La fille de Montreal

21 08 2012

Synopsis: a woman, after having lived in her flat in Montreal for the past 25 years, is forced to move out and find a new place.  Packing all her many, many things in her place brings back memories.

Super awesome things:  I like a (good) Canadian film, and La fille de Montreal certainly feels like a Canadian film.  The location for the film is superb — it really did feel like Ariane’s flat (or more likely, Jeanne Crepeau, the writer/director of the film).  The throwback to old technology, like the original Macintosh computer and the montage of Ariane’s favourite old sounds from old machines, is pretty darn cool.  This not only is cool to watch, but reiterates Ariane’s need to hold on to things, and the change from time.  The apartment is almost a character of its own — a crack in the wall next to the portrait of Ariane’s grandmother; the tiny kitchen; the files and folders and boxes upon boxes of things collected over the years in bookcases.  It amounts to so much, and yet nothing.

Although labeled as a comedic film, there are only a few pockets of really humourous scenes in the film.  Instead, the film focuses on the interplay between Ariane and her two friends, Mireille and Charles, as they help her pack her house.  As well, the housing market in Montreal doesn’t seem to be any better than in Vancouver, where a decent place to live for a decent price can be difficult to come by.  This is suggested with Ariane visiting door after door, saying the same thing: “I’m here for the apartment” to places with “For Rent” signs.  An effective way of conveying info, I think.

A cool thing about this film is that even though there are two gay characters including the main character, it is never an issue nor the main point of the film, and I quite like how normal it felt to the story.

Not so awesome things: although the film never states how long Ariane has to leave (or else I missed it), there really doesn’t seem to be any rush at all.  In fact, the biggest thing the film lacks is any sort of conflict.  At first, there seems to be conflict set-up by her landlord casting her out for his son (and Ariane talks to a lawyer about how to handle the situation legally), but this is never brought up again.  And because of the missing deadline, there is no rush, not to mention no one pressuring her to hurry up.  When Ariane’s friends come by to help her throw out and organize all the stuff in her tiny place, there’s potential conflict between friends (since Ariane seems to be a bit of hoarder, though not as bad as those on the reality TV show), but this too isn’t developed.

Instead, this film is about recollections and memories, about the value of a good home and the things that make a home.  It reminds me of an animated short film, made a few years ago that won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film called La maison en petits cubes.  The short, like La fille de Montreal, has no conflict.  It is about a man’s memories of past houses and his family, which is rendered beautifully.  It doesn’t quite work out as well as in Crepeau’s film, or at least I can’t decide if I like it or not.  I think the difference about these two films is that at in La maison en petits cubes, there isn’t a dull moment — every frame means something.  And given that it’s substantially shorter than La fille, it doesn’t drag.  There are moments and times in La fille when it does drag, when we want Ariane to stop dilly-dallying around and just pack her shit up and get on with her life.  This frustration works against the charm of the film, unfortunately.

Good for watching: for a Canadian feature film night.

Overall: a good, decent Canadian film that subtly incorporates queer characters.

Grade: B-

Il y a longtemps que je me suis rendu compte d’amour réal n’existe pas.

28 10 2011

“It’s been a long time since I realized true love does not exist.”  I said it in French class on Thursday when we were writing out sentences with new vocab (in this case, “se rendre compte de” was the vocab) and I read it aloud when called on.  Now everyone probably thinks I’m this hard-hearted weird Chinese guy in the class, which is mostly true anyway.

Someone asked why the last part of the sentence in the present tense when the first part is in the past, and she had to explain how the sentence isn’t saying that love never existed but will one day exist, but that it has never existed (and further implying that it will never).  As if that wasn’t weird enough, then the teacher made an awkward– but fun, at least for me– transition to giving us a pop quiz.

“Loin De Paname” — Paris 36

19 10 2011

Puisque je dois pratiquer mon français plus, et même si j’ai déjà un blog de français, je vais créer un article, um, anyway.  Voilà une chanson du film, Paris 36, que je veux regarder un de ces jours.  Elle a été nominéé pour un Oscar il y a quelques années (mais la chanson du film Crazy Heart, “The Weary Kind”, a gangé le prix).  Néanmoins, j’adore cette chanson et la mélodie beaucoup.


La langue oublié

28 03 2011

I wrote this just now and it’s really really rough.  Lo siento para la falta de los accentos.  Soy haragan y tengo mucho hacer.

La langue oublié

A veces, quiero escribir
o aun hablar
en frances.
Pero solamente las nubes violetas
caben en la mente.

Todas las puertas abren a las palabras espanol
y lo que quiero decir es sobre,
sobre las raices de la tierra.

Y despues de todo mi fuerza,
dispare con un fusil una cosa
que cae del cielo.
Dice, “Le langue oublié.  Tu te souviens?”

Dream 8

21 03 2011

Dream #1 in a series of 3 dreams (last entry was #2).  While typing this up, I noticed I say “weird” a lot.

Dream 8, March 27, 2005

I was at school in Mr. Mey’s room and it was supposed to be Law class, but there was a bunch of kids from my grade there, learning Socials (Anthony Lee, Ian, Jonny Wong) and me.  Mr. Mey was writing some notes on the board and I took out my notebook and started to write it down too cuz I said I really didn’t have notes (I have Mr. Sanky!).  I think people around me were kinda confused cuz I wasn’t supposed to be in their class but since I had Law, it was weird.  Then, some people in Law class started coming in and I told them Law was next block though it wactually isn’t.  Then, I saw this biology book and I looked in the cover and my name was on it!  Someone had taken my book and I had found it again.  Either the bell rang or everyone disappeared, I dunno.  I took my book and went to biology a weird route.  When I got inside, there were only a few desks and those desks were occupied by people.  I started walking over to Chels but only said hey when there weren’t any seats around her.  So I walked back to another empty desk and sat down (around Matthew and Merrick).  I believe they both started talking to me, kind hitting on me but Matthew was making it more obvious, especially when he took my hand.  I excused myself and went into the “old house kitchen”, sat near the fridge and started crying.

I think it was because I didn’t want to (and kinda still) fall in love with either of them, even though they are really great guys.  Then, one of them came in (I can’t remember who) ana dhe sat with me and it was nice.  I’m not sure if this next part is in the same dream but it’s school-related so I’ll put it here anyway.

I was in Ms Mersiadis’ class for French (?) and people were presenting these things.  I remember Jonny Won’g sthing and it was like this guy hiding.  His poster was quite big and just a drawing, compared to other people’s which were smaller and all writing.  Meanwhile, I was putting little stick-thing into a box divided into little squares.  I think I was trying to make them into candles but it would only work better if I took a whole bunch and tried to press them in; if I did it individually, it was harder to get them in straight, and they would angle in weirdly.  For some reason, the projector was on and the people had to go in front of the light and put the thing in front of the light and it would be magnified.  Joyce Lau was helping me with my weird thing, I think.  Some other people in Ms. Mersiadis’ class were there too (Duncan, Erica, etc.)  But Jonny is not in her class, he’s in my class for French which is weird.

Crazy dream

25 01 2011

One that I had a couple nights ago.

I was watching TV and the news was reporting an actor of a famous show like CSI or something had died.  They showed a photo of him posing, a white cloth surrounding his body, arms outstretched, reminiscent of Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel (I recognized his face though it was not until after I woke up and thought about it that I realized it was David Sutcliffe).  Anyway, he was reported to have lived in Vancouver, downtown and for some reason, he was a homeless person, helping kids.  The news showed the last known footage of him where some people were interviewing him, and that was the last they saw of him.  Police were asking for witnesses; Maggie, my sister, was, I’m assuming, in the room with me, as she then said out loud and stressed for everyone to report anything remotely suspicious, including “people who may weren’t supposed to be where they were.”

As they showed the area around which the actor lived downtown, I somehow found myself transported to where the camera on TV was shooting.  My mom, Maggie, and I were all there, going to this restaurant + movie theatre that combined a meal and a movie for a really cheap price (why hasn’t anyone thought of that?), and best of all, it was in the same building so we didn’t even have to leave.  I distinctly remember it being quite bright outside — lots of yellows and oranges.  When we went inside and stood in line behind a couple, I noticed the movies they had playing.  They were books lined up on the floor that indicated the movies.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember any of the movies apart from Alice in Wonderland which my sister and I had already seen.  We all agreed on a strange, indie movie that none of us had really heard of before.

We paid for our tickets and were invited to sit down and wait for our food and the movie.  The couple who were ahead of us in line sat directly across the table from us so that we were facing each other, like a picnic table.  Somehow, there was a piano in front of me and I started playing around on it, eventually playing Vanessa Carlton’s “Papa” because it sounds hard.  As usual, people didn’t seem to take any notice and when I was done, I wondered what else to play.  There were a lot of songs I could’ve played but they didn’t sound as good because the piano part alone doesn’t sound all that great without singing, and I wasn’t going to start singing in this restaurant.

I heard the couple in front of us and everyone else in the restaurant speaking French but I didn’t know what to say since I wasn’t fluent.  My sister, who sat nearby, was reading through a French-English dictionary and suddenly asked aloud, “How do you say ‘The French got an army…?'”

I replied, “Les francais ont un…” and the guy sitting across from us, obviously listening, finished my sentence and said, “un arme”. (I’m told that’s not the right word for “army”, btw).  There was something else about “the English” but I don’t remember that.  I eventually started playing my own song, “Un Pas” and the woman in front of us smiled and mentioned to her boyfriend, “Ah, Amelia…” or something wrong like that.  I knew she meant Amelie, the awesome French movie with Yann Tiersen’s music so I stopped playing and told them in French that actually, I was playing a song that I wrote but that I love Amelie and Yann Tiersen.

They were eventually called in to eat or watch the movie or something.  We waited around for a bit more before being called in too.  I texted my friend/super film guy about the movie we were going to see and his reply was something along the lines of “Oh, that movie has great 3D, 5, 6, and 7D, and we’re already 3 weeks into the course and we’ve only started learning about 3D!  It’s a cool movie and I like the toys.  I also like the Glum [something] character.” and somehow, I knew that the Glum character was me.  Did that make me a part of the movie?

So we went down this hallway and I was carrying this big gameboard mat thing for some reason.  It was a turquoise color.  We go into this other room where I set the mat down.  In the room is a guy wearing a mask that doesn’t quite cover his face.  Something like this:

Valentine, from the movie Mirrormask

He told us to find some books in the room and put our hands in them.  There were conveniently two books right by me — one which i don’t remember but that it was a bigger book, and my Spanish-English dictionary.  I saw my mom sitting at a table with no books but with some Chinese magazines like the ones she reads and the guy with the mask told her she could use them.  With our hands in the books, he came around and with this bottle of pastey-looking stuff and smeared it on the books.  Then, he told us to start flapping our arms and fly.  Which we did, and which it worked.

However, my Spanish-English dictionary was too small and it fell off my hand and then became useless.  I told the Mask Guy and he picked me up and I clung onto him while he flew around the room, my head leaning into the warmth of his shoulder.

Suddenly, I’m shouting, “DIE, CHICKEN, DIE!” and I wake up on the floor.  I have a hunch he dropped me and that I was unconscious for a while but I somehow got saved or something.  Anyway, I think I went flying again and this time the dictionary worked.  There wasn’t anyone else in the large room with me but while I was flying, these black snake-like cords were launching themselves at me from nowhere.

Wake up again.  I think I just got hit by a black cord or something.  Next to me in a row are piles of those black cords, wriggling around, and I can see chickens in there.  I tear at the pile closest to me to free the chicken but when I get to it, it’s grey and thin, and it looks more like a robot chicken (no pun intended) than anything else.  So I got the chicken and I don’t quite remember if I picked it up and started flying with it or not but I did start to fly again and I realized I was in my house, although the house itself seemed to be on a much, much larger scale — everything was gigantic.  I flew around the walls, avoiding the black cords, and into the kitchen.  I managed to open the back door and the gate, both of which were huge, and flew outside to supposed freedom.  But I still had a feeling I was being watched so I tried to fly as stealthy as I could, flying into the neighbour’s yard so as to stay away from the windows of my house and not be watched.  I heard the door close behind me as I flew away.

I’ve never been good at flying in my dreams and this one was no different.  I found it hard to control where I was going and how high and low I wanted to go.  I veered around my neighbour’s yard for a bit and then proceeded to go to the back lane where I suddenly became Wallace, from Wallace and Gromit.  There was Gromit standing behind me and I “knew” again that I had to walk/shuffle sideways to avoid seeming strange.  So we shuffled slowly sideways, me looking north, towards my house and him walking with his back to me, facing south.  I saw something moving in the windows of my house but couldn’t discern it.

Eventually, we shuffled and shuffled all the way to a busy street where there was a guy who dressed like a lame hipster/gangster stared at us as we slowly walked from him.  I think he may have been leaning on a fire hydrant.  He had a cigarette and I thought he was going to attack us but he merely stared and stared through his colorful sunglasses, and burned this guy standing nearby with his cigarette .

Eventually again, we got to a basketball court with lots of teenagers around, who were also staring at us suspiciously and that decided we weren’t welcome so they chased us.  I was suddenly running with two other people: Chris Martin from Coldplay and this other girl.  While we were running, she took out two books from her bag and gave them to me.  I tried to fly but I couldn’t get very high.  I realized that in order to fly and leave this place through some sort of portal, I needed to sink a basket.

All the kids crowded around me, taunting me and calling me names.  They wanted me to lose and were throwing basketballs around me, at the hoop in the hope of deflecting my ball.  I saw Chris Martin and the girl nearby and knew they were invisible to everyone since they had found the portal and were waiting for me.  They cheered me on.

I threw the ball and closed me eyes, not knowing if I got it in or not.  It was up to me to decide, not everyone else.  With my eyes still closed, I thought I didn’t get it in but I said I did because I was so tired of losing.

Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum — Claude Debussy

7 09 2010

Ah, what a classic piece this one is.  I’ve heard it for many years and know friends who can play it but it was only very recently that I actually taught it to myself on a whim.  Now, it’s one of the most fun pieces I play on the piano.  It just sounds so happy and cheerful and the sixteenth notes combined with the fast tempo make it challenging but impressive.

Maybe I’ll post a video of me playing this one sometime but for now, here’s one of many, many versions of this piece on youtube, performed by Michelangeli (I don’t know who that is… and now I feel kinda bad for not knowing because I feel like I should know.  Oh well)

Un Pas (English translation)

25 07 2010

For those who want to know what I’m singing.

Un Pas (English translation)

A step
Can change life.
A step,
It’s so easy.
Left, in front, right,
A step, a step for me.

I am very high,
So high that I see the clouds.
And if, if I shouted,
No one would hear me.

A step
Can change your life.
A step,
It’s so easy.
Now, I have a lot of choices,
A step, a step for me.

To the right, safety.
Like all the decisions I’ve made.
But in front, it calls my name.
I can feel myself falling.

A step
Can change my life.
A step,
It’s so easy.
It was the time, I believe.
A step, the step for me.

Un Pas (French lyrics)

23 07 2010

Just yesterday, I gave the link of my writing blog to a classmate on mine in my French class so I thought I should post something French-y in case she comes across this soon so I seem less dumb about not being able to speak French very well. 

Un Pas

Un pas
Peut changer la vie
Un pas
C’est si facile
La gauche, en avant, la droite,
Un pas, un pas pour moi.

Je suis si très haut
Si haut que je vois les nuages.
Et si, si je criais
Personne ne m’écouterait

Un pas
Peut changer ta vie
Un pas
C’est si facile
Maintenant, j’ai beaucoup de choix
Un pas, un pas pour moi.

La droite, securité
Comme toutes les decisions j’ai pris
Mais en avant, il appele mon nom
Je peux me sentir tombe

Un pas
Peut changer ma vie
Un pas
C’est si facile
C’était le temps, je crois
Un pas, le pas pour moi