Archive for July, 2015


Kill Your Darlings (2013) is based on the real life account, involving some of the famed poets from the Beat Generation, including Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, before they became famous.
Kill Your Darlings Blog HeaderThe Beats before The Beats
Before Allen Ginsberg became one of the greatest literary geniuses to have existed in America, in the previous century, he was just a geeky young student at Colombia University. Yet appearances aside, young Ginsberg got into all kinds of mischief, along with his group of friends, during his university years, in the 1940’s. Set a decade before the literary revolution of the Beat Generation, this group of misfits included his contemporaries, fellow poets, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Unfortunately, all three of them were roped into, being indirectly involved in, a murder of a poet (a college Professor), who never got a chance to become famous for his intellect, but rather for the way he was killed, and made infamous as a sexual predator, just because he was gay. The murderer was released after two years, on the grounds that it was an ‘‘Honour Slaying’’, from forced homosexual advances, and that the murderer acted upon self-defence.

Kill Your Darlings, reminded me of some great films based on rebellious students, set in strict institutes. The likes of, A Yank at Oxford (1938), Mona Lisa Smile (2003), 3 Idiots (2009); and coming-of-age films like; To Sir, with Love (1967), Dead Poets Society (1989); which was actually set during the height of the Beat Generation, i.e. the 1950’s; School Ties (1992); which too was set in 50’s; Dangerous Minds (1995), The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002) and The History Boys (2006), to name some, out of many. While, like Kill Your Darlings; A Yank at Oxford, Mona Lisa Smile and 3 Idiots; are to do with college students, the rest of the films mentioned here are set in high school. But what’s common about these movies; either based on actual events, or out and out fiction; is the fact that it deals with anti-establishment, and ironically, as well as trying to fit in. These films are about youngsters (and sometimes adults/teachers as well), who can think for themselves; with a brain of their own; yet sometimes shy intellects take time to come out of their shell. And when they do, they fear nothing.

But that’s where the similarities end. For none of these films mentioned above, has a violent crime taking place. This is where Kill Your Darlings differs, and it’s based on an actual real life incident. While tragic deaths are seen in a few of movies mentioned here; either through suicide or accident; none of them result in murder. Thus this movie, ends up being a fusion of very varied genres, including, a crime drama, a love story (love triangle), a thriller, plus a biographical film, all roped into one. Yet the movie is less of a historical film, about the poets, that made them the famed Beats, and more to do with the love-triangle, that leads to a notorious tragedy the Beats unfortunately were associated with, during their college years.

LEFT: Allen Ginsberg  RIGHT: Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in the movie

LEFT: Allen Ginsberg
RIGHT: Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg in the movie

Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, leads the cast, with Dane DeHaan (as Lucien Carr), Jack Huston (as Jack Kerouac), Ben Foster (as William Burroughs) and Michael C. Hall (as David Kammerer); making up the group of friends (and two secret lovers within) and academics, living in New York, far away from the battle fields of Europe, during the Second World War. Three of the friends from this group are students at Columbia University. The whole cast is superb in their respective roles. Interesting to note that the lead character here, portraying the famous American poet of the 20th Century, was actually played by a British born actor. And he did a remarkable job of it.

Radcliffe was spot-on, as Ginsberg. On the home front; we see his troubled life as a youngster, taking care of his deranged mother suffering from a mental illness that was never properly diagnosed; and his father’s indifference to it, and later dealing with his father’s new girlfriend while his mother is being treated at a mental hospital. In college, his seduction and psychological manipulation, at the hands of Lucien Carr, who uses Ginsberg, as he uses everyone in his life, including his secret, older, lover, David Kammerer. Kammerer was in his late 20’s when he met Carr, and Carr was still a young boy aged 14. Soon they started having an affair. Though, Kammerer was wrong to do so, as it would seem as a paedophiliac act on his part; he was genuinely in love with Carr. Carr too was in love with Kammerer, but couldn’t accept it himself, for the older he got, he used men who fell in love with him, to get things done for himself. In his college years, Carr got Kammerer to do his homework for him, and later Carr did the same with Ginsberg. Young Ginsberg was really innocent, thus suffered due to his affection towards Carr. And Kammerer suffered because he could not let go of his love for a man (by the now an adult Carr) who felt the same, but was ashamed to admit it. This shame Carr felt, resulted in him committing a crime in one of the most unspeakable ways possible. The movie begins with this said crime, filmed beautifully, by director John Krokidas, in his debut feature film. The camera zooms onto a half-naked, bloodstained body of actor Dane DeHaan, submerged to the waist in water, carrying a bloodied dead body in his arms. The scene is pure artistic, poetic (in)justice, depicting love, sex and death; a hint of what’s to come; intercut with a verbal clash between DeHaan and Radcliffe, on either side of the prison bars. And the title thrown, one word at a time, in quick succession, onto the screen – ‘KILL’ ‘YOUR’ ‘DARLINGS’. Beautifully made, by a director, whose future creations, am really looking forward to watching.

A superb representation of, 3 Conflicted Souls (Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr and David Kammerer); among 4 Poets (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and David Kammerer), who made up a group of 5 friends, (Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and David Kammerer), including a love triangle, Ginsberg was part of, among 2 secret lovers (Lucien Carr and David Kammerer).

A Love Story with India: The real-life Allen Ginsberg in India, with friends, during his various visits to India.

A Love Story with India: The real-life Allen Ginsberg in India, with friends, during his various visits to India.

Allen Ginsberg, among the famed giants of modern American literature; coined in as The Beat Generation, of the 1950’s; has been portrayed by many a actors, from George Netesky (in 1970), to Ron Rifkin (1987), to David Markey (89’), to John Turturro (99’), to Ron Livingston (00’), to David Cross in I’m Not There. (2007); and more recently; James Franco (10’), Tom Sturridge (12’) & now of course Radcliffe. Besides Radcliffe’s brilliant performance, the only other cinematic version of Ginsberg I’ve seen, is that of Cross in I’m Not There., and that too, I hardly remember Cross’ role, in that excellent Bob Dylan bio-pic, where varied incarnations of Dylan were portrayed by a potpourri of six different actors. Incidentally, David Cross, who starred as Allen Ginsberg in I’m Not There., also appears in Kill Your Darlings, this time as Ginsberg’s father, Louis Ginsberg (a published poet himself, though not a renowned one, like his son ended up being).

Interesting fact: Ginsberg was a practicing Jewish Buddhist (Jubu) by choice, since 1950 (in his early 20’s), until his death in 1997. A Jubu, is a Jewish person who practices Buddhism, without denouncing ones own faith.

Radcliffe & I
Back 2007, whilst living in Sydney, I managed to watch most of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), when it was telecast in a local channel down under. Prior to that, when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released in 2001, I wasn’t that keen on the ‘Harry Potter’ series of films, as it was a series of children’s fantasy films. But since living in England (2002 – 2005), I had heard such good things about it, that when it was shown on the small screen, in Sydney, in 07’; as a true film buff; I decided to give it go. Though I didn’t get to see the finalé of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I felt it was a superb children’s movie, to come out in the 21st century. Around the same time, Daniel Radcliffe actually came to Sydney, to star in the Oz movie, December Boys (2007). And he came on the TV show, Rove (2007 – 2009), hosted by Rove McManus. I don’t remember whether I saw Radcliffe live on Rove first, or on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, whilst living in Australia. Most probably on Rove. I automatically liked Radcliffe’s, down to earth, friendly persona; ‘twas a fun interview. When Radcliffe was asked who he’d turn gay for (a question Rove McManus asks all the celebs he interviews, including when he interviewed, Kevin Rudd, the then, soon to be, Prime Minister of Australia), Radcliffe answered ‘Albert Einstein’. Smart answer! Nobody on Rove had ever come up with a non-sex-appeal, intellectual, personality’s name; as a person he/she would go gay for; at least not in the episodes I ever saw. In the same episode, Nikki Blonsky and Zac Efron appeared as well, to promote the musical, Hairspray (2007). Although I don’t recall, Nikki Blonsky’s answer, I remember that Efron didn’t answer the, ‘who he’d turn gay for ’, question, and sat there tight lipped. Which seemed pretty rude. But none the less, an interesting show; with Radcliffe’s knee length socks (discovered when he was asked about his hairy legs), contrasting to Efron’s sockless feet, and Radcliffe’s well timed gulp, all roped into the show’s jokes; making that episode of Rove, a very jovial experience. I never got to watch December Boys, but did enjoy watching Hairspray back then (guilty pleasure  😉 ).

The Cast of Kill Your Darlings (2013), with the Director of the film. (L-R)  Jack Huston, Michael C. Hall, Dane DeHaan, Daniel Radcliffe & Ben Foster; carrying Film Director, John Krokidas, in their arms.

The Cast of Kill Your Darlings (2013), with the Director of the film.
(L-R) Jack Huston, Michael C. Hall, Dane DeHaan, Daniel Radcliffe & Ben Foster; carrying Film Director, John Krokidas, in their arms.

Some years prior to my brush with Rove & Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (in Sydney 07’), I had actually watched The Tailor of Panama (2001); a pretty good movie, with Pierce Brosnan, Geoffrey Rush and Jamie Lee Curtis; which apparently also starred the little Radcliffe. But to be quite honest I don’t remember him in it at all. In 2007, he also came in the latest stage adaptation of the famous play by Peter Shaffer, Equus. It was all over the newspapers, Down Under. I’d have loved to watch that. I’ve seen the excellent, 1977, Sidney Lumet directed, movie adaptation of Equus, starring Richard Burton and Peter Firth. One of my favourite Lumet creations of the Big Screen (see my post Sidney Lumet & His Films from last year, June 2014, plus my Set of Seven on IMDB, from April 2011).

Post that, back in SL, around five years ago, I rented the DVD (unfortunately a pirated copy, pretty bad quality, and the only kind of DVD’s that can be found all over here; and I hate pirated DVD’s, thus I do buy good original films, when and if, I do go abroad – Europe, India & Australia) of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). Thus that’s the only complete ‘Harry Potter’ film I’ve seen till date, and I felt it was a pretty good movie, though not as great as the hype surrounding the franchise. Then in February/March 2012, I was in New Delhi, India, and saw The Woman in Black (2012), starring Daniel Radcliffe, on the Big Screen there. The film was pretty pathetic (see my list of critiques titled Oscar Winners … and then some 2012 from March 2012, on IMDB), with the only saving grace being Radcliffe’s superb performance. He was brilliant, in such a mature role, as a father and a widower. I already liked his personality, when I saw him on Rove, back in 2007, and when I saw him in The Woman in Black; though a pretty bad movie; by now I had even greater respect for him, as an actor. Since then, I haven’t seen any of his films, until I saw Kill Your Darlings.

Kill Your Darlings Blog Bottom - Poster

I watched Kill Your Darlings, last week, on the 22nd of July, 2015, when it was shown at the Goethe Institute (German Cultural Centre), here. Daniel Radcliffe celebrated his 26th Birthday on the 23rd of July, 2015.

Kill Your Darlings (2013) – A Must Watch!!!!!
My Rating: Near Excellence!!!! 9/10!!!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

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My QUOTE of the DAY

The greater philosopher a man is,
the more difficult it is for him to answer,
 the foolish questions of common people.
                            -Henryk Sienkiewicz
                                (1846-1916)

Henryk Sienkiewicz was a noble prize winning Polish novelist, of the Victorian & Edwardian eras. Although I haven’t read any of his famed masterpieces, I saw this quote in a newspaper, some years ago. Then and there, I cut it and pasted it on the wall. One of my favourite quotes. Henryk Sienkiewicz is most famous for having authored some brilliant historical works of fiction. Am most keen on reading, the English translation of, Sienkiewicz’s epic, Quo Vadis (published in 1895), set in Rome around 64 AD, under the rule of Emperor Nero. In fact, this brilliant quote is from Quo Vadis itself.

THE RULES: See my post 3Days!!! 3Quotes!!! Challenge (Day 1), from a couple of days ago.

My Trio of Nominations for the Final Day

Literary Vittles (Alina), An American living in New Zealand, a Book Worm (who loves Children’s Literature & Illustrations), and writes about everything from travel to books to artworks to films. Alina is also one of my oldest Blog-pals.
Writer Loves Movies (Natalie Stendall), as her Blog-title sugests, a blogger/writer who loves to write about movies.
Vinnieh, a fellow film Blogger, one of the earliest bloggers to follow me, and vice versa. A true Blog-pal.

A Big Thank you, once again, to Akhiz Munawar, for roping me into this enjoyable challenge. Munawar himself is a literary genius, and a superb poet. Check out his blog, Akhiz Munawar, as well.

Also see my , from yesterday, 3Days!!! 3Quotes!!! Challenge (Day 2).

Nuwan Sen (Quoting Quotes of the brilliantly famous)

My QUOTE of the DAY

Depth of friendship,
 does not depend on,
 length of acquaintance.
                            -Ravindranath Tagore
                                (1861-1941)

Ravindranath Tagore (a.k.a. Rabindranath Tagore) was a Bengali literary mastermind of Contextual Modernisation, from Calcutta, in the Bengal Presidency (now in the state of West Bengal), in India (under the British Raj). The famed poet/writer/artist reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art nationwide, in the late 19th & early 20th centuries. Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

THE RULES: See my previous post 3Days!!! 3Quotes!!! Challenge (Day 1)

My Trio of Nominations for Day 2

Callum McLaughlin, a published novelist and poet, an interesting blog of poetry and prose, that I recently stumbled upon.

William Jepma, one of the oldest blogs I’ve been following, and vice versa, for a few years now, a fellow film blogger.

Speakeasy (Kristina), the Queen of Classic Film Blogathons, her Blog is full of them, she organisers one after another, and she’s superb at it.

Nuwan Sen
(Quoting Quotes)

I was nominated for the 3Days 3Quotes Challenge by fellow blogger Akhiz Munawar, last week. A bit delayed, but here I am, finally taking up the challenge.

Audrey Hepburn  by Daniel Janda

Audrey Hepburn, Pop-Art, by Daniel Janda

THE RULES:-
The rules are pretty simple. Thank the person who nominated you. Post a Quote each day for 3 days, consecutively. And each day Nominate 3 of your fellow blog-pals, to take part in it.

My Gratitude to Akhiz Munawar
Thanks man, for thinking of me for this interestingly fun challenge. And am really sorry for the, almost, one week delay.

My QUOTE of the DAY

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness,
for lovely eyes, seek out the good in people,
for a slim figure, share your food with the hungry,
for beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers
through it once a day,
for poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.
– Audrey Hepburn
(1929-1993)

Audrey Hepburn, photographed, by Richard Avedon

Audrey Hepburn, photographed, by Richard Avedon

When Audrey Hepburn; one of the most beautiful, talented, kind-hearted & sophisticated, actresses that ever lived; was asked to share her beauty tips, she wrote something really unexpected. The above quote is a small portion of her unique advice to young girls (which can be attributed to young boys too) on how to truly be a beautiful person, both in the inside as well as outside. Audrey Hepburn besides being a talented actress, and a fashionista, with a unique sense of style, was a child war hero (during WW-II), and a philanthropist, who gave her latter life to help poverty stricken children around the globe. She was also appointed as the Goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, in 1989. A contributor to the UNICEF since 1954, she worked for the organisation from 1988, till close to her demise from cancer, in January 1993, aged 63.

My Trio of Nominations

Cindy Bruchman, a published author, historian, Navy veteran & Film Blogger
Silver Screenings (Ruth), a Classic Film Blogger
Alex Raphael, the king of quotes, his blog is full of famous quotes by Great Personalities, as well as fictional characters (from books/films et al), & a fellow Film Blogger

Nuwan Sen (Quoting Quotes of the brilliantly famous)

3 years . 3 months . 3 weeks . 3 days

Bastille Day 2015 Header

3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks & 3 days; that’s exactly how old my Blog is today. I started this Blog on the 20th of March, Year 2012. Today is also Bastille Day, i.e. the National Day of France. So I thought, why not do something different today, that is relevant to both, my Blog, and the French republic, the largest country, in the western region, of the European continent.

So here is my foursome of 3’s (my favourites in each) in relation to this beautiful country, called France.

1st 3.
My trio of favourite hangouts in Paris
I first visited Paris, during my hectic one month Eurotrip of Spring 2005 (April 2005). Spent just one evening in Paris, at the time. Later I got a chance to live there, for almost a year, in 2008 & 2009. I fell deeply in love with the City of Love, the most beautiful concrete jungle I’ve ever lived in.

(i)  The Champs-Élysées

Watching the Bastille Day parade, Bastille Day ((14th July 2008) The Champs-Élysées, Paris

Watching the Bastille Day parade, On Bastille Day (14th July 2008)
Champs-Élysées, Paris

At the Virgin Bookshop  (an Old underground bank vault that has been turned into a bookstore) Champs-Élysées, Paris (August 2009)

At the Virgin Bookshop (an Old underground bank vault, that has been turned into a bookstore) Champs-Élysées, Paris (August 2009)

With a French friend (I befriended in Sydney), in front of one of the Gaumont cinemas, at the Champs-Élysées, in Paris (8th September 2009) The night before I let Paris, France. Haven't returned since.

With a French friend (I befriended in Sydney, Australia), in front of one of the Gaumont cinemas, at the Champs-Élysées, in Paris (8th September 2009)
The night before I left Paris, France. Haven’t returned since.

I loved hanging out around the Champs-Élysées, such a beautiful location, with it’s wide walkways, lined up with trees, leading up to the Arc de Triomphe. Especially being a film buff I was a frequent visitor to the Champs-Élysées, whilst living in Paris, for there are two Gaumont Cinemas, on either side of the broad boulevard. Got to watch some great European & Hollywood films. I went to the cinemas near the Palais Garnier (Opera House), as well. Another beautiful spot, with the Opera House, and the Galeries Lafayette (a posh department store) et al. But I love the whole atmosphere, and the feel, with the hustle and bustle of the walkways, of the Champs-Élysées. On 14th July 2008, I went to watch the Bastille Day parade, at the Champs-Élysées as well.

(ii) Along the River Seine

Along the River Seine, Paris (September 2008)

Along the River Seine, Paris (September 2008)

Along the River Seine, in Paris (August 2009)

Along the River Seine, in Paris (August 2009)

Along the River Seine, Paris (August 2009)

Along the River Seine, Paris (August 2009)

Being a romantic at heart, I can just lose myself walking along the River Seine. It’s just so beautiful, with all those old bridges, ancient brick roads, aesthetically appealing historic architecture, on either side of the river, passing tiny avenues, and the old street vendors, selling old books and souvenirs of Paris, and the fresh clean air. Best to walk alone along these streets, to enjoy oneself. Just get lost in yourself, it’s Poetic Justice, in a positive sense, that is. It’s pure heaven!!!!!

(iii) The Louvre

At the Egyptian Gallery The Louvre, Paris (July 2008)

At the Egyptian Gallery
Louvre, Paris (July 2008)

Under the Glass Pyramid  With my sister, and her husband, when they visited Paris (Spring 2009) The Louvre, Paris (April 2009)

Under the Glass Pyramid
With my sister, and her husband, when they visited Paris (Spring 2009)
Louvre, Paris (April 2009)

With a self-portrait of Eugène Delacroix Louvre, in Paris (May 2009)

With a self-portrait of Eugène Delacroix
Louvre, in Paris (May 2009)

Being an artist as well, I’ve visited this famous museum only four times (it’s free every first Sunday of the month). And yet I never got a chance to complete every nook and corner of this beautiful building, in itself, not to mention, the well maintained, collection of art work from around the globe. The Louvre is my second favourite, yet most visited, Museum in the French capital. My favourite museum happens to be Musée d’Orsay, but I’ve only visited it twice. And I’ve visited other various Art Galleries and Museums in Paris as well. Thus, not just the Louvre, but I can say that the Parisienne museums in the general sense, could be another great hangout, but it’s specifically the Louvre, I enjoyed hanging out in the most, even though I love the Musée d’Orsay more.

2nd 3.
My trio of all time favourite French Films

(i) Jules et Jim (1962)
Jules et Jim (Special Post on France) 3-3-3-3 Photographic PosterMy all time favourite piece of French cinema. Directed by François Truffaut, and starring Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, and Henri Serre, this French New Wave classic, is also among my TOP-10 all time favourite movies. An epic saga spanning over 3 decades, happens to be one of my favourite tragic romances ever. Truffaut was a genius. An excellent love triangle, involving two best friends (an Austrian & a Frenchman), both of whom fall for the same French beauty, with a serene looking smile.
Also see my lists The Essential 60’s (Top 60) (pictorial tribute) and Why I love …. (list of critiques), from January 2012, and November/December 2012, respectively, on IMDB.

(ii) Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)
Les Enfants du ParadisOne of the most beautiful epics ever made. Les Enfants du Paradis, directed by Marcel Carné, made with great difficulty during the second World War, and set in the backdrop of the French Theatre during the 19th century, is France’s answer to America’s Gone with the Wind (1939).
Also see my post Children of Paradise: The French Epic from last year (July 2014).

(iii) Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964)
Les Parapluies de CherbourgOne of my favourite musicals ever. Directed by Jacques Demy, this romantic 60’s movie, set in the late 50’s, is about a young unmarried pregnant girl, separated from her lover (who’s gone to fight for the French, during the Algerian war), having no news of his whereabouts, she has to come to a crucial decision for the wellbeing of her unborn child. Love this classic. Love Catherine Deneuve!!!!
Also see my post Being mesmerised by ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg from August 2013.

3rd 3
My trio of favourite holiday destinations, in France (outside Paris)

(i) The French Riviera (Côte d’Azur)

Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France  (July 2009)

Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France (July 2009)

Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France (July 2009) On the way to Monaco

Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France (July 2009)
On the way to Monaco

On Bastille Day (14th July 2009) Villefranche-sur-mer, South Of France

On Bastille Day (14th July 2009)
Villefranche-sur-mer, South Of France

Of course, the most beautiful warm holiday resort I’ve ever been to. With it’s rocky mountains, pebbled beaches and luxurious backdrops, the French Riviera is a class apart. Very expensive though, I practically starved. But unlike Paris, where I loved living in, I cannot see myself residing in the Côte d’Azur. I’ll miss the city too much. But it’s no doubt a perfect holiday resort, to take some time off, and just chill. Next time, if and when, I get a chance to visit the south of France again, I should have a load of money saved up, so that I don’t end up poverty ridden by the end of it.

(ii) Le Mont Saint-Michel

Mont St. Michel, Normandy (September 2008)

Mont St. Michel, Normandy (September 2008)

In front of the chapel, on top of Mont St. Michel, in Normandy (September 2008)

In front of the Chapel, on top of Mont St. Michel, in Normandy (September 2008)

Inside Mont St. Michel, Normandy (September 2008)

Inside Mont St. Michel, Normandy (September 2008)

Off the northern coast of France, in Normandy, is an island entirely made up of a steep granite hill, with a black clay based beach, surrounding it. One of the most beautiful ancient citadels I’ve ever visited. Mont St. Michel, is part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

(iii) Giverny

Claude Monet's Garden  Giverny, France (August 2008)

Claude Monet’s Garden
Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

Claude Monet's Home & Gardens Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

Claude Monet’s Home & Gardens
Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

With a Classic Sports Car Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

With a Classic Sports Car
Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

Being an artist, how can I not mention Giverny, where the late Impressionist Artist, of the 19th & early 20th century, Claude Monet’s, house and gardens are located. A must see for any artist, florist and anyone with a sense, or even a tiny streak, of artistry, in them. Also a must see for artists, are Monet’s paintings housed at the Musée d’Orsay (mentioned earlier) – an old railway station, that existed from the beginning of the 20th century up to the late 1930’s, and transformed into, primarily, an impressionist Art Gallery, in Paris, in the 1980’s

Last (4th) 3.
My trio of favourite, French born, French film stars

(i) Catherine Deneuve
Catherine DeneuveBeen a fan of hers, since like ever. This 71 year old actress is no doubt my all time favourite French celebrity. Having started her cinematic journey in the late 50’s, Deneuve had two film releases this year, and has no plans of retiring from the film industry, any time soon.

(ii) Alain Delon
Alain DelonI first discovered the existence of Alain Delon, at the turn of the century. Since then have seen quite a lot of, this 79 year old star’s, great movies; and have loved him, in everything I’ve seen him in. But I haven’t really watched any of his movies, he’s acted in, in his old age. His last film appearance, so far, was in 2012.

(iii) Marion Cotillard
Marion Cotillard (Special Post on France) 3-3-3-3Back in 2007, whilst living in Sydney, I watched the film Love Me If You Dare (2003), when it was shown on a local channel there. I thought she looked beautiful, and she was a good actress, and the film was really good as well, and that was that. Then mid-2007, the Édith Piaf bio-pic, La Vie en Rose (2007), starring Marion Cotillard, in the lead, as Piaf, was released, in Australia. I went to watch it, ‘cause I’ve been a fan of Édith Piaf’s beautiful song, ever since I watched Audrey Hepburn’s rendition of Piaf’s La Vie en Rose in Sabrina (1954), when I was a teenager, back in 1994, whilst living in New Delhi, India. By the turn of this century, I was aware who Édith Piaf was. Thus Piaf was my motivation behind watching La Vie en Rose, and not Cotillard. But Cotillard did such a brilliant job, she was Piaf incarnate. I was instantly hooked by her brilliant performance, and Cotillard became my favourite French movie star from 21st century. Born in 1975, she’s my age, practically (she’ll turn 40 later, in September, this year). At the Oscars, in 2008, she bagged the ‘Best Actress’ trophy for her role in La Vie en Rose. Returning home from work, I just managed to switch on the television to see her name being announced as that year’s winner. I was delighted. And since then I’ve see quite a few of her movies, both from France and Hollywood. Am really keen on checking out her most recent, British venture, Macbeth (2015), where she plays Lady Macbeth, and which was released at the Cannes Festival a couple of months ago (May 2015). Also see my write-up, paying tribute to Édith Piaf, Édith Piaf: 50th Death Anniversary, from a couple of years ago.

So here you are, my foursome of 3’s, honouring my 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks & 3 days, of blogging, till date, as well the French National day, in my own way.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense
Nuwan Sen and the French Republic

 

Welcome to the Digital Age

I watched Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children (2014), today morning, on HBO On Demand. It was a beautiful way to start my Sunday.
Men,Women & Children (Big Poster) NSWhatever Reitman does, he does brilliantly. The film explores life as it is today, where we’ve become so accustomed to modern technology – PC’s, Lap Tops, Mobile Phones, Smart Phones, Tablets, ipads et al, that it’s hard to imagine life without these gadgets. We live in such a virtual reality, that people start to lose control of RL (Real Life). Not to forget the modern (SMS) lingo, that’s made it to youngsters oral-verbal vocabulary; DFT, OMG, LOL, HAK, IDK, KK, STFU etc etc …; whilst being hooked onto Chatting/Texting/Sexting. Welcome to the 21st century.

With Emma Thompson’s brilliant narration, and a massive star cast, with intersecting story lines, revolving around one significant plot – the effect of the internet in modern society; this tragic-comic/drama, feels like a, more youthful, 21st century, Woody Allen movie. A piece of satire, which deals with social issues akin to this day and age, which isn’t out and out comedy, but sends you a serious underlining message. We see extreme effects of modern technology, the good, the bad, as well as the intellect, use of it. The film mostly deals with various teenagers today, and adults in connection to them. We see extreme methods of parenting, both of which have a negative impact, on the lives of their children. For example, we see an overprotective mother, who checks up on her daughter to the height of suffocation, that the girl has a secret account, that her mother isn’t aware of; in the other extreme, we see a mother too lenient on her daughter, and has a website, where she posts sexually explicit pictures of her on a personal website, to help her become a star. Both these extremes, have a very adverse effect, on the young innocent teenage lives. One anorexic teenage girl almost dies, when she miscarries, unaware she was pregnant (a result of peer pressure). One young boy, tries to commit suicide, when his father decides to close, the son’s account, who’s hooked on video games. A bored middle aged couple, are seen playing a game of Scrabble, with each other, on their ipads, not even looking at each other. Then there is porn on the net, online dating, cybersex, you name it. Virtual Reality vs. RL!!! The Virtual wins!!!

The movie reminded me of a televised advertisement, I saw quite recently, a month or two ago, on the cable news channel ‘France24’. On the – culture segment – Film Critic, Lisa Nesselson, spoke of a French Film Festival, and showcased this comical advertisement. The ad portrayed today’s youngsters, whose heads have permanently tilted forward, ‘cause they are constantly looking at their phones. And thus, with a severe neck ache, they visit the doctor, and the prescription is for them to go to the cinema, for this particular festival, and they’ll be cured. For they’ll have to look up at the screen, instead of tilting forward. Unfortunately, I don’t remember which French Film Festival it was about, nor can I seem to locate it online. The necessity of the internet, in the 21st century. How did we manage before this?

Added to which, a week ago or so, I read, on the comic strip, Wizard of Id (in a newspaper), where one of the characters goes to a fortune teller, and asks what life would be like in the 21st century. The fortune teller looks into her Crystal Ball, and sees words like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube et al. She replies, they never leave their house. Funny, but true. I hardly go out, myself, but I don’t waste my time on the net either. I use my laptop mainly for my write-ups. Wizard of Id is set in the Middle Ages (Medieval period).

Being great fan of Reitman’s directorial ventures, I was really interested in watching this for a while now. But at the same time, I was a bit apprehensive, ‘cause Adam Sandler was in it. None the less, I thought, since it’s a Reitman movie, I doubt Sandler could do much harm, and if the movie does end up being a disappointment, it would no doubt be due to Reitman’s major mistake of hiring Sandler for the project. But, I was pleasantly surprised, Adam Sandler was superb. I loved the bugger in this, for the very first time. What a mature role, of a somewhat immature character. No stale jokes, no cheap humour, not a waste of time – seeing him blabbing away foolishly (as he usually does), nothing. Having sat through quite a few Adam Sandler films, am not a fan of his at all. But, I really liked him in this. Plus, I loved the way his character, handled the issue of infidelity, without being a jerk, or a hypocrite, so maturely. The most respectable role Adam Sandler has done till date, and definitely the best comedy he’s appeared in.

The rest of the cast are superb in their respective roles, and no real surprise there. Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Rosemarie DeWitt, Dennis Haysbert, J.K. Simmons and Phil LaMarr, are all great actors. While the younger stars roped in; Ansel Elgort, Travis Tope, Kaitlyn Dever, Olivia Crocicchia, Elena Kampouris, Will Peltz and Timothée Chalamet, are all a perfect fit, for this superb movie.

Have loved every single Reitman movie, I have seen so far, within the span of, less than, ten years. From Thank You for Smoking (2005), to Juno (2007), to Up in the Air (2009), to Labor Day (2013), and now Men, Women & Children (2014), love them all. (Check out my list Top 5 Nouveau Comedies (2001 – 2010) from May 2011, on IMDB; and my post on Labor Day, starring from August 2014, on my Blog itself)

My Rating: 10/10!!! For Excellence in movie making!!

Love The Movie!! Love The Ensemble of Cast members!! Love to read The Novel by Chad Kultgen, this Movie is based on!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

World Population Day

One of the first things that comes to mind, when I hear the words, World Population Day, is – India & China (the two most populated countries in the world).

Mother India has an estimate population of 1,273,960,000, whilst Mama China has an even larger estimated population of 1,370,880,000 inhabitants.
Pregnant Map of IndiaThough am not an Indian, as I was born in New Delhi, India; and spent my entire childhood (from birth to 12½), then one year of teenage life (18½ to 19½) in (the best year of my teenage life), and my three years at Delhi University (KMC in North Campus), and my nightmare acting school days, at Imago Acting school (the worst few months of my life, ever; where, added to which, I found out, that I can’t act for peanuts), @ Film City, in Noida (a suburb of New Delhi, located in the state of Uttar Pradesh), India; and as I’ve never even visited China yet, let alone live there, I shall focus entirely on India, for this post.

India is beautiful country, to visit, and if you are well to do, to live in. Yet, this third world country, is sadly amongst the poorest countries in the world. With a massive population, poverty is something that’s impossible to completely eradicate. But India does try it’s best, and it’s a country that constantly moves forward, economically and otherwise. Why, if you take certain areas, in cities, like New Delhi, for instance, it is like a first world country. If India were a tiny island, with a small population, it would no doubt, like the country of Singapore, have been one the famed first world countries of the east. But, unfortunately that’s not the case. And then there is also a lot corruption in such a beautiful, historically and aesthetically significant, country. Yet, again, it doesn’t mean the whole country is, nor that the majority of the population is, involved in corruption. There might be thousands and thousands of Indians involved in deceit, bribery, fraud, you name it; but there are millions and millions who aren’t, out of a society of over a billion inhabitants, packed together in one country.

How can one help solve the population crisis, India is going through. With the United States recent referendum that finally acknowledged same-sex marriage, by legalising it nationwide, in the States; India, for one, should seriously re-think their laws on homosexuality. Why, India is one country, that ought to, not just give recognition to LGBT communities, but promote homosexually 😉 . For one thing, that will naturally solve the population crisis of the country, quicker than a blink of an eye. Ha!!

That was just in jest, but in a more serious note, India needs to be more open minded. Not just in gay and lesbian issues, but in everything, from race, religion to gender (especially women’s issues). Thankfully, to a certain extent, people in most Indian cities, do tend to be quite open minded. Compulsory education throughout the country, should be one of the main priorities, a perfect pathway to improve and curb the ever increasing inhabitants, that’s getting too heavy for Mother India to keep tabs on. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, advocated Adult education centres, especially in rural areas, back in the 1950’s, besides his other social policies concerning higher education, as well as compulsory children’s primary education, at the time. Yet, it’s not implemented today.

There’ve been great Indian personalities, who’ve manage to bring the country forward despite everything. From the 70’s, till date, feminist/social activists, like actress Shabana Azmi, Deepti Naval and the late Smita Patil, to historian Romila Thapar, to politicians like Indira Gandhi (and her two daughter-in-laws – Sonia Gandhi & Maneka Gandhi) and have constantly thrived to bring awareness to various social issues concerning India. Shabana Azmi (with a background in psychology) is also a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), which seeks to spread contraception and abortion in India, in order to limit it’s population. In the mid-1980’s, Doordarshan showcased a television soap, Rajani (1985-1986), the protagonist of which, a housewife, would fight injustices, creating social awareness, amongst, it’s other various ignorant characters, as well as us, it’s audiences. As kids, we really enjoyed watching this television series. More recently, the Aamir Khan hosted talk show, Satyamev Jayate (2012-2014), a show that focused on social issues affecting modern day Indians, reached audiences beyond the Indian sub-continent, as it was aired on various channels within STAR cable network as well as Doordarshan’s DD National channel.

Miss Universe , Sushmita Sen, the first Indian beauty queen to be crowned Miss India, never married, adopted two children, both girls (Sen adopted her first child, a baby, at the young age of 25), and, along with actress Kajol, has campaigned to save the girl child/empower the girl child (which by many a illiterate, rich or poor, have considered a burden). Actress, Kajol, is a social activist herself, and is noted for her work with widows and children. Adoption is truly one of best options, than giving birth to a child, which should somewhat help curb the ever increasing Indian population as well. There are so many unwanted children in the world. You’d be saving a life, and helping another human being, rather than producing one, where there are so many abandoned. It’s not a necessity, that a child has to come from your semen/ovary/womb. I personally would have loved to adopt a child myself. But after leading a very unsettling, and quite miserable, life, in a very narrow minded country like Sri Lanka, for the last six years, and being a single, unmarried, inexperienced, male, it is impossible to even think of adoption here. I ended up adopting a dog, in December 2014, instead. Jokes apart, that’s the best thing that’s happened to my life. And the puppy I adopted, was a stray (supposedly a mixed breed, mixed with a stray, and abandoned on the streets to die). Thus I actually saved a life. Otherwise, if she didn’t find a home, she might have ended up, god knows where. Saving a stray animal, is still saving a life.

Educating villagers, the need for sterilisation, is another method. In 1977, the then Indian Prime Minister, the late Indira Gandhi, became unpopular for the notorious ‘Compulsory Sterilisation Program’ of  1976, and lost the elections of 77’. This sterilisation program was actually the brainchild of her younger son, the late Sanjay Gandhi. It was a forced form of sterilisation, and not by choice, during India’s state of Emergency (75’ – 77’). Added to which, it focused more on sterilising women than men. The way it happened was wrong, but it could have helped limit the number of unwanted, unplanned, births, at the time. None the less, it was a negative use of power, by a greatly respected premier. Everyone makes mistakes. What should be done, is that villagers should be made to understand, and re-educated, as to why sterilisation and contraception’s, are a necessity, after giving birth to a one or two children (three or more is a crowd, unless they are adopted 😀 ).

Indian Art House movies, especially Hindi-language films, mostly produced by NFDC (National Film Development Corporation of India) like, Ankur (1974), Manthan – The Churning (1976), Mirch Masala (1987), Salaam Bombay! (1988), and especially the educational movie directed by Shyam Benegal, Hari-Bhari (2000), starring Shabana Azmi, Rajit Kapoor, Nandita Das and Rajeshwari Sachdev, which dealt with women’s fertility rights, have been helpfully insightful cinematic ventures in India. This is the kind of cinema, that the media can use, to help educate villagers around India. Hari-Bhari won the National Film Award for ‘Best Film on Family Welfare’.

Today, the Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh (JSK), a registered society of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, under the Government of India, is doing every effort to draw attention towards issues of Population Stabilisation. And a Walkathon towards Population Stabilization, is organised for today, 11th of July, 2015, at the India Gate, in New Delhi, India.

Today is World Population Day. Let’s help curb unwanted births, especially in poorer countries, through, education, adoption and in any small way we can possibly help.

Nuwan Sen n’ Social Issues
Nuwan Sen’s Historical Sense