I think the last time I enjoyed a romantic film as much as this one was the 1993 True Romance written by Quentin Tarantino starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. It was all Tarantino blood and gore with a strong romantic narrative and a happy ending.
Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os) left me sleepless. With True Romance, this must be my favourite love story. I went to a preview on Wednesday night, and couldn’t fall asleep till the early hours of the morning for thinking of the film. It is brutal and hard to watch in some places but it takes you on a powerful journey of transforming characters.
Set in the south of France – which we usually associate with holidays for the rich and the Cannes International Film Festival – it tells the story of Alain (Matthias Schoenaerts) and Stephanie (Marion Cotillard).
Alain has come to live with his sister. He has no money, likes to box and fight, fuck (sorry, there is no other appropriate word to describe the sex) girls, and really has no idea how to parent the five-year old son he brought along to live with his sister. His sister works as a cashier and brings home expired foodstuffs for them to eat. It’s real life along the Cote d’Azure seldom reflected.
Stephanie trains killer whales, has a horrible life-changing accident, and early on in the film is restricted to her flat and falls into a deep depression.
But the inarticulate Alain in his unsentimental straightforward way takes her out swimming, to restaurants and eventually offers to sleep with her – never any foreplay. A relationship between the fighter and the killer whale trainer slowly evolves and it is the deepening of their friendship and his awakening to her needs that makes this film so good.
Alain is a working class bloke. There is no reason to like him. But director Jacques Audiard skilfully gets you invested in his nuanced characters.
Watch it. Did I say it is very very good?
This weekend in Cape Town, at the Open Book Festival the new collection of feminist writings, “50 Shades of Feminism” will be discussed over two sessions both chaired by Margie Orford, our queen of crime. The first one is on Saturday at 12pm. On the panel are Rachel Holmes (co-editor), Gillian Slovo (contributor), NoViolet Bulawayo and Kamila Shamsie. On the panel for the second session at 2pm are writers Pumla Gqola, Reneilwe Malatji, Fiona Snyckers and Khosi Xaba.
The editors of the collection of writings are: Lisa Appignanesi, Rachel Holmes and Susie Orbach. It’s being getting great reviews. And if I could I would go listen to these women discuss feminism in our years. In an article published in the Observer, Appignanesi writes that “Feminism, after all, is simply the radical notion that women are people”.
The New Statesman quotes a poem by Laurie Penny which forms part of the collection:
“There are more of us than you think, kicking off our high-heeled shoes to run and being told not so fast . . . who dared to dance until dawn and were drugged and raped by men in clean T-shirts and woke up scared and sore to be told it was our fault . . . who were told all our lives that we were too loud too risky too fat too ugly too scruffy too selfish too much . . .”
Oh what fun we’ve had at playing guessing games about why on Thursday Rupert Murdoch filed to divorce Wendi Deng, his wife since 1999.
In the papers submitted to New York’s supreme court, the 82 year-old chairman of the multi-national media organisation, News Corporation, said his marriage to his 44-year-old third wife had “broken down irretrievably”. That of course doesn’t satisfy any curiosity at what went wrong in their personal relationship.
The 39-year-old age gap first comes to mind. But there are other possibilities.
Tony Blair’s name was immediately flung into the bag of third party interference. But rumours that UK’s former prime minister and the godfather of the couple’s young daughters is in love with his friend, Deng, were quickly denied. Read More…
On July 15 we’ll be able to download on our kindles A Girl Walks into a Bar. I hated Fifty Shades. But I am intrigued about this interactive erotic novel: you decide with whom and what this girl does. So if, like me, you hated the red room of pain where a young girl is abused and in this new novel you find yourself in a similar situation, you can leave immediately and find a different – a vanilla? – scenario to go to. The ‘choose-your-own-adventure erotic’ novel was written by three talented local gals: Sarah Lotz, Helen Moffett and Paige Nick. There has been HUGE international interest in the book: nineteen countries have bought the rights to publish it.
Jonathan Ball Publishers will release the paperback in November.
When auctioneer Stephan Welz called out R1 million for Robert Hodgins’ Three figures and a crowd a woman collapsed.
The immediate unspoken fear was that she had died. It may be the surprise of a Hodgins painting fetching one million rand that overwhelmed her. Or it could have been that the Wits Art Museum’s basement was too warm and too crowded for the frail woman. Or she may have been playing a role in a perfectly staged piece of theatre intended to deepen the drama of the evening.
Whatever the reason for the woman’s collapse, bidding was interrupted and Marie Claire’s elegant and usually composed editor, Aspasia Karras, cried. The crowd fell silent and most people quietly moved away to allow doctors space to help the woman.
I unashamedly rushed towards her to take notes of a perfect death: here she was surrounded by beautiful people and by some of the best local art – a William Kentridge, the artist himself, a Santu Mofakeng photo. There can surely be no better way to kick the can.
But, too dignified for so public a death, the woman (I was told she’s a museum donor and didn’t want to be named) regained consciousness and fled the scene. The auction resumed and, seconds after the little drama, the large oil painting sold for R1.3 million.
It was Thursday night in Braamfontein, and a around 100 members of Johannesburg’s art-buying and financial elite were gathered at WAM to celebrate its first birthday and to spend money that would make its way into the museum’s fund. Read More…
Tomorrow, Wednesday, thousands of teachers associated with South African Democratic Teachers’ Union around the country are expected to strike.
The strike which Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s department has called illegal, is part of the campaign to have the minister and her Director-General Bobby Soobrayan removed from office.
The union’s website says that the marches are meant to increase the pressure on Motshekga and Soobrayan to resign from their incumbent positions in defense of collective bargaining and promotion of quality public education.
Anyway, while teachers prepare to march tomorrow, Barack Obama has delivered a speech at the US Teacher of the Year Event.
It’s hard to wake up in the morning with dreadful pictures splashed across our newspapers. The news of the Boston bomb blasts, the dead, and the injured devastated many across the globe. Not only do I despair for well all of us, but explaining to my children that the world isn’t a pink marshmallow always crushes my spirits.
Then I got a tweet to say I should focus on the the people who rushed to help, and I saw that Ezra Klein had posted ‘If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon’ on his Washington Post blog, Wonkblog. In the piece he writes:
If you are losing faith in human nature today, watch what happens in the aftermath of an attack on the Boston Marathon. The flood of donations crashed the Red Cross’s Web site. The organization tweeted that its blood supplies are already full. People are lining up outside of Tufts Medical Center to try and help. Runners are already vowing to be at marathons in the coming weeks and months. This won’t be the last time the squeakers run Boston. This won’t be the last time we gather at the finish line to marvel how much more we can take than anyone ever thought possible.
New York poet Sharon Olds has won the TS Eliot poetry prize for her collection Stag’s Leap collection. Britain’s poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and chair of the final judging panel, was quoted in The Guardian saying: “There is a grace and chivalry in her grief that marks her out as being a world-class poet. I always say that poetry is the music of being human, and in this book she is really singing. Her journey from grief to healing is so beautifully executed.”
Here is one of her poems:
My Son’s Father’s Smile
In my sleep, our son, as a child, said,
of his father, he smiled me—as if into
existence, into the family built around the
young lives which had come from the charged
bouquets, the dense oasis. That smile,
those years, well what can a body say, I have
been in the absolute present of a fragrant
ignorance. And to live in those rooms,
where one of his smiles might emerge, like something
almost from another place,
another time, another set
of creatures, was to feel blessed, and to be
held in mysteriousness, and a little
in mourning. The thinness of his lips gave it
a simplicity, like a child’s drawing
of a smile—a footbridge, turned over on its back, or seen
under itself, in water—and the archer’s
bow gave it a curved unerring
symmetry, a shot to the heart. I look back on that un-
clouded face yet built of cloud,
and that waning crescent moon, that look
of deep, almost sad, contentment, and know myself
lucky, that I had out the whole
night of a half-life in that archaic
hammock, in a sky whose darkness is fading, that
first dream, from which I am now waking.
One of the world’s most esteemed fashion and style bloggers, American Scott Schuman a.k.a The Sartorialist will be in Johannesburg later this week to attend the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2012.
After giving up his job in fashion sales in 2005 to look after his daughter, Schuman started blogging. Carrying a digital camera, he took to the streets of New York City. He then posted his photographs of people who caught his eye on his blog which The New York Times has described as a “bellwether site that turned photo-blogging into an art-form. The blog now receives 14 million page views per month.
Aspasia Karras, editor of Marie Claire, believes “that he’s coming to work on a book of African style, so I am quite excited to see how he gives it his special spin.”
One of South Africa’s local fashion bloggers, Malibongwe Tyilo of the SKATTIE, WHAT WERE YOU WEARING? said yesterday, “Due to prior commitments I won’t be at Fashion Week Africa, but I’ll be watching his blog to see what he shoots here. I am curious generally how visitors photograph or present South Africa to their audiences. It’s interesting to see what fascinates them. We get used to ourselves, so to see the beauty an outsider may notice is always interesting.”
The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2012 takes place at Melrose Arch Johannesburg, October 22 – 27. For more information visit www.afi.za.com. The Times is the official media partner of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa 2012
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