Sunday, 19 February 2017

The English Review Vol. 3 | Film Studies

I actually studied Film Studies for my Art History minor, but it is an English course technically. I really enjoyed my film tutorials and learning a little about a lot of different things you need to know for film studies, such as film history and filmic techniques (a little bit I already knew from photography and my previous Art history course).

In Bruges (Dir. Martin McDonagh, 2008) & The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (Dir. Robert Wiene, 1920) 

In Bruges was an odd, funny film. Unnecessarily gruesome in unexpected places, it was also silly and funny.

I would never have gotten through The Cabinet of Dr Caligari if Mum hadn’t volunteered to watch it with me. A slow film with an odd story, making for a slightly bizarre introduction to silent film.


The Third Man (Dir. Carol Reed, 1949) & Chicago (Dir. Rob Marshall, 2002) 

One of my two favourite films of the course. I really appreciated the complex female character of Ana in The Third Man. She wasn’t a simple love interest that fell for the main character. The whole film was good. It had a fun plot, great writing and an unusual soundtrack.

Chicago was an entertaining musical that cleverly weaved the musical numbers within the story. It really got going half way through.

The Intouchables (Dir. Olivier Nakache & √Čric Toledano, 2011) & Rear Window (Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) 

Lighthearted, The Intouchables was an enjoyable French film. It was interesting to look at how the cinematography reflected the characters’ emotions.

I really liked Rear Window. It was an entertaining movie with a vibe in similar to Agatha Christie adaptions, which I love. It was nice to see active female characters, even if they were motivated by the male protagonist.

Chinatown (Dir. Roman Polanski, 1974) & Once Were Warriors (Dir. Lee Tamahori, 1994)

Chinatown was a good film. It looked good, had an interesting plot, a touch of humour and a dramatic end.

 I’m not sure how I feel about Once Were Warriors. It’s quite a violent film and some scenes were hallowing. The dialogue was often a bit clunky and you could tell it was made in the 90’s. But it was a good film to address and think about Postcolonial theory.

Thelma and Louise (Dir. Ridley Scott, 1991) 

My other favourite film of the course, Thelma and Louise wasn’t the happy-go-lucky roadtrip movie I was expecting, but it was as good as I hoped. Thelma and Louise is known as a feminist film and it doesn’t disappoint in that sense. The central relationship in the film is the female leads’ friendship, which is refreshing, and the film plays with female and male stereotypes.
Unfortunately, despite what some feared and some hoped, Thelma and Louise didn’t quite revolutionise film, there is still plenty of inequality. However, it is an inspiring, iconic film.
Honourable mention to Battleship Potemkin, which screened as an extracurricular activity. It was a much easier silent film to watch than The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and was my first experience with soviet montage.

And that was Film Studies, a really fun course!

Friday, 10 February 2017

Bits and Bobs #2

ORGANISE | my greatest accomplishment of the summer holidays was to go through my room, sorting all the papers and odds and ends that have been cramming all available space in my room for, no joke, years. I love to be organised but am also hopelessly sentimental, so it was a difficult but super rewarding process. Now I know everything I have and it’s all neatly stored. I’m still kind of amazed I’ve finally done it!

WRITE | other than drafting a lot of blog posts (yay!), I actually wrote two short stories! Currently polishing one up for a competition. Feels good to be complete a writing project.

READ | reading Jane Eyre and loving it as much as I hoped. Also, really looking forward to sneaking in another Series of Unfortunate Events before I continue uni reading. After the fourth book I’ll have finished my reread and be on to the books I never got to.

WATCH | we started making our way through old Jackie Chan movies (Police Story, Project A, etc.) on New Year’s Eve and I’m loving them, so much fun. Also just finished the Great British Bake Off and currently, shamelessly, watching MKR.

GET | an accidental (but glorious) Sailor Moor theme in this category. Adam (my Secret Santa) got me this super cute Sailor Moon figure for Christmas and I bought myself a Luna backpack/handbag.

CRAFT | current project is finishing a floral shirt that I’d half sewn. I’d completely forgotten about it until mum found it with other half-done projects. Aiming to get it done before the holidays end. I’ve also been making lots of pompoms and have made a garland that shall adorn my dorm room.

ETC. | current focus is doing lots of bits and bobs to prepare for moving back to the city and starting uni again. Thankfully, I’ve managed to be quite productive this week, getting jobs done that I’ve been avoiding.
Next week is packing!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Book Review | The Red Queen By Isobelle Carmody

The Red Queen {Book 7} 

It’s rather bittersweet finishing a series you’ve been reading for ten-odd years. Surreal to finally know everything, sad to have no more pages of the characters and world you love to discover and satisfying to have finished such a mammoth book. I loved the conclusion to the Obernewtyn Chronicles, there’s a few things I’d like to discuss, but first…

SPOILER ALERT: It’s rather hard to write a review for a finale book without giving a bit away. While I won’t be talking in any great detail at all, if you’re like me, you won’t want to know ANYTHING, so please be warned from here on in

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Film | May & June, 2016

Last year I decided to get back into film photography and bought a three pack of film. I shot one on one of my brother’s thrifted camera (which, confusingly, doesn’t show the focus) and the other two on the old family EOS.

My photography is a little rusty, especially on film, so the results were hit and miss, but I love shooting with film. The practice of taking that extra time to compose and then the excitement of receiving your printed film, it’s just that little bit more magic than snapping away with a digital camera. I finished them all before the end of semester one and have since bought more film, but I’m still on my first roll this time round…

Here are a few of my favourite shots!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The English Review Vol. 2 | Landmarks in English Literature

My second English course was Landmarks in English Literature, which is possibly my favourite English course to date. I mean, I’ve only done three, but still. I really enjoyed learning more about the evolution of the novel as a form and how it and the people who created them were thought of from the 1400’s to the 2000’s.

Prologue of the Wife of Bath’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer & The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Trying to read Middle English in Chaucer’s Prologue of the Wife of Bath’s Tale was like trying to read another language. Reading aloud helped make the meaning clearer, however I still struggled. It’s interesting in that its female storyteller challenges notions of a woman’s ability to remarry, however it does stick to a traditional notion of women, so not sure whether you could call this a feminist text…but then again, how much I understood it is debatable.

I was surprised to find reading Shakespeare’s The Tempest was not nearly as difficult as I expected. I had to read Hamlet for past studies and it took two read throughs and then an audiobook before I could understand it. Maybe it was having just read Chaucer, but this time around, I realised Shakespeare’s English actually isn’t as different as it first appears. The story of The Tempest was…weird and the characters weren’t terribly complex (it is meant to be a play, so I’m sure it’s more entertaining on the stage), yet it was amusing and, need it even be said, well written.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen & New Grub Street by George Gissing

Northanger Abbey was my favourite read of the course and aided me in my mission to read all of Jane Austen’s works. It’s much lighter and shorter than Pride and Prejudice, but really interesting in its narration on the place and importance of the novel at the time (as well as books written by and for women).

New Grub Street was both depressing in the lives and fates of its characters and fascinating in offering a view of the publishing industry (albeit a pretty pessimistic one) in the late 1800s. I enjoyed it, despite its grim tone.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel & A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan 

The only graphic novel I read during the first year of English studies, Fun Home was a quick read full of intertextuality (quite a lot I probably wouldn’t have gotten on my own) and an interesting structure where every chapter started earlier in the timeline than the previous one ended.

I enjoyed A Visit from the Goon Squad far more than I expected (I’m always scared by postmodernism). The 13 chapters are written like separate stories from different characters’ perspectives, timelines all jumbled, but they all interconnect in small ways. I especially liked Selling the General.

This course covered such a range of genres and styles and a long timeline, it was a great way to get to know literary history a bit more!

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