Je ne suis pas une potiche!


No, you heard me well … I am not a ‘potiche‘,  namely one of these:

I’d rather see myself like her…

…a young and lovely Catherine Deneuve!

I have just seen her appearence in the film ‘Potiche’ by the talented director François Ozon that also was presented at the Venice Film Festival 2010 and that is the way I feel now: simply in awe of Catherine Deneuve’s charme!

The story is simple: a repressed wife of a rich industrialist in the 1970s in France. But the way it is told is so refreshingly modern. It looks back at trade union movements in the growing capitalist world and it reinterprets a moment of political unrest taking a feminist perspective. After being criticised by everyone, even her own daughter, of being passive and submissive, Suzanne (Catherine Deneuve) takes advantage of a difficult moment in her husband’s life to take on a new role and twist the situation to show everyone that she is not a ‘potiche’ at all, but a woman with a heart, a will and brains to get what she wants without losing her charme.

I don’t believe it should be read merely as a film that wants women to ‘rebel’ to their status of house-wives and mothers. It wants to show that inside a woman that might be quite, submissive and apparently without a strong will, there is in fact a smart and vibrant personality that allows the family and everything else around it to run smoothly, without being in the spotlight. She is the one who notices the small details around the house and who appreciates little squirrels rather than the ironies of life when running around the park. And, sometimes, a quiet ‘chipie‘ might suddenly emerge as being much louder than everyone else. Even louder than her past lover and political competitor Babin (Gérard Depardieu).

Apparently the director was inspired by Nicolas Sarkozy’s macho-attitude, and thought that this film would be a good reply to reaffirm the role of women in the modern world. Women who can keep their clothes on and show they have a brain.

Maybe we should all take note of that.

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“I don’t care what the people may say about me”


There is a song that I just can’t get out of my head lately: Eliza Doolittle‘s “Pack Up”. I love the immediacy of the rhythm, of the lyrics and I just find it so CUTE!

Her nickname caught my attention immediately, as I love Audrey Hepburn’s film ‘My Fair Lady’ where her character is called Eliza Doolittle – a poor and illiterate girl who sells flowers in London’s Covent Garden until one day Professor Higgins decides she needs to learn to talk ‘p-r-o-p-e-r’ English and turns her into a fine and charming lady.

Now, it’s likely that if you Google ‘Eliza Doolittle’ you will no longer get pictures of beautiful Audrey Hepburn, but also of this cheerful pop-singer:

The chorus of the song (I don’t care what the people may say, what the people may say about me) is very catchy and it just calls for being whistled along in the streets and sung out loud in the car!

The feeling I get when listening to this song is that I am light like a bird and nothing of what others think, say or do matters to me. Anything serious just looks very funny to me: maybe this song is also a little bit cheeky?! What do you think?

ELIZA DOOLITTLE – PICK UP

LYRICS

I get tired
And upset
And I’m trying to care a little less
When I Google I only get depressed
I wast taught to dodge those issues I was told
Don’t worry
There’s no doubt
There’s always something to cry about
When you’re stuck in an angry crowd
They don’t think what they say before they open their mouths

[chorus]
Pack up your troubles in you old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don’t care what the people may say
What the people may say about me
Pack up your troubles get your old kit back
Don’t worry ’bout the cavalry
I don’t care what the whisperers say
Cos’ they whisper too loud for me.

Hot topic
Maybe I should drop it
It’s a touchy subject
And I like to tiptoe round the tiff going down
You got penny, but no pound
Your business is running out
‘not my business to talk about
They don’t think what they say before they open their mouths.

[chorus]
Pack up your troubles in you old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don’t care what the people may say
What the people may say about me
Pack up your troubles get your old kit back
Don’t worry ’bout the cavalry
I don’t care what the whisperers say
Cos’ they whisper too loud for me.

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[chorus]
Pack up your troubles in you old kit bag
And bury them beneath the sea
I don’t care what the people may say
What the people may say about me
Pack up your troubles get your old grin back
Don’t worry ’bout the cavalry
I don’t care what the whisperers say
Cos’ they whisper too loud for me.

Yeahh yeah yeah
Yeah yeah
Yeah
(dibadabadodooo)

Thoughts on Globalization


UNOPS DVD:

Les Conférence du Programme Savoirs, Innovations et Politiques du Développement Human – Edgar Morin


After having watched a video interview by UNOPS (United Nations Organization for Project Service) with an interview to Edgar Morin on the topic of globalization, I feel like sharing my views here.

He first speaks about the elements that a society needs in order to exist as such. He lists four elements: a common economy, a common land, a common authority and a common awareness. On this basis, he concluded, there no such global society. There is certainly a foundation of a global society but too many elements, such as a common authority, are lacking.

One of the key points he makes, in my opinion, is that globalization is like a plane without a pilot: there is no regulation or control over this process. For this reasons, he states, a local crisis becomes a global crisis, a global catastrophe.
On this point, I believe that it needs to be pointed out that the issue here is that there is indeed some regulation, however due to the scale of involvement in the process of globalization, it is virtually impossible to find an agreement on which path is the best for the global future. The institutions, such as the WTO (World Trade Organization), which work towards clearer trade regulations and harmonization of international trade standards, are constantly reminded that they need to step back and allow state sovereignty to prevail. This is clearly legitimate from the political point of view: a state sovereignty derives from the state’s political status chosen (only in some cases) by the electorate. Thus it seems clear that the WTO, as in this example, has no right to superimpose itself over the nations’ will. However, this also shows how a ‘global’ authority – if anything as such can exist – will never be functional due to the heavily political element necessarily involved in its nature and status.

Another interesting statement by E. Morin, despite lacking originality, is that globalization has removed prejudices but also solidarity networks or what French call ‘art de vivre’. The material well being does not correspond to personal happiness. This, according to him, derives from the problematic notion of development in our current world: on the one hand, it represents Western prosperity, yet on the other hand, it is identified with obsession for consumption and for money. He commented that if China and India were to have as many cars per person as in Western countries, we would need five planets like the Earth to satisfy all of our needs. This is clearly unsustainable.

Morin focused on reminding us that development ought to be not merely quantitative but also qualitative. For something to qualify as ‘change’ or ‘metamorphosis’ it must introduce something new into the system. This element of novelty, according to him, should come from reforms. These reforms are not new plans without any foundations: they already find roots within society and we need to identify such trends towards change that can serve as a platform for change.

I believe that Morin’s view is at the same time disarmingly optimistic yet also powerful in giving some hope for change.
As he states, the most encouraging recent event showing radical and unpredictable change is Obama‘s election.

If it happened once, why could something so unpredictable not occur again to give a new vibe to our society?

Film: Avatar


“Avatar” by James Cameron (2010)


The most advanced high-tech features have been used to produce this film. The director, James Cameron, has applied the use of 3D techniques with such an ability that the spectator quickly forgets the film is no longer 2D. Cameron does not feel the need to show off with eccessive special effects: he uses just what is needed to get the spectator fully involved.

Before going to the cinema, I must admit that I wasn’t too keen on watching Avatar: I was convinced it would be yet another great money-making blockbuster which would disappoint me. Instead I was surprisingly intrigued by the film from the first few minutes.

It takes some time to get used to the 3D effect and for some people it may cause headaches, however I found that after a while I had completely forgotton about it and I was absolutely involved in the film.

The war between Pandora inhabitants and Terrestrians is violent and symbolic. It represents the constant mistake Humans have made in abusing and misusing nature’s resources and their lack of understading of nature. It also denounces the cruelty of wars caused solely for financial purposes.

At the same time, Avatar expresses a deeply philophical meaning of life as a part of nature’s cycle. Maybe inspired by Buddhism, the Na’vis (the human-like blue creatures of Pandora) follow a religion based on the veneration of nature. A true Na’vi must learn to ‘listen to it, hear it and understand it’. Nature ‘speaks’ to the Na’vi. Only the human who will learn the language of nature like the Na’vis will become part of their tribe.

Although the film takes us far away to a distant world, the themes it brings to us are not far away at all from our day-to-day reality and inspires us to build a better world.