Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cannes Film Festival

It is that time of year again...

Yes, it is the time of year for graduations, proms, and the start of summer activities...but it is also Cannes Film Festival time.

Le Festival du Cannes is the most renowned and prestigious film festival in the world, taking place in Cannes, France in late May over the course of 12 days, where new films of all genres, from all over the world are shown.

2012 marks the 65th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, as well as the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe, therefore the official poster of the festival features the iconic actress.

This year is one year in particular that I wish I could attend the festival and preview a multitude of some of this year's highly anticipated movies.

The festival opened on May 16 with the premiere of one my favorite director's new movie, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, to positive reviews.

A few other features include On the Road, directed by Walter Salles and based on the famous Jack Kerouac novel:

as well as The Paperboy, Mud, Killing Them Softly, and Lawless, featuring actors such as Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Chastain, John Cusack, and Matthew McConaughey. 

Notable films from other countries include Amour, Rust and Bone, Cosmopolis, and Paradise: Love.

Many other full-length films, short films and documentaries will also be shown at the festival. 

Other notable parts of the festival are The Cannes Classics: "showcasing restored prints of classic films and masterpieces of film history", and the largest film market in the world where more than 11,000 participants and around 4,000 films and projects will be presented this year.

Other events include masterclasses, exhibitions, non-competitive screenings highlighting films from different countries and that are "cutting edge", and tributes. Overall, it is 12 days where actors, directors, writers, producers, and movie-lovers in general can come together to celebrate films new and old (while Marilyn looks over everyone this year).

But my love for films and France is not the only reason the Cannes Film Festival is significant to me...

Me and Olivia (incredible girl)

Yup. That's me. Standing in front of the red carpet for the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

When I participated in a study abroad program in Nice, France two years ago, my very first weekend there our group of students took the short 45-minute train ride to Cannes to see all of the festivities.

We obviously did not have or could afford tickets to any screenings, and we knew our chances of getting to see any actual stars was slim, but we wanted to go and see the theater and simply spend time in the beautiful city that plays host to the monumental film festival.

A few hours later, you could not get anywhere near the theater as crowds gathered trying to catch a glimpse of this gal:

But Cannes offered many other beautiful sights other than just the celebrities.

While I would love to be able to go back and actually attend the festival, Cannes is a beautiful place to visit any time of year.

Keep your eye out for the movies that were featured at the festival, and if you ever get the opportunity to attend this, or any film festival, or visit the South of France at any time, take it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 15, 2012

Have you heard about the A Day Project?

It's a global project, conducted by the Swedish Foundation Expressions of Humankind, that seeks to collect photos that people have taken on May 15, 2012 "to develop a comprehensive look at how people work, live and interact."

Photos taken on that day can be uploaded to the website for the project until May 22. Some photos may also be selected to be part of an exhibition or published in a book.

The Mercury has also asked that people's photos be sent to them to create a special Pinterest board...a local version of the project.

Therefore, I thought I would share some of the pictures I took onMay 15...a small look at how I work, live, and play.

My window at work:

Coming home to a sun setting behind the trees:


Coming home to this goofball who is so happy to "hold hands" she nearly falls asleep:


What a long and tiring day!:


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Music Monday: Once (Motion Picture Soundtrack)

I realize that it is in fact Tuesday, and not Monday. Just go with it.

I know I'm a bit behind the times with this, but over the weekend I finally watched the superb indie flick Once.

If you have never seen it, do so immediately. Then read about the filming process and the backgrounds of the two main characters and prepare to be even more amazed. Then buy the soundtrack. And then go see the Broadway show version that was recently nominated for 11 Tony awards (and take me with you!).

The soundtrack consists of all of the songs that are featured in the film, all written and composed by the two stars and real-life musicians of the movie, Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova.

The song "Falling Slowly" won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for the 2008 Grammy award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture.

The soundtrack itself was also nominated for the 2008 Grammy award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture (I told you I was a little behind).

The songs are both beautiful and raw, combining Glen Hansard's powerful voice and guitar playing, and Marketa Iglova's soft vocals and extraordinary piano melodies.

The duo have also collaborated and recorded songs together under the name The Swell Season. Glen Hansard was also the lead vocalist for the band The Frames, has contributed on many collaboration albums, and is releasing a solo album next month; while Marketa Iglova recently released her own solo album. Together or on their own, these two create some magnificent music, although I don't think anything will be able to surpass their collaboration on this soundtrack.

Spoiler alert! If you don't feel like waiting, here is what is in store for next week: Animal Kingdom. Love.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day (Part 2)

Today is a day to celebrate mothers, all mothers. 

That means if you have children of your own, or are a grandmother, godmother, or any kind of mother-figure to someone, this is a day to recognize the sacrifices you have made, the guidance you have given, the laughs you have shared, and the love you have bestowed. 

It is a day to celebrate all women: the mothers of the past, present, and future.

Today (every day really, but today especially) is a day I remember my grandmother, my mom's mom, and all that she taught me about what it means to be a good, hard-working, and loving person; it is a day that I try to show my mom how grateful I am to her for always putting me and my brothers before everything else; it is a day that I look forward to celebrating with children of my own as I try to live up to the incredible example of mothers that my family has set.

My Grandmother, My Mom, and I, all at the same age...heredity truly is astounding.

I hope appearance is not the only thing that gets passed down from mother to daughter; I hope that their mothering ability gets passed down because I honestly could not ask for two better examples of moms.

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother's Day - Part 1

I could write hundreds of blog posts on how wonderful my mom is. On how inspirational she is. On how much she means to me.

But when The Mercury sent out a request for readers’ favorite photos of their mothers, there was one particular photo that came to my mind that depicts one of the reasons my mom means so much to me:

I know... it's hard to tell we're related

*Side Note: My mom does not like this photo because she thinks she looks "too rained on". Personally, I don't see it. It wasn't even raining.*

Why is this my favorite photo of my mom?

Because, for me, this moment, my college graduation, my greatest accomplishment so far, never would have happened without her.

As I have hinted at in the past, school was always challenging for me in the sense that I tried to seek perfection and was very hard on myself when I could not achieve it (although no one really can). 

But my mom kept me grounded. She never let me be overcome with self-pity. If I called her in tears because I was positive I had just failed a chemistry exam, she would tell me to simply put it behind me, that it wasn’t the end of the world. She always kept me focused on the big picture.

And she was always right, as moms almost always are (However, Mom, I reserve the right to deny ever making that statement).

She was a mom, doing what moms do best… saying what I needed to hear as opposed to what I wanted to hear.

And it is for that reason alone that I managed to graduate college, accomplishing all that I did. Because my mom was there for me with a never-ending supply of encouragement, support, and patience, without ever letting me feel sorry for myself.

I should also mention that she had to be a mom to TWO overachieving college students simultaneously. Meaning, my neurotic phone calls were often succeeded by similar phone calls from my twin brother.

She truly is a saint.

So this photo is my genuine “Hey Mom, look, I never could have done it without you” moment.

When she reads this, her reaction will most likely be: “Oh, don’t be ridiculous, I didn’t do anything.”, because Moms are also notoriously modest about their mothering duties, but it’s what should and needs to be said.

And what needs to be said is a whole-hearted Thank You to the greatest mom a girl could ask for.

And as another primary Mom example of doing what one should do rather than what one may want to do, my mom and I will be spending Mother’s Day by participating in The Mercury’s Community Cleanup at Granshahawny Park in Douglassville from 8 to 10 a.m.

Bring out your “inner mom” this Mother’s Day. Do what should be done (including getting up early on Mother’s Day to give back) and say what should be said. Say thank you to the person in your life who is always there to support you.

Thanks Mom!!!