Trailer: Life after Omad

Hey there! Hello again :)

After One Movie a Day, Amélie and I are back for more movies. And a bigger challenge! 

The thing is, I cannot stop talking and writing about movies. It is a part of my experience with films since I started my research during the master degree. And the English bit is a way to improve my studies on the language. So, asking for your patience and persistence, I invite you to a new trip with Amélie.

So, to add a bit of a thrill, I present a new challenge - after all, what is life if not a roll of sequential daring alternatives to our daily life? This time, I challenged myself to complete the list on 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I hope I'll get there - I'm guessing it will take me about 7 years to achieve it. I've already seen something like 302 movies on the list... So, with 698 films still to go, we'll spend tons of moments together.

What do you think? Challenge accepted?

In between, I'll talk about the fictions that has been a part of my life. On the fashion of my first blog, As Viagens de Amélie, the subject of these "trailers" and "intermissions" will be not just movies, but all the fictional narratives that are a part of my life. Ok, the emphasis will fall always over films and cinema, but books, songs, TV shows are equally an important part of this new (old) blog. Amélie's Journey is the renewed English version of As Viagens de Amélie, and I hope you enjoy it.

After the happiest screening at the end of Omad, things got in fact a little slower on the movie scene. A new semester at the university is on, I'm back after being away for one year. I'm still adapting, so I was not on the movie theater for a while. But even so, I got to see some of the biggest releases on this month.

The first was Allegiant (Directed by Robert Schwentke, 2016) the new installment on the Divergent series. It is a big argument against the Veronica Roth's books that the story here (and since the last movie ending) is so different from the original. The script changed everything, created in fact a whole new world and pumped up the technological and futuristic aspects in the Roth's Divergent universe. So, nothing makes sense anymore, and that's why this movie sucks big time. Ok, my 12 years old niece and I did enjoy it, the moving chairs added some movement (that's a brilliant sentence, I'm aware :) to the nonsense, but it was really bad. At the last scene, she looked astounded at me and said: seriously? There will be another one of that nonsense? And she is only 12. 

However, I must add that probably I'll be there again, for the fourth nonsensical movie for sure. 

The news are not all bad though. There's some good stuff ahead :)

Joe would tell me that Omad lacked good horror productions. So, after the last showing, we decided to head to the movies to watch the celebrated and already cult The Witch (Directed by Robert Eggers, 2015) There's a lot of fuss around this unusual horror movie. Some say that the fans of the old good terror finally got a film worthy of their time. 

I don't remember watching a movie with Joe on the theater before. We were at the same place once, during a screening, but not together. So, it was a double nice experience, because Joe and horror movies are a great blend :)

We were so amazed by the cinematography, so scared on the last 15 minutes, so happy about the whole experience that I could even confront all the scary moments  after leaving the theater and being at home alone in a good mood. I was pretty scared actually. Because, despite the more supernatural elements in this movie, the fear here is very real, unfortunately.

The psychological elements are very symbolic of how terrifying and hideous can be the environment of a girl's while growing up, beginning for the place where she should feel more safe, her home. I don't want to spoil the many good debates here, but I would never imagine that I'd see a feminist and so relevant horror movie when I entered the auditorium. A good, beautiful, very well constructed surprise, even if scaring as hell.

The last movie in this month was, of course, Batman vs Superman (Directed by Zack Snyder, 2016) I've read Superman Batman: Public Enemies years ago and liked it very much. I was not anxious about seeing this movie, though. Curious, yes. Expecting a lot? No. For a start, I really loathe Ben Affleck (sorry) and his rat face. Of course I had some expectations, but they were not high. Maybe I wouldn't even have to say that I enjoyed the movie a lot. It is a careful and detailed prologue to the rest of the series. Many and erratic elements are brought together as an introduction to the next instalments. It is long, yes, a bit boring some times, but it is a production worthy of the story and its characters. And the action is pretty great, Wonder Woman takes the screen all to herself at the end, and even Affleck is not completely distasteful as Batman. Jeremy Irons as Alfred is a joy, Amy Adams is always a good sight, and Henry Cavill is the perfect Clark. A win win after all.

Breakfast at Tiffany's? Nope. Breakfast at the movies :)

It was Easter Sunday, and I had my breakfast in a morning showing the way I like it: on the front row, in front of the gigantic screen, surrounded by nothing but a powerful sound system and not one soul near me. Foot resting on the railing, a tall coffee on my hand, an egg muffin, Zack Snyder in a great form and that was it. An fun nice time.

Later on that day, I saw again two beloved movies at home with Fla: Begin Again (that made a double cameo on Omad) and Once, both by the amazing Irish indie director John Carney. The plan was to see only the first one, but when I showed Fla the first scenes of Once, she wasn't able to stop seeing in. And neither was I, even if I had to get things ready for the next day at school. Both movies are lovely, so honest, melancholic, real. Those are true people for me, and this feeling is what lead me to Carney's stories. I haven't seen Once for a while, and it was great watching it again.

I remember when I first went to the movies to see Once. I had great expectations about the movie, had cheered profusely when Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard (this last one I dislike a bit, to be true) got the Oscar for best song. So, one Sunday, doing extra hours on work, I left an overwhelming amount of work behind to go to the movies. Everything went wrong then, the power in the auditory was off, I had to go back to work... But soon after I could enjoy all the subtle and gentle beauty of this story, filmed through 2 hand cams and a scarce amount of money without shooting permission in the beautiful Dublin.

Music is a big part of those two movies, and the two soundtracks are favorites of mine. They were a big part of my days and recollections about life during some time. 

After this nice experience, I convinced Fla (who didn't need much convincing, to be honest) to complete the John Carney's "trilogy" with On the Edge (another Omad movie) on another day. It is another beautiful and endearing movie by this great storyteller that is Carney.

On TV, the news are The Bridge (2013-2014), the US version of the Swedish series. It is on Netflix, so its easier to reach then the original series. I've seen only two episodes, but it is enough to realize how good it is. I have a big admiration for Asperger characters, and Diane Kruger is brilliant as Sonya Cross. Demián Bichir is an amazing counterpart to the American detective. I was planing to see the Swedish show first (I love Nordic productions), but I'm not sure I'll be able to wait. This show is really great. 

At last, let's talk books. I was uncertain in commenting about what I've been reading these days. But I reminded myself the commitment to be absolutely honest from the start, on the first post in Os Degraus de Amélie, the beginning of my adventures as a blogger. Its purpose was presenting commentaries about fictional stories by writing one of my own. At that occasion, the first comment was a heartbreaking telling of why Amélie Poulain is so important in my life, how it made a big impact on me since the first time I've saw it in a movie theater. So, I decided to tell you my last adventures on books. After all, fiction is a very personal business to me.

I don't believe in guilty pleasures. In Begin Again Keira Knightley refers to it when she tells Mark Ruffalo how her ipod is full of "guilty pleasures". Well, there's no such thing as a high culture for me - this way, there's nothing to be ashamed of regarding your cultural affinities. I suggest you go find any other place to feel guilty (I don't recommend this feeling at all, though). Of course, I enjoy a brilliant writing to tears (as it happened recently with Franny and Zoe, by J. D. Salinger - the dialogues are so clever, it's sheer joy). I'm not picky, actually. If a story makes sense, if it dialogues with my reality and calls attention to things that I've never even had been aware of before, how to fell guilt? However, it is easier to say than act like this: social pressure is a perverse mechanism for sure. And even someone as open as I am is still reluctant to talk about it.

About what?

Erotica stories, that is, Or, as I fondly call them, my darling porn books (what I cannot stand in film I happily enjoy in words - they are different things entirely). It all begun, of course, with Fifty Shades and the curiosity about the books derived from its big hit. From those, I reached some great new romance writers as J.A. Redimerski (who even achieved a nice Gaiman's kind of fantasy story in Dirty Eden - she is great, actually, venturing in many different genres), Karina Halle (she is great too) and now Elle Kennedy. Those three erotica authors are a a welcomed change to popular romantic novels scene. Sure, there's a lot of cheesiness in their writing, but it is not the main feature on their stories: the women are fierce, with a strong voice. Furthermore, those three women, among others, discuss the women (and men) sexuality through an honest and endearing way. Each new story presents a surprising aspect, the overcoming of another nonsensical and unfortunately permanent taboo.

It is the case on Kennedy's Out of Uniform series - if you are interested, go search about it. I'm daring to enough to talk about it, but not to attach a link here (yep, I'm silly, I know). The thing is, I couldn't stop reading those books until the end. The characters are great, funny, honest, and the debate about the many sexual tabu in hetero and homosexual relations is for sure a relevant plus. Just a hint: the 8th book is just amaaaazing :) For real. 

The women in those stories (including the E.L. James trilogy) are not perfect. They're alive, their sexuality is an important part of their relations, and there's nothing too dreamy about it. Ok, those are romance novels, so true love for life is a big part of them. But the relationships are not easy or a given after the "I love you's", and that is a big improvement on the popular fiction for sure. A lot of people has access to those stories and talk about it on their comments in sites as amazon.com and other medias.  Like me, they can be a bit shy to talk about it freely, but by creating awareness about the subject, this stuff is not a tabu anymore for an increasing amount of readers on their daily life.

Sorry if I disappointed you. Nevertheless, I'm already been living inside a square since I was born. In the world of ficcional narratives, I'm a wanderer. Never at the same place or with the same people. And with eyes and soul wide open to new adventures. 

Oops, it was not the last one book. I've just re-read the sequel of If I stay, by Gayle Forman.  I'm not sure why, but late last night I saw myself once more with this melancholy story. I like the sequel, Where she Went so much more. Adam's angry and disillusioned voice makes a gripping narrative. The way he questions all the things he went through, how all that suffering is killing him even when he recognizes his part on it is pretty honest. We can inflict pain with a special strength on those who we love most - and Adam was loved for sure. You see? A YA book can carry so much insights about life, don't discard this kind of story at a first sight. Give it a change, you might be happily surprised. This one is heartbreaking and sweet, and it kept me company today.

That's all folks! At least for now. Of course there's a couple of extensive PS ahead. Take your time, I know this post is way too long. But you don't have to read all at once  - that you got to this point amazes me actually:) 

PS: The post I've talked about before? The personal exposure in my first blog? Here it is translated from the original in Portuguese.

Amélie on the stairs

Hello. My name is Adriana and I want tell you a story.
One day, a few years ago, I went to the movies and, as usual, I was super late. I bought the ticket and run off to my destiny – that, I heard, was fabulous. Being in time was my priority, and, with the movie as my goal, I went up the stairs heading to the theater. On that moment, when I looked up, I saw the person I wanted to not see at all on those days. OK, for him, maybe the meeting wasn't thrilling either. We crossed our paths, one up, the other down, in a violent shoulder encounter. That was one of the most awful and depressing moments of my life. So surreal, I felt like it was happening to someone else. Perhaps that’s why I couldn't think about it at that exact moment. The point was to be on time for the movie.
The picture was The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain. I fell in love with Amélie, her insane imagination,  so much like my own and the people I love. Her fear of breaking in peaces so similar to myself, her curiosity and her care about others so familiar. At the end, crying buckets - So, little Amelie... your bones aren't made of glass.  You can take life's knocks.  If you let this chance go by, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton.  So... go get him, for Pete's sake! -, I came back to the stairs scene...  

And something absolutely amazing happened then: I realized that the fiction was the shoulder crash, a meeting so rude and brutal between two beings who, not along time ago, shared their dreams, ideals and hopes.And a beautiful love. More real and intimate was Amélie’s world, screened in shadows and light before my eyes. Amelie was extremely close.

Fiction, in movies, literature, music, painting, photography is not an escape, but, for me, it is a way to meet ourselves. All of these forms of telling I cherish deeply, even when they are pretty close and almost a routine. They compose my life through amazing tales.

The story Amélie and the stair is the first one. Others will come. Each and every one of them I met at a movie theater. With all of them, I can find myself. Sorry if this sounds corny, but it’s true. And I hope that you'd relate to it. This place is mine and yours. The stories can have no end, even after the final period. If you want to tell your own view of a story, send it to me and I'll post it here. Or you may tell one of your own, or show your dissatisfaction - there is a space in here for that. You can also leave just a commentary, and I will treasure each of them. However, a commentary can be very restrictive, and I think that the movies and what we learn with them shouldn't be enclosed in a tight space. Doing so is restrict the imagination and the wish of telling a story.
So, you're very welcome to the Amélie’s imagination and her steps of tales.

PPS: I saw Batman vs Superman in a Easter Sunday. That reminded me another story I wrote about Easter and movies for Os Degraus de Amélie:

Movie Kitchen
For me, Hamburg always was the city to which the Beatles lost their first bass player and where all the cool European rock bands played at their beginning. The place of the craziest rock gigs, I thought the city should be amazing.

In the year of 2009, I came to the city for a period of training in company specialized in catering. I don’t cook anything, I’m not even capable of boiling the water for tea – my kettle is electric. That I care for the most elegant teas in the world is a surprise to my mother, who is perfectly familiar with my poor taste for food. Junk is a compliment to my specialty, one that I’m careful to choose – my fries must be crunchy, no less.

Well, about the catering. The company provided an opportunity to improve its workers skills on food delivering in different branches of activities. One of them were the movie’s production. In this area I can move easily. I'm a compulsive learner, always eager to discover different fields of action in life and business. This facet of my personality allowed me to apply for an excellent job as a professional learner, with the chance for a lot of good and weird experiences.
One of these opportunities took place in the Easter time, year 2009. Alone in an unknown city, lost in translations in an impossible language – despite it sounding so beautiful - I took a bold resolution: invite the other young, crazy and hungry 16 trainees from the different parts of the planet for an Easter lunch in the tiny flat that the company had put us in. The residential area was great, but there were no shops around. We were used to risk a few adventures around the city, looking for different places and people. This time, we could have a nice and homely reunion in the minuscule box that was home for us in German, an attempt to know each other better, be closer and, of course, have lots of fun. Nowadays I realize that this was also an attempt to diminish the home sickness a bit. Ok, a very obscure attempt – we were cool or what? On the outside, we were all free souls in the universe… On the pit of our most secret feelings, we just wanted to be back home.

So I started a frenzy. Nothing that I decide to do is free from my neurosis and excessive ways. After inviting each one of the crazy trainees, I brainstormed a ton of ideas in order to achieve the most innovating, cosy, amazing, tasting, impossibly passionate and, of course, unexpensive lunch of all times. Create a nice theme became my mission in life for a few nights – thanks God the days were so full of work that I couldn’t think in anything else during day time. Before bed time, though, it was obsession hour. One night, I was watching German TV – it was a funny experience to say the least – when I paused the channel surfing in Mostly Martha. At that moment, I realized that, like almost everything else in my life, the movies would be the subject. And it made sense. My work was to provide food for movie’s productions. Yay. The subject of our amazing Easter lunch way from home would be the movies' food.  After the compliments for my genius idea (!!!!), I started the search for the perfect meal.
First thought: movies about food? In this search, I must have forgotten most of them. Ok, here are the ones I actually remembered. Babette’s Feast was an immediate remembrance, but Babette’s blissful meal wasn't for me. Turtle soup? Salmon Caviar?? Stuffed quail??? No way, I’m very fond of processed meat to take so seriously this dinosaur. The dessert, maybe, but I had to google it, because I didn't remember which one was (can you blame me? After the turtle soup???). Well, despite the gross cousine, it was clear that Babette’s feast should make an appearance anyway. I took a mental note to put away the few and ugly furniture in my tiny house box and dominate the space with a big table, built out of whatever I could find. It wouldn't be hard, and the other guests could bring their own chairs. But that big table from Babbete's was a strong image. The china would be more difficult to find, but I wasn’t nosy without a good reason. The lady from the nearest boulangerie, our refuge of croissant and cinnamon among that sea of German box houses, for sure would lend us some.
Well, well. Other films? Mostly Martha again. Ok, from it, pizza or the spaghetti that the cute Italian chef cooks for Martha’s sad niece. I loved Julia & Julie, the most recent movie about food I've seen at that time. From it I chose the chocolat and almond cake. I downloaded the Julia Child book from the internet – hush –, a very badly scanned copy, but useful anyway. Bruschettas were also obligatory. Since the movie, I became very partial about it, all that fried tomato in a greasy toast. I have to confess that I could accept even the bad versions of it – Fridays, hello! -, everything for a bread loaded with tomatoes. The duck though... no way it would enter my kitchen. I already could see all the renegade people, schnaps friends, around the table, on a cold but sunny day, sunflowers in the room – the infinite possibilities on my head - all of them joyful and grateful for an amazing and happy meal… Delusion in the best Amélie fashion. 
Ok. There is that Greek movie about cinnamon meatballs. I forgot its name. But to be honest, moussaka looks a very difficult dish for me, despite the big plans for lunch. That was another movie to be only remembered... The aubergines from Mediterrâneo. I love the final scene. Olives... The Son of the Bride’s tiramisu. Stop, stop! We don't need another dessert. Or maybe that was a good idea, tons of dessert and nothing else. It would not be bad at all. The most traditional films about famous chefs didn't call me at all. Vatel, nope. LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLAT, how could I've forgotten this one? I felt obligated to drop some tears over the food. Ok, the story was getting better and better.

When we talk about food, the best recipes for me are those from the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the TV show with the guys the run around the whole episode – I love that! I don’t see it anymore, but I was a really addicted to it not a long time ago. Pita bread pizza with olive-oil, parmesan, rosemary (... and thyme...), everybody loves it. Stuffed mushrooms with goat cheese and rosemary... again. Well, at this point, we our lunch was composed by three entrées, three desserts and, more likely, a loooooooot of wine and brandy and whatever else we would be able to drink. But still no first course.
I could be really innovative and serve hamburger. Don’t be so crazy, Amélie. Mushroom Ravioli would be a nice touch, and the next day my second name would be vampire nerd. Well, maybe spaghetti wouldn't be such a bad idea. We always could relate it to the Lady and the Tramp movie. On the mad search for the perfect meal, all the movies that changed my mind about food and put me in the direction of the first restaurant at my sight after the screening disappeared of my mind. Just like that.

Chocolat is a very nice movie, but lets put a break on the dessert madness.
My head couldn't take it anymore, hurting badly at any tiny thought about those crazy plans. What about a bucolic and nice lunch? Bucolic... bucolic... Provence is bucolic! But I couldn't remember a nice meal in any movie scened on Provence, just the mad people around a table, under a tree, gossiping and drinking wine while bitiching about family and love affairs. Hmmm, drinking wine, of course. Italy? No, I needed something different.
The days passed in a fast pace while I was thinking about the Easter lunch. About that, I thought better, became more docile and decided the subject. Spaghetti and meatballs would be – so much thought for that… ok. Come on, it would be funny, trivial, irreverent... I was not too convinced yet, but even so a sense of peace finally reached me.
Just a few days before Easter Sunday, with my shopping list in my pocket, the china deal agreed with Hildegard, the owner of our favorite boulangerie – Pain Allemand, her ex-husband was French - the sunflowers ordered in the flower market, Cedric, the cutest and craziest Irish trainee in the company called us all to eat and drink until death got us apart in a restaurant in the port area in Hamburg. Everybody said a loud yes, despite some cold feet and fake fear. Until now, this was the only part of the city we had not been yet, and all we need was a good reason – like we really needed that - to go to an unknown and different place. The reviews on the restaurant were excellent, the place was the best in the city, the chef was young and very famous, The music was great, some said. The patrons would usually end the nigh dancing, drinking and whatever.
Shopping list safe in the pocket, there I went with the others trainees to this magic place.

Forget the cold irony of this cruel world. Soul Kitchen was a true heaven for lost souls. Everything we could expect and more, much more. Our grasshopper party – 16 people that looked like the black plague – fit perfectly in the warehouse that accommodates the restaurant. Our noise wasn't more than a little stone in the ocean of chaos… The food? Amazing, beautifully served, although it almost never reached to the table that had originally ordered it – wandering dancing fingers would grab what was at hand from the server tray. The customers? No one was similar to the other, an unbelievably crazy crowd. Everybody were together, and each one by its own.
It was insane. A beautiful madness. We went there for dinner on Wednesday, going back home just for a change of clothes before work. At the company, throughout the day, I promised myself I would go to the grocery store after work. It was Thursday, and somehow we found our blameless selves at Soul Kitchen again. We didn't even care for schnapps before getting there. Next morning, I stopped at the box house with a slight guilt and the shopping list yet in my coat pocket. On Friday, the sun got up to a desert city, and of course Soul Kitchen was the only place to go. And who goes to a grocery shop on Friday before Easter??? No way. This time, when I got home, there was only a distant thought about the shopping list, that got lost under the sofa when I threw my coat there, never stopping for a second while kissing a cute Irish.
The days were spent on a raze mist, and we lost the perception of time. The sky was not a limit, and more chaos the better. On Saturday there was a private party at Soul Kitchen, and just when we were about to take our disillusioned souls to another place, the heaven’s door opened at last, a band started a gig and we could finally eat tons of an amazingly good dessert, with some weird collateral effects… Better not talk about it.

The sun rising in a grey sky, we put ourselves together and headed home. The 16 grasshoppers stopped first to pay a mandatory visit to Frau Hildegard in order to get the everyday cafe au lait and croissant. The owner was not there, only the Iranian guy that worked for her, with his ipod on and not much more in mind. For that reason, without any sane person to remind us, the Sunday Easter came and went unnoticed, without notice. We just realized the Easter had gone away when the German receptionist at the firm, early on the next Monday, asked about missing home on the Sunday Easter. But by then it was too late.
That’s one of the reasons why I usually say that making so detailed plans is almost impossible. And futile. I missed my so cherished and over planned lunch? Oh, well, to say the truth, while over thinking about it, I had this lunch a million times already, through a zillion of movies, with different people from around the world. And more: I wouldn't trade my drunk and happy Easter for nothing else. Soul Kitchen had been a nice surprise and a very good choice.

*** On the 2010 Sunday Easter, I saw Soul Kitchen (Directed by Fatih Akin. Germany, 2009, 99 min.). It was crazy fun, an wonderful experience, and so this story came to mind. 

All the refernces, in order of appearance: 1, The 5th Beatle is Stuart Stutcliffe (yep, I know George Martin is called that too); 2. Mostly Martha (2001); 3. Babette's Feast (1987); 4. Julie & Julia (2009); 5. A Touch of Spice (2003); 6. Son of The Bride (2001); 7. Vatel (2000); 8. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (2003-2007); 9. Like Water for Chocolate (1992); 10. Lady and the Tramp (1955); 11. Twilight (2008); 12. Chocolat (2000).