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Monday, February 24, 2014

Edward Hopper Impression (Aug 2013)

Whitney Museum: E 75th + Madison

Hopper, the sense of peeking into others' lives, no more than a peek, somewhere between knowing and not knowing, distance and intimacy. Staying in the space between a glimpse and a story.

Office at Night: Physically close but psychologically far away. The relative postures between the two people evolve over sketches and vary in suggestiveness.

The subject matters he chose reveal a deep curiosity over the hidden and private thoughts of people. The framing however hints at watching without involvement. A detached observer with an urge of plunging into the mystery.

"What are you after?"
"I'm after me." Hopper confessed.

The realism adds to the sense of confusion. Other modern works declare their intention "this is my subjective feeling and perception." He deceives you into thinking you are looking at a real scene and then distorts reality with mood.

Gazing at the golden light from a window while standing outside in the darkness. The half closed window, slightly lifted curtain. A photograph on the nightstand. The misty space between your mind and mine.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Henry V (2012)

 一边看 DVD 一边想象 Tom Hiddleston 用肯德基口音,即正宗十七世纪英语口音,表演亨利五世。啊哈哈哈太逗了。

这一版的亨利五世让我很不满意,简直不比 Olivier 那一版强。Olivier 还有战争时期鼓舞爱国主义的作用,Thea Sharrock 有什么借口?不择手段地美化亨利五世,把剧本里所有灰色不那么 flattering 的段落统统砍掉,连吊死老友 Bardolph 都给遮掩过去了,直追独裁国家里替领袖粉饰的那一套。

Hiddles 演玩乐胡闹的 Prince Hal 挺合适的,演嗜血而有城府的亨利五世就太绵羊了,太不象了。导演不遗余力的将之弄成下乡的党支书形象,好错乱。反而是结尾油嘴滑舌勾引法国公主那段很恰当。

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Importance of Being Earnest

Two hours of nonstop jokes, puns, satire, and sharp observations about truth and sentiment. Oh man. No wonder it's Oscar Wilde's most popular play.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman

I don't think it's quite real to me (yet) that he's dead and I won't get the chance to see him on stage ever again.

The only time I saw him on stage was "Death of a Salesman" a couple of years ago. My seat was really too far to see the full scale of his performance, but I did see him frown, a kind of disbelieving despair, as if the darkness that is closing in on him could not possibly be real, and yet here it is.

Nothing about PSH is beautiful, not his face, his body, or his voice. I fell in love with him the first time I saw him in Magnolia. His male nurse is maybe the only thing I remember from the film. Him and the raining frogs.

No, actually Magnolia was not the first time I saw him. It was a season 1 episode of Law and Order, in which he played a preppy little shit who raped a girl and then got acquitted. That was his first role.

In Capote, every emotion, every fleeting thought, every repressed urge was utterly transparent through a frown, a look, a gesture, a flicker of the eye, a crack in his voice. Every moment I knew exactly what the character was thinking. But in Doubt he was complete opaque and unknowable. In The Master he was both unknowable and ... omnipotent, or so he convinced me.

To me the worst of all this is that he's not going to ... No, who am I kidding? The worst part to me is that I will never get to see another movie directed by PSH or watch him lumbering around and twitching his eyebrows on stage. It's my loss. Why didn't I go see his Iago? Or a bunch of other theater performances, when I still had the chance? Perhaps because I thought I'd have loads of time ...

Once in a while, or hardly ever, you encounter a kind of terrifying and irresistible intimacy and vulnerability that is not of this world. "Nobody knows anybody. Not that well," said Gabriel Byrne in "Miller's Crossing." In life I've learned the truth of it. Yet, here's someone who gave you the most naked truth about humanity in all its blood and guts, searing with the inexplicable glory and horror. He was raw not as crisp green vegetables or even fresh red meat; he was RAW as a gaping wound that's gushing bright red blood and life. He forced you to know him and, in turn, yourself. I don't know if I really want to, but I can't look away.

We all survive on lies we tell ourselves, happy lies to feel somewhat good about ourselves and keep going. He came along and showed you the truth, which sends a chill down your spine. 

When I saw his only directorial effort, "Jack Goes Boating," in 2010, I found myself bawling uncontrollably a few hours afterward, alone in my car on the road. It was a quiet and restrained little chamber piece, packing a much-delayed punch. It had a happy ending for god's sake! His character got himself a steady job and even a lovely and warm girlfriend. But the darkness was unmistakable and unshakable. A melancholy with a smile of resignation.

That is why I cannot shake the suspicion that somehow he wanted it --- to die early, I mean --- even if not consciously. That is why I wonder, maybe, the two decades of his life he had shared with us is a fluke, a gift, and pure, undeserved luck.

(P.S. I guess I'm moving through the grieving steps because I'm finally crying now.) 

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