Tag Archive: Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense


An Unexpected Pleasant Surprise!!!

On Twitter, I’ve been taking part in a quite few Film Challenges, for sometime now (but not regular enough). Yesterday afternoon, I was going through IMDB, checking out films I love, from before 1929, when I came across something unexpected. This was for yesterday’s , hosted by Gabriela(@noir_or_never) of Pale Writer: Classic and Horror films unite!! The Challenge was, to mention a Film made before 1929, that should have won an Oscar. I actually found FIVE FILMS!!!!! Anyway, I also checked Roundhay Garden Scene (1888) on IMDB. AND Wow!!!! What did I see??? I couldn’t believe my EYES👀, when I saw this.

IMDB (i.e. the famed Internet Movie Data Base) has a poster I created some years ago for a Blog Post of mine, posted on their site; front page of this Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince Documentary from !!! I was like Wowza!!! That’s a lovely compliment! Feel really honoured!! Wonder how long they’ve had it! BUT, wait!!

Hmmmm!! ’twas not with my consent though! My Copyright!!!! Ha!! 😍

My Copyright!!!! Ha!! 😍

Of course, am kidding. After all, my Blog is in the public domain; so anyone can use my content (I think🤔). Anyway, it’s nice to see they’ve used it; and to post it on their site. Which means someone (or more than one person) from IMDB, has come across my BLOG!!!! That means there are more viewers for my Blog than am aware of!! That’s a great honour in itself!! 💗

What’s more surprising is, the fact this poster isn’t that great. I don’t have Photoshop or any other cool tools/Apps to create anything artistic (digitally speaking). I just have the ordinary “Paint” icon, on my Laptop (same with my previous Laptops). So there is nothing great about it. But it’s lovely to see it on IMDB!! PLUS, my printed name is quite noticeably visible on it!! 😊 Also see my Post, Roundhay Garden Scene (1888) – A Two Second Documentary, from October 2014.

Of course, I didn’t select, Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince’s (a.k.a. Louis Le Prince), Roundhay Garden Scene, for the Film Challenge (after all, though it’s the oldest surviving film footage; it was never shown on the Big Screen; the 1st Cinematic release was by the Lumière Brothers’, who had their 1st private screening of a projected motion picture, in 1895, for a select audience of 200 people), but I felt Le Prince deserved a Special Posthumous Oscar Award, for his contribution to the Moving Image. His unsolved disappearance (and maybe murder), on the way to demonstrate his scientific invention, in September 1890, is still a mystery.

Speaking of Twitter, I got this e-mail, last week (screenshot above). Although I’ve got only 661 followers (664 as of today) & am following 2,454 Twitter accounts; 8,769 people have seen my Tweets, within the week before last!! Wonderful! On my Blog here, I have 329 followers so far; and 83,320 views, altogether (yup, just decided to check that as well). Not Bad, eh!! 🙂

Meanwhile the Cannes Film Festival is currently under way; and I haven’t been able to follow that properly this time.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
(@Nuwansenfilmsen)

Nuwan Sen (NSFS👁)

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Since Audrey Hepburn’s 90th Birth Anniversay (on 4th May 2019), twitter has been abuzz avec Hepburn tweets! I, of course, happen to be among the main culprits flooding Twitter, along with my fellow Twitterians/Audrey Hepburn fans, with Hepburn related tweets! Happily Guilty! So, thought I’d share my tweets, along with some other Twitterians’ tweets, posted on the 4th of May 2019, as well as post the 4th, within this last week, culminating today!

May the 4th Be with You (Tweets Posted on 4th May 2019)

#NSFS

Tweets Post the 4th (5th to 11th May 2019)

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense (#NSFS)

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If Audrey Hepburn were alive today, she’d be 90 years old! Just imagine! It’s hard to even fathom; a post WWII, modern, youthful, energetic, fun-loving and fashionable, foxy 50’s generation; that gave us stars like Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Grace Kelly, Marlon Brando, et al; would ever grow old! And sadly most of them didn’t; and some died way way way too young. The era of cool! I remember it like it were yesterday, when we heard of Hepburn’s demise in January 1993, at the age of 63. I was 17 years old. Where did the 1990’s go?? Am already in my 40’s, and it’s Audrey Hepburn’s heavenly 90th Birthday, today!

To mark her 90th Birth Anniversary, Audrey Hepburn’s Birth place, Brussels, Belgium; is holding a special exhibition, titled Intimate Audrey, which began earlier this week; which includes contribution from Hepburn’s older son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer (who put together this exhibition).

I wish I was in Europe, right now. If any of my fellow bloggers/Hepburn fans are in Europe these days, and happen to be in Belgium, do check it out! From whatever media I’ve come across about the exhibition, it looks amazing. The exhibition includes the green “Vespa Farobasso” scooter she rode, in Roman Holiday (1953), my all time favourite movie; Hepburn’s own fashion drawings & humanitarian writings, and the Oscar statuette awarded posthumously for her humanitarian work.

A screen legend, a style icon, a kind human with a Big Heart!!!!!! My all time favourite actress!! Great personalities never really die! They live on, through us, their greatest fans, forever!!💓

❤ Hepburn ❤

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

 

For the very first time in this country, there was a special Film Festival, celebrating women & womanhood, to coincide with , this year! This was in the first week of this month! The opening movie was on 28th February 2019, which I didn’t go for, plus I wasn’t able to attend the movies on 1st & 2nd of March 2019! So the 3rd of March, 2019, was my very 1st attendance at the very 1st Colombo International Women’s Film Festival!! The Festival took place at the National Film Corporation (NFC), in Colombo.

Julia Jentsch & Emilia Pieske in 24 Wochen (2016)

My Day 1 (3rd March 2019)

Afternoon 3:30pm (1530hrs)

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Tradition (2016) – Short Film, directed by Lanka Bandaranayake

An elderly woman decorates a young depressed looking bride, in traditional Kandyan jewellery, as the bride reflects on her past sexual liaisons. Good premise and the decorating of the woman in bridal attire is beautifully done, but the flashbacks look fake. Sometimes nudity is added just for the sake of it, and it doesn’t work, like in this case. For example, there is stark naked man seated in toilet, then he just gets up showing us his clean buttocks and flushes the toilet (he neither wiped nor washed his ass before doing so, yet the bugger was spotlessly clean), another half naked man walks really carefully, in nothing but a shirt, and turns slowly so that his perfectly placed shirt manages to cover his penis (who talks and walks like that, is he training to be a monk?) As I mentioned the nudity is put in just for the sake of sensationalizing nudity. What I am trying to say is not that shit ought to shown on his ass or there need to be a show of a guys genitals, but my point is how unrealistic and artificial those flashback scenes felt. What I liked was veteran, Irangani Serasinghe, who was admiringly marvellous as she explained the significance of each piece of jewelry. Especially when she puts the chained rings, and mentions that the new bride will be chained to her husband and children for life (in other words, there is no escape). The ugly and unhappy bride was well portrayed as well, and from her memories we are shown she’s no virgin bride as Sri Lankan brides are presumed to be!

Good Concept, but the flashback sequences could’ve been handled better.

Average Fare: 5/10

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Deepa Mehta’s Anatomy of Violence (2016) was based on the real life gang rape that shook the Indian capital, in December 2012, yet depicting a fictional backstory for each of the perpetrators.

Anatomy of Violence is made in the style of a mockumentary, a fake realism of sorts, with adult actors playing children as well, including their own younger selves. The movie was actually bit of a drag, and a lot of time is wasted on each person’s backstory. The perpetrators are humanized a level bit too much. Showed them in a very sympathetic light and time wasted to show how ‘ordinary’ these men are. No matter what they might have gone through when they were young (for it’s mere speculation) that’s no excuse for what they did, as adult men, with a mature enough brain that’s quite aware of what they were doing. And we do get to see that they have no conscience, no regret. As much as you can empathize with what they might have gone through growing up, you can’t feel any kind sympathy towards their selfish inhumane act. These six men, gang raped a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, Jyoti Singh Pandey, in a moving bus, beat her and tortured her. She succumbed to her injuries and died in within two weeks after the assault.

The film is divided into segments, and the Aftermath segment, with the details of actual newsreels inter cut with documentary drama style, was the best segment. This film could have worked way better as a documentary of an Actors Workshop, rather than using the improvisational exercises as a representation of reality.

None the less, Anatomy of Violence was an averagely good effort, from the acting talent, as well as from the famed film director.

Average Fare: 6/10

Panel discussion on Violence Against Women.

This discussion was quite good. Wish there more people in attendance, only about ten people were left in the audience (for the movie there were only a few more, who left as the interesting discussion started). I shared my own thoughts on Deepa’s Mehta’s perspective transferred onto the Big Screen (including some of the stuff I mentioned above), when the audience was given a chance to question and comment. I enjoyed this post-film Q&A, more than the actual feature. Wish Deepa Mehta herself was present. It would’ve been interesting to speak to an acclaimed director like her directly, a director I use to have such great admiration for back in the 90’s & noughties (especially thanks to her directorial ventures like; the brilliant first two installments in her Elements trilogy, Fire,1996 &1947:Earth,1998, and a really good third installment made amidst a lot of controversy, Water, 2005, as well as her, far from great, but still pretty good flicks, like, Camilla, 1994, Heaven on Earth, 2008 & Midnight’s Children, 2012).

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Evening 6:15pm (1815hrs)

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Bless this home (2019) – Short Film by Randi Pavithra Kaluarachchi, was just crap.

The silly “Dishum Dishum” sequence was ridiculous (a play on fantasy versus reality). Can’t really compare it to Mehta’s film, where adult actors play child characters. What Pavithra Kaluarachchi wanted to showcase was domestic violence, in a manner of child’s play. So we see the parents in cowboy hats (the father in full cowboy gear) pointing their figures at each other going “Dishum Dishum”. Ultimately we see the woman dead, in reality. It just didn’t work, for me at least, and it came out looking quite silly. As I mentioned it to the director herself, when I met her briefly later that night.

It might have worked better if she made it in a more surreal setting, having a cowboy chasing a cowgirl, both on horseback, making it looking like an actual western, and then the cowboy lassoing the cowgirl off her horse, cutting to reality to show the dead woman and two little kids starring at her. That would have made for a better movie than two fully grown humans doing a silly “Dishum Dishum” to each other inside a house!!!!

Thus it’s mainly thanks to the two adult leads, that the movie was ruined. A good concept none the less, what Randi Pavithra Kaluarachchi tried to indirectly show, but unfortunately, really poor in the execution.

Pathetic: 1/10

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24 Wochen (2016), English Title: 24 Weeks

Directed by Anne Zohra Berrached, this German movie, discusses the issue of late-term abortion. This was the best film, I saw, at the Festival.

A happily married woman with a little daughter, is about 6 months pregnant with her second child, when she learns that the unborn child would have down syndrome. Along with her husband, they slowly come to terms with bringing up a child with down syndrome, including taking their little girl to special schools for kids with down syndrome, so that the daughter can adapt to her brother’s disability, once he’s born. Just as they’ve made peace with the fact of raising a child like that, they get worse news. The unborn baby also has a heart defect.

The movie deals with the moral dilemma the parents have to face, when it comes to having a late-term abortion, trying to make the decision as to have the baby, or abort the growing child. And since it’s a late-term abortion, she’d have to go through an induced labour and the probability of the child being born alive are high. Thus, the new born baby will have to be given a lethal injection. Sad, tragic, painfully heart rending!!! We feel for the parents, having to go through what they are going through, without judging them for their final decision.

Beautiful and tragic!

Very Good: 8/10!

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My Day 2 (5th March 2019)

Evening 6:15pm (1815hrs)

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Love vs. Love (2019) – Short Film by Pavithra Damunugahkumbura. What in the world was that? It was so pathetic, there is nothing to salvage!

Pathetic: 1/10

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Mary Shelley (2017)

Saudi Arabia’s 1st female filmmaker, Haifaa Al-Mansour, directed the bio-pic of the famed female author responsible for giving birth to Frankenstein, in the early 19th century. The book was published in 1818.

The movie is beautifully made, but falters towards the end, but it’s still a pretty decent period piece (see my tweets below). Al-Mansour’s previous feature film (a Saudi Arabian movie, made in the Arabic language), Wadjda (2012) was a superb movie. I highly recommend that. Way way better than this bio-pic, which too was quite good though.

Pretty Good: 7/10

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My Day 3: Closing Ceremony (7th March 2019)

Evening 6:30pm (1830hrs)

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Sri Lanka’s veteran female director, Sumitra Peries, was felicitated with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, at this 1st Colombo International Women’s Film Festival! Deservedly so, SL’s top director, Lester James Peries’ wife, is a filmmaker in her own right. This event took longer than necessary, mainly thanks to long boring speeches by multiple female film personalities of this country. Sumitra Peries though, was kind enough not to take too much time, as she felt us spectators might be anxious with all talk and no screening happening.

From the speeches, Dr Sumathy Sivamohan, through her speech, though a tad long, shared something really interesting on how when Sumitra Peries’ directorial debut, Gahanu Lamai (1978), was released, they traveled all the way from Jaffna to Colombo, when they heard it was directed by Lester James Peries’ wife. Yashoda Wimaladharma gave a very genuine speech, recalling the Late Lester James Peries, with a teary eye and a wavering voice. Touching!

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Sumitra Peries’ latest venture, Vaishnavee (2017), closed the Film Festival. As much as Mrs Peries is a well revered personality here, I was really disappointed with this movie. A localized tale, akin to the ancient Greek mythological tale of Pygmalion and the Ivory Sculpture, Vaishnavee, truly bored me. A grieving puppeteer, whose bride to be has eloped with her lover, carves a female puppet from a tree inhibited by a tree goddess. The puppet comes to life and he falls in love with it, but they aren’t destined to be together. The concept of being in Love with the Unreal (see my Blog post from May 2017, as well). The acting, the characters and the plot development was far from good. Irangani Serasinghe was OK; Mahendra Perera was Mahendra Perera, like he is in practically every movie; few funny moments with Samadhi Arunachaya (a sort of comic-relief); Veena Jayakody looked like she was suffering from a constant asthma attack, and the rest of the cast members, including Yashoda Wimaladharma, truly bored me. Some laugh at them, rather than laugh with them, funny moments in the film (with the exception of Arunachaya). Enjoyable story line based on a fantasy, but poor execution. Though not the worse film ever, it was still really bad!

Very Bad: 3/10

Instead of showing her latest movie, it would have been better for the festival organizers to have shown her best work. Like Ganga Addara (1980) for example. Though that too is only Average Fare (after all Lankan movies are yet to come to an international standard, they have a long way to go, see my Blog post on The SAARC Film Festival 2018 from May 2018), Ganga Addara is definitely among the better movies made in this country.

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I wish I could have worked on a better post, analyzing the movies in depth, but struggling through so much emotional turmoil, through my stress, anxiety attacks and depression, it’s been very difficult to do a proper blog post. But am managing the best I can. Way too many disturbances and distractions, breaking my concentration and ruining my train of thought. Sometimes am just too exhausted, both physically and mentally. My head literally hurts (but my diabetic meds are pretty strong too) and I feel very sensitive to sound (and this country is very noisy in every possible way). Plus, my high blood sugar is apparently affecting my eyesight. My vision fluctuates in a very weird manner, especially when typing on my Laptop!

Anyway, glad there was this wonderful festival. This was the 1st, hope there will be more in the future. This country is very good at having a 1st, but follow ups are an extreme rarity (for e.g. there was a 1st and 2nd Colombo International Film Festival, in 2014 & 2015; but nothing else). So kudos to all the organizers for this film fest, celebrating Women, for , let’s hope it continues, annually.

Nuwan Sen’s Movie Sense

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Green Book (2018) wins BEST PICTURE, at the 91st Annual Academy Awards

The 91st Annual Academy Awards came and went, without a host, and without hitch (so I heard); BUT unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to watch it. This year’s Oscars were not telecast (LIVE or otherwise) on this side of the globe. Neither on Local Channels (which I normally don’t watch) nor on any of the foreign cable channels we get from India and the South East. I wouldn’t be surprised if the local cable operators sabotaged it’s telecast. So many instances where foreign channel’s schedule programs are blocked off and replaced with what these cable operators fancy!! BUT, I did check out highlights online, especially on Youtube, on Monday night!!

I was extra keen of watching this year’s show, as it was a Hostless show, for the first time in 30 years. My very 1st Oscars, was that particular Hostless Academy Award ceremony, from 1989. It introduced me to Rain Man (1988) and Jodie Foster. Of course, that wasn’t telecast LIVE (nothing non-Lankan back then was), but about a month later, on a local channel (most probably on Rupavahini, SL’s National television channel). If I recall correctly, it was after Lucille Ball passed away. AND Ball passed away on 26th April 1989 (The 61st Annual Academy Awards were apparently held on 29th March 1989, according to online sources). We use to watch The Lucy Show (1962 -1968) back then, I believe on ITN (Back in 80’s there were only two channels available here). I remember well, how Ball’s death was not announced, before airing an episode of the show, after her death, as is the custom. The network most probably had no idea who the star comedienne of the Lucy series of shows even was.

What’s more interesting, is 30 years after sitting through my Oscars, I learn the Oscars 1989, was supposedly the worst Oscars ever!!!! I wasn’t a fan of the corny Snow White, but I did enjoy the show. I remember Lucille Ball looking graceful, yet with her nutty laugh intact, in her final public appearance. Remember Walter Matthau, Roger Moore, Melanie Griffith with Don Johnson, Tom Cruise & Dustin Hoffman, and Jodie Foster walking up the stage, in her now famously known, off-the-rack, dress (of course, back then I didn’t know it was off-the-rack). It’s good though, Foster represented herself, today some people lose their identity representing a famous designer (especially if the fashion designer is more popular than star adorning their clothes).

Worst Oscars or not, it’s thanks to the 1989 Oscars, I’ve been following the Hollywood Stars, looking forward to catching the Oscar ceremony, every year, if possible!! Preferably LIVE!!

For more on Oscars 1989 & this Year’s Hostless Oscars……

Let the Pictures below do the talking!!!!!

Julia Roberts @ the Oscars (Year 2019)

Melissa McCarthy & Brian Tyree Henry present the Oscar Award for BEST COSTUME DESIGN to Ruth E. Carter (Oscars 2019)

Becky Neiman-Cobb & Domee Shi, bag the Award for BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM, for Bao (2018)

Chalamet & Mom
Timothée Chalamet’s absence (and the Oscar snub) was pretty conspicuous, at the 91st Academy Awards

Comedienne, Lucille Ball (1911 – 1989) made her final public appearance, at the 61st Annual Academy Awards (Oscars 1989)

Jodie Foster wins the BEST ACTRESS Oscar in 1989

From this year’s Oscar win’s, I have only seen a shabbily edited version of Bao (2018). From the rest of the nominations, I’ve only watched, the Feature Film, A Quiet Place (2018) and the Live Action, Canadian Short Film, Fauve (2018). BEST PICTURE winner, Green Book (2018) is the movie, am really keen on checking out the most!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Quoting Oprah!

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher”

– Oprah Winfrey
Talk Show host, Television Producer & Philanthropist
   (Born in 1954)

Today also happens to be Oprah Winfrey’s 65th Birthday! Wishing her all the best, in every way. A true leader,and a great human being!

Bookish Nuwan
Nuwan Sen’s  TV Sense
Nuwan Sen ()

Oh my DOG!! What a year it’s been.  hasn’t been that kind to me! But no year in this country has ever really been nice to me; especially within the last 9 years that I’ve lived here at a stretch (mostly as a bit of a recluse, despite how much I love to socialize). Stress, depression, and fighting off withdrawal symptoms (being on and off and on again, on meds), fighting off suicidal instincts, dealing with troublesome Lankan trolls on FB (I deactivated it 5 months ago, and keep reactivating briefly and deactivating it), to real life Lankans – judgemental, extremist, narrow-minded, hypocritical n’ inhumane humans, full of false pride, fake sense of patriotism & brainwashed nationalistic attitudes (Argh! Those Lankan egos); has been really bad. I practically hit Rock Bottom! But am a survivor. All my life, I’ve suffered on my own, survived on my own, and still surviving!! Yet, no matter what I go through, I brave a smile, be polite, struggle through utmost patience. AND nobody (unless they’ve read my personal posts) would ever be aware of what am going through.

Yet, trying to be as positive as possible, I have to say, finishing Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, and seeing Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by your Name (2017), earlier this year, and falling in love with them to the extent that, Arundhati Roy’s second novel ended up being my all time favourite Book now; and Call Me by your Name, my favourite movie from this century and my second all time favourite movie; to me is a major Plus, that happened this year (see my posts That Book, That Movie (of 2017), Why “CALL ME BY YOUR NAME” deserves to win ‘Best Picture’ at this years OSCARS!!!!!, Photograph no.5, My TOP – 5 Films & My (past) TOP 10). But really, the only plus with a pulse, are my two common mongrels, my darling fur babies, that give me a reason to live. Their love for me is unconditional. Just the sound of their footsteps, brings a smile on my face. Love them dearly!! My innocent babies!! ❤

Another great plus to me, was meeting an old friend after almost two decades. We met day before yesterday, an American citizen (with Lankan roots) she currently resides in Denmark with her husband and kids; and is here on holiday. We spoke about the Year ; the best year of my teenage life; the year we first met. She mentioned how handsome I looked then 😉 , nice complement! I knew a lot of girls mother’s and elderly grannies, liked me (I was always pretty decent), but wasn’t aware of any peers thinking of me as handsome. I always considered myself pretty average (yes, Sri Lanka has always had a complex about their complexion, despite being a black/brown country and I was constantly reminded of being dark myself), but considering the amount of vain, yet hideous (not just looks wise but personality wise too), people I come across who actually rate themselves 8 and 10; am like Seriously??; in that case I must’ve been 110, back in the day!!! Although to me, it’s a beautiful heart that truly matters, looks are secondary; when I look back, I was actually quite a looker, didn’t really realize it at the time. 😏 Now am sounding as vain as the selfie culture of today. Vanity, thy name is Smartphones (ah! I actually finally gave in and got a Smartphone, my first – an iPhone 8Plus, this July). Thanks Sudi (my friend I just spoke of), for making me nostalgic, and now am thinking of my youth and looks -_- !! So that day, Saturday Late Afternoon to early evening, I spent with her, was great. I felt light and happy. Soon after, met an old schoolmate briefly that night, and she asked me whether I was high on sugar? Yup, guess it’s been ages since I actually looked happy too. Though I think of the past with nostalgia, I don’t live in the past, I live in the present and have no desire to go back. I want to move forwards, and keep hoping against home, that the BEST is Yet to Come!!! Looking forward for Better Future!!

I haven’t celebrated New Years eve, in ages. The last time I did something was, on 31st December 2006, when we went to see the fireworks over Sydney Harbour Bridge, whilst residing there. Post that, I’ve been home, mostly watching TV. End of last year, I got sick, so this year started off with me being ill. Down with the flu, added to stress and depression am constantly fighting off. This year has been, pretty sick (and not in a good way). Had no plans for today as well, so it was a pleasant surprise, when someone I recently befriended, messaged me this morning, invited me over to usher in the New Year. So looking forward to another, PLUS, this evening, and better year ahead!!

Always thinking as Positively as possible

Happy New Year, for 2019

Nuwan Sen

🎊👐 2😍19!!!!!! 💓

’tis the Season ✴

Merry Christmas 2018, Guys!!!!! 💖

Feliz Navidad 2018
Joyeux Noël 2018
क्रिसमस की बधाई 2018
සුබ නත්තලක් 2018
圣诞节快乐 2018
メリークリスマス 2018
Buon Natale 2018
Nakutakia Krismasi Njema 2018
God Jul 2018
میری کرسمس 2018
Geseënde Kersfees 2018

Enjoy
Nuwan Sen

Richard Burton plays Philip Ashley, in the 1952 film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s acclaimed novel, My Cousin Rachel.

A constantly brooding, suspicious, miserable character, that we rarely see smile. Even his happiness (in rare moments when he seems to be happy) is superficial, taunted by his skeptical nature. His mental state, stained by the loss of his favourite cousin, who raised him, and with the guilt of harbouring lustful desires for a woman who might be the reason for his cousin’s untimely demise, eating away at him; Philip Ashley is never at peace. AND this character is portrayed with pure perfection, by the brilliant British Shakespearean actor, Richard Burton. Predominantly a British star, the UK’s Cornwall set My Cousin Rachel (1952) was Burton’s first foray into Hollywood and it earned him a Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor in 1953.

Olivia de Havilland plays the ambiguous character of Rachel, in My Cousin Rachel (1952)

Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel is about an orphaned kid, Philip, who is brought up by his wealthy cousin, Ambrose Ashley (played by John Sutton in the movie). Ambrose, while away in Italy, meets the widowed Contessa Sangalletti (a.k.a. Rachel), a distant cousin of theirs, and Ambrose and Rachel soon marry. But their marital bliss is short lived, as Ambrose dies of a brain tumour. Yet before his death, he manages to plant the seeds of suspicion on young Philip’s mind, that she’s been poisoning him. Thus, when Rachel comes over to Ambrose’s Cornwall estate, no matter how nice a person she seems to be, Philip is never at peace. He has a love-hate relationship with her; and he suffers throughout, due to the seeds of distrust having taken root in his mind. Even in the end, he is in agony, wondering whether she was guilty or innocent. Something that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

I really liked the ambiguous ending, for we never truly find out about Rachel, though we do feel she might be more innocent than guilty. She’s not a perfect person, but she most probably didn’t murder her husband, nor try to to kill off Philip, as he suspects. And as we get to know later, she doesn’t have any intention of taking over Ambrose’s estate, she doesn’t expect a dime. It’s all left to Philip.

With no real interest in making it in Hollywood, Richard Burton joined this project, due to the recommendation of director George Cukor (whom Burton had great respect for). Originally Cukor was planning to direct this cinematic adaptation of du Maurier’s Gothic novel. But when Cukor and du Maurier, read the first draft of the screenplay, they felt it was unfaithful to the novel, and were both disappointed. So Cukor dropped out. However the project went ahead, without Cukor, and the movie was ultimately directed by Henry Koster. The end result, though different to the novel, was excellent; mainly thanks to Burton’s brilliant acting talent, along with the rest of the cast. Even du Maurier was pleased with Burton’s performance, as well as certain shots filmed in the real Cornwall; but felt de Havilland didn’t capture the mystery of the character of Rachel, well enough. Even though I haven’t read the book, I agree, I felt de Havilland’s performance was quite lukewarm. She wasn’t bad, in fact she was interesting enough; but far from great. Then again the character she played was quite ambiguous, and hard to judge. None the less, the film is excellent; Burton Brilliant; and the cinematography by Joseph LaShelle, hauntingly beautiful. The Cornwall setting and the beach play quite an important role in this story, but I noticed it’s not as significant to the plot, as much as it (especially the representation of the beach) was, in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca; the 1940 film adaptation of which (by Alfred Hitchcock, starring de Havilland’s sister, Joan Fontaine) went on to win Oscars, for Best Picture and Best Cinematography. 1952’s My Cousin Rachel, was nominated for four Academy Awards, including one for Richard Burton (his 1st Oscar nomination), but it won none. Burton never won an Oscar, though he was nominated seven times, altogether.

Apparently, Olivia de Havilland didn’t get along with Richard Burton, whom she hated. She felt he was coarse, crude, unsophisticated. But then again, growing up, she wasn’t very kind to her own sister, Fontaine. Today, amazingly, Olivia de Havilland, is the one who is still alive. Most notable for her role as the kindly ‘Melanie Hamilton’, in Gone with the Wind (1939), de Havilland turned 102, on 1st July 2018, surpassing younger sister, Joan Fontaine, who passed away on 15th December 2013, less than two months after her 96th Birthday!

Olivia de Havilland, Audrey Dalton and Richard Burton, in a scene from My Cousin Rachel (1952)

Back in my teens, in the early 1990’s, I watched the 1983 BBC television mini-series, based on My Cousin Rachel, which apparently is comparatively more faithful to the novel, and which I loved too. YET, I loved this classic movie adaptation, I saw end of September 2018, online on Youtube, with not that clear a sound, and re-watched day before, even more. Although, if my memory serves me right, I do feel, Geraldine Chaplin in the 83′ version, most probably did more justice to the role of Rachel.

Recently there was another film adaptation of this book, released last year (2017), directed by Roger Michell, and starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin, in the lead. Am yet to see this newer version, which has had some mixed reviews.

My Cousin Rachel (1952)

My Rating: Excellent – 10/10!!!!!!!!!!

Bookish Nuwan
Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

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This Blog Post, is my contribution to the, REGALING ABOUT RICHARD BURTON BLOGATHON, hosted by Gill of Real Weegie Midget!!!!!

Thank you Gill, for letting me take part in this Blogathon, dedicated to a such prolific British Actor of the Stage and Screen!

Nuwan Sen (NSFS)

Hollywood sweetheart (of the last two decades of the last century) Meg Ryan, was no doubt one of the Queens of Romantic Comedies of the 1980’s & 90’s, alongside Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock. AND Ryan definitely came in THE BEST Rom-Com, of the 1980’s decade (and my favourite romantic comedy, from that particular decade, and among my personal favourite Rom-Coms, ever), When Harry Met Sally… (1989).

The Genre known as ‘ROMANTIC COMEDY’

The genre of the Romantic-Comedy, or more popularly known as the ROM-COM; should not be confused with silly notion of bad B-grade films, known as chick-flicks. A Rom-Com, surpasses those narrow minded extreme sexist attitudes of “Dude films/chick flicks/gay films (when used in a derogatory sense)”. Today, this century you don’t really get good romantic comedies. Most chick flicks, which are merely meant for giggly headed teenage girls, tend to ape the genre of Rom-com, but aren’t exactly Romantic comedies. Similarly, silly waste-of-time action packed films that tend to be dude films; aren’t really epic war/superb science fiction/crime/mystery/psychological thriller/horror/sports flicks (all movies have “action” in them, not just dude films with loads of special effects, meaningless violence, and little else). Great Romantic Comedies tend to go beyond gender, and are meant for a broader audience (ironically the broader audiences are limited to a narrow population of more open-minded individuals, with a good understanding and great taste, and true love for the cinematic art form). Films like It Happened One Night (1934), Sabrina (1954), Ariane – Love in the Afternoon (1957), Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Irma la Douce (1963), Annie Hall (1977), One Fine Day (1996), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), Notting Hill (1999), are more than just chick-flicks. These are some of the great films that come to mind, when I think of Romantic Comedies. These are great Romantic Comedies, that can be enjoyed by anyone with good taste. At the same time, if you looks at the list, you can also sense the decline of the Rom-com genre. As much as I love the three 90’s Rom-com, mentioned above, they are no where as great as their predecessors. I feel the best Rom-coms came in the 50’s and 60’s; and in other various decades there were one off great Rom-Coms. Like for example; in the 1930’s decade, It Happened One Night, is a uniquely excellent Romantic Comedy to have been made; and when in comes to the 70’s & 80’s, decade, When Harry Met Sally… and Annie Hall, happen to be the two great Rom-Coms, to come out. Annie Hall was of course, even more unique, ’cause it was an Art House Romantic Comedy. Notting Hill, my favourite Rom-Com from the 90’s decade, even though nowhere near as great as the Rom-Coms, of the previous decades, happens to be the last great Romantic Comedy, made till date. Today, movies made as Rom-Coms, are merely chick flicks, a poor excuse for the enjoyable Rom-Com. With the exception of Prime (2005), which happens to bit an Art House Romantic Comedy, and comes close to the level of the 90’s Rom-Com. But that too, it’s thanks to the supporting role by brilliantly versatile Meryl Streep, that I enjoyed the movie so much, when I watched it over a decade ago. So basically, a good Romantic Comedy (and just because a movie is based on Chick), does not make it a Chick-Flick (Juno, 2007, is about a smart chick, that doesn’t fall into category of the silly chick-flick; for it’s superb piece of a satirical drama, penned down by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman).

So Meg Ryan, luckily walked into the world of Cinematic Arts, when Romantic Comedies, still had a high standard. AND she appeared in one of the best Rom-Coms, ever made, When Harry Met Sally…!!!!!! Pure Excellence!!!!!!

Carrie Fisher & Meg Ryan in a scene from When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

When Ryan became Sally…

I wish I could’ve re-watched When Harry Met Sally…, before working on this Blogathon. But unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to watch a single Ryan flick, specifically for this Blogathon. So like in quite a few previous instances, I’ll have to be completely dependent on memory. The character of “Sally” was loosely based on the film’s screenwriter, Nora Ephron. Yet, Ryan makes it her own. Unlike the moody, cynical character of “Harry” (Billy Crystal), Sally happens to be a very optimistic, direct, honest, fun loving, adorably a tad eccentric and cheerful character, who knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to ask. The scene in the flight (if I remember correctly that’s where it takes place), where Sally orders some food, and specifically mentions how she wants it; metaphorically it reflects on her personality, showing how aware she is of how she exactly wants something done, without causing people trouble (for example, even in my case, when I order a Muffin or something which comes with ice-cream, I ask them to put it on the side, or if that’s too much trouble for them to comprehend, I’d rather have it without ice-cream, ’cause I don’t want my sponge getting soggy, and nor am I that crazy about ice-cream; same when it comes to Paper Dosa, I ask them to give me the potato masala on the side, rather than it stuffed inside; though I like other kinds of Dosa’s, Crêpes or Wraps, with filling, the wafer thin Paper Dosa tends to get soggy with a filling, and looses it’s unique crispiness).

When it came to the fake orgasm scene, it was thanks to Meg Ryan, it took place. The original script had no such scene, just the two discussing how women are good at faking an orgasm, but Ryan came up with idea actually doing a fake orgasm scene. AND she nailed it. Now it is one of the most infamous scenes in film history. Plus, it was filmed in an actual restaurant. The famous line, at the end of the scene, “I’ll have what she’s having”, is quipped by director, Rob Reiner’s, mother.

The best thing about the movie is the close friendship shared by the two lead characters. The movie basically is a study exploring the age old question, whether men and women can be just good friends. The answer is yes, they can. BUT, it also shows, how sex can ruin a good friendship. Which is so true. In any friendship, between the same sex or opposite sex (also depending on ones gender and sexual orientation), if either the two friends have sex with each other, or have sex with their best friend’s partner, sex could ruin a really good friendship. In this case, since it was a friendship between a straight male and straight female, the fact that they had sex with each other, is what ruined the great bond they had. Though, since this is a Romantic Comedy, they realize they are both madly in love with each other, and get back together, in a romantic sense. BUT in real life, this might not necessarily be the case. So the the main lesson actually is, not to sleep with a good friend, or their significant other (again depending on the gender and sexuality of you and your close friend).

Of course, the basis of a good relationship is also a good friendship, understanding and a mutual respect for each other, another fact this movie showcases, especially through the interviews at the end. But at the same time a meaningless sexual moment/one night stand is capable of destroying a truly good friendship.

Ryan & Hanks

Tom Hanks, who turned down the role of “Harry”, in When Harry Met Sally…, no doubt was the best co-star to compliment Meg Ryan’s perky characters in Rom-Coms (even though Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan had brilliant chemistry in When Harry Met Sally…, which too attributed to it being such a Rom-Com masterpiece). Meg Ryan shared a great on-screen chemistry with Tom Hanks, and appeared in three movies together. Ryan & Hanks, is a rare combination, and it would lovely to see them work together, again.

Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks in Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

The pretty good, but far from great, Joe Versus the Volcano (1990), saw their first pairing together. The best thing about this movie is, it showcases Ryan’s talent, through three very varied characters. This movie is more of a farce, encompassing elements of Romantic and Screwball comedies; but not an all out Rom-Com. Especially as the romantic character comes in much later in the movie, with the third character (who happens to be the smartest and main character of the movie) played by Meg Ryan.

The near-excellent Rom-Com, and first movie of them together that actually is a Romantic Comedy in every sense, Sleepless in Seattle (1993), is their best pairing to date. The most beautiful concept of the film is the fact, that the two don’t truly meet till the very end, and each has fallen in love with other, through a mutual little friend.

The pretty good, again not so great, You’ve Got Mail (1998), re-unites the two, in the internet age. Another proper Romantic Comedy, about two people poles apart and bitter business rivals, who fall for each other.

Although, none of these three films (though Sleepless in Seattle really comes close) are out and out excellent movies, but the pairing Ryan and Hanks, their enjoyable roles, make these movies, fun to sit through. It’s thanks to their great acting ability, and perfect chemistry, that Joe Versus the Volcano and You’ve Got Mail, didn’t end up being bad to just average films.

Other Works & The New Century

Meg Ryan, besides appearing Romantic Comedies; some other Rom-Com’s include, Prelude to a Kiss (1992), French Kiss (1995), Addicted to Love (1997), Kate & Leopold (2001); has proven her acting capabilities through serious roles as well as other comedies.

In the Romantic Comedy, Addicted to Love, she co-stars alongside Matthew Broderick, to seek revenge on their exes who are having an affair. The flick is really enjoyable thanks to Ryan. Similarly Kate & Leopold (2001), a romance through two centuries, co-starring Hugh Jackman, as an 19th Century Duke, who falls (literally) into the 21st Century and falls (metaphorically) in love with a contemporary woman; is fun to sit through thanks to Ryan, as well as the disoriented seeming Jackman. Prelude to a Kiss (1992) and French Kiss, are two Romantic Comedies of hers, that I haven’t seen.

Serious Moonlight (2009)

When it comes to non-Romantic Comedies, she has done some amazingly brilliant roles. Be it, the heart-rending excellence, When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), the near-excellent, D.O.A. (1988) which stars her then husband, Dennis Quaid, Restoration (1995) and Serious Moonlight (2009), to the very good, Courage Under Fire (1996), the pretty good, I.Q. (1994), or the averagely good films like, The Presidio (1988), City of Angels (1998) and Proof of Life (2000), she is a natural, no matter how big or small, the role. Even in her minute role in Top Gun (1986), she makes sure her character is well noticed.

Of course, with the exception of When Harry Met Sally… (which I’ve watched quite a few times), I’ve seen all these movies eons ago, way back in the 9O’s and early noughties. The most recent Meg Ryan movie I saw was, Serious Moonlight, that too was like 8 year ago. Serious Moonlight was again a really enjoyable comedy (though quite underappreciated), mainly thanks to Ryan’s cuckoo performance, as well as her co-stars, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell and Justin Long.

Today happens to be, Meg Ryan’s 57th Birthday. Wishing Hollywood’s (80’s/90’s) Sweetheart, a very Happy Birthday. And all the best in her future endeavours.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

This Blog Post, RYAN & ROM-COM, is my contribution to the, THE 3RD ANNUAL MEG RYAN BLOGATHON, hosted by Paul S of Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies (in celebration of Meg Ryan’s Birthday)!!!!!!

I’ve been very ill, and am going through a lot (both physically and mentally exhausted). BUT, as I promised to take part in this Blogathon, I somehow wanted to get it done today. I started writing in the late afternoon, and didn’t stop, till now, 9pm (2100hrs) in night. Glad to have managed to work on it, even last minute, with everything going on.

Thank you Paul, for letting me take part in this beautiful Blogathon.

Nuwan Sen