Posted in Hardik's Newest Posts, Homepage

Did You See Capote?

CINÉMONDAYS WITH HARDIK

Capote

Dir. Bennett Miller

Screenplay: Dan Futterman, from the book by Gerald Clarke

Bennett Miller’s Capote uncovers how the titular author Truman Capote came about writing his masterpiece In Cold Blood and how his moral collapses in the process.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays the titular bold and flamboyant media darling, Truman Capote. His remarkable ability to lose himself in the skin and manners of Capote creates for a celebrity-portrait that’s at once arresting and at another charmingly humane. Hoffman becomes Capote. (He even took home the Oscar for it!)

Dan’s powerful screenplay presents Capote and his disposition as it unfolds; it wins for it chooses not to take a side, keeping the stand eerily ambiguous.

In the movie, as in real life, Capote forms a strong relationship with one of the two killers (Perry Smith, played by Clifton Collins Jr.) whom he researches on for his novel In Cold Blood. Capote finds it affecting that Smith, too, had experienced a bad childhood and that he could have been saved like Capote, had he “went out the front door.” The moral aspect in Capote’s undoing comes in where Capote’s sympathies shift to the killer of four, Perry Smith, and where he knows that he’ll have to betray their established trust in order to come to an ending for the creative nonfictional novel––Smith and his killer friend’s execution.

He wants for Perry what the movie wants for Capote: “If I leave here without understanding you, the world will see you as a monster. I don’t want that.”

The film, of course, chooses to let the viewers understand Capote for themselves. Did you see Capote?

~ Hardik Yadav

Additional Reads: ‘In Cold Blood,’ Truman Capote’s Achievement and UndoingThe Story Behind a Nonfiction Novel.

 

 

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Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

Assassination Classroom: How to Make Homework Fun and Make Your Students Love You (Yet Still Want to Kill You)

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #2

Homework sucks. It’s mandatory and at times can be an abuse of power that weeds out the weak, instead of helping a student to learn, grow and improve themselves. I think the only homework I ever really enjoyed in my whole school career was vocabulary, readings, and poetry, but as for mathematics, science and sometimes history, I was at a loss. Looking back at my high school days I can remember most of the teachers I had and for what subjects, but as the time goes by their faces fade and their names slowly start to disassemble. Although, there was one teacher I still remember clearly, am actually very fond of and admire even to this day. Her name is Ms. Roach and she was my favorite teacher in high school. I was in one of her advanced English classes and whenever I would go to her class I would enter a room that had more to offer than chalk notes on a blackboard. Ms. Roach saw potential in me and she pushed me to do more than pass. With her help, I excelled and with her support and encouragement, I participated in poetry and oratory contests in which I won awards and even money. I couldn’t believe that I had it within me to be successful. I was so focused on comparing myself to my smart cousins and straight-A classmates that I didn’t realize that I had talent and the capacity to achieve things. Koro-sensei is Ms. Roach.

Assassination Classroom is a manga (Japanese comic) written by Yusei Matsui that is a comedic and heartwarming story about the journey and growth of a relationship between underdog, misfit students of class 3-E and a teacher with a big heart, while also being about a story about a yellow, tentacled alien monster set out on destroying the earth as junior high school students train to be assassins, in hopes of killing this threat to the continuation of mankind and all its creatures. Pretty wild, huh? Although a lot goes on within this story, what I want to focus on is Koro-sensei’s relationship with his students because that is the true gem and mastery of Yusei Matsui’s storytelling. As far as the art goes, Matsui is pretty hilarious when it comes to drawing facial expressions on his characters– imagine eyes bulged out and mouths stretched out beyond their natural limits, very cartoon-like and it’s always a joy for me to see the next cover of each volume (Koro-sensei changes color depending on his mood, he’s an octopus mood ring of sorts). But what truly fascinates me about this manga is its approach to teaching and forming healthy, supportive relationships with students as a teacher.

I’ve met Matsui-sensei at a meet and greet in a Barnes and Noble and the man is so adorable and quiet. You’d never guess that he was as wise and knowledgeable about the positive and effective teaching techniques of young teenaged students. Maybe he was a teacher at some point in his life before he became a mangaka (comic artist) and writer? The lengths that Koro-sensei goes for his students is at times impossible but mostly idealistic and inspiring. He’s able to move and talk so quickly that he’s able to attend to every single student simultaneously. He focuses on the students’ strengths so they can go even further, as well as gain confidence, and tends carefully to their weaknesses so they may improve. He takes the students on trips for recreation so they may bond and form a healthy camaraderie with one another and maintain a social life which he knows is important. His criticisms are consistently constructive and he compliments it with small praises. He’s kind of the perfect teacher that we all aspire to be for our students, friends, siblings, and ourselves. Even though it is impossible to do the physical feats that Koro-sensei does and not to mention, he’s planning on destroying the earth and all its inhabitants, I think it’s important for us to learn from Matsui-sensei’s fictional character and maybe gain a knowledge that will last us a lifetime in reality.

If you’re looking for something that has both “the feels” and good laughs, as well as a yellow tentacle teacher that wants to destroy the earth but also wants his students to pass, this is a comic you definitely got to pick up.

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier

Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts

Dream a Little Dream

Whimsical Wednesdays with Arlinda

 

Langston Hughes- Dreams

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

Dreams are important; they allow us to enter a world where anything and everything becomes a possibility. Dreams are capable of lifting you into a world filled with unpredictability and new ideas. In Langston Hughes poem “Dreams”, the speaker states that without dreams “life is a broken-winged bird / that cannot fly”. Within dreams, our imaginations fly into different worlds and different concepts; our dreams have the capability of exciting us, inspiring us, and enticing us to broaden the scope of our goals.

The endless possibilities contained in dreams remind me of Emily Brontë’s poem “I’m Happiest When Most Away”. I perceive her poem as a description of a dream-like state, and as I sit here sleep deprived, I can understand the happiness the speaker of the poem describes when stating, “I’m happiest when most away / I can bear my soul from its home of clay / on a windy night when the moon is bright / and the eye can wander through worlds of light”. Dreams are a form of freedom for the mind; they allow us to explore our imagination and escape the pressure’s of reality. The speaker of the poem continues to state, “when I am not and none beside— / but only spirit wandering wide / through infinite immensity”. In these lines, the word “immensity” seems to stand out most to me, possibly because of the use of alliteration in “infinite immensity”, or perhaps because of the realization it evokes. Dreams are immense; yes, dreams contain the capability of inspiring and exciting us, but they also contain the ability of terrifying dreamers with endless possibilities that may seem frightening at times. It is within the immensity of dreams that fear can become born; personally, I like to focus on the parts of my dreams that make me happy and motivate me towards a brighter future, rather than allowing the immeasurable nature of dreams scare me into self-doubt.

So while your dreaming, enjoy the experiences created by the freedom of imagination within your dreams. Do not fear the immensity of your dreams, instead focus on the possibilities that have been awakened by your subconscious.

 

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Posted in Hardik's Newest Posts

Konkana and her Shutu

CINÉMONDAYS WITH HARDIK

A Death in the Gunj

Dir. Konkana Sen Sharma

(Indian)

Winter of 1978, Shutu comes to McCluskieganj with his relatives and family friends. Their house in McCluskieganj stands somewhere in the middle of nowhere. One night after a bit of drinking, all youngsters, Shutu’s cousins play a prank on him. A séance ensues. His reticent nature is tested. The cousins do not stop––they are having a careless fun. As is promised in the title, someone dies.

A Death in the Gunj marks Bollywood actress Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial and writing (along with Disha Rindani) debut, and how! (Brava!) The details, the personality, the engagement… only towards the conclusion it occurred to me, “someone dies.” Whistles for that.

Shutu, whom we recognize as living in us, has stayed with Konkana all her life. She has heard the story from her parents over and over again. A Death in the Gunj is based on that story, that story which is inspired by true events: Konkana’s parents were once vacationing with the one-and-a-half-year-old her and their friends in McCluskieganj. They all were staying at Mukul’s (Konkana’s father) house. Mukul friends were pranksters. One friend Chris Tripthorpe, however, was an introvert and hence everyone’s target. One night the friends pulled a prank on him, in way of séance. “Who’s going to die first?” one asked the spirits, Mukul moved the planchette. When the question came to the end of the table, dictating Tripthorpe’s fate, Mukul remained mum. Tripthorpe was scared, so, he ran away to his assigned bedroom. Their vacation concludes in the death from the title. Shutu is Tripthorpe. Konkana choses to make Tripthorpe her protagonist. From the story that she has heard over and over again, Tripthorpe stays with her.

Shutu stays with me.

~ Hardik Yadav

 

 

 

Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

Summer Wind: Breaking Up with Summer

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #1

Like painted kites, those days and nights, they went flyin’ by

I was originally going to return to my weekly blog (which has moved from Wednesday to Friday) by writing about volume 1 of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, which my friend kindly lent to me but, alas, I did not have time to finish it so I had to think of an alternate song or comic to write about. As I was trying to come up with an idea, I decided to scroll through my Spotify playlists (still dreading for my three-month 99 cents subscription to end) and came across a nostalgic song on a playlist I made entitled, Scream. It was Frank Sinatra’s lamentation of a summer gone by and I thought ‘what’s more timely than a song about the end of a vacation’ or, for those who worked or went to school, the end of nice breezy, humid weather that I’d personally have over biting, finger and toe numbing winter.

The first time I heard this song was in one of my all-time favorite films, Matchstick Men*(with one of my all-time favorite performers, Nicolas Cage). I mistakenly remembered it playing as the opening sequence song for the movie and the fake reel of a car window perspective as it drove by 50s style homes came to mind. But even though that whole memory wasn’t real, I think it’s important, well at least for me, because it’s what I like to associate with summer. Long car rides with the window rolled down and looking out at suburbia or the highway or the city. These are the things that I feel when I hear Sinatra sing about his romance with what some might interpret as (and really it probably is) a woman, but I think it’s his romance with summer. She comes seasonally for a couple months every year for a fling full of sun, romance, and happiness, but then the wind calls for her to leave again, And guess who sighs his lullabies through nights that never end/My fickle friend, the summer wind

Our relationships with summer are all different. Some people may think ‘is it fall yet?” and others might think ‘I’m ready for those beautiful flowers to bloom so my horrible boss can get allergies’ and some people may just think ‘I really don’t like to sweat’. Next Friday is the first day of fall, but for me, it’s the day that I break-up with summer. Our long, heated, three-month love affair must come to an end and like Sinatra sings about the coming autumn and winter winds: And still the days, those lonely days, they go on and on

*The featured image is from the 2003 Ridley Scott (director of Bladerunner and Alien) film, Matchstick Men. I thought it was appropriate because it looks like a snapshot of a break-up scene. Summer is the pretty, young girl and I’m Nicolas Cage, the sad, middle-aged man whose heart is about to be broken. This scene is totally taken out of context though, so bear that in mind.

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier