Cannes 2011 winners: the American invasion

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Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, and Brad Pitt, representing Terrence Malick's Palme d’Or winner, Tree of Life. Head of jury members, Robert DeNiro, hinted at the divisive nature of the film: “Most of us thought it was great" (via L.A. Times/ Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images)

L to R: Belgian director Jean-Pierre Dardenne, actor Thomas Doret, actress Cecile de France and director Luc Dardenne, co-winners of the Grand Prix prize (runner up) for "Le Gamin Au Velo" (The Kid With The Bike) (via L.A. Times/ Ian Langsdon / EPA)

Cannes' beloved perennial winner, Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Three Monkeys; Left in picture), is a familiar face to take home a Cannes prize: his film Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon A Time In Anatolia) shared the Grand Prix honour with the Dardenne brothers' The Kid with the Bike (via)

Director and actress Maïwenn Le Besco (in blue) and cast members, won Prix du Jury for the French film, Polisse (via)

Best actress, Kirsten Dunst, won for her performance in Lars von Trier's Melancholia. Kiki for Oscars 2012!! (via)

L to R: Director Michel Hazanavicius, actress Berenice Bejo, producer Thomas Langmann, and Best Actor winner, Jean Dujardin in the silent French film (that's right, silent) that's supposedly quite entertaining, The Artist (via)

Ryan Gosling's about to kiss his Danish director, Nicolas Winding Refn, winner of Best Director for Drive (via)

Israeli director Joseph Cedar (Academy-nominated Best Foreign Film, Beaufort, also a Berlin's Silver Bear winner in 2007) won Best Screenplay for Hearat Shulayam (Footnote) (via)

Argentinian director, Pablo Giorgelli, won Camera D'Or for Best First Film, Les Acacias

Director Kim Ki-duk posed like a master of something something here. His Korean film, Arirang, shared Un Certain Regard prize (via)

L to R: Cast members Steffi Kuhnert, Mika Nilson Seidel, director Andreas Dresen, Talisa Lilly Lemke and Milan Peschel represented Germany's entry, Halt auf freier Strecke (Stopped on track), co-winner of Un Certain Regard prize. (via)

Nadezhda Markina, director Andrei Zvyagintsev (his stunning debut The Return won Venice's Golden Lion in 2003) and Yelena Lyadova for Elena, the Russian film winning Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category (via)

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof was not present to accept the Directing Prize in the Un Certain Regard category for his film, Goodbye, because he was too busy appealing a jail sentence for making films that are not approved by the Iranian government (some other film, not Goodbye, which had an official seal of approval) (via)

Jeff Nichols took home Critics Week's top prize for Take Shelter. The film stars Michael Shannon and suddenly hot-commodity Jessica Chastain (also in Tree of Life) (via)

Members of the jury for this year's Cannes: Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi, French director Olivier Assayas, Norwegian critic Linn Ullmann, Hong Kong director Johnnie To, Argentinian actress and producer Martina Gusman, French actress and host Melanie Laurent, US actor and President of the Jury Robert De Niro, US actress Uma Thurman, Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and British actor Jude Law (via)


Oh Lars ...

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Lars Von Trier, whose film Melancholia is screening at Cannes this year, took a tumble and was declared "persona non grata" at least for the remainder of this festival (but not his film, thank goodness), for this goof-off:

You know, sometimes, one has to learn when to stop talking.


Inception map: everything's better with infographic

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Can you believe it came from this humble origin?

I started brainstorming my entry in the airport, appropriately enough. The only tools I had available were the proverbial napkin and a pen, and I started sketching while waiting for my flight.
Airport napkins? I swear, the universe was conceived on a napkin. The ROM in Toronto was also born the same way! Coincidence? I think not.


Attunement: a note for parenting

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I'm reading Gabor Maté's In the realm of the hungry ghost, and I'm completely taken by the business of attunement, so I'm going to briefly discuss what it means for parenting. Dr. Maté wrote that a baby needs nutrition, physical security, and consistent emotional attunement (I summarize) for healthy survival and nourishment. Attunement, in particular, is about the ability of parents to communicate feelings in a way that allows the baby to feel accepted, understood, and mirrored. Sometimes, parents can not help how they feel (stress due to loss of work, divorce, mental illness, or war, etc.), and despite their best effort, they pass their unfinished emotional business to their children, often by just being human and reacting to their own struggles. This is because infants, even from the time they are in the womb, develop as guided by their environment (epigenetics). Even if the baby does not have the verbal processing / memory in the womb and right after birth, her biopsychological development is still affected by the caregiver's mood, which is affected in turn by the greater social environment at large, including the caregiver's partner and immediate situation (e.g. social status).

Due to no fault of any single person most of the time, a caregiver under duress may not be able to provide the baby with consistent emotional attunement (to be differentiated from love or physical attention). And a baby lacking in this department may grow up feeling unseen, unwanted or lacking in self-esteem, even if she can feel loved. And she will do many things to correct the course, including addiction. If your origin was under duress, you may want to ask yourself, how have you tried to remedy what wasn't there? And if you're a parent under duress, how will you try to tune into your child now?

On a personal note, I felt like this today:
The girl probably needs to get out more. And, friends.


There is a stream in my heart

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How to stay alive (Everyone is bleeding more than they will admit via Ratsoff):

And how not to:


The Osama aftermath: Vengeance, Forgiveness, & Surprising Will

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The jubilation shown by Americans pouring to the streets in front of the White House and other places across the States was met with some reservation and scolding by certain people. While I wasn't feeling particularly jubilant, I didn't think there was much wrong with people expressing jubilation for the removal of a known threat to their way of life and a symbol of their great pain. That's human, isn't it? I thought it was a celebration of "the downfall" rather than "the death of another human." A direct victim of this event explained the complex mix of emotions felt and expressed (via Andrew Sullivan):

That son a bitch killed my friends, colleagues, fellow New Yorkers, fellow Americans, fellow human beings. Worse still, he inspired thousands, if not more, to take up a blind nihilism as their credo, ostensibly in the name of Allah, “the merciful, the compassionate”. All the pain he has brought to this world has not been reckoned and may not be reckoned in our lifetimes. I sat on my couch Sunday night and poured a large glass of Irish whiskey and toasted the death of the man who had tried to kill me. “Fuck you" I said out loud.

Then I went upstairs and looked in on my three sleeping children - my oldest born in 2002 - and I kissed them all. Then I settled in next to my wife - my beautiful wife, who will be married to me ten years tomorrow, and who is carrying our fourth child. She for many long hours thought her husband of five months was crushed to death in the towers. I put my hand upon her belly and I closed my eyes and I prayed that Osama bin Laden would know the fullness of Christ’s mercy.
How can I fault them? Just as how can I fault his followers, people who believe in his doctrine, for expressing sorrow at his assassination? People are just people. If we can't express how we feel without oppressing/stripping each other of the right to live our life (which these people clearly aren't when they gathered to celebrate or to mourn), what are we to do with all them emotions? I fail to see how we can be better human beings by not expressing how we feel within safety reasons?

Having said that, as much as we love to demarcate the line between good and Osama, it would be hard to not see the human being (seemingly bent on being a matyr for his "people") in the will he left for his followers and family:
In it, Bin Laden apologizes to his children for his absence in their lives, "You, my children, I apologize for giving you so little of my time because I responded to the need for Jihad," he writes.

He also instructs his children not to follow in his footsteps - specifically telling them not to join Al Qaeda. He cites precedents from Islamic texts as a justification for forbidding his children to engage in 'holy war'.
Extreme circumstances contextualize extreme mind; epigenetics dictate it so. I'd be curious to know what his parents were like at the time of his birth and childhood, given the extreme conditions of the constant turmoil in the Middle East. I bet he felt a lot of unfinished emotional business left for him.


Satoshi Kon's last words, or: Cancer sucks

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Satoshi Kon, director of the excellent Millenium Actress and interesting-but-flawed Paprika, passed away late summer last year unexpectedly at the age of 46 from pancreatic cancer. I didn't learn of this news until today, quite randomly. It's sad that the news didn't travel far enough to me at the time of his death. It speaks of its untimeliness, as he was the sort of promising director whose filmography could become a cult favourite given perhaps a couple more projects. He was working on The Dream Machine, which his production team at Mad House continued to work on after his death, to be released some time this year. It's on my Screen List (developing) for films I'm looking forward to see now.

As an apt twist to a cinematic figure's life story, Satoshi Kon was given about six months to live after the diagnosis. He kept this news to only his wife and a couple of friends until the first death-scare of pneumonia. He explained this odd decision, amongst other ramblings, in a letter posted on his blog posthumously by his family, which has been translated to English by a fan. It's a touching read (and helps to remind me why I've come to think of all the things that could kill you in old age, Alzheimer's is a blessing in disguise, sort of?). Satoshi was able to elucidate what made him happy and scared at the same time - the good things life, and the letting go of them. I think I can relate.

There are so many people that I want to see at least once (well there are some I don't want to see too), but if I see them I'm afraid that that the thought that "I can never see this person again" will take me over, and that I wouldn't be able to greet death gracefully.
I loved the world I lived in. Just the fact that I can think that makes me happy.
Living a life that makes you love it - that's all you can hope for, methinks.

R.I.P. Satoshi.



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