Thursday, 29 March 2012

cellulosa e celluloide

Questa settimana il mondo virtuale pullulava di articoli su Billy Wilder.
Fra i tanti pubblicati per ricordare il decennale della sua scomparsa ce n'era uno su Lists of Notes.
E' una lista di consigli che Wilder da agli sceneggiatori e che Cameron Crowe ha pubblicato nel suo libro "Conversations with Wilder".

La lista va di pari passo a un'idea che mi frulla in testa da un po'.
Dopo aver visto "Hugo" ci pensavo ancora più spesso e così ieri sera ho deciso di fare l'unica cosa possibile: una ricerca su Wikipedia.
Tenendo sempre e comunque in mente che l'Oscar non è rappresentativo del reale stato di salute del cinema (mondiale, statunitense e hollywoodiano), quest'anno le nomination per la migliore sceneggiatura originale includevano: un film francese, un film iraniano, un film di Woody Allen, e altri due film. Prima di partire per la tangente e discutere su come avvengono le nomination, basta controllare i titoli candidati per la migliore sceneggiatura non originale e notare uno sbilanciamento: le possibilità che non vincesse Allen in questa categoria erano ridotte all'ossicino, mentre fra le sceneggiature non originali c'era molta più "scelta".
Perché? Perché sembra necessario ormai, specie a Hollywood ma non solo, avere della carta precedentemente stampata alle spalle per produrre un film?
Non dico nemmeno un bel film, dico un film e basta: nulla si crea, nulla si distrugge, ma tutto si ricicla evidentemente. Sembra più necessario dell'ossigeno: per fare un film, bisogna  prendere un libro, un romanzo più o meno di successo e farne ciò che se ne vuole, molto spesso stravolgendone il contenuto, i personaggi, la trama.
Questo di suo non è un problema, non è nemmeno una novità o una cosa orribile: oggi in ufficio parlavamo di "The Shining" di S.K., Stanley Kubrick o Stephen King, chi preferite voi.
Aldous Huxley ha preso "Orgoglio e Pregiudizio", l'ha rivoltato come un calzino, lo ha centrifugato due o tre volte e voilà! Un film che con il libro ha poco in comune, ma che ha dalla sua una sceneggiatura fresca e che non sembra stancare mai, degli attori fantastici, una regia divertente e la giusta durata.

Non so se sia mai esistita una quota fissa di film tratti da opere letterarie, ma ho come l'impressione che sia una percentuale in crescita; però ho anche la sensazione che la qualità totale delle sceneggiature di questi film sia in calo. E di nuovo mi chiedo: perché mi da così fastidio?  Sono la sola a provare questo stato di malcontento?
A pensarci bene, credo che la causa non sia da cercare nel fatto che al momento attuale sembra più importante avere il film in versione 3D o nel fatto che scelgono libri come la trilogia di Twilight per inondare le sale di scemenze.
La risposta è, come diceva Quelo, dentro di noi: se un libro che ho letto e ho amato viene portato sul grande o piccolo schermo, io mi sento tirata in causa.
E' il MIO libro, con i MIEI personaggi, la MIA storia. Il libro che viene trasformato in una sceneggiatura, non è quello che l'autore ha scritto ma quello che io ho letto. Sono i miei ricordi, le mie emozioni, le mie idee sui personaggi e sulla storia a essere messe su celluloide.
Mi sento tirata in causa e, come una bambina piccola e viziata, non concepisco altro modo di vedere che non sia il mio... il più delle volte ho ragione, ma non sempre!

Noi esserei umani sappiamo essere ingrati ed è per questo che ricordiamo più libri che i film "hanno rovinato", invece di quelli che abbiamo scoperto e letto grazie ai film. Ed è un peccato, perché senza i film io non avrei mai scoperto piccole e grandi gemme su carta stampata e non avrei mai letto "L.A. Confidential", "Forrest Gump, "Il segreto di NIMH" e molti altri.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

just magic

Yesterday evening I went with Francesco to the movie to watch "Hugo". Or better, "Hugo 3D", as it is called around here.
Now, I don't like to think I'm that old(-fashioned), still I don't get this whole fascination about 3D. Or better, I do understand that it's something new and that can add some extra appeal to a movie, but I also know that I don't like it very much.
Oh no, it's not a posh highly intellectual stake against the hyping of 3D effects against screenwriting, no no. The problem is that 3D makes me sick. "Literally": I get a huge burst of motion sickness every time I watch a movie in 3D. I'm not sure whether the laser eye surgery has something to deal with it, but I struggle with  focusing with the 3D glasses on. It takes me 3-4 seconds, a bit less if I stare at the screen with only one eye. Obviously it's not the best way to enjoy a movie!

It happened with "Hugo" too, I watch part of the stunning first scene with my left eye closed and pinching the glasses against the bridge of my nose.
"Hugo" is a weird movie. Beautiful and breathtaking, still a weird movie.
I wish I could say what it's exactly that I liked about it, but it's difficult to pinpoint it: it's a beautiful movie, beautifully directed and with a great cast. But there is more.
It's a Martin Scorsese movie.
It's a 3D movie, as my eyes had to endure (but it can't just be me, can it?). It's a Martin Scorsese 3D movie.
It's a family movie. It's a Martin Scorsese family movie.
It's a movie with Christopher Lee.
It's a Martin Scorsese movie with Christopher Lee, and Sacha Baron Cohen in it.

I'm quite sure only Scorsese could have pulled something like this out of his magic hat.
Perhaps it's my being motion sick that makes me say that, but I found the 3D beautiful but irrelevant to the movie itself.
Heck, even the plot of the book it's based upon is quite irrelevant after a while: "Hugo" is a love movie, an heartfelt declaration of undying love from Martin to the art of cinema, the films and all the people that have brought and bring its magic to life.

Just like the astonishment of the people that watched the train pulling into the station in the Lumiere brothers' movie for the first time, "Hugo" charms you away, takes you by hand into a realm of fantasy where you laugh genuinely watching "A trip to the moon".

It's a good thing there were no Internet and wikipedia during my high school years or my slightly OCD would have spiralled out of control. I barely managed to limit the damages with the 24 volumes encyclopedia my mum had, having something like wikipedia at the tip of my finger would have probably caused some information overload to my mono-neural brain.
The fictional George Méliès has so much in common with the real one to take your breath (and my mental sanity, not to mention the sleep) away.
On the train back home I tried a bit of damage control, trying to stay away from the browser on the mobile, but the curiosity of wanting to know more, to check with my own eyes how much of what I had just saw corresponded to the real history.

And then there is more, some of those weird coincidences that brighten up a whole year just by recalling them.
On the way to Amsterdam, I was listening to Satie, a recording by Ciccolini Barbara gave me as Christmas present. Listening to the same touching notes being played in the film made me smile and shed some tears.

And then there is another memory, of some years ago.
What I knew about Méliès until yesterday came all from an Italian TV show, "Fuori orario - Cose mai viste". "Fuori orario" means "After hours" (another Martin Scorsese's movie... everything's eventual) and no matter what, no matter the joke on its supposed snobbery, it's the best place on Italian Tv (if not the only one left) to watch art films.
The opening titles are played over "Because the night" sung by Patti Smith and when I was watching "Hugo" yesterday evening, Patti's voice was gently playing in my head, humming happily while I was falling in love with cinema over and over again.
The best gift that movies have given me has always been to shake the cynicism off my grumpy self and allow me to feel the same exhilarating marvel I so clearly remember feeling the first time my mum took me to the cinema to watch a movie. The gift of "Hugo" was making me feel the same amazement I felt back then.
I have to thank George and Martin for that.

 

White noise

Gymnopédie No. 1

Era già da un po' di tempo che non portavo Voodoo Lady a fare un giro.
Fra nevicate, gelate e week-end passati altrove, la mia fidata due ruote è rimasta a poltrire in cantina. Troppo a lungo, aggiungerebbe lei.
Con l'inizio della primavera e il week-end che promette bel tempo, Voodoo Lady la sentivo dal secondo piano: "Fatemi uscire di qua!", si lamentava la tapina.
E allora via: oliata la catena, gonfiate le gomme e dopo due giri di collaudo al mattino (supermercato e mercato: va bene andare in giro senza scopo, ma le faccende di casa vanno fatte), dopo pranzo ho inforcato gli occhiali da sole, controllato il percorso e preso la via verso Zandvoort.

Ovviamente mi sono persa ma tanto ero tranquilla, perché sicura che avrei beccato il mare prima o poi: la mia mancanza quasi totale di senso dell'orientamento non è così grave da non farmi fermare e chiedere informazioni.

Voodoo Lady ha avuto un guizzo di felicità. Non sopporta appieno il mio girovagare senza scopo, ma era rimasta ferma al coperto per troppo tempo da non apprezzare i km extra macinati in più a causa, o per merito, della mia difettosa bussola interna.
Poi io ho provato più di una volta a spiegarle che non sempre è necessaria una meta predefinita alla fine della pedalata, che ciò che conta non è la destinazione ma il viaggio in sé. Voodoo Lady è una bici, accioaio, gomma e cavi, i discorsi metafisici le dicono poco e non li ascolta volentieri. Anche perché, visto che non ha orecchie, le risulta difficile ascoltare. Prima di partire per la tangente e divagare sui motivi per cui parlo con la mia bicicletta, torniamo in carreggiata verso Zandvoort.

C'è qualcosa di magico nell'andare a Zandvoort, quasi terapeutico: il mio tempo smette di scorrere sulla stessa frequenza del resto del mondo.
Zandvoort è una citta turistica, una specie di Riccione del nord: ha file di casette aperte solo d'estate, nei weekend di bel tempo c'è sempre traffico, turisti, motociclisti, kite-surfers, Pantani dellla domenica: riesce a essere più caotica di Via Roma il sabato pomeriggio. Eppure quando vado a Zandvoort rallenta.
Lo spazio fra un respiro e l'altro si espande.
Torno sempre rilassata da queste gite sulle dune.
Ho sempre amato il suono della risacca e a Zandvoort, mescolandosi con il fischio del vento, forma una specie di rumore bianco: isola i miei pensieri, mi aiuta a distrarmi dalle preoccupazioni. A volte sospende il mio costante rimuginare sullo stato delle cose e quando torno a casa mi aver passato alcune ore a non pensare.

Ieri sono arrivata in spiaggia e l'ho trovata piacevolmente quasi vuota. Poca gente, la maggior parte  nei bar sulla spiaggia. Mi sono sfilata scarpe e calzini, che strana sensazione camminare sulla sabbia fredda. Sono tornata a casa stanca, ma felice: in pace con il mondo forse no, ma abbiamo stipulato una tregua. Vediamo quanto riusciamo a farla durare.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Point of view

Yesterday not only I had the chance to sport my sunglasses twice, I also had lunch out on the office terrace! Weather changed for the best from one day to another and yes, it truly feels as if spring is here to stay.
I feel giggly and happy and it's all because of that big yellow shiny ball up in the sky: everything looks so much better.
Yesterday evening I wanted to check the weather, just to make sure I could cycle somewhere nice this afternoon and I had to laugh:


17°C and sun with little mist... and you call it bad weather?!?! Clearly you haven't been to the Netherlands recently!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

weekend in Italia

"Il pilota non porta mai
pensieri pesanti
che sarebbero già da soli
tutto carico in più." (Ivano Fossati, Il pilota)
 
Quando l'aereo si stacca dalla pista di Caselle, lo sguardo cerca di assorbire il numero maggiore di immagini al di fuori del finestrino: è nuvoloso, ma uno squarcio fra le nuvole permette al sole di illuminare Superga.
Voglio portarci Sara, a Superga. Magari lo farò a Pasqua, se il tempo è bello.

Di nuovo con il sedere su un aereo, penso che la cosa che ho fatto più spesso nell'ultimo mese sia stata tornare in Olanda.
Una serie di fortunati eventi mi ha portato in giro ogni weekend, fra Inghilterra, Belgio e Italia.
Anche se l'idea di non passare sabato fuori casa il prossimo weekend mi faccia piacere e nonostante la stanchezza accumulata a passare i sabati passati a macinare chilometri, sono felice di tutti questi viaggi.
L'ultimo in ordine cronologico è stato un weekend a sorpresa a Torino.
Beh, non a sorpresa per me, ovviamente, visto che avevo il biglietto in tasca da qualche settimana.

Oggi mia mamma compie gli anni e ho pensato di portarle il regalo di persona: ogni compleanno è importante, ma questo un po' più degli altri, perché è una cifra tonda, perché l'anno scorso me l'ero perso, perché vorrei non dover perderne altri in futuro per via della distanza.
La sorpresa è riuscita benissimo, anche perché l'ho detto solo a mio papà, che è bravissimo a non aprire bocca!

La sorpresa così non è stata solo per mamma, ma pure per Sara. Davide non era sorpreso, mi ha trattato come se mi avesse visto solo la sera prima, non credo abbia ancora un'idea chiara del tempo che scorre. Sara invece sì: la scorsa settimana ha avuto una crisi di pianto, perché sentiva la mia mancanza e si rende conto della distanza in termine di spazio e tempo .
Avrei dovuto scattarle una foto quando mi ha visto. Un mix esilarante fra "Non ci posso credere", "Che bello!", "Chissà se mi porta al museo domani?" e "Cerchiamo di mantenere un certo decoro perché ormai ho quasi sette anni e non posso comportarmi come una bambina di sei".

Il weekend è passato veloce, fra chiacchierate fra amici, interrogatori da parte di Sara, tempo passato con mamma e papà e cucchiai di legno evitati.
In più il distacco non è stato troppo traumatico perché sarò di nuovo nelle lande sabaude per Pasqua.

Niente carico in più questa volta, ma di sicuro qualche chilo extra, merito del pranzo equilibrato a base di bignole con cui abbiamo festeggiato domenica:




E una nuova custodia per il telefonino: Guybrush!


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Back in London

I'm back in the U.K. once more, this time for a week, and won't be back in the Netherlands until Sunday evening.

It feels I haven't been home for ages, wherever home may be. According to Marvin, it's where I lay my hat and, given I have plenty of hats, it might take me a while to solve the dilemma

It's surprising, and perhaps slightly worrying, how quickly I set back into he London pace. It feels as if I never really left.

As I was strolling down to the Southbank yesterday I was amazed at the feeling of not feeling as an "alien" to this place. I haven't complained about "bloody tourists" yet, but I got till Sunday to reach at level!

Despite the fact nothing really changed, I could see some changes around.

Mind you, granny are still walking faster here than I do, people are always in an hurry, but some things are different. Maybe the Olympics will really do something for this place (huge economics losses aside, obviously)!

For example, it seems that the tube is slightly cleaner than what I remember... Or maybe it's just the distance that made me look at it with kinder eyes, or I just have to wait for the Friday night heavy boozers to rethink the notion!

Anyway, for the time being I'll enjoy things as they are and maybe spot some other of the eggs involved in the big egg hunt. Not sure whether the adjective refers to the dimension of the hunt or of the eggs themselves!

 

Monday, 5 March 2012

In Brussels

After Tilburg, I kept checking to see if Wilco were coming back to Europe for another tour. When I found out that yes, they were returning to Europe, I checked the dates and cities and I quickly realized Holland was not an option: they were playing in Groeningen, that is not so far from Amsterdam as the lack of public transportation makes you want to believe. It looked that I had to add an extra day anyway, so, why not going somewhere I've never been? Or maybe go back to Italy?
At the end I went for option number one and headed to Brussels.

The concert was great: Wilco were at the top of their form, nobody complained I sang and Ancienne Belgique is a great concert hall with an amazing acoustics.
Even so, though, I got a big doubt that grew bigger and bigger in the past concerts: is there a I of dress code to be a member kind of the band?
No, seriously, I mean it:  it looks like Nels, Pat and John have bought trousers and shirts in the same shop (bulk buy?) and Glenn and Mikael sport the same kind of mustache! And it's not the first time I noticed.
I know that I was there for the music, but I can't help it! If I weren't so short and the stage not so high, I'd probably have some comments about the shoes as well! Not that I ever ask any of them a similar question if I ever met them... well, that depends on the shoes they sport!

But let's not get side tracked, as the topic at hand is my weekend in Brussels. The only problem now is to convince my brain to work, as it seems to short-circuit at the mere mention of the town.
Apparently my brain associates its name to the chocolate and the simple memory of it sends it into a cocoa induced external dimension, made of chocolate, truffles, cocoa powder and gosh I'm tripping again! One of the first thing I did in Brussels was trying a hot chocolate at Pierre Marcolini.
At the beginning I was not entirely convinced, years of life abroad taught me to be very aware and doubtful when it comes to hot chocolate and the drink in my hand looked too liquid and not dark enough. Boy, was I wrong!
After the first sip of it, my taste buds went haywire. I come from Torino, we know two or three things about chocolate and right now I'm loving in a place where chocomel is considered to be cocoa based, let alone good! So drinking this hot chocolate was just like heaven, even better than that, given I'm an atheist.

I can't say I found Brussels beautiful, in the way I can say Florence or Paris are.
But Brussels got charm, it's fascinating and enchanting.

I was lucky because I happened to be there just on time for the museum night, so after the concert I went around museums up till late. I even met some old friend in a museum:



I spent hours walking around, soaking in the atmosphere, in the pace of the town and its people, in the voices all around me.
I told some friends it gives me the same kind of vibe Genoa does: maybe it's because I've been used to live in flatland and having to face streets going up and now, constantly turning around. It's the odd mixture of expensive shops in run down neighbourhood, the rhythm of life.
If it weren't for the museum night I probably wouldn't have been to so many museums, but I still have the impression I've seen a lot and done even more.
And I'm not just talking about beer tasting!

Magritte


And after this weekend, another trip is about to begin.
London here I come.
Brussels, wait for me, I shall be back.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

off to another Wilco concert...

Beth says I'm basically stalking the guys.
I am not sure whether she was joking or not. Part of me believes she wasn't. Another one might even agree with her.
All together though, it's not something so important and urgent to agree upon.
I'm off to Brussels for 2 days of friet, beer, chocolate, some sightseeing and hell yeah! Wilco's gig at Ancienne Belgique!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Unravelling the weekend


My mum finds it funny and wastes no opportunity to tell me so: "How come you left England, and now it seems you're always there?"
If you keep in mind that I just spent a long weekend in England and on Monday evening I'll be back in London, you mind want to join her in laughing at me!

Anyway it's not that I planned that way, it just happened. I had in mind to go back to England at the end of February for quite some time, as it's the weekend of Unravel at Farnham.
Last year I enjoyed Unravel a lot and thought it'd be nice to go back once more. I like Farnham and the Maltings, and I think I needed no extra excuse to book some days off, a plane ticket and pack my suitcase.

I spent my whole short holiday outside of London, mainly Hampshire and a little bit of Surrey too.
I went back to Guildford, that looks pretty much the same, even though some parts changed a lot: nice shops, slow life pace, odd mixture of broke uni students and posh Tory housewives.


I went back to Farnborough as well, to the new pub opened next to Sainsbury's... I can't say they haven't tried to improve it, but the town still looks and feels so awkward and dull. Still, it was the right location to meet some old colleagues over a pint (ok, two pints).



Saturday was basically spent in Farnham for Unravel and catching up with May.
How much do I love Unravel? A lot. I had a lot of fun last year and this year was pretty much the same. The fact we chose to go on Saturday, rather than Sunday helped too as it was less crowded.
Farnham is not-so-subtly yarn bombed. You can find knitted and crafty decoration basically everywhere.

float on


I like the cheerfulness and quirkiness of the whole event, the smiles, the helpfulness of people at the stands, the laughters! I enjoy looking around me at all the different things going on: the doubts on people faces when looking at yarn, should I buy it or should I not?, the boredom of husbands and boyfriends dragged to the Maltings, the man sleeping at one of the stall.
I like the atmosphere, that weird combination of small little things that fell into the right place: spending time with some good friends, introducing them to one another, enjoying a fresh ginger beer.

Before I had time to come to term with it, it was time to leave and go back to Holland.
And now I got very little time left to think about what to put in the suitcase for the next weekend and week away.
Being away from Holland did me good. It was funny and calming, I got back to the office on Tuesday and everybody told me I look so much better and refreshed.
Now, this is what makes me laugh, much more than the fact I have been going back to England more times than I have gone to Italy right now.
While living in England, I always had the notion that I couldn't bear the stress of living there, yet going back there reduced by stress level. Fact is that England, London had partially worked as scapegoats for me. It wouldn't be fair to say it's all their fault I was not feeling well when I was living there.
I've always been a nervous person and anxiety runs happily in my blood. The situation got worse because of my living there, but the problems were there already and I haven't solved them yet.
They are still here with me, but I chose to forget about them for four days.
Sometimes it happens that things get easy to look at and to think about, if you let them be and just go with the flow. It's not an hard thing to do, after all.

Something is rotten...

... in the state of Holland.


Literally.
I read several articles recently about the use, overuse and misuse of "literally" in English.
But I mean it. Literally! It's the second day in a row that this country, or at least the Hoofddorp area where my office is located, stinks. And it stinks badly, as if somebody had left the buttermilk to go rotten in the heat of an August afternoon.


It stinks!!! 
It stinks of cow poo, pollution, dampness, rotten grass and, yeah, of rotten buttermilk!