Jumanji

Jumanji is a fantasy children’s picture book written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, an American author, and published in 1981. Everyone knows the story thanks to the famous film directed by Joe Johnston in 1995, with the most excellent Robin Williams.

‘Jumanji’ is a Zulu word meaning ‘many effects’. In the original story, Judy and Peter Shepherd are two children who go in a park, while their parents are out for the evening, because they find deeply boring. In this park, they find a game which seems to be abandoned and which called Jumanji. So, they take the game home. In this one, they discover a warning message: ‘Do not begin unless you intend to finish’ . The most unlikely events will occur…

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Bonnie Hunt, Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst in Jumanji (J. Johnston, 1995)

The famous film is slightly different: at the beginning, the game ensnared Alan Parrish in the jungle of Jumanji many years while he and Sarah Whittle were playing in 1969. Twenty-six years later, Peter and Judy (Kirsten Dunst), who are orphans in this adaptation, settle, with their aunt, in the Parrish’s former house and find the game in the attic. They manage to take out Alan (Robin Williams) but they must find Sarah (Bonnie Hunt) to finish the game because Peter and Judy have continued the part of 1969.

This film is dazzling for its special effects. But it is excellent thanks to Robin Williams’ performance. It was a great actor, funny and touching at the same time. He was an eternal child, notably in this film, but also in life. He was and will always be my favourite American actor…

You can see the trailer here for more details on this film:

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a novella written by Truman Capote and published in 1958. There is an adaptation of this book, directed by Black Edwards in 1961. In this film, we can see the wonderful Audrey Hepburn in one of the best roles that she has never had.

The novella is about a writer’s friendship with a young woman called Holly Golightly in New York, during World War II. A lot of men pay Holly for sexual favours. This woman drinks and takes drugs too. Her life is completely disorganized, but the writer is fascinated by her. She secretly dreams about a luxurious life, between jewels from Tiffany’s. Holly and the writer are neighbours but they don’t have a love affair together. He wants to protect her from herself and the outside world. At the end of the story, Holly disappears from his life to escape the police after being arrested as an accomplice in a drug conspiracy.

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George Peppard and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (B. Edwards, 1961)

The film isn’t radically different but two main components were modified : the story is set during the 1960s and Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) and Paul Varjak (George Peppard), nicknamed ‘Fred’ by Holly for his resemblance to her brother, fall in love at the end of the story… So romantic it is!

This is one of my favourite films, backed up by Audrey Hepburn‘s charm and by the captivating theme ‘Moon River’ created by Henry Mancini

In 2012, the film was deemed ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’ by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

You can see the trailer for more details on this film:

 

Blowin’ in the Wind

Blowin’ in the Wind is a song written by Bob Dylan, it’s the most famous protest song ever.

« How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can really see the sky?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind. »

In fact, there is no allusion of an event, so this song is timeless. However, Dylan wrote it in 1962 during the Vietnam War and movements for civil rights.

Each verse is a question and « the answer is blowin in the wind » in each chorus.

Here, my cover of this song with Nicolas :

Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2

Like the Cranberries, U2 is an Irish rock band who is formed in 1976.

Sunday Bloody Sunday is a song on their album entitled War released in 1983. This song is about the conflict of the North of Ireland. It's a tribute of Derry's event in 1972 called "Bloody Sunday" : peaceful demonstrators are killed by the British army during a walk organized by Ivan Cooper to protest for the civic rights's respect of Catholics of Ulster and to protest against locals powers's discrimination, which inspires the band to write this song.

It's a commited song and the band are conscious of it. In fact, they have been criticized about this song but they have been a great success too.

The lyrics are about violence, anger, it describes scene of battle and it criticizes media which trivialize the scenes of violence.

Many people appreciate this song because it raises an universal subject : injustice and violence by the power on the people, the discrimination, the war, the useless deaths,...

And you, what do you think of commited song?

Full metal jacket

Full metal jacket is a movie made by Stanley Kubrick (yes it’s one of my favorite film directors!!) and it dates back to 1987.

The storie takes place at the end of the 60’s. There are two parts in the movie :

– 1st : we can see young soldiers in the army, they are the new recruits in the training camp. Their sergeant is a brutal and nasty man, he always insults and humiliates them and particularly the soldier Lawrence (he calls him Gomer Pyle) who becomes the drudge of the boys.

This part shows how we made killing machine in the training camp and we understand why the slogant of the soldiers is « Born to kill (because we made them believe that they were born to kill.)

– 2nd : in this part, we can see the soldiers in Vietnam during the war. This part shows the violence of the war and that a lot of soldiers are sensitive even if we made them killing machines.

I think it’s a really good movie which shows the violence of the Vietnam war and what happened in training camps at this time, how young boys turned into killing machines because of the army.

Cool World

I want to talk about an American animated fantasy film Cool World directed by Ralph Bakshi in 1992, starring Brad Pitt, Gabriel Byrne and Kim Basinger.
The story begins in 1945 at Las Vegas during the Second World War, Frank Harris (Brad Pitt) and his mother are ridding on a motorcycle, but suddenly they are knocked down by a car causing. This mother dies and Frank survives, then he is transported to Cool World. Many years later, Jack Deebs (Gabriel Byrne) who is the famous creator of the comic strip “cool world” is in jail because he had killed a man. Anytime the reality changes totally to transport him in the universe he has created. In fact, to understand, he is in a cartoon world. There, he meets Holli Wood (plays by the actress Kim Basinger when she is in the reality world), she attracts him and they become friends, then they go together in the real world.He meets too Frank Harris who is a detective for a long time in this universe, unfortunately he is a prisoner in this world.
I enjoyed watching this film, and liked the graphic. I like cartoons or animated films and I find it’s a good idea when the films mix animation. If you like too watching cartoons, I advice this movie.

An original adaptation of Macbeth

This Summer I went to a festival of street theatre. This event is a success for many years and is called « Chalon dans la Rue ». It’s a great experience for any person who’s in love with theatre, circus, dance or art in general.

The most sensational show I saw was the adaptation of the famous and damned  Sheakespearian play : Macbeth.

It was played by a company named « Le Théâtre de l’Unité », directed by Jacques Livchine (a commited actor and director, currently writing a blog to inform his public). First, the representation was really stunning for its direction. It happened in a forest, during the night and the audience had to follow an actress (her role consist of guiding the public in the forest, from a scene to another, « because it’s a wild and dangerous place for paltries people »). She often make funny comments, and quote Shakespare all along the play. The only light came from fires, kindled all around the place.

Then the play was full of humour. The guide’s remarks, the expressions of the actors, and even their gesture were some means to make laugh. In the book, during final scene of war, Shakespeare wrote something like « the forest moves with the soldiers » because they are desguised. So the actors arrived with makeshifts costumes in paper, roughly cut on the form of a tree. They comment : « we didn’t have money anymore ».  These moments in the play were fresh and welcome for everybody in the public. It was a delicate mix of tragedy and comedy.

Finally, the choice of the text was clever, and really interesting for a short play. If I could see another play directed by Jacques Livchine, I wouldn’t hesitate.