Delight #4: Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain

March 24, 2013 · Print This Article

by Richard Holland

amelie-image-1

If law school resulted in no other tangible change to my life/personality it truly cast in stone my craving for escapist entertainment. I’ve seen crime scene pictures galore, I’ve done legal aid work, I work with BAS, I’ve seen enough horror. I like my entertainment light and happy, more or less. Also, I am a complete sucker for magical realism, I admit it, I’m out of the closet, you wanna make something of it. Any of you who got excited about Harry Potter, I dare you to scoff.

I saw this movie, shortly after it’s release on the airplane back from Paris. The friend we were visiting there, Adam Jolles (now the Chair of Art History at Florida State University), between spats with his dramatic, angry and lovely French girlfriend, raved about how much he enjoyed the movie and I must see it. So when I saw it available as an option on the flight, I figured why not.

What ensued was as over the top charming a movie as one could endure without slipping into diabetic shock. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with Guillaume Laurant, I had seen Jeunet’s work before with the unique films Delicatessen and City of Lost Children (far darker films, but completely enjoyable, they are definitely on the “Brazil” pile).

The film’s protagonist is Amelie (Audrey Tautou doing an excellent personification of every straight art-boy’s dream girl) a shy, introverted waitress in Paris. Her simple life is set into upheaval by her fateful discovery of a treasure trove hidden in her apartment by a boy many years ago. After secretly returning the box to the now middle-aged man and unexpectedly changing his life, she has an epiphany and dedicates herself to elaborate attempts to aid others by giving fate a nudge (not all positive, she tortures a cruel grocer in a masterful way). At the same time she stumbles upon and finds her perfect match in a man who collects discarded photos from photo booths in Paris, who is just as much an odd-duck as she is. Wacky misadventures, misunderstandings, and tangents worthy of a Shakespeare comedy ensue.

If that wasn’t enough the Yann Tiersen soundtrack is amazing.

It is cute, yes, sappy, probably, but if you are feeling like the world is a dark evil place, no one gives a shit, everyone hates you, etc. this film can’t help but generating some happy feelings.




Painting the Town Red to Bring Pride and Peace to a Favela?

November 19, 2010 · Print This Article

home-paint-town-red-favelaDutch Artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn who meet when they started working together in 2005 while filming a documentary about hip hop in the favelas of Rio and São Paolo for MTV were inspired by the visit. They decided to bring outrageous works of art to unexpected places, starting with painting enormous murals in the slums of Brazil together with the local youth.

What began as a single mural here or a most impressive redesign of a concrete stairway into a illustrative koi pond has grown into a plan to paint the entire favela into a colorful explosion on the side of a hill. The idea being that ownership, pride and hope will spur the locals into viewing the slum as something to build on and protect as opposed to exploit and escape from. I am always interested to see solid case studies on if this works or not since I have seen first had it both change a community and also fail miserably in a separate instance and get trampled à la pearls before swine. Akin to that would be ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition where you wonder how many of the new homes mansions are in forclosure or complete disarray.

Regardless though the work is amazing and quite interesting, I only hope the artists do get to complete the project it will be interesting to see it as a whole.




New Take On Old Design by “#1″ Brazilian Designer Sergio Bergocce

May 22, 2010 · Print This Article

I ran across Brazilian Designer Sergio Bergocce’s take on the age old problem of  bathroom signage a which I always considered to be a great visual trope  to play with since is so universal/human and yet not obvious how to simplify visually unlike running or age.

Sergio Bergocce’s take I thought was both fresh and humorous while in step with the current trend of re-imagining 80’s themes of color & shape that seem to be coming back in style. Thought you all would like to see.