I just had one helluva Saturday night. From the World Affairs Council discussion on Southeast Asia peace and economics, to dinner with my friend’s eccentric family, to bar hopping and getting way more than I bargained for conversation-wise, one question keeps bugging me: does the practice of monogamy not exist within the confines of today’s relationships? And when does this random notion of monogamy kick in for a relationship?
Let’s start with the economy. It’s always been known that in a capitalist society, monopolies are not generally recommended, but rather competition in the marketplace allows for the consumer to benefit. Consul-General of Japan Motohiko Kato explained how Japan has been able to benefit from this mentality over the past thirty years, focusing on the auto and technology industries. If we take this type of plan and apply it to relationships, then the consumer (you) could and should have competition (multiple dates) in the marketplace (dating world). This would mean that people should not exclusively date in the beginning, giving competing parties the opportunity to vie for your affection. And I’m totally cool with that. But, where and when does the consumer finally make a decision and stick with one brand or product (or in this case, suitor)?
Accounting for the traditional courting period of couples, which includes a first
(second, thirtieth) date of sorts and then at some point a mutually-agreed-upon exclusivity, every person differs in his or her timetable. This means there is no real right or wrong way to go about attaining exclusivity. This is especially apparent when one thinks of the frequency in which people have more casual arrangements and less long-term ones.
I bring all of this up because a friend of mine has been dating someone while leading someone else on. And on top of that, this friend hits on people he meets at bars. When I saw this, I just chalked it up to him being an asshole and immature in relationships. While I know nothing of the details of his relationships with his significant others, I figured that if he’s engaging in such relatively serious behavior with someone, this would mean that they would be exclusive. I legitimately felt bad for the people my friend was “dating” and “leading on…” Until Saturday night.
On Saturday night, the person my friend has been dating happened to be at the same club as me. During this time, the “dater” flirted with me and half of the other guys at the bar before proceeding to kiss one of them. So I’m sitting here dumbfounded because here I was trying to feel bad about what my friend was doing to the “dater” while the “dater” was doing just the same. From there, I realized just how much time I had placed into understanding and analyzing their relationship. It had nothing to do with me, yet it fascinated me. Is it the fact that they’re young, wild and free that allows people to act this way? Not that I’m judging.
In contrast, though, I met a couple at the club who had been celebrating their 6 year anniversary. These kids had been through it all, yet stuck by each other. While I didn’t ask them for explicit details regarding their relationship, anyone could tell they had something special and wholesome. They were also about 36 years old. So, is that the age at which people stop going for the kiddie rides and save up for the
emotional roller coaster? While it’s all very confusing, it has helped me realize that I’m in the prime of my life and things like this shouldn’t be plaguing me. Instead, I should be just having fun (for once). Laissez les bons temps rouler, right?
We’ll see where this new way of approaching relationships leads me. I’ll leave you with an ode to just not caring and living it up:
Dear lord, when I get to heaven | Please let me bring my man | When he comes tell me that you’ll let him in | Father tell me if you can | All that grace, all that body | All that face makes me wanna party| He’s my sun, he makes me shine like diamonds…
- Lana Del Rey, “Young and Beautiful”
Where do I start? I was definitely blown away by “The Great Gatsby” film (and soundtrack). From the elaborate and
borderline-gaudy but still epic extravagant set design to the trademark Luhrmann zooms and camera techniques, “Gatsby” delivers to showcase the angst and hope-stained classic in the most innocent of ways.
I’ll start with the ballad that creeps its way into almost every scene in the second and third acts of the film: Lana Del Rey‘s “Young And Beautiful.” With her timeless voice (one that wouldn’t stick out in the ’60s, ’70s or even the ’80s – see her rendition of “Blue Velvet“), Del Rey adds just the right amount of ambiguous emotional crooning that allows audience members and listeners to experience a magnified version of that emotion. For example, when the audience member heard the song for the first time in the film, it seems cheerful and full of hope, similar to how Gatsby (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) himself feels at the moment. But upon hearing it creep up again within the film, the audience can begin to hear the desperation that plagues Gatsby after he finally tastes his forbidden fruit (Daisy, played by Carey Mulligan). There is also a longing and sadness that filters through toward the end. So, in other words, the song is emotionally ambiguous, a trademark of Del Rey’s music (check out “Blue Jeans” for more).
The song itself features Del Rey asking her lover if he will stay faithful to her as she will to him even as they age. It’s the eternal unsettling question for every expiring relationship: “will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” Del Rey captures this uncertain sentiment that couples everywhere face and is able to make it sound celebrated and mournful at the same time. “Beautiful” is able to convey all of the emotions that Gatsby feels while taking the audience on the crazy roller coaster of emotion known to us as Gatsby’s anticlimactic view on life.
As for the film, I expected to see the crazy lifestyles of flappers and bootleggers, juxtaposed with the elegant and dramatic lives of high society. And yes, Baz delivered just that. While there were cheesy moments and (if you’re a fan of the book itself) even many parts that were indeed predictable, Baz executed the film gracefully. The only real complaint I have about the film is the party scene – I expected cameos from celebrities, more lavishness and better dance moves. I also expected to see more people dancing than that one smiling guy… Next time you watch the film be sure to look for him.
Side note: one thing I was very happy about was the inclusion of one of my favorite actors: Amitabh Bachchan. He’s a Bollywood legend, having acted in over 180 films, many of which were considered blockbusters. So, in other words, he’s a baller.
In terms of the soundtrack, I was thoroughly pleased. With only one song I truly detested (the “Crazy In Love” cover by Emeli Sandé), I was pleasantly surprised at how Baz and Jay-Z were able to incorporate 1920s music and themes into modern renditions while still keeping them sounding periodic instead of contemporary. Standout tracks include Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” Beyoncé’s “Back To Black” cover (originally by Amy Winehouse), Florence + The Machine‘s “Over The Love,” Will.I.Am’s “Bang Bang,” The XX’s “Together” and Nero’s “Into The Past.” Obviously, my favorite is Del Rey’s grand opus. Overall, it’s definitely worth the iTunes download or physical purchase.
With all this in mind, go see Great Gatsby and listen to the soundtrack! It’s totally worth it!
What were your thoughts on the film and Lana’s ode to the uncertainty of fleeting love?
Song GRADE: ★★★★¾
Film GRADE: ★★¼☆
- Kylie Minogue, “Skirt”
A far cry from her last two releases, Kylie relies on her sexuality and pulsating beats to reintroduce her to American audiences with the “supernova” of dark pop, “Skirt.” Playing with the dirtier side of electropop, Kylie mixes her sticky-sweet voice with the sultry thumping of mainstream dubstep (sounding quite similar to David Guetta and Nick Romero’s outing “Metropolis”) and trance for a more niche offering compared to her tamer pop endeavors (see “Timebomb” and “Spinning Around“).
Just as her skirt comes down, Nom De Strip (producer) drops the beat and picks it back up to accentuate Kylie’s vocals. While the lyrics may not be revolutionary by any means, they mark a clear departure from Kylie’s old recording ways, paving the way for her to reinvent herself post-Roc Nation deal. Working with the likes of Stargate, Pharrell and Darkchild, I know she’ll be able to find something modern and different compared to her signature style, while not straying too far from the genre that has housed her for the past 8 years. It sounds as if she’s “falling down” from her squeaky-clean pop releases and trading it in for her more risqué back-catalogue, taking hints from her Body Language and even Kylie Minogue days… see “Slow,” “Confide In Me,” “Red Blooded Woman” and even the six-minute lounge masterpiece “Falling.”
While many artists choose to release singles that showcase vocal range and abilities, Kylie is one of a handful of performers who don’t have to rely heavily on vocal talents to sell a song; they’ve established themselves as pop culture staples (refer to Britney or Madonna). I mean, when you’ve had a career that has spanned four decades already, it’s really just about making fun music instead of a formulaic record. At this rate, Kylie could take a shit and release it and I’d still buy it… I know that whatever she does is of a high calibre (the only song I have ever regretted she do was that Wiggles collaboration, which even the most heinous combination of words could not even begin to describe how terrible it was).
Overall, the song may not be the most infectious, but I know I’ll be listening to it on repeat for months to come. I just can’t get Kylie out of my head…
What do you think of the single? Hit or miss?
“Ooh my my, baby don’t be shy | I see that spark flashing in your eye | My heart beats fast, ’cause I want it all | So baby come with me and be my ooh la la | Take my hand, we can go all night | And spin me round, just the way I like | It feels so good, I don’t wanna stop | So baby come with me and be my ooh la la”
- Britney Spears, “Ooh La La“
Artist: Britney Spears
Song: “Ooh La La”
Album: The Smurfs 2 Soundtrack, released June 18!
With Queen Spears singing her trademark “love-for-a-night” themed lyrics over a fresh beat, fans will not be disappointed with her newest romp for the “Smurfs 2″ Soundtrack. Featuring a pseudo-rap before the chorus (similar to “Secret (Take You Home)” by Kylie), the song itself pulls from Spears’ impressive and extensive back catalogue, calling on fan-favorites like “How I Roll,” “Seal It With a Kiss” and “Ooh Ooh Baby,” and combines those classics with
the latest pop staples “Superstar“ any of the really good songs from Madonna’s “MDNA” album (see “Some Girls,” “Girl Gone Wild” or “Give Me All Your Lovin’”) to create the as kid-friendly as “If You Seek Amy“ kid-friendly “Ooh La La.”
While sounding similar to summer hits of the past with an airy and fluffy chorus (look to “Hello” by Martin Solveig), “Ooh La La” stands out on its own. With a breakdown similar to her latest No. 3 hit “Scream & Shout,” Britney does not play around, opting for the formulaic pop sound we have grown to love from her.
My big question now is whether this will be the sound we should expect for Album 8… While it is fun and totes reminiscent of “Circus” and “Femme Fatale,” I’d rather have something a bit more Alanis Morissette-meets-the-electronic-gods-and-has-a-lyrical-genius-baby-with-a-pulsating-beat (like this crossed with this). Is that too much to ask?
All in all, this song will definitely put the Smurfs 2 soundtrack on the map. All they need to do now is make a Britney Smurf to close out the film during the credits and “sing” the song; that right there will increase their first weekend ticket sales. The song is
pretty kick-ass nice and will definitely fit the film; hopefully BritBrit will take to releasing even more fun pop (like a follow-up to “3“) in the near future!
For this film experiment, I chose to build a story around how people define themselves in relation to others, whether it be through the relationship status one has or just the way other people view someone based on their appearances. From here, I created a screenplay with the sole intention of suggesting to viewers that one should define themselves through one’s own self-identity and should be able to shape his or her existence into whatever he or she wants it to be. This became “We, Myself and I,” the story of a girl who learns to make decisions for herself and grab life by the balls.
The title itself derives from main character Olivia’s own journey from defining herself through her previous relationship to through the loneliness she feels after ending the previous relationship. The film focuses on her transformation from lonesome girl to confident and self-assured woman, capable of deciding what type of happiness she wants to have. This film will pull from the traditional chick flick and French New Wave genres, focusing on the love story aspect of young love –its all-consuming, rapid nature. It will also mix in elements of coming-of-age and women-liberation stories. For example, I wanted the main character to understand who she is as a person through her experiences with the French guy. She will always be actively involved in making all of her decisions. I also tried to show the buddings of new innocent relationships, as seen through most films that deal with these topics.
I pulled from various method experiments done in class, including the long tracking shots prevalent in my method two experiment and the retrospective feelings associated with my method three experiment. I also chose to use reflections in my final film to exemplify the difference between actually viewing something and using another surface (or person) to help piece together the image the audience will see. In addition, I used longer pan shots that were prevalent in my method two experiment to show Olivia losing her own identity within the crowds of people, but also to maintain her established importance in the film; while she may have gotten lost in the crowd, the pan shots help reestablish Olivia’s importance in the frame itself. In addition, I pulled from the method four experiment when approaching how to do group dialogue shots. I knew that working with so many actors in one scene would be hard enough, not to mention getting all of them to rehearse and deliver lines that I chose for them. Because of this, I allowed them to improvise dialogue for the group shots. Because of the chances I took with them, I ended up getting funnier dialogue from them than I could have written myself. This occurred when Olivia and Andrea finally reach AJ’s apartment and also during the dinner scene.
In terms of homages to French New Wave films, the film list itself includes classics like La Pointe Courte, Cléo de 5 à 7, Shoot the Piano Player, Les Cousins, Le Beau Serge, Nuit et Brouillard, The 400 Blows, Les Mistons, Les Bonnes Femmes, Vivre Sa Vie and Bande à Part. While these films gretly influenced how I shot my own, I paid homage to some of the more substantial contributors than others. For example, I did this by incorporating in shots using mirrors similar to the now-famous scenes in Cléo de 5 à 7 by Agnès Varda. Varda’s use of mirrors to extend the audience’s view of the whole setting resonated with me a lot because she was able to incorporate how the characters view themselves in relation to how other people view them. In addition, Matt Sewell (who helped me with cinematography) and I decided to use more Godard-like camera techniques, such as the iconic ending scene from Breathless, where Godard, using the handheld camera technique, sways the camera slowly to mimic Michel’s slow descent to death (around the 2:44 mark). This type of tracking shot definitely broke the traditional rules regarding tracking shots; while the frame is supposed to be stable throughout the tracking shot sequence, both my and Godard’s films did not steady the camera in order to make the shot more subjective. In addition to these tracking shots, I chose to use subjective, long pans, establishing, group, medium and two-shots.
One last shot in which I definitely broke the rules stated in my textbook included when Olivia walks out of the apartment. In post-production, I chose to connect the ending of this sequence with the walking scene right after by using the sound of the door closing. While this choice was due to the cameraman being visible through the mirrors on the back of the door, I still maintain that it allowed me to also pay homage to Godard’s Breathless, especially when Godard strung along different jump cuts by having smooth dialogue. This type of editing is not common in traditional films because it does not allow the audience to view what they hear is going on.
In terms of Breathless, I chose to pay homage to the bathroom scene where Patricia and Michel are framed within the mirror post-coitus; the pairing I chose to use in my film was between Olivia and her travel bag. Olivia looks back at the bag through the mirror to contemplate her current situation at the beginning of the film, similar to how Patricia interacts with Michel through the mirror. In addition, I chose to pay homage to Éric Rohmer’s The Bakery Girl of Monceau by incorporating a scene similar to the young man’s stroll framed by the cars on either side of him (around the 5:30 mark). I even included a jump cut to make the homage more blatant. Bakery Girl influenced my film because of its length. Rohmer was able to tell a story in 20 minutes, incorporating all scenes necessary for the plot. Lastly, in terms of the evening walking scene toward the end of my film, I chose to pull from Les Bonnes Femmes and Shoot the Piano Player. Specifically, I enjoyed how these films included tracking shots when following the characters walking down the sidewalk. I chose to mimic that style when filming Olivia and Frenchie walking down the street to the climactic kiss scene. While these scenes made use of a steadied camera, I chose the more handheld approach to help build anticipation for what was to occur within the film timeline. While this would be considered breaking the rules, I chose to do so to heighten the experiences of the audience.
Lastly, I paid homage to Chabrol’s Les Cousins by incorporating the personalities of both cousins into my main character, Frenchie. When developing the French character, I took the best parts of both of the cousins from Les Cousin: the innocence and studiousness of Charles and the suaveness and coolness of Paul. I even tried to incorporate the longing Charles feels when seeing Paul and Florence through the iron bars into Olivia’s character when she sees Andrea and Frenchie dancing together.
In terms of swipes from outside of French New Wave, I stuck to what I love best: music. This included songs by popular musicians including Rihanna’s “Stay,” Bruno Mars’ “When I was Your Man” and Taylor Swift’s “Begin Again.” Both Rihanna and Mars use piano accompaniment to convey a sense of all-consuming love, while Swift tends to focus on the positives of a newly budding romance. I also I chose to mirror many of the Bollywood coming-of-age films when writing my screenplay. Because of this, some of my film is relatively similar to films by Farhan Akhtar (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Chahta Hai). Lastly, according to Freud, people dream in black and white and they incorporate their own colors into their dreams when thinking about them afterward. This fact prompted me to make all flashbacks occur in color while the “real time” action be in black and white. I thought this would help audiences distinguish between what is actually going on and what is in the past.
Overall, the experience was amazing. I had the time of my life filming this project. Thanks for everyone involved; y’all make me look good
Contains some coarse language…
For this experiment, I wanted to focus on editing; specifically, lining up jump cuts to work well together. I used similar-flowing dialogue to piece these cuts together, similar to Godard’s usage in Breathless. I continued using mirrors, this time focusing on the rear view mirror and Rachel’s sunglasses. I tried to shoot a macro shot (around the 0:57 mark) by extreme-focusing as much as I could on Rachel’s face to get John’s profile and the actions going on behind him. This added a depth of field and lens angle not possible otherwise. I also tried to do an abstract/dolly zoom shot that faded into a blur transition around the 0:40 mark. I did this by making everything within the frame go from in-focus to out-of-focus. I also tried doing a zoom shot with the doorknob and attempted escape around the 0:11 mark. Lastly, I tried to do a swish pan toward the end (2:07 mark), similar to Truffaut’s pans in The 400 Blows.
The dialogue was all improvised by the actors, as per the specifications for the experiment. I made John interact with the audience, similar to how Michel did while driving at the beginning of Breathless. In addition, I added the “pratfall” of the “dead” character in the trunk coming back to life. That ended dialogue in the film. I found it to be comedic (and genre-hopping) because there was a guy sitting in the trunk of the car who wasn’t dead and John had to beat him up again.
In terms of the lighting during the scenes, I wanted to make the outside brighter than inside the car to show the implied freedom that the kidnapped character (the audience) would feel from escaping at the beginning. This also makes the audience focus on John and Rachel’s sunglasses to see the reflection of the outside world. I made the outside more vivid and darker toward the end to signify that there was little hope the kidnapped character could escape. I changed the brightness by messing with the aperture. My professor has made me hate zooming altogether, and I will probably need help doing so in the future if I choose to do it in a subsequent experiment.
For my project, I stuck to the shots listed in the directions. I included extreme long shots, long shots and a perspective shot. I also used a mirror to “break” the surface that mediates between the camera and subject. This time around, I focused less on the narrative. I chose to stick to a simple plot in which a girl goes to the gym and returns home. I literally followed my friend Cameron, who volunteered to be my subject for filming, to the gym and then back to her apartment. I took this idea from Agnès Varda‘s “Cléo From 5 to 7,” where Varda follows the main character around Paris.
She happened to look up at a dog pacing back and forth on a balcony above her, so I included that within the perspective shot. I chose to film within her apartment complex because I wanted to have a more controlled environment where I could shoot in the middle of the street and not worry about getting run over. This worked out in the end, as no one got hurt.
In terms of props, I really liked the beginning of Jean Luc-Godard’s “Breathless,” where the main character wears sunglasses. I thought it was a way to distance himself from the audience, so that they can not truly pinpoint who he is. Because I wanted my main character (Cameron) to remain aloof (I didn’t want the audience to get attached to her and create their own narrative), I made her wear sunglasses in the outside shots. In addition, I told her to wear a bright shirt under dark clothes to make her stand out among the scenery. This experiment with coloring worked in the end; Cameron stands out not only because she is moving around within the frame but also since she is wearing contrasting colors.
To break the rules, I employed the use of reflective surfaces in the shot. Without the side-view mirror of the car, there would have been no action. In addition, when Cameron goes inside her apartment, I film her walking through a hallway. The action is broken up because of the structural wall. This would never happen in traditional film where there is always action going on within the shot. Lastly, I did not use any zoom functions, as per directions from my professor.
Please don’t judge too hard; this was the first time I had ever been behind the camera…
The whole point of this film stems from a prompt designed by one of my professors. We had to create an ironic story, so I chose to focus on someone who studies their heart out for a final exam, rushes to take the exam and then finishes the test with interesting results.
The close-up shots seen in my film give the audience context to going on in the plot, as seen in the shot around the 0:06 mark. This shot uses a shallow depth of field. I achieved this change in focus by shifting the rack focus to give the packet in the background more prominence and focus over the notes in the foreground. This allows audience members to glance at the notes and realize that the main character (Ryan) is indeed studying for a test. The fact that the actual notes are not clear, or that the shot does not have a deep depth of field, helps to establish the realization the audience members will come to at the end of the video: that the actual studying was in vain. I try to break the rules of close-up shots around the 1:54 mark, when I show the written text that the main character writes down in his bluebook. The rule of thirds dictates that the most important aspect of any shot should be at the edges the middle “box;” I intentionally placed the word “Everything” in the middle-left box in order to show that the main character wrote only one word on the test. This type of misuse of the rule of thirds is common in Agnes Varda’s La Pointe Courte, which is what inspired me to add that type of framing to my experimental film.
Another example includes establishing shots, such as the one establishing the exam question (1:24 mark) and the outside Quadrangle area setting (0:52 mark). With the Quadrangle area setting establishing shot, I chose to include the greenery and other people to show how people were walking to and from classes, that we were in a more normal reality (one that the audience member who has probably tried to get to a Final Examination before it started can attest). By keeping the frame wide, I was able to show more action going on in the scene. I also wanted the action to go from the right to the left of the frame, similar to how action is “supposed to take place in the frame. This shot was an homage to the “Louvre scene” from Bande à Part; it is against the rules to run through the Quad at LSU, just like it is at the Louvre. Around the 0:55 mark, one can see an unidentified student relaxing in the Quad, which is what people do there. Lastly, I broke the rules when establishing the exam question. The scene is a side-view of the action; it was not head-on. I also did not allow the audience to dwell upon the exam question for long, even though the question plays a huge role in the narrative. By cutting the time allowed for the audience member to perceive the question revelation and anticipate an answer, I break the rules of film that dictate more camera time for important parts of the narrative. This plays into the narrative even more, because the question should be the most important thing for the main character at that moment. The character should be filling up the bluebook with pages of philosophical references and answers.
It is important to note that I did not plan out the clapping at the end; another class happened to start clapping at the same time as my main character’s departure from the testing classroom. I felt that, in true French New Wave style, I should include that improvised and “pure luck” moment into my project. Also, I originally changed the coloring to black and white. Unfortunately, the exam question on the board would not show up when I placed the filter on the raw footage. Actual footage used in the film totals at 2:05 minutes. I chose to leave the five seconds after editing the original edited version. I feel that every aspect of my film is important. The good part about the editing is that it forced me to add jump cuts to my film, which heightens the audience’s expectations for action. I also chose to make the main character scream “Oh merde” as part of my reference to the French New Wave, since all of the films we have watched are in French.
You throw your head back laughing like a little kid. | I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny because he never did. | I’ve been spending the last eight months | thinking all I’ve ever done is | Break, and burn, and end. | But on a Wednesday, in a café, I watched it begin again…
~ Taylor Swift, “Begin Again”
Artist: Taylor Swift
Song: “Begin Again”
Album: Red, released October 22, 2012
TSwift really can do no wrong in my eyes; whether she croons about “Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Getting Back Together” with a tiresome on-again-off-again lover (Jake, you have to stop calling her…) or about blaming herself for falling for the bad guy in “I Knew You Were Trouble,” she always understands just how complicated the relationships that plague our youth really are and the amount of emotion many young people attribute to these relationships.
With “Begin Again,” she shows us how easy it can be to forget all the bad things about your last relationship and move on. Her first
relatively “really country” single from her album “Red” (which is actually really amazing — I know, I’m a sap), Swift sums up everything that revolved in one’s head while on a first date. You’re always going to compare the new one to your old relationships, and Swift knows just how to accent that without going too much into “guy-hating” territory (see “Picture to Burn“).
The funny thing about all of this is that it’s about Conor Kennedy, who is essentially a child, especially when compared to her previous relationships. The line about him throwing his head back like a little kid always gets me chuckling; he actually is a little kid, TSwift!
Video-wise, Swift nails it. A stroll through Paris (which I’m very familiar with…), the city of love and light. It’s all about rebirth. And new beginnings. Black and white with breathtaking shots of the city. It’s just so beautiful. I mean, the song itself is very much like Paris itself — it’s a classic ballad layered up with some modern extremities. And on first-listen, you know you’re in for a solid TSwift jam. It fits right in with the rest of the TSwift canon. Just like Paris, the listener knows what he or she is in for. And since the city oozes love (literally it is the hardest thing to walk down the street and not see some form of PDA occurring around you), it would the perfect city for a budding romance, especially one as fleeting as TSwift’s relationships.
This song captures what many could call the coming-of-age factor many people my age experience… We all think that we know what we are doing, but we really have no idea. Everything just feels so fresh and new, and it helps us forget about our cares — it gives us something else to live for. Something else to wake up for. A reason to remember just how good the world can be when things work out the way you want them to work.
With it’s lyrics comparing past lovers to new ones, it is easy to get wrapped up in the whole new romance, but at the end of the day, one thing is clear — TSwift should probably just have a little girl-time. Don’t date other guys. Date herself! Get to know herself a little more so that she can truly evaluate what is going on in these relationships. But then again, if she’s anything like me (and since we ARE the same age), she probably thinks she has everything figured out. Oh well — between the both of us, we have about six or seven years to grow up and realize what it means to be in a real, adult relationship lol.
I think Swift did good by placing it at the end of the album; the whole album goes through all of the emotions surrounding her past relationships, and “Begin Again” helps to bookend all of that drama by letting her slowly forget about the old guy and move on to the new one.
What do you think of the song? Classic TSwift or just a case of writer’s block?
What a whirlwind of a week. From baguettes to the never ending vino to the amazing sights, Spring Break in Paris has been one of the best Spring Breaks I’ve had (it’s up there with last year’s family cruise to the Caribbean and Mexico). I’ve lived the dream. I got to shoot a French New Wave film in France, following in the same footsteps as the great directors Agnes Varda, Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais and Francois Truffaut. I got wined and dined in the city of Love. I got to explore and get lost in the wonder of Paris. And I got to do it with some amazing friends.
While the filming process may have been rough (many of the other students’ plans often floundered or fell apart), it was still amazing. From acting in others’ films to directing my own in locations based on the most popular FNW films, there never went a day that I was not in awe of walking and shooting in the same places as cinema’s greatest directors.
As far as highlights are concerned, my inner film director was ecstatic when my class got the chance to meet Agnès Varda, one of my favorite FNW directors. This is the woman who shot Cléo de 5 à 7, a film that delves into the psyche of a beautiful woman awaiting medical test results while also going through her daily routine. The audience gets to understand how Cléo sees herself and her personal transformation she experiences after reevaluating her priorities. The film (and Varda herself) is iconic for the way it handled a time-limited storyline.
Varda took us on a mini tour of her studio, showing us where she used to edit her films (she joked about how now all everyone uses is Final Cut) and eventually taking us to where she housed most of her still photography. The biggest photo in the room is of an old Italian fireplace with POTATOES gushing out of it – fans of Varda will understand the significance of the potatoes lol. She went around asking all of us about what we planned to do once we graduated and then gave us tips on shooting, pulling from her own experiences and shedding light on the trials and tribulations of shooting her amazing films throughout her career. Click here to view the interview.
The main difference between this trip and my last European trip was that this time around I did not necessarily engage in tourist activities (like the museum tours or going to Versailles – which I’m definitely doing next time!). Instead, I ventured off by myself and took in the feel of the city. From strolling through the Latin Quarter or Pont Marie to getting lost around Montmartre and Montparnasse, I took advantage of my free time and got to take in the city from a different perspective. Walking around by myself really gave me time to think about all of the craziness in my life. It helped me gain more perspective and motivation to trek on and finish what needs to be done. This trip was such a different experience from my last one — I guess that’s what happens when you’re 22 and a little more grown up. I appreciated just walking around places like les Jardins des Plantes, taking in the beauty of the nature surrounding me, or people-watching the couple who chose to break up while I walked past. People walked around holding hands, running after toddlers, or just generally confused about where they were. But that was the charming part: seeing how all of these people interacted with each other. I got to learn a lot about others and got much-needed inspiration for future screenplays. The crazy part is that Paris was almost exactly like I left it — breathtaking architecture, haute couture, crowded streets and mostly-nice Parisians (mind you, they can get relatively crabby at times). The only difference this time was that I was looking at it in a different, more mature “lens” (both a reference to my age and the camera lens I shot with in Paris lol).
And that’s the thing about Paris: while you can change all you want, the city will always stay the same. You can count on the same places being around. But it’s your own mindset and perspective that can influence how you view this magical city.