The Wonderful Lessons From Midnight In Paris

0ef60c4d79ce26bcf92d2b71858998bc.jpgThe first time I watched Midnight in Paris was in 2015, and I instantly fell in love with it. It’s been a sort of yearly tradition ever since, where I’d watch the film at least once a year. Each time I watch it, I feel transported into a different time and a wonderful fantasy world, where we could interact with our favourite people from the past. If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s films, such as Blue Jasmine, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, To Rome With Love and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, then you’ll know his style. Not to mention, the soundtrack was so exquisitely and magically beautiful.

There are so many parts to think about, from love, relationship, era, history, writing, artists, nostalgia, imagination and self expression. Even the simple things, from seeing the beauty of walking in the rain at midnight in Paris. There’s something timeless about it. You lose sense of the present, and your thoughts wonder off into a world unknown, perhaps with a saxophone playing in the distant. The film starts with a  montage of Paris scenery set to 1940’s  jazz clarinetist Sidney Bechet’s “Su Ti Vois Ma Mere”to set the atmosphere.

There is beauty in the most small, delicate things. The thought of rain in Paris against the night light reminds us of the simple beauty in life. Gil tries to explain to Inez in a scene, but she can’t imagine such a thing. Gil: This is unbelievable! Look at this! There’s no city like this in the world. There never was. Inez: You act like you’ve never been here before. Gil: I don’t get here often enough, that’s the problem. Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imagine this town in the ’20s. Paris in the ’20s, in the rain. The artists and writers! Inez: Why does every city have to be in the rain? What’s wonderful about getting wet?

We often want what we don’t have or cannot experience. No matter how wonderful it would be, I know I won’t ever be able to see Ella Fitzgerald perform live, talk to Audrey Hepburn over coffee or hear Karen Carpenters beautiful voice in the flesh. There is sometimes a kind of romanticisation when looking at the past. It brings a strong sense of sweet nostalgia. We see the surface of others life, and may feel like it seems magical and amazing. However, it’s an illusion in the sense that we all live our lives with the good and bad.

Interact with those who support you and are extremely honest about your work. It’s important to surround yourself with those who inspire you, and those who support you. Perhaps if you’re an artist, having other artists giving honest feedback can be beneficial. This means that they aren’t afraid to tell you when they like or dislike something. Their comments are there to encourage growth and improvement. Hemingway (seen in the film), had a way of being incredibly honest, that you almost felt like the words come straight out of his soul.

Connecting with creative minds can solidify great friendships. Similarly to the previous points, being surrounded by those who share a passion similar to your own eg. art, writing, film, and engaging with them can create strong friendships over time. You talk about your point of views, opinions and thoughts. It allows you to broaden your knowledge and see things from different angles. A strong and true community is important.

The importance of writing and how it lives on in every era. Writing through every age communicates to people. Held at the hands of each person, the words soak in and we’re left feeling a certain way or thinking about certain things. You can read something from over 100 years ago, and ponder about it. How does it relates to your life in the present. Writing teaches us something, as much as reading does. Although, a writer should read often in order to write with an open mind.

Loneliness is in the mind, but so is imagination. Many artists can often feel lonely, especially within the process of creating. However, it’s that same experience that they all have, in which they all use their imagination and creativity to bring something real and raw. When we use our imagination, we lose sense of loneliness and time, and we enjoy the time we can spend in solitude and thought. We’re more likely to have sparks of creativity and energy to express ourselves.

Be persistent in the pursuit of your dreams. If no one believes in you, who is left to? The simple answer is you. You’re the one who is there for yourself to pursue and be motivated in chasing whatever it is you’d like to accomplish in life. No one can bring you down, unless you allow them to. Even the goals we set in mind, can only be completed if we set out to do so. We might write them on our to-do list and make sure of ticking them off. No one else is going to tick them off for us.

We must be grateful for the time we live in and learn to see its magic.  When we live in the present, we can truly live our lives with fullness. Gil: Adriana, if you stay here though, and this becomes your present then pretty soon you’ll start imagining another time was really your… You know, was really the golden time. Yeah, that’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying because life’s a little unsatisfying. It’s a reminder that we must cherish the moment we live in, it’s the moment we truly have.

Love should cancel out all feelings of death. Ernest Hemingway: I believe that love that is true and real creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving, or not loving well, which is the same thing. And when the man who is brave and true looks death squarely in the face like some rhino hunters I know, or Belmonte, who’s truly brave. It is because they love with sufficient passion to push death out of their minds, until the return that it does to all men. And then you must make really good love again. Think about it.

Artists go through their journey of struggle to something great. Every artists struggles before creating something great. It makes me think of J.K. Rowling, when she talked about how she had years where she was struggling in her life, yet through that time she created Harry Potter, and what it is today. She brought magic and made it alive for every person to experience, even when she battled through difficult periods in her life.

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My Fair Lady (1964)

my_fair_lady.jpgWhen I was younger, I watched many musicals, old films, ballets and operas at home. The old soul within me loved it so much. Whether it was Cats, Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, The Fiddler on the Roof, The Nutcracker, Swan lake or Love in the Afternoon. It was during the time when televisions were far bigger and technology had not yet placed a smartphone in our hands. I used to hum myself to sleep with the songs and it always seem to take me to another world. I decided to watch My Fair Lady for the third time, maybe for the music, fashion or just to escape the world for 3 hours. Originally a musical, it’s one of those film musicals that will make you laugh and smile. Read here to find out more.

The lovely Audrey, sung by Marni Nixon.

Movies To Watch On A Rainy Night

d4aa5df35e7a2d4c81058a38f2cc3f7c.jpgAs I write this, I realise that all of these films are animated. However, if you’re like me on a rainy day, most of the time I want to watch a good animated film. It makes me feel imaginative and brings out the inner child within me. Especially if you’ve been staying indoors from the Sydney rain last weekend you will be able to understand the definition of movies on a rainy day. Although, it was quite a stormy one, I felt safe inside my cosy place. It was one of those days where it was dark outside even at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. When I finally did go outside, there were many sad umbrellas that were caught in the wind lying on the pavements, and dead leaves scattered on the path that could no longer crunch. Even so, I do love Winter like an old friend that always wears a red knitted scarf. There are far too many other films I love (most of the Disney films) and adventurous, action, romantic comedy and drama films that I enjoy watching too. Here are a few that I would recommend on a rainy day, while lying in bed with a hot fruity tea. Spoilers ahead*

Coraline-doll.jpg

Coraline. It was during 2014 when I was sitting in my little room on the first floor. The house was very quiet. Coraline is such a wonderful film with just enough creepiness. With buttons as eyes, a tunnel that goes into the other world and a wise lesson on being grateful for what we already have. Although, I did think to myself if I watched this when I was 5 I would of been terribly scared of the Other Mother.

baa64fcb3b5732970dcdeb56cfe9c722.jpgThe Corpse Bride. I’ve watched this film many times as we had it on DVD when I was in NZ. This film will always be one of my favourite. The piano scene, the wedding, the singing and the general contrast of the upper world being in it’s all it’s grey and melancholy, and the under world in all it’s colour and lively energy.

Wreck_it_ralph_qbert_drt8krWreck-It Ralph. This movie is definitely the “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” kind, because I put off watching it for such a long time simply because of the poster. Then knowing Disney, I’d surely know that there would be some kind of wonderful adventure, story line and characters that you can’t help just loving. This film was so funny and unexpected, I loved the whole idea.

c4766f14a783cf91a44cb44b526c359e.jpgThe Little Prince. Originally I had read the book first. The film is based on the book, and is as heartwarming and adventurous as you would imagine. I love that it reminds us to always stay true to ourselves and stay curious. Life is full of many questions, and we should never stop asking. There are a lot of great lessons in the film (as well as the book).

Alice-disneyscreencaps.com-166Alice In Wonderland. Alice is one of the most intriguing characters. No doubt that she is extremely curious and entering Wonderland reveals new things that she has never experienced. If it’s all in a dream, well then even in dreams we are always learning something. “The whole thing is a dream,” Carroll told the dramatist Tom Taylor, “but that I don’t want revealed till the end.”

Cinderella_Party_Crashers (1)Cinderella. One of the classic Disney films, It will remind you that A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes, and that whatever you set your mind to and believe it with all your heart, it can come true. I always believe this even though Disney makes it all too easy with happily ever after’s. I do believe that our dreams can come true, especially in a world where people may try to bring you down

kiki__s_delivery_service_by_kikisdeliveryservice.jpgKiki’s Delivery Service. If you ever get the chance, you definitely need to watch other Studio Ghibli films. From Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro and Howl’s Moving Castle, to name a few. When I was younger, I loved watching this film because not only was it somehow so satisfying to see an animated character eat drawn food, but even today when I watch it, it reminds of that new adventure we have when we move to a new city.

When Marnie Was There

himarnieStudio Ghibli never fails to impress, with it’s touching moments and scenes that indicate something deeper, whilst relating to the audience. At least, I felt as if I could relate to it as an introvert like Anna. The film is written and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi who touches on the the memories of our past, traumatic moments, childhood difficulties, friendship, feelings of loneliness and being an outsider. The character Anna is a tom boy 12-year-old girl living in Sapporo, and suffers from asthma that’s prone to panic attacks. After a panic attack, her foster parents send her away to be relatives in rural Hokkaido, where the air is fresh and clean. The seaside setting is beautiful, but Anna prefers to sit by herself and draw, than socialising with the locals.

At the beginning of the film, and throughout, there were moments that made me able to relate to her. Through going through depression, past memories that haunt and feelings of being left out through out high school. When Anna meets Marnie, a blonde hair blue eyed girl, she feels a familiarity, as if she has met her in her dreams. They become close friends who share both of their secrets and adventures with one another. There is a gothic like theme that surrounds the film, where Marnie wears Victorian clothing and lives in a huge mansion under the moonlit sky, by the seaside. There’s an other worldly feeling that Marnie gives, that is comforting and yet familiar to Anna.

The film shows how breaking out of the dark feelings of depression, feeling left out and lonely can be immensely freeing. Often we need to go on a new journey to break free of all our past traumas. High school was definitely not an easy time and the feelings of being an internal outsider can sink in so deeply. The feeling of our personal life and school life can sometimes integrate, making us feel even more left out. However, when Anna makes a new friend, their friendship strengthens her and she feels comfortable without being judged for being different.

For the duration of the animation, we see Anna change from a lonely and empty person who doesn’t express her emotions, to someone who opens up and smiles without feeling afraid. The amazing lessons on self discovery, finding yourself, making a new friend and letting go of the past are all a part of our lives. It is also a reminder to be understanding of those who are different. They can often have gone through difficult times. When Marnie Was There was both touching, meaningful and may shed a tear or two at the end.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

688accc4b9e1384d81fa900adebcf5d5Before I had heard of the film ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, I had heard of the word wall flower, and as I was trying to explain how I feel when I am in a social situation, I instantly said “I am a wallflower”. I use it in the lightest sense, because I feel that wallflower gives the feeling that you are completely detached from society. I believe that everyone socialises in different ways. This crave of being able to create and expand on my imagination is something I feed off of. The feeling of finding a small handful of people in my personal life who understand. It’s instinctive to which our society instantly thinks that those who are much more quiet and introverted are harder to talk to. The irony in this case, is that we have so much within our minds that we are bursting to talk about. Being introspective, intellectual and interested are some of the common pieces of the puzzle.

As a person that suffers from anxiety, it’s very hard for me to explain to people why I am the way I am. It is harder to ‘fit in’ because I really do believe with certain people,  there are social pressures to somehow relate to the person. When, of course, I just want to take away that extra energy and simply be myself. However, on rare occasions I meet people who make me feel something different, something special and genuine. You feel the breeze of care even when they don’t say a word. You keep quiet in long silences, yet the air feels so calm and lovely. Weeks go by, but when you talk again, there is a strong connection. There are some people who take sensitivity and being quiet as a weakness. Yet, in many senses, it is one of our greatest strengths. I find I am a better listener, I can understand and try relate to the person. It’s sort of the moment when you get to know someone well, you see them in a different light – beautifully glowing or surprisingly dark.

Here are the perks of being a wallflower (or rather – feeling different even in a world of different people):

1. You see the different sides of people.  I remember since high school, some people would tell me their problems. However continuous negativity is not a real friendship. There are people who act kinder in a way when I was with them, but surprisingly different and conformed when they’re with their friends. Most people act one certain way to fit in, when in reality, what they truly want in the end is to be accepted for who they are.

2. Time alone is a simple treasure. After several hours of socialising and interacting with people, those precious moments of silence is a gift. A space to reflect, relax and be able to express your creativity without any distractions. Being alone is one of the reminders to ourselves (as I read somewhere) that we are our own company from the beginning to the end.

3. Honesty rather than lies. I am the sort of person who says the truth, even if it’s not the best answer. Which has not always been good in the past, especially on one memory of missing a rehearsal, and answering the teacher with “I didn’t want to go”. I learned a lot from that, because there are many ways to be honest in a kind way. Honesty has helped me get out of hurtful friendships. It is better to be true to yourself, rather than live a lie for others.

4. Reflection on your past and present self. I am sure there are many of you who do this from time to time. How to improve from your past as to be better in the present. Setting goals to achieve and always grow as a person. It is good to reflect on mistakes, but remember that they should be a lesson to learn from, rather than regret on. Moments happen, but time will always pass..

5. Having a handful of people you trust. From past experiences I was too trusting of other people. It was simply part of my personality to trust people who were friendly and kind. The lesson learned was that often it’s easy for people to take advantage of you for the wrong reasons, even if you are friends. Having a small amount of very close friends you trust, is far more meaningful than dozens of friends you don’t really know. Put trust in people who have only love for you and likewise.

“If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it, too. I want them to be able to do whatever they want around me.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl

entertainment-movies-2015-06-me-earl-dying-girl-00If there ever was a film that made me think back to memories of morning rides in the car to school, while me and my sister played TV, it would be Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. For the sake of keeping it oh naturale, I didn’t want to do any research on the movie and letting it sound like many reviews with dates, facts and documentary tones. If you were a 90’s baby you may recall the back seats of cars having a rectangular hole in it (although, I am hardly riding cars now a days with my feet as transport, so maybe there are still rectangular holes). I remember changing the channels and my sister and I would recreate and imagine the strangest shows. Or when I was convinced that every time I step into the car, it would automatically mean that I am the human ipod, enthusiastically asking what everyone would like to listen to and start singing.

This film was a funny and emotional roller coaster wrapped into one. I guess everyone experienced high school in such different ways, it’s almost interesting how much we interpreted it differently. Fitting in and not fitting in – gosh, even thinking back to those days gives me a little pain. But, to just be completely yourself, now that’s the best. However, truth be told I felt most myself when I was at home. School was a strange time now looking back on it. I remember filming mini-documentaries on the old camera at home, and it sparked that memory from watching the film. Every little detail lighted up a certain memory in time. It was sweet in many ways. The way we don’t want to have friends that will make us feel terrible, the way we want to fit in yet not fit in, the way we treat other people and don’t realise our capability to affect and make a difference in other peoples lives.tumblr_noekeltMBl1urmzm0o1_540 That quote was particularly memorable to me, simply for the reminder to us that there are a million other things more important. The irony is also that Rachel is beautiful – she has a good heart, creates amazing things and doesn’t realise her beauty. I often wish it isn’t until someone has cancer that we are convinced we need to take our lives by the roots and really grow. I wish it was everyday that somehow we could all encourage each other in ways, instead of often polluting the world with hurtful words. tumblr_np51wmMRtz1urmzm0o1_540 If you grew up as a child that was not very loud or for want of a better phrase ‘not like the other kids’ then embrace it. Everyone’s different. As a child and until now, I notice how much shyness, being quiet and introverted has been put so much stereotypes and negative connotations. Instead, we should accept that everyone is different. It’s what makes the world interesting. The thing is I know I will never be the person to be excessively outgoing and loud, but that’s okay. I like to be with people one on one, I get nervous in group situations and I have anxiety attacks. It’s not normal and it’s not weird, it’s just me. However, a little weird also never hurt nobody.

High school was definitely a time of discovering and trying to find more about myself. Safe to say, that leaving high school early has benefited me in many ways. The funny thing is sometimes the period of our lives that we are most unsure of, is just a sequence of our lives before the things we are sure about do end up happening. We needed those times of unsureness to get us back on our feet, and start walking. tumblr_nqu7aqyqAw1urmzm0o1_540This scene made me smile so much. Have you ever, when you were younger (I would hope) laid on the car or on the couch after a long night or a movie night, and pretended to be asleep, just so that your Dad can carry you into bed. Or (if you were a little stranger) have you ever pretended to die in front of your cat and see how he reacted? It did involve a little bit of sniffing and then a purr while laying on my back.

So, please. If you are in a need of a pick me up. Or you have been going through that phase of life where you need a little push of creative sparks, emotion and enlightenment then do go watch the film.

Images from teen vogue / meandearlmovie.com