted to Samantha, the voice behind his OS1, and as they spend time together, he eventually falls in love with her.
The film’s essence: Is technology leading us to more isolation, rather than connection?
Go see it, because…: I loved everything about Her: the flawless cinematography, the great acting (Joaquin Phoenix is amazing, as usual), the futuristic -polluted- Los Angeles as a background (actually filmed in Shanghai), but most of all the thought-provoking story, which makes as wonder whether smart phones, computers and social media are really “social”.
If you liked this movie, you may also see:Lars and the real girl, Bladerunner, Ex Machina
2) 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, 2009
The plot: This is a witty romantic story about Summer, a woman who doesn’t believe in true love, and Tom, the guy who falls for her. The story is presented in a non-linear format, each scene being introduced by which of the 500 days it is.
The film’s essence: What if you believe you found your soul mate, but the other person is not into you?
Go see it, because…: As one of the first lines of the movie states: “(…) you should know upfront, this is not a love story”. True, (500) Days of Summer is not the usual romantic comedy, but that’s precisely its strong point: it manages to be very romantic, while being caustic, original and stylish, with added values the great music, the wonderful cinematography and the superb acting…
If you liked this movie, you may also see: The perks of being a goldflower, High fidelity, Punch-Drunk Love
3) RUBY SPARKS, 2012
The plot: Calvin, a novelist with writer’s block sees in his dreams “the perfect girl”. When he begins writing about Ruby, his dream girl, she becomes a real person and they start a beautiful relationship together. But when the relationship doesn’t go as he wants, Calvin is able to change her by typing and changing the story.
The film’s essence: Do we accept others as they are, or we try to change them to our convenience?
Go see it, because…: This is a very clever, Pinocchio-like tale about finding our perfect match, our acceptance of the other person in our relationship -or how we try to control and manipulate them. Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano are great as Ruby and Calvin; Kazan also wrote the script.
If you liked this movie, you may also see:Weird Science, Simone
4) ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, 2004
The plot:Joel and his girlfriend Clementine undergo an experiment to have the memories of theirtumultuousrelationship erased.But through the process of loss, they actually discover what they had to begin with.
The film’s essence: We can get someone out of our mind, can we get them out of our heart?
Go see it, because…: A quirky but remarkable story which, in a very original manner, deals with love at first sight, soul mates, and destiny. The fascinating way the memory-erasing procedure is showed serves as background for more existential issues: Do memories make us what we are? Would you erase bad memories from the past? Most importantly, the film reminds us that many times we don’t value what we have, until we lose it.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: Lost in translation,Mr Nobody, Synecdoche, New York
5) BREAKING THE WAVES, 1996
The plot: In a deeply religious Scottish town, Bess, a naive woman, falls in love and marries to oil rig worker Jan. When Jan leaves home to work at the rig, Bess prays to God that he returns for good; Jan does return, but paralyzed due to a work accident. Unable to perform sexually, Jan convinces Bess to have sex with other men, which she comes to believe is God’s work to help Jan get better.
The film’s essence: How far would you go for love?
Go see it, because…: This compelling, disturbing story may break your heart, but it is undeniably the upmost love story, of pure and unconditional love, told by -always unconventional- Lars Von Triers. The acting of Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgard is just incredible.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: The Lobster, Harold and Maude
6) THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO, 1985
The plot: Cecilia is a waitress in New Jersey’s Depression years who, searching for an escape from her dreary life, goes often to the movies. One day after losing her job, she goes to see the film “The Purple Rose of Cairo”. To her surprise, Tom Baxter, a young archaeologist in the film walks off the screen, stating that he has fallen in love with her.
The film’s essence: When reality is too harsh, can we live in a world of dreams?
Go see it, because…: This is one of Woody Allen’s most original and inventive movies, hilarious and touching at the same time, blurring the limits between imagination and reality. While it can just be seen as a romantic, fantastic story, I believe this film is much more than that: a reflexion on the nature of existence, when pure love contends cruel reality, and escapism takes the place of reality acceptance.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: Midnight in Paris, Alice
7) AMELIE (LE FABULEUX DESTIN D’ AMELIE POULAIN), 2001
The plot: Amelie, a daydreamer waitress living in Paris, decides to anonymously help people being happy. By doing so, she discovers love and happiness herself.
The film’s essence: Can a stranger change your life forever?
Go see it, because… This enchanting French film is original, romantic, heart-warming, showing that there is love and magic everywhere, even in simple things of life… The outstanding cinematography, Audrey Tautou’s superb performance and the magnificent music by Yann Tiersen add up to make this movie a timeless gem… I already wrote about this movie here.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: Like water for chocolate, The House of the Spirits
8) SIDEWALLS (MEDIANERAS), 2011
The plot: Martin, an agoraphobic website designer and Mariana, an underemployed architect, live on the same street in Buenos Aires. They both feel depressed and lonely. They seem to be the perfect couple, but what are the odds of meeting each other?
The film’s essence: What if your soul mate is just nextdoor, but you didn’t have the chance to meet each other?
Go see it because…This Argentinean film is very original, as it tells the story of a couple before they meet each other. It describes perfectly the feelings of loneliness and alienation people experience in big cities; it’s touching and cinematically beautiful. I already wrote about this movie here.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: Serendipity, In the city of Sylvia
9) WINGS OF DESIRE (DER HIMMEL ÜBER BERLIN), 1987
The plot: Two angels have been wandering around West Berlin, giving help and comfort to all the lonely and depressed souls they meet. After many centuries, Damiel, one of the angels, falls in love with Marion, a beautiful, lonely circus acrobat and wishes to become human in order to experience human love and the joys of everyday life.
The film’s essence: Have you ever been touched by an angel?
Go see it because…Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire is regarded as one of the best non-american movies of all times. It’s deeply phylosophical, visually mesmerizing and truly inspirational. Many interesting ideas and perspectives are implied, but the film basically make us think about the beauty of simple things in everyday life, even the most mundane, and the richness of our feelings and sensations; it also reminds us that we should give up our ethereal existence as observers, to actually live and enjoy our life.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: Faraway, so Close! (the second part of Wings of Desire), City of Angels (the American remake, much lighter and blander)
10) EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, 1990
The plot: Edward is an extremely gentle and good-hearted man, but with a scary appearance: he has scissors instead of hands. One day Avon lady Peg finds him hidden in his Gothic mansion, and she decides to take him to the town to live with her family. But fitting in the conservative town is not that simple. Only Kim, Peg’s daughter eventually realises what a remarkable person Edward is, and as they become enamoured, she is the one who helps him when the entire town turns against him.
The film’s essence: How easily do we accept people who are different?
Go see it because… This isTim Burton’s most personal and insightful film, a modern fairy tale, a poignant reminder on how we, as a society, tend to disdain people that are different, whether this means disabilities, sexual preferences, people who think out of the box, or whoever doesn’t fit into the rigid patterns our society imposes.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: Corpse bride, The Phantom of the Opera
11) MELODY (a.k.a S.W.A.L.K.), 1971
The plot: Two 12 years-old youngsters, Daniel and Melody, declare to their parents that they want to get married, not in the future but right now. The film follows the complications caused by their firm determination: mockery from their classmates, rebellion against teachers, parents’ concern. The story is told from the children’s perspective.
The film’s essence: What can be purest than childhood love?
Go see it because…I first saw this movie when I was about 13, and since then it has stayed etched in my memory -and my heart… Seeing it now from a more critical, adult’s point of view, Melody still remains a beautiful and touching film; but I also see it now as an interesting study on the meaning of love as experienced by a child. It raises some interesting thoughts: Is it really possible to feel true love during childhood? Or real love comes when our body gets ready through adolescence and adulthood? Melody also transpires a nostalgia, on how our feelings change when growing-up, from genuine and idealistic into more “mature”, less emotional or pure. The film soundtrack is also wonderful: Bee Gees’s Melody fair and First of May, and Crosby, Still, Nash & Young Teach your Children, among others.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: Moonrise Kingdom, Submarine
12) ENOUGH SAID, 2013
The plot: Divorced Eva is a masseuse leaving in Los Angeles. One nigh at a party, she meets and befriends Marianne, a sophisticated poet who always criticises her ex-husband; and Albert, a divorced man with whom -although initially not physically attracted- she becomes involved. With their relationship on firm ground, Eva learns that Albert is Marianne’s ex-husband, and starts doubting whether she should stay with Albert or believe his judgemental ex-wife.
The film’s essence: When it comes to love, do you listen to your heart or you get influenced by other person’s opinion?
Go see it because… what makes this movie so unique is, paradoxally, that is such a common and realistic story. It’s honest and touching, bittersweet and smart. It may be best appreciated by people in their 40s-50s, struggling with divorce, teenager children, and getting again involved in a serious relationship. With great acting by Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (this was his last film), it depicts perfectly how many times we get swayed by others instead of trusting our feelings.
If you liked this movie, you may also see: The “Before” trilogy, Two lovers
Which one is your favourite unconventional love story? Would you add any other film to this list?
DISPOSITIVO Y ARTES: una nueva herramienta crítica para analizar las producciones contemporáneas (ebook) · MONIQUE MARTÍNEZ, EURIELL GOBBÉ-MEVELLÉC
La colección en ebook de ÑAQUE, eTEATRO (Pedagogía teatral en ebook) sigue creciendo, en esta ocasión de la mano de MONIQUE MARTÍNEZ, ya autora ñaquera con otros dos títulos, y de EURIELL GOBBÉ-MEVELLÉC.
DIPOSITIVO Y ARTES, es como su subtítulo anuncia, una nueva herramienta crítica para analizar las producciones contemporáneas.
El dispositivo es el concepto ideal para pensar el funcionamiento de nuestras formas de organización social, marcadas por la inestabilidad y el individualismo. A la vez construido y abierto, orientador pero flexible, el dispositivo se corresponde con nuestros tiempos que no pueden sino volver a crear procesos colectivos, en los que cada uno pueda dejarse guiar pero con el margen de libertad que desea.
La escuela de Toulouse ha elaborado unos conceptos claves para acercarse a las obras de arte, entre ellos el de "escena", que quizás funcione como el hilo conductor de los artículos de este libro: mas allá de los géneros con los que tradicionalmente se la asocia -teatro y artes visuales- esta noción permite renovar el acercamiento tradicional a las artes del relato entre otras, poniendo de relieve los límites de lo discursivo y la predominancia de lo visual.
El primer artículo de Arnaud Rykner valora la noción de dispositivo a la vez como concepto y metodología para pensar cómo se relaciona el arte con el mundo, pudiendo incluso impactar la realidad. Como fundador de la teoría, desarrolla unos aspectos generales más allá de la experiencia dramática representada en el volumen.
Claire Spooner abre el capítulo dedicado a estudios teatrales ahondando la noción de "escena" desde la perspectiva de la Crítica de los dispositivos. Dedica su artículo a uno de los mayores dramaturgos contemporáneos actuales, Juan Mayorga.
Con el siguiente artículo de Fabrice Corrons, la cuarta pared teatral se cuestiona a raíz del desdoblamiento espacial y simbólico característico que configura la escena, recordando el investigador la filiación histórica entre la cuarta pared teatral y el intersector de la pintura renacentista que separaba al pintor de su modelo.
Prosigue el libro con el análisis de Anne-Claire Yemsi-Paillissé, que enfoca con originalidad el tema de los alimentos en el teatro. A través de dos obras de mujeres, Pared de Itziar Pascual, Autorretrato doble de Pilar Campos Gallego.
Con el artículo de Emmanuelle Garnier se abre un nuevo capítulo del libro, donde se amplía el enfoque teatral hacia las Artes escénicas en general: performance, corrida, clown. Emmanuelle Garnier explora el género del teatro de acción, que ostenta la índole siempre performativa del dispositivo teatral.La corrida de toros, entendida desde las Artes escénicas, es el tema de las páginas que siguen. Julien Aubert la considera en realidad como un conjunto de dispositivos escénicos que organizan el encuentro entre el toro y el torero, dentro del espacio heterotópico de la Plaza de toros. Para rematar el capítulo dedicado a las Artes escénicas, Monique Martinez Thomas y Marine Duffau Canu abogan por la adaptación de la Crítica de los dispositivos a otros entornos, dando el ejemplo del hospital. Analizan la figura del payaso que se ha generalizado en los espacios médicos.
Philippe Ortel, se interesa por lo que él llama "efecto dispositivo" en el cine, prefiere hablar de modalidades distintas de narración, que pueden coexistir en un mismo objeto cinematográfico. A través del estudio de numerosas películas. Monique Martinez y María Reigada Olaizola siguen con la imagen cinematográfica, centrando su reflexión en un cortometraje argentino, Medianeras, de Gustavo Taretto.
Euriell Gobbé-Mévellec dedica una atención especial al álbum ilustrado infantil. Dispositivo doblemente interesante ya que mezcla texto e imagen en soportes específicos e integra la rápida evolución de los medias digitales, que captan la atención de su público compitiendo con él.
La novela gráfica es otro género híbrido estudiado por Agatha Mohring. A través del estudio de lo íntimo en la novela Sangre de mi sangre de Lola Lorente, se apunta la paradoja de representar precisamente lo irrepresentable.
Jacques Ballesté nos introduce en otro siglo -el XIX- y en el campo todavía anacrónico en aquellos años de las "Ciencias de comunicación": analiza en el periódico español Eco de Aragón la evolución de la "fórmula de anuncio". En él comprueba una tendencia para manipular al lector, gracias a la escenificación de la información.
El libro acaba con dos artículos sobre dispositivos y artes plásticas, un ámbito donde la palabra se usa con más frecuencia que en las artes de lo escrito, en particular en lo que concierne al arte contemporáneo. Christine Buignet se propone reflexionar sobre el poder dinamizador del dispositivo en la fotografía, creado por la oposición entre la escenificación previa de la foto y la especificidad misma del soporte.
Stéphane Lojkine define el concepto de escena como dispositivo emblemático de un sistema no textual de sentidos y de efectos sensibles.
INTRODUCCIÓN · La Crítica de los dispositivos: más de quince años de historia colectiva…
AUTORAS - coordinadoras
. MONIQUE MARTÍNEZ
· EURIELL GOBBÉ-MEVELLÉC
The ebook collection eTEATRO (Drama pedagogy in ebook) by ÑAQUE keeps growing, this time from the hand of MONIQUE MARTÍNEZ, who has already published two other books in Ñaque, and EURIELL GOBBÉ-MEVELLÉC.
DISPOSITIVO Y ARTES, as the subtitle announces, is a new critical tool to analyze the contemporary productions.
The device is the ideal concept to think about how our ways of social organization work, marked by instability and individualism. Constructed and open and the same time, orienting but flexible, the device is up-to-date and can just recreate collective processes that everyone can use as guideline but with freedom margins.
The school of Toulouse has elaborated some key concepts to approach the works of art, among them the so-called “scenery”, which may work as the thread that runs the articles in this book: far away from the traditional genres with which it is associated –drama and visual arts- this notion allows to renew the traditional approach to the art of tales among others, highlighting the limits of the discursive and the predominance of the visual.
The first article by Arnaud Rykner considers the notion of device both as a concept and as a methodology to think how is art related to the world, even being able to affect reality. As founder of this theory, he develops some general aspects far away from the dramatic experience portrayed in the volume.
Claire Spooner opens the chapter devoted to theatrical studies by making the notion of “scene” deeper from the perspective of the Critic of devices. She dedicates her article to one of the greatest contemporary dramatists, Juan Mayorga.
With the following article by Fabrice Corrons, the fourth theatrical wall is questioned due to the characteristic spatial and symbolic unfolding that configures the scene, by having the investigator recall the historical filiations between the fourth theatrical wall and the intersector in Renaissance paintings that separated the painter from his model.
The book goes on with the analysis by Anne-Claire Yemsi-Paillissé, who focuses on the topic of food in drama with originality through two works by two women: “Pared” by Itziar Pascual and “Autorretrato doble” by Pilar Campos Gallego.
With the article by Emmanuelle Garnier, a new chapter in the book is opened, by widening the theatrical approach to the scenic arts in general: performance, corrida, clown. Emmanuelle Garnier explores the genre of action drama, which holds the performative natures of the theatrical device. Bullfighting, understood as a scenic art, is the topic discussed in the following pages. Julien Aubert actually regards it as a combination of scenic devices that organize the meeting between the bull and the bullfighter inside the hetero-topical space of the bullring. To conclude the chapter devoted to the scenic arts, Monique Martinez Thomas and Marine Duffau Canu advocate the adaptation of the Critic of the devices to other environments, pointing out the example of the hospital. They analyze the figure of the clown, widespread in medical spaces.
Philippe Ortel takes an interest in what he calls “device effect” in movies; he prefers to talk about different modalities of narration that can coexist in the same cinematographic object. Through the study of numerous movies, Monique Martinez and María Reigada Olaizola continue talking about the cinematographic image, focusing their reflection on an Argentinian short film, Medianeras, by Gustavo Taretto.
Euriell Gobbé-Mévellec devotes special attention to the child-like illustrated album. A doubly interesting device, as it mixes text and image in specific supports and integrates the quick evolution of the digital means, which catches people’s eyes by competing with it.
Graphic novels constitute a hybrid genre studied by Agatha Mohring. Through the study of intimacy in the novel “Sangre de mi sangre” by Lola Lorente, the paradox of representing precisely what can’t be represented is pointed out.
Jacques Ballesté inserts us in another century –XIXth century- and in the anachronistic field of the “Communication sciences” years: he analyzes the evolution of the “advertisement method” in the Spanish newspaper “Eco de Aragón”. In it, he verifies a tendency to manipulate the reader, thanks to the staging of the information.
The book ends with two articles about devices and plastic arts, an area in which words are used more frequently than in written arts, particularly in what concerns contemporary art. Christine Buignet reflects on the revitalizing power of the device in photography, created due to the opposition between the previous staging of the photo and the specificity of the support itself.
Stéphane Lojkine defines the concept of scenery as the emblematic device of a non-textual system of senses and sensitive effects.
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