Festival de Cannes 2018

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Phantom Thread – film review

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Sir Paul Thomas Anderson gifts us with yet another masterpiece. 

Phantom Thread is a film that illustrates a unique perspective of love; a love so sweet and cruel that is shaped and manipulated by the fragile threads of each character’s hearts.

A story between fashion and romance whispered with such delicacy that only the medium of film can convey.

Like a feather flying away. You’d never wonder where it’s coming from, instead, you stare at its hypnotic movements. It only takes one head turn to discover a dying bird. They call it “the calm after the storm”.

The film’s characters played respectively by acting legend Daniel Day-Lewis and revelation actress Vicky Krieps, talk and move just like feathers in the wind, with such hush that could only come from restless souls.

The more silence, the more each line will signify. The more long takes, the more each short take will signify. We’re hanging on every word, every take, every note, leaving us breathless, like the pain of a first love. A method masterfully used by Anderson to manipulate the audience, most probably inspired by the likes of Stanley Kubrick.

Yet “Phantom Thread” has all a film should have. Strong lead performances, a superb original screenplay, neat cinematography, not to forget the costume design either which perfectly depicts the 50s post-war London ambience. All of this, embraced by Greenwood’s transcendental and sublime score that will stay with you long after the cinema shuts down and everybody goes home.

It’s indeed a rare, rare feeling. Leaving the screen speechless and yet, your head is spinning. Even the world outside the picture house seems more flattering than usual.

An intimate film of cinematic splendor that gives a new meaning to elegance.

“Whatever you do, do it carefully”

By Lorna May. logo

Doctor Says I have Cinephilia

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Dear Doctor Lecter,

I’m writing to inform you I won’t need your services any longer.

Not only do I firmly believe that there’s no cure for my condition, but I also claim the right to enjoy it.

I’ve been diagnosed with CINEPHILIA, therefore I refuse to believe that a word composed by the suffix “philia”, the Greek word for love, could be considered a mental disorder.

Nevertheless, I’m aware that love itself, is considered to be an illness. Literature and poetry have often described love as a kind of madness, with similar symptoms caused by drugs such as cocaine and other substances that end in -ine.

Your predecessor, Sigmund Freud himself said “isn’t what we mean by ‘falling in love’ a kind of sickness and craziness, an illusion, a blindness to what the loved person is really like?”. (He also said that we fall in love with something with a quality that we wish to have/be)

We don’t have much in common, but we do share something: the human condition, the worst illness of all.

So let me be ill with pride and joy! Let me indulge in my reverie! Let me dance with the gods, from shot to shot.

Love, is to love in a particular way. I’ll illustrate you mine.

You see, every average Joe can discover a masterpiece, but only a cinephile could uncover the glories, all the more wondrous for being hidden, of minor, even failed work that might be refashioned, if only by force of will, into greatness of another kind, perhaps even a better kind.

Ah, those images.

Words pour forth most often as a stream of consciousness or Freudian free association indicating a keen awareness that even the poetry of certain words could never quite convey the poetry of an image.

Cinephilia is the art of seeing in movies what others don’t see. Hitchcock’s beauty of form, the maniacal symmetry of Kubrick, the tenderness under the surface of some of Bunuel’s cruelest films, the old-fashioned elegance of Woody Allen, the perverse intellect of Otto Preminger, the colorful apartments of Almodovar’s grey women, that haze of Fellini movies.

And there she is. Jeanne Moreau, seen through a glass, lightly. The bitter tears of Jean D’Arc. Audrey Hepburn’s slow-motioned smile.

Life can be so miserable, compared to movies. Without the fact that it lasts much longer.

Near the beginning of Bertolucci’s film The Dreamers – among other things an ode to cinephilia – a lonely young American in 1960s Paris haunts the Cinémathèque, lapping up movies, always sitting in the front rows so that, as he says, he can capture the image before anyone else.

It is a beautiful form of addiction; an eclectic, voracious, impassioned, if not a little sentimental way of dealing with the unthinkable, life.

For a cinephile, even a truly awful movie is almost as good as a really great one, and infinitely preferable to a simply mediocre one. But then again, doesn’t this philosophy apply to anything else?

A film embraces moments of quiet euphoria, and makes of those moments a private, shared mythology. The image. The idea of the image itself is sublime. My heart is pounding. It makes my hand reach for a tranquilizer.

But maybe, dear Dr Lecter, I tell myself that you might be right after all. My condition is in a certain way, a form of fetishism rather than a form of love. It is clear that the aura of movies is what I cherish the most. I want to possess the movies, not to own them.

See you at the next session.

Sincerely,

Lorna May

By Lorna May. logo

Three Blind Mice

Introducing the music of Cloud Nine: Three Blind Mice. Australian bassist Sebastien Girardot teams up with guitarist Félix Hunot and trumpeter Malo Mazurié to bring old jazz standards to life.

While the cat’s away, the mice will play!

FOLLOW US on Facebook Cloud Nine and Instagram @cloudninefilm

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A Psychoanalytic Portrait

Patient                                                             Doctor

F.                                                                   Lorna May

Session N.1

Presenting problems and situation: 

F. is an almost middle aged man with the heart of a child. As all musicians, he’s unstable and an asshole. F.’s relationship with life is very much bound to his relationship with art.

PURITANISM seems to be the main concern. We might describe him as an “artistic puritan”. This remark is based on the foundations of his taste in music and cinema.

F. presents a compulsive obsessive interest on whatever is related to the Jazz age.

An art critic, studying his case from a farther angle, might end up with the conclusion that as a jazz musician, his puritanism is only praiseworthy. F., being gifted of an inhuman perfectionism and a totalitarian control over the use of his hands (normally linked with classic pianists) doesn’t obviously want to be influenced (in worst case scenarios – contaminated) by other music genres. His rejection to art discovery is an early sign of senile dementia.

The same applies to cinema. F.’s film education, unsurprisingly, also dates back to the Jazz age (note his shock after watching Mulholland Drive). The only modern director that F. appreciates is Woody Allen, we presume the reason being the use of jazz music in his pictures, his fascination with neurotic women (probably linked to the complicated relationship with his mother) and the similar personality traits with the author.

The same puritan attitude applies to his circle of friends and lifestyle. We can finally agree, that F. lies unthreatened, in his self-made bed of wine and roses, living in denial of reality.

His puritanism also extends to his romantic relationships. An example being his 10 years commitment to a “Blue Jasmine” kind of woman, someone who is nearly always putting on a pretence caused by insecurities about her fading beauty which are continuously emphasised by her need to be hidden from bright lights and her need for sexual admiration by men.

In this specific scenario, by puritanism, we mean F.’s need of comfort and stability, which was tragically provided by an uncomfortable and unstable woman.

After all, a golden cage of appearances, leaving F. (a man who finds catharsis in love) emotionally raw.

Current Symptoms/Behaviors: 

F. has recently came into contact with a young actress by the name of L. , a woman who’s not excellent at anything, but good at everything.

The gods threw the dice – L. found F. when she needed music in her life, and F. found L. when he needed cinema in his.

Just to put things into perspective; we might fairly describe L. as a fearless wonderer. An art time-traveller, an hedonist – opposed to puritan F.

Her open-mindedness at first enchanted our patient who soon became loving and a little over-exited, most recently showing signs of unassertiveness and fear (there’s only one fear and that is the fear of the unknown/ignorance).

It’s only logical to assume that the patient has been deeply moved by this free-spirited woman, artistically and emotionally.

Therefore, we categorise F.’s sudden change of behaviour as xenophobic.

The patient presents a subtle mix of fear and pleasure by the emblematic nature of this woman, an actress, a thief, who steals souls and makes them hers…who influences/contaminates F.’s puritan persona with art and kisses.

It’s with no doubt that we say that the patient is in a cloudy state-of-mind for the time being. This momentarily hesitation and perhaps scepticism could be translated into oblivion.

The patient has shown desire to drastic lifestyle changes – mostly to accommodate other’s visions, we’d assume. Changes which don’t fit at all with his nature.

We fear suicide.

Treatment:

Prozac – 20 mg once a day

Coffee – one New York mug a day

Cinema – one seance per week

Switch poems to prose

Substance Abuse Treatment History: 

None reported.

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Dance by the Sea

 

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Tonight, we will meet again to take a walk along the shore.

Walking on water, we will wait for each other in the middle of the sea, you will come to take me like a wave that envelops me in a timeless dream.

We will dance over the creatures of the moon, now scratched by the deep sea and the people of the sea will watch impotent, suspended in the abyss, creatures and monsters, whales and dolphins, mermaids without anymore deception and death will join the legend of the mermen, without anymore heroes and myths, and everyone will stand watching the reflection that wraps us, making us dance on the water like ancient immortal gods.

In the depths we will see them illuminate the pitch black darkness of an abyss, and a thousand coloured lights will be our limbo, the eternal moment lapped by the siren wailing that turns into a sweet and melodic silent song, a whisper of passion and love that warms up the water and makes the sea sweet, so sweet that you would want to drink it one drop at a time, wave after wave, until the city of Atlantis can re-emerge in the light of the sun along with princes that will gallop on the victorious and impressive waves like kings.

Everything will remain silent while only our breaths will become enveloping echos between the world’s kingdoms, no more laments and songs, only faint breaths of passion that will become music ready to lead the homeless souls to the rediscovery of a new identity, fixed forever in a timeless place where even dreams become steps on water.

Until the sea becomes air and everything will be sky without limit and horizon.

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The W(b)itches of Harvey Weinstein

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I spend a lot of time holding the fridge door open looking for answers.

Unimpressed by it all, dull and oblivious of the degree of hypocrisy in the world; I keep staring at the apricot jam that has been lying on the top shelf of my fridge since 1996.  Some things are, truly forever. Like apricot jam, of course. Oh, and bitchcraft.

Hollywood is a micro-society. Supposedly, let’s say that every society is like a human evolution pyramid, but reversed. At the top we have the Australopithecus Robustus, and at the bottom the Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Pretty fucked-up, hum?

It’s no surprise the most powerful individuals on Earth are, as Holly Golightly would put it – super rats.

Harvey Weinstein, for example, perfectly fits the stereotype: a half-bald headed, fat, ruthless, depraved son of a diamond cutter.

The world it’s such a roundabout ridiculous cliché, I mean, can’t you see why it is so difficult to quit smoking?

As you all know by now, many actresses have come out with sexual harassment accusations, following a New York Times investigation on the infamous mischiefs of Mr.Weinstein.

The news comes as no surprise, considering the fact that Hollywood has a history for bitchery. Before H.Weinstein there was D.Zanuck, film producer and studio executive, who was an habitué of the casting-couch. His office was basically a boudoir.

He surely wasn’t the only one, but that was the deal: desperate half-brained actresses would negotiate their flesh for some of that red-carpet flash. Yes, it was a flesh-flash deal.

Sadly, things have remained unchanged today. As an actress, I’ve been there too. I’ve met a few weirdos who promised me the world in exchange of some warm embraces. I’ve never accepted such trade, but I wonder where would I be now if I did. Probably up hill, complaining with the other witches.

Breaking news: perverts are out there kids, since the beginning of times, and so are prostitutes. What’s the big deal?

But, why shall this ugly story become a feminist crusade? What’s exactly feminist about it?

Wait a moment. Rewind. So, many Hollywood actresses are complaining about Mr.Pig avances in the past. Check. These actresses had major roles in Mr.Pig movies, some won a considerable amount of prices, gained international acclaim and quite frankly, hit the jackpot. Check-check.

It seems like all of these women are playing innocent victims of the bad fat guy. Harvey Weinstein is a King Pig, and there’s no question about it but the trade seems fair to me. There are many ways to success, these actresses chose the easiest one (and we’re ok with it, it’s a Hollywood tradition), but why exploiting it?

They are now praised by the media as survivors, the spokeswomen of a new, braver generation of feminists.

Feminism. I hate that word. What does that even mean? To be a liberated bitch? I mean witch. To each his own convenient meaning, I guess.

Maybe, but only maybe, women should learn to keep it down with w(b)itchcraft. That’s the reason number one of why men mistreat us and disrespect us in the first place. If there are so many women happily willing to use their bodies for trade, then we got it all wrong.

Instead of encouraging women to hate men and seek revenge, because that’s what’s happening, we should instead teach them to be graceful, cultivated and opinionated. Oh, but that’s just a dream of mine.

Another fancy term will come up, and we’ll yet have another reason to hate each other.

But after all, it’s funny that way.

Happy Halloween!

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Notes from a Dressing Room

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When I observe how early happiness handicaps people, I do not regret to have been deeply unhappy to begin with. There’s something romantic about falling.

The world embarrasses me.

* I might as well not quit smoking after all. To star in a French film you must be smoking at all times; even when you are in a bath, in the hospital, or wondering through a warehouse full of dynamite. Cigarettes might be my big brake.

* Wednesdey: the sound of this off-key flute mixed up with heavy rain, and the so familiar and guilty smell of old cigarettes buds makes me think of J. I’ve never been with such an unstable person. I feel safer being next to a dying dog. It must be midnight somewhere. Not here.

* The wild me, the animal me. Me, in the ultime role: myself. What is myself? Myself is when I’m alone. Who claims the opposite is a liar. Myself is the animal me, the untrained me, the “me” that doesn’t have to act to accommodate social standards. The “physical” me. How do I walk when I’m alone in my apartment (my back is facing down more than usual, almost as if imitating a monkey). How do I dress, sit, eat, masturbate. How do I look when I’m eating? How’s my posture? I have an over-relaxed expression when I eat, read, sleep, pee. Idiot face. Monkey face. Idiot monkey face. Notice the plastic of your face in these moments of deep intimacy, and then compare it with your physical behaviour in social activities. I talk like a fucking anthropologist. An ACTRESS must have no mouth, no feet, no shoulders. Loose, loose. Hanging loose. Focus my thought on the partner, feeling it at the end of my fingers. It starts from the feet. Below the feet. It’s all in my feet.

* I find myself tormented by conflicting feelings. My heart is divided between two men and two cities. It’s like being in a damn ice-cream parlor.

* How many times do I say “I” per day? it’s so egocentric.

* My dad, a kind of bourgeois nudist communist, sent me off to strict catholic schools to let me know the enemy first-hand.

* I’m finding out that sincerity and to be simple or direct is often mistaken for stupidity. But since it is not a sincere world, it’s very probable that being sincere is stupid.

* Get an interest in broken people, as broken people are unbreakable. How to recognise them? They have sad-like abandoned puppy eyes.

* You don’t realise that people act (instinctively) much more than you do, because when you act, you’re fully aware of it. So, are they better actors than you? In day-to-day life? Real life is only what’s going on in your mind. Is it? So, are you the worse actress in the world, inside your mind? If that’s so, you must be the best one outside your body. Is it?

* Challenge: find a Parisian psychotherapist that doesn’t have pastis for breakfast.

* VOICE. Husky voice, nasal voice. Sweet and strong at the same time. Talk from your mind (sexy). Talk from your stomach (stupid).

* I will take my rightful place on the stage and I will be thyself. I am not a cosmic orphan. I have no reason to be timid. I will respond as I feel; awkwardly, vulgarly. But respond. I will have my throat open, I will have my heart open. I will be vulnerable. I will admit rejection, admit pain, admit frustration, admit even pettiness. The best and most human parts of me, are those I’ve inhabited and hidden from the world. I will work on it. I will raise my voice. I’ll be heard. Stop laughing inside.

* Acting is just making stuff up, but that’s okay. I’m going to have a special microphone placed in my coffin so that when I wake up in there, six feet under the ground, I’m going to say: “do it differently”.

* London is becoming like Monaco with bad weather. It’s depressing. The only thing that keeps me alive is the thought that I will be soon in Paris… But tonight, I’m stunned, amazed, absolutely blown away, looking at some portraits made by famous Belle Epoque artists. I’ve decided, if my life would be a portrait, it would be a Boldini one.

* My ex-boyfriends have been my best critics so far. That’s why they’re exes.

* I don’t excel at anything, but I’m good at everything.

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Cross My Heart and Hope to Die

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18th century actress Sarah Bernhardt, sleeping in her coffin lined with love letters and flowers. 

“As all the heavens were a bell,

And Being but an ear,

And I and silence some strange race,

Wrecked, solitary, here.”

I Felt a Funeral in My Brain – Emily Dickinson

 

 

Someone said that the most fun things in life are either immoral, illegal or they make you fat.

There are a few rules of social conduct once you enter the Catacombs of Paris: Don’t reveal to anyone the point from where you got in and the point from where you’ll get out, use pseudonyms, always greet and be kind to strangers, don’t leave anything behind you, don’t steal anything, don’t keep walking if you get lost, don’t trust anyone. Self-control.

Cross my heart and hope to die.

Some, may argue the importance of respecting the dead. But why should that be an issue? Some, don’t even argue the importance of respecting the living.

22179726_1789660867719297_3664550451914821837_oJump in the manhole! Clip-clap and…hello darkness my old friend…

On three levels, there are around 300km of underground tunnels ahead of us.

Front torch, boots and a backpack full of food and booze.

We’re dipped in water. It almost reaches my thoughts. Our guide says that all the “tourists” (new-comers) must pass through the water tunnel, in order to be baptised. The water is apparently so clean and pure that washes you off of any past-life sin. I doubt it.

We reach one of the several “lounges” as we stop to catch our breaths. We share a beer, a few words of wisdom and, out of the blue the overwhelming silence.

No echo.

Most of the silence we experience in life is tainted. We can hear birds singing, water running in the distance, foggy jazz music from a distant bar, the rustling of trees.

22137153_1789658434386207_2547246545789495264_oTrue silence will drive you mad. My mind is so loud, but with time, one can hear nothing but his own organs working. Absolute silence is filled by the sound of your own body. You can hear your breathing, your heart beating, you can hear the blood in your veins. You can hear your pulse, your bones rub against each other, your skin sliding over your muscles. You can hear tendons creak, organs churning…and that’s usually about the point where people start hearing things that aren’t really there, I guess. I heard that astronauts are trained to cope with the complete lack of sound they can experience.

But that’s not my case although I’d like to live it. In fact, I am sharing the silence with my companions. F. said she could hear my heart beating, but thanks to that magnificent silence, we could really hear each other talking. Every single word had importance. Every single voice was transcendental. Sound in silence, eyeless bound.

As we found our way round the labyrinthine system, it occurred to me that I am in an underground art gallery. Murals, scale model castles, carved gargoyles, mosaics, sculptures, art installations and the like.

Most of the lounges have a theme, but that’s not about it. This is a city under construction, or the remains of a lost empire.

22181535_1790407927644591_3378738058230700953_oAlright kids, it’s show-time! The cinema lounge has murals representing notorious films such as Pulp Fiction, Ghost Busters, Taxi Driver, Titanic and Metropolis. Stones are placed to create an amphitheater. Fasten your seat-belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!

 

22219942_1789663331052384_3597547940552193356_oThere’s also a Flower room, if you feel like cutting your veins and sleeping forever next to Ophelia, but before committing suicide, you could reconsider your final act while having a drink with your mate at the Foxy Bar. Why not clear your ideas at The Beach lounge, before you write a wonderful suicide note in The Lampshade room? But even better, why not kill someone else in The Candelabra lounge instead?

22137003_1790404267644957_5471998615377446452_oWe sit down for a break and to my big surprise, our guide opens his Mary Poppins magic bag, makes up a little fire and serves us fondue and wine, along with some pretty table decorations. As we dine with the dead to the sound of blues, I can’t stop smiling.

It’s strange to think that there’s a city upon us dancing Saturday Night Fever, oblivious of what’s under their heels.

When I wake up, I’ll be different.

We already reached the 3rd level. A throne made out of human bones stands still and proud. The Kingdom of the Dead holds no grudge. There’s no reason to be afraid of death if you’ve lived fully. Life is much scarier.

The truth about forever is that….whatever. I smoked too much Mary Jane. I am not going to shock you all with a last-minute discovery, but being surrounded by all those human bones makes me wonder what makes us alive?

Desire. Desire makes a person move, create and destroy. Desire makes a person kill.

People are killers and all men are cannibals; I think as I enter a cul-de-sac corridor infested by skeletons.

All men are cannibals. I think as I have another puff.

Men eat men every day. Sometimes physically, other times emotionally. Men eat men by means of power. Men eat men’s dignity. Men eat men’s love.

Even the Sun gets smaller and smaller as the planets around it eat its energy. The Moon gets larger and larger as it eats men’s energy on Earth.

Men eat Earth. Earth eats men. Men eat men.

Enough with my foggy reverie.

22222049_1790503800968337_7029053827989202091_nWe’re on our way out through the utility tunnels, climbing on an endless metal ladder, finally popping our heads out the manhole, in the sun rising street, like groundhogs.

I no longer will scratch the surface of life.

When I wake up, I’ll be different.

Bending and crawling, crawling and bending. Water. Bending. More water. Mind the head. This is my happiest memory: the six of us stumbling under Paris on the sound of communist songs.

When I wake up, I’ll be different.

 

(Special thanks to all my comrades and especially to our guide, for making this trip to Hell eternal in my heart)

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