Weekly Digest | Cannibalism, Lolitas, and too much ProseccoLifestyle
It’s been quite a crazy week, dear reader. I’ve finished a new video, discovered a new instrument, been up to London and have become obsessed with watching every Lolita-leaning film and book in existence. So brace yourself, it’s time for the Weekly Digest.
What I’m reading
The Lover by Marguerite Duras
The Lover by Marguerite Duras is a semi-autobiographical novel about the life of a fourteen (and a half) year old French girl in Saigon. It explores the taboo relationship that develops between the girl, and her wealthy Chinese lover. When I was a teenager, I had watched the movie adaptation of the novel L’amant, that was a bit of a guilty pleasure. Beautiful cinematography, poetic sentiment, and an a-typical relationship all tempted me to take the plunge and get myself a copy.
During my last year of university, I did a project on what I like to call The Lolita Complex in the context of film. What are the aesthetic trappings of a Lolita? Can she be any pubescent female in a film, or does she have a particular personality? Mathilda from Leon: The Professional, Lolita in Lolita, Tracey from Manhatten– these are classic Lolitas. What makes them so is the fact they aren’t people. They’re creatures– beautiful, mysterious, forbidden, and other. They belong to the protagonist, not themselves. Lolitas go through very little emotional development, and if they do– it’s to transform the protagonist, for example– to make them realise their mistakes or shortcomings.
The Lover does not fall into this category. The story is told from Duras’ own existential, not to mention bleak perspective. She lives in poverty with her mother and two brothers, in a house that regularly floods and a pantry that’s never stocked. In the house lives her abusive older brother– a thief that steals his mothers’ money to buy drink and cigarettes. Despite all of this mistreatment, her mother loves her firstborn more than them. To distract and empower herself perhaps, the young girl involves herself sexually with a much older man. It’s his heart she breaks, and it’s her that uses him in the story. This is interesting considering the younger character is usually cast as naive victim, and older character as predator. Other films such as Hard Candy also subvert The Lolita Complex. I particularly recommend that one! We’ll see how I feel about The Lover when I finish reading it!
What I’ve seen
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
It’s all about being naughty this week it seems! This time with the absolute babe that is Helen Mirren in Peter Greenaway’s gorgeous and genius film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. I was introduced to this masterpiece through a dear friend’s dear friends. They are quite the fascinating couple. So many interests, and so much leather. Perhaps that’s what drew them in as the costume designer was no other than Jean Paul Gaultier. It’s sumptuous, sordid, moving, and crude. I now must beseech anyone who knows Michael Gambon only as Dumbledore from Harry Potter to put this at the top of their Need 2 C film list. Do it. You won’t be disappointed. Ps, this is the film that features cannibalism.
What I’ve heard
Take Five | The Duo Gitarinet
In case I haven’t mentioned this yet, I am going through a bit of a phase right now. I am starstruck over the clarinet. I want to learn it, and one day play as good as this guy, Nikola Djurica. I recently discovered them through my binge-watching of clarinet solo videos on Youtube, and this cover of Take Five stood out a mile. So playful, I love his facial expressions and dynamic way of playing! I have been speaking to a tutor for an induction into clarinet set for the 10th January, so here’s goes nothing.
Where I’ve been
Film and Furniture’s Launch Party, London
Guess who went up to London on a Wednesday and had an absolutely awesome time?! That would be me. It– it was great. And painful. I still remember the throbbing headache I had the morning after, suffering in silence at my work desk in Bristol. Jesus, I don’t think I ever saw the bottom of my glass of Prosecco the entire night. The company though was wonderful, getting quite tipsy with impressive creatives working in London isn’t my usual bag, and I dare say there wasn’t an awkward pause all night! Maybe I should involve Prosecco in every work-related endeavour.. In the new year. I don’t even want to smell the stuff for at least a month.
What I’ve Made
Film and Furniture is a online resource dedicated to providing an ever-growing collection of lighting and furniture spotted in their readers’ favourite films. I got to know Paula Benson, Founder of FandF from doing a guest feature sometime before. Having seen this project I did earlier this year, Paula sent me a message asking if I’d be interested in making a similar video for her. How could I say no?! It was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with her on the script and video content, and the final result was exactly what we had in mind. Shout out to Louis Durrant over at Carrot Cake Studios for the great voiceover work!