Saturday, 17 July 2010

To the people of the Twenty First Century

We are given with tools, knowledge and freedom to build the new house of humanity. But standing here with spade in our hands, how can we be sure that we are building a basement - not a graveyard. And yes, we are children of our parents, whose blood and soul were tortured by the inhuman kinds of the 20th century. For more then 100 years they learnt to be brave and oh not so vulnerable. What can we rely on if church is no longer united, there are no souls left in the parents' house or the library - where shall we take the inspiration to restore nature and house?

Earth... First we need to get strength, we need to get rid of thirsty feeling and get back to job, and we are the diggers, graving the past and mourning about it, even though we didn't do it. We are here because someone else didn't do it either - in the 20th century of inhuman kinds there was place for humans, we are here because of them. How many are not. We are diggers, our ignorance and inner conflict take us down, standing on our knees, doubts like worms eating us from inside. Our elder brothers and sisters lost themselves in the agonizing freedom and oblivion of drugs, sex and videogames. We can't count on them, can't look up to them. Their dreams are dead and Requiem is conducted.

Digging is not an honorable job, not at all. Each of us asks question: why on earth do I have to do it? I didn't do anything wrong, it's all because of those generations before me, leave me alone, people, all I want to do is sit back and enjoy life, if stupid Paris Hilton does that, why can't I do it?"
I know life is unfair. But I guess each generation as each person has got its mission, its pre-destination. Isn't our mission now to save earth and to show next generations how it's done? Wouldn't it be a great example for our children how to treat nature? Maybe they'll call us "the people who saved us"; maybe they'll make movies about us? Maybe the house on the basement that we first destroy and then build again - maybe it'll be a brilliant example of architecture, a piece of art, a masterpiece. Can they count on us? Those future generations, those unborn kids. Will they praise our Requiem for a Dream? Or will they just acknowledge "Glamour life and no dreams"?

Sitting here at 2 am in the morning and burning energy on this PC, I am asking whether I am any better, whether I am brave enough to start digging the basement, no glamour dress, but gloves to clean oil from birds. Is this a dress code for the 21st century? Or is it just another costume party?
I am not saying that we have to sacrifice ourselves. But let's start thinking! Reflect!

We are the awareness. We are the start of today. We are the fresh green grass outside of OUR house. We are the faces on google map. We are switched off lights. We are saved tuna dolphins. We are windmills. We are the beauty of unspoiled sea. We are the sustainable farms. We are the wind. We are the people of the 21st century.

Let our children be proud. I am not saying - sacrifice yourself. I'm saying - SWTICH ON YOUR MIND.

Next time you are switching on lights in several rooms - switch on your mind.
Next time you are taking plastic bag in the supermarket - switch on your mind.
Next time you print stupid emails - switch on your mind.
Next time you use your car - switch on your mind - maybe there's a bus or a bike.
Next time you are washing dishes and leave water on for ages - switch on your mind.
Next time you throw something away - switch on your mind and sort out garbage.
Next time you see people in need - switch on your heart.
Next time you see dirt on the sky - wipe it off and switch on some smiles.
Next time you hear about some "oil spill" - switch on your conscious and don't illusionate yourself thinking that this doesn't concern you.
Next time you go to a picnic - switch on your esthetic sense and don't leave garbage.
Next time you see a master peace in the nature - don't ruin it, save it to the future people who will call you proudly "he was a man of the 21st century".

Here's a trailer to my friend Brian Hill's documentary "A Climate of Change"

Climate of Change (Tribeca Festival Premiere)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Westerns Week

I am glad to announce that I will start my filmmaking course at Metfilm School this September. It's located in Ealing Studios famous for films like Dorian Gray, Easy Virtue and Little Ashes (and many more).

Certainly main goal is to learn the craft of filmmaking, but the craft isn't enough - you also need inspiration. And Metfilm stands for it so they sent me a list of films and books recommended to studying. Half of those films I have already seen but I decided to take this to a different level and review all these films. To make it easier for you and myself I am gong to divide films by genres.

So this week (5--11 July) I am watching Westerns.

Here are ten wonderful Westerns in my list:
*I made some changes to my list due to advices frim my twitter friends*

1. Stagecoach, 1939.
2. High Noon, 1952.
3. The Magnificent Seven, 1960.
4. 7 Samurai, 1954 - It's back!
5. The Misfits, 1961.
6. A fistful of Dollars, 1964. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969
7. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, 1966.
8. The Wild Bunch, 1969 - if I find it
9. Once Upon a Time in the West, 1968
10. High Plains Drifter, 1973.
11. Unforgiven, 1992.
12. The Proposition, 2005.

The choice of films is made according to the IMDB index, different sorts of best western lists and certainly, based on the availability of films. But please do make suggestions and corrections to this list, I am more then welcome to add some more films and welcome your opinion.

So see you on my blog every day - for a fresh review of western classics. And please keep in mind that I am a girl who was born in USSR, so this is quite a different genre to me.

Why Twilight Saga is dangerous

It's been almost a week since Eclipse, the third part of teenage vampire Twilight saga is out in cinemas and we heard lots of interesting reviews about this film. While Eclipse by many is named as the best film out of all Twilight saga films (it's more dynamic, full of interesting characters and stories) I want to concentrate on the aspect of its popularity and which has both sides of love and hate.

The main reason why Twilight is so popular is purely psychological: cinema is the main media where mirroring is used. The viewer transfers his ideas and views on the main character on the screen and the more similarities there are between the viewer and the character on screen - the easier is it to false-believe this film is actually about you. Here we see Bella, an ordinary, not particularly beautiful or stylish, not smart or talented and not interested in any hobbies. Admit it, she's boring. This character is so undefined that it is hard to believe in its existence if you can't identify yourself with her, for example for men or for talented and/or beautiful / confident girls. Take any girl in the world and out of three - 2.5 would be able to identify with Bella, mostly because of lack of confidence and a huge desire to be loved by someone as special and wonderful as Edward. Girls and women (as they identify themselves with their younger selves and through this media relive their youth) all over the world dream of having two wonderful men from mystic world being in love with them. Which is fine so far, girls don't have to be supermodels or scientists to have a right for love.

But, the most dangerous thing in Twilight saga is that Bella doesn't anyhow fight for her love. She just gets Edward, just like that - from the first sight without any transformation, chase, fight or humiliation. And yes, after she looses him she has to go for him and save his life (in second part of saga "New Moon"), but remember that before that she gets another man, Jacob, again, just like that - from the first sight, without any changes, difficulties or love.

This is one of the aspects why Twilight doesn't work as a drama - dramatic conflict in a romantic relationship is lost. Normally in the film there is a certain pattern: main character wants something -- but he/she can't get it for some reason -- then (s)he fights to get what (s)he wants -- (s)he can't get it -- (s)he meets people along the way who transform him/her and with their help/love/hate -- (s)he almost gets what (s)he wants but -- then everyone knows this is the last chance - (s)he doesn't get it. And then when character, his friends and villain and everyone in audience thinks that this is the end and there could be no more hope - something wonderful happens and the main character gets another chance. Whether (s)he finally gets it or not defines end as a Happy End or Tragic.

We can't see dramatic potential in romantic relationship in Twilight - because... main character doesn't know what she wants. There is some sort of understanding that she likes Edward (more then anything in the world) and that she wants him, but then - why she gets him so easily in the beginning? From this point of view - New Moon had a more dramatic potential but it was so poorly executed and so much attention was given to Jacob, whose love she gets without any efforts - that it messes up with dramatic relationships.

This problem makes Twilight saga not only quite poorly executed film franchise, but also quite dangerous for girls, who are already identified with Bella and are patiently waiting for two gorgeous men to love them. This film would have been completely different if protagonist was Edward or Jacob. In this case Bella's reaction would be completely justified: she is a lady who has a right to choose between two knights. She should have been however still posses some sort of special power: beauty, gift or social status... All the fairy tales and movies (which copy the plot of storytelling) teach us these lessons. These patterns help us to love those who we want to love and fight if we can't get them.

However Twilight, although it incorporates mystic elements, is not a story of great dramatic potential. It dangerously shows us that we can be loved by two interesting and powerful people even though we do not deserve that. We could deserve that if we find in ourselves some talents or power but this requires some confidence to explore ourselves and the world around, to fight and sacrifice and make choices, to become more confident in our relationships whether we lose or win. Our generation and generation of young girls has got difficult issues with confidence, we hide behind labels and brands and try to find heroes to look up to, but what we get is Paris Hilton and Bella: love and fame with no effort. These girls' confidence is hit very hard when they understand that it's not how it works in the real world - and they try to look out for answers in their favorite films and books - but Twilight is no use unless you are in love with a real vampire.