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I am an Italian localization expert, writer, blogger and translator/proof-reader living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about intercultural communication and good movies. 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

150 movies in one year, a funny and pleasant work in progress - Part #2.

Women want love to be a novel. Men, a short story. 
Daphne du Maurier [1907-1989]

Someone - a very intelligent and unhappy man - told me once that love comedies and chick-flicks are for women what pornography is for men: a way for people to forget reality while getting lost in a not-real world made of images, bodies, sentences and situations that are as perfect as real life will never be and that will make reality and real people look somehow miserable and even more not-perfect than they actually are.

I guess that he is somehow right - and maybe also because of this so unhappy - and yet at the same time I still love to go to the movies and to discover a funny movie I missed or to have something to think about after seeing dramatic movies or a good documentary.

So, ladies and gentlemen...
here we are, with the second part of my movie marathon that will last for a whole year.

11. The Black Pirate by Albert Parker, with Douglas Fairbanks, Billie Dove, Donald Crisp (USA 1926)
Silent masterpiece, one of the first titles ever realized in Technicolor, the pirate movie that inspired all the further ones. Before Errol Flynn, Burt Lancaster, Peter Ustinov, Walter Matthau, Geena Davis and Johnny Depp... there was Doug. Douglas Fairbanks' acting style, stunts and look 'all in black' are still astonishingly modern and charming. But the best part is still his unbeatable naughty smile.

12. The Garden of Eden by Lewis Milestone, with Corinne Griffith, Charles Ray, Louise Dresser, Lowell Sherman (USA 1928)
Based on a play written by Rudolf Bernnauer and Rudolf Österreicher and set between Wien, Budapest and Monte Carlo, a very pleasant morality play about the young and innocent opera singer Toni Lebrun - portrayed by the now forgotten silent diva Corinne Griffith - and her not so charming (at least for today standards) Prince charming, Richard Dupont.
Some sequences are still totally funny and enjoyable and the character of Madame Bauer from Palais de Paris, with her sexual ambiguity and her masculine style, is incredible modern and surprising. Yet, for silent-movies lovers only.

13. Gunday (The Outlaws) by Ali Abbas Zafar, with Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan Khan (India 2014)
Bigger than life Bollywood-thriller about brotherhood, love and revenge with tons of dance numbers and references to the conditions of Bangladesh refugees in India. Surprising, sometimes weird but for sure entertaining as hell. Bigger than life.

14. Happy-Go-Lucky by Mike Leigh, with Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin (UK 2008)
Can someone be too nice, too happy, too colourful? Maybe sometimes... a little bit. Praised, awarded and quoted some years ago, and  yet that interesting, after all, but Sally Hawkins is wonderful and the flamenco lessons with a passionate Spanish teacher with a lovely accent are pure genius.

15. The Homesman by Tommy Lee Jones, with Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Miranda Otto, Meryl Streep (USA/France 2014)
From a novel by Glendon Swarthout, an atypical western directed by Tommy Lee Jones, touching and more effective than too many feminist manifestos, if one wants to talk about how women were treated not so long ago, even in "democratic" countries... Hilary Swank is incredible, as usual. With interesting small roles for Meryl Streep and James Spader.

16. Honig im Kopf (t.l. Honey in Mind) by Til Schweiger, with Til Schweiger, Dieter Hallervorden, Jeanette Hain, Emma Schweiger (Germany 2014)
German blockbuster directed by the local movie star Til Schweiger about Alzheimer disease, a weekend in Venice and  how to keep one's identity when memories fade away. Not so interesting, but with a great actorial performance by Dieter Hallervorden.

17. Saving Mr. Banks by John Lee Hancock, with Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell (USA/UK/Australia 2013)
When P.L. Travers met Walt Disney, willing to adapt her Mary Poppins novels for the big screen at any cost, even if the introvert and verbal aggressive writer refused to sign away the rights for that for about twenty years. From a true story, with some poetic licences and a incredibly well written screenplay.
Emma Thompson is awesome and just unbearable, as an unpleasant and self-centered control-freak dealing with the Optimism itself, Mr. Disney, for the first time portrayed on screen by Tom Hanks, with style.

18. Still Alice by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, with Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, Kristen Stewart (USA/France 2014)
From a novel by Lisa Genova adapted for the screen by both directors, a touching and bittersweet movie about Alzheimer's disease and the massive impact it can have on the lives and careers of the patients and their families and colleagues.
Julianne Moore, awarded in 2015 with the Oscar, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA Award as best actress in a leading role for her performance as Alice Howland, talented linguistics professor somehow condamned to lose herself more and more because of the disease, is incredible, as usual.
I cried like a baby while hearing Alice's speech about struggling and fighting for her dignity and her memories while dealing with her new life situation.

19. Unmade Beds by Alexis Dos Santos, with Fernando Tielve, Déborah François, Iddo Goldberg, Michiel Huisman (UK 2009)
Also known as 'London Nights', a small-budget movie about the days, the nights and the unmade beds of the Spanish teenager Axl, the hipster Mike and her blond girlfriend Hannah and the Belgian librarian Vera, that live together in an occupied warehouse in London, while trying their best to have fun and to find their own way. A very pleasant extra: the mysterious (and totally cute) X Ray Man, portrayed by Michiel Huisman, and the game he plays with the elusive Vera. Thanks to Freddy for this one!

20. The Theory of Everything by James Marsh with Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis (UK 2014)
From the book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, a touching biopic about the special relationship during over thirty years between the  physicist Stephen Hawking and his first love, Jane Hawking born Jane Wilde. Amazing actorial performance of the main actors and a small cameo for Emily Watson.

Tags: Cinema, Movie watcher, Movie adaptations, Silent movies, Love stories, People, Quotes

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Three magical questions that can change your life, or why the best gifts are not about material things

Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats. 
Sue Grafton

Sometimes the best gifts are not about getting the new status symbol or buying something expensive for someone. They are not about fancy bottles of some luxury eau de cologne or stylish clothes. They are not about the perfect kind of wine or big gold rings. They are not even about material things at all, in some case.

[Are you in for a very special gift?
I hope so!]

The best gifts are often unconditional love, real compassion, acceptance, quality time, cool ideas, kind words, inspiration, good memories and mutual trust. They are priceless and they last forever, no matter how the relationship with that person is going to evolve at one point, if you are going to be friends or soul mates a life long or to see each other for just one evening and then never again.

The best gifts make one more rich in a very special way and they can change someone's life.
I know it, because they did if for me, more than once. Every time, when I really, badly needed it. And they did it again tonight, for some motivated and talented brave people I just met and I shared one of my special gifts with.

How? It is very simple, and this is the most incredible part of those special gifts: if you share them with someone, they are going to become more valuable, more precious, more special. They are not about scarcity, they are about abundance and happiness.

Over ten years ago, in one of the most difficult periods of my life, on a very sunny day of a beautiful enchanting Italian summer, I sent a definitely stressed SMS to my best friend, describing my situation to her, and talking to her as if I would have been in a black tunnel without any chance to break free, at one point.

She could have just said something like "Don't say like that, the situation is not so bad!" or "Please, stop complaining!" or "You will for sure find a solution, you are such a wonderful gal!" or also "Poor little thing, I feel with you". Very standard stuff, that some people say, when they have nothing better to say. And yet, she didn't. And while not doing it, she changed my life.

She wrote back, almost immediately, with a very dry and yet magical message: "I have three questions for you. I hope that you are ready for them. They are powerful, so use them wisely".
 She was right, as she very often is. She sent to me three incredibly powerful questions that I used that day to figure out how to solve my problem. Just like magic.

[Frequently asked questions... can really make a difference,
if one is asking the right ones]

The most magical part was... that I started to use them over and over again, while being stuck in difficult situations, complicated problems, poisonous relationships... you name it. 
While being in love with the wrong person. 
While being sick. 
While being broke.
While being trapped in a job I started to hate.
While being without clue about what to do next.

I started to ask myself those questions again and again, while sincerely looking for a honest answer and while believing that it could have been possible to find one. And every time I found a solution for my problem or my doubts. 

And so I started to ask myself the three questions even more often, somehow automatically, without even needing to think about it. They became part of my way of life and part of who I am, and so I started to share them with other people. With friends, with friends of friends, with lovers, with colleagues, with someone met for a very short time that for some reasons I wanted to help.
I started to use them to explain people how I live my life, when they ask how I do something or how I achieve things that for other people are unbelievable.

I still ask those questions myself on a regular basis, as a kind of personal reality check, in order to be sure that I am heading in the right direction and that I am still doing something that matters to me. Something to be proud of. Something worth my precious time.
To be sure that I am really living my life and not just surviving in auto-pilot modus.

Are you ready for them? Be careful: they are powerful, so use them wisely...
Here they are:

#1. What do I want? 
#2. How much does it cost? 
#3. Am I willing to pay the price for it?

What do I want to do with my life? What do I want to achieve? Who I want do be? Who I want to become?
How much does it cost to me, in terms of time, sacrifices, pain, money, effort, energy, skills, relationships?
Am I willing to pay the price for it? Am I ready to do that? Am I sure that I want to go all in for it, day after day? Is the price a fair one? Do I consider it to be too expensive for what I could get?

["Life is simple, it's just not easy", they say]

They look like very simple questions, right?
Something like stuff you read a lot of times in books or someone told you already or... something you can find in a chocolate box.
But besides reading or hearing them, did you actually spend time while dealing with them and with the consequences?

[Life is like a chocolate box, or Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump 
in Forrest Gump (1994) by Robert Zemeckis]

These questions are indeed very simple, but this doesn't mean that they are easy to answer or that one knows the answer every time. Or maybe one knows what he or she wants, but they didn't realize how much it would cost, or they actually don't know if they are actually willing to invest resources in making something happen.

How about you? 
Did you ask yourself these questions already?
Do you know the answers and above all... are you happy with them and ready to go all in?

This post is for M.
Thanks for being such an amazing and special friend to me since over twenty years. 

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Tags: Desires, Life, Projects, Questions, Motivation