31 July 2010

The best of Charlotte Rampling

Charlotte Rampling, so effing cool

30 July 2010

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy & Existentialism?

Matthew Hutson writes in Psychology Today:

"I've recently come to the conclusion that cognitive behavioral therapy, the empirically-demonstrated gold standard for treating depression and a host of other problems, necessitates a belief in existentialism, a philosophy holding that we live in a meaningless universe.

How can happiness derive from appreciating the fundamental pointlessness of existence?

Existentialism (at least atheistic existentialism) does not argue that meaning does not exist, only that it does not exist out there in the real world. All meaning is human-constructed. You have complete freedom to interpret events however you like (a freedom that some find nauseating.)

CBT similarly places interpretive control in the hands of the individual. The premise is that thoughts lead to emotions (which lead to behaviors), and we can learn to control our thoughts--even if they've become habit. We're not at the mercy of an emotional system automatically placing valuation on experiences."

Read the complete article.

{ Claire suddenly realized that existence precedes essence
and she was free to kill all the old gods }

29 July 2010

Shopping | Urban Outfitters

Some favourites...

{ Wildflower Scarf US$28 }

{ SAT words shower curtain US$28 }

{ Framed Animal Prints by Ryan Berkley US$38 each }

{ Atlas Tapestry US$36 }

{ Ruffled Duvet Cover US$148 }

{ Fuji Instax Instant Camera US$130 }

27 July 2010

Film | Sunset Boulevard

1950 | 110m | BW | USA | Showbiz Drama, Satire | TSPDT #31

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, D.M. Marshman, Jr

Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, D.M. Marshman, Jr (screenplay)
Hans Dreier, John Meehan, Sam Comer, Ray Moyer (art direction)
Franz Waxman (music)

Charles Brackett (producer)
Billy Wilder (director)
William Holden (actor)
Gloria Swanson (actress)
Erich von Stoheim (actor is supporting role)
Nancy Olson (actress in supporting role)
John F. Seitz (photography)
Doane Harrison, Arthur P. Schmidt (editing)

William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Franklin Farnum, Larry Blake, Charles Dayton, Cecil B. DeMille

Full of ostentatious visual, usual for Wilder, and compositions that evoked the air of Phantom of the Opera, and Kane's Xanadu.

It's rather negative, and this is probably the reason I'd never seen the film - my father was a huge Billy Wilder fan but never introduced me to this film as he found it too depressing.

I love the huge close up of the white gloved hands as they play Beethoven on the wheezy pipe organ as the trapped gigolo flutters in the background.  Wilder's acidic, yet nostalgic, traipse through the film industry's haunted house could certainly be re-watched endlessly.

You can't help but feel sorry for Norma (Gloria Swanson), the megalomanic silent movie queen, whose attempts to stay youthful into her fifties paradoxically make her seem a thousand years old.  Norma lives in a decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard, holding a midnight funeral for her pet monkey, scrawling an unproducable script, and dreaming of an impossible comeback ("I hate that word!  This will be a return!").

Even Wilder gives strange affection to the has-been Norma, and the never-was Joe, with a somewhat sadistic use of such ravaged and frozen silent era faces as Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner and Anna Q Nilsson.  I love Norma's line: "I'm big, it's the pictures that got small!"

The dialogue is beautiful and often poetic, especially Joe's narration of the story.  There are some great one liners too, and I almost feel that this film in some ways will be just an enjoyable to read.
NO. 1
Sure we believe you, only now we
want you to believe us. That car
better be back here by noon tomorrow,
or there's going to be fireworks.

You say the cutest things.
As a side note to remember, for myself: I like the narration at the beginning "you've come to the right party" - another alternative would be an off screen monologue as the narrator tells another character - although this wasn't the case in this film.


Come to think of it, the whole place seemed
to have been stricken with a kind of
creeping paralysis, out of beat with the
rest of the world, crumbling apart in slow
motion ...

More screen shots below: See more...

Thank you, Jonesy.  And teach
your friend some manners.  Tell
him without me he wouldn't have
any job, because without me there
wouldn't be any Paramount Studio.

Of course you didn't.  You didn't
know Norma Desmond as a plucky
little girl of seventeen, with
more courage and wit and heart
than ever came together in one

I hear she was a terror to
work with.

She got to be.  A dozen press
agents working overtime can
do terrible things to the human
                (to the set)
Hold everything.

That's the trouble with you
readers. You know all the plots.

May I say you smell real special.

It must be my new shampoo.

That's no shampoo. It'smore like
a pile of freehly laundred hand-
kerchiefs, like a brand new auto-
mobile. How old are you anyway?


That's it -- there's nothing like
being twenty-two. Now may I suggest
that if we're ever to finish this
story you keep at least two feet
away from me ... Now back to the

Art | Gemma Smith

Geometry geometry.

26 July 2010

Film | Bicycle Thieves

1948 | 93m | B&W | Italy | Family Drama, Urban Drama, Coming of Age | TSPDT #14

A man and his son search Rome for a stolen bicycle vital for his job.

Vittoria De Sica

Cesare Zavattini, Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Vittorio De Sica, Oreste Biancoli, Adolfo Franci & Gerardo Guerrieri, from the novel Ladri di Biciclette by Luigi Bartolini

Giuseppe Amato, Vittorio De Sica (honorary award - best foreign language film)

Cesare Zavattini (screenplay)

Lamberto Maggiorani, Lianella Carell, Enzo Staiola, Elena Altieri, Vittorio Antonucci, Gino Saltamerenda

Long mistranslated as "The Bicycle Thief"

In this film, the bicycle is not just a means of transportation for Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), but also a symbol of the desperate situation facing the people of postwar Italy.  Ricco is thrilled to have a new job, and new bicycle.  But very soon he goes from this:

... to this:
Without a bicycle, Ricci has no job, and no hope for the future.  You feel so sorry for Ricci with his little boy Bruno (Enzo Staiola) in tow, as they crisscross around town trying to recover their bike, encountering various aspects of Roman society, including some of the more acute class differences, in the process.  I even found myself scouring the screen looking for a trace of his bike, while intermittently worrying that Bruno would get lost when he so often wanders off in the labyrinth of ancient lanes.

This film is possibly the greatest depiction of a relationship between father and son in cinema history - part of the reason I was so curious to see it.  It's full of subtle fluctuations and evolving graduations between the two characters in terms of trust and respect, and it's an awesome heart breaker.

I wouldn't have let him go for his tin

RICCI slaps BRUNO. RICCI is surprised at his own behaviour. BRUNO cries and and stumbles off into the shrubs. RICCI apologizes in fast Italian.

Why hit me?

Because you deserved it.

This is really the turning point of the film, as RICCI is a caring father and upright citizen who loves his family and gives time to the poor suspect to get his free tin off beans, and thereby loosing his lead, who morphs into a new callous creature fighting for his family's survival. It's about the lines we cross in times of desperation, and it's easy to wonder how many families were going through similar transformations during this period.

The film also has moments of Chaplin-esque comedy: the contrasting behaviour between the two boys having lunch at the same restaurant.  The father and son were acted so well.  The father is both tender and harsh.  And the kid is so strong willed and passionately Italian, it's phenomenal.  I just want to say this one Italian line with the same conviction he does:

The film also features some of the best bicycle doubling around:

It's apparently one of the best examples of Italian Neorealism, and it is the first film of this genre that I have seen.  Director Vitorrio De Sica, along with Luchino Visconti and Roberto Rossellini, had trained and worked in the commercial Italian film industry before WWII, and produced startling and distinctive films that captured the reality of physical devastation, the moral degradation, and the human suffering of the war years.  In the words of De Seca:
"the experience of the war was so decisive for us all.  Each felt the mad desire to throw away the old stories of the Italian cinema, to plant the camera in the midst of real life."
Neorealism presents everyday life through stories involving working-class or poor protagonists, also makes use of location shooting, long takes, natural lighting, non-professional actors, venacular dialogue, grainy black-and-white film stock, and unobtrusive editing.  Some of these choices derive partly from the economic circumstances of the film makers at the time.

Italian Neorealism's principles and visual style has influenced much of international art cinema, and also Hollywood's film noir, and the social problem films of the 1940s and 1950s, the British New Wave of the 1960s and Third Cinema movements such as Cinema Novo in Brazil and post-revolutionary Cuban cinema.  Its social vision and conventions were taken up by politically committed filmmakers in Africa, Latin America, and also Asia during the revolutionary fervour of the 1960s.