Ibane’s ramblings

“The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off in the world as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc is bound to be noticed.” S. Kierkegaard

Archive for Film


Going through one of my messy drawers I found an old wallet that I used to have as teenager. In there I could find some old ski passes, old movie tickets and a note from my father. I had forgotten about these things, and being honest, I don’t remember why I decided to keep them in first place. I was not surprised about the ski passes and the movie tickets, since these two things I love to do, I smiled when I discovered that in the movie tickets that I had written down the title of the movie, the date and the people who I had gone with, anticipating that the time would erase the original printing in the ticket as it had hapenned, now you can’t read anything but my handwriting. Among the people were friends, people did not mean that much, family, friends that are not here any more,…it was a little journey through my memories in that Madrid that seems gone forever. However, among the things found in that wallet, what it really surprised me was the note from my father. He is not very emotional person, it can look even a cold person to the outsider’s eyes, but I always remember that in birthdays and special occasions he used to leave to me and my brothers a note with some quote or poem carefully chosen. This one that I kept is from Antonio Machado, it is not very known poem, or at least it was not known by me, and I don’t know why I decided to keep this one. The only explanation I can imagine is that it talks about dreaming…activity which I am very grateful because it has kept me floating in the absurd reality. I wonder why my father chose it. I will never ask, probably. Here it is anyway.

Yo voy soñando caminos
de la tarde. ¡Las colinas
doradas, los verdes pinos,
las polvorientas encinas!…
¿Adónde el camino irá?

Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

western spirituality

Last night I watched a documentary from Louis Theroux, a very funny British journalist, which always deals with extravagant topics in his documentaries with a lot of English humor. Last night it was about India and the westerns going there looking for spirituality, healing their souls or similar. When I was watching it I couldn’t help to have uncomfortable feeling that something was not right. Seeing all this western whitey people practicing some type of yoga with fancy linen clothes and few meters away there is some slum without the basics needed for having a decent human life.

We, westerns tend to think that we are really good people, in most of the cases, except maybe George W. Bush and the plastic surgeon of Nicole Kidman, and with our actions we do no harm and even we do good. But I wonder if all these people that are looking for something doing some fancy crazy shit in some remote location in the Third World would get back to their countries and demand something serious from their governments like stopping weapons trade, better distribution of wealth or similar instead of doing some bullshit yoga in some lost beach with some guru crazier than a coconut. I wonder what would happen.

Anyway, see you next post, I need to go to yoga.:)

Bottle shock…

I just watched “Bottle Shock” (2008) and it has been disappointing it. I remember to read the contreversy with the rights on the true story and all that. The journalist tried to frame the movie in some kind of “Sideways 2” flavoured it with some independent film maker shit.

The movie is just bad. Some scenes are embarrasing, and it is a shame that something so honourable like wine is involved in this movie. I almost felt to stop drinking…well…it was not that bad.

I am fixing it now with some episodes of “The Wire”, excellent tv show. Surprisingly, it is in the tv shows where creativity and quality seems to be right now.

Oh no…a new film of Pedro Almodovar is screening in my city…why?

Gran Torino (2009)

My previous post has been deleted due to a mixture of too impatient clicking and some problems with wordpress when about deleting drafts. However I think that everyone is following this post will be able to sleep with such a loss. My disappointment has been mitigated thanks to the very good movie “Gran Torino”.

I usually love Clint Eastwood films because his honesty, his mastering of the
times in his films, the excellent development of characters and his precision directing.
Many good things that nowadays it is very difficult to find in the films released
from Hollywood, especially.

In “Gran Torino”, Eastwood shows the complexity of relationships between different
cultures without sweeteners, and the long journey that some has to take to
understand their neighbors and ourselves. Clint Eastwood solves this issue without falling in an
easy and cheesy way out. There are some deficiencies in the film like some key roles are not performed by actors at the level required but this is easily forgiven and forgotten with the superb interpretation of Clint Eastwood. The script is solid and no holes, which lately in the film panorama having a decent script has become a luxury. In other words a good film as a good film should be done.

Probably Clint Eastwood is not very appreciated among the leftist intellectual
European elite because of his Republicanism militant, and I would probably
disagree in many issues with him, however if someone asks me how I would like
to get old, I definitely will reply “like Clint Eastwood…”.

Richmal Crompton and the pleasure of the things well done

My post today is about how nice and pleasant is to see that someone is taking time and effort to create something that deserves to use with care and pleasure. It was some years ago when happened to know that my favorite writer, Javier Marias (I might dedicate a post to him, let’s see), had decided to enter in the tough world of book publishers. So he set up a publishing company named Reino de Redonda, the name has a very literary origin but I let you to find out with some few googlings. The most remarkable difference about the books he was publishing was not only the content, which had very interesting and fascinating titles, it was also the care and good quality of the books. All of them are hardcover, the paper used has a better quality than usual, the font size make the life easier for your eyes and others details that makes you to really enjoy the book. I think that I would enjoy even if it were the instructions of my DVD player.

The first book I bought in this format was “The House” (“Dread Dwelling” in USA). I remember that days reading the book and not wanting to finish it, paging slowly in my favorite cafe, and I can’t avoid smiling. The story itself is very good and if you are  into ghost stories is a must to read this one. I think that having that excellent edition made me to like it more.

Laterna Magica

I really appreciate to Javier Marias to make this effort in these days where the fast, the superficial, the buy and throw culture that we are immerse is clearly dominant. Thanks.

Vicky Cristina (Wherever)

I watched this film because I still have the excellent memories of watching “Match Point”, which I consider a very good film with a marvelous soundtrack. “Vicky Christina Barcelona” is not close to my favorite one, actually it is pretty far, though I think that it is ok film thanks to the performances of Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall, who I think that plays perfectly the role of well-educated repressed American girl.

Probably the thing that I dislike most from the film is the way that Woody Allen make us to attend to a tourist bus-tour for Americans in order to please Catalan Government and Barcelona city. I understand that Barcelona needs some promotion since it is selling paellas to Americans one of the main incomes but I truly think that there is another channels for that. Using a film ends up being very gross and I felt like not coming back to Barcelona ever. Woody Allen did the same in “Match Point” and London but it was much more smoother and the story had enough strength to keep location away, this time it seemed the other way around, first location, second story. It seemed that the deal was Woody Allen needed to spend some working-holidays in Barcelona, Catalan politicians see an opportunity to promote the city and voila here we go. I guess that Woody Allen could start a saga with different cities “Vicky Christina Bangok, Sydney, Lima…”, sell t-shirts, mugs and so on. Woody, I am joking, please don’t. As always, politics and art don’t get along very well.

In any case, the film can be watched with no much pain. There are funny moments and hilarious dialogs between Pe and Javier Bardem, however the story lacks of credibility and some solid background where to hold it. Scarlett was unnoticable for me, and that means something.

Anyway, I will go to see next Woody Allen movie hoping that this he has not been enchanted by any politician and he is been able to focus on what he really knows to make, just films.vickychristina

Cultural mediocrity

I don’t know if I am quite alone in my thought that nowadays the mediocrity in the art arena is the majority. I am reviewing the films, books, music,…that lately I have been trying to enjoy with no success in most of the cases. And it is really difficult for me to think about a director today that could be compared to Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks,…just to mention few. For instance, the marketing machine of Hollywood tried to sell M. Night Shyamalan as the new Hitchcock thanks to the movie “Sixth Sense”, which it is an ok movie. However his last work, “The happening” is so poor that there is nothing to rescue.

Same in the literature, thinking about some writer that could be compared to the great names like  James, Dostoevsky, Stendhal or being just remarkable enough that he/she is not forgotten in the next Christmas time is almost impossible.

In the music we are celebrating that bands like the unbearable Led Zeppelin are getting back. It is really an archeological mission to find any fresh or something new in the music scene. Everything sounds like being heard before. It is really boring.

I read from a Spanish philosopher that it is really depressing to attend to the decay of a brilliant period. It feels so right that statement.

The Dark Night or The Shinning Joker

I watched the film with some reservations, I had heard too many times how good was and bla bla, so I was careful with my emotions. The film does not feel long despite of being more than 2 hours long. I don’t really understand why Hollywood keeps increasing the length of the films. It is getting challenging to deal with the film after drinking 2.5 liters of coke from your mega enormo combo, since apparently it is not possible to get smaller. Anyway, I am sure that some brain is thinking there. In my humble opinion you can tell a good story in 1 hour and half of the next. Many proved in the past like Hitchcock, that it is really ok to have a good film around 90 minutes.

The story is well built and consistent. Nolan provides us a dark Batman and throw us the question how far we should go in order to defend us from the evil. Old question with difficult answer. Also he tries to dig in the human nature with the scene of the two boats. One boat loaded with criminals and the other loaded with good citizens. I found that part a bit unnecessary and the Nolan’s way out is a bit naive. Actors performance is really above the average, I would like to mention Gary Oldman, who I had forgotten lately in any remarkable role, Aaron Eckhart as District Attorney is convincing, the always reliable Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.

Obviously i have to mention apart, Heather Ledger, who is just the real star of the film in my opinion. Nolan’s Joker shows intelligence, a dark sense of humor and no mercy. Those who know me will know what I am saying that Joker is very macarra. The comparison with Jack Nicholson’s Joker is maybe not fair, he was brilliant also, maybe too histrionic as Jack is, so this last one I liked most.

I recommend the movie for those who want to have a good time and enjoy the adventures of the black Knight. Nolan’s attempts to give a deeper vision to a film might be a bit annoying some ,times however I personally appreciate this touch.

Boring Caos Calmo

I had the misfortune to watch the Italian film “Caos Calmo”. I was encouraged by the good reviews that some brainy film critics gave to the film. I wonder if it would not be better that some critics said in the headline which studio is paying their salaries (at least, the ones from my dear Spain, they did the same thing with the last Indiana Jones, I have read in some prestigious Spanish newspaper, the best Indiana ever!?). Otherwise I can not understand how some one can claim that this film is the one that will bring the re-birth of Italian films. If this is the re-birth, I foresee a not very long life to the Italian film industry.

Despite of having one of the best assets, Nanni Moretti, here only his contribution is as an actor, the film has no sense from the beginning. The acting is depressing, the little girl is annoying, the conversations are absurd, even the soundtrack, though having good songs, does not match at all with the pace of the film. Even the sex scene, which obviously has had the expected outrageous reaction of the Vatican (the best marketing campaign you can have as a intellectual European leftist film maker, some comments from Vatican), is pathetic and for that, I really prefer to watch the professionals. I am not sure yet if Roman Polanski’s appearance is irrelevant or boring. After suffering every single minute of the 105 that this torture lasts I was wondering if I could say something good about this film. Not really.

So if you have some one or some annoying relative that you want to get rid of please recommend them this film. It will take a while until they forgive you and speak to you back.