Monday, January 30, 2006

1984 by George Orwell

Originally uploaded by pookie_san99.
I thought of "time theft" later in the week while listening to "1984".The ten hour audiobook read by Timothy West was on sale at a local bookshop.Hearing the chillingly realistic descriptions of the characters and the grim story unfold aloud adds another dimension to my understanding of the book.Hearing the stark,grating words,the rhythm and intonation is a far different experience from merely reading it.
One passage struck home as familiar.Overly familiar.
"An overpowering smell of sweat,a sort of unconscious testimony to the strenuousness of his life followed him about wherever he went and even remained behind him after he had gone"
Not my boy wonder boss but Winston Smiths fellow employee Parsons..." a man of paralysing stupidity".

DVD's...Cinderella Man....Ae Fond Kiss
After the recent DVD drought I watched two in as many days.
Cinderella Man with Russell Crowe,Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti.The Ron Howard directed movie is based on the life of boxer James J Braddocks career during the 1920s and 30s.
A couple of reviews tended to focus on Crowes personal life labelling him as an "arsehole" and a "thirty foot Hollywood prick".Whatever.I dont care.
He brings a presence and weight to this role.I hesitate to use the overworked word "gravitas" but you get the idea.Ably supported by Zellweger as his wife and Giamatti as his coach.Giamatti shines in his part.I've seen him in "American Splendor" and "Sideways" but here he has a character and the latitude to display his ability fully.
The last half hour leading to the final title fight is exciting and well paced.No great message but a real feel good movie.

The other movie I stumbled across was "Ae Fond Kiss" directed by Ken Loach.A minor movie in comparison to the Hollywood power and budget of Cinderella Man.Set in modern day Glasgow it tells the story of two people from different cultures and religions meeting.
Living in Japan with its largely homogeneous population I tend to forget that most societies are an unwieldy cultural,political,racial and political patch work.The boyfriend is a Pakistani Muslim while his partner is an Irish Catholic woman.
The issues of love,family,loyalty and religion are raised as the pair try to come to terms with what their relationship will do to their lives and those they love.
You end up feeling sorry for all the parties involved.The Muslim father trying to do what he thinks is best,the son who will be virtually exiled,banished from his family and the girlfriend who could lose her job at the Catholic school if she continues to live with her Muslim boyfriend.
One memorable scene involves her getting berated by the local Catholic priest accusing her of sleeping with "any Tom,Dick or Mohammed",
I've always thought of Glasgow to be a grey,dour and dangerous place.Some of the locations give lie to this fact with tree-lined streets and wellgroomed suburban housing.
Loach uses non-professional actors in the main roles.While it gives you some fresh faces to look at, it can lower the acting quality.There were times when I wished the boyfriend would give or emote a little more considering the position he was supposed to be in.All in all an average movie but one which made me wonder what people will sacrifice for that elusive thing called love....

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