Sunday, 29 March 2015

Another Milestone

Today's the day The Circle magazine for this month came out with the Maltese The Sunday Times and it features an article I wrote following an interview I did with artist Lisa Falzon. I cannot provide a link as there is no online version being updated for the magazine (though there used to be) but here's a pic clearly showing my name in print (though it is misspelt!!)


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Bitter Experiences... in Polanski's Bitter Moon

It's been a few weeks that I've been meaning to write this but somehow I never had the time to write down a long enough entry to fully exhaust my thoughts about the film. Today I finally intend on giving a short review of director Roman Polanski's Bitter Moon (1992).

This is one of those films that I researched before deciding to buy the DVD and I must say most reviews didn't do it justice. In fact, rather than the reviews, most of which were intent on presenting it as a soft-porn film rather than a tragic story, it was a woman on Twitter who'd seen it already that ultimately made me curious enough to buy the film. I must say I am quite happy I did. Contrary to my expectations from what I'd read, the story flowed easily and invitingly even as scenes moved flittingly from character to character, one romantic relationship to another, and between past and present.


I wondered often since getting to know about the film's existence as to the reason for the title. Then one day even before I'd seen it but after having been through its synopsis, it dawned on me that it was, for lack of a better opposite, meant to signify just how wrongly and tragically one of the couples' second HONEYmoon turned out to be. The story, in fact, deals in the present with the English couple Nigel (Hugh Grant) and his wife Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas), who take a cruise to India in the hope of rekindling their very austere love life. On board the ship they meet French woman Mimi (played by Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner) and American husband Oscar (Peter Coyote), who have a fascinating story to tell. As Nigel is drawn into their web of S&M tales as well as the tragedy that is their love story, he can't help falling in love with Mimi, who teases and taunts him at will. His wife, understandably pissed off at the situation, warns him that whatever he does, she can do better and very right she is in this prediction. The already bitter and sad story that has the viewer in a trance wanting to know more, eventually shows just how she intends to get back at Nigel in a turn of events that leaves the couple united in that very ironic situation of having looked death in the face together.


This is the first of Polanski's films that I have seen. Unfortunately it does seem that he has a taste for that which is not only vulgar but also most of the time makes one squirm, from what I've gathered through reading synopsis of others of his films. He is apparently most known for The Pianist and Chinatown and whilst I cannot compare for not having yet seen these two titles, I have to say I was so greatly impressed by Bitter Moon that if those two are his masterpieces, then they are well worth a view.

Getting back to the themes explored in this non-commercial production (based on a book first published in French and called 'Lune de fiel' meaning 'bile moon' and which rhymes with 'Lune de miel' which means 'honeymoon'), it is true that there is much that is shocking and erotic, but I would never class this as porn as some reviews have said. Rather, the sexual exploration, if it could so be called, is a very intricate part of the plot here and necessary in portraying the relationship that is Oscar's and Mimi's and which, I suspect, is also that facet that helps confuse the viewer so that up to the end, you can still give your own interpretation as to who's fault really it was that the relationship between them so utterly and miserably failed. Oscar presents Mimi as the heartless seductress and yet his own version of the story (in long flashbacks) clearly outlines also his sudden change of heart and resulting loathing of the girl he had so pursued.


This is one of those films not clearly explained in writing. It is a viewing that will keep you at the edge of your seat as you are tossed back and forth through present and past in an interpretation of love in all its fifty shades (or more than)... Only from what I gather, this is one much more inventive in its use for sadism and masochism as more than just a way of getting people to watch it.



Sunday, 22 March 2015

Back to the rock called Malta

I have not posted on here in well over a week unless you count that I linked my latest article on EVE. I have been a little swamped with life lately and also trying to make deadlines for writing jobs, then I was away this weekend on a short trip to the sister island where I spent a couple of interesting days with my son and my colleagues from work including their partners and children. But now it's back to business this week before I take a total break for a while to spend some serious time with family. However I will try my very best to post something this week. Meanwhile here's a pic of my favourite animals from the farm we visited during the trip, some totally adorable babies here:


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

All's Well That Ends Well (or is it?)

Over the weekend I finally sat down to watch the third and last episode of Till We Meet Again, that bitter-sweet mini-series I first mentioned in my blog post My Week In Film and Book Titles and which I later revisited in more detail in When the Villain makes it worth while.
The story had more in store for the characters to face and also took some surprising turns. I would never have warranted Eve with the courage and stamina she shows in this episode. Despite her impulsive nature in the earliest part of the film as well as her apparent disregard for norms, over the second part of the series especially she had seemed to me to get drawn into her husband's world too completely, acting the part of the wife and mistress of the house to the point where I had seen her become less feisty and more sweet and soft than anything else.
Meanwhile I will forever be disappointed in DeLancel himself, the father. SPOILER ALERT I not only would have never guessed he'd turn against his son, but I also find it hard to stomach just how a father could harbour hatred of this kind for any of his children. I do understand what Bruno did was not only underhanded and downright stealing, but however badly he acted does not give authority to a parent to hate. I actually find it difficult to believe any parent could hate their child with a passion such as he shows, despite it being somewhat deserving.
Meanwhile Bruno (played by Hugh Grant) as the villain just kept getting better and better (by which I mean a worse and worse person of course). Unlike what I thought when I blogged about the second part of the film, there is no redemption here for Bruno. Whilst as usual I was pained to see a character played by Hugh come to a nasty end (as the villain it was in the interest of a good ending that he does I would think), I must admit that with a character as nasty and horrid I should have been pleased he got what he deserved (or did he? I tend to excuse villains for their ways given their outlook on life is usually, as in this case, shaped by their history rather than a bad heart. After all, despite all else, it was in my opinion partly his father's fault that he had to grow up as he did. I do feel his dad had been insensitive to him and his mother to say the least, although admittedly his mother pressed the trigger killing herself before waiting for his reply. Who knows what would have happened differently had she waited to hear him out?) I rather think that were Bruno's history any different there would have been no story, given he would have grown up to be a fine young man, maybe a compassionate one, definitely one with a good heart. After all, he does stick up for his mother Eve when the Germans are looking to find the woman who's helped the Jews escape. Now whether there was anything in it for him, though, I did not immediately understand, and only now figure his earlier outburst at her being out at night spoiling his plans would certainly be the reason behind his false oath on her being home.

On to the character of Freddy, the sweet red-haired and very young Courtney Cox, I was once again thrilled to find my earlier guesses were to be somewhat incorrect. I mentioned last time how I wondered did she love her husband enough or were her friend's words about having married the wrong man ominously true... I will leave the surprise to you to find out but must say that once again here the twists in the story made this a breathless watch.
And as I mentioned Freddy I cannot leave her sister Delphine out of this, who despite being my least favourite character I must say seems to me she turned out to be the most level-headed one with the 'normal' life the others seem all to have shied away from.
Back to my title now, one that gave me food for thought. This episode marked the end to the story, a story which you must have assumed from my praise as being an adventurous ride all through. To say it ended well would be to concede that there must be deaths along the way as well as people who will now never get the chance at being good. As far as plot goes, this novel turned mini-series might be a commercial story but in that case it makes Danielle Steel's stories and characters look petty and under-developed in comparison.
As I close this series' chapter in my blog I admit to having one regret about it all - I am still so disappointed in the ending to Bruno's story, but that is probably because it was so decidedly good. As the villain he had no chance at mercy from the author but often since watching this final instalment I have found myself asking - could a woman's love have changed Bruno's bitterness and regrets? After all, was it not another human being that had instilled the hatred in him to begin with? It ends well for most, but I'll eternally blame the author for making me fall for the villain once again.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Question of Colour

A few years ago I was writing guest posts for IVillage.co.uk, which was a subsidiary of NBC. Unfortunatley it seems that this website no longer exists. Apart from that, I believe the content still remains mine as they never bought the article so I do not believe I am committing any faux-pas by reposting the article on here:


Make It A Light Blue For Me!

My toddler has lately taken to asking me for a particular ‘colours’ book to flip through. You are probably picturing a board book with splashes of blue, red and yellow, orange and green. So very wrong… the book of the hour is a design book by Kevin McCloud full of colour palettes for the home!

Whilst delighted at my son’s fascination with his mama’s favourite design element, I started to wonder what made the serious pictures so interesting to a one and a half year-old. Which led me to another question that was on my mind… why it is that he so often asks to go play in his new bedroom? Initially I thought it must be the sense of ownership luring him into the room he does not as yet sleep in. But come to think of it, even I am drawn to his sanctuary. And there was the answer on my bookshelf in plain view… it was the colours. The walls are painted what I could call a vivid light blue or else a muted version of cyan. The furniture is a reddish walnut in contrast. No wonder it is preferred to the other rooms in the home, with their whitish oak and wenge furniture.

Then again, my husband is so very content to sit in a darkly furnished room looking at the beige on the walls and isn’t very happy about the bright blue. My opinion? The beige looks lifeless to me, even depressing at times, whilst the blue... well, let's just say that approximately two years ago I was twenty weeks along in my pregnancy and the doctor announced I was having a boy… The relief of knowing there was no need to paint my child’s room a girly pink or lilac was way out of proportion! On the other hand, doesn’t a bright blue just make you want to sing and laugh? I could spend days in there and not get bored, it just makes me feel at peace with the world.

Over and over again, I've read in my reference books about how colour is of paramount importance and can change a scene so drastically that a few litres of paint are likely to makeover a room satisfactorily.

I've googled 'colours in the home' and come up with so many interesting propositions as to how it affects mood, energy, etc etc. So I had a good look at what my son's beloved blue should convey and found such a long list of positive attributes for this colour! It is calming and relaxing, refreshing, removes tension, encourages tranquility and gives a sense of peace. And with such a multitude of different blues come also different qualities. It was interesting to find out that a deep blue helps to make decisions (maybe that’s why all the dark blue business suits), aqua promotes a relaxed state and my favoured light blue brings harmony and dispels anger and is beneficial to relationships.

Could that be the reason why my toddler’s naughty ways aggravate me less when we are in his room?

This article was originally published at the following link: