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I was born, I'm currently living, and will eventually die. After that I face my judgment, and we'll talk then.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Monster Quest




La Vie en Rose

I’m a guy, and that makes it hard for me to notice when girls are great actors (it’s related to the phenomenon where I’m not able to tell if an actor is “hot”), and thus I know I could never be on the voting board for the Oscars simply because I usually can not tell who is a good actress. It’s just so hard for me to see past the actress and believe that they are their character. Actors have the job of playing make-believe with their audiences, and they must make the audience believe that they are not who they are, but are in fact some one else. For some reason I rarely see that in actresses. There are times, however, when it is so obvious that the actress has become the character that you know she has earned such merit.

Such is the case with this year’s Oscar winner for Best Actress, Marion Cotillard, who becomes the late French singer Edith Piaf in the biographical movie La Vie En Rose. I became interested in the film not only because Ms. Cotillard won the award this year, but also because the film was widely recognized as a great film, not only by critics but also by some of my friends. They were right. It is an incredibly moving film, not only in the acting department but in other technical aspects as well.

The film tells the story of Edith Piaf, opening with one of her later performances wherein she collapses on stage. Frequent flashbacks reveal her life story, although they are not as linear as one might hope, leading to some confusion in the storyline, though this confusion is only occasional. Edith was from her youth a product of the dirty Parisian streets in the early 20th Century, soon finding herself left at a brothel run by her grandmother. It is in these brothel scenes that the sexual content of the film rears its ugly head. It is not by any means a glorification of such abuse of sex, and in fact it is a dirty and ugly place. Edith finds a diamond in that rough when one of the prostitutes becomes a sort of mother for the lost child. Her father’s return, however, forces Edith to move into the next stage of her life. From then on the movie chronicles Edith’s spiraling career into stardom as a singer, painting her triumphs and catastrophes with bitter clarity.

This is a story of a singer, and the storyline is filled with songs, sometimes in the background, other times the song is supposed to be sung by Edith in front of adoring fans. The movie is also a sort of moral tale, demonstrating the problems with Edith’s life of partying and painkillers. It shows the destruction of the young woman who is dead before her 50th birthday, killed from the inside out.

This is again a chance for Cotillard to shine as an actress. She portrays Edith throughout her adult life, and is thus faced with the challenge of playing a woman who’s internal organs have shut down, and yet struggles on to sing. The performance is so detailed, so perfected, that it is natural and one is moved inside at the sight of a woman dying.
And yet even in death there is beauty (it makes more sense when you see the movie. Trust me).
The only real fault in the movie was that confusion in the script’s setup mentioned earlier. Other than that, it was a superb film. I give it 3 ½ stars (*** ½).

See it, and then enjoy it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Graduation post

I’ve never seen that many girls crying in one room before. It was the kind of crying that isn’t over-sobbing, where the person can’t breathe because tears are drowning them, but its more the sort of crying you feel when you want to stay strong and yet can’t help yourself. It’s the kind of crying you see young men do at the funeral of their best friend or their Dad when his body arrives from a foreign land.

Such was the sight last week. We, the College’s graduating class of 2008, had made it through the ceremonies. We had walked the walk, shook the proper hands, kissed the Cardinal’s ring, and accepted our diplomas. We graduated.

There was one last thing, however, on our agenda. We had to dance the night away. We had one last dance beneath the roof of our Commons, one last dance as a class, as a family.

Everything was going well. A couple of people had gotten wet-eyed earlier in the evening, but they had calmed down by now. We had danced “We Are Family” up on stage like a mass of nutcases, bumping hips like a bunch of oversized kids. We had danced the last dance of the night (I even had one dedicated to me for all my years of birthday singing).

And there we were.

It started out one by one. This or that girl began crying, and her friends came over to her. Then they started crying. But now the dance had ended, and the announcement had been made that underclassmen should stay and clean up, but Seniors (that is, us graduates) did not have to help. So we didn’t. It was time to say goodbye.

And then the tears came forth.

It started in groups, but soon every single graduated girl in the room was crying. It varied between girls, but each one had a wet eye. The men were men, of courses, not crying outside, but talking in hushed tones as we hugged each other. We hugged the girls too, of course, but it was the guys embracing each other like brothers that was the most touching. Even those of us who didn’t really know each other embraced in a sign of bonding. We were a class, and yet we realized that too late.

But should we have cried like we did? Why did we not just smile? A new chapter of our lives was beginning, but we could not see it then for the salty tears.

In Italian there is a big difference between “Buona sera” and “Buona notte.” Buona sera means “good afternoon/evening,” a more indefinite greeting or parting that means you might very well see the other person again before the day is over. Buona notte means that it is bed time, and you will not see the person again before the next day.

Graduation is a Buona sera moment. By that I mean it is not the end. We will all see each other again in time. Cry not for the parting but instead look forward in hope to the future meetings and greetings.

That is my Graduation hope for my class: that we will all meet again.

And we will. It is all in God's time.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Dude. . . . . . . . .

I graduated. . . . .


More on this as it develops.