Sunday, 5 August 2012

I saw a film today, oh boy.

Anyone that knows me can tell you that I love The Beatles. Always have, always will. Thought I'd quote a little Lennon/McCartney for this post, as I did indeed see a film, unfortunately it was actually yesterday, and one on Tuesday too, but I think you get the jist. Plus these are both from the New Zealand International Film Festival in Wellington, which is on for another week.
Album cover.

Tuesday's film was Persuading the Baby to Float at Te Papa's Soundings Theatre, huge thanks to the New Zealand Book Council for the tickets. Whilst in America, Norman Meehan began creating songs from poetry. Starting with E. E. Cummings as an assignment, he gained the stunning voice of Hannah Griffin to sing Cummings' words. The combination of the poems, Hannah's voice, and Meehan's amazing composing abilities, beautiful songs are magically created. Meehan then moved to using Bill Manhire's poetry as lyrics, and began creating songs of, and for, New Zealand, with Hannah providing the vocals once again. After Manhire got wind of what was happening, the project took off.
The latest CD to be released is Making Baby Float, which obviously is the main subject of this movie. Four performances have stuck with me, almost a week after seeing it. These were Making Baby Float, The Hawk, Kevin and Voices/Angels. Seriously, check out those two links. I just feel sorry for you that you won't hear Kevin or Voices/Angels, because those definitely played with my mind. Kevin was written for a friend of Manhire's that passed away (or was about his grief - can't quite remember). As I lost a friend a few years back, this song just make me choke up. Hannah's voice is just absolutely stunning, I'm in awe and envy of her! Voices/Angels was a special piece - instead of poems being put to music, Manhire wrote a poem to a piece of music Meehan had written a few years back. If the opportunity to see Hannah and Norman perform ever comes up, go. It really is one of the best New Zealand performances you will see.

Saucy much? I really wish
I had this edition now.
Earlier in this blog, when I started up my design scrapbook, I used Catcher in the Rye as an example of cover design, as it's easily one of my favourite books. That might be cliché, but my other favourite book ever is probably one you've never heard of, and that's the film I actually saw yesterday. Bonjour Tristesse was written by Françoise Sagan in 1954 at 19, after she failed her baccalauréat and I assume didn't know what else to do but write a novel. It was a complete success, and she spent the rest of her days writing, addicted to drugs, and hanging with Capote and Gardner. The French, so cool.
The film adaptation of Bonjour was made by Otto Preminger in 1959, and that's what I saw with my Dad yesterday. He gave me the book when I was 15, after I asked for something to read. The film's a great representation of the book, but I wouldn't call it the greatest adaptation. It alludes to many things that aren't in the book, and isn't completely faithful to Sagan. However, if you hadn't read the book, the film gives you a pretty good idea about the shape and story of the book, and if you have read it, everything makes sense and why Preminger chose to do things certain ways. Also the casting is truly perfect. Jean Seberg gives a stunning performance as the naive Cecile, while David Niven plays her playboy, adulterous father, and just for some famous people Deborah Kerr's in there too, as the mature but overbearing Anne. They're relationship is played up to a creepy almost incestual thing, while isn't how it is in the novel, which really annoyed me. But I really think this adaptation's worth a watch.
Love, love, love this image.
There are parallels to draw between Salinger and Sagan, something may critics pick up on. I often refer to Bonjour as a female version of Catcher - both characters are pretty annoying teenagers, that spend most of the book needing to grow up. Maybe that's why they're my two favourite books, I don't know. But if you haven't read Bonjour, please do, at least once in your life. It's worth it.

Unfortunately I'm not making it to any other film fest' screenings, a student's life for me indeed. And if you're still reading down here and haven't done so, check out the links up there, definitely worth it. More blogging to come, just as my life starts to become much, much more exciting.


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