Friday, November 4, 2016

Culture Diaries: 11/4/16

A quick roundup of some other things I've been into lately: 

- John Berger's seminal series about art and perception  Ways of Seeing all on Youtube. 

- Finally got around to seeing Son of Saul (last year's Oscar winner for best foreign film). Sharp focus is on a surprisingly intimate human story with the mass-scale atrocities of the holocaust happening in the periphery. Impressive. 

- Recently finished Booker Prize finalist His Bloody Project, about a triple-homicide in the Scottish highlands in the 19th century but pieced together and presented through in nearly journalistic fashion. 

- Sculptor Richard Wentworth's words

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cannery Row : Steinbeck

Ah, the 'casual' trip to the bookstore. The sort where you promise to yourself before making that spontaneous sharp turn inside that this time, you're not there to buy another book. That this time, you'll only browse, see what's new.

What sabotages that plan immediately? When you pick up an unassuming Steinbeck novel and flip to the first page to read the opening. 

The first time this happened to me, it was Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat.
This is the story of Danny and of Danny’s friends and of Danny’s house. It is a story of how these three became one thing, so that in Tortilla Flat if you speak of Danny’s house you do not mean a structure of wood flaked with old whitewash, overgrown with an ancient untrimmed rose of Castile. No, when you speak of Danny’s house you are understood to mean a unit of which the parts are men, from which came sweetness and joy, philanthropy and, in the end, a mystic sorrow.

I resisted. I went home. But these first lines continued to haunt and bother me to the point where I had to make my way to a bookstore immediately the next day to see what followed. 

It happened again recently - this time, with Cannery Row.
Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitant are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gambler and sons of bitches,” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holymen” and he would have meant the same thing.

 I knew better than to resist this one. I bought this one immediately.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

YiYi: A One and a Two

I recently watched a Taiwanese film made in 2000 called YiYi: A One and a Two – Edward Yang's last film before he died of cancer at 59. (I am now in the process of hunting down his other films.)

This is one of those movies that's about life and also, everything. It's small and therefore big. A real gem.

Here's the trailer below.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...