Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 Books and Movies

Damage Control - Women On the Therapists, Beauticians, and Trainers Who Navigate their Bodies
Edited by Emma Forrest

A good collection of stories. I'm pretty full up with new authors these days, and none of the contributors really caught my attention. I initially took this out because there was a story by Marian Keyes, but it was another dud. As much as I sympathize with her struggles with depression, I am still a fan, and am hoping for another great piece of writing that is longer than a short story. And if it never happens, at least I will have read her other books. :) I also really did not like/get the Sarah Bennett story at the end. If you don't have time, give it a miss, but there are some stories worth reading in here.

Mister Famous
Carol Wolper

This was definitely not as good as The Cigarette Girl. I couldn't really relate to the over sexed, kind of full of herself main character. Granted, she was the personal chef of a faded Hollywood action star with the same personality traits, but they both seemed underdeveloped. The ambiguous ending didn't fit with the rest of the book and the back and forth point of view to a supposedly significant incident didn't seem necessary to the development of the plot. Give it a miss.

Gianni e le donne (The Salt of Life)

This was a beautiful film. I was really impressed with the writing, acting and especially, the cinematography. It made me want to immediately get on a plane and go to Roma.  It's always nice to see a film in a language that you speak, but is also sub-titled in your native tongue. You get the best of both worlds, as sometimes translations are not entirely the same as what's being said on screen. Gianni Di Gregorio (Gianni) is a master of silent emotion. His facial acting was superb, especially when the camera panned down and the body movement matched perfectly. He is both likeable and pathetic, in his search to find a meaningful relationship with somebody, anybody because he feels invisible to his family and friends. The ending is fantastic. This is an absolute must see.

Monsier Lazhar

This is probably one of the very best Canadian films of all time. The child actors are amazing. Mohamed Fellag is absolutely brilliant. The story is both tragic and hopeful. Similarly to the above film, I found it useful to be able to understand the film in French, as well as have the opportunity to read the subtitles in my native tongue. Also, as I learned from mostly Qu├ębecois teachers (with a smattering of French-from-France teachers), I'm more used to that accent. I do have a natural affinity for the school setting, but I don't believe that is what drew me in the most. The complexe range of emotions played out in an almost banal setting was so powerful, I cried and laughed, then laughed and cried. Go see it, if you haven't already. You won't regret it for one minute.