Archive for April, 2014

April 27th 2014

Sunday, April 27th, 2014
Filmwise: more editing and collating of notes for new drafts.
“Many medals!”
Hopping on the train towards Central London on Saturday morning, I found myself standing opposite an elderly gentleman at the end of the crowded carriage. Someone stood up offering him a seat, but he motioned to his wife to sit down.
I helped him move the small suitcase she had by her side.
Thanking me, he whispered in his shaky voice,”we’re going on holiday.”
To my query, he replied, “somewhere in the country… Away from all the noise.”
In an attempt to reassure his spouse that all was well, talking as he was to this random stranger, he smiled to her and confided in me, “we’ve been married for 54 years! She’s from Argentina.”
“How did you meet her?”
“Through my sport.”
It transpired that this tall and gentle octogenarian is a former European rowing champion.
“I have many medals, but we didn’t make it to the Olympics. We lost at the final of the trials.”
He only stopped rowing because of the walk from the boat to the river bank. “You see, the Thames’ water level is determined by the sea. So, when the tide is out, it’s hard for me to walk back to the river bank.”
I was a tad disappointed that I reached my stop so soon; would’ve spent hours listening to him talk about London, rowing and the colours of the different river clubs.
At the O2, I attended a panel discussion.
Ryan Coogler shared the gem that I took with me from a panel discussion about story and film. The director of the moving and harrowing Fruitvale Station (2013), eloquently explained the difference between making shorts and features:
“You’re never ready to shoot your first feature . It’s like the bird being pushed out of the nest; you either fly or hit the ground and never make another film. Also, it’s about the stamina. When I was at film school, we shot our shorts over weekends. So, when you get on your first feature, you realise how much stamina you need to go through the shoot of weeks of filming.”
Yes, you tell ‘em brother; couldn’t agree more.
Peace and love,
Ja’far
Filmwise: more editing and collating of notes for new drafts.
“Many medals!”
Hopping on the train towards Central London on Saturday morning, I found myself standing opposite an elderly gentleman at the end of the crowded carriage. Someone stood up offering him a seat, but he motioned to his wife to sit down.
I helped him move the small suitcase she had by her side.
Thanking me, he whispered in his shaky voice,”we’re going on holiday.”
To my query, he replied, “somewhere in the country… Away from all the noise.”
In an attempt to reassure his spouse that all was well, talking as he was to this random stranger, he smiled to her and confided in me, “we’ve been married for 54 years! She’s from Argentina.”
“How did you meet her?”
“Through my sport.”
It transpired that this tall and gentle octogenarian is a former European rowing champion.
“I have many medals, but we didn’t make it to the Olympics. We lost at the final of the trials.”
He only stopped rowing because of the walk from the boat to the river bank. “You see, the Thames’ water level is determined by the sea. So, when the tide is out, it’s hard for me to walk back.”
I was a tad disappointed that I reached my stop so soon; would’ve gladly spent hours listening to him talk about London, rowing and the colours of the different river clubs.
At the journey’s end, I attended a panel discussion.
Ryan Coogler shared the gem that I took with me from this panel about story and film. The director of the moving and harrowing Fruitvale Station (2013) eloquently explained the difference between making shorts and features:
“You’re never ready to shoot your first feature . It’s like the bird being pushed out of the nest; you either fly or hit the ground and never make another film. Also, it’s about stamina. When I was at film school, we shot our shorts over weekends. So, when you get to your first feature, you realise how much stamina you need to go through the shoot of weeks of filming.”
Yes, you tell ‘em brother; couldn’t agree more.
Peace and love,
Ja’far

April 20th 2014

Sunday, April 20th, 2014
Filmwise: back to editing a couple of projects. It’s a good feeling.
Many people…
“You will have to leave that bag with the box office, sir,” the cinema manager was telling the middle-aged man at my local picture house.
“But I was allowed to leave it by the wall last time!”, he remonstrated from behind his down-to-earth university lecturer mannerism.
“I don’t know who allowed it in last time, but there are so many people at the screening today. It’s not safe to have this big bag in the auditorium.”
I made my way in and settled into my favourite seat. I was so impatient to watch We Are the Best (Dir. Lukas Moodysson, 2013) – have been a fan of this Swedish director ever since watching and reviewing Lilya 4-Ever (2002).
The film did not disappoint. Great writing and directing.
As the end credits rolled and the lights began to come back on, I couldn’t help but notice the gentleman pick his bag from beneath the screen.
“That looked like an unbending position; how did you persuade her?,” I blurted out, as our eyes met.
“Well, I waited until just before the film started, and counted the audience; there were only five. So, not busy enough for the bag to be a health and safety concern.”
We both shared a collective shrug.
“What’s in the bag?,” I asked, before checking my rude curiosity. “Sorry, I am being nosey!”
“Oh, it’s fine. It’s a baby buggy!”
Peace and love,
Ja’far
Filmwise: back to editing a couple of projects. It’s a good feeling.
Many people…
“You will have to leave that bag with the box office, sir,” the cinema manager was telling the middle-aged man at my local picture house.
“But I was allowed to leave it by the wall last time!”, he remonstrated from behind his down-to-earth university lecturer mannerism.
“I don’t know who allowed it in last time, but there are so many people at the screening today. It’s not safe to have this big bag in the auditorium.”
I made my way in and settled into my favourite seat. I was so impatient to watch We Are the Best (Dir. Lukas Moodysson, 2013) – have been a fan of this Swedish director ever since watching and reviewing Lilya 4-Ever (2002).
The film did not disappoint. Great writing and directing.
As the end credits rolled and the lights began to come back on, I couldn’t help but notice the gentleman pick his bag from the corner wall by the screen.
“That looked like an unbending position; how did you persuade her?,” I blurted out, as our eyes met.
“Well, I waited until just before the film started, and counted the audience; there were only five. So, not busy enough for the bag to be a health and safety concern.”
We both shared a collective shrug.
“What’s in the bag?,” I asked, before checking my rude curiosity. “Sorry, I am being nosey!”
“Oh, it’s fine. It’s a baby buggy!”
Peace and love,
Ja’far

April 13th 2014

Sunday, April 13th, 2014
Filmwise: me time continues.
Shine…
Catching the last train home on Saturday night, I found myself seated in an unusually quiet carriage. The spattering of passengers were separated by the standing isles, and we all seemed contented to read our books or study maps and guidebooks.
This turned out to be a mere intermission before the drama of a late weekend evening resumed. A couple of stops from my station, a gaggle of young ladies worse off for wear, party dresses dishevelled and a bit loud, crashed into the bank of seats nearest to me.
“Really sorry, Ros; does it hurt?”
This was a hen night outing and Ros was the bride-to be.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. It was an accident.”
Beat
“Stings like hell, though,”
The girls gave a consoling smile.
“My mum won’t care that I just happened to slip on the escalators. She will put this down to alcohol. Won’t matter what I say!”
Glancing to her shin, I could see the skid marks of the escalator metal against her skin.
Further down on top of her left ankle, there was the fading outline of a tattoo in the Arabic script.
“Shine,” it read.
Peace and love,
Ja’far
Filmwise: me time continues.
Shine…
Catching the last train home on Saturday night, I found myself seated in an unusually quiet carriage. The spattering of passengers were separated by the standing isles, and we all seemed contented to read our books or study maps and guidebooks.
This turned out to be a mere intermission before the drama of a late weekend evening resumed. A couple of stops from my station, a gaggle of young ladies worse off for wear, party dresses dishevelled and a bit loud, crashed into the bank of seats nearest to me.
“Really sorry, Ros; does it hurt?”
This was a hen night outing and Ros was the bride-to be.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. It was an accident.”
Beat
“Stings like hell, though,”
The girls gave a consoling smile.
“My mum won’t care that I just happened to slip on the escalators. She will put this down to alcohol. Won’t matter what I say!”
Glancing to her shin, I could see the skid marks of the escalator metal against her skin.
Further down on top of her left ankle, there was the fading outline of a tattoo in the Arabic script.
“Shine,” it read.
Peace and love,
Ja’far

April 6th 2014

Sunday, April 6th, 2014
Filmwise: enjoying the break.
Postponed..
Keeping to my morning ritual of coffee and reading on the latest from the film world, I almost poured the hot stuff all over my shirt on Tuesday morning; a short press release from the Dubai HQ of the Gulf Film Festival was the cause.
It announced the postponement of this year’s edition of the festival.
Mercifully, this appears to be a simple organisational decision specific to this year, rather than a cancellation of the whole festival.
Readers of this blog may recall the wonderful time this film dreamer had at the 2012 Gulf Film Festival. I look forward to the return of this major film event to the seventh art calendar of the Middle East and Beyond.
Peace and love,
Ja’far
Filmwise: enjoying the break.
Postponed..
Keeping to my morning ritual of coffee and reading on the latest from the film world, I almost poured the hot stuff all over my shirt on Tuesday morning; a short press release from the Dubai HQ of the Gulf Film Festival was the cause. It announced the postponement of this year’s edition of the festival.
Mercifully, this appears to be a simple organisational decision specific to this year, rather than a cancellation of the whole festival.
Readers of this blog may recall the wonderful time this film dreamer had at the 2012 Gulf Film Festival.
I look forward to the return of this major film event in the seventh art calendar of the Middle East and beyond.
Before I go, a word about Noah (Dir. Darren Aronofsky, 2014): I braved it, despite the pillorying it’s had from critics on both sides of the pond.
In all fairness, it is a good, well-performed and directed take on a story shared between the three monolothic religions. If anything, this Noah is far more complex and multi-faceted than the one-sided saint of the holy narratives.
I imagine the visceral criticim of the film is partly caused by a sense of disappoinment that Mr. Aronofsky, a star among his generation of filmmakers, has failed to deliver an epic picture that would set a new benchmark for all that follow, in the way Ridley Scott did with Gladiator (2000). That aside, Noah is enjoyable, with good turns from Russel Crowe, Ray Winstone, Jennifer Connelley and Emma Watson.
Go see it.
Peace and love,
Ja’far