English Blog

Movie “In The Fade (Aus dem Nichts)” 1/15/18

January 15, 2018

Katja (Diane Kruger) suddenly lost everything, her husband, Nuri, and little son, Rocco, with a bomb attack setting in front of Nuri’s office. Her friends and family try to give her the support she needs, and Katja manages through difficulty (with the help of drugs…). Eventually she set herself to revenge the killers. Well…. it is really amazing to see Diane Kruger’s committed and emotional work. Also the theme “hate crime” is appealing. But the story is not convincing, and there are many moments I had questions. Why does her trial lawyer give her drugs before the trial, putting both of them in very vulnerable situation? Why could ex-drug dealer (her husband) get a very descent and independent office and could afford a fancy car and fancy house while Katja is a full-time mother? There are much more questions!

Christmas Prayer with “Christmas Night” by John Rutter 12/25/17

December 25, 2017

Softly through the winter’s darkness shines a light,

Clear and still in Bethlehem on Christmas Night

Round the stable where a virgin mother mild

Watches over Jesus Christ the holy child.

 

Shepherds kneel in adoration by his bed,

Seraphim in glory hover round his head.

Wise men, guided by the leading of a star,

Bring him gifts of precious treasure from afar.

 

Choirs of angels sing to greet his wondrous birth:

Christ our Lord in human form comes down to earth.

“Glory to God in highest heav’n” their joyful strain,

“Peace on earth, goodwill to all” the glad refrain.

 

Lullaby! the child lies sleeping: sing lullaby!

Safe in Mary’s tender keeping: sing lullaby!

Guardian angels keep their watch till break of day:

Lullaby! sweet Jesus sleeps among the hay.

 

Alleluia! let the earth rejoice today!

Christ is born to take our sins and guilt away.

Praise the Lord who sent him down from heav’n above.

Holy infant, born of God the Father’s love.

 

 

A Movie “The Disaster Artist” 12/11/17

December 11, 2017

If you want to laugh out during a crazy holiday season please see this movie. I guarantee you will laugh hard! It is unbelievable that this movie is truly (!) based on the true story! You have to see it!

A Movie “1945” 11/30/17

November 30, 2017

Directed by Ferenc Török, and written by Ferenc Török and Gabor Szántó, a movie “1945” is in a black-and-white drama set with the immediate postwar period in rural Hungary. It is in minimalistic and beautiful color. This adaptation of the short story “the Homecoming from co-screenwriter Gabor Szántó depicts how a town feels about having moved into the homes and started eating off the beautiful plates and using the ornate utensils of the Jews that vanished during the WWII. On an August day in 1945, villagers are busy preparing for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. Meanwhile, two Orthodox Jews, elderly father and adult son, arrive at the village train station with mysterious boxes labeled “fragrances.” The station sheriff rushed to the village and told the town clerk. The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back. Other villagers are afraid more survivors will come, posing a threat to the property and possessions they have claimed as their own.

I don’t want to go over everything. Tibor Szemzö’s music adds an important element in the movie, reminding me Bloch’s music. It is definitely one of the best movies of the year. I am still moved…

 

 

 

A Movie “Aida’s Secret” 11/6/17

November 6, 2017

Directed by Alon Schwarz and co-directed by his brother Shaul, the film is about the family torn apart after WWII. There is Izak Szewelewicz, a 68-year-old gardener, born inside the Bergen-Belsen displaced persons camp and sent for adoption in Israel. Since then he has been living in Israel. His brother Shep, 67, who was visually impaired from birth and has been blind, living in Winnipeg, Canada. Their mother Aida, 90, lives in a nursing home in Quebec and their (!?) father, Grisza, died in 2008. Shep knew Grisza, but Izak never met him. Izak knew their mother, Aida, but Shep never met her. The father was Jewish, and the mother was not. Both were born in Poland and both found themselves in the Bergen-Belsen displaced person’s camp after the war, where Izak and Shep were born. Aida and Grisza never married officially. Aida gave the boys up for adaption when they were still babies.

The brothers meet again the first time since the adaption, and started their investigation to search the secret around their birth with their mother, Aida. Izak and Shep went a nursing home to meet Aida. It was the first time to see Aida for Shep! She is 90 years old. Through their investigation Shep and Izak found that they are only half brothers and found there would be another brother, who has been living in Canada, not far away from where Shep has been living. But this brother refused to meet with them.

Shep visits Aida’s nursing home to ask her questions about their father. She answers simply “I don’t remember, I don’t remember.” Maybe that is true. But it seems she keeps a poker face. Also she said “I did my best to survive the situation.” I think that is very true. And she dies carrying her secrets to the heaven.

It is a very strong film, but I am against it. Aida’s secrets should not be searched from the beginning. She wanted to keep her secrets in her mind. She did not want anyone to know them. She gave up her children when they were babies and has lived her way. She did not expect her estranged children to visit her and reconnect with her. The film opened the unwanted door and no one can close this door…

 

 

J. S. Bach Keyboard Concerto No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1054

October 18, 2017

I have been truly enjoying to learn this joyful concerto. Bach may have played it with his Collegium Musicum in Leipzig, or possible with Family Ensemble at his house (!) in 1738-9. The first movement is a full Da Capo Form, starting with jubilant spirit and fanfare-like tutti! It is lot of fun! That is sure. The second movement is chaconne, keyboard right hand portraits expressive and singing line over the basso continuo. Also this beautiful melody is improvisatory, inviting us to add our own ornamentations. The last movement is a sun-shine (really fun!!) movement with pianists’ fast fingers. Yes, there are many notes to play! This movement is very short, about 2 and 1/2 minutes, and I imagine Bach had a deadline to finish this work! When he put the music on the music stands the ink may not had been dried yet!

If you will be free this Saturday October 21 at 4pm please join me to experience J. S. Bach’s amazing gift. The venue will be at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena.

Movie “The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg” 7/29/17

July 29, 2017

This movie goes through the recent Chinese history, especially Chinese contemporary arts, with Sigg’s experience with China. Sigg was working for Schindler Escalator and Elevator Company and he was hoping to set up the first joint ventures between Chinese government and his company in 1979, in the post-Mao era. After he finished his assignment with Schindler he was assigned to become an Swiss ambassador to China, and he started to collect Chinese contemporary arts, mainly for his official residence first. And eventually he built a world-class personal collection of Chinese contemporary arts. He introduced talented young artists to the world, and their arts became so popular and so expensive (!). So he advocated to Chinese arts and artists, Ai Weiwei, and in return (!) his collection became so valuable. Sigg is an interesting person, who has been super successful in commercial company, as a diplomat, as an art collector and as a human being! Sigg shows and talks to us about a hidden side of a complex and mysterious country.

Movie “Lost in Paris” (Paris pieds nus) 7/9/17

July 9, 2017

It is the best summer movie! I truly enjoyed every moment. If you are happy now you should see it so that you will be merrier. If you are less happy you should also see it so that you will be really happy. It is my first experience to see the movie by Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon. They write, direct and act. And they are lovers in the real life! I love their witty humor, quirky imagination, unrealistic reality, mindful silliness, energetic craziness …. It is just so FUN! And it is a sophisticated one! Fiona (Gordon) lives in a small town in Canada as a librarian, but her orderly life is suddenly interrupted by the letter from her 88years-old aunt, Martha (Emmanuelle Riva) who has been living in Paris. She asks for Fiona’s help. Fiona awkwardly responds to it and left the town for Paris. Then the story “Lost in Paris” starts! She will meet Dom (Abel) and whimsical things happen one after another! It is a MUST movie.

 

 

悪意 東野圭吾 講談社文庫 6/27/17

June 27, 2017

一転二転三転・・・一つのベールを解き明かすと、次のベールに包まれ、又闇の中へ。「悪意」の最高の解釈で、犯人像を作り上げ、犯人が思いもしなかった角度から、その謎を明かす。きちんと頭の中を整理して読んでいないと、複雑かつ巧妙なトリックにまんまと引っかかり、蜘蛛の巣にからまれるように、にっちもさっちもいかなくなる。そして読者もその蜘蛛の巣にからまれ、本から離れられなくなる。ずっしりした推理小説が読みたければ、この「悪意」是非読んでね!

Robert Schumann: Kreisleriana Op. 16 6/19/17

June 19, 2017

I have been always wanting to learn this monumental work, and this year is the time for it. I have been figuring out, studying, reading, practicing, but finally I have more time to really focus on Kreisleriana for the last few weeks. Now I can’t stop playing it. The tunes are constantly playing in my head. The images of Clara and Robert are staring to appear when I practice. I enjoy spotting the conversation between Robert and Clara in the music going with Julia/Kreisler in E. T. A. Hoffman’s novel. Hoffman and Schumann shared many aspects in their lives and Schumann uses Kresler from Hoffman’s novel and express his feeling toward Clara. Robert wrote to Clara “You and one of your ideas play the main role in it, and I want to dedicate it to you, yes, you and nobody else, and then you will smile so sweetly when you discover yourself in it….” It is known that Robert and Clara often had secret codes (!) in their music and only they knew the messages! How wonderful! I am sure musicologists have tried to discover those secrets. I believe some of them are from their pranky conversation or flirting acts. Nobody else needs to know!

I learned the important German word, Sehnsucht. (I took German for one year in the conservatory in Japan, and I forgot everything!) I think it is translated in English as longing, wistful, yearning, nostalgic, and futile attempts to complete the sentiment.. Schumann’s romanticism only exists with “Sehnsucht”. There was no way for Robert to communicate with Clara when she was away (she was one of the best pianists in the era). There were letters, but I am sure it took forever to reach. There was no photo to look at (he may had her portrait), no phone to hear her voice. His sentiment had no cure, and the imagination and longing was what he was hanging onto. Robert was in sanctuary when he thought of Clara and composed music. His mind was in peace.

I am ecstatic to live with Kreisleriana, and it is fun to come to piano everyday to greet with Robert and Clara. (I got a new piano a year and half ago, and it is more fun to practice at home now). I am sure I will develop more affection toward them as I practice and learn!