Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Streets of Paris

I've been bitten by the travel bug and I'm being intoxicated by an intense wanderlust. I'm going on a trip to South America soon and all this planning is really making this travel itch worse! There are two things I do when this happens:

1) I look through old photos. 
The photos above are from my Paris trip in 2007. I just saw Woody Allen's film Midnight in Paris the other day and mon dieu it made me miss that city even more!

2) read travel books.
Not guidebooks but the literary novels - think Bruce Chatwin. I also love reading books about airplanes and airports. I've always been a bit of an aviation geek when I was little and used to obsess over plane models and things like that. The whole Airbus/Boeing rivalry intrigued me and I used to get excited over newly released models. You can imagine how freakishly excited I was when I stepped into my first A380. Just in case you're wondering, I'm more of a Boeing guy and I cannot wait to hop on the 787. Its release has been delayed so many times so the wait better be worth it. Right now, I'm reading Alain De Botton's A Week At The Airport. Quite good except it is strikingly similar to his other book the Art of Travel.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. I'll probably delve into my other albums and do a post from my Japan and Greece trips. 

Have a good week :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Three Reasons: Tampopo

Three Reasons are a series of posts about films I love and the three reasons why I love them. Inspired by the Criterion Collection's own video series. I hope you check out the films in these series. If you are a lover of film, these are not to be missed!

Directed by Juzo Itami
In this humorous paean to the joys of food, the main story is about trucker Goro who rides into town like a modern Shane to help Tampopo set up the perfect fast-food noodle restaurant. Woven into this main story are a number of smaller stories about the importance of food. (Synopsis from

Tampopo opens with a funny address to the audience warning us not to crumple our crisp packets while watching the movie. Food and film are meant to be given the concentration they deserve. A lovely message, they should play this clip at the beginning of every movie. I personally try not to indulge in food while watching a movie but a word of warning for this film: make sure you are within the vicinity of a ramen restaurant after seeing this. You will crave for it like nothing else. Trust me.

The majority of the film is spent in some kind of a restaurant and the scenes range from the hilariously comedic to being akin to a Western movie.

One of the final sequences is a taste test that rivals an episode of Masterchef in terms of suspense. 

What are your reasons?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Sweet Taste of Life

Abbas Kiarostami's film Taste of Cherry leaves us in a state of contemplation - not after the film's conclusion but during. Most movies show things happening and then we reflect upon the meaning of this later on. But here, Kiarostami neglects the 'happening' (the action, the story) and positions the entire film to make his audience think. He makes us think about life and death. Actually a more accurate word would be: appreciate. He makes us appreciate life and death.

Mr Badii (Homayon Ershadi) is looking for someone to bury him. He has decided to end his life. We are not provided with his motivations to do so but we need not look far for proof. We feel it from his face, a visage with no trace of cheerfulness. 

The beauty of the film is in its respectful pacing. Kiarostami leaves room for contemplation, silence and thought. If you have read my posts on films I love, their pacing are always the same. They take their time. Even though Taste of Cherry explores the meaning of life and death, it is minimalist in its approach. Many films that try to encompass such an immeasurable subject matter with a broad, sweeping method do little to serve it. I can only think of Terrence Malick as the only filmmaker who has succeeded to tackle the subject in this manner. 

The camera spends most of the duration time inside the car, switching back and forth from the driver's to the passenger's point of view. Like a therapist session, only with a more pleasant scenery outside the window. The colour palette is more or less the same. Warm, earthy and bursting with life, this is quite an achievement since the actual environment is desolate and the tone sober.  With a restraint in visual style, a controlled sense of place, few key characters and minimal dialogue, Kiarostami lets the story breathe. Precisely what this kind of film needs.

While planning to end his life his encounters with people are the most significant. When one reaches the point when unhappiness can be quantified and suicide can be dangerously justified it is the contact from ordinary people - their soul, heart, pulse - that can hopefully breathe life into those who feel they are already dead. The people he encounters offers him tea, asks if he's sick, or simply talk with him. Simple gestures and lines that may seem trivial and banal towards an ordinary man living a content life. But when the receiver of these gestures and remarks is as sensitive and vulnerable as a suicidal man, then these small humanly motions could potentially save a life. 

In one gloriously long, unbroken scene a taxidermist tries to discourage Mr Badii from doing the deed by telling him a story of how he too wanted to kill himself once but then decided not to. I do not want to spoil it here as it is one of the most mesmerising and moving scenes of all time. All I can say is, the taxidermist's story - in all its simplicity - simply shows the taste of life. 

And it is sweet.

Original image is a screenshot from the film and edited. Do not reuse without permission.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heart of the city

I thought I'd share with you the heart of Sydney - Hyde Park and Westfield Pitt St. I love my city.

I. Hyde Park and Cathedral
II. Prada store
III. Kikkoman at Japanese Restaurant
IV. The Westfield Pitt escalators
V. Miu Miu store
VI. Noodle Festival
VII. Pork Udon

All images are owned by me and cannot be reused without permission

University life

The HSC (final high school exams) for 2011 students started this week. I can't believe a year has already passed and that exactly a year ago I was one of those people who were having constant panic attacks about the HSC. For the record, I wasn't panicking about the actual exams like everyone else (admittedly, I was excited - don't judge) but instead worrying about the fact that I wasn't worrying enough about it. I lost all motivation during the HSC study holiday (spot the oxymoron!) and just wanted to get it over and done with. I didn't do as well as I expected but still managed to get into uni and into my first degree preference. 

Graduation excitement with Tami

That degree was Media and Journalism. You see, I've always wanted to be a writer (hence, le blog) and journalism seemed like the right career path. Additionally, the degree allowed the study of an arts minor which meant that I was able to do film studies. 

I was excited to start. I was finally going to study what I was truly passionate about. The only problem? I found out journalism is not really my passion at all. Studying film studies was worse because even though I had a love affair with cinema, studying the subject within an academic setting was definitely not what I had imagined. It made it seem like a chore and drained all the passion and the excitement right out of it. 

I've already applied for a transfer next year to do a Bachelor of Design because I did design subjects as electives this year and I ended up falling in love with it. The best thing about university is navigating through all these different paths and unexpectedly stumbling into a completely different path from the one you started on.

Now I know many will be starting university next year and here are a couple of tips from me:

1) Read all your syllabuses. Thoroughly. 

Many students get fail grades because they didn't read the assessment instructions properly or they were unaware of particular rules set within that particular course. Different faculties have different rules and rules may even differ between courses. You must know about the rules with things like required attendance, late submission penalties, and extension policies. 

2) Caffeine will be your sidekick.

If you are already a caffeine fiend, skip this one. If not, meet Caffeine. He will get you through all nighters, post-party morning lectures and late night readings. You will find him in two uni staples: coffees and Red Bulls. 

3) Purchase a university jumper

It may seem great never having to wear uniform anymore but you will have one of those days when you have absolutely nothing to wear. It's easier to just grab your jumper, put on some jeans and go.

4) Don't put all your tutorials in one day.

I did this and I regret it. Usually homework will be due on the day of your tutorial so scheduling them all in one day will mean a hectic day beforehand. 

5) Learn how to do academic referencing PROPERLY.

They're extremely particular about this and you can easily lose marks for things like misspelling an author's name right down to something petty like misplacing a comma. Reference as you go, this is not something to be done in the last minute.

6) Don't schedule a class on a Friday.

I don't know about other unis but in mine, parties usually happen on Thursday nights. So placing a 9am tutorial on a Friday may not be a good idea. Schedule classes in the afternoon if you have no other choice. Also, Fridays are quiet days at uni and it's usually almost empty.

Uni Party

7) Eat at Stock Market.

This is for those going to UNSW only. This place has the best salads. No joke.

8) Academic independence is a double-edged sword.

Most of your learning will happen outside the class. Learn how to figure things out yourself and use your resources wisely. It's different to high school in that no one is there to guide, pester or hold your hand. Classes are much larger and most of your lecturers won't even know who you are. Even though there are plenty of avenues to get help with your work, it's better to learn how to work things out yourself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Common As Dirt

Here I am again with the Marlon Brando/Stanley Kowalski obsession. I'm still kicking myself over missing the Sydney Theatre Company's production of A Streetcar Named Desire with Cate Blanchett as Blance DuBois. How can I miss such a thing! 

Anyway, I've got Gross und Klien to look forward to, starring my favourite pore-less actress. Cue excitement jitters. 

On a side note, I'm almost done with uni for the year. I just have to get cracking with this web design assignment and I'm done! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A package from Hogwarts

My satchel came in today in the most adorable packaging. It looked like something Hedwig would deliver. For a quick second I honestly thought I got accepted to Hogwarts even though they were a few years too late. But alas, still a Muggle. One can still dream.

It came just in time for me to use it for my uni lecture today. The satchel is big enough to carry my iPad and books and everything else I need. I can even fit my Macbook Pro in there. 

Have a good weekend everybody and if you go to UNSW, Oktoberfest is tonight! Can't wait. My beer belly needs feeding.

Images are owned by me and cannot be reused without permission.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Instagram: Film Memories #3

Instagram: Film Memories are a series of posts showcasing great films I saw during a certain time period. Includes a screenshot of the film taken via Instagram.

Me And You And Everyone We Know
Dir. Miranda July

Me You And Everyone We Know Film Screenshot Miranda July

Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom
Dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini

Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom Screenshot Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

Mysterious Skin
Dir. Gregg Araki

Mysterious Skin Screenshot film directed by gregg araki starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Exterminating Angel
Dir. Luis Bunuel
The Exterminating Angel Screenshot Film Directed by Luis Bunuel

Open Water
Dir. Chris Kentis

Open Water Screenshot Film Directed by Chris Kentis

One Day
Dir. Lone Scherfig

One Day Screenshot FIlm Directed by Lone Scherfig Starring Anne Hathaway

The Third Man
Dir. Carol Reed

The Third Man Screenshot Film Directed by Carol Reed

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On The Move - NY Fashion Week S/S 2012

Commentary on the Spring/Summer 2012 collections from New York Fashion Week

The models in Alexander Wang's Spring Summer 2012 show walk onto the runway with damp hair. They do not have the time or have any concern to fix it.

They're on the move.

This simple idea is what permeates most of the collections during New York Fashion Week.  There are thematic elements of velocity and movement. Starting with the prints: Alex Wang's motorcross references and symbolic gestures of arrows and directions recalling signs found in a highway.

To prints in Vera Wang that look like they are a blur and seem to invite you to look closer. Like seing a landscape from the window of a fast-moving vehicle.

In Joseph Altuzarra's show there are backpack strap details in dresses. We are on the move and we have a lot of baggage.

To contrast all this haste and speed, there are more tranquil references to movement as seen in the 3.1 Phillip Lim show. His fabrics are light and the edges flutter jovially even in the most slight of winds. There are dresses that looked like a handful of kite tails draped themselves over the body.

Images: AlexWang1, AlexWang2, PhillipLim1, PhillipLim2, VeraWang1+2, Altuzarra


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