czwartek, 30 maja 2013

Girl, Interrupted

or you can watch a beautiful but also disturbing movie "Girl, Interrupted".

The film was made in 1999 and is an adaptation of a book written by Susana Kaysen by the same title. The book is a detailed account of Susana's stay in a mental hospital called Claymore.

We meet Susana (Winona Ryder) for the first time when she decides to admit herself in Claymore. She does it voluntarily, however, she constantly denies the fact that she was trying to kill herself. She claims that she had a severe headache and she was trying to make it go away.

In the hospital she meets a few girls who are old residents there. Her new roommate is Georgina (Clea DuVall), quite a nice girl who is friendly to Susana and tells her a bit about other girls. Later, however, Susana finds out that Georgina is a pathological liar. On the same day she makes friends with Daisy (a truly perfect Brittany Murphy), who never eats in a canteen and loves only the chicken her father makes. She hides a whole pile of it under her bad. The next girl is Polly (Elisabeth Moss) a victim of a terrible accident where, according to Georgina, she poured gasoline on herself and set herself on fire. She also befriends Janet (Angela Bettis), who is suffering from anorexia and Cynthia (Jillian Armenante), who is a lesbian. The one who supervises the ward is RN Valerie (great Whoopi Goldberg), who sees Susana as a spoiled girl who drives herself crazy, but later helps her in the time of need.

However, the most important acquaintance is made later when Susana encounters Lisa Rowe (an Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie), a sociopath, who likes to push people's buttons. She is an unquestionable leader in the ward and likes to cause chaos and rebellion. She is very often a ringleader and an instigator of events. Girls try to interact with each other while battling their own deamons and sickness.

I really liked the movie and all the characters. Each girl was different, had different reactions to situations, different problems, and also different mechanisms to cope with them. Such movies, which explore human nature, are always interesting to me. I truly enjoyed the performace of Brittany Murphy and Angelina Jolie. I read somewhere that the movie was supposed to be Ryder's "come back film". She was supposed to be a star. And she is, but Murphy and Jolie outshine her for sure.

czwartek, 23 maja 2013

Battle Royale - バトル・ロワイアル

              Imagine a beautiful island with tall, lush, green trees. Blue sky, birds and the ocean breaking on the rocks. And kids running around killing each other. And NO ... I'm not writing about "The Hunger Games" - although I will next time :).

I'm writing about "Battle Royale" or バトル・ロワイアル (Batoru Rowaiaru) a Japanese blockbuster movie from year 2000 made by a famous Japanese director - Kinji Fukasaku. The film is based on an equally famous and acclaimed novel of the same title written by Koushun Takami.

Few words about the plot. We have a high-school bus full of kids going on a field trip. To their horror, however, during the bus ride they are gassed and transported to a misterious island where their former teacher - with a help of a cheerful and cute instructor - tells them that they were chosen for the annual Battle Royale game. They will receive a bag with supplies, some kind of weapon (which vary from fire arms to binoculars) and a collar, which will transmit their location. Their only job is to kill one another untill only one of them stays alive at the end of the third day. If they enter a danger zone their head will explode - another usage of the collar. As simple as that :)

Throughout the movie we observe how the students struggle with the situation. Some cannot accept the new reality and they choose suicide, some try to hide, others try to ally with friends hoping that it will be possible to survive without killing anyone. There are those, however, who quite like that game and are very eager to follow the rules.

When I saw the movie it was a very different cinema from other movies I have seen. Firstly, it's not American and the Japanese style of making movies is quite distinct. Secondly, the emotions shown on the screen (as well as the emotions themselves) are different because Japanese culture is so different from my culture or the European culture at large. In Polish television there aren't many opportunities to watch Asian movies, so I was very curious how the cinema looks there, how they make their films :). It was a new experience not only from the "movie watching" point of view, but also in terms of learning something about different cultures. No to mention that Japanese language sounds beautifully :)

An important point is that the movie has some big names in it or that it made some actors famous. I would like to hint at few of my favorites:

Tatsuya Fujiwara (Shuya Nanahara) a main male character in the film. He doesn't want to kill his friends and he allies with Noriko to protect her. Fujiwara is quite a recognized actor for his film and theater roles. His biggest movies are: Battle Royale, Death Note films and The Incite Mill. I reccomend Moonlight Jellyfish as well :)
Aki Maeda (Noriko Nakagawa) a main female character, who allies with Nanahara and wants to run away from the island.
Masanobu Ando (Kiriyama Kazuo) a sociopath killer who murders the biggest number of students. Due to a car accident he is unable to feel any emotions and it is rumored that he entered the competition voluntarily. I absolutely love this actor, whose character was superbly done. He was very scary. I reccomend: A Juvenile Big Bang Love69Sukiyaki Western Django (co-operation with Quentin Tarantino), Kids Return, and Nightmare Detective. All and all - an actor worth remembering.
Kou Shibasaki (Mitsuko Souma) as deadly as Kiriyama, said to be the most beautiful and sexy girl in school. She uses her looks to win the game. Shibasaki is a very diverse actress. From a killer to a mute violinist - she can become anyone on the screen. Other movies to see: DororoShaolin Girl47 Ronin and J-drama Orange Days
Chiaki Kuriyama (Takako Chigusa) the fastest runner in the class and a very clever girl. She was noticed and eventually casted in Kill Bill as O-Ren Ishii's (Lucy Liu) personal bodyguard.
Takeshi Kitano (Kitano) is the former teacher, who becomes a sort of host of the new Battle Royale game. Takeshi Kitano - or Beat Takeshi - is a multi-talented person. He is an actor, film director, singer, comedian, film screenwriter, film producer, poet, painter and many more. An absolute icon in Japan and well known in the States.

Battle Royale's official seal

The competitors

After watching "Battle Royale" I became more interested in Japanese movies. Their cinema and world perception are unique and like a breath of fresh air in the American dominated cinema. For those who are searching for something new :)

czwartek, 16 maja 2013


                I don’t know. Maybe the death brings something on us or maybe you desperately try to win some time but back then everything was meaningful. There was no wasting of time. All made sense and everything I did seemed complete. I focused on one thing – to make it better. To be there. Only that mattered to me at that time. All else was just put to the minimum. I don’t think I’ve ever been with anyone before or after that. I know he felt the same. We spend endless hours talking. First at home when it was still possible and later in the hospital. Talking about anything. Some stupid things like weather or commercials and some important and sometimes painful things. Like my family, his life before we met, endless hospital visits, hopes, disappointments. I’ve never been so honest in my life, I’ve never been so free to say what I really wanted or thought. I wasn’t scared to hurt him and he wasn’t afraid to do something that would hurt me. Absolutely free. There was no point hiding anything. I could say whatever I wanted and if something wasn’t clear or if he understood it differently we had all the time in the world to discuss it. I could explain my every word or thought million times over, until he knew exactly what I meant. No one has ever been so patient with me. Or I with anyone.

Have you ever felt something like this? Have you ever felt that somebody is really listening to what you say? That he cares and will listen to anything you say and not only that, but he will also be genuinely interested in it? That he cares? And you don’t have to edit anything or change it. And you can say everything and he’ll not interrupt. And he’ll give you the same, and tell you all from the bottom of his soul. And you find the will and strength to really listen to somebody. To really her the words. And you don’t even have to try to do it because it seems so naturally. Like breathing. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to come back to the world where no one cares? It took me months. No one was looking at me anymore. I felt abandoned and lost in this world of constant questioning and fear that something I do or say will be taken bad by others. I felt so lonely.

czwartek, 9 maja 2013

Do some things come to you when you stop looking for them?

                I heard somewhere once that when you stop looking for something this thing will come to you. If you really want to meet somebody special you have to stop lookig purposely for him/her - and he/she will come. When you want a new job you have to stop obsessing about it - and it will come. Is that really so? How to stop looking when you really want something?

If you imagine something and later behave like this thing has already happened and you live in it - it will happen. The whole universe will re-arrange itself because you will send positive energy to it. So maybe if we stay positive about finding something but not obsess about it - the thing we want will happen.

czwartek, 2 maja 2013

James Bond - code name 007

                He is without a doubt the most famous agent in the history of MI6. He is smart, fast, witty and, although here opinions may differ, sexy as hell :)

James Bond was brought to live by Ian Fleming, a well educated and very well connected man. Fleming worked during the Second World War as naval intelligence officer and later as a journalist. His experience helped him in creation of 007 agent. The Bond series is one of the best-selling books in the world - ever - with over 1000 milion copies sold. This number speaks for itself. James Bond is number #1.

 James Bond - as Fleming saw him

I was never a particular fan of 007 movies. I could watch it, it was fun but I was never crazy about it. He was just too perfect there, not like human but some kind of a super human. Not at all my taste.

It had all changed after reading the books. "Book Bond" is different than the "movie Bond". He is of course brave, nonchalant and self-confident. But he's also more human. There are moments where he doesn't know what to do, when he is scared or sad or exhausted. His job affects him greatly and he sometimes, or so it feels, would like to resign. It is also quite visible in the book that he is a very disciplined and hard working man (he exercices and takes cold showers - brrrrrr).

You have to admire Bond. His strong personality, his character, stamina, level-headedness and the ability to work under tremendous pressure. Apart from that he is a witty man, and a bit arogant sometimes. Not a kiling machine, but a person :)

After reading the books my perception of the "film Bond" is a bit warmer and I look at that character with a kinder eye.

Movie Bonds: