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Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Thelma and Louise (1991)

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm

“I don’t ever remember feeling this awake”

“Thelma and Louise” is a road movie about the surprising adventures of two friends who are extremely miserable in their daily lives and hence decide to take a weekend road trip. I am not going to tell here the whole story. However, they very quickly become fugitives, followed by the police. This highly emotional adventure make them both realize that they are not free; through the trip they discover themselves every day a bit more and both develop a better sense of their strengths and weaknesses. While Thema realizes that her husband treats her badly, Louise recognizes that her past cannot be forgotten and that she has to live with it. Moreover, the wonderful landscape of the Grand Canyon and Oklahoma emphasizes the search for freedom that Thelma and Louise experience. While the movie deals with the condition of women, rape, structural violence within social relationships; it has elements of comedy particularly because of the two women’s character. At the end, because of their crimes, and because of their rejection of their past lives, the film offers no way back for them into society. It quickly became one of my favorite movie this is why I highly recommend it to all of you.

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History

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 at 11:27 am

Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton in 1994

Is Hip Hop the new religion?

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 at 11:20 am

Starting in the late 1970’s America saw the emergence of a new form of music called Hip- Hop. Few people believed it would last. However, the contrary happened: Hip-Hop became an enormous and dominant industry. “They aren’t many artists selling 250,000 albums in the opening week, and that used to happen all the time” says entertainment attorney Donald David.

It is necessary here to clarify exactly what is meant by “religion”. I do not compare Rap music to Christianity or even Judaism of course; I just hold the position that most of the time people who listen to Hip-Hop are taken over by a kind of fascination/passion/obsession for the rappers and their lyrics although there is no proper  ideology or specific message behind them . Hip-Hop can be considered as a “religion” just as much as Facebook or Sex and the City could.

As far as I am concerned, my background and music experience pushed me to be a listener of Jazz and Classical Music and to despise a bit street art and rap music. I grew up and I couldn’t avoid Hip-Hop anymore since it was on every radio, in every club … Everywhere. As I started to listen to some songs and read some lyrics I understood that Hip-Hop was a kind of “voice” for the youth of low-economic classes as the music reflected the social, economic and political realities of their lives. Indeed, the movement began in the South Bronx of New York City in the 1970s and its roots are found in African-American music. Ironically, singers who have been brought up in “ghettos neighborhood” are now becoming real business men, spending fortunes on cars, watches and houses (as everyone would). We are all aware of the income icons of Hip-Hop such as Jay-Z, P.Diddy or Kanye West earn a year. (see Forbes’s Hip Hops’ Cash Kings 2010 for more information) and one thing these rappers love rapping about is how much money they have, and how they came to acquire it. “La la la la, wait ’til I get my money right / La la la la, then you can’t tell me nothing right.”

Another element which is extremely present in any rap song is the notion of religion, god and devil.  I agree with Joseph Sorett who claims that “Hip-Hop music isn’t just about street violence, sex and drugs. It’s a God thing, too.” In my opinion, there is a close connection between hip-hop and religion. Maybe it is the fact that these singers come from very devout and pious families, or is it simply part of their culture. Let’s have a closer look at the lyrics from songs from one of the most powerful and influential rapper of the decade, the hip-hop icon and the idol of many artists: Jay Z.

Empire State of mind

City of sin, it’s a pity on the wind
Good girls gone bad, the city’s filled with them
Mami took a bus trip, now she got her bust out
Everybody ride her, just like a bus route
Hail Mary to the city, you’re a virgin
And Jesus can’t save you, life starts when the church end

Lucifer with Kanye West

And when I perish
The meek shall inherit the earth
Until that time it’s on a poppin Church
Like Don Bishop
The fifth upon cock either
Lift up your soul or give the Holly ghost please
I leave ya in somebodys Catedrial
And stuntin like Evil Kenevil

Religion is present everywhere but what is striking me the most is that Jay-Z in Lucifer does not talk about the Christian Church but about his own Church, his own lyrics, his own music, his listeners are his congregation. Kanye West once said: “Hip Hop is a religion to certain extent and rappers are the preachers and the music is the sermon. It is just like church because you go to a concert, you raise your hand in the air, you get dress up, you sing songs and you definitely pay some money. It is just like church!

What makes Kanye West interesting and feel so relevant is that despite the fact that he is a pretentious character in every aspect of his life and has the biggest ego in the whole musical world, his music is powerful but still approachable. His last album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 496,000 copies in its first week in the United States, was also named the best album of 2010 in numerous critics and received general acclaim from music critics. “He doesn’t know he’s the best, he thinks he’s the best, and the difference between that drives his furious creative output. He possesses a mixture of perfectionism and egotism that leads him to agonize and second-guess himself until he produces something he is convinced nobody can beat.” I do not believe Kanye West is a God but his songs give an empowering feeling of superiority. Lyrics such as “I’m amazing, so amazing, everybody’s fired up this evening” make you feel like you are part of a community in a way, that is going to rule over the world soon enough. What is admirable is that it takes a huge amount of self-confidence to transfer that feeling of “I am powerful” to another human being.

As I created myself a new playlist with Lupe Fiasco, Mac Miller and Kanye West, I thought it would be interesting to write a bit on Hip Hop although it is not really my area of knowledge. In conclusion: “Is Hip Hop the new religion”? I personally do not know if it is mine, I believe it depends on each one’s experience and interests. I recognize however that Hip-hop’s longevity is due to the fact that it evolves with society and that it speaks to millions of people regardless their cultures and socio-economic background. This is maybe what makes it the new religion for some.

Life according to Woody

In Uncategorized on April 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

My dear,

         In my next life I want to live my life backwards.

You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people’s home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila!

You finish off as an orgasm!

Truly yours,

Woody Allen 

April Playlist

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

Story of our lives.

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Chinatown

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

Course I’m respectable. I’m old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.

Shadi Ghadirian , Like Every Day

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

“Challenging the international preconceptions of women’s roles within an Islamic state, Tehran-based artist Shadi Ghadirian’s photographs draw from her own experiences as a modern woman living within the ancient codes of Shariah law.”  In her work , Like Everyday , Ghadirian comments upon the daily repetitive routine to which many women find themselves appointed and by which many women are defined. By using domestic gifts she received after her wedding, she depicts a figure draped in a traditional Iranian chador. However , instead of a face, each figure has a common household item such as an iron, a tea cup, a broom, a pot or a pan. Hence , she portrays “a one-dimensional interpretation of housewives” , reducing these women identities to cooks and cleaners. Some are kind of funny, parodying universal stereotypes of females, from the choleric mother-in-law to the doormat wife, using the utensils to represent well-known characteristics.

Shadi Ghadirian can be seen at Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, Saatchi Gallery until 6 May.

Cyrano de Bergerac

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm
Qui j’aime ? … Réfléchis, voyons. Il m’interdit
Le rêve d’être aimé même par une laide,
Ce nez qui d’un quart d’heure en tous lieux me précède ;
Alors, moi, j’aime qui ? … Mais cela va de soi !
J’aime – mais c’est forcé ! – la plus belle qui soit !
.

Cyrano de Bergerac est une piece de theatre qui a ete ecrite par Edmond Rostand en 1897 et qui est basee sur la vie de Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac qui etait un dramaturge francais du XVIIieme siecle. Elle raconte les aventures du célèbre et turbulent cadet de Gascogne, amoureux de sa cousine, Roxane. Mais Roxane aime Christian, incarnation de la beauté et de la jeunesse. Cyrano, affligé d’un nez proéminent, est laid. Le destin place dans le même régiment les deux hommes, qui, contre toute attente, se lient d’amitié. Christian avoue son embarras à ne pas savoir séduire Roxane, dénué d’esprit dès qu’il s’agit d’amour. Cyrano décide de l’aider à la conquérir, en lui soufflant ses mots et ses lettres. Les rivaux s’allient, et le stratagème fonctionne. Roxane s’éprend de Christian. Mais bientôt, ne supportant plus de ne pas être aimé pour lui-même, le jeune homme demande à Cyrano de tout avouer à la jeune femme.

C’est probablement une de mes piece de theatre favorite pour un large nombre de raisons qui me seront impossible de developer dans cet article par peur d’ennuyer les 5 personnes qui me lisent quotidiennement. Je voudrais dire neanmoins que cette piece est assez exceptionnelle par la difficulte de ses vers et la longueur de ses tirades . De plus, je suis une grande fan du personnage extremenent complex et touchant de Cyrano. D’un cote sa laideur et son grotesque le classe dans la rangee des personnes comme Quasimodo, d’un autre cote, il est absolument brillant dans son discours, sa maitrise de la langue, de l’esprit et de l’epee. Alors qu’il est une personne redoutee de tous par sa bravoure et son courage physique, il est d’une extreme timiditee et n’osera avouer son amour pour Roxanne que dans les dernieres lignes de la piece.  Il est un mix entre pudeur, souffrance, fierte, orgeuil et melancolie. D’ailleurs il est considere par beaucoup comme l’archetype du heros romantique tel que le decrirait Victor Hugo. Il se demarque des autres par sa marginalisation extreme et sa soif d’ideal. La tirade du “non merci” met en scene la grande loyaute et sens de l’honneur du personnage ; il est genereux , idealiste et pres a combattre de nombreuses injustices. « J’ai décidé d’être admirable en tout, pour tout ! » dit-il.

Roxane:  Je vous aime, vivez !
Cyrano :  Non ! car c’est dans le conte
Que lorsqu’on dit : Je t’aime ! au prince plein de honte,
Il sent sa laideur fondre à ces mots de soleil…
Mais tu t’apercevrais que je reste pareil.

Deux prestations m’ont particulierement marque : la premiere est celle de Michel Vuillermoz a la comedie Francaise, mis en scene par Denis Podalydès. Ce fut tres impressionnant de le voir reciter ces 1600 vers avec tant d’expression et de panache. La seconde est la tres reussie interpretation cinematographique de Gerard Depardieu en 1990. C’est en visualisant sa prestation une bonne dizaine de fois que j’ai realise l’importance qu’a cet acteur dans le Cinema Francais et j’ai trouve sa declamation extremement juste.

” Gros homme, si tu joues. Je vais être obligé de te fesser les joues !”

De Niro is Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987)

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm

You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.


 

I’m gonna tell you something. Somebody messes with me, I’m gonna mess with with him. Somebody steals from me, I’m gonna say you stole. Not talk to him for spitting on the sidewalk. Understand?

Timeless.Mythic.Classic.Masterly.Legendary.Immortal.Mythological.