Sunday, 28 September 2014

VIFF/NRBC Blues: Sunday, September 28th!

Language is as real, as tangible, in our lives as streets, pipelines, telephone switchboards, microwaves, radioactivity, cloning laboratories, nuclear power stations. -Adrienne Rich, writer (1929-2012)

Hi league of inexplicable gentlemen, I will attend tonight's gathering but will be late coming from work so please do not hold up the anticipated lively discussion of Decoded for my sake Best, VL

It seems that we, as Patdunnism dictates, should impart to Shirley, Jon Artano and Vittorio (aka victor chang) the secret to not having to work on a Sunday evening. Or for that matter, on Sunday period. Just a thought from the organic peanut gallery. --Kurt

[Marvin Angelo Mercado Tried to keep up with the locals boogie boarding, ended up being tossed by 15 foot swell and separating my shoulder]

Dear Never-on-time-Vittorio and Dyspeptic Peanut Galleroid! Don't kid yourself, Vittorino, NRBC regulares won't be twiddling their thumbs waiting for Godot or you, for that matter! As for Nanaimo's version of Jimmy Carter, not all of us have a hard working wife to take care of our every need, financial or otherwise, so please do not belittle those who must struggle to make ends meet while you swill imported vodka and stuff yourself with caviar. In this vein, that will be 40 rubles for the NRBC Piglet, 100 for the Islay Inn Malt Cabinet Replenishment Fund, Comrade Kurtoshenko! Na zdorovie, Patruska!

Hi Gents, Unfortunately my mother passed away yesterday in Iran, so I will not be able to come to our club. Hopefully next time. Moe

Dear Moe: Please accept sincere condolences to you and your family on the death of your Mother. Please know that we grieve with you and for you in this difficult time. Corinne and Patrick. Thank you for kindness. Moe Thank you Connie and Patrick for your sympathy and kindness. Moe

Hi Sylvia and Ray! Sorry I've not replied sooner but have been very busy this past week as my VIFF shifts started on Thursday. Must away as I need to get ready for Book Club. Not sure about weather tomorrow but perhaps we could go for a ride if that suits. I'll give you a call in the morning. Cheers, Patrizzio!

Sunday my VIFF shift wasn't until 1:30 pm so we had a lazy sleep-in and then pottered around. I cleaned up a bit and tried to catch up on email while Cora Lee was working on a grant proposal for Heartwood. Left home at 1:15 pm and Coriandre dropped me off at Pacific Cinémathèque and then continued on to VPL. SHe had a shift at Word-on-the-Street and it was a simply fabulously sunny, warm day so absolutely poifect for the event.

For my part I was, once again, able to watch two more films. First, Miraculum, (Canada),
"Daniel Grou (10½) directs this riveting ensemble piece—featuring stellar acting and interlocking lives—from a captivating screenplay by screenwriter and actor Gabriel Sabourin. Grou (aka PodZ) is undeniably an actor’s director, with a capacity for telling stories in a unique way that really allows his cast to shine. In this, his fourth feature film, we follow the tangled destinies of three couples who are each undergoing some sort of existential crisis. Then, fate intervenes in the form of a plane crash that’s left behind one apparently miraculous survivor. Just one of the highlights here is Xavier Dolan (who also directed Mommy and starred in Elephant Song, both at VIFF 2014) playing against type as a buttoned-down, tightly wound Jehovah’s Witness. Elsewhere, Julien Poulin and Louise Turcot are casino employees with an array of secrets, Robin Aubert is a high-powered man with gambling issues and Anne Dorval plays his perpetually plastered wife. Add screenwriter Sabourin as a (literally) tortured drug mule and Marilyn Castonguay as a nurse whose struggle with the decision to provide a life-saving transfusion provokes a crisis of faith and you have the stuff of great cinema." Couldn't have said it better myself!

Next was Sorrow and Joy, "Nil Malmros draws on an incident from his own life—due to an array of tragic circumstances, his wife killed their baby—to forge an intense, empathetic and bracingly intelligent drama. “Like almost all of Malmros’s films, Sorrow and Joy is rooted in an episode from his own life… One doesn’t need to know this to find Sorrow and Joy gut-wrenching and edifying, but it is worth pointing out because a few disparaging commentators judged the story improbable and difficult to believe. (That said, it’s a matter of how it’s told that counts, not whether an event actually took place or not.) In any case, the film is not strictly autobiographical but instead uses the filmmaker’s experiences as a basis for something more essential. Malmros relates the story in a straightforward manner without any adornment whatsoever. The images have a sober, self-effacing beauty, the acting is subdued, and the fatal deed itself is never shown. The murder was the result of small misunderstandings and vanities, slightly off-key tones of voice, misinterpreted glances, and accidentally inflicted emotional wounds. Nobody here had ever had any bad intentions, and if in the end a child is dead, other lives need to carry on. To do so, one must understand what has happened, and look at oneself as if at a stranger, and with goodness and forgiveness. Sorrow and Joy is a deeply Protestant melodrama about grace—a small miracle in today’s cinema.”—Olaf Möller, Film Comment. Given the unthinkable circumstance at the heart of this film it is simply remarkable that one comes to understand what happened, and why, and still continue to care and support everyone drawn into this terrible event. Heart-breaking in the extreme, of course, but what a truly amazing treatment of infanticide. To make sense of the senseless and then be able to carry on through the power of unqualified love and belief in essential goodness.

My shift was over after this film but I stayed on to help with next screening as I wanted to see Exit: "In this subtly beautiful Taiwanese urban drama, the superb actress Chen Shiang-chyi plays Lingzi, a woman whose romantic imagination strains against the boundaries of a downwardly mobile working woman’s life. Lingzi, 45, a laid-off garment worker, encounters an injured, almost comatose man, Mr. Chang, lying next to her mother-in-law in hospital. She seizes the opportunity to transform her own life, one tender, anonymous touch at a time.
"Distressed by Mr. Chang’s continuous moans, Ling finally goes to wet his parched lips; she spills some water, and when she wipes it off, Chang relaxes and stops crying. The speechless younger man intrigues her, and gently wiping his attractive torso makes her feel both useful and sensual; soon she looks forward to hospital visits… Anchoring everything is Chen’s full-bodied performance, which is first kept tightly wound, her strained features conveying Ling’s emotional weariness; the summer heat further contributes to the sense of a woman worn down by everything around her. When she does start to smile, it’s as if a window has opened just a crack, and her slightly looser physicality briefly reconnects with the attractive, fun-loving woman she was forced to lock away inside.”—Jay Weissberg, Variety The Director, Chienn Hsiang was there as well and answered a number of questions asked by the audience so that added much to my understanding of some of the issues the film raised. For example, there is an actual social phenomenon in Taiwan that sees many, many men leave their families to pursue the dream of "making it" in China. (Canadians, read the Alberta Oil Patch!) This, in fact, was true of the father of one of our ESL boarders. Often, usually, this has quite negative repercussions for the "abandoned" families, particularly the wives. Understood/imagined infidelity, economic hardship are but two cruel facts that are visited on the women left to survive, emotionally/financially, as best they can. Again, another difficult, difficult topic but tackled with amazing sensitivity and insight.

Walked back to The Islay Inn over the Granville Bridge and the vistas I enjoyed literlly took my breath away. Vancouver at its mountains, the ocean and Fairview Slopes, at better than their best. Also, quite enjoyed one of the latest public art works here in town: "
The Vancouver Biennale has transformed a Granville Island industrial landmark into a gigantic work of public art! OSGEMEOS, [Os Gêmeos (Portuguese for The Twins; born 1974 in São Paulo, Brazil as Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo) are graffiti artists and identical twin brothers.], created a monumental, 360-degree, 23-metre tall (75 ft) mural, the biggest public mural of their career and their first in Canada. The mural, which measures a colourful 7,200 square meters (23,500 sq feet), was created on the six gigantic silos that are part of the Ocean Cement manufacturing and distribution plant on Vancouver’s Granville Island, alongside the world-famous Public Market, Emily Carr University, and boat docks that attract 10.5-million visitors per year.

Dear Patruska: I am greatly offended by your comment that, “not all of us have a hard working wife to take care of our every need, financial or otherwise, so please do not belittle those who must struggle to make ends meet while you swill imported vodka and stuff yourself with caviar.”

In fact, your perception of me and how I live and how I view others is very offensive and so, so foreign to me. To suggest that I would even belittle (your words) someone who works for a living is an insane proposition. Why would you even go there? FUCK YOU, PAT, AND STUFF YOUR IMPORTED CAVIER AND VODKA UP YOUR ARSE! I am truly sad that you have become such a jerk. --Kurt

Beware of Mr Rathfelder! Dear Kurtnikov! Wow! Guess I must have hit, inadvertently, a rather raw nerve, to say the least. As a friend of mine used to say: "You'd have to run over my leg with a truck to have me react that way!" And yet another friend was wont to say, "If they can't take a joke, fuck 'em!" Somewhat bemused but also, like you, saddened by your vitriolic response. Your bid. Patrizzio!

Back home in time to get ready for my Book Club. Lads started to arrive around 7:00 pm and we had loads of fun catching up on each other's lives as we'd not met since before Easter, holidays, etc., intervening. Even managed to talk about the book, Mai Jia’s Decoded, "a novel about the intricacies of cryptography, set largely in the chaos of the decades leading to the Cultural Revolution", while tasting gin and grappa from Long Table Disitillery, at the foot of Hornby, as wellas all sorts of other potables! Cora Lee came home about 10:00 pm, just as lads were about to set off. She had been visiting with her friend Robyn, and her friends. Whirlygig was staying overnight so we had a few snorts of malt to help us de-brief the meeting! Bed around 11:30 pm when Giggster started yawning. Way past his Galiano bedtime!!! 

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