Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Forty Shades of Blue, Married Life, Spooks,

It has been an emotional twenty four hours and now I feel drained. It began when I least expected, which reminds of the security briefing for the visit of the Queen to open St Pancras: be prepared for expect what you least anticipate.

I could immediately remember why I had added Forty Shades of Blue (2005) to the Internet post DVD subscription until the film commenced and then I remembered: the main female character is a Russian young woman trying to adjust to life in a significantly different culture. During this year I have become interested in the phenomena of the number of young Russian women who have emigrated across the world to live with men and their families and friends.

This arose because I was contacted through Myspace by a beautiful young Russian woman looking for someone who could provide her with a different level of life and was not like the men she had been used to. At first she appeared genuine and honest admitting she had written to a number of possibilities and provided a convincing story but for the obvious reason of our disparity in ages I was very suspicious but curious to discover the truth. The amount of available information on the internet about trans cultural matchings is staggering. There is a shortage of two million husbands in Russia and there are concerns about the number of Russian men who use alcohol excessively and are violent as a consequence. And therefore women in their hundreds of thousands and are offering themselves in a fierce competition through many agencies who are also matched by bogus individuals and groups with criminal intent. There are some simple tests to establish the authenticity of an approach which in this instance were failed.

I was reminded of a situation in first period of professional employment where 400 young women had married service personnel from a major airbase and gone to live in the United States. There was a support organisation for the parents of these young women and while I cannot remember the proportions, and while the majority were successful, or did not result in a return home, a number did. One of my functions was to give support in situations where a woman became a single a parent and decided to bring up the child or children rather than seek adoption or a placement in care.

Other that this aspect to the film I had no prior knowledge about the actress playing the Russian woman or the film's Director. I therefore did not immediately tune into the level at which this film has been created, but as soon as I realised I was watching a little masterpiece of emotional intensity and relationship truth on the level of Ingmar Bergman, I returned to the beginning and gave my whole being. This is not the kind of film that can be enjoyed at different levels, which explains why some critics disliked and were bored while others shared my admiration. There is an integrity and a coherence about this film which is maintained throughout and is my film of 2007 although released over two years ago.

The performance of the actress Dina Korzun is outstanding and in the information attached to the DVD the Director explained that although there had been a script, he then adapted the story and his editing to the character and abilities of the actress. I suspect she will however find it difficult to find another major role outside that she is now known for.

The film has been compared with Lost In Translation and I shared the Director's viewpoint that the tourist experiences incorporated in Lost in Translation did not add to the film and he was right not to yields from his backers to include tourist features of the city of Memphis where he accumulated 10000 days of early experiences. Lost In Translation is an outstanding movie but the important scenes are the rooms and spaces inside the hotel or the views of the outside through its windows, because of the relationship development of two people in an alien culture but where the inside of the hotel is international, providing a womb like security.

In this film because of what I had researched and thought about, I was first gripped by the character of the Russian girl, who communicates that she does not know what she wants or who she is, except that that she did not want what she had before, her life in Russia, and that is why, as she explains although she is not someone who normally uses words to explain, that is why she accepts that the man she lives with sees her as he does, and does not attempt to see her as she is, or helps her to find the person she could be more content with. The are using each other, a solution to their present dissatisfactions.

She is a girl who tends to react to the moment, switching her feelings according to the moods and actions of others and who can make bad choices or choices which can lead her into danger and harm and early on the film she allows herself to her brought home after being picked up in bar, stood up by her partner who has responded to a new opportunity but rejects the man when he does not tune into her, although later in the film she has a casual encounter with another stranger. In between the film is about the development of a relationship with the son of the partner who is just as uncertain of who he is and what he wants and who funks the opportunity to begin a new life with the girl who is torn between the possibilities of a meaningful relationship and her feelings of duty and loyalty to a man who has provided her with a quality of life better than she had dreamt about and therefore she feels she has no right to complain about his behaviour.

But this is not a film about one woman where all the other characters revolve around her and her predicament. Each character has their own viewpoint and history. Her older partner is still well known as song writer (may have also been a performer ) and is now a producer of records but is also yesterday's man and comes fully alive when with those who appreciated his accomplishments and shared in his experience., which of course she has had no part of. He only comes to appreciate what he has with her when he senses he is losing her and although she accepts his public made proposal of marriage it is evident that this is too late and whatever their future relationship is to be it will never become a harmony of ongoing understanding, openness and truth.

This reflects the viewpoint of the Director, who appears to believe that only brief flashes of emotional and intellectual closeness is possible between human beings which is comprehensively open and truthful. He was born into sixties Memphis where sixty percent of the population were then black and admitted in the first film on the Queen at work, America was still overwhelmingly segregated. When she visited in the fifties. Within the white culture the Jewishness of Ira Sachs did not create for him the kind of internal problems which his stated going into the closet between thirteen and seventeen over his homosexuality. (I still do not understand why the term gay was created).

It was not clear when be became aware that every adolescent goes into the closet about something although he admits to having had the evident experience of good psycho analysis, and it is also evident that he has reached that level of critical self awareness that enables a sympathetic, and empathetic understanding of the predicaments of everyone else. Moreover the objective way in which he discussed how his childhood and subsequent adult experiences govern what he wants to say and how he wants to say demonstrated someone who has found an inner being in harmony with his outer.

Whereas I could only find three references to Dina Korzun which were about this film and two other which I did not open because their state content appeared dodgy and possibly illegal, I was delighted to find from his own web suite that he has directed a second film with Hollywood A list stars of Pierce Brosnan and Rachel MacAdam in a film called Married Life due to be released next Spring. The significance of Ingmar Bergman is that he was in a constant struggle to find the finance to make the films which eh scripted and directed about subjects which interested him and at the level of truth which he developed early on and consistently maintained thereafter. I am hope the making of a film with big names, does not mean he has moved into Hollywood Big Time. He mentioned that there had been a great feeling when Fort Shades had won an award but the team had been deflated that afterwards there was anti climax because no one came up to talk and with insufficient food on hand they had gone off for a pizza asking, is this what there is which suggests that making a film which satisfied and achieved goals was not enough. We shall see.

I am also being unfair to the star of Forty Shades. Rip Torn had been in the business for 50 years and involved in over seventy five films. His other claim to fame is having successful sued Dennis Hooper and where the Judge double the award after the matter went to appeal. Given that I shall not mention other information on a site NNDB with the sub head Tracking the World (Solyent Communications) and where at the end is the question Do you know something that we don't!

A second cause for my emotionalism, was the advance episode of Spooks in which two of the main characters are faced with the possibility of having to kill each other as part of their work. I have written before that this season of Spooks failed to live up to the previous series because although there plots were contemporary and well crafted and the acting and interactions were of the previous quality, there was something missing, something which made me believe that the programme was about real people having real lives albeit, unique and specialist lives, and then in this episode, it came back, what had gripped and impressed me before, as beyond what was an exceptionally crafted plot of many twists, there was the truth of those trained to deceive, play roles, and if required to kill, where black and white is always a dirty kind of grey, where allies and enemies can become enemies or allies according to situations, and where it is impossible to have an ongoing relationship with anyone who is not in the same business and impossible to have an ongoing relationship with anyone who is not. There is a moment whose significance can only be appreciated within the context of the story where Adam says to there never is enough time is there? It was a very appropriate and meaningful statement for that programme but it also summoned up how my life has to be. I have always tried to live it as if there were seconds, perhaps minuets left than hours or days and the concept of weeks, months and years had little meaning. I can cope with this kind of beingness but not everyday existence without the intensity, the uncertainty and the pressure of having to achieve something within a fixed or limited period of time.

The last straw in terms of moving from a creatively emotional and cathartic state was having to make a fourth journey to the bank in an effort to gain release of my mothers funds to pay for her funeral without having to lose interest by drawing from savings or incur credit card charges. I was able to see the branch manager and hopefully I will receive a telephone call during the day to be advised that the funds in the account have been transferred. What with Northern Rock requiring billions to be saved and its shares dropping from pounds to pence and the government losing the highly confidential information on 25 million citizens my problem is insignificant but I find the what has happened frustrating and distressing.

However I was able to put the problem into perspective on hearing that the teacher held in the Sudan because she allowed the children in her class to call a teddy bear Mohamed and then wrote to their parents asking that each child looked after the Teddy Bear for a day and kept a diary about doing so. Last night on Newsnight there was a revealing exchange between a representative of the Ambassador and a member of the Muslim Council of Great Britain who castigated for the embarrassing and longer term implications of the woman being officially charged as well as kept in detention. The Foreign secretary is requesting an official explanation but the damage has been dome and there are many less moderate and objective than me who will see the development as reinforcing our fear and opposition to totalitarianism of this nature whether religious or political. The economic and political ramifications are horrendous, occurring on a day when the official representatives of Israel and the official Palestine government were content for the US President to announce agreement to have talks with a view to achieving a long settlement before the President laves office. Tony Blair obtained the title of unofficial Vice President of the USA and it is difficult to believe there is no connection between this development and the appointment of Tony as UN envoy to progress the peace process.

Meanwhile back at Westminster the latest scandal to hit the government and the Premiership of Gordon Brown had the opposite effect on me of beginning to think he is the victim of the kind of in fighting which some of his supporters used against Tony Blair and which was not as exploited by the opposition until David Cameron became the great opportunist although he has become carried away sufficiently to leave himself open to counter charges although Gordon at his monthly press conference and at Question time began to show the qualities of statesmanship and leadership that had began to emerge during the summer months, and he talked of the national interests and of taking decision which indicated to me that he had decided to be his own man and if that meant alienating members of his own party then he would go down fighting as himself rather than as a servant of the political party. There is a frenzy developing which I find dangerous. There was the extraordinary business at the Oxford union where after the decision to invite two extremist one on the far right and the other on the far left to debate issues of free speech, after the matter was put to a democratic vote among members of the Student Union, not only did some students and other protestors barricade the entrances and some enter the debating chamber but were heard to shout in chorus Kill the union President. No doubt this was thought to be a clever challenge as having the freedom to say so but this is all just another indication of growing intolerance and a climate to further undermine freedoms from and to. I enjoyed as did most other fair minded folk the quip if the temporary leader of the Liberal Democrats who suggested that Gordon had moved from being Stalin to Mr Bean within a matter of days.

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