Stringing my Life Together: Purishpa takini, takishpa purini.

Friday-Syracuse International Film Festival
2008/05/07, 04:05
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Okay, so it’s a few days later, but I was busy so cut me some slack 😉

The last movies we saw were “Lineage of Voice,” a documentary by Yeon-ah Paik about two prodigy Pansori singers from South Korea, and their sacrifices they make to attain a high status at such a specific and demanding art form.

(a scene for a Pansori piece, Chunhyangga, from

I think being a music major only made it that much more interesting. The two children she interviews are so bright, cheery…and seem to have had to grow up in ways much faster than other kids their age. Both fathers have quite a strange relationship with their Pansori art form, and that was very disturbing and my friends and I felt so concerned and awful for the boys. I really liked this documentary (and so did my other two friends), even though I left feeling a bit down.

The other movie we saw was “All the Invisible Things” (Heile Welt) by Jacoby Erwa . The short that was shown before it was “Cold Joint,” (Slovakia) which Tara and Sierra weren’t as thrilled about, but I felt reading the plot before seeing it was helpful, and I was able to appreciate the message they were aiming to express. All the Invisible Things was from Austria, set in Graz, and was compared to City of God…which I have to admit is the reason why my friend Tara and I decided to see it over other films (along with our friend Sierra who tagged along this evening with us). This movie, WAS NOT that much like City of God, and honestly, I would have never made that comparison (other than it containing disturbed youth, however there are SOO many films with that). I felt like it resembled a kind of mix between Magnolia, American Beauty, and even a dash of Donnie Darko, because it followed several lives (many of family members) and events leading up to tragic events, all the while showing points where their lives and actions intersected. Watching it when you’re tired is NOT recommended. It contains very little dialogue, was very quiet, and felt slow at times. At first I didn’t like it, but then I thought more about how the lack of dialogue really conveyed the sense of the lack of communication between the characters (there were pairs of parents and children, lovers, friends, etc.). Then there was some irony at the end that really made you feel like sometimes, life just screws you over, even when you’re trying to do something positive. In the end, we all approved of this film.

(a picture from the Graz palace, inserted from

Sadly, I could not make it to some of the events on Saturday, or the awards ceremony, but they are listed here:

But of course, as if I hadn’t spent enough in the last week on foreign films, I used the remaining of a Barnes & Noble gift certificate to purchase Volver (Almodóvar) and Osama…two films I saw in Spain and absolutely LOVED!


Syracuse International Film Festival…continued
2008/05/04, 05:48
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So, on Thursday, my friend and I headed out to the Landmark Theater to see some Italian films.

First of all, I’ve known of the Landmark since I was a kid…(there’s also the Bruce Coville book, The Ghost in The Third Row, about the supposed woman who haunts the place), HOWEVER I have never gone to it until this week. Gorgeous! It’s such a neat and fascinating, and lavish piece of Syracuse’s heritage. The feature film we went to see was Rosso come il cielo, which was AMAZING. It was so very touching, imaginative, colorful…I loved the lighting and the shots, it was very rich! It’s based on a true story of a famous sound effects editor in Italy, who became blind as a child. This is his story (which they said stuck very close to the truth) of overcoming adversity and a corrupt education system for blind students. (It left me with similar impressions/feelings/emotions that Les Choristes does). To top it off, the main character, Luca Capriotti, was there for a Q&A after the movie. The q&a was followed by a reception with Italian cookies from a local pastry, and Tara and I were able to find Luca and chat a little bit (well, she did more of the chatting since she knows Italian). It’s a pity I didn’t have my camera!

(Luca in a photo taken at another festival, from

After the showing, there were two Italian shorts. The first one, La Passeggiatta della Scettico, was okay…thought provoking but a bit confusing. The following second one, Crossing the Line, was DEFINITELY not my favorite. Long, quiet…just views of a train. Interesting idea for a story…NOT an interesting movie to see. I saw plenty of those views myself when I backpacked Europe and I would have liked to have seen more than flat out footage of looking out a train window for 57 minutes. By then it was late, and we had to work at school the next day, so we were unable to stay for the third.

Nuzhat al-Fuad and SIFF
2008/05/01, 04:03
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This week is the Syracuse International Film Festival, I’ve wanted to go to it the past few years, but it was always during finals and I couldn’t make it back from Potsdam to go.

Now I’m home! So my friend Tara, a fellow foreign/independent/classic movie aficionado, and I are heading out to whatever showings we can fit in to our teaching schedules.

The first movie we were able to catch was Nuzhat al-Fuad. Interesting. Not my favorite…not the beautiful cinematography that I was expecting. For the first 30+ minutes, I was not interested, and it wasn’t until the plot picked up that I was fascinated by the story line. Some of the shots were unnecessary, I thought. Shaky closeups that did not mean much to the viewer…why use those shots over something else? A little pretentious or cliché trying to be so “out there?” I’m not sure. However, there was one scene when the two main female characters were in the hospital…comparing their experiences with abortion and a miscarriage, and there was a large window open, that was dividing them. One an actress, the other a writer. Different worlds…parallel lives…they tried to light a cigarette through the glass. Very poignant.

All in all, I felt the movie could have gone deeper with the plot rather than being such a smattering of things. It felt disorganized watching it. The film was grainy and colors and lighting were pale…angles were not always visually stimulating. However, I really appreciated it’s exploration of people dealing with death. A father and daughter dealing with a mother’s suicide… a mother and daughter dealing with fatal leukemia…incorporating stories of the Arabian Nights and Scheherezade and how people try to evade death, if even for a moment. Did the water symbolize fantasy? Anyone out there see this and have other interpretations? I’d give it a 5 out of 10. Perhaps another watch would help me understand more of the symbology and hidden meanings, but I’m not sure if I liked it enough to want to watch it again. Very different from the other Israeli film I’ve seen, Ushpizin.

Tomorrow night is Italian!