Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Trollope Collection

What I knew about Anthony Trollope 2 weeks ago was that his several works listed on last pages of Wordsworth Classics novels. The Warden was an interesting title, but I already decided that language used by many male authors from 19th century was more difficult to read than the females. So I thought to buy the movie version first.

Anthony Trollope Collection is of 3 movies: The Way We Live Now, He Knew He Was Right, and The Barchester Chronicles.

The Way We Live Now was wonderful. It had lots of webs and interesting characters. The story centered around a newbie in London, Augustus Melmotte (played excellently by David Suchet), who seemed to be a millionaire. He built a company and a young engineer came to him with a proposal to build a new railway in Mexico. Melmotte agreed to finance the railway, but he was not as he seemed to be. There was also a complicated love story among Paul Montague (the young engineer), Hetta Carbury, her cousin Roger, and the mysterious Mrs Hurtle from America. Melmotte’s French wife gave a nice touch of humour with her gestures (she clearly didn't belong to the London's high society) and I liked Matthew Macfadyen here (than in Spooks, Pride & Prejudice, and Perfect Strangers); he did a good job bringing Sir felix to life. In all, the whole cast was perfect. I also liked the soundtrack.

He Knew He Was Right was also very good. It was about a husband who believed his wife was having an affair with her god-father, and by doing so, he destroyed his own family and happiness. Sometimes misunderstandings can be funny; I found myself giggled while the characters on screen were depressed. The story in this movie is still up-to-date so I’m not surprised if a modern version will soon be made. I liked very much Bill Nighy’s interpretation of Colonel Osborne, who made many life miserables but he himself seemed didn’t know about it.

The 3rd movie was The Barchester Chronicles, based on ‘The Warden’ and ‘Barchester Towers’. After The Way We Live Now and He Knew He Was Right, this was rather slow and dull, perhaps because it was made long ago in 1982. However I feel I should not complain because this had more running time and therefore should be more faithful to the books it was based. The story was about church people who ran the cathedral in Barchester, started with Rev. Septimus Harding who was publicly accused in a main newspaper, that he was not suitable as the warden. The accusation was soon redrawn (for it didn’t have a solid base) but it was too late. Featuring Alan Rickman as Rev. Obadiah Slope, who played the irritating character very well. His last goodbye to the bishop and his wife was unforgettable; he wished they 'would live forever' but his tone undoubtedly meant 'live forever in hell'. I like the part where Mr Harding went to London and left a message for Sir Abraham Haphazard; the clerk was hilarious. It was nice to see Susan Hampshire as Signora Madeline Neroni. [I almost forgot that she was also in Wonderful Life with Cliff Richard.] One of her dresses was very beautiful with bunch of colourful flowers on the chest part. I only don’t understand why suddenly Eleanor Bold could fall in love with Rev Arabin, or perhaps I was playing with jumping clay when I watched episode 3 – 5 so couldn’t give my full attention. It was interesting to see the tumult of a cathedral, and until now I still think that it's better to attend a service and then go home soon than to involve in such things.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Different versions of The King's Whore

"People can be unscrupulous when they see things they can't have."

The King’s Whore is a good example how editor’s part is very important in a finished movie. I have seen 2 versions of this movie: one is on a US dvd with 114’ running time and the other on a dvd released in Netherlands with only 89’ running time. I can understand if parts in a movie is cut off because of violence or nudity; but in this case it seems the cuts were made because they were afraid there’s not enough space if the movie is more than 90’ or 120’.

I read various reviews about this movie and mostly were negative and I actually decided not to buy it; but in the end I ended with 2 versions instead. The more I watch this, the more interesting it becomes. This is an interesting study about human's passion. King Vittorio Amadeo (Timothy Dalton) reigned in Piedmont and one day he saw his chamberlein’s wife, Jeanne (Valeria Golino) and wanted her to be his mistress. Jeanne was very in love with her husband, but every one around her asked her to give up because the king locked up himself and wouldn’t attend the court until she came to him. Later Jeanne would seek revenge for those who had made her life miserable.

The US version’s editor is Joële van Effenterre, while the Dutch is Brian Oates. It’s interesting that both versions have different scene orders. The US version begins with a group of some kind of soldiers marching and we could also see a fox which later went into a house and chased by two dogs. The fox is completely gone from the Dutch version. The fox’s fate was similar to Jeanne, who later was trapped in her situation. Jeanne and her family left France to deliver her sisters to become nuns, but Jeanne herself didn’t want to be the Christ’s bride, so lucky for her that the young chamberlain, Count di Verua (Stéphane Freiss) fell in love with her and married her. The Count took her to the Turin palace and introduced her to the king, who later was obsessed with her.

In the table below you can see scene order differences from when Jeanne first met the king until she came to him in Rivoli:

And below is a table that shows scenes missing from either version:

Below are some dialogues which are missing from the American version:
Below are examples of different dialogues used in the same scene:

If I had to choose between the 2 versions, I would take the American version because it's longer.
Dutch version editor cut little here and there in almost every scene. Like the scene where the king came to visit Jeanne, some of his lines were gone.
The king : There. You forced me to stoop to this like a thief. Can’t you see what’s happening to me? I feel it’s tearing me apart. I don’t understand. I feel as if a wild beast inside me is eating me every time I think of you. [The blue lines are missing from the Dutch version.]
This version didn't really tell what happened to the king in the end after Jeanne left him. Also in the 3/4 of the movie, strangely for a moment we could see Jeanne wearing the mourning dress in the wake scene which occurred many scenes before.

In the ending, the Dutch version offers this dialogue:
Jeanne: I come to you.
The king : I had to end it.
Jeanne : I’m here.
The king : Yes.
[I can't hear clearly what they were saying in this particular moment in the American version, but it starts with Jeanne said : 'So empty' and she referred to something the king had said in the past.]

Someone who has seen the German version (132’) said to me that some scenes are longer and two scenes not available in US & Dutch versions are: 1. After the king threw Jeanne out from his room, she covered herself up and asked a servant for a room to spend the night. 2. When they visited a countess’s house which had many paintings, Jeanne had a conversation with the queen that the king willed to give her anything but her freedom.
And there is a difference in the dialogue when Jeanne was taking a bath:
Did all editors understood the director's vision? It could have been they were given liberty to edit the movie as they liked it. In the American version, in the ending scene, Jeanne walked away from the king and said 'I love you' - as if she was ashamed and guilty because it was too late, while in the Dutch version when she said it she mounted on his wheel-device [I don't know the name of that thing] as if she wanted to take some of his pain.

I hope that I will be able to watch this movie in its entirety and its original language (English). I heard when it had its premiere in Cannes, the running time was 137'

I don't list all differences, it will need more serious work. This is only to give an insight on this movie and its various versions. There is a probability that if you don't understand this movie, it's because you watch the one which has been butchered too much.

I end this with dialogues in the ending scene:
The king :We had our time, didn’t we? It’s passed.
Jeanne : We? Did we make use of it?
The king : Yes.
Jeanne : What was I so frightened of?
The king : Of pain. We all are.

The King's Whore (a.k.a. La Putain du Roi)
Director: Axel Corti
Main actors : Timothy Dalton, Valeria Golino, Stéphane Freiss, Robin Renucci, Margaret Tyzack

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The wisdom of Victor Hugo

The difference between logic and philosophy is that the one can decide upon war, whereas the other can only be fulfilled by peace.

History is one long repetition, each century plagiarizing the next.

Nothing is more pointless than to win, the real triumph is to win over.

There is no more powerful eloquence than that of indignation based on true conviction.

Silence has always something of the effect of acquiescence or of the building of a wall.

What is the turmoil in a city compared with that of the human heart?

There are times when all things look impossible and times when all things look easy.

Human nature is a creditor who accepts no compromise.

It is of the embraces of despair that faith is born.

Suffering brings death, but the idea brings immortality.

The soul will circle about the Truth as the planets circle round the sun.

A revolution is a toll-gate, but mankind will be liberated, uplifted, and consoled.

Rascality is a comfortless life, honesty is far less demanding.

If there is anything worse than to see one’s children die it is to see them leading evil lives.

A man may leave prison, but he is still condemned.

Debt is the beginning of slavery, a creditor is worse than a master; for a master owns only your physical presence, whereas a creditor owns your dignity and may affront it.

Concience is the amount of inner knowledge that we possess.

It is an error to suppose that we can ever exhaust Fate or reach the end of anything.

To die is nothing, but it is terrible not to live.

The truth means the whole truth, not just part of it.

The circumstances of happiness are not enough, there must also be peace of mind.

Prejudice is the real robber and vice the real murderer.

So what can you do when you love someone and you know that the next sentence you come out with is going to destroy them?

The soul of an unfortunate who thanks God for consolation is the best of altars.

The soul in darkness sins, but the real sinner is he who caused the darkness.

The supreme happiness in life is the assurance of being loved.

There can be no small lie; who lies, lies wholly.

A clever man has plenty of ways of winning the trust of simple people.

There is a prospect greater than the sky, and it is the human soul.

A lost gold coin is found by means of a penny candle, the deepest truth is found by means of a simple story.

It is not easy to keep silent when the silence is a lie.

The embodiment of human society: envy on one side, indifference on the other.

A letter, like a person, can have a displeasing appearance – the very sight of them can be unpleasant.

God knows better than we do what is good for us. Because things do not always please us, that is no reason for reproaching God.

When the wind blows it blows away more human dreams than clouds in the sky.

The best way to see the soul is with the eyes clothes.

True love is as radiant as the dawn and as silent as the tomb.

At the end of life, death is a departure; but at life’s beginning a departure is a death.

Great suffering brings great weakness; it undermines the will to live.

There are things too strong for even the strongest man.

Nothing is more charming than a glow of happiness amid squalor.

To substitute day-dreaming for thought is to confuse a poison with a source of nourishment.

If we rob the words of lovers of the melody from the heart that accompanies them like a lyre, what remains is but the shadow.

To depict a battle we need a painter with chaos in his brush.

Peer through the heart of the people and you will discover the truth.

No ambition is ever wholly fulfilled, at least here on earth.

There are moments in battle when the souls of men so harden as to turn flesh to stone.

The reek of blood, the over-filled graveyard, the weeping mother; these are powerful arguments.

Be comical and you will be accepted as a clown.

Acts of daring light the pages of history and the soul of man.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

North and South

"I know you despise me; allow me to say, it is because you do not understand me."

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is often compared to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and I think it's because both heroines from each book refuses the hero's offer of marriage before they know who they are refusing.

My sister pointed out to me when we were watching the Persuasion, how did Austen characters obtain their money, as they seemed only to party all the time or travel across the country. I know they were land-owners and soldiers, yet it feels funny in a world where we have to work from 7 to 5.

North and South came as a more realistic life with the factory workers and the strike problem. The movie version (2004) is wonderful and I love the factory scene where we can see white cotton flying. The soundtrack is also very beautiful.

I finished the original novel last week and it was not as difficult as I thought. Reading classics sometimes is not easy, but I really enjoyed North and South. I usually buy books published by Wordsworth or Pinguin Classics, but after several months looking at local book stores in Jakarta, I only could find a copy published by Rohan Book Company. The price was as cheap, but I found many mis-spellings and the illustrations were poor.

Mr Thornton in the novel has less temper than in the movie. He never hit his workers, for example. The first meeting with Miss Hale took place when he came to the hotel where the Hales stayed after they had arrived in Milton. Also after the death of Mr Hale, Margaret left Milton and until the ending, she never came back. The reunion happened in Edith's house in London, not in a train station.

North and South, as you can guess from the title, is about a young woman from a peaceful southern town called Helstone who moves with her parents to an industrial town in the north called Milton where she will meet the hero. Margaret Hale hates the busy life of Milton with its pollution at first, but slowly she becomes fond of the people and understands their way.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Little bags

After considering what I could make to get additional income, I decided to make little bags. I had many left-over DMC threads from my cross-stitch projects so I needed not to buy them and used whatever colour in the stock.
I chose simple patterns so I could finish 1 bag in 1-2 nights. I watched television programmes while working and this was supposed to be fun anyway, so I didn't think there was any need to rush.
I filled the bags with candies, usual candies like: Blaster, Mentos, Alpen Liebe, and Sugus. Later, my friends gave suggestions to fill them with pot-pourri or chocolate. I must go to Glodok or Pasar Pagi to see if I can get interesting items for the bags.
I think the selling price of the bags is very cheap, considering them as hand-made, but if I put a higher price, I'm afraid none will buy them. For the first batch, I only could finish 14 bags, all with the picture of Tussy.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Distress in The Family

Yesterday I went out with Lastri to the Franchise Expo at JHCC. On our way back, she met an ex-colleague, and later she told me about another ex-colleague of her who got pregnant and distressed. I told her then about a cousin of mine whose first boyfriend, whom apparently she loved very much, left her with gonorrhea. She then met another man who was very kind to her and willing to marry her. The problem was, he was a moslem and she Christian. They married and had a beautiful son. However, her parents didn't like the marriage and terrorized her, asked her to leave her husband. When she was pregnant 8 month with child, she went out with her mother on a motorbike, and she asked her mother to stop because she was thirsty and wanted some ice-juice. Her mother dropped her and left her, so she had to walk home in the hot sun for 1,5 kms. When the son was about 1 year old, she came to stay at my sister's house, for almost 1 month. She tried to stay away from her husband as long as possible. My sister, however, told her to come back to her husband, as two people in marriage should not live apart. When the husband came to pick her and the son up, my mother said goodbye to the child, "Dadah, Michael." The husband was shocked. "Michael? His name is Achmad." But she had told us the name was Michael. She herself always called him 'Mike'. When her mother died and her family blamed her: "Your mother died because of you. She thought of you too much." (Can't believe these people are my relatives.)

Another cousin of mine had a different problem. When she was a child, she lived with the grand-parents. After they died, she lived again with her parents, but her mother didn't like a girl. She became a very sensitive person. At high school, a boy liked her, but everytime they were dating, the mother always followed them. The boy left, and she met another man at workplace who later married her. At this point, she had become a regular visitor to a psychiatrist and consumed drugs; but didn't tell the man and his family. When her mother-in-law found out, she told her son to divorce her, despite the fact she had already pregnant. Her distress became worse, but a boy was born and he took him away. Whenever she wanted to see her son, she must contact his lawyer and he would give his answer through me (Why me???). During the meeting, she was prohibited to give the boy anything. Later her family persuaded her to forget the boy. In the first years, we still saw her looking at baby's clothes, but now she doesn't do that anymore. The boy must be 11 or 12 years old by now. We took her to see a priest once, but after looking at her, the priest said that there was nothing wrong with her. I myself believe that the problem lies with her parents. I see her almost everyday as her father comes here during workdays and always takes her along, for it's better not to leave her alone at home with her mother; and her father always tells her what to do. "Sit here. Don't sit there." Things like that. (I'm glad my father doesn't like that.) I wonder why she has to take her medicine everyday. I myself don't believe in medicine. Yesterday Lastri told me that she perhaps suffers
Schizophrenia and therefore should take her medicine every day. Daily she busies herself with knitting.

On the happy news, I finished the last 2 episodes of City Lights last night. It's a part of 'Christmas Lights, Northern Lights, City Lights' boxset dvd. All 3 are with the same cast: Robson Green, Mark Benton, Nicola Stephenson, and Sian Reeves (except in Christmas Lights, where Pauline is played by Maxine Peake). It's about 2 families lived next to each other where the husband are best friends and the wives are sisters. The husbands always try to compete each other. It's a comedy drama, but a thriller aspect has been added to City Lights, where the husbands witnessed a murder and the family must be moved away from Manchester under protection programme. All 3 series are very entertaining and I giggled a lot. The last episode of City Lights has unpredictable twists, which I enjoyed very much.