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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Finding Inspiration in Vincent Van Gogh

Mama and Dylan went to Teacher Amos' painting class today and they drew inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers and Starry Starry Night - and I think they both did well!

Movie Review: Madonna's Delectable and Sumptuous W.E.

Madonna is undeniably a visual artist and you can see it all over the last movie she directed, W.E. (which I presume stands for Wallis Edward - Wallis being the American divorcee who stole Edward away from the throne of England).
If this movie were food, it would be a very delicious cake as everything in it looks sumptuous and elegant - and you can really see how painstakingly Madonna recreated the scenes to mirror the era they were in.
For her efforts, I remember this movie getting an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design - and deservedly so!
However, I think she forgot to tell the story.
I was only a baby when the Duke died, and Mama, whom I also watched the movie with, was still a baby when all this brouhaha happened.
So I thought it was important for Madonna to 'educate' today's audience on who these people were and why should we care about them!
To make it more confusing, she used two women, living in two different eras so in the first 20 minutes of the movie - we were a bit lost to find out who was who!
Anyhow, three of my favorite actors are in this movie - Andrea Riseborough, who I find to be very pretty, Abby Cornish - who I also think is very sexy - and Oscar Isaac - an actor who has this dangerous sensuality in him!
And they all do well in the movie - if only the script allowed them to tell more of the story that would actually matter to us. And I think the 'modern' component part of the movie seemed distracting - when Madonna could've just focused on Wallis and Edward, whose story alone needed at least 120 minutes of screen time.
Well, an interesting partner to this movie would be the Oscar-winning 'The King's Speech' since Colin Firth's character there is the younger, albeit, more intelligent brother to the Edward character in this movie.
Find out where their storylines intersect in both movies and see which one delivers more gravitas.
I will watch this movie, again and again, because I love the soundtrack and the sexual tension between Cornish and Isaac (which are unfortunately, not even part of the real W.E. story), and watching all these people in elegant clothes and speaking in clipped royal and upper-class English accents.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

I had to finish John Green's 'The Fault in Our Stars' today because I had to have my clearance signed by our librarian.

I don't know why I picked this book to read because I don't really go for juvenile books as I have this unfounded condescension for things that matter to the youth.

Although I plodded at first, trying to enjoy the book (it is about dying and kids with cancer - so the premise is depressing already), I finally found my pace as I reached the middle part - especially the part when they embark on this remarkable journey to meet a person they held with such high regard.

This is actually the part that I would want to see in the movie version of the book. I would want to know if THE Van Houten in the book sizes up well with the Van Houten in the movie! (I just googled it and learned that Willem Dafoe plays the role - great choice!)

Interestingly, for the kids who grew up in the 70s, Van Houten is a well-known chocolate brand which we ate a lot as kids but has disappeared from the grocery shelves. That part is mentioned in the book, lending it some reality.

That part of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed, as well as their flirtation dialogues which sounded real as the words used should be the words young people use today when they get to know each other.

However, as the book was ending, I just rushed reading it because reading about people dying of cancer is not something I would consider as enjoyable - and that was around a hefty 20 pages before THE END.

I don't even think it's the cancer that is hard to read - it is the idea that a young person would die before he or she even lives a full life - something which many of us just take for granted.

"No parent should ever bury their own child", but this thought lingers with you as you read the book - so I guess, just like the protagonists in Ian McEwan's book 'Atonement' - we can give Augustus Waters and the heroine of the book - Hazel Grace - some God-like capacity to live out their love for as long as their physical bodies can hold off their disease.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Artworks Done By Adult Autistic Children at St. Benilde School of Art and Design

Autism was part of my lesson last term on Education for All, and I told my students that my first encounter with autism did not come from real life but from the Tom Cruise movie, Rain Man!
So early on, I learned that people with autism can function in the real world environment as long as the people around them are sensitive and tolerant to their needs.
The character of Dustin Hoffman in the movie showed immense numerical intellect and a vast memory so I was not surprised to see very well drawn artworks in tonight's art show which featured the works of some really talented youth with autism along with the interpretations done by the art and design students of Benilde.

It was a surprising and eclectic mix as the design students took inspiration from the works of these talented artists.
Based on the audience reaction, it was a productive partnership!

Art, Design, Autism: An Art Exhibition at the College of Saint Benilde - School of Arts and Design

"Art, Design, Autism" is the impressive result of the collective efforts of the College of St. Benilde, Artism and Unilab Foundation for the Benildeans to explore creative means of sustaining the practice of special artists by interpreting their works into design ideas. The exhibit is a showcase of this collaboration, which I find highly innovative and optimistic for the Special Education advocacy. See it at the DLSU-CSB School of Design and the Arts, 10am-8pm from June 16-July 29.

Here are some of the interesting stuff in the art exhibition yesterday, all designed by Benilde students, inspired by the works of the youth with autism.