cafe de flore

December 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

everything seemed dead on perfect.

Which might seem a bit funny to say when you hear the synopsis of the plot: High flying DJ with a great life bemoans leaving his beautiful wife for an even more beautiful woman while a mother struggles to take care of her Down’s Syndrome child in a parallel story from 40 years before. For awhile it seems like the only two things that connect the stories is a song by the name of Cafe de Flore

The song, though terribly catchy, isn’t necessarily notable, but it’s what it signifies to both the DJ (Antoine) and the young Down’s Syndrome boy that matters. For each, it’s a source of happiness and restores their life force. For Antoine, it reminds him specifically of the moment when he met his second soul mate and the silly song has now become a central part of his life.

The film absolutely takes off for the stratosphere around this time as Vallee starts to crosscut between the different stories with an almost wild abandon at times. One of the movie’s best sequences uses a Sigur Ros song (Svefn-G-Englar)

In a montage of scenes that pushes the themes of the film forward and creates further tension, Vallee creates a breathless sprint that washes over the viewer. It doesn’t matter if you don’t pick up every detail – the feelings and intent come across easily as the story lines hurtle towards a head-on meeting and the emotional attachments to these flawed but interesting people grow and help bring about a lovely resolution.”


365 grateful project (count=24)

November 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

  • Jessica made delish cookies!
  • “It’s not uncommon in grade school for each student to be assigned a class job that rotates every week, but some of the jobs in Claudine’s kindergarten class have been a bit unusual. See her up there at a recent field trip to the park to sketch some trees? She’s the class comforter.”
  • “In 1995’s Before Sunrise a very young Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy spent a long, meandering, romantic night together in Vienna. In the 2004 follow-up, Before Sunset, an older, more jaded Hawke and Delpy spent a long, meandering day together in Paris, still crazy and tortured about each other after all these years. Now it looks like the third film might be on the way.”


November 21, 2011 § 2 Comments

poster from

I saw it. I loved it. Also love this review:

“Melancholia” is a story in two sections, about two sisters and two planets. The sisters are Justine (Dunst) and Claire (Gainsbourg), whose names are also given to the film’s sections.

Trier plays with our expectations for these actresses: Justine, played by a Hollywood star, is the blonde and conventionally beautiful one, marrying a fittingly handsome guy (Alexander Skarsgård) at her brother-in-law’s ostentatious country estate. But instead of being normal and well-adjusted, she is battling a crippling depression and keeps trying to escape from the whole wedding and from Skarsgård’s character, who’s totally out of his depth and has no idea how to reach her. In perhaps the most bitterly comic scene of “Justine” (and there are many), he shows her a snapshot of the apple orchard he has bought for her, that he hopes will make her happy. He has the best possible intentions, but you can feel her visibly recoiling from him as the seconds pass: I married this guy! And he has no idea who I am! When she gets up to go, she leaves the crumpled picture on the sofa.

It’s Claire, played by an eccentric art-house brunette, who is the conventional one trying to hold the wedding together as it disintegrates into hostility and pathology. She makes meat loaf, something I’m not too sure Charlotte Gainsbourg does in real life. She’s married to a rich man (Kiefer Sutherland, as always awesome at playing an intolerable asshole) who owns the Swedish castle where the wedding takes place, and is inordinately fond of its 18-hole golf course. (We also see the 19th hole a couple of times, which at many golf clubs is a euphemism for the bar, and here is –what, exactly? A joke? A symbol of apocalypse?)

“Claire” is harder to watch because we know how it’s going to end, but then, we know how our lives will end and that doesn’t stop us from wanting to live them.

It’s about facing life and death and mental illness with as much courage and love as you could muster, and what could be more grand and romantic than that?

365 grateful project (count=18)

November 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

img src=adc

April 11, 2011: Feeling blah because I’m apparently responsible for making a quarterly dashboard. Carlos, who used to work in Product Risk Management, once rapped about reconciliation. Now I know why.

& July 25, 2011: The dashboard is a team effort (Faisel + Fei + me) and team effort is more fun.

& This quarter: Fei did all the heavy lifting.

+ Lars von Trier retrospective coming to TIFF Lightbox (yes, including the release of Melancholia)

keen shoes >>> keen places

August 6, 2011 § 2 Comments

Last weekend was wisdom teeth weekend. S took me home after surgery and bought tonnes of baby food. Mum visited me after surgery and cooked all kinds of innovative mushy stuff. I felt specially cared for. But I miss the texture of real food. To cheer myself up:

1. I bought purple vans. My baby blue converse is falling apart.

2. I watched Lost in Translation. I had great expectations because I love The Virgin Suicides and heard that Lost in Translation feels like Before Sunrise and In the Mood for Love. But I felt empty afterwards.

I am reminded of Charlotte’s own claim in the movie that all girls pass through a stage of wanting to be a photographer, usually leading to lots of pictures of their own feet. Coppola composes ravishing images of her feet, but at a certain level, that’s all they are; even her cityscapes might be metaphors for her feet. When she really finds her feet, I have a sense that we’ll know it. I don’t think it’s quite happened, but I am eager to see her try again.”

3. I watched Waking Life. Again. I debated fear or laziness with S while drinking iced cap from Balzac’s.

4. I drank iced cap from Crema everyday before work.

5. I drank a bottle of Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling.

6. I drank a bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz.

7. I wandered around pusateri’s, buying vodka sauce. I flooded my pasta with vodka sauce.

8. I ordered pork bone soup ramen at Kenzo.

9. I uploaded all my photos from Patagonia.

+1. I read 5 ways to beat the post-travel blues.

+1. I watched Kimi Wa Petto. Again.

+1. I read Matsuri Special. Yoko Kamio’s female characters have special skills. I think she is trying to tell us that we are all special.

how to become the world’s most influential actuary

July 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

S and I watched inside job. He doesn’t understand how rating agencies could give AAA ratings to CDOs. I told him about Gaussian copula. Applied to CDO pricing by “the world’s most influential actuary“. There is always a market for simple solutions to complex problems.

super keen

May 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

The chocolate farmer @ Hot Doc

The book maker @ Hot Doc: How to make a book with Steidl

The robber @ Bell Light Box

living in the edge

May 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Edge of Russia @ Hot Doc

Edge of Heaven @ Home: The Turkish immigrant in Europe lives in the edge. Turkey itself lives in the possibly expanding edge of the European Union.

Edge of Continent: 2010 trip to Turkey

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