Passion (2013).

ImageBefore catching Passion in the cinema last Monday (all thanks to Hot 91.3fm), I do not think I have ever watched a M18 movie ever. Hmm. The closest movies were probably NC16 and nothing beyond that rating.

Hahaha, I am nineteen this year.

Anyway, I had no idea what the movie was about so I looked it up on a few review sites as well as the pathetic Wikipedia page (that described the storyline in the most boring way ever). There were many mixed reviews so I was not sure what to feel about it. So, well, I decided to just let the movie surprise me.

Never a viewer of Brian De Palma’s movies, I had no idea what standard his past movies had so I am unable to compare them like other reviewers had. But basing on what I have watched, I quite liked my experience.

I had to pay attention to the details to keep up with the pace of the movie. It was not a standard brainless movie that you simply watch to entertain yourself and forget about it afterwards.

Driven by lies and the power play between Christine (Rachel McAdams) and Isabelle (Noomi Rapace), I kept wondering what was the truth of the situation. Every single character had their motives for murder and they all kept their own secrets, so I started doubting almost everyone by the end of the movie. And realised that maybe the truth was never out to anyone in the first place, because everyone had their own perspectives and chose to see only what they want to see.

After all, life is never black and white with only one version of right and wrong.

Also, I liked the idea of hallucinating and dreams interfering with reality but it might be slightly excessive by the third time. However, there were some scenes that were interpreted to be part of Isabelle’s dreams but I do not seem to want to agree with that view point. There were too many clues and references that tie the beginning and end of the movie together that it felt too dismissive to just blame everything on Isabelle’s wild imagination and her obsessive pill popping. Instead, I felt that the sequence of events were not in chronological order and seems to remind us of Isabelle’s erratic state of mind.

But maybe I am being too imaginative and am reading too much into it?

Anyway, I felt that Christine won in the end – dead or not. She was the only one that got what she wanted: revenge. And the impact will definitely last for a long time for everyone involved.

Oh, and I really liked how the actors were cast into their roles. I am not sure if it is a mere coincidence, but the characters that overpower Isabelle shared softer, innocent and more feminine facial features while Isabelle has a distinct and strong facial structure that makes her more masculine. But Isabelle suffered the most and the first to emotionally breakdown.

It is a very interesting juxtaposition for me and reminds me how appearances really can deceive. Because how you look like may not always convey the intentions and motives you have.

Well, time to watch the rest of Brian De Palma’s works and Love Crime (the movie that Passion is based on). Definitely looking forward to his future works. So glad I discovered this style and genre of film.

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My First (Proper) Halloween.

ImageI was really, really excited about Halloween this year because I actually left my house to (sort of) celebrate it!

The only other times I came close to celebrating this day were lazing around a friend’s place and spacing out half the time.

So I was glad that I was a step closer to experiencing a proper Halloween night out.

Together with my friends, we attended about three parties that night. Hopping from Kissed By Monsters at The Screening Room to Bar Invasion Tour and finally the 987FM Halloween Pub Crawl, I walked around a lot and got to experience the whole atmosphere first hand.

It was really new to me, so I found it refreshing.

The costumes were the first things to catch my eye. While enjoying the bar food at Kissed By Monsters and watching Julius Caesar, Predator and a pair of geisha twins come and go, I was hiding my face under my hat. I did not go all out to draft up a concept and prepare a costume, so I made do with whatever I could find in my wardrobe. So it was a pretty fail attempt on my part and I looked like I was just going shopping down Ann Siang Road with really bad make up on my face. After standing among outstanding costumes and admiring their effort, I have decided that I will start planning early for next year’s. After all, it is the only time of the year to dress up and look scary!

Other than creepy costumes and the crazy crowd, the environment was pretty chill. Everyone was just doing their own thing – drinking, partying or passed out on the pavement. I came across a fight too. Yup, the night was indeed happening alright. I was too busy taking in the new sounds, new sights and new perspectives.

With or without alcohol in my system, I was perfectly fine and I was enjoying the company of friends and the chats we were having. It was a very nice night and everyone was safe so everything was well. Hmm. And I got to see many other sides of people so that was interesting and amusing for me. Hahaha.

But trying to flag a cab at 3.30 in the morning is no joke. Especially when you are competing against groups of wild ghosts and drunken vampires. The streets were chaotic with random people walking everywhere but I guess it was a part of the whole experience. At least I managed to get home by 5 in the morning and did not get screamed at by my parents.

Looking forward to next year’s Halloween!

Mandi Bunga 2013.

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From Sharon Chin’s website.

The registration for this collaborative performance came up on my Facebook newsfeed some time back and I signed up! I have always wanted to be a part of the Singapore Biennale. It is just nice to be a part of something bigger, you know? Anyway, I really liked the whole concept behind this performance.

Mandi Bunga, meaning flower bath in Malay, is a cleansing ritual. For some, it is a way to void yourself of bad luck and start attracting the good. It evokes positive emotions and helps with relaxation of the mind and body.

The artist Sharon Chin invited 100 people of all walks of life to join her for the performance held at the National Museum of Singapore last Saturday. And I was one of them! And I am really glad that I got to be part of the experience, even though it was only for ten to fifteen minutes.

At the beginning, when I got to the meet-up location to put on my personalised sarong and to collect the flowers for the bath, I felt a little lonely since I signed up on my own while everyone came with family and friends. I sat quietly by the fountain while I people-watched.

Everyone was having fun and taking pretty photographs. The positivity around touched me and I felt really peaceful inside. Even though I was a stranger, people came up to me to talk or just smiling at me when eye contact was made. That was really nice of them.

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With such a warm and welcoming environment, all hundred of us did the Mandi Bunga together.

I took my time to squeeze the lime and scatter the flower petals in my bath before I started cleansing myself. I started with my arms, then my body and legs. I used the water to wash myself gently and occasionally rubbing the flower petals on my skin. I felt very calm and I started smiling to myself.

I realised I spent the most time on my face though. After washing my face a few times, I started massaging my entire face and feeling every curve and feature on my face. Beyond feeling good and the slight sting from the lime, I felt like I was rediscovering myself and who I am.

With my entire being cleansed with water from the flower bath, I felt very close to nature. It was a nice feeling having flower petals all over you and feeling the grass and soil in between yours toes and beneath your feet. It got all my five senses engaged and I felt very alive and present in the moment.

Most importantly, the whole performance made me feel like I am a beautiful human being. And that every person is worth celebrating for.

And that was a nice thing to take away from this humbling performance.

Links you can look up on Mandi Bunga:

http://vimeo.com/77860865

sharonchin.com/projek-mandibunga/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1au6cbppo4s

Words.

How do I start writing?

Bound by rules, expectations and red tape, I found myself constantly wondering how I should even begin a piece of writing. The frown starts forming on my face, my shoulders tense up in frustration and my hands just want to smash my brains in a million pieces. And I despise being incompetent.

After staring at blank pages and hitting the backspace button after typing a few words, I decided that I am just not a writer.

But now, I find myself wanting to write about nothing, anything and everything.

Letting go of those initial restrictions that were holding me back, words flow freely onto paper. My words.

After all, all of us are born writers. We form thoughts in our heads all the time. I guess we just have to be brave enough to put the words to paper and share it. They do not always have to be coherent or in full sentences. Everyone form thoughts differently and the way you write share a big part about yourself.

In a way, being entirely honest is being vulnerable. And there will be people that appreciate it. Even if they do not see the value, you will be able to because we sometimes seek comfort in the way we are able to express things to others.

I cannot write like somebody else, because I do not know how. Even if I copy another person’s style, I am not a writer. Because I am not happy and it is not my voice that is speaking through the words. That is my personal opinion, of course.

I can use bombastic words and idioms to make my point, but I always find myself going back to the simple words that capture the essence of what I want to say. Plain, simple and honest. Because the words I use are the words that I use to think in my mind. I do not really see the need to fluff them up or change them.

Our thoughts are never wrong. It is not a bad thing to keep thinking.

So just pick up a pen or a keyboard to type and reach the buried or fleeting thoughts in your mind.

Because rule number one of being a writer is to not be afraid.

FIDé Fashion Weeks 2013.

fide Even though I have been on this country for my entire nineteen years of life, I have never heard of this fashion event ever. I was only aware of Audi Fashion Festival, which I had the pleasure of attending this year.

Thanks to Poached Mag, WardrobeTrendsFashion as well as COUTURETROOPERS, I got to attend a few of the shows that are a part of this event held at Marina Bay Sands’ Convention Hall.

Being only the second fashion festival I have attended ever in my life, the excitement was pumping through my veins and I still had no idea what to expect. I kept wondering if the style and set up will be similar to AFF. Or very different. I was really psyched. And I am so glad the entire experience was enriching and did not disappoint.

The set-up was elegant with outstanding fashion pieces on display, chandeliers and a red carpet walkway. This is the foyer area and it took my breath away. It was not overdone but at the same time, not exactly simple. It looked really professional and expensive, so I felt a little intimidated by the high class atmosphere and by the larger than life wallpapers of famous models walking down the catwalk in statement pieces. I guess I still need a long time to get used to such settings.

I was glad that the runway set-up was more comfortable and inviting with cute shop fronts and brighter colours. There were plants, fake trees, street lamps as well as polite staff serving drinks so I felt more at ease. For all the shows, I can say that I got really good viewing spots so I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Being short, it is a very big deal to be able to relax in my chair and just concentrate on the fashion show with no tall being blocking my view.

Anyway, the shows were all brilliant. The focus was on emerging designers, instead of focusing on established designers like AFF. But the substance and works showcased were definitely on par with the industry standard.

With all the designers having a strong grasp on their concepts and the look they are going for, each collection showed off their ideas well and reinforced the concepts they came up with. With such great pieces created, you can definitely feel the designers’ passion for their work just by looking at the clothing. It really is admirable. I enjoyed the variety and was impressed by the quality of the work. From lingerie to colourful fabric to modern women’s wear, they all shared the same high quality and detail. There were many pieces that blew me away and if I could, would definitely purchase and wear them out.

Other than the shows, I managed to attend a workshop conducted during Fashion Weeks and it gave me a brand new take on what fashion really is about. Listening to speaker Jean Paul Cauvin, I was captivated by his vast knowledge of couture history and his passion for it. His words will stay with me for a long time, and I am thankful that I got to sit in for such an informative and inspiring presentation.

A few quotes that really left an impact on me:

“What is wearable fashion? We dictate what is wearable. If you feel comfortable in something, it makes you feel good, then wear it. Because if you do not support what you like, who will?”

“Fashion is like a work of art. So brand names are there like an artist’s signature on a piece of artwork. It is a statement of their work.”

“Fashion changes lives.”

Gravity (2013).

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I have read and heard many good reviews about this movie, so curiosity got the better of me and I went to watch it.

And oh, it was so good.

Hmm, I will admit that the repetitive nature of the main problem being satellite debris can get action and thriller lovers bored out of their minds. But for me, the storyline was not much of a focus because I was very into the acting and choices made for the movie.

For one, most movies would not risk having a slow and deliberate sequence right at the start and with absolute silence. I was shocked but that made me anticipate what might happen later on in the movie. That choice made the movie beginning interesting for me I think.

I quite liked the idea of space being anti-gravity as well. The word ‘cool’ kept going through my head when the flames were flying around or when Ryan’s tears floated away from her face and started floating around in space freely. I think  just like the floating.

But it was on the border of ridiculous that the carrier she was on did not explode or that the debris totally missed her when she was trying to fix it. There were not even scratches.

Anyway, it was unbelievable that the whole movie was carried forward mainly by one character, Ryan – a lady doctor that was part of a mission to carry out experiments.

I was pretty shocked that George Clooney played a supporting role to Sandra Bullock. I always had the impression that he is higher up on the Hollywood scene than she is. But I have always been quite a fan of Bullock so I was not complaining.

Sandra Bullock’s acting was pretty convincing. With so many close up shots, I was able to see the emotions being expressed on her face really clearly. Every blink, every frown, every breath was captured in detail and it heightened the emotions being presented on screen.

That being said, I was so glad that it was not over-the-top acting because that would have made me feel that the acting was insincere and lacking in depth.

I felt her acting in Gravity showed off her acting prowess more than her role in The Blind Side (the show that touched me deeply).

The subtlety was what really stood out to me. The slight change in facial expression, the pace in her breathing in different situations… I really admire her for pulling it off. Makes me want to strive to be as good as her one day, actually.

Anyway, before I end, I will just share that my favourite moment of the entire movie was how she struggled to stand on her own two feet and to walk on land. Reading fantasy stories and listening to great astronomical research being done in space, we always idealise the experience and no one shares the difficulties of it. The struggle of walking reminded me of how she was unfamiliar with the ability of walking (since it is not needed in space at all where you float around) and it brought to mind all that she has sacrificed for her job.

Her family, the sunshine, the life, the sounds and the basic routines she would do every day in the comfort of her home.

That moment was brief but it left me thinking.

 

Inside.

Every morning, I take the public transport to work and I look around at all the people around me.

Sure, they look different with their various outfits. But inside, they are probably mostly the same.

You look at their faces and they have no expression whatsoever. Their facial expressions do not change with whatever they are doing, feeling or sensing. Just blank.

Sometimes, I look at a few closely and make eye contact with those dull eyes. They lost their spark.

I was close to that, maybe.

For some time, I could feel myself dragging my feet to work and mornings just seem so painful. I felt that I had nothing to look forward to – no tasks to complete and help out with.

I do not like not doing anything, and not learning. It becomes almost a waste of time.

So those moments were sucking the life out of me. My eyes were losing their brightness, my body was losing the enthusiasm and my heart was losing the emotions.

It was like I lost the ability to care about anything or to feel for whatever is around me. I could only think about myself and I was drowning in my own misery.

It was not a nice feeling. And now, I look at all these people going to work every morning. Not caring if others get to board the train, not planning to be considerate and always armed with a glare to shoo you away.

And I wonder if I have the heart to tell them off about their awful behavioural tendencies.

Seems like a case of cause and effect, does it not?

Hmm.