This past October, we were blessed with a remarkable collection of Van Gogh’s letters, newly translated and complete, without censorship:
Vincent van Gogh: The Letters: The Complete Illustrated and Annotated Edition (Vol. 1-6) (Hardcover) ~ Nienke Bakker (Editor), Leo Jansen (Editor), Hans Luijten (Editor)
The collection contains pretty much every one of his paintings, is heavily annotated, and runs to more than 2000 pages. It will certainly revolutionize our understanding of one of the greatest and most misunderstood artists of all time.
For those of you who would rather not buy the book, his letters are now online at vangoghletters.org. Will blog a bit about the collection after I return from holiday excursions.
Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard have followed their wonderful music from Once with another exceptional effort. It’s actually more assured, and shows greater musical variety and instrumentation, if not the appealing rawness of their first effort. They show no signs of a sophomore slump, nor any ill effects from their recent break up. Markéta, in fact, sounds far more in control of her own sweet vulnerability, and her fragile voice sounds further depths, especially on “I Have Loved you Wrong”. The ending moments of that song finds both Markéta and Glen harmonizing to soulful effect, reminiscent of African chants and Paul Simon.
The title, Strict Joy, continues their connection with literature, as it comes from a book of poem from 1931 by James Stephens. The name of their band, The Swell Season, is taken from a novel by the Czech writer, Josef Škvorecký.
The wall came down 20 years ago today. Just one. We had millions then. Perhaps billions. We still do. You see, even if there is a physical divide, it came about for reasons solely in our minds. Just in our minds. Not real. Not physical. Not necessary.
Fear, ignorance, stupidity, obstinate disregard for others, for the truth, for reality. Reality being, we need to get along to survive on this planet. We just do. We need to get along, work together, protect each other, and protect this planet. From the worst in all of us. From our worst impulses.
We have one home, one life, one chance.
They build walls to keep peace from settling into its natural place in our lives. They build walls, wage wars, spread hate, ignorance and despair, so that fewer and fewer people control more and more wealth and power. So that “the masses” become even more divided from each other and our natural place … Click to continue . . .
2008 was a very good year to be at the Cannes Film Festival. Among many excellent films, such as Waltz With Bashir; Synecdoche, New York; A Christmas Tale; and Adoration, Il Divo stands out. It’s about a real person, his actual life, told with speed, cunning and a measured rawness that made me think of Coppola’s The Godfather, but with better camera work. Il Divo is a rare film, exciting, visionary, all of a piece, a world unto itself and true to that world.
Based on the life of Giulio Andreotti, one of the most powerful politicians in post-war Italy, Il Divo is a movie of sharp, often stunning contrasts. Andreotti, played with mesmerizing, uncanny understatement by Toni Servillo, is the calm eye of the storm, while death, destruction and endless palace intrigue whirl around him. His strange body shape, his odd gestures, his sudden, though calculated … Click to continue . . .