Ondine's Dream

I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours

Unknown hometown – layers two and above

Beep Beep Boop. A funny thing hometown is. You walk here everyday since the day you can remember. All is familiar, kind of boring. One day something happens. You lift your head and you see the second, third and forth floors and layers of the town you never bothered to get to know or notice for that matter. As of this weekend I am starting a “picture (as a verb) your town project”. Try to do the same, what a great discovery time we will have.

Does human life have a price?

At an end of a year I sometimes get to thinking about what I have learned, what I have observed. Though it’s not the end of the year yet, but I feel I’ve already joined the main class of this year’s course. It seems that every article I read, every news report I see blares into my soul the question that should not exist: Does human life have a price? The answer should be that every single life is priceless, but is it really?

Living this life, valuing the pleasures and hurts it brings, I always wanted to believe that these moments, the fragile existence of everyone is precious. Human individuality is unique, never seen before and never seen after, every face an imprint on this world.

I must admit I do not feel comfortable writing this, because these are things and thoughts I try to keep to myself. I have come to feel fragile, and for the first time I understand how temporary I am.

I have snagged a lucky ticket when I was born. Destiny chose to bring me to life in a place which did not see freedom, only remembered it, but soon I was given a gift of growing up in freedom, never remembering the shortage or oppressions that my parents and grandparents had to suffer. Being a child of independence and peace, I took these things to be my right, not my privilege. Not anymore.

How people who had the chance to enjoy the benefits and beauty of freedom still choose to go to war? Why? Is it our human nature? Self applied natural selection? The pattern that keeps repeating throughout history frightens me. I want to live, I want my neighbours to live, I want my parents to be at peace, everyone being able to enjoy the freedoms that seem to only last a blink.

When recently the world lost 283 beautiful souls for spite, I found a battle in me, I wanted retribution, I wanted justice. Life is priceless, and so many priceless goodness, and hope, and promise of better tomorrow fell. And though the lost do not care about justice, but we, the living, should lay it at their feet, as a sign of respect and reverence. For days I waited to hear of justice and truth being pursued, but all that could be heard were words “we believe it was; it is not clear; we will do the best we can;” and then nothing. Silence. A check was written “politically sensitive” for priceless loss, and then just sent away.

Recently, a person was publicly robbed of his life for the beliefs of others. A loss of souls, those that were taken and those that did the taking. The upheaval that rose afterwards surprised me. It was necessary, but it was surprising. Voices, faces, bodies were analysed, the world stood on its toes to find that one that took away from us. And a short while after this I hit a wall.

We were all-in to find one person of the desert, and completely silent about finding the others, who have robbed the world just as bad. Are these losses unequal? Are there factors in the world that outweigh our moral obligation for justice? And here it goes…does human life have a price, and is it different for every single one of us?

So, it is not important that you are; Is it more important from where you are, and where you were?

I want to believe that one day, still living in freedom, I will get to read and see that we fulfilled our moral obligation. That we not only sent people to rest after so much disregard that was shown to them, but that we also appreciated their pricelessness, by doing everything in our fragile human power to find justice and ensure peace.

I live in peace, I enjoyed my independence yesterday and today. I hope to live in freedom tomorrow. I hope to matter. I do not want to be sold, traded or written off. I want us to be priceless, as we are.

Trees

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs it happens a very long time ago, somewhere in deep space I had quite a few artistic aspirations. I wanted to be a painter, a photographer, an artist. Life, on the other hand, brought me to a much different place with a very different journey ahead of me (professionally).

In the time of youthful hopefulness I was always carrying a photo camera with me, and imagining that every building, every park bench was “soo artistic”. I thought I was great, and I had a wonderful artistic future ahead of me. Looking from a current perspective I must admit, I was doing it more for others than for me. I cared more about what my friends would like and find “cool”, rather than what I found inspirational. Maybe that is one of the reasons why at the end I did not fight that strong for that kind of life.

In all this mixture of wants and musts, I, a young-adult, made not so smart of a decision. As my artistic protest against the current of life I decided then and there to quite doing anything that I regarded as being “bohemian” or artistic. No more poetry, no more calligraphy, no more painting, no more photography, no more anything.

First this protest was “hard” on me, but eventually I truly lost interest. It might have been due to lack of personal emotional investment in all of it after all.

Time flew by and by, and some sort of personality backbone started forming, bit by bit my eyes began to open up. I started to notice things I seemed to truly like, thing that I (very much a capital I) found beautiful or interesting. Would my old-self like them? Probably no, because others would have found it to be “pathetically inartistic”.

I like flowers. They are a fragile expression of Earth’s beauty, so temporary, so perfect. Every picture that I have, the flower is no more. I like sky, its blue is the most perfect blue, never changing.

I love trees. One day I was walking in an autumnal park and suddenly I noticed how trees are very much like us, each with different form and each completely unique. Are there two absolutely identical trees? If I happen to see them, I could tell you. Every tree has its branches looking for sun in different forms and lengths. Trees defy gravity every day trying to reach the ultimate highs. Maybe we should all try to do the same?

So it has been quite a few years now, when in Autumn I walk outside with my camera to capture trees in their most bare and beauty-showing form.

Maybe this is a too long of a way to introduce few pictures, but it has been a long way for me too. I am, just like them, growing, trying to get closer to the sun, and every tree, and every branch in life first starts from a seed. For us these can be seeds of inspiration, sadness, joy, loss, self-discovery.

I finally found my own inspiration. I also found that shunning things from your life only damages you, not others.

So, today I want to invite you to appreciate these unique Nature’s creations with me.

May I also provide the soundtrack?

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Niutono obelis

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Everyday Heroes

After watching tons and tons of beautiful women meeting beautiful men, rows ending in “happily ever after”, titanics not drowning, and accidents being the best thing that can happen to you (because hey, your Romeo saves you) I started looking for an everyday hero. A hero fighting for everyday mundane survival and maybe winning, maybe not.

Had I known that to find a fern blossom would have been an easier feat to achieve I might not have started at all. But alas, I prevailed.  Today I have the honor to present Gallienne. Gallienne is a hero, a survivor, an everyday comic.

His life is sometimes fun, exciting and completely boring, just like ours. He doesn’t look like Brad Pitt, he doesn’t attract attention of jeniffers anistons, and he is completely charming. His family is not perfect, he does not own a supermodel dog.

I think most of us have been in crossroads of life. Asked who I am, what I want to do, where I am, what is there for me in the future. This is a film about the same crossroad. The same man/woman just looking for the right way to go. Whatever is right for him/her.

If you have time or right kind of determination, join Gallienne in his self-exploration trip.

 

The film is called “Me, Myself and Mom” or “Les Garcons et Guillaume, a table” (French with English subtitles). It was victorious at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

A Letter

Time is such a thing: it’s the most precious possession of ours, that escapes our grasp the quickest, and most unnoticed. Above all things I thank you for your continuous interest and support. It truly amazes me how wonderful nowadays is. You can be somewhere far or near, warm or cold, overcrowded or alone, and yet you can be heard, consulted or comforted by anyone from anywhere. I can only hope that one day everyone will be able to use the freedom of expression and right of being heard, and be anything they want, anywhere.

Having previously stated that I seek knowledge, I stayed true to my word. I had a chance to study History of Music. I cannot express what a joy it was to study about something that inspires me so much. It also made me realize how little I know, and how much more there is to learn; How big the world is, and how many wonderful things people have done and accomplished. 

All of you are my teachers, all of you carry a piece of unique history in you, and I hope to learn as much of it as possible. At the end, it all depends on time, on how much of it is left.

For now I will do all to give away the best that I can, and I know I will get the same from all of you.

 

My warmest thanks,

OD

 

In the Cartooned World

I guess warning should come first. If you are depressed or in any way feeling “down” you probably should ignore this post.

The World of Cartoons does not usually collide with the World of Me. I guess I don’t like the musical parts that much. Nonetheless, here and there my eye gets caught on something “created for kids, but suitable for adults”, but not this time, not this time.

Today I sing a small praise for Le Magasin des Suicides, a cartooned novel about (well, almost obviously) the Tuvache family run suicide shop.

Overall it is not “mind-blowingly” good or engaging, but the theme and presentation are memorable. Funnily enough throughout the film I keep imagining that this store would be the Bergdorf Goodman of the Addams family.

Sometimes I believe – when spoken in French even death wail sounds like a love lullaby.

With best wishes from a very hot summer day,

The ultimate power couple: music and film.

The symbiosis of music and film is enchanting. Importance of it – undeniable. Effect they create – breathtaking.

Music is my passion, and my constant companion. A group of certain music pieces could be called soundtrack to my life. Strangely enough when I talk to my friends about music that was playing in movies, or pieces that I remember, purchase and often revisit, they (my friends) find this passion of mine odd. Truly, I cannot understand how someone could underestimate the importance of music while watching a movie, maybe none of them have ever actually seen a single movie with sounds edited out. Or, of course, they are simply not into it. I don’t know about you, but I think that soundtrack can make or break the best of film.

So, while sitting through a plane delay and as always enjoying a beautiful piece of music (if you are curious it’s Chez Chanel by Alexander Desplat), I thought I should share with you my favourite soundtracks. It is up to you to take make up your mind if they are deal makers or breakers, if in a mood, you may share your opinions.

For a long time I was a firm believer that no one does music like the classicists did. Never again will the symphonic, melodic and in all ways revitalising sounds be so nicely put together in this day and age. Truly, it was 8-ish years ago when I really started to pay attention to the melodic backgrounds of movies (I guess some time ago I was like my friends, barely tuning my ear for the great extras that come with good films). Then one day my world literary changed; needless to say I became a happier person, with a better playlist to my life.

I highly appreciate the fact that the soundtracks are not only full of new creations but also interpretations of the older classical pieces. It is a great way to introduce listeners to the musical heritage, and hopefully interest them for a longer period of time. Because of even such movies as Tomb Raider people get to ‘see’ old music in a cooler new setting (remember the bungee work-out-flying session Lara did? I do. I also remember that the first thing I wanted to do after seeing the movie was to find out what music accompanied that modern form of meditation, and just for quenching any possible curiosity of yours, it was Lakme: Flower Duet, performed by Adriana Kohukova), and that is great! Many new classics and re-inventions have become my companions in day job routine, trips and evenings. If you won’t mind, I will take some time to introduce you to them.

However, before I continue with the classic tale about classics and their classical greatness, I must highlight the fact that there are many wonderful modern day music compilations that make a great listen. These “bundlings” of popular/indie/rock/whatever are especially well serving when one is on the prowl to find new artists that are trying to make it in the world.

Before continuing, I must not that I especially appreciate pieces that contain solo chanting, Gregorian-esque. Also, I like solo piano performances, as playing piano is a skill I’ve been trying to acquire for the last two years.

I will not rate the examples in any favourite/less so order for each of them is unique and deserves stand-alone appraisal.

(I must firmly note that I do not own a single right to any of the songs, and for a good listen everyone should make a jump to iTunes, or any other wonderland of legal music).

 

The Painted Veil. Composed by Alexander Desplat, some pieces performed by very talented pianist Lang Lang. One of the main themes is the beautiful creation Gnosienne No. 1 by Erik Satie.

 

Elizabeth: The Golden Age. The lovely C. Blanchet is accompanied by lovely AR Rahman’s and Craig Armstrong’s creation. Lots of siren type of singing, my favourite.

 

Tron: Legacy. Whoever thought of inviting Daft Punk to do the music for this futurist picture was a genius, genius (read in French accent).

 

Creation. You have no idea what a rare/scarcely known soundtrack that is. It is practically impossible to find a single piece of it even in youtube. It’s magnificent, breathtaking dream conjured by Christopher Young. So light, so beautiful, one of my all-time favourites. I would love to learn to play it, however it is impossible to find the music notes.

 

Tomb Raider.  Various artists. This one of those great compilations I had mind. You may like it or hate, I personally love it. It’s young, powerful, sometimes a bit mystical and over the top.

 

Nip/Tuck. Various artists. Nip/Tuck was a tv-show that was good for the first few seasons, and later not so much. However, they had a decent soundtrack put together.

 

Meet Joe Black. Thomas Newman did a great thing for this movie. He made it better than it could have ever been on its own, giving us something to enjoy when in need of inner peace.

 

The DaVinci Code. Music by Hans Zimmer. Oh mighty power of music. This is what I am talking about when it comes to modern classics. It’s la crème de la crème of soundtracks. Its powerful, mystical and mythical like heroes of the old;  full-bodied like a good wine and absolutely mesmerising. I said before that I will not do any ranking, but this is truly my very No. 1.

 

Vicky. Cristina. Barcelona. A bit of Spanish flare by various very talented artists.

 

The Memoirs of a Geisha. The light, frail world of Geishas deserve a corresponding soundtrack. Composed by John Williams. Also, a good friend to all Star Wars apprentices.

 

Ricky. By Philippe Rombi. Another rarity deserving attention.

 

Marie Antoinette. Various artists. Sofia Copolla always makes sure that not only the film would be surprising but music also unconventionally flattering.

 

The Great Gatsby. Various artists. This is one of the newest soundtracks that got into. I still have to see how it fairs with me long-term, but for now I see it as a very nice fun music compilation with few very special stand-outs (and I don’t mean Lana del Ray).

 

I could go on for years and years, but I am not sure if anyone is truly interested to hear me out on this any more than I have done already. If you’ve read to this point, thank you very much for it. I have a hope that you might have heard something that you will feel like hearing again sometime.

If you would find it in your heart to share any ideas, please do so. If you want to discuss something, I am here (after all, we are all unique and our tastes differ (thankfully, or else it would be a boring co-habitation)).

I am forever grateful for all lessons and suggestions.

Can movies and books be friends?

How many times have I heard a tirade how a movie ruined a book, how book was better, or movie was better than a book. Let me take my words back, I don’t remember hearing anyone say that movie was better than a book.

Honestly, and please don’t hate me for it, but I do. I truly preferred Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby to the read itself. I am an avid classical lit fan. Though the life they depict sometimes seems more idealistic than needed, I still prefere that happy tale (once in a while). Most of the books, however slow paced they are, manage to get you to empathize with the moods and expectations of the heroes of the time. However, that is something I never experienced with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s or T. Capote’s creations, especially Breakfast at Tiffany’s and other short stories, The Great Gatsby added to this group as well. I agree that Jay Gatsby is a truly multilayerd character with sad and unenviable destiny, however F. Scott Fitzgerald simply never persuades me to care about Jay. Luckily Leonardo DiCaprio did, and I will forever remain indebted to him for bringing some stirrings in my heart for the mysterious Mr. Gatsby.

Overall I seem to have gotten off my initial purpose quite much. From the very beginning I intended to write about a book and a movie – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Patrick Süskind). I read the book way before the movie was released and I imediately favoured it. If you haven’t read it – its about a man, a “nose”, who is seeking to create a scent for himself by stripping others of theirs. When reading the book I could never imagine it could be made into a decent movie, for how can you show the pleasure of smelling stone, glass, wood or nothing. But oh it was done, and it was done good. Ben Whishaw (seen in Layer Cake, I’m Not There, Skyfall) does a brilliant work potraying the major protagonist/antagonist (depends on point of view) – Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He manages to capture the loneliness, isolation, angst and resolution of the character to a perfection. By watching him, you understand the enamour he feels for the plums girl (or her essence), his dread for not having his own mark in the world and his determination to create the perfect mask of humanity. I would definitely recommend to follow Mr. Whishaw’s work, for you will have a pleasure of finding a brilliant acting professional with (hopefully) promising future.

The ending of the movie deserves its own praise. It is something I truly wanted to see visually and it did not dissapoint. It all ends where it all began, in the same shocking manner.

If you have a few hours to spare, give the movie a chance to show itself, if you have a few days, please don’t miss a chance to be enriched by the book.

 

The original trip to the Moon

Are there many people who haven’t watched at least a single sci-fi movie? Chat with somebody about “spacely” movies and you will most likely hear sound compounds similar to The Matrix, Alien, Star Trek, Star Wars (I just reminded myself I need to re-watch Godzilla (1954), that ought to be a good blast) and others. How often while watching one or another sci-fi movie do you catch yourself thinking: When did it all start? How did it all look? Well, that’s what happened to me a while ago while I was all into Star Wars re-runs.

After a continuous search I was very lucky (and happy) to find the most awe-inspiring creation by Georges Méliès, a 1902 “Le Voyage dans la Lune” (also known as The Trip to the Moon).

For me the film is not only impressive for its age and length (considering the year it was made), but also the theme – a trip to the Moon. In 1902 an idea of a trip to the Moon was relatively close and far away. Le Voyage dans la Lune allows us to see how people of early 20th century (who in a way were the pushing force that ultimately kicked all the great inventions and ideas into action) imagined space travelling and life outside the Earth. What is surprising for me, is their openness (even though more comic) to the idea of extraterrestrial life. Let me continue no more. Let’s see how did the very first moon landing look like…

Lars von Trier and Human Condition

Shaking off the slumber of winter and the drowsiness of spring, I awaken. The upcoming months will be dedicated to active learning and observation. I am reading, watching and looking for something new to learn. However, before going into new territories it is quite easy to remember that, which has been already seen, and stayed throughout the hibernation.

Lars von Trier. He is a genius, he is one of the few creators that truly manage to capture the essence of human condition. Maybe we should talk about the Dancer in the Dark (which I am sure I will one day), or even Melancholia. What about Nymphomaniac? Oh, I can feeling it coming. However, today is a Dogville day. Dogville was that something that hatched a little niche for von Trier in my heart. Never before was I so shocked or uplifted, when leaving that small cinema hall after a screening. I kept thinking and thinking about human nature and behaviour in the setting of absolute power, are we all tyrants and abusers at core, how long can compliancy continue? Why does the gruesome revenge bring out such a personal feeling of gratification?

I do believe that power corrupts and pliancy is a very temporary condition, Dogville is a visual exhibit of my belief.