In search of the knack

the knack

Two eccentric young men and one provincial girl driving a wheeled double bed’s frame in 1965’s black and white London under the censorial scrutiny of strolling middle-aging looks and voices. The time of mods and rockers. But what’s indeed the knack and how to get it? It’s Tolen’s aptitudes to flirt with and seduce attractive women in ten minutes while his friend and landlord Colin hasn’t gotten laid for 2 years. But a third tenant, obsessed with bright colors and clear spaces, teaches him how to approach the opposite sex. Games with the camera getting closer and farther, repeating movements and actions with impossible perspectives of Buñuel’s dreams announce a bursting psychedelic and creative British youth in a very particular comic tone.

Anton Chekhovich Chekhov’s ‘Two’ Sisters at Microteatro

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Mourning the dead and having them constantly in our memories is what makes us, among other things, different to animals. But when that peculiar human custom is just an excuse to not fully live your own life, it becomes a serious problem. That’s what Chekhov intelligently shows in his plays and what witty José Ignacio Tofé, playwright of Microteatro’s piece Las dos hermanas, parodied. We have two sisters, whose father disappeared in a snow storm months before and plan to keep the mourning until the body is found. The younger sister wants to marry, but the elder one, guardian of the archaic and atavistic practice, tries to slow down her plans forever and ever in a vicarious masochistic fashion. Because of the absurd of the plot and the hyperbolic performances, this is a comedy, and quite a funny one. Actress and scene director Silvia de Pé playing the sexually repressed and mystically sanctimonious sister, and fresh and full-of-life Ana Villa as the younger one, refer to each other with their complete unpronounceable patronymic-included names and keep a hilarious tension until the end, a foreseeable but liberating turn of the screw, exactly the opposite of the genius Russian playwright, who most times leaves the audience with a bitter emotional aftertaste, stripping characters of their concealing frustrated masks.

Sex, Québécois truths and Brazilian love comedies

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From misogynistic sex to a politically-correct idea of love in the context of family: Three male friends from Rio de Janeiro in their mid-thirties get together every night in a bar to drink beer and talk about sex, women and their frustrated relationships with them. That’s why the most usual sentence among them is E ai…Comeu? (So…did you get laid?). Fernando’s girlfriend just abandoned him leaving behind only 31 pairs of shoes, and he starts feeling tempted by his attractive neighbor, a 17-year-old college student. Honorio has a routine family life with three children and feels distanced from his wife but he becomes obsessed with the idea that she is being unfaithful to him. Fonsinho is a failed writer and a rich daddy’s son whose relationships with women are always monetary. A comedy with no pretensions that has been adapted from the theater.

Much deeper and more interesting is this 1986’s Québécois movie showed the other day in La 2 Spanish TV about a group of intellectuals and the conversations concerning their sexual life:  Le déclin de l’empire américain, by Denys Arcand. A group of middle-age men and women recall in a festive atmosphere and with an attitude of revival their opinions and frustrations related to love and sex, showing alternatively emotional helplessness and the joy of life.

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