On Cash

Until not to long ago, I thought Into the Ring of Fire was a Kings of Convenience song. And it is. But I thought I'd mention this little fact to illustrate how little I know about Johnny Cash and his music.

Still, I really want to see the new biopic about him, with Joaquin Phoenix in the main role and Reese Witherspoon -as a brunette- playing June Carter Cash. Why? I don't know. From the reviews I've read it's pretty straight-forward, following the biopic formula, not very interesting cinematically. Also, the director, James Mangold, delivered the insult that is "Kate & Leopold". Yet I'm intrigued.

Partly it's because the trailer is good. But mostly it's because Joaquin Phoenix is one of the more interesting and most criminally underused actors out there. And I'm not just saying that because he's so dashing in that troubled bad boy way. I admit I don't know much about Johnny Cash and how he walked, talked, sang, spoke, but Phoenix certainly inhabits someone in the few glimpses the trailer offers.

Finally, and I'm almost ashamed to say this, the poster art intrigues me. It suggest something grittier, less polished, than most biopics. I know I shouldn't like a book just for its cover, and no movie just for its poster, because posters give an even more unreliable representation than trailers do. Still, the marketing guys & girls did a good job on this one.

I'm having one of those period where many careerd all of a sudden appeal to me. Because of the West Wing it's mostly speechwriter at the moment, but poster designer certainly ranks up there.

Daydreams are fun.



From the Bookmarks vault

How not to interview someone. Just when you think it's as bad as it could possibly be...it gets worse.

If I had 140 euro I didn't need, this is what I'd buy.

Who would you rather wipe your ass with?

If whisky makes you poetic, or if poetry makes you want to drink whisky.

Finally, if you like your news happy.


The Sweet Life

The last few days have been rather unusual for me in that I have been strangely aware of the fact that I'm a girl. And no, it's not that time of the month. I just think my sister's elegance offensive might have finally kicked in. And there were some contributing factors.

It started on Sunday when, after a frustrating day procrastinating unhappily (which is a very different thing than the happy procrastination I engaged in today) from the physics homework lying next to my laptop. Oh, I tried. I read through things three times, even made neat little cardboard sheets with all the definitions found in my hellish reader, but it wasn't until I decided to go wild and not to care about what my -male- classmates and my -male- professor would thing, i.e. to write my homework on pink paper this time, that the hoped-for breakthrough happened and the solution to (half of the) problems started pouring out.

Emboldened by my victory, I put on my most feminine shirt the next day, bright pink (though not baby pink, hell will have to cool down just a little bit more before I ever wear thát color) and with a bared shoulder, and watched the first episode of "Commander in Chief", a new series in the US featuring Geena Davis as a female president. It's not a great show, but it fit my mood, and made me feel even more convinced that being a girl was something I should advertise more, in a way. Something to take into account, maybe even to take advantage of.

Roger Ebert say in his review of Fellini's La Dolce Vita that it is a different film for him every time he sees it, depending on who he is at that point. This might explain why, when I finally saw this classic yesterday evening, what struck me most is what the film says about gender roles and views of feminity and masculinity. There might not be a harem scene as in Otto E Mezzo, but the main character (played by the gorgeous yet too sleazy Marcello Mastroianni) clearly has a problem with what he wants in a woman, with what he should be as a man. And the women in this film are, while stereotypical, very interesting.

Anita Ekberg as Sylvia is infantile and beautiful, but she's interesting, not because of her inpredictability, but because -while she lets Marcello chase after her and sweet talk her in Italian- their interactions always stay on her terms. And what to think of Anouk Aimée's character, a bored, rich nymphomaniac on the one hand, who proposes to Marcello, showing her vulnerability, only to discard him a few minutes later when she gets him to be vulnerable. There's the whole virgin/whore paradox in this film (literally even, with many whores and an appearance by the madonna), but the female characters are, while just as desperate and lost as Marcello, much more layered than you would expect.

My thoughts on the movie as a whole are still confused, I'll need to see it again. It fascinated even if it was almost three hours, but it still feels too much to me like a jumble of scenes, and I still need to figure out the connections, the thematics, basically the point of it all. Most films resemble novels or plays, on occasion history books, but Fellini writes poetry with his films, and like poems, they take time and contemplation to decypher. I remain convinced that there is more to them than empty imagery, and I think that's what makes his films great and not merely confusing.

Today, continuing my exploration, I decided to wear my new skirt for the second time, and a nice sweater offering ample decolleté. The skirt feels nice and swishy, and it makes for armfuls when I go to the bathroom, but I'm still not a fan of pantyhose. It felt nice though, feeling elegant and feminine (although everything needs its limits, I díd wear my "Fezza" underpants underneath the fancy skirt to compensate). I know I'm not the elegant, feminine type...but playing the role for a day was interesting.


P.S. Joyful announcement! If you now google "As cool as a fruit stand", you get this blog and my blogger profile. It's not that I actually expect people to google that exact phrase, but it does feel nice to have, in a way, conquered my own little corner of the web.


Maybe Dutch can be a poetic language after all...

Sometimes it takes a foreigner to make notice what's great about your culture.

No, I am not changing my opinion of Dutch films. But Orion, my neighbour's American friend, who's staying here at the moment, introduced me tonight not just to one but two great Acda & De Munnik songs.

The first one was "Als het vuur gedoofd is" (when the fire's gone out), the song "Het regent zonnestralen" (it's raining sunbeams), a fabulous song as well, is apparently a sequel to. It's about Herman, again, sitting in the park thinking about opportunities missed. Acda & De Munnik are at their best when telling stories, finding poetry in everyday life, without having to use "poetic" language.

The second song, "dag Esmee", is also of the narrative kind...About someone running into a high school friend. And that's all I'll say, because the story's probably best when unfolded by Acda & De Munnik.

Why is it that it takes a foreigner -with, admittedly, a surprising grasp of Dutch for someone who's only spent 6 months here-to notice these songs? Oh, sure, every Dutch person knows "Niet of Nooit Geweest"(not or never been is probably the best translation, but it's not great) by heart, and that's a great song too, but why don't we go looking for these hidden gems?

Yet another thing for my wish list then. I'd better be on the lookout for a very rich Sinterklaas.