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Commentaires écrits par
Erika Borsos "pepper flower" (Gulf Coast of FL, USA)

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Shadow Fires
Shadow Fires
by Dean Koontz
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 10.99
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Rekindling Ancient Genetic Memories, July 16 2006
This book is another "once-you-start-you-can't-put-it-down" exhilirating reading experience. Dean Koontz has not yet disapointed. His novels are suspense-filled, imaginative, and totally unpredictable. The reader expects ... the unexpected. This novel is exceptionally brilliant, based on plausible genetic engineering principles which are exaggerated to create the impossible yet the reader is riveted and thrilled with the revelation when "the impossible" gradually becomes possible. This book is entertaining, spine-tingling, and utterly terrifying as the possibilities become ever more real ...

The book begins by introducing the reader to Rachael Leben and her husband, Dr. Eric Leben, a former University of California scientist and professor who is a partner in a genetic engineering research firm. This high profile California couple is in the midst of a divorce after seven years of marriage. They

seem like an above average couple whose divorce has all the qualities of turning into a nasty public media type circus event. Right after the meeting at Eric's lawyer's office, he hurls accusations at Rachael in an attempt to gain control over the situation as his masculinity and ego were totally crushed, humiliated when Rachael failed to press for everything she is entitled to under California divorce laws. After this highly charged emotional confrontation, Eric dashed across the street and in a freak accident was hit by a garbage truck. It hurled him in the air like a bomb blast and caused severe head injuries, from all indications killing him instantly. The paramedics could not revive him.

As if witnessing this event was not enough, the following day, Rachael receives a phone call from the Medical Examiner's office where she learns Eric's body had disappeared. After separating from Eric, Rachael had developed a friendship with Benny Lee Shadway, a highly successful real estate developer who was her sole emotional comfort during this horrible ordeal. He noticed she was paranoid and behaving oddly which he initially attributed to witnessing her husband's accident but as time progressed he was to learn her behavior was based on more than his disappearance and death. Rachael starts carrying a gun with her whenever she goes out, she keeps the curtains of her home closed all the time. She is obviously afraid but can not articulate from what ...

Dean Koontz supplies major clues throughout the book to gradually build up the suspense and the plot as the disappearance of Eric becomes connected to factors related to his genetic research. The manner in which Koontz ties together the story, plot and the unusual occurences and events within the book is a mind-boggling but thoroughly satisfying reading experience. As an author Koontz knows just how to reveal more and more personal details about the life and background of each character to create a better understanding of their behavior and viewpoint. Obviously, the reader is free to loath, love, and cheer for specific protaganists as he masterfully and skillfully unravels the murder mystery. Dean Koontz has become my favorite author of this genre. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)

Fateless [Import]
Fateless [Import]
DVD ~ Marcell Nagy
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 33.71
11 used & new from CDN$ 27.86

3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Has the World Learned? Could It Happened Again? Who's Next?, July 16 2006
This review is from: Fateless [Import] (DVD)
Marcell Nagy portrays the fourteen year old boy Gyorgy Koves in a very deeply emotional and haunting existential film about survival in several Nazi concentration camps. Marcell has large intelligent brown eyes that experience everything and absorb events. Marcell tells us his life story in a matter of fact distant voice, his feelings and thoughts are told in a stream of consciousness manner which makes the film even more penetrating and real to the viewer ... who experiences first hand the horrors of the worst atrocities associated with World War II.

The film begins with Marcell going about his everyday life in Budapest, the son of an upper middle class family. He is carefree and planning his future until stories filter down about the horrors of the concentration camps. Family members gather, including great Aunts and Uncles to discuss the possibilities, even making small jokes - planning but not yet realizing the full impact of such unspeakable tragedies on their lives. There is a partial denial of events until Jews are required to wear the yellow star of David on their jackets and many randomly disappear ... They are taken by train to camps in Germany. Gyorgy's father closes his shop, makes arrangements with a loyal employee to turn the business over to him with an understanding it is until the war is over. The viewer senses the hopelessness and finality when the keys are handed over. Gyorgy is put on a work detail at a factory, when he and a busload of young workers are detained at a Gendarme police station ...

Luckily, Gyorgy knew a few words of German when the prisoners were separated at the train station into groups. He over heard one line lead to a better camp and if someone was older they went on a work detail, young prisoners who could not work wree not valued. This was the first of many random happenings where the right decision led to ... life ... or death. Gyorgy's fate hung in the balance. Throughout the film, different scenes are totally unforgettable, they leave deep indelible impressions on the viewer, images are seared into the mind, branded, tattoed forever. When airplanes flew overhead, while everyone took shelter, Gyorgy was counting the number of seconds before a bomb exploded ... When Gyorgy and his friends were in the Gendarme's office, as each one met with the officer, he asked about their backgrounds and confiscated their belongings - the lack of compassion was so transparent and inhumane, the greed for a penknife was in such sharp contrast to the serious decisions made at the moment about so many lives.

There were scenes in the camp when all the prisoners are lined up in the barbed wire prison yard, wearing striped uniforms and standing in the cold and the rain as punishement and also for roll call. Scenes where rocks were being shovelled and the cruel behavior of the prison guards toward the weaker prisoners made one shudder. Scenes where Gyorgy developed an infection in his leg, an abscess which turned out to have maggots in it. Scenes where Gyorgy was starving and hungry, as a corpulent German guard ate meat and bread from his lunch box while Gyorgy chewed along as if he were tasting the meal. Gyorgy developed a friendship with a fellow prisoner who was also from Budapest. This was a very heartwarming sincere friendship as each looked out for one the other. His friend spoke with hope and love about the street where he lived and about returning in the future to his beloved apartment/home in Budapest. This one goal provided meaning to his existence in the camp ... In another heart-wrenching scene, two prisoners escaped and were hung as an exmaple to the rest.

Lastly, the rescue scene is very memorable, where a kind genorous and efficient American soldier spoke with Gyorgy about his future plans, explaining to him, he could go to America, enter college and forget about all this, put it all behind him. The soldier could not understand why Gyorgy chose to return to Budapest ... When Gyorgy arrived in Budapest, everything about life there seemed surreal even when he travelled on buses. He saw the people lived and experienced nearly normal life, a few realized he was a Holocaust survivor, some looked at him with horror, others with a guilty fascination. A few dared to ask questions about his experiences, Gyorgy replied in a philosophical detached tone of voice. He was coming to grips with the realization of having lived through one of the worst tragedies ever in the history of mankind. His focus was to find his family, discover who had survived and reclaim his life while assimilating the completely inexplicable experiences of the concentration camp into his present and future in order to build a meaningful whole. This film is certainly one of the best Holocaust films made. It should be viewed by anyone wanting to understand the subject from a first person perspective. Another highly recommended film in a similar vein is about several generations of a Jewish family who owned a highly successful business, the film is "Sunshine" starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)

Kings and Queen (Bilingual) [Import]
Kings and Queen (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Emmanuelle Devos
Offered by eplayplay
Prix : CDN$ 35.51
11 used & new from CDN$ 16.38

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Multi-Layered and Complex Relationships, July 16 2006
Emanuelle Devos plays Nora a successful 35 year old art gallery owner whose current boyfriend/fiance provides her with the queenly lifestyle to which she aspires, however the viewer gradually learns he has a darkside which Nora either denies or ... or to which she is strangely attracted. Initially, Nora seems a pulled together highly successful person but as the deep inner layers of her life are explored and peeled back, many facets of her complex and confusing nature are revealed using flashbacks to her past life. Her personality and life decisions are shown in a most ingenious manner by the director. This film is a totally satisfying viewing experience despite the temptation to just shake her up with a good heart-to-heart talk about the decisions she is contemplating related to raising her son. Then again, given her complex convoluted nature, maybe she is doing the right thing after all. The film is very surreal in its portrayal of her multifaceted personality and convoluted emotional life... all of which seem to revolve around the "kings" or men in her life. She is of course "the queen."

The complex and tempestuous father-daughter relationship is revealed with her discovery and reading of her father's personal diary. She learns about his innner most feelings and thoughts when he is dying of stomach cancer. She helps navigate the healthcare system to meet his end-of-life needs. While initially she seemed a very composed sophisticated, together type person, her emotional complexity and neediness nearly unglues her life as the viewer learns how the several "Kings" in her life rule her emotions: her father, her ex-husband Ismael, her son, and the memory of a past love interest, the father of her son, who died in a motorcycle accident. It is amazing how the film manages to convery so much ... in about 2 1/2 hours.

The other parallel story in the film is about Ismael, Nora's ex-husband and ex-lover who is played by Mathieu Amalric. He is an avant-garde jazz musician who belongs to a stringed quartet which is gaining recognition and popularity. He lives the semi-hedonistic lifestyle of a musical artist, one who does not pay much heed to everyday realities such as his rent or income tax ... When he is suddenly confined and committed against his will to a mental hospital for reasons unknown and by persons unknown: he starts to face the realities of his life, possibly for the first time, intending to follow a more straight and narroow path. His first goal is, of course, to convince his psychiatrist/psychologist that he is normal. His other goal is to find out who did this to him. But first he has to get out of the mental ward ... Catherine Deneuve plays the psychiatrist to perfection. Some of their conversations are very funny. At the facility he meets a confused young female inmate with whom he has a liason. Oddly enough while he is facing and fighting his personal demons, Nora considers their past life together, shown in flashback scenes. She makes a monumental and surprising decision about one of the "kings" in her life. This unusual twist in the film provides a highly satisfying and totally unexpected heart-warming ending. French films are famous for their human interest stories with deeply complex psychological underpinnings, anyone who has an interest in exploring and understanding human nature would enjoy this film. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)

Kadosh [Import]
Kadosh [Import]
DVD ~ Yaël Abecassis
Prix : CDN$ 32.95
21 used & new from CDN$ 14.00

4.0 étoiles sur 5 What is Truly Sacred? Let the Viewer Decide ..., July 16 2006
This review is from: Kadosh [Import] (DVD)
Amos Gitai sheds light on how stifling and confining it may be for some women living within a Hasidic religious community. It looks nearly impossible for them to live fulfilling and joyous lives. The film has a universal message which can apply to any religion or community which influences and advises its members in personal life matters that are, in this viewer's opinion, best left to be determined for one's self. In this film, two sisters lose their self-determination and are sadly compelled to follow the norms of the community ... just because they are women ... whose roles are proscribed. They are to obey the man and be dependent rather than self-determining individuals. The community is run by men who define behavioral norms based on passages from the Torah. The rabbi interprets how these passages are to be understood in modern life. The community influences the lives of its members to a degree most viewers would find highly objectionable and down right intrusive. Whether or not this is a truthful depiction of the Hasidic way of life is unclear to this viewer but the point which is crystal clear by the director is that some areas of life are *indeed* *sacred* and are no one's business but one's own. This is a totally compelling and fascinating film in how it unravels, unbalances and destroys the lives of an apparently happily married couple who are childless after 10 years of marriage. Both Meir, the husband, and Rivka, the wife, are heart-broken after the rabbi at the Yeshiva compels Meir to consider divorcing Rivka in favor of an arranged marriage ... to produce offspring ... evidently his "sacred" duty to G-d. It is not at all clear why *only* Rivka is blamed for this flaw ...

The klezmer music at the beginning and throughout much of the film proclaims the joys of life and its meandering mournful paths as well ... the sadder tunes reveal the future anguish of Meir and Rivka as they sort out their problems within the expectations of their religion. Sadly, Malka who is Rivka's sister is not looking forward to an arranged marriage to Yosef because Malka has a boyfriend Yakov who had left the Yeshiva and religious community to pursue a secular life. He sang a haunting tune in a nightclub about how love can not be fulfilled in this world but instead he will meet his lover in the next one ... Malka obeys her parents and marries Yosef but her marriage life is a sham despite going to ritual baths to become spiritually more clean and praying as required. She follows her heart and breaks her sacred marriage bond by secretly meeting with Yakov for a tryst. The film shows Yosef to be an unthinking and insensitive man which is not entirely his fault but he is also brutish which again, he may not be able to change. He entered into a marriage for the wrong reasons - just as Malka became an obedient daughter rather than showing courage and breaking with tradition to do what is in her own best interests to follow her heart and mind ... even if it meant being banished from the Hasidic community. This film does indeed film less than joyful moments in the lives of its characters, the clothes and colors worn by the women, the older brick buildings and narrow passageways in the streets ... all are symbolic of a lifestyle which makes the insides of its members crumble and breakdown ... Who should decide in the final analysis of what is important in life? Erika Borsos (pepper flower)

House of Flying Daggers (Bilingual) [Import]
House of Flying Daggers (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ Ziyi Zhang
Prix : CDN$ 41.99
67 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Intriguing Love Story Amidst Clandestine War, July 16 2006
Better than "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" this story gradually reveals an unexpected love triangle which contains amazing martial arts choreography woven into a stunning visual masterpiece of epic proportions. The unusual love-triangle is heart-stopping ... the fight scene at the conclusion of the film is a gut-wrenching and powerful. The close-up scenes of pure emotions reveal both artistic cinematography as well as superb acting: whether it is desire, bliss, lust, rage, doubt, torment, suffering or other emotions ... the visual effects are absolutely amazing.

This film has it all: gorgeous period costumes designed by Emi Wada, spectacular landscapes like delicate water colors and oil paintings on canvas and visually pleasing actors and actresses ... They are fairy-tale like in their magnificence. The mountain scenery is breath-taking as the fall foliage paints a collage of orange, red, fading green and brown leaves which are exceptionally stunning from a distance. The field of wild flowers where Jin and Mei playfully discover the depth of their true feelings for each other is a natural wonder. They express their feelings gently at first and then with passionate abandon ... The martial arts fighting scenes in the bamboo forest where the government soldiers ambush Jin and Mei during their escape is exceptionally creative and well filmed ...

This enhanced DVD has a great interview with the director Yimou Zhang who explains that bamboo forests have been symbolic of martial arts in films from long ago and he felt it must be included. Watching the interview, the viewer learns to appreciate the amount of planning and background work which is painstakingly done to perfection to film this artistic masterpiece ... Ziyi Zhang who plays Mei, lived with a blind girl for two months to learn the proper body and head movements in order to play a blind girl accurately. Also, she had studied traditional Chinese dance when a young girl which helped her learn the choreographed dance and martial arts movements in her outstanding performance in the scene for General Leo at the Peony Pavillion. The original music in the film is fantastic, Kathryn Battle sings the theme song which is sung by Mei during her dance performance for Captain Jin. It is a totally heart warming performance that captivates Jin and wins over the viewers ...

The story begins in a brothel called "Peony Pavillion" where government officers visit for a tryst with the ladies and to be entertained ... The visual effects of the establishment are extraordinairily authentic, the set design, bright colors, flowers, and weapons on the wall are all extremely balanced and harmonious ... After Mei, the blind dancing girl does a magnificent martial arts and dance performance for General Leo, she is taken prisoner. She is believed to be the blind daughter of the dead leader of a clandestine organization, called "House of Flying Daggers" who are resisting government authority and creating unrest and rebellion against the Tang Dynasty. General Leo's plan is to flush out the covert operatives ... but unexpected emotional relationships develop to confound his plans. How the love triangle is revealed and resolved is the stuff of which great films are made. The story line itself is deceptively simple ... but its execution is thoroughly unequalled. The film expresses how in the short time of three days true feelings of love can develop with unequalled depth and passion. It can grow into becoming one of the most complex human emotions ever put on film. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)

Pride & Prejudice (Full Screen) [Import]
Pride & Prejudice (Full Screen) [Import]
DVD ~ Keira Knightley
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Prix : CDN$ 39.62
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.99

4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Yin/Yang Conundrum of Love Between the Classes, June 21 2006
Superb casting, outstanding scenery, well designed period settings and a brilliantly written novel by Jane Austen comes to life. I love the realistic country scenes and the opulent wealth of the era as depicted in this film. Keira Knightly is charming and dazzling as the intelligent and articulate Lizzie who is transformed within this film as she comes to grips with her true feelings. Matthew MacFadyen is the perfect Mr. Darcy, a darkly handsome introspective, intelligent gentleman ... who is easily misunderstood.

Keira Knightly is an outstandng Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bennett, with her well chiseled lovely porcelain facial features, beautiful large brown expressive eyes, lovely swan-like neck and gorgeous brown hair, often worn pulled up and back, with tendrils framing her face. Her clever articulate observations and quips are very memorable throughout the film as she challenges the quietly brooding and handsome Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen). When the guests of honor: Mr. Bingley, his sister and Mr. Darcy arrive in the ballroom, the dancing and music stop as the people part to each side of the hall. Mr. Bingley happily joins in the dancing and socializing but both Miss Bingley and Mr. Darcy remain aloof, quietly commenting on the differences between living in the city and country. Mr. Bingley laughs and smiles as he dances with Miss Jane Bennett (Rosamund Pike). Her mother Mrs. Bennett (Brenda Blethyn,)is delighted by this good fortune since she is actively seeking a husband for Jane who is of marriagable age and the eldest of five daughters.

During an intermission Lizzie over hears Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy discussing Jane and herself. Mr Darcy describes Lizzie as "tolerable" but essentially not his type. Based on this event she develops preconceived notions about Mr. Darcy's character and manners which are decidedly negative. She makes no secret of her feelings about him to her family.

After Jane pays a social visit to the Bingley's country mansion and becomes ill, she becomes an unexpected guest for several days until she recovers. Mr. Bingley is overjoyed by this turn of events. When Lizzie visits her sister during the illness she engages Mr. Darcy in several verbal duels and cleverly exchanges challenging words, by quoting poetry and verse. Both Keira Knightly and Matthew MacFadyen perfom their roles superbly in this verbal "battle of the sexes".

While Mr. Bingley was falling in love with Jane and quietly expressing his feelings, his sister suddenly decided to close the country house and return to London. She obvioulsy wanted to sever the budding relationship between her brother and Jane, before it became serious. Miss Jane Bennett was viewed as a social inferior. About this time, the Reverend Mr. Collins came calling on the Bennetts with the intention of marrying one of the daughters. He lived on the estate of Lady Catherine who required him to find a wife before she would finance a parsonage and church for him. He proposed to Lizzie but she rejected his offer as kindly as her nature allowed. Next, Mr. Collins offered marriage to Charlotte their young housekeeper who accepted him. Lizzie came to realize for Charlotte a marriage to Mr. Collins provided her a home as he had a stable profession. It was a major improvement from her current situation. Lizzie slowly awakened to unpleasant facts of life that not everyone chooses what they like in life but many people choose the best options of what is realistic. The differences between the social classes when selecting a life partner was clear and evident.

It never dawned on the Bennett's that the sudden departure of the Bingley's was meant as a snub, a refusal of Miss Jane Bennett as a fiance. The Bennetts had high hopes of relighting the match and sent Jane to visit an Aunt in London in hopes of meeting Mr. Bingley. About this time, Lizzie was visiting Brighton with her relatives when she took a tour of Mr. Darcy's residence which was open for public viewing. She met him unexpectedly in the garden and received a declaration of love which took her completely by surprise. Based on her preconceived notions, she immediately dismissed it and rejected him ...

Jane returned from London without having established any social connection with Mr. Bingley. Lizzie returned from Brighton, in an strange emotional state, a somewhat confused frame of mind. Unknown to herself, she was battling unresolved feelings for Mr. Darcy. A family crisis arose when Lydia, the middle daughter, had run away with a soldier. This scandal could possibly ruin the Bennett's chances for marrying off Jane and Lizzie to good families. Help came from an unexpected source: Mr. Darcy had known this soldier in the past. Mr. Darcy's father had treated the soldier nearly like a son. Due to nearly similar circumstances involving Mr. Darcy's sister Georgiana, he rescued Lydia from her shameful situation by setting them up finanacially and ensuring Lydia married her soldier. When Lizzie heard of this matter, she remained in a deep quagmire for having rejected his overtures of love, she was awakening to the true nature of his character and discovered she was attracted to him. The resolution to Lizzie's emotional conflict and the rematch between Jane and Mr. Bingley is what makes the book and this film so popular. Jane Austen's classical writing via this new film adaptation provides a creative twist to the eternal conundrum which young ladies and young gentlemen of every era and generation must face and resolve for themselves.

Erika Borsos (pepper flower)

Collected Fictions
Collected Fictions
by Saul Bellow
Edition: Hardcover
14 used & new from CDN$ 7.08

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Cultural Americana, June 21 2006
This review is from: Collected Fictions (Hardcover)
Saul Bellow selected the stories in this anthology which span the era of the late 1940s to mid-1950s. It includes a broad range of people, places, and topics. Each story is a richly textured, deep memory file of detail, depth, and description making every sentence and paragraph a work of artistic merit. Saul Bellow shares his Chicago roots and delving further, his ancestral Russian Jewish heritage. Other settings for his stories are New York, New Jersey, and New England. He uses densely packed carefully chosen, correct words to paint a colorful reality with many shades and hues ... He can pinpoint the important life issues of his characters describing their personality and behavior to maximum effect. His use of time is highly effective, the main character could be an adult, whose memories of specific events and people which had an impact on his life are woven throughout a story. The memory could be an everyday occurence but it takes on meaning and value because as life unfolds and one ages ... the mind naturally connects emotions with one's personal history.

This Nobel Prize for Literature winning author provides winding caverns of reality which the reader enters ... to explore the unforgettable life experiences of characters whose philosophical, ethical, and moral outlooks are described.

Here is a small sample of the above,

from "Cousins": "Disorder if it does not murder you brings certain opportunities. You wouldn't guess that when I sit in my Holy Sepulchre apartment at night (the surroundings that puzzled Eunice's mind when she came to visit: 'All these Oriental rugs and lamps, and so many books,' she said), wouldn't guess that I am concentrating on strategies for pouncing passionately on the freedom made possible by dissolution. Hundreds of books, but only half a shelf of those that matter. You don't get more goodness from more knowledge ..." [p. 234] In this story, Bellow discusses the relationship between love and hate with some startling but very accurate conclusions.

There is a kind of nostalgia and sentiment for the past in his stories where memories, places, and people are thoroughly examined and explored, few authors can match this writing style and achieve the same results. These memories about the past take on a kind of sacredness. Saul Bellow examines sentiments and feelings to create a dynamic story by unraveling the complex emotions associated with past relationships. Each thread in every story is woven neatly, tightly, and with consideration for all the senses, sight, sound, touch and taste. Indeed, all the stories are so enormously rich and dense, each is a book unto itself.

Erika Borsos (erikab93

In Concert
In Concert
Prix : CDN$ 20.70
22 used & new from CDN$ 9.94

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sublime Sacred Vocals, June 21 2006
This review is from: In Concert (Audio CD)
Kim Waters has an evocative other-worldly beautiful voice that mesmerizes the listener. Her renditions are sincere, humble and most sacred. While unable to discuss how Sanskrit and Bengali *should* sound, each track stands as a pure meditative expression of worship and celebration of Spirit and Life right here in this world. The instruments, sitar, cello, and at times nyckelharpa are superb accompaniment played by Hans Christian. This listener is most pleased to have liner notes as reference with the words included to join this sacred celebration.

The mind is secured by the sitar playing mysterious notes and musical phrases in the introduction to each track ... Kim captures the spirit of the listener with her divine vocalizations carrying the heart and soul into the spiritual realm. Listening to this CD is a devotional practice sure to bring each listener closer to the Source of all Being. Erika Borsos (erikab93)

Girl With a Pearl Earring [Import]
Girl With a Pearl Earring [Import]
DVD ~ Scarlett Johansson
Prix : CDN$ 20.60
24 used & new from CDN$ 11.70

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Magnicent Portrait Comes to Life, June 21 2006
This film captures social, cultural and everyday life in 17th Century Holland beautifully and artistically through the eyes of Griet, a young hired servant who works in the household of a famous Dutch artist. Her emotions are captured superbly by the camera through long and short shots of her facial features. Griet is perfectly portrayed by Scarlett Johanssen. Essentially, the film is about the relationship that develops very gradually and subtley between the artist Johannes Vermeer and Griet as she learns about creating art. She is sent by her family to work in their house because her father is ill and the family needs the money. Griet learns a lot about different lifestyles and class differences by living with this family. She sees how the artist and his family totally depend on the patron for their living. They plan a grand dinner for the patron, Van Ruijven and his family to unveil the completion of a portrait of his wife and also to celebrate the birth of a baby into the Vermeer household. The dependency of the artist and his family on the patron, the absolute need to accomodate to his personal tastes and wishes, no matter what his character and behavior ... even to the point of compromise and deception within the Vermeer family is very well shown. Griet's own limited choices in life, her budding friendship with the butcher's son, the possibility for romance and a future together is nicely presented.

The flow of life within the Vermeer household is artistically filmed using different color schemes and shadings of light ... portrayng the life of the servants contrasted with the life of the family. Colin Firth plays Vermeer, the quiet, handsome, brooding and thoughtful artist ... He shuts himself off in his studio to paint, to create artistic pieces using elegant color and light, capturing distinct moods and feelings. His wife Catherine is less artistic and more shallow. She is viewed as the dependent, spoiled wife of the artist, whose wit and charm can have a razor sharp edge when they are crossed. Her instincts register a threat after Griet's sleeping quarters are moved to the artists studio although the move is done to provide privacy for another servant. When Catherine again becomes pregnant ... Catherine's mother makes clear that everyone depends on Vermeer for their livlihoods - she is not averse to deceiving her own daughter by letting Johannes paint Griet in order to continue their lifestyle. Griet is warned by Pietr, the butcher's son, "you are a fly in his web". The character of Van Ruijven is very well explored ... catering to his whims and procliviites. There are several episodes within the film where Catherine's shrewish jealous fits are sure signs that Griet's future is not assured within this family structure. Rumors surface at the marketplace about Griet and the artist. Amazingly, there is a magnificent conclusion to the events of Griet's relationship with Johannes Vermeer. The ending is quite touching and sensitively filmed. For this viewer, it was a total surprise.

Erika Borsos (pepper flower)

The English Patient
The English Patient
DVD ~ Ralph Fiennes
Offered by Tons of Clay Music
Prix : CDN$ 5.00
15 used & new from CDN$ 2.38

0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Adventure ... Magnificent Love/War Epic, June 21 2006
This review is from: The English Patient (DVD)
Ralph Fiennes plays the handsome Hungarian Count Laszlo Almassy who is a quiet, intense, sensitive educated man. His complicated life is unraveled thread by thread in this deeply inspiring, adventurous and biographical film about love and survival. He awakens in a British hospital without identification and is simply called "the English patient". His face is scarred beyond recognition, his hands are contracted from scar tissue ... The haunting exotic lyrics to the song "Szerelem Szerlem" (Love Love) as sung by Marta Sebestyen is heard occasionally throughout the film. It very appropriately symbolizes the basis of his actions and life story. Count Almassy demonstrates courage, resourcefulness, and integrity when he does everything in his power to keep is word and rescue the life of the woman he loves, Katherine Clifton played by Juliette Binochet. In the end, whatever he did was just not enough ... yet he survived.

The film begins in Indiana Jones fashion, the cinematography is outstanding as two biplanes fly over mountains and sand dunes ... visible as far as the eye can see. The views are stupendous! Count Almassy is a pilot who leads a British group to some mountains which were described by a Bedouin. They discover a cave which has magnificent archeological value: simple drawings on the walls of ancient man's activities ... Katherine Clifton, the wife of a British mapmaker, is captivated and makes drawings which she offers to Laszlo Almassy. There is an interesting tension between them which later in the film develops into intense feelings of love upon which most of the story is based. Other memories surface of the sand dunes, Count Almassy is rescued by Bedouins who cover his burned face with a wet cloth, wrap his body in a blanket, place him on an immmobilizer and transport him to their camp where they treat his wound with unguent and herbal remedies, essentially saving his life ...

The story line unfolds in different time segments, as the memories of the English patient awaken ... this makes the film especially interesting and provides unique perspectives and reveals his life story in a more suspense-filled and intriguing manner. After World War II is declared over, he is transported in Italy by the Allies ... prior to crossing bridges and along the roads, several soldiers check for buried unexploded land-mines left by the enemy. Hanna who is the nurse caring for the English patient lends money to a girlfriend who happily joins a group that will celebrate in town. Within minutes, her jeep explodes from a bomb which kills all the passengers. Hannah is so overcome by her friend's death she runs to the site and starts walking to the wreck ... the mine sweepers stop her so she is not injured right after she retrieves her friend's gold bracelet.

After the explosion, Hanna (Kristin Scott Thomas) wants to settle in a monastery she spied on a hillside to care for the English patient until help arrives to rescue them. She talks the mobile hospital unit into moving him into one of the empty rooms of the bombed out building. They leave her to her ministrations. The English patient has a book which he cherishes. It is filled with a few items and momentoes of his past life. He opens up and talks about his life to Hannah as she asks him about the significance of his souvenirs. He reveals his deep relationship with Catherine and how it developed ... They acquire another guest Carravegio, a self-described thief who knew one of Hanna's nurse friends and who comes to learn the identity of the English patient. His original plans were to strangle the English patient, whom he suspected was a German spy but after he learned the circumstances of why he had given maps to the Germans his feelings for revenge evaporated. The thief described his experiences during the war which included some graphic torture scenes (I had to close my eyes, I just could not watch it) ... Hanna is shown to be a vulnerable sensitive nurse who needs to feel love and companionship. She develops a relationship with one of the Sikh soldiers named Kip who was a minesweeper. One of the most beautiful scenes in the films is when Kip rigs a pulley system with a seat to show her the artistic murals on the walls of a local church ... However, after Kip's coworker and minesweeper friend dies in an explosion, he withdraws into himself and the relationship with Hanna dissolves. Hanna begins to accept that at times she needs to just let go of people about whom she cares and loves. She learns to accept it is not within her power to correct and solve every problem. This is a very powerful film that touches many emotions within the viewer. It shows how the human spirit can overcome many adversities when the power of love is unleashed. It is no surprise the film won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture of the Year ... word descriptions are not nearly adequate to describe the true impact of viewing it. Erika Borsos (pepper flower)

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