Σάββατο 31 Οκτωβρίου 2015

The Lobster

It's tough to watch a tough film, without being tough enough to laugh, cry, think and love at the same time. That cannot be done. To feel all these at the same time, I mean. But watching "The Lobster" gets you as far as you can go with that. It's that kind of picture that lets you experience a raw and surreal emotional rollercoaster, which, at the end of the day, takes you one step further into understanding yourself a bit better than you already do.

The film is an experiment in a dystopian future. Take yourself to a place that you have to love someone in 45 days and if you fail, then be the animal of your choice, just because you cannot do otherwise. Alternative choice? Be a loner. Go into the woods, be a wildling, prevent yourself from being with someone, just because you cannot do otherwise, either. Alternative of the alternative? Love someone you are not supposed to love and accept the consequences. Or not. Challenge accepted.

You don't have to be smart to understand this movie. On the contrary, it's back to basics. Yorgos Lanthimos is not a filmmaker that tries to be cocky in order to make art. This is actually a pretty simple project, almost childish. With a different approach, it really should be a Pixar film for children, in order to teach them that you can love and accept everyone if only at first you do that for yourself and be a free person.

The surreal thing exists here, just because you cannot support a film with real actors, exquisite ones, without being symbolic. Colin Farrell, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, John C. Reilly and Rachel Weisz take their performances one step further by being simple, sarcastic and non dramatic, while at the same time they do and say things which are supposed to sound weird in a film, but they are actually not weird in real life. And you do them, too. And you tell them every day, without being an actor. And that's the weirdness of it all - this is cinema, while it's not. It's life.

In real life, you can be jealous of your girlfriend if she speaks to another guy who has something in common with you, because you project yourself in it. You are in danger. But when the girl or the boy is in danger, aren't you supposed to walk in their shoes to understand them? Yes, it's about empathy and nothing more. You can be single or a couple, that's your choice. But it's your ethical obligation to have empathy in order to be happy. And, let's face it, you don't walk in other people's shoes.

They say that, with "The Lobster", the circle of the Greek Weird Wave of cinema is complete. I cannot describe "The Lobster" as weird though. It's not fair. The script by Efthimis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos is weird itself. The performances are pretty weird and North European. It's like an Ingmar Bergman or a Michael Haneke movie. It also ends in uncertainty, which is weird, too. But it's not a weird film. Too much weirdness in 2 hours just ends up being too fucking normal compared to real life. "The Lobster" is exhilarating. That's the only valid word.

AnArtCalled... 9/10

Σάββατο 3 Οκτωβρίου 2015

Janet Jackson - Unbreakable

It was 2008 and Miss Janet had already done it all - she had recorded pop anthems, r'n'b classics, hip-hop/soul No 1 hits and Rhythm Nation milestones. And after an amazing 25-year-old career, she decided she had nothing more to say at that particular time. So she stopped making music, proving that a true artist knows when to take a fucking break. Wanna know what the smart thing is? She also knows when to start all over again and delivers one of the best albums of her career, as well as some of the best 90's-esque neo-soul tracks of the last 15 years.

Even though her first single, "No Sleeep", is a fine sample of her album's sound and many of us eventually compared the track to "That's The Way Love Goes", this effort is not "Janet" at all. The release finds her in a safe place, a mature state of mind and a creative mode, minus the desperate stress for a major hit. It's as sensual as "The Velvet Rope", as funky as "Janet", as pop as "Rhythm Nation" and as happy as "All For You".

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have produced the album, along with Janet herself. The approach is low-key and you cannot find a No 1 single for the Billboard charts in here, even if you count the Missy Elliott collaboration in ("Burnitup!"). And that's totally fine, just because this project reminds you her peak self almost 20 years ago, when she could dance her great butt off and still be considered a great musician.

The almost crunk&B "Dammn Baby", with its heavy bassline, can make your hips move like a real 90's bitch. "The Great Forever" and "Shoulda Known Better" have a gentle pop touch without being too independent, while "After You Fall" could be the lead single of a greatest-hits-baby-making album, which would contain at least another 5 or 6 Janet tracks. And then the "Night"comes, along with its obvious sexiness and you feel like opening a bottle of red wine on a Wednesday afternoon like it's Saturday night already.

"No Sleeep" is a great bridge to the low and mid-tempo songs of the second half of "Unbreakable", which serves as a conceptual continuity of the second half of "The Velvet Rope". And that's where you can hear Janet Jackson sing in and out of her comfort zone, asking for love and writing about her actual needs.

Janet has not always been true to herself and her music. She has recorded a couple of mediocre albums in the past and she tried to be hip and cool, when she didn't have to. But then again, she did know when to take a break, live and come back to write good stuff. So, please, let's give her some Grammy Awards in 2016. And let's also persuade Madonna to do the same at last. Someone has to remind her that she cannot be "Like A Virgin" again.

AnArtCalled... 8,5/10

Αντί απολογισμού…

Η αλήθεια είναι πως ασχοληθήκαμε με την μουσική έως και αποκλειστικά την χρονιά που πέρασε. Το πιθανότερο είναι να κάνουμε το ίδιο και την επόμενη με την περισσή πάντα, ασυνέπεια που μας διακρίνει. Δηλαδή όποτε μας κάτσει κάτι υπέροχο η απαίσιο –την ίδια ένταση συναισθημάτων προκαλούν άλλωστε. Έχουμε αφήσει ολίγον στην άκρη τα υπόλοιπα. Αν δεις την αρχή του μπλογκ, αφορούσε και φιλμς και εκθέσεις και φεστιβάλ. Αλλά ακόμα και ένα απλό μπλογκ θέλει την αφοσίωση και τον χρόνο του…την φροντίδα του εν τέλει.

Εύχομαι απλά αυτό τον χρόνο να είναι όλα πιο ήρεμα και εμείς να κάνουμε αυτό που αγαπάμε συχνότερα και εντιμότερα.


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