Monday, 12 March 2007

Images Crumble

Fleeting images of the beautiful faces
Those that cross my eyes
Beautiful! So beautiful! Aren’t they?
But just a little deeper
Images crumble
And the beauty is gone
Hidden deep inside are ugly scars
Accumulated hurts, unmet desires
A broken mirror, hard realities of life

Friday, 2 March 2007

Three Movies-Babel, Blood Diamonds and The Departed

These days I have been watching movies. The Oscars awards and the sensational media coverage of this overhyped event has pushed me to take some interest in the movie world recently and I decided to watch after a long interlude( perhaps the result of overexposure or sheer repitition of Hollywood movies) a few Oscar nominated movies. So I watched Blood Diamonds, Babel and The Departed.

Babel directed by the Mexican Director Alejandro Gonjalez Inarritu starring Brad Pitt and Kate Blanchett is a film that interweaves the four unique stories from Morocco, Mexico, Tunisia and Japan. It has won an Oscar for the best original screenplay. The movie resembles the 1991 film 'Night on Earth' by Jim Jarmusch in the style of story telling but highlights the major difference that has crept into our our world since 1991 and that is a closely interconnected and interwoven world in 2007. The message of this movie is that everything is connected and transcend the national boundaries and to that extent that it has now started to influence the daily lives of the persons living in as interior as the Moroccan deserts and as cosmopolitan as Tokyo. The last year movie 'Syriana' brought this point to the forefront by showing to what extent the world has shrunk.
It's a movie worth spending one's time and money on.

Blood Diamonds written and directed by Edward Zwick is a movie set in a war zone in an African country. It brings out clearly the cost of conflict diamonds that has to be paid by the numerous lives of the noncombatants innocent people stuck between fighting rebels and warlords. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeniffer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou. Leonardo is a mercenary turned diamond smuggler, Jeniffer is a journalist covering the war and the blood diamond link and Djimon is a fisherman captured by the rebels to work in the diamond mines. Leonardo was nominated for the best actor award and Djimon for the best supporting actor but both could not get anything. This movies shows the international links in the blood diamond trade, has an interesting debate about who is responsible for the bloodshed- the buyers abroad or the producers in war-zones?

Blood Diamond is also worth putting one's time and money.

The Departed has got the Martin Scorsese his long awaited( indeed very very long wait since 1978 Raging Bull- his first Oscar nomination) best director award. It's a brutal bloody movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson. The film is about the south Boston police and a criminal gang infiltrating into each other to know each others designs and co-opt each other. It's a crisp movie and with a ambivalent love triangle and lot of bloodshed. Reminds me of the Face Off and cold war days movies in style.
Watch it only if you really want to watch it.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Opera & Folk Dance in Moscow

Last Saturday when I went to Opera for the first time in my life incidentally Opera had completed its 400th anniverssary.
An excerpt from the Wikipedia
Main article:
Origins of Opera

Claudio Monteverdi
The word opera means "works" in
Italian (from the plural of Latin opus meaning "work" or "labour") suggesting that it combines the arts of solo and choral singing, declamation, acting and dancing in a staged spectacle. Dafne by Jacopo Peri was the earliest composition considered opera, as understood today. It was written around 1597, largely under the inspiration of an elite circle of literate Florentine humanists who gathered as the "Camerata". Significantly, Dafne was an attempt to revive the classical Greek drama, part of the wider revival of antiquity characteristic of the Renaissance. The members of the Camerata considered that the "chorus" parts of Greek dramas were originally sung, and possibly even the entire text of all roles; opera was thus conceived as a way of "restoring" this situation. Dafne is unfortunately lost. A later work by Peri, Euridice, dating from 1600, is the first opera score to have survived to the present day. The honour of being the first opera still to be regularly performed, however, goes to Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo, composed for the court of Mantua in 1607.[2]

pic courtsey-Novaya Opera

Demon- Opera in two parts
(based on a poem by Mikahil Lermontov)
Last Saturday I went to an Oprea- first time in my life and I found it thoroughly entertaining. The Opera was Demon by Rubenstein being shown at Novaya Opera in the Hermitage Garden in Moscow, a newly built Opera House in 1999.

The synopsis of the opera ‘Demon’

A demon bored by his loneliness looks out for a girl’s love and he finds the beautiful princess Tamara dancing with her attendants on the eve of her marriage. The prince is on the way to marry her but he along with his men is held by by a storm created by the demon in a deep gorge and then is captured and killed by the bandits. Princess Tamara is aghast hearing this news and asks her father King Gudal for his permission to enter a convent. The Demon declares his love for the princess and pursues her in the convent but is thwarted by the angel but the Demon manages to kiss the Princess and dies. Her soul is carried to the heaven by the angel eaving the Demon lonely and disappointed.
The sounds and lights and the choir all combined together make a great spectacle and the orchestra with its magical music creates a new magical reality.
I had a great evening.


pic courtsey

The Russian Ballet is world famous for the graceful movements of the Ballerinas. Beriozka deserves the equal name and fame. It may be called as ‘Gliding Dance’. In Beriozka dance girls dressed in long gowns that emphasize their stately figures, do not mark their steps but glide to the melody of the song. The name Beriozka comes from the Birch tree that is found in abundance in Russia. A dance company named ‘Beriozka’ was founded in May 1948 and since then this dance has been performed in more than 65 countries and millions of people have enjoyed this dance.
Last Sunday at the Kremlin Palace Theatre I watched Beriozka along with a number of other Russian folk dances viz. sudarushka- working people’s dance, Trudu, Lebiaduska, Kadril, Beriozka with waltz, Petrushka, magnificent Sepochka, Rasdolnaya, Platkon, Polsidelki, and Kalinka.