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Date:2016-07-01 19:18
Subject:Euro 2016 and that own goal England scored

June had been busy - the first week of Euro 2016 with 3 matches a day, at least because of it, I didn't have to watch any of them EU referendum debates on tv.

Then the Brexit vote came (as I've predicted since Cameron announced it back in 2013). Because it's one thing your European neighbours might think you are a bunch of racists, after this own goal, they know you are a bunch of racists.

Back to Euro 2016. Who do we love:

Germany: pundits complained they are not consistent, erm, by German standard. But I think they have been solid, hasn't conceded any goal. Although the unfortunate draw that put them in a quarter-final with Italy (Germany's bogey team, they never beat them in big tournaments), makes me worried. Hence I've put a emotional hedge £10 bet on Italy to win. That way - either way, I will have something to celebrate.

France: Definitely a better team than two years ago. Pogba and Payet show breathtaking brilliance occasionally. With the home advantage, they have good chance - though this team might still need another 2-4 years...

Italy: when they couldn't get out of group stage two years ago in Brazil, I said, don't worried, they will be back soon. And I was right. Italy is quite simply, the best tournament national team. They beat a Spain that have clearly passed their prime but still lethal. Their team spirit is high and they are the only one who seem to know how to beat Germany (since 1970s), so yeah, they have a good chance.

Other teams:
Portugal: Getting into semi without winning a single match within 90 mins. So they have luck. But I don't think it will be enough.

Iceland: they deserved a medal for kicking the mediocre England out of Euro. Extra points for beating them in their own style of play - except Iceland played it with determination, skills and team spirits. When that match was over, my Spanish friend in London texted me "HAHAHAHAHA", shortly followed by my fire crackers and smiley emoji reply. I blame this on Brexit. But seriously, I think people (and apparently the whole England team) forgot that Iceland beat Netherlands home and away on qualifying round, so ignore them at your own peril.

Belgium: great talents there, but I don't feel the heart. It's a cliche, sometimes, that's the difference between top teams.

Wales: Bales is overrated, so is the whole Wales team achievement. They are a very average team. Lost to England, beat the tournament's worst team Russia and got into QF by beating another below average team, Northern Ireland. I was rooting for N. Ireland during that match because now we know Wales are a bunch of Brexiters, but the match was so boring, I was relieved that Wales won, so I didn't have to suffer extra time.

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Date:2015-06-30 21:23
Subject:Suede - Glastonbury 2015

Brett can still sing well live.  Lot of songs from first two albums - so no complaints.
Surprises: Killing of a Flashboy, The Living Dead

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Date:2014-07-18 15:22
Subject:Brasil 2014 - part 4 - memorable moments photo spam

It's over for 4 days now, I am back normal tv viewing.

Was it a better World Cup? Maybe. Probably not to the Brazilians. And I actually liked the 2010 German national team better than this one. But it doesn't matter, they have finally got the job done.

These are the moments still stayed in my mind:

1. Fail high-five: "cool" van Gaal wanted to show how cool he was. But failed.

2. Van Persie's zero gravity goal: the first bang of this World Cup.

3. The bite: Suarez maybe a troubled moron, but he's a better game-changing footballer than Messi.

4. That strange German freekick: it's weird stuff because they didn't score, it would have been genius if it worked. In any case, the confusion on the referee's face was priceless.

5. Attack by giant grasshopper: James Rodriguez lost the match but gained everyone's admiration, including the giant insect.

6. Brazil 1 Germany 7: in any case, Brazil already lost its popularity by the way they played against Colombia. Germany just scooped in to hammer the fact in: this Brazilian team was average with Neymar, hopeless without T. Silva.
Caption: cakes baked by Klinsmann's parents' bakery.

Winning goal: the final is a much improvement from 2006's (penalty shoot-out) and 2010's (the Dutch kicked and punched, the Spanish bored everyone with pass, pass, pass). Germany has skills, patience and determination. They wanted to win with attack and a winning goal. They got one deserved to be called just that.

Cosmopolitan Germany: they used to all look like Rudi Völler, German footballers. Er... except Klinsmann, of course. Now 10 years after Klinsmann and Löw started the transformation, the German team is cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, winning worldwide fans with their attacking style, and apparently, very well-dressed too.

Things I would soon forget:
1. England's group stage exit: it's like a broken record.
2. Messi's destiny: blah blah blah. Apparently, he's not that good outside Barcelona. Really don't care.
3. Italy's early exit: don't worry, they will be back soon.
4. America's finally get soccer: everyone in the west seemed to want them to embrace the sport, but let's see how it goes in 4 years time.

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Date:2014-07-08 00:06
Subject:The Cup that ate my brain - Brasil 2014 Part 4

In the end, we are back to the usual semi-final suspects: Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Netherlands. And only Netherlands would be first time winner if they prevail in the end.

So what I've learned in quarter-finals:

Dirty Brazil: two consecutive World Cup quarter-final exit (2006, 2010) would do that to you. Shame about Neymar's injury, but more shocking is people's (or twitter's) response: Brazil reaped what they sowed by its own violent aggressive play.

Never call your team the golden generation: didn't work for England, didn't work for Belgium either. Proof that a good national team is not about forming a dream team.

The pain of being German coach: you get criticized no matter what you do. 18 years without a trophy is not acceptable, no matter how many new fans Germany won in the last 8 years.

Tricky Netherlands: now that they finally put a "we" in their team, Netherlands continued to supply the most exciting matches. Too bad that they are meeting Argentina when they too, finally play as a team.

A Germany-Netherlands final would be too much for my heart. Neutral fans would love a Brazil vs Argentina final. But depressingly, I think it will be Brazil vs Netherlands.

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Date:2014-07-03 00:11
Subject:The Cup that ate my brain - Brasil 2014 Part 3

Quarter-finals. Things appeared to have been restored to normal. All the group winners have beaten the 2nd place winners to reach the last 8. The only pre-tournament surprises left are Colombia and Costa Rica. But it hadn't been an easy ride for any of the last 8, except maybe, Colombia, who beat a Uruguay sans Suarez.

As Germany's Mertesacker said after Germany's laboured win: 'I don't know what you want from me - do you think that just Mickey Mouse teams are involved in the last 16?'

So what did I learned from the last-16 matches?

It's a Goalkeepers' World Cup: from Mexico's Ochoa, USA Tim Howard's record breaking number of saves, to Germany's Neuer's sweeper-keeper role. The goalkeepers saved their team, whether it led to victory or not in the end.

If you don't have time, you can turn up to watch the last 10 mins and the extra time: apparently that's when the drama/goals happen.

Luck: one team in the final is going to be a team that get there almost by sheer luck. And it's likely to be Argentina.

You can park the bus for 120 minutes, but you'd lose in the end if you don't have a good finisher: that's the reason why USA, Switzerland and Greece failed to progress. And sometimes it's just wood work obstacle.

the Dark Horse finally arrives: it took a determined USA to bring out the best in a promising Belgium team.

England fans now wanting a winner from Latin America: so they can add "European teams don't do well in World Cup hosted in South America" to their list of reasons for failure.

Robben: the diva(er); Messi: the lone saint; Howard: the new American god; Lukaku: the redeemer; Neuer: the new Beckenbauer.

The conservative prediction of semi-finalists would be: Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Netherlands. But it could well be: Colombia, Belgium, France and Netherlands.

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Date:2014-06-29 15:17
Subject:The Cup that ate my brain - Brasil 2014 -Part 2

Two weeks on. So many casualties.

England: - it has definitely dampened the World Cup fever here. Early exit. Gary Lineker sounds bitter and cynical with every team he considers inferior to England progresses (Greece, USA, Switzerland, Algeria). I don't know why it still came as a surprise to them - before this World Cup, they weren't even beating teams they should in friendly matches. The bitter truth is that England is not one of the powerhouses in Europe as they'd like to believe. They are Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden; the second tier teams that occasionally not even qualify for the tournament (as England missed 3 World Cups).

Italy: too bad Pirlo was only effective against England who were foolish enough to give him so much space. This Italian team look tired and out of ideas.

Latin power: so far South American teams are winning. Apart from Uruguay who did that with some bite, all other are well deserved. Chile almost caused a major upset yesterday with Brazil. And Colombia keeps on surprising pundits.

Netherlands: group statistics showed that they were the dirtiest team (committed most fouls), but they also have the fastest striker in Robben. I still think they are unstoppable if Robben stays in this form. Let's see how tactical Mexico will deal today.

Germany: they can score, but their back isn't safe. Germany is now playing attractive attacking football but not getting the trophies they took for granted when they were conservative and cunning (ie, before Klinsmann transformed them in 2006)

Brazil and Argentina: still not convinced by either of them. But it's very likely that they will be in the final.

France: are they real deal? Will find out in knock out stage when they face a stronger team. Chances are there will be a France vs Germany quarter-final in waiting.

USA: latest is that Klinsmann has changed his tune to USA could be in the final and asked the team families to change travel plan. My suspicion is that he did it to appease the US press. I like watching the US team, they are tough to break, but getting to the final? Hmmm.

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Date:2014-06-20 15:00
Subject:The cup that ate my brain - Brasil 2014 - Part 1

We have been preparing for this World Cup since we got back from US - we took my US TV with us (it doesn't work with UK signals), thinking we could just watch dvd, iTunes and other internet stuff with it - but told ourselves we will get a brand new giant tv when the next World Cup comes.

So we got a new smart tv last month.

Back to Brasil 2014. One week on: Spain is out. England will be out soon.

Spain is out (in spectacular empire crumbling manner)
I was never a big fan of their brand of tiki-taka possession football. Turned out you can't play that style without a super goalie. And I think eventually teams figured out how to beat them.

England... Well, we know the storyline. Media was saying expectations was at its lowest this time, but still two games without a point is... historical. Defence was horrendous makes you miss having John Terry, and that's a scary thought.

So who's doing great:

Italy - one name: PIRLO (channeling Al Pacino from Serpico this year).
Well, maybe two names: Balotelli

Netherlands: unstoppable if Robben and van Persie stay in such form.

Germany: not a surprise they scored 4 goals in the opening match. They do it regularly in World Cup. My only worry for the Germans is still - how they choke when they play against Italy.

France: I am glad they seem a whole lot better than last time and didn't seem to miss Ribery. But I need to see them against a better side to know.

Brazil: well, it will be stupid not to bet on them, but they failed to impress so far. Passing the ball to Neymar and hope he does his magic is not a valid strategy. And Fred was just useless.

Argentina: proof that Messi is no Maradona. If you cannot bend the game (or lift your not-so-world-class teammates) to suit you, you are not Maradona.

Other teams of interest:

Belgium: they are the bookies' #5 favourite to win the World Cup, lots of hype. But realistically, the talents are too inexperienced to win the final. Could be a surprise semi-finalist.

USA: with German engineering this time, I'd have fancied their chances more, if they aren't in the Group of Death. Courageously lucky against Ghana. I dare anyone not at least be a bit moved by Brooks' winning goal reaction, and I usually despise nationalism.

Hong Kong: they aren't there. But when I was in town few weeks ago, I was amazed by the huge marketing campaign there, including giant (manga) footballers statues outside the malls. But with matches playing at 3 or 4am in Hong Kong, how many are actually watching?

Well, let's see if Italy delay England's demise today by beating Costa Rica today.

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Date:2014-02-28 09:22

Morrissey Still has some great answers:

Feb. 20 marked the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Smiths album. How did you mark the occasion?

Is it only 30 years? It feels like 60.

What did you wake up worrying about today?

Ukraine. Why do news reporters call the people 'protestors'? They are the people! It's the government who are the rebels. Silly world, isn't it?

Lastly, what's one piece of advice you wish someone had given you in 1984?

You should always judge a book by its cover.

More http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/5915799/morrissey-qa-moz-discusses-new-music-the-beatles-and-the-danger-of-hospitalhere

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Date:2013-01-07 19:35
Subject:Come to my arms tonight, just you and me under electric light
Mood: amused

First post in 2013! I know I should be doing some top 10 films of 2012 etc. But I just heard this:


Suede's new album in a decade. Barriers is one of the singles.

First thought: it's not Butler/Anderson, so it's never going to be as good as The Tears songs. I'd rate it somewhere between Coming Up and Head Music. Brett's voice has aged well though.

Ah. Nostalgia. Still better than listening to posh ex-public school boys Blur any time.

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Date:2012-08-08 20:45
Subject:Food Pθrn
Mood: accomplished

Friend S recently explained why she's been blogging less and less: everything has moved over to Facebook because it's so much easier to upload pictures there.

That got me thinking - so I signed up for a tumblr account for my "less words, more flour" posts,i.e. posts about random food stuff I make in my kitchen, with falsely enhanced pictures, so here you go:


Other amateurish film reviews and random rants of mine shall remain right here...

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Date:2012-07-25 17:53
Subject:Catching up on that movie-log - 1st attempt
Mood: accomplished

Yes, I'm still watching films. Very often. Just not blogging about them as often. Here are some latest slight disappointments:

Haywire - I don't know what happened to Steven Soderbergh, but it appears that I have to cross him off the "auto-watch" list. If I have never seen his "Out of Sight", I'd say that Haywire shows that he can't do action film, but the former proved he could - if he wanted.

Haywire has awkward dialog delivered by a very amateurish actress; a worse than pedestrian plot (yawn, yawn, yawn); mind boggling characterisation (a spy for hire with a well-known father and address?!?) and episodic/incoherent action sequence (though looks real, compared to other action films, but hey, I was raised by Jackie Chan and Jet Li action films - their "real action" looks way cooler than Haywire's).

After the all the "Ocean 12,13,14" nonsense, the mediocre "Contagion", and now this. Yep. He's off the list.

Margaret - an ambitious "potential" masterpiece on morality and the loss of innocence. Director has too a lot he wants to say, however, much like its abrasive central character: they are not coming across clearly, leaving both audience and the characters in frustration.

The Plot: A young woman witnesses a bus accident, and is caught up in the aftermath, where the question of whether or not it was intentional affects many people's lives.

The film was shelved for 5 years due to editing disagreement between the studio and the director. At over 2.5 hours long, I'd say Margaret could have started with a tighter, more focused script and expressed it in 2 hours. The end product now is one filled with small burst of brilliance. There are some heartbreaking tender performance and intelligent observations, but as a whole, the film is an editing mess. Going from one scene to another with erratic pace. It's a great shame, the film has some complicated characters and has an authentic ring of a New York story - the fact that it reminds me why I didn't enjoy living there is good proof!

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Date:2012-06-25 16:45
Subject:Euro 2012 - the usual suspects
Mood: amused

We have the semi-finals line-up, all usual suspects: Portugal, Germany, Spain and Italy.  All pre-tournament favourites - ok, maybe it was Holland instead of Portugal.  

England's quarter final exit - look on the bright side:

1. As Gary Lineker said after the penalty shoot-out - at least now they can't lose to the Germans
2. They are back to the Sven-Erikssen-years level, instead of going out on last-16 (Capello) or not qualifying at all (McClaren)

Everyone is now expecting a Germany vs Spain final - there are two obstacles:

1. Germany has never beaten Italy in a major tournament knock-out stage.  In fact, Italy almost always had luck or played better against the Germans.   But of course, if Balotelli keeps being useless like he did against England, Germany has hope!

 2. Cristian Ronald is in good form and Spain is now more insterested in doing "pass pass pass pass dive" instead of "pass pass pass score", so I don't know...

The Naughty squads, namely:

1. Holland - as always, there's no "pass the ball" in team for them.
2. France - it will be another 10 years for them to get another Zidane or Platini...if they are lucky.
3. Russia - to be honest, I never believe they would do well.  They just aren't tournament team.

Sometimes it's not about winning.  Great moments, so far:

1. They were expected to lose anyway.  But for a short 5-minutes, the Greek euphoria after Samaras scored that perfect equalizer against the Germans, healed many Greek wounds.  

2. The audacity of Andrea Pirlo's genius penalty kick against England.  He has guts and... skills.

3. Sweden's Ibrahimovic's stunning goal against France - proof you can exit the tournament in style:

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Date:2012-06-12 23:29
Subject:It's Pizza and Euro 2012 time
Mood: amused

But I don't make pizza at home. I do Tarte Flambée - which the French might not like it if you call it a pizza. It's actually easier to manage at home than pizza - the dough is a crispy thin bread dough - you put as much creme fraiche as your health can take, add onions (caramelised first or not),smoked bacon and gruyere...

Tarte flambé
Good for film at home or Euro 2012 on your big screen tv.

Now onto the Euro2012...

What better time to put 16 European countries together, let nationalism run high in two host countries, both with alleged institutional racism?

But we still get to see some good football. Every team has at least played one match now. Early thoughts:

1. Spain and Italy look strongest
2. Mario Gomez might have scored for Germany, but he's still no Klose. And he looks like Michael J Fox's dad in Back to the Future.
3. Now I know why Ribery punched his Bayern Munich teammate Robben - that Dutchman just won't pass the damn ball or let someone else take a free kick.
4. The English public and press have the lowest expectation for the England team this year, maybe they will finally do better.
5. Russia - one game superstar, one game mediocre... I wouldn't bet on them.
6. Ireland might not have the best team, but they have fans with a sense of humour .

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Date:2012-06-05 22:05
Subject:Tale of Two Cities
Mood: amused

So on 4th (and 2nd, 3rd, and the 5th) June this year, this happened in London:

Screen shot 2012-06-05 at 21.53.16
- I think UK has collectively lost 100-point IQ over this four-day Diamond Jubilee weekend - OK, maybe not the Brits in Scotland...

And on the same day, this happened in Hong Kong:


See more of "180,000 Candles can't be wrong" via def_fr0g_42

"Never Forget"

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Date:2012-05-06 14:46
Subject:A land of gold, LV bag and strange medicine...
Mood: amused

Like many other Hong Kong trips I've made in recent years - it's short, hectic, hot and humid. 

One of the main reasons for this trip was to renew my Hong Kong passport, which was done in HK's usual no nonsense, efficient style.  I've made the application and paid the fee online 3 weeks beforehand, booked the collection appointment online a week before and collected it the 2nd day I arrived, waited no more than 10 minutes in the immigration office. 

So that's done.  And I have some catching up, shopping and eating to do.

Catching up

Apart from family, friends I met up in this short trip were mostly ones that I've been in constant contact with.  So it's more of a chance to go out together to share a good meal, than receiving shocking news about their lives.  One subject constantly popped up was their bittersweet view of the influx of mainland visitors in Hong Kong - good for the economy, not so great if you were pregnant and found out hospitals were running out of beds, doctors, and baby powder. 

I avoided watching the local news whenever I was in town - I just couldn't bear it, it makes me upset and sad.  I had this discussion with my Italian friend who lives in London - It's not that UK don't have rotten people running the government too, but somehow, as outsiders, we can get involved without getting too emotional.


The mainland tourists' impact, is of course, very visible in this category.  Causeway Bay - where I stayed this time - are flooded with jewellery stores, luxury goods (how many Louis Vuitton shops do we really need?), pharmacies (Watson's and Manning were unrecognisable with the sort of things they sell now) and many many "Sa Sa" and the like.  And most important of all - prices are high, as my friends told me, "why offer you discount when the goods are still flying off the shelves at premium price?"

I went to my old favourites and found that prices are higher than in UK.  HK$3000 (£250) for a top in Zucca? I held up a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti sandals in IFC mall and thought, "I used to be able to afford their shoes"...

Other observations:
- Agnes b. is huge in Hong Kong at a ridiculous level. 
- Is every shop on Paterson Street owned by I.T. boutiques?
- Since when Bauhaus become so popular?
- Where have all the Giordano shops gone?

One thing I am happy though - I find shop assistants in HK are still mostly friendly and efficient, even when you are not a big spender.  Now they are multi-lingual as well.


One category that still remains relatively cheap and good quality.  Never run out of places to eat in Hong Kong.  I satisfied myself with a big plate of sashimi the first night I arrived.  Paid less than HK$350 (£30), in UK, that would buy me 5 pieces of cheap salmon sushi. 

I gave up trying to get to Mak Un Kee (麥奀記) for their famous wonton noodles, since Chi Kee (池記), which was almost as good, was just next door, so I had it a few times.

Another sign of me becoming more and more like a tourist in my homeland or an old "Hongkonger" was that I kept wanting to go back to my old favourite cafe - Pokka Cafe in Causeway Bay - where my Hong Kong friends wrinkled their nose and said, "We don't go there anymore."  What?  Pokka, who probably still have the best 炭燒咖啡 (sumiyaki coffee) in Hong Kong, is considered as outdated?

I had an hour to kill on my last day, so I decided go there by myself - was certain that it wouldn't have survived the too-fast changing pace/taste of Hong Kong customers.   And to my delight - it's still there, though closed for renovation:


Pokka - stay there, I'll be back.

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Date:2012-04-23 18:45
Subject:Smokey in the Big Smoke

I have lots of films I want to blog about - short or long - but that would have to wait til I get back from Hong Kong next week.

In the meantime, as soon as the government warned about the drought, London has been flooding/raining non-stop for 2 weeks. So bracing the annoying rain, we visited Jamie Oliver's new BBQ restaurant, Barbecoa.

Location: with a direct view of St.Paul in the city. Prime.
Food: Lots of ribs, brisket, pull pork to choose. Not bad, but I still prefer Texan salt and pepper dry rub style I tried in US.


Leaving on a jet plane.

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Date:2012-02-24 11:49
Subject:Big bag of goodies
Mood: happy

I've been busy playing and messing about with the 6" Kindle 4 I got for my b-day - have to admit that despite locking some of your ebooks with a merchant, it is a better eReader than the whimsical but slightly bulky iPad... Plus I can always choose to upload my own ebooks into it instead...

Also a big THANK YOU to Mrs Jones for the lovely b-day gifts. One of the few precious friends who I trust to fill my wardrobe.

Now I have lovely dress and top from (allegedly) Mrs Obama's favourite designer, Jason Wu. Good enough for dinner at the White House, I am sure :-)

Jason Wu

Thanks and I hope she got good goodies for herself there too.

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Date:2012-02-07 18:08
Subject:10-sentence quick movie log
Mood: amused

Crazy Stupid Love

One of the few good rom-coms that Hollywood occasionally manages to produce.  Good cast performance, a decent script, not trying too hard and oh yes, trying to sell you the crazy stupid love - it can work.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

So prepared to enjoy a cool spy movie, but I ended up with a cold and confusing story.  The chaotic plot and the detached narration go way over the top, half way through I decided I didn't really care.  I know it's set in the Cold War period, but I do need a bit emotion, even when you are supposed to be cool and secretive.


I haven't decided if I liked the film.  I liked it, maybe just not as much as I would or should have.  It's original in the case that it takes a chance.  Dressed with nostalgic 80s music, leon lights, a quiet and cool character... and then sudden thrust of ultra violence.  It's all very stylish... but also rather calculated.  I know the film it reminds me of, it's not Taxi Driver, it's Sling Blade.

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Date:2012-01-31 16:31
Subject:That fuzzy warm feeling...
Mood: toasty

Courtesy of my friend S, who always picks the cutest and most cheerful gift. Thank you!

Keeping all fuzzy animals in my house nice and warm :-)

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Date:2012-01-20 21:56
Subject:An Exquisite Copy
Mood: amused

Certified Copy

Two things you might have heard about this film by Abbas Kiarostami: 1. Juilette Binoche won the Best Actress in Cannes with it. 2. That this film is like Before Sunrise for middle-aged people.  

1. is true and well-deserved.  2. Not quite.

The Plot: In Tuscany to promote his latest book, a middle-aged British writer meets a French woman who leads him to the village of Lucignano. While there, a chance question reveals something deeper. (source: imdb.com)

Nothing is quite what it seems.  Appropriate to the film title - what the audience is seeing might not be the original, it's an imitation, a copy.  An exquisite, wonderful copy.  For some, it's not the same, because it's not the real thing; for some, a copy so fine, it should be cherished just as the original.  Abbas Kiarostami plays with this theme throughout the whole film.  The British writer in the film wrote an acclaimed essay book about the subject of worthy copies.  The two characters have discussion about this, they visit a museum with a acclaimed copy painting and finally... up close and personal, a question of copy or original of the two characters' relationship.  

At the beginning, when the British writer seemingly accepts the invitation of a French woman to visit her shop and a little tour around the area, it does have the hallmarks of the flirting and intellectual dialog - yes - just like Before Sunrise.  But soon enough, audience realises, the two characters actually seem like an old couple, they apparently know each other before.   So, what is their real relationship?  There is no definite answer to the question, which might leave some people slightly annoyed.  However, looking at the clues here and there, it's quite obvious that Kiarostami is showing us that these two characters are a copy version of a married couple - that they act like old married couple, talk like one, have anniversary to celebrate, and yet (most likely) they aren't married.  The man seems more reluctant than the woman, there is lot of unspoken hurt in the film which set it apart from the hopeful Before Sunrise - we are not seeing a couple's budding romance; we are seeing a couple that's been together (likely to be on and off, as they don't live together) for 15 years, struggling.

Juliette Binoche is effortlessly brilliant.  I think many of the clues come from her performance, the hurt, the silent hope and complaint, all on her face without the need of spoken word.  The film is, however, is dialog filled.  At first, it's like an intellectual discussion with Tuscany scenery, then slowly becoming emotional charged, doubtful and puzzling.  All in all, a fascinating cinematic journey.

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