30/07/2010

RA FRIDAY - GOOD OLD TIMES , GREAT EXPECTATIONS AND RED-SELF'S CORNER


Hello, RA fanworld! I hope you had a wonderful week. Mine was the first of total relax after a long hard working season. Red- Self? She's OK! She's been rather quiet since she was back from ... Narnja. I hope she got it and now either she behaves properly or I've already bought a new  ticket for her! We've got to an agreement and she seems satisfied with it. She'll have her own small corner on my blog every Friday. So... get ready. She's going to add something to this post of mine! I'm already trembling...but she claimed for no censorship! And that's terribly dangerous! Now,  let's start with my weekly ramblings.

Like many others RA admirers I've been on the news and I have read about the possibility of seeing  more of John Porter's adventures  in  a STRIKE BACK  2 series (see  this brief article from The Mirror). I'm not complaining,  mind you , not at all indeed! I like Richard's modern action hero, tough but not flawless, with a complex background and a conscience. But as many other of his fans spellbound by his John Thornton, I long for seeing him back in a costume, in  a period film/drama. However, I have been  also pondering the fact that John Thornton is not RA's only role in a period piece. He's worked in  many period/costume productions . But more or less than in modern ones?  Let's see...
a.  modern drama/films (only major roles)  : Spooks, Strike Back, Moving On, Vicar of Dibley, Shakespeare Retold - Macbeth, The Golden Hour, In Divine Proportion (Inspector Lynley Mysteries), Between the Sheets, Ultimate Force, Sparkhouse, Cold Feet, Frozen. (12)
b. period drama : North and South, Robin Hood, Miss Marple, Mary Lloyd, George Gently , The Impressionists, Malice Aforethought (7)

Well, you see? It's time for another beautiful role in a costume, Richard! Modern drama beats period drama in your TV/movie  career. What?!?  Red - self is reminding me that he may soon be "in a costume"... as Union Jack in the upcoming  Captain America?!? No, well, you know, that's definitely NOT what I had in mind! But if he's willing to wear THAT costume, I'm sure I'll bear even watching THAT kind of film. (Red - self laughs . Grrrrrrr!)

To be honest, I am looking forward to seeing something like ... Richard in the smart medieval clothing on the left. A real costume drama, set in troubled times and with an intriguing plot. He as the charismatic protagonist. You know, I've been reading this gripping historical novel, THE SUNNE IN SPLENDOUR,   for two weeks now and the sad epilogue is there,  few pages ahead. It has been such a beautiful  experience, so many exciting emotions with certain blue eyes in mind... it'd be great if Richard's dream could come true, if a series dedicated to Richard III with him as the protagonist (at least as the adult Richard  of Gloucester) could be produced soon. But he has never spoken  about it again recenlty. The last time was at Vulpes Libris, in that extraordinarily interesting interview about books.
He said: "I was named Richard being born on the anniversary of Richard III’s demise at Bosworth; one of my father’s favourite novels is The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, and I read this many years ago. In recent years it has lead to a tentative interest and line of research into the rehabilitation of this story. As an actor, it’s a project I would love to achieve. I believe it is a great story, a socio-political thriller, a love story and a dynastic tragedy. My challenge is to convince commercial producers to see beyond ‘history lesson’, but I strongly suspect that this will be a long way off, probably outside of my ability to play the role, but I wouldn’t rule out playing another role, I may even be producing by the time someone wakes up and realizes the potential for this project".

After reading this wonderful gripping novel,  ( a proper review is coming soon )  I can't even imagine how much such a huge production might cost!  So,  knowing the troubles many successful series are currently having at being financed, I can guess this project must be considered very ambitious,  if not crazy. But I hope RA holds on  and  I'll go on dreaming of seeing  Richard as Richard before he turns too old. In that case,  he said he'd like to produce such  a series, but it won't be the same for us, will it? These are my great expectations.
Meanwhile, our darling hard-working gorgeous man (look carefully on the right)
1. goes on recording ads and audiobooks (  You can download his new ads for Sky Sport at Alicat's site http://www.richardarmitage.net/ or order his The Convenient Marriage coming out on August 2nd, if you haven't done it yet)
 2.  has done very little to quiet down our worries about his Lucas North's destiny.  On the contrary... his admissions in the latest interviews have lit up animated debates and made our worries even greater. What of him in the new series? Will he be in Spooks 10, if recommissioned as it seems?

I told you I've carefully avoided - and want to go on avoiding - all that razzmatazz (never used this word before! does it work?) . I keep on stuck at what RA said in the interviews. Does this make me quiet? Not a bit. No great expectations for Lucas in Spooks 9.  Let's sum up what Richard  said about his character in the next  episodes (due to broadcast autumn 2010).

a. In the GMTV interview ( 4th May 2010) with Lorraine Kelly he said : "Lucas isn’t who you think he is. It’s always been hovering there, whether or not he’s a double agent." (...) "He's not who I thought he was either, which is really interesting."
b. In an interview with Digital Spy (5th May 2010) , Richards admitted even more : "It's interesting because you have to just rethink the character and retrace your steps and go back and make sure that everything fits and rework things that don't work. It's very exciting. And I think this series is very much about identity. All of the characters from the very beginning are not what they seem. All of the new characters that come in actually turn out to be slightly different from what you think."
 In the same interview, talking about Laila Rouass's character (Maya) in Spooks 9, Richard added: "I think he's had a string of quite disastrous love affairs. This one is particularly different and it's quite hard to tell you without revealing too much of the story but Lucas isn't quite who you think he is and she's part of that story, so there's a whole other character that's contained within Maya."
He conludes saying that Lucas  "... does have to go off the radar quite a lot this series, but I think he's made a habit of doing that so it doesn't raise too many eyebrows. It's just the way he operates. But it's quite a good way of concealing your tracks. If you're used to being a maverick, then people don't get surprised when you start acting strangely. And he does behave quite strangely this year."
Isn't that enough to start worrying? Have you seen the photos from the set some fans have posted? That is definitely NOT Lucas, but someone who looks like him pretty much! Will we be regretting the good old times ... I mean, SPOOKS 7?
I feel like I will! And these are my not great expectations. 
And now ladies, good luck! I promised her she would have her 5 minutes of glory if she had behaved properly and, unfortunately and unexpectedly,  she did! So I must keep my promise and say good -bye to you all. Be patient with her...and have a wonderful weekend! Here's red-self! ( Remember! I've booked a one-way ticket to Narnja!)

(Rolls Eyes) Ssssh! She's gone. Well,  she's been understanding, at least. I need my space and  time alone. So, she's gone. She  made me a  promise: no interference and no censorship. I told her: "For once, trust me, Prof!" (Awwwww... Do you remember JP saying TRUST ME to Katie in Strike Back ep. 2?) . She hates to be called "prof." but that's what she is a ... boring teacher! Yep! (Hinted smirk) I know she 's going to read this,  but she promised. She can't  change a word! No correction, thanks , Mrs. Prof.
So, what do I want to do with my space? Unveiling Mrs. Prof's  secrets! LOL !!! I'll tell you what she avoids telling you. Do you like the idea? I LIKE IT A LOT!!! Let's have fun.
Did she tell you what she has been re-watching this week? No! I bet she didn't. And I even know why. Have a look at these photos...

Got it? BETWEEN THE SHEETS! Paul and Alona on a crisis... she suspecting him of being on a hook dreaming the pants of a 16-year-old-girl, Tracy,  ... the ITV 2003 series about sex ! Sugar! Have you seen it?  COOL!!! That's a very good series, full great actors, but she refuses to write about it and watched it as secretly as if it was a porn film! She reminds me of Richard's mother! I've read on Annette's site (see? Annette doesn't blush or hide and, intelligently,  gives us all the information we need about this awesome series!)  that Richard's mother was shocked at seeing her son in that series. Well, poor woman, to see him as naked as when she first saw him, and   in bed having sex with a woman...  Wait ,  I'll try to find the article and link it here... Just wait... back in a moment!

HERE!!!! Enjoy it!!!

What was I saying? "Mrs Prof" is becoming old, but, maybe,  she's always been!!! Prudish, silly,  middle-aged girl! But,  believe me, she's been re-watching it and, I can assure you,  she likes it! She says  Paul Andrews is a mediocre, immature,  selfish man, incapable of real faithfulness but she likes him. You should see her smile while she watches him.  And watches, and re-watches... especially certain scenes. No, not the hottest ones. Those are MY favourite ones! Hers are apparently more ... chaste (LOL! ) But RA is always so seeexy!  She loves the long scene when Paul and Alona talk with a sex therapist ( a friend of Alona's, can't remember his name now!) about their first sexual experiences, the first time they had sex...

Then,  she also likes the scene with Alona and Paul doing "their homework", that is the questionnaire the therapist gave them...Bollocks! I prefer other scenes. For example,  when they go to dinner to their friends and Paul starts caressing Alona with his foot under the table. OMG, I could die to be there instead of that ... Alona ...


WHAT?!? My 5 minutes are over?!? I must stop here? But , please, black-self! I have just started talking about my ... Oh, at least, let me  say it was not Paul's fault... that Tracy girl, she had a hook on him and , you know, these teenage girls know how......... OK. Bye, then. Black - self has an awful scawl on her face, she reminds my of a certain furious GUY... Gosh! I hope I'll be back next week. After she reads this, maybe, she'll close me up again in that wardrobe she calls Narnja!

Have a very good weekend!
And , by the way, HAPPY 1st BLOGOVERSARY  TO ...

(Thanks to www.richardarmitagenet.com for one of the JP's caps and to www.richardarmitageonline.com
 for the precious archive and updates)

28/07/2010

26/07/2010

A CHIVALROUS WEEKEND WITH ... NO INTERNET!

No connection to the Net since last Saturday. I’m using my laptop at my sister’s to get in touch with … the world! I can’t blog regularly or use twitter but, at least, today I've  answered some mails. I wrote  these reviews during the weekend ,  unsure when I’d be able to post them. I’m doing it now and adding some caps. Fingers crossed they can fix my connection problem soon. If you do not hear from me much or at all… you know why!

KNIGHTS & ARMOURS

Still reading (but almost finished!) Sharon Kay Penman’s stunning picture of royal medieval England , The Sunne in Splendour (1982), my mind is plesantly haunted by images of warfare, armours and spears, battlefields and political plots, knights and horses. In order to visualize the emotions I am experiencing reading this novel, I had a look at my TBS list and chose two films dealing with knights in armour. I watched them at the weekend.


1. Il Mestiere delle Armi – The Profession of Arms (2001)


It is not an easy film. If you are searching for the adventure ot the action we are used to watching American “kolossals", you don't find it here. But this is a beautiful movie by the artistic side, you need to watch it with calm and patience, like you have to watch a pecious painting , a work of art. With many different little touches of brush, Ermanno Olmi conveys the real story of Giovanni De Medici, “Giovanni dalle Bande Nere”(of the Black Bands), in his last weeks.


Giovanni de Medici (played very convincingly by Bulgarian actor Hristo Jivkov ) was Captain of the Pope's Army. He was truly fierce, ruthless and proud, but relentlessly audacious on the battlefield. Yet he was also aristocratic, charming, articulate, witty, urbane, and a libertine off the battlefield. Furthermore, as a soldier he was the antithesis of a Machiavellian, and rejected the idea that war was a politician's game. Giovanni Dè Medici may have been cruel, but no one could accuse him of cowardice. In the end, dying from a gun-shot wound at the youthful age of 28, he was also a victim of a very different, new and subtler form of warfare.


The story starts from the end, with Giovanni Dè Medici's funeral. It then goes back to the cause of his death, dating a few months earlier, in the autumn of 1526, when the Imperial Army of German Lutheran soldiers , the Landsknechts', led by von Frundsberg are travelling through Italy from the North. The narrator, Pietro Aretino, informs us that these "noble and beautiful people" are on their way to invade and punish Rome, following an act of betrayal on the Pope's part. Aware that the Germans are at a military disadvantage, Dè Medici uses quick, sudden ambushes with his fire-armed cavalry. But as an act of ultimate individualism, the Marquis of Mantua, Federico Gonzaga welcomes the Lutheran troops through his fortified gates at Curtatone. He thus allows them easy access to the papal states in order to save his own territory. Meanwhile, just a few hours later, Federico Gonzaga denies access to Giovanni and his Papal troops! This beautifully illustrates the way that the notion of national solidarity simply did not exist among different Italian Duchies and kingdoms.


The use of historic buildings and detailed costumes (burnished armor for night fighting) is one of its best outings and the military material is particularly imposing - the spear-men making a dangerous looking fog silhouette spike barrier that the cavalry charge, the foundry men producing artillery and the constant drawing of those long swords. The grim, damp, relentlessly cold weather, the extreme discomfort of constantly wearing an armour and the way that battles were often sudden, fast and deadly is perfectly conveyed but , Beside the many scenes dedicated to military life, many beautiful others, such as those of Renaissance aristocrats at social gatherings and at court. The language spoken by the characters in this movie is arcaic, poetic, beautiful, but none of the lines are delivered in a contrived or actory manner - you just simply get the impression that Renaissance aristocrats spoke in such a sublimely articulate way.


The bitter messageof all the tragic suffering you witness all through the story is summed – up by the narrator in the end. He tells us that after the calamity of Commander de Medici, the sixteenth century rulers declared that that weapon of mass destruction, the cannon, would be forever banned. This declaration could be lifted exactly as it is and be applied to our very own "weapons of mass destruction" - a bitter, disheartening paradox.



This film is totally different from the previous one. It is a box office success that gives a light, colourful,comedy overook to the world of knights and jousting. An American action-adventure film, it was directed, produced, and written by Brian Helgeland . The stellar cast includes Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk, Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany , James Purefoy.

Who recommended me to watch this film? My 19-year-old son. It’s one of those films he loves to re-watch. He’s seen it tens of times. To convince me, he smartly told me that it takes its title from Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" and that Chaucer was  a character in the story. Could I resist?


It is the story of William Thatcher, a peasant masquerading as a knight, along with his companions in the world of medieval jousting. William starts posing as a knight and competing in tournaments when his lord and protector, Sir Ector, dies in the middle of a tournament he was winning . With the fake name of Sir Ulrich , William becomes a champion and acquires friendships with such historical figures as Edward, the Black Prince of Wales (James Purefoy) and Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany). The fair blond knight William / Ulrich has to challenge the evil dark knight, Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell), both in jousts and in his wooing beautiful Lady Jocelyn.


This film is, indeed, a modern styled fairy-tale set in the Middle Ages,  with a very swift pace, comedy and romance, colourful costumes and popular rock songs, bizzare characters and language. Just an example, the noble lady William falls in love with, Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon), wears quite extravant clothes, definitely non-medieval, and her hair- style reminds me of the 1970s .

It seems that Helgeland attempted to stylize the movie in such a way as to bring the Middle Ages to the audience, rather than force the audience into the Middle Ages. If I forget what I expected before watching, I can even understand his attempt to popularize such a distant time and culture and I must also admit that ...

watching this movie was fun!!!

23/07/2010

RA FRIDAY - RA TITTLE-TATTLE WITH HEATHER , AKA HEATHDANCES!


I'm afraid, I'm not discussing how disturbingly hot this new Strike Back Viral video was to me. Though I had to gag red-self and lock her in the wardrobe. I told her we were going to Narnja but she's still shouting from there histerically. She is definitely not Alice (Vicar of Dibley) .
She wants me to talk about this vid. No way. It gave me nightmares and I have no intention to go on watching Mr Wet T-shirt and experience horrible unrest at night! But if you and her (my red self, I mean) want to go on  watching it just click here.
Ok, then! Welcome to a special issue of my RA Friday. What’s better than talking about your faves with friends and pals when you are on holiday? So,  to celebrate the beginning of my desperately-longed-for summer holidays, here’s on Fly High my tittle- tattle with Heather, one of the loveliest, most talented and most popular among RA fans.


(Heather and me chatting on the sofa? Watching RA as John Porter?
No, her cuties: Teddy and Lily!)

I’ve had the pleasure to meet her on Twitter but I already admired and followed her on Utube, C19 and her livejournal page. She’s American, young and very creative. She’s someone I’m immensely proud to feature as my guest on my blog and someone who is a myth to any RA fan: Heather, aka Heathdances or Heathra. Here’s my interview with her. The videos added to this post are by Heather and she herself chose the RA photos you can admire here.

Hi,  Heather,  and welcome on Fly High! Visiting   your livejournal  or  "" Utube channel  one finds these few lines about yourself:
Hi! My name is Heather. Welcome to my livejournal! You will find on here my graphics, videos, and hopefully some tutorials. I currently live in Southern California and I work as a graphic designer. ;-) A lot of my fan graphics and videos you will notice feature the actor Richard Armitage. Hope you like what you see and thanks for stopping by!
To all of us, RA admirers and supporters nothing more counts and your name is just enough. But are there any other things which are important to you and you would like to add?
I feel like a little celebrity when you say it like that! ;-) Well, God, my Family and Friends. :-) They are the most important to me in life. I have a pretty big family and we are all really close. I don't know where I would be without my loving parents. They are my biggest supporters in life and encourage me all the time.

California is a symbolical part of the US linked to the American Dream. What is living there like? What is it to you?
I was born and raised here, so I guess I don't know any different! I am extremely fortunate to live in south Orange County, which is in Southern California. I can't imagine living anywhere else but perhaps England? ha ha ha! I live 10 minutes from the beach and an hour south of LA. Although, I have to admit LA is not all it's cracked up to be. I think New York City and London are A LOT nicer. And of course the area I live in is too! ;-) All I can say is I am really grateful to live here and grew up with a wonderful loving family.
I had everything I needed growing up, but at the same time worked hard to achieve a lot of things. Nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. When I set my mind to do something and have a goal, I achieve it. I think that is really important.

You work as a graphic designer and you use your skills in a very creative way in the RA fandom , where you get lots of admiration and appreciation yourself. But did you start learning graphic designing in a school then used what you learnt as a form of entertainment or are you self –taught, started as an amateur and then became a professionist?
I am pretty much self taught. I did go to a University and I got my BA in Studio Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design, but they don't teach you how to use the programs. They expect you to already know how to use the programs and then they want to see what your concept and ideas are and critique you on your artwork. So, I learned how to use Illustrator, Photoshop, etc on my own. I am still learning! It is a constant learning process, because these programs always change and you have to keep yourself updated. I had to take a lot of the foundation classes in college before the graphic classes. Foundation meaning, beginning drawing, painting, life drawing, etc. I think I am a lot better now than I was in school. I think doing fan graphics have helped increase my skills as a graphic artist. Right now I am a freelance graphic artist. I do a lot of package design at the moment. :-)

You are still young and , of course, you’ve got dreams and ambitions. What do you want to achieve in your working field?
I feel like a lot of the people doing what I do and being more successful are younger than me! LOL I got started late though. I have always been the late bloomer. I didn't graduate until I was 27 from college and now I am 30. I am trying to set 5 year big goals and little ones along the way. For so long my goal was to get my college degree but now that I have accomplished that I set new ones. I think it is important to set goals throughout your life and I try and do that. Sometimes it can be as simple as running a 5K in a month. Which I did and plan to run a 10K next year. :-) In 5 years I would like my business to be more successful, get married and hopefully have a baby (I hear RA is available! LOL kidding!). I like working from home and having my own business and I really want to try and build up that business in the next couple of years. I have even thought about doing video editing. I would love to make trailers for movies or edit music videos. I really love video editing as much as I do my graphics. They are both serious passions of mine. They say to do what you love! No one says I can't do both! ;-)

 Let’s go back to your creative skills. When did you start creating graphics and music vid?

Well, I fell in love with creating graphics when I was 19 and just starting in college. I went to a community college before I transferred to a University because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I always loved art and I knew I excelled at it and also liked being on the computer so I took a graphic design class and did really well in it and was at the top of my class at my community college. I really loved it so I decided to pursue that. Then, I transferred to a University to major in Art. I started creating music videos about a year and a half before I graduated from my University. I was inspired by some Pride & Prejudice videos on YouTube and decided to try doing one myself. One became two and so on! LOL It was very addicting and I love it. During my first year of vidding I took a Motion Graphics class at my University and I did so well the teacher told me I should be doing this for a living. I thought wow I have never heard that before! There is a lot of criticism in art school. I think it keeps us from getting big heads! LOL It was one of my few classes that I felt I really excelled in at my University because in all my other art classes I got good grades but I wasn't the top art student. I was more the middle of the road, but in Motion Graphics I was at the top which felt great! ha ha There was a lot of competition just like with everything in life.
Which one of Richard Armitage’s characters was the first one you hit it off with? Was it JT as for many of us? Or was it Guy , since you are younger and maybe met Richard as Guy first?
Like most it was John Thornton! It was the first thing I saw Richard in and when they first showed him standing there in the mill I was a goner! That was it! He had me! LOL Robin Hood had not come out yet but it did later that year. I saw him as JT in April 2006, sad how I know the month and year. ha ha ha Then in October is around when the first season of Robin Hood came out and then Vicar of Dibley during Christmas and New Years! Yep, he just kept luring me in with all this! LOL

I love your videos especially
1. Lucas North Fix you
2. Lucas North Maps of the Problematique
3. Strike Back/John Porter/Richard Armitage Video. Well, this is my Heathra production top 3 Which is yours? I mean, is there any of your vids you are particularly proud of or you are emotionally attached to? Your vids are stunning. Perfect sync, perfect choice of song, perfect matching of lyrics and images. Where do you usually start from? The song, the images, a title?
*blushes* Aww that is so sweet! I really am flattered and I still can't believe the responses I get from my videos. I never thought they would be as popular as they are. I just enjoy making them, so thank you very much! It really means a lot to me. :-)





 

Lucas North "Fix You" is probably my favorite video to this day. I am very emotionally attached to that video. I cried after I finished it. It was my therapy video and I made it when I was having a rough time in my life. The song also means a lot to me. I wrote something about it in the description of the video on YouTube. :-)




 
 

When I make my videos I start with a song. I usually pick songs that I feel emotionally connected to. The song really triggers the video, and I visualize the images in my head while listening to the song and it seems to be Richard related images most of the time! ha ha

 I love watching RA’s interviews and you’ve got some on your channel. One of them dates back to 2007 and tells about a very special fan Richard admired for her creativity. She designed a brilliant Havoc Tour T-shirt inspired to Gisborne. Do you know her? Joking , of course! Anyone knows it was you, Heather! My real question is… They were meant for charity. Are they still available? And where?
YES they were! Well, after Richard mentioned it everyone wanted one so we decided to sell other items, making Richard's shirt the only one because we wanted it to be unique. We sold mugs, journals, posters, postcards, and mouse pads with the design on them (after some alteration) and all the proceeds went to charity. I can't take all the credit though. I designed his shirt, but there were a couple of friends who came up the initial idea with the tour dates and cities. It was a group effort. :-) We intended to sell the stuff for a limited time but it is still open for purchase. ;-) http://www.cafepress.com/havoc_tour is the link! I will never forget that experience and that day he mentioned it. I never thought something like that would happen and it still makes me giddy and on cloud 9 thinking about it to this day!
 In a symbolical banner for my blog I’d put Richard of course, but also books, costume films and Jane Austen . This means I have to ask you also something about my other interests… Do you like reading? What kind of books? And what about period drama?
I love reading! I love all the Harry Potter books, Jane Austen, Twilight saga. I especially love reading Avon Romance novels! he he I love the period romance ones. My favorite romance author is Lisa Kleypas. I have all her books, and every time she comes out with a new one I rush out to buy it! LOL I also love Stephanie Laurens, and Elizabeth Hoyt. I love period drama books they are the ones I find myself reading all the time. Of course I love period drama films! Pride & Prejudice and North & South are my two favorite!

You said you also love the Twilight saga. What’s the appeal of this series according to you? What is it that you especially like in it?
I like the romance part of it. Most definitely that is the biggest appeal of it for me. I am an Edward & Bella fan all the way! I hope to make a Twilight video sometime in the near future. I also love the danger, heroic aspect of it and the angst. I live for angst and the whole "we shouldn't be together because I am a vampire and you're human". It makes it exciting!

Back to your creations. I know many fans of Richard’s and yours are fond of your Sexy Back series. Is there a third episode coming out soon?
Yes, there is! I know people have been waiting for it for a long time. I apologize to everyone! I wanted to wait until Strike Back came out so I could use clips from there and I have had to re-convert all of my clips because I am using a Mac and Final Cut Pro. Plus, I have had a lot going on with my life lately that I just haven't been able to do it. I just bought a 2 TB external hard drive so I can store all my clips on that now which will help! I plan to do it before the summer is over because I know a lot of people are anxiously awaiting it! ;-)

 My final question is… if you ever happened to meet Richard anywhere… How would you react? How would you introduce yourself? What would you ask him?
I know I would be really nervous and shy. I would probably stand there with my mouth open just staring at him! LOL I would definitely have to practice what to say to him if I ever did meet him. I am such a dork when it comes to things like this! ha ha. I think if I could ever manage to say anything to the lovely man I would try and mention something about me designing his Havoc Tour t-shirt and try not to sound like a squeeing fan girl! I don't want to embarrass myself and want to try to be as calm, cool and collective as possible! LOL I doubt that will happen! Ha ha!

Well, prepare yourself to the shock, Heather! Get ready to be pretty embarassed. It seems Richard is planning to go to LA by the end of this year. Let us know if you meet him! And of course ... thanks a lot for taking your time and answering my questions! It's been great to have you here!

22/07/2010

LIBERTINES, RAKES AND JANE AUSTEN


 I'm well aware that mine can seem an obsession, and a dangerous one, but I've been thinking and writing about libertines and rakes again. Do you remember "My libertine Sunday" or "Of Richard, libertines and escapism" ? I've been thinking about Jane Austen's vision of libertines these days and I wrote this post for MY JA BOOK CLUB.  Jane Austen, obviously familiar with the libertine as a stock character inhabiting the worlds of Restoration drama and Gothic literature, adapts the libertine and makes him an anti-hero for the purpose of social satire and moral instruction . A firm believer in poetic justice herself, an Austen libertine may end up rich but miserable like Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility or equally poor and miserable as Wickham in Pride and Prejudice.

But are there real rakes in Jane Austen's major novels? Libertines?
 

20/07/2010

ON A FIRTHIAN EDUCATION - MASTER VERMEER AND A SINGLE MAN

In my attempt to catch up with such an incredibly rich and active career as Colin Firth’s, I ‘ve been recently very lucky and managed to watch two wonderful films in one day: Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) and A Single Man (2009). I really can’t tell you which one I liked more because I did liked both very much though in different ways.


In “Girl with a Pearl Earring” I loved the costume movie and the poetry of colours. Not as much the story, actually. This film, adapted from a work of fiction by Tracy Chevalier, tells about the events surrounding the creation of the painting "Girl With A Pearl Earring" by 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. Little is known about the girl in the painting, it is speculated that she was a maid who lived in the house of the painter along with his family and other servants, though there is no historical evidence .

The film , set in 1665, is not only about art and the creation of a masterpiece but it is also about exploitation and how a young woman attempts to resist a system designed to make her a vulnerable victim.This was the aspect I most appreciated in the plot .  Griet is a Protestant among Catholics, a generous woman in a world of selfish human beings, a poor honest girl in a household full of pretences . But she is strong-willed, only apparently fragile. And she has a gift, she understands art and she has a special sensitivity for colours, this is why Vermeer, the master, choses her. Not for his lust but for his art. Anyhow, Griet feels trapped, not free, like the maid servant ( a dummy) Vermeer was painting among a chair, a table, a window and a wall… Griet dares move the chair from the place the painter had put it. When he asks her why she answers directly and simply , “she was trapped”. In Vermeer’s paintings his maids are quite passive, Griet does not accept her destiny passively.
Griet is despised by Johannes Vermeer’s permanently pregnant wife and by her wicked children. Vermeer as a painter is patronized by the lecherous merchant Van Ruijven who wants Griet in his house and even tries to rape her. But she resists.


She has got a boyfriend, Pieter, the butcher’s son who warns her:
Pieter: Don't get caught up in his world.
Griet: I may only be a maid, but I would NEVER give in to Master Van Ruijven!
Pieter: I wasn't talking about Van Ruijven...
She’s attracted by her master, of course, but even more by the magic he can do with colours and light. Pieter fears he can lose Griet for that.

Griet and Vermeer never go beyond the limits of an emotional relationship. No sexual involvement. Though the scene of master Vermeer piercing her left ear is highly symbolical and extremely sensual. Just as the attraction and the tension between them is palpable while they mix the coloured paints together. Their relationship becomes closer while Vermeer paints Griet for Van Ruijven . Catharina's growing jealousy of Griet becomes more and more apparent, and she finally discovers the theft of her earrings, accusing her own mother of complicity (she had given Griet her dauther's earrings) and ordering Vermeer to show her the painting he and Griet have been working on. It is obscene to her and  Griet must leave the house.

Cast: Colin Firth as Johannes Vermeer; Scarlett Johansson as Griet; Tom Wilkinson as Piet Van Ruijven; Judy Parfitt as Maria Thins ;Cillian Murphy as Pieter; Essie Davis as Catharina Vermeer; Anna Popplewell as Maertge

French cinematographer Eduardo Serra and his Dutch collaborators, the production designer Ben van Os and the costume designer Dien van Straalen, have given the movie extraordinary beauty. The landscapes are enchanting. The stern, black-dressed mother-in-law seems just come out of a Rembrandt. The interiors and exteriors of Delft resemble paintings by Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch and their contemporaries brought to life. That beauty will stay always with me. More than the story itself.

Some differences between  Chevalier's novel and the film
• Most of the events in the novel's epilogue, such as Griet's marriage to Pieter and their two children, Jan and Frans, are not shown in the film.
• In the novel, there is a subplot involving Griet's younger sister, who eventually dies from the plague.
• In the novel, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek warns Griet not to get too close to Vermeer, but he is absent from the film and his lines are given to Pieter.
• In the novel, Griet and Tanneke have a difficult relationship, but in the movie, they seem to get along. This is shown by Tanneke's teasing Griet about Pieter and her willingness to chat and gossip.
• In the novel, Griet pierces her left and right earlobe herself. In the film, Vermeer pierces the left one for her, while she does not have to pierce her right lobe

A Single Man premiered on September 11, 2009 at the 66th Venice International Film Festival where Colin Firth was awarded the Coppa Volpi as Best Actor. He also won at British BAFTA as Best Actor for this movie. He well deserved all the positive responses to his role as George Falconer,  because the entire film is emotionally on his shoulders and he gave us a gripping and stunning performance.


The film is based on the novel of the same name by Christopher Isherwood and was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, who, as a first-time director, had to finance it himself. Colin Firth stars as the protagonist George Falconer, a gay British university professor living in Southern California in 1962, a month after the Cuban missile crisis. The film places emphasis on the culture of the 1960s but most of the lines and the scenes go beyond space and time. They are universal and eternal. I so often wanted to stop the movie and write down what I had just heard. But I didn’t do it. The narration, slow, deep, inolving couldn’t be stopped. I didn’t want to stop it. I ‘ll rewatch it. That’s for sure.


Throughout the single day depicted in the film, and narrated from his point of view, George Falconer dwells on his past, shown in flashbacks, and his seemingly empty future, as he prepares for his planned suicide that evening. He feels lonely and depressed: he can’t forget his lover, who died in a care accident 8 months before. He buys bullets for his revolver, empties his safety deposit box in the bank, prepares letters for some friends, and one with some money for his cleaning woman, and arranges his life insurance policy, other important things such as keys, and the clothes he wants to be dressed in by the undertaker neatly in sight. Everyday things and encounters become special for him, realizing that for each it is the last time, and he is extra nice to people, as he is secretly saying goodbye.

I don’t want to give away much more. I don’t want to spoil your personal watching of this movie. But of course I can’t avoid saying that George is gay and the lover whose loss he can’t overcome was Jim, an architect, who had lived with him for 16 years. However this film is nothing about sexuality and much, much more about love, faithfulness, friendship, loneliness, prejudices, hypocrisy, war and fear. The role of a lifetime for Colin Firth after so many brilliant performances .

Cast : Colin Firth as George Carlyle Falconer; Julianne Moore as Charlotte (Charley); Nicholas Hoult as Kenny Potter ; Matthew Goode as Jim; Jon Kortajarena as Carlos; Paulette Lamori as Alva; Ryan Simpkins as Jennifer Strunk; Ginnifer Goodwin as Mrs. Strunk; Teddy Sears as Mr. Strunk
I want to close this post with an answer Colin Firth gave in a long and interesting interview about this film about his character’s homosexuality:
Reporter: But being a closeted gay man in 1962 makes George more secretive, right?
Colin : Yeah, but people are secretive about their sexuality, generally, in one way or another anyway, unless they’re Italian. Sorry, that’s a dig at my [Italian] wife. Not everybody flaunts their sexuality, but I take your point. I think certainly in 1962, he’s a college professor, and [his homosexuality] might have made people more suspicious of him. In the ‘70s, when I was a teenage schoolboy, the idea that anybody might be gay also implied that they might be some sort of predator. Those are the kind of prejudices. I think we live with those less now in our society.

I really hope we do, Colin. But I’m not that sure, unfortunately. However, thanks for this beautiful, unforgettable movie and for an awesome performance. 

 Watch the trailer of the movie - Isn't the soundtrack great, too?