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Monday, February 28, 2011

Brotherhood of the Wolf

这片儿刚出来的时候(2001),我还在跟武打片geek混,听说是法国古装武打片,导演 Christophe Gans 恨不得变成徐克的徒弟 (figuratively speaking) 云云。随后因为各种原因跟武打片的缘分就告一段落了,所以也没来得及看。

最近心血来潮,把DVD租了来。瓦,果然很有香港武打片的气质,剧本乱七八糟不知所谓,中间部分无比拖沓,画面倒是精美异常。越看越笑,导演毫不脸红地胡吃海塞,把什么俗套典故都乱塞进去,threw in everything and the kitchen sink。总之,如同他这辈子再也拿不到钱拍电影一样,非把geek男生爱看的每一种 genre 都要引用一遍不罢休, 好小子,I 服了 U。

随手不完全地统计一下,剧中含有成分:法国野史+民间传说,港式武打设计,老一点的香港武打片中各色怪异的武器,Mad Max代表的野人类型片,狼人与怪兽类恐怖片(直接抄巴斯克维尔的猎犬),宗教cult恐怖片(高潮部分很象成龙的龙兄虎弟结尾,只是不搞笑而已),跟剧情无关的妓院和裸女戏(逮到机会让Monica Bellucci 脱光,geek 男怎会错过),悬疑片,间谍片(教皇派美女扮成妓女去打探情报),兄妹乱伦(跟大仲马有关?),北美印第安人+西部小说(最后的莫西干人,还填一笔白人的天花生物武器战的历史),法国大革命!最后的结尾很吴宇森(辣手神探)。

哦,差点忘了,他还抄了莎士比亚一笔(罗密欧与朱丽叶)。当他没在抄袭经典桥段或者乱塞东西的时候,剧情就变得沉闷无比,拖拖拉拉。

在IMDB上查了一下,发现这家伙没有导过几部片子 ,其中就有日本漫画改编的 Crying Freeman,在加拿大发行过。嘿,香港也拍过这漫画的,而且片子在洋人港片迷中很有 cult 地位。

Sunday, February 27, 2011

韩国豆腐屋





这两天想吃Soondubu了,在网上搜到这家地处Annandale的豆腐屋,昨天去吃。啊,果然名不虚传。

在网上看到的这家店出售的豆腐煲照片,几乎全是石头锅外沿有洒了一些汤的痕迹,厨师也不去擦掉就上桌,仿佛宣告:我们总是斟得满满的。不知为何这个邋遢的细节令我觉得十分亲切家常,胃口有增无减。我和S同学各自点了海鲜煲和牛肉海鲜煲,拿出来也是满满登登的一碗,外沿洒了一些汤。

豆腐煲上桌时咕嘟咕嘟地滚,食客须将之前发给的生鸡蛋立刻打到汤里搅碎。滚汤的热量不至于把蛋煮得太熟,留下一种微粘的质地,跟嫩豆腐混在一起,产生“粥”样的口感。服务生问我们要多辣,我们谨慎地要了中等(第三级,共五级)。上来之后发现中等辣其实很不辣,看来下次可要求第四级。红色的调味料酸咸辣还微甜,混在鲜香的牛骨汤底中,难怪会让人上瘾。最满意的是嫩豆腐本身,质地细腻软滑,入口即化。据说是饭馆自制的新鲜豆腐 --- 可以相信,专卖豆腐煲,流量如此之大,自制豆腐不仅经济合理而且质量有保证。

点菜之前看到前后左右的豆腐煲似乎石碗甚小,份量不足,就多点了一份小型韩式烙饼作为头台。烙饼的尺寸倒是不大不小,质量一般(感觉葱不够多),吃完之后再上豆腐煲。看上去只是小小一碗,实际上却挺深的,舀啊舀啊舀不完,奋力吃完之后差点瘫倒在椅子上。回家之后倒头睡了两个钟头,一下午报废掉 --- 想必是吃得太多,胰岛素狂喷的结果。

出门之后顺路在韩国超市买了一袋Soondubu汤料、四管嫩豆腐、一盒冻蚶肉、一盒金针菇,打算平时晚上在家做模仿版 --- 当然不能替代豆腐屋的新鲜豆腐和真汤真料,只是在下班之后无暇去Annandale时聊以自慰罢了。

豆腐屋的装潢和服务跟他们的菜单一样简洁明了没有累赘,很有街坊小店的气氛。食客中固然大多年纪不等的韩裔顾客,从一家两代三口到一帮更习惯讲英文的第二代孩子,也有无需韩友领路的洋人顾客,坐在我右边一桌的一对亚裔情人,二十来岁,一开口说是越南话。我照例东张西望,发现最好玩的地方在于店内墙纸密密麻麻地写满了字,细看仿佛是许多书页糊上去的,书中印的是竖排毛笔字,中文夹杂韩文。S同学问我写的是啥,我耐下性子读了一段,原来是用中文解释韩文的教科书,啥啥是水桶的意思,啥啥是牛的意思,且有发音指导。不过,中文部分是用半古文写的,我看得也吃力。仿佛与墙纸吻合,桌上立着的菜单卡一面印了韩文+英文,一面印了中文。

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Magician's Assistant (TBC)

Gregory spotted the lone woman as soon as he strolled into the club. She was sitting by herself at a table near the door, sipping on a glass of sherry and reading newspapers. She could hardly be called beautiful, with an oblong, narrow face, a sharp nose, and a long, thin neck. Yet her luscious chestnut hair, piled on her head like a crown, gave her a certain sensuality in the dim light of the shabby place.

As small and shabby as "The Bush Club" is, it is the best and only club for the few Englishmen unfortunate enough to end up in this god-forsaken land of dust and cows, and nothing else.

A native in waiter's uniform came up to Gregory. "Whiskey with lots of ice," he said, wiping the sweat on his face with a handkerchief. The nightfall barely diminished the brutal heat that seemed to penetrate every hidden corner of this country. He approached the woman's table. "May I sit down, Madam?" He bowed slightly and turned on his smile. "All the other tables have been taken."

She looked up and around the nearly empty room and smiled back, "Of course. Please do." Gregory saw that she had olive-colored skin and a hint of foreign accent in her voice.

The waiter brought him the drink before he sat down. He took a self-conscious sip and sighed, leaning back in his rickety chair. "I don't remember seeing you around here, and, trust me, I know every white person within a hundred miles."

"Ah, but I all about know you, Mr. Best, the writer, the journalist, the chronicler of the peaceful transition of a colony. I have read many of your articles in the Times," she said. There was a twinkle in her eyes that, Gregory decided, was admiration rather than irony. He also noticed randomly scattered green specks in her brown iris.

He took another sip at the whiskey with obligatory modesty. "You're too kind." He put the glass down on the little wooden table with peeling paint, then remembered that his own question had been evaded. "You look a bit familiar, but I can't quite place it ..."

"That should be my line, shouldn't it?" She tilted her head slightly to one side. "After all, you are the celebrity. Nevertheless, let me introduce myself. I'm Mrs. Moretti." She extended her hand.

Gregory took and held it for a smidge longer than was necessary. "Is Mr. Moretti here as well?" He asked.

"Mr. Moretti is probably still on his coffee farm in Rhodesia, unless he went back to the Riviera," she waved a hand dismissively. "Do you mind if I smoke?" Before he could answer, she took out a cigarette and began fishing for a lighter in her purse.

"Allow me," Gregory hurried to take out his own gold lighter from the inside pocket of his jacket and moved closer.

Raising his head in the mist of her first quick puffs, he was captured by her eyes, gazing at him directly and intently. A flutter passed from his chest to the tips of his fingers as she put her right hand over his and brushed it lightly. Before he knew it, his lighter disappeared from his own grip and re-appeared in her left hand. She rolled it around among her long and delicate fingers and observed it with interest. The polished surface of the lighter reflected the dim light in the room, sparkling almost like a jewel.

"How did you do that? I didn't even feel you taking it." Gregory marveled. "You have such quick and soft fingers."

"I'm not a professional thief, if that's what you think," Mrs. Moretti chuckled. "Once upon a time I spent a few months with a magician and played his assistant on stage."

"Oh, where was that?" He asked.

"England," she took another draw on the cigarette and blew it out. "Before the war."

"Are you English?"

She thought about it for a moment. "Hmm, a little bit. I was born in the West Indies."

Curiouser and curiouser. Gregory downed his drink and waved at the waiter for another one. She ordered a gin and tonic.

"What is a fascinating woman doing at the forgotten edge of the world?" Gregory pondered. "There is nothing but dead grass and unbearable heat."

"What is a famous English writer doing here?" She responded with a question. "Merely to witness your Empire handing its power to the native chiefs? Such events are hardly news any more."

Gregory shrugged. His eyes drifted to the left and fell on a photograph hanging on the wall. He replied absently, "It's a job, I suppose. But I'm so sick and tired of this dreary little country that I don't think I'll have the patience to hang around for another couple of months. Actually, I've arranged to leave for Nairobi tomorrow."

"Understandable," she said. "The Empire herself couldn't wait to get rid of this useless little patch of land. Colonialism is such a losing business nowadays."

Gregory searched his mind for a new topic to change to. He glanced at her and saw that her eyes were still fixed on him intently. Perhaps this would not need to be a one-night stand.

"So, you have not talked yourself at all," he noted. "What has brought such a refined lady to this useless little place?"

"Friendship," she answered vaguely. "A friend of mine is moving down here soon and asked me to scout around, maybe buy a house for her."


(TBC)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Before the Dawn

这是虚构小说,不用解释了吧?
****

"I'm sorry," I whispered to Jim standing next to me.

The night sky glowed red, as if re-broadcasting the fires that burned downtown during the riot a few weeks ago. But tonight it was just the city lights, or so I hoped.

He let out a disappointed grunt, his face twisted with misery.

"I'm feeling as bad as you are," I said. "But I can't stay any longer."

Across the shaded residential street, I could see televisions flickering in the living room of nearly every house. The Dobsons, particularly, had turned their TV's volume way up, blasting crowd's cheers from Dayton, Tennessee, as if sending a message to the whole neighborhood, or perhaps only to Jim and me, the only nonwhite couple living on this street. A booming male voice drifted into the night, stirring the bare branches around us ---

"As the President, I will fulfill every promise I have made to the people of this great nation. I will not let the Godless, Socialist, slant-eyed monkeys threaten our way of life ..."

The first Tuesday of November. The acceptance speech of the Nationalist Party's candidate.

I turned around and walked into my house --- mine for a few more hours --- and continued to pack the suitcase. It was a small black one that would hold, at most, a week's clothes. I would need to live on more, a lot more, but I couldn't worry about that now. The most important things, my birth certificate, passport, and bank cards, had already been tucked away in the hidden chamber behind Ricky's battery slot in his chest.

In a corner of the room, Ricky stood quietly, his rechargeable battery plugged into the wall socket. His eyes were green, suggesting that he had been fully charged but not turned on. I unplugged him and pressed a button in his left palm.

"Hello, Mistress." His mechanical voice greeted me. He smiled and gazed my face with his large round eyes.

"Please go to the car and wait for me," I said with a strained voice. Ricky could discern sarcasms and puns in human speech, but not emotions in the voice. He walked toward the door obediently, as he always did. I patted his rubber skin on the back.

A pair of arms gently wrapped me from behind. "You're finally dumping me," Jim sighed. "I have been waiting for this for almost twenty years."

"That's not fair," I wanted to get out of his hold but could find no strength to do so. His warmth, for just a few more moment. I closed my eyes and said bitterly, "It's your own choice."

He released me and stomped around the room. "I told you I cannot leave. They promised to protect me." He paused a moment and said, "Besides, I'm not really Chinese."

Anger rose within me. I pointed at the wall, where "Go home Chinks!" was spray-painted on the outside days ago, and yelled at Jim, "Tell it to the motherfuckers when they come for you, and see if they give a flying fuck that you are just a fake Chinese!"

Jim looked stricken. He shook his head: "They have promised to protect us. How much safer can you get?"

"Fuck your Agency," I cursed under my breath. "They can't find a balloon up their own ass." I took a deep breath and added, "Ricky will protect me. He's no chopped liver."

He knew and I knew that his employer would never let him go. He knew too much. This was the legal mafia, after all. When the Nationalist Party won the majority seats in the Congress two years ago, they correctly foresaw today's election outcome and took away Jim's passport, as well as the passports of all employees who were ethnically Asian. No exceptions. They even wanted to take mine, but I gave them my old, expired passport and claimed that I had lost the new one.

I went up to Jim and put my arms around his paunch, and laid my face in the crook of his shoulder. I held on to him like a drowning person desperately clinging to a piece of driftwood. I had done that countless times in the past two decades. For a moment I was paralyzed. He held me tightly. Finally, I pulled myself out of the trap.

"Come and find me in Vancouver," I said. Snapping shut the suitcase, I moved toward the door. "Come before they start the war."

Chopin

被人推荐一部肖邦传记片,A Song to Remember (1945)

联想到以前看到过另一部晚一点的肖邦传记片,狗了一下发现是 Impromptu (1991)。一看男主角是 Hugh Grant,胃口立刻倒掉十分之九 ...

最近打算把 Apollo's Angels 找来瞅瞅,还想找本儿 Duke Ellington 的传记。

虽然对古典音乐兴趣不大,但是每次在电台上撞到肖邦和拉赫玛尼诺夫的钢琴曲多半喜欢。

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

电视剧系列看完了。好好看,跟小说原著相比不仅各有千秋而且有互补的感觉。

除了Anthony Minghella 的精心制作之外,演员特别好。



Anita Noni Rose 是美国舞台演员,曾获 Tony 奖(而且是 Tony Kushner 的剧!)。



演 Note Makoti 的 Colin Salmon 是唯一一个我认得出的卡司成员,最早看见他是在 Prime Suspect 里面,演 Helen Mirren 的下属兼恋人。现在也老了,有肚腩了。

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Longest Year: Big Boss Unhappy, Everyone In Doo-doo.

The big boss was not happy.

Mr. J is the head of the largest, most lucrative division in this massive organization, wielding the largest budget and commanding a fleet of the most experienced employees. His power is the envy of the organization.

With graying hair, an unremarkable face, and an expected paunch, Mr. J looks every day of his 55 years of age, perhaps a few months more. He has a flat voice that tends to ramble on and drift into a hypnotic drone in meetings when he has the floor. The eyes were too dull to penetrate his thick glasses and too unfocused to engage people to whom he speaks. There is neither force nor conviction in this man.

In other words, he is the perfect head of this high-profile division.

Today, his irritation was provoked by the article being read, at the moment, by the Boss Lady whom we shall call Ms. B from here on. In the article, the authors criticized the organization for one of the defects in their products --- by no means the only defect, but it is always easier to conduct a study and collect concrete data on just one defect at a time. This defect happened to be on the periphery of Ms. B's turf.

It was one of the rare moments that Ms. B. wished she had been a little less aggressive in her own turf-grabbing greed. In this oversized division within this massive organization, nobody knows the exact boundary of any responsibility any more. People slug around in half-blindness until they hit someone or, more often, Mr. J. parachutes one of his honchos onto someone's turf because he is unhappy with the guy who has been occupying this patch. Ms. B is an enthusiastic trooper and, in recent years, has expanded her colony quite a bit with Mr. J.'s backing.

"We should make it a priority to correct this problem," said Ms. B, knowing her boss's mind down to his every predictable thought.

"No kidding," Mr. J spat out a low grunt. Although nothing short of murdering an employee on the premise would make a dent on his position, Mr. J does not like to lose face in public. An old friend he went to medical school with had forwarded him this article, published in a rather obscure journal --- He had always suspected this friend had been jealous of his success, but this felt nevertheless like a personal slight.

"We gotta do something," he gave the order and waved Ms. B out of the office.

Ms. B's entire career in this organization has been built on such vague orders. She had a preternatural gift for pulling solid FTEs and real power out of the bosses' vacuous brain and airy orders like this.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Mechanic



这片儿本身倒没什么,很典型的Oedipus式男性神话。(说实在的,本来我是不怎么信弗医生那一套的,架不住男人们总是飞蛾扑火地不停地证明他的理论。)不过还是挺好看的,主要在于干脆利落绝不罗嗦的剪辑和动作段落,复古的grainy画面和色彩(因为是重拍70年代Charles Bronson的老片子),新奥尔良的外景,Ben Foster的表演(这孩子挺有意思的)。这种纯阳刚片儿总是难免 homoerotic subtext,在这里还干脆自己承认了一下。

不过说到底我最喜欢的成分还是在soundtrack,有一些New Orleans的地方色彩,而不是动作片老一套的轰隆轰隆。影片中心的一段曲子,反复出现,是 舒伯特 Piano Trio No. 2 in E Flat Major,相当好听而且在这个环境下里面很有个性。在 YouTube 上翻了翻,发现这首曲子在好几部片子里出现过,很受现代电影人的欢迎嘛 ...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Patrik, Age 1.5



这片儿去年跟 The Kids Are All Right 一起出来,题材相似,都是讲一对同性恋爱人跟孩子的话题,实际上说是家庭伦理片也不为过,而且,两部片子都是女导演拍的。

说来也奇怪,异性配偶的家庭伦理片现在几乎已经绝迹,只有在独立制作的小片里才会偶然出现,而且几乎全是负面、失败、depressing、或反讽批判的基调。温馨煽情的家庭故事需要同性恋配偶这样的猎奇元素才有市场。

看完了回顾一下,不仅感叹,上次看到这么sappy这么温情主义感伤主义的片儿不知道是哪年哪月了!故事一开始,一对婚了的 couple 搬到疑似 Betty Draper 家所属的郊区带草坪的独立屋,面目模糊的中年邻居,吵闹淘气的街坊小孩儿们,精心修剪的草坪,满街一色一样的房子,小区居委会和 Neighborhood Watch,让人以为回到了六十年代初的美国而不是当代瑞典 --- 除了这对 couple 是弯男以外。年轻点儿、肚腩小点儿、刚开始谢顶的是Goren,刚毕业的医生,在附近的诊所里坐镇;年纪老点儿、肚腩大点儿的、谢顶已经无药可救的是Sven,在城里的公司做中层管理之类。Goren 是母鸡性格,想养个孩子都快想疯了,向社会福利局申请领养;Sven 则正处于中年危机阶段,因为以前婚过,女儿都十五六岁了,对重温育儿过程毫无兴趣,只是为了敷衍爱人才跟着他闹腾。这真是太传统了!比传统夫妻还传统一百倍!

外国孩子不许让同性家庭领养,只好等瑞典孤儿。两人坐在社工面前哀求“瑞典孩子也成啊,丹麦的也成”,Sven 翻翻白眼嘀咕 “丹麦的还是不必了” --- 典型的瑞典冷笑话,把我给笑坏了。盼啊盼,终于盼来通知,他们得到一个1.5岁的男孩子 Patrik,Goren喜滋滋地装修幼儿房间,结果等来的是个15岁的半大小子!原来社会福利局的信里多了个标点符号,Patrik 不仅15岁,而且是个不良少年,满嘴粗口,进出少教所,没有家庭肯收他,才会丢给一对弯男申请人的。

Patrik 一出现,Goren 和 Sven 之间的矛盾立刻浮上表面且激化,闹到要掰的地步。然后呢,就是一系列的折腾啦,来来回回。其实很多桥段都是有点俗套似曾相识的,不过伴有冷幽默的处理,以及毫不羞愧的温情脉脉,让我看得津津有味,有时吃吃骇笑,但绝不会冒出仰天大笑。从纸面上看,情节是非常煽情的,一不小心就变成美式肥皂剧,可是在这里,由剧本到表演都是北欧电影特有的克制和低调处理,经常来点荒诞和灰色的笑料,避免了糖浆骺死人的效果 --- 这就是为什么我对北欧喜剧片儿很没有抵抗力呀。

导演 Ella Lemhagen 大约是故意要引用/致敬美国的郊区中产阶级家庭伦理戏传统 (Pleasantville, Little Children, The Stepford Wives),甚至用了许多美国乡村歌曲(Sven 的恶趣味),更增加了影片中一种几乎时空错乱的奇异效果。

影片中最令人难以置信的情节不是 Goren 和 Sven 的关系,或者 Sven 的前妻跟二人的友谊 --- 这些都极其正常,满大街都是这种离了婚后找到第二春且有点自我中心还有点不甘平淡的异性恋中年男人 --- 而是 Patrik 这个小坏蛋!其实一点都不坏,甚至长了根绿拇指,而且爱劳动,没扮两天坏小子就急速蜕变成人见人爱善解人意的小可爱,没有一点不良少年的影子。难道瑞典的 juvenile delinquents 都是这么孬种吗咩哈哈!

总之比 The Kids Are All Right 好看,我喜欢。

******

随手查了一下 IMDB,发现演 Goren 的 Gustaf Skarsgard 竟然演过年轻时代的 Kurt Wallander (Pyramid),吐血,这片儿我一直找不到英文字幕版。演 Sven 的前妻的女演员也非常眼熟。瑞典演艺界真不大。

Thursday, February 17, 2011

一千零一夜




一个朋友的爸爸送给她本地剧院 Arena Stage 的季票,全套是双人份的。她邀请我一起看其中之一,今晚看了当代剧作家 Mary Zimmerman 编导的 “一千零一夜”。

...

It was f**king fantastic. One of the best plays I have seen. My mind was blown into tiny pieces. Right now I'm overwhelmed and speechless.

Fundamentally, it is about the transformative power of stories, about how they make us human.

Zimmerman chose a string of unfamiliar stories from 1001 Nights to populate the play and thus grips the audience's attention from the first moment to the last. They made me laugh, made me cry, and touched my heart. The stories are so rich and so intimate and so raw and so full of humanity, with all its follies and tenderness and exhilaration.

Even before the King put down his knife, we were already thoroughly convinced that, after hearing the stories, he could not help but change from a murderer and tyrant to a ... human being. Because, you see, the power of stories is connecting us in a deep way. If stories from hundreds of years ago and a world away about lives of people so foreign and strange can make us gasp in recognition --- That is exactly how I feel too! --- then we no longer feel alone inside our head.

A lonely mind is a man locked in solitary confinement in an empty prison for life. Even the introverts need to feel connected in some way with others and need to share one's emotions, intellect, and heart with others. Since telepathy has not grown out of our evolution, the best and most reliable way to access our fellow humans mind and heart is actually fiction, not talking face to face. In passing along the stories we learn from our ancestors, we bare our soul with each other and never feel alone.

It is this connection with others, which Scheherazade builds brick by brick, story after story, in the king's mind and heart, that pulls him out of his spiritual seclusion and back into humanity, that breathes life into his stony soul.

It is this connection with others that gives us our humanity. It is why we need stories like we need air and water and food, and that without stories we are alone and lost.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Delayed Withdrawal

过了三星期,今天突然被 withdrawal symptoms 啪地击中脑门。好想念全美锦标赛,好想念现场看比赛的气氛。啊我不行了,上瘾越来越厉害了~~

猜想原因,恐怕跟明天开始的四大洲比赛 (4 Continent Championships) 有点关系。今年的四大洲在台北的小巨蛋体育馆举行。为了推广花样滑冰运动,举办单位决定发票不要钱,结果,因为参赛者包括不少就近出来练兵的日本顶尖选手(今年三月的世锦赛在东京举行),女单项目票子被几千个日本冰迷迅速抢光。

因为本地没有花样滑冰的基础和师资,代表台湾本土参赛的选手,几乎全是在美国生长和训练的华裔小孩子。

Monday, February 14, 2011

Soul Kitchen




看到一半的时候我忍不住想:这德国喜剧有点象香港喜剧片哎。然后自问:为什么觉得象香港喜剧片呢?看到高潮时终于想明白了,是因为它看样子是没有剧本现拍现编出来的!

跟香港喜剧片差不多,Soul Kitchen 里面信手捻来各种眼熟的桥段: 脾气很大而得罪顾客的烹饪高手,败家子惹麻烦的亲兄弟,奸诈狡猾跟男主角作对的地产商(电影里有过地产商是好人的么?),如此等等。但是涅,几乎每个 cliche 又给你一点小小的 twist,即使知道是俗套仍然被他们逗得咯咯傻笑。

看完之后查了查演职员背景,原来是两个从小一起混大的死党好友鼓捣出来的作品。编剧+导演是土耳其裔德国影人 Fatih Akin,据说是国际影界中的一粒新星,我没看过他的其他作品;编剧+男主 Adam Bousdoukos 是希腊裔德国演员,在厨房里打过杂,对 "culinary industry" 有一定了解。

Bousdoukos 演的男主在一个破旧的厂房里开了一家 ... 只能称为食堂的东西,成天卖薯条汉堡,面拖鱼条,冷冻劈叉饼之类的垃圾食品,居然顾客盈门。偶然遇到而请来一个烹饪大师,做出精美佳肴,老顾客们因为吃不到垃圾食品都愤而离去。我很小人心地想,这是希腊、土耳其移民后代对德国口味的看法乎?

比较遗憾的是,剧情自此偏离“烹饪类型剧”的套路,没有提供太多的 food porn 镜头,而是混杂进各种各样的 screwball 喜剧元素,好处在于让观众猜不到下一步往什么方向走,但是走了以后又不觉得很意外。总体一直能保持讨人喜欢的程度,还是因为编导和演员们都对人物很有感情,演出来温情脉脉,观众也就心甘情愿地跟着他们瞎起哄。

不过呢,说来说去,这片儿最大的卖点在于它的 attitude: 它很 hip!第一是场景的美工设计,饭馆的设定是汉堡城外貌似破落工业区的旧仓库,宽敞而破旧的木墙木地板油漆剥落,里面摆了一溜一溜的木凳木桌,配上精美高级的菜肴,真是爽啊。另有一个内景是间巨宽敞的 loft apartment,在很有古意的老房子顶层,哇,太诱人了。第二是音乐,既然片名就叫 Soul Kitchen,当然少不了美国的 soul, R&B 类型经典歌曲,除此之外还混进了一些很欧洲的 techno 摇滚和非常希腊的音乐!剧中有几场仓库摇滚乐队和舞厅的戏,每场都很劲,连我这种平时对摇滚和舞厅毫无兴趣的人都看得直流口水。还有黑胶唱片呢,哇,实在是太拉风了。

最后一点加分完全是我自己的口味:男主虽然不算胖,但是有点肉滚滚的样子加肚腩(甚至有几个半裸镜头),让我好感倍增。

创作团队的混杂文化背景,制造出影片的乱炖风格,我对这种兴高采烈的大杂烩很没有抵抗力。Food movies are sort of like what Woody Allen said about pizza and sex. Can't go too wrong.

Reputation

My boss has a reputation.

In a large organization like this, people tend to float from one corner to another, and carrying with them gossips and rumors. So long-timers of any consequence (i.e., power) all have their own reputations. As we Chinese say, "Good words goes no further than the door, but bad words have wings and spread like a plague."

Some months ago, someone from another department interviewed for a position in our department. After the interview she respectfully withdrew her application. A few weeks ago I ran into her in the elevator and we chatted a bit. Without my asking she volunteered the reason for her withdrawal.

"Your boss has a reputation," she shrugged.

I nodded encouragingly.

"Everyone I know told me she has a reputation and discouraged me from working for her," she said.

I smiled a noncommittal smile.

Apparently, the interview with the boss confirmed her worries and led to the withdrawal. Nevertheless, several months later, she wanted to ask me about the specifics of my job. She admitted that she is considering re-applying for our vacancy, which had remained vacant since. One need not be a psychic to know that the condition in her own department has become so intolerable that even the reputation is insufficient to deter her from jump from the boiling pot to the frying pan.

Unfortunately, managers who have a reputation are everywhere.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Any Human Heart

PBS begins showing it this week in 3 episodes.

I'm enjoying Matthew MacFadyen's voice, of course.

Mrs. Simpson is played by Gillian Anderson!

告白




前阵子听说了这本极其轰动的推理小说和改编电影。小说在网上很容易找到下载,电影尚未在北美发行。

小说很短,很快就看完了。一边看一边可以明白这本书为什么如此轰动:作者描述的各种恶意和害人的动机与行为,实在太TMD“正常”了,简直是司空见惯。让我吃惊的是,在美国学校里极其普遍的行为和现象原来在文化与系统完全两样的日本学校里如出一辙,说明这些都是基本人性的体现嘛。欺软怕硬、mob mentality、丑恶的童年、成人的谎言,这些东西跟民族或文化有个屁关系,只要是人类混在一起的圈子里有这些倾向和行为。

很多书评将之与“罪与罚”相提并论,我倒是立刻想到了Lord of the Flies。儿童表现出互相攻击和互相陷害的倾向,不过是永存的天性,成年人竭力遮掩之,制造“人之初性本善”的神话,安慰自己的惴惴心情。在学校里只要落了单就遭到群起而攻之(孤立隔绝也是群起攻之的一种)的现象,不论中外都是无所不在的现象,恐怕每个上过学的人都记得,即使未曾当过受害者也当过加害者或是心惊肉跳的旁观者。被欺负和群攻的受害者也不是天然的纯洁羔羊,人性中的攻击性引导受害者去找更软弱的靶子加害之发泄之。

小说而且狠狠地讽刺和揭露了一下 “为人师表” 和 “无私母爱” 的神话。女主角对教师职业和“纯洁少年”之类的看破与无动于衷,神神叨叨、外号“维特”的男老师看励志片儿看多了,以及把儿子一脚踢开自己去追求幸福人生的母亲,在成年人里也实在太正常太普遍了。只是,这些人性的弱点---真的很难讲里面有一个真正意义上的坏人,因为每个人物的动机都没有什么特别之处,换了你一定能比他们更高尚吗?---决不能让未成年人知道,所以必须用各种神话来粉刷和骗人,例如励志电视剧和“灵魂工程师”之类。

所以呀,这部长度只能称为中篇的小说的确是精彩佳作,它之所以让读者个个心惊肉跳,因为他们在里面看见了自己,无处躲藏。

Bad Boss Anecdote

昨天跟一个曾在美驻台“办事处”工作过两年多,目前住在夏威夷的朋友。现在我们有了类似的工作经验,忍不住互相交换了一下恶老板的故事。

她在“办事处”的顶头上司是新闻参赞,一个中年女,“一无所长”,incompetent, back-stabbing, self-centered, vicious, universally despised. 毫无意外的是,这种人在政府机构中照例扶摇直上,外交部也好,药品管理局也好,政界也好,皆是如此,而且爬得越高越可以肆无忌惮。

"Her only remarkable talent is that she dressed beautifully and always looked like a million dollars," said my friend. "She *looked* like a proper diplomat."

One day, she was to give a formal report to the ambassador. She was always nervous about public speaking (How someone with lesser public-speaking skills got the job is anyone's guess) and usually sent her subordinates to deal with the press, but she could not wiggle out of reporting to the ambassador, who despised her and she knew it, which made her even more nervous. In such meetings she always rambled on uncontrollably.

In the meeting with the ambassador, my friend was sitting at the table, quietly cringing at her boss' nervous chatters. A colleague friendly with my friend and sitting next to her nudged her with an elbow and passed a note: "Follow the gaze of the ambassador."

My friend looked up at the ambassador. The ambassador was obviously neither listening to her boss' rambling nor looking at her face or eyes. Rather his eyes were fixed on her right sleeve on the table, where the tip of a pen touched, seeping blue ink into the delicate beige fabric. The ambassador remained silent with a glint of glee behind his eyes. Nobody said anything until the meeting was all over and the boss discovered the massive blue spot on her sleeve.

"How much do you have to despise a person to take such delight from watching her Chanel suit ruined?" My friend mused.

Ebert Presents

Roger Ebert 自己不能说话了,但声音可能比过去更响。除了 blog 之外,还在太太的帮助下搞了一个类似 Siskel & Ebert 的影评节目,叫做 Ebert Presents At the Movies,每周一集,目前在大部分 PBS 电视台播出,不过看网站更方便,上面有所有的影评视频。

最有趣的是两个常驻影评人: Associate Press 的 Christy Lemire 和 Mubi.com 的 Ignatiy Vishnevetsky。一男一女,一个感性一个纳德,之间很有化学作用(在镜头上讨论中的化学作用而不是 sexual tension),我很喜欢看他俩的互动与争论。他俩看电影的角度和口味有相当大的差别,所以不会每部片子都是同样的结论---总是互相附和同意多么闷呀---而是各自言之有理,给观众提供了不同而互补的观点和 insight。

这个节目另一个让我很高兴的特点是两个影评人都很年轻,他们对电影的热情自然流露出来,相当有感染力。让我回忆起自己的“激情燃烧的岁月”,颠儿颠儿地从洛杉矶谷地郊区跑到 Santa Monica 和 West Hollywood 那边追看文艺电影的年代。

I identify with Lemire's feminine sensibility and humor, and I think Vishnevetsky is adorable. :) I've always had a thing for nerds and geeks ...

Friday, February 11, 2011

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (TV)




One of the best TV series I've seen in a long time. Once I started watching the DVDs I could not stop. It makes you laugh, cry, and feel warm inside. Beautifully adapted and filmed on location in Botswana, the TV series are not only impeccably faithful to the tone and descriptions in the original books, but added a bit more realism and even grit to the stories.

If I have to guess, most of the actors are American or British. All excellent. Jill Scott, a fairly famous American jazz musician/singer, is simply perfect. I marvel at whoever did the casting because every character seems to have walked straight out of the books.

The music is also fantastic, primarily African with modern and jazz flavors.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daniel Deronda (44%)

进度虽然缓慢,吸引力却丝毫不减,从来不在书上划线的我,忍不住在一段又一段的话上highlight---Kindle的highlight功能让读者复制与下载划了线的段落---因为很多地方的描写看得我脸上热辣辣的,嘿嘿,照镜子一样看见自己了。

例如,大小姐Gwendolen这个人物,因为美貌而被周围的人娇纵坏了,当家道忽然中落时,突发奇想,找来专业音乐家问:我想去演艺界发展,怎么样?前途是否可观?音乐家冷笑答道:你以为唱唱歌跳跳舞,天生丽质,就有人往你身上砸钱了?哼,你从来都是玩玩票的业余爱好者而已,而搞艺术是要流很多汗都不一定有回报的工作。是工作!不是玩,OK?上流社会老以为搞艺术多么容易,贵族不过是不屑跟下等人抢饭碗而已,真要做一定出人投地,都是看人挑担不吃力。作者旁白:大小姐长到芳龄二十一,从来没有努力钻研和训练过任何东西,总有人吹捧她才艺双全,令她产生自己只要肯屈尊便能出名成就的幻觉。

我看得冷汗刷刷流:George Eliot 她这是在讲写小说当作家呢。以为写小说好容易,自己随时可以写出战争与和平只是俗务缠身没空下笔而已,这样想的人实在多得要命,随便丢块石头出去就能砸到半打自以为肚子里有几本伟大小说的人,而且,而且,我不敢说我不是此类幼稚幻想者之一。

*******

书中对女性、钱、阶级的描述,拿到现在都不过时,只能让人感叹百多年之后大众思想仍没赶上她。

大小姐家道中落,差点沦为家庭教师,当中作者顺手讥刺了一下简爱,让我差点笑出声来。
Some beautiful girls who, like her, had read romances where even plain governesses are centres of attraction and are sought in marriage, might have solaced themselves a little by transporting such pictures into their own future;

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Signs

Walking down the long and winding hallways, I like to crane my neck and take in the window decorations and other personal touches that distinguish the monotonous, cookie-cutter offices. On the sixth floor alone, I have seen at least 2 signs posted on office doors (facing outward, not inward) that sum up the general mood around here ---

"I keep hitting the 'Esc' button, but I'm still here."

"Tell me again how lucky I am to work here. I keep forgetting it."

Monday, February 7, 2011

鸣谢

... 婷婷同学,分享了一个网站上通风报信,Amazon 提供两块钱的 MP3 download gift card。我赶紧上去下了两首Duke Ellington的曲子。

Sunday, February 6, 2011

怪阿姨收集



Nathan Chen: At the grand old age of 11, Nathan is not only a 2-time national Novice champion, but also trains in gymnastics, ballet, and plays hockey and the piano.



Jason Brown: In his first year competing on the senior level, 16-year-old Jason Brown placed 9th overall in an extremely competitive field, without a triple Axel but with possibly the best musicality and one of the best skating skills among the best U.S. male skaters.



Emmanuel Savary: He is 13 and has a solid triple flip-triple toe loop combination jump. He competed on the junior level for the first time at this Nationals and placed a very respectable 5th among much-bigger young men 17-20 years old. Both he and his brother/coach are avid figure skating fans --- They watched more practices and competitions during the Nationals than I did.

Besides the athleticism and high quality, they are all so adorable. :D Link

High Art



When I first saw this movie during the beginning of my independent/arthouse/foreign movies phase, I did not get it at all --- lesbianism, drug use, New York City artists' circle, etc., all of which went way over my head then.

Now I get it. But one must admit that Lisa Cholodenko was very subtle throughout the film: jokes about the artsy photography magazine's editors, for example, and the sexual tension among three women. As a first-time feature film director, she made quite a splash with this debut. It was beautifully shot and wonderfully acted. Ally Sheedy and Patricia Clarkson were particularly warmly received by critics.

Yet, despite the unusual restraint and delicacy she showed in nearly the entire movie, Cholodenko couldn't help herself and threw in a melodramatic ending. Over a decade later, she had the same difficulty in wrapping up a relatively complicated and ambiguous story, and resorted to a simplistic and unsatisfying ending in "The Kids are All Right."

There is a huge amount of drug use depicted in the movie, as the main character was loosely based on the actual photographer Nan Goldin. Nevertheless, in the end the filmmaker made her stand very clear --- Drug abuse is bad for you. Stay in school, kids! Odd, isn't it, that American movies are nearly always compelled to make their moral position on this issue newly-polished crystal clear, just in case some impressionable youths come out of theaters with the mistaken notion that drug abuse is cool. Even a goofy loser comedy like "Pineapple express" and an indie movie about decadent New York art scenes like "High Art" could not escape the obligation to reiterate mainstream American values.

--- Not that I don't feel obligated to make the same disclaimer myself: Stay in school and don't do drugs, kids.

全美锦标赛记录

2011年是我第一次去现场看全美锦标赛,之前看过两次世锦赛(2003年DC,2009年LA)。这才发现全美的气氛和感受跟世锦赛完全不同,更亲近更长更累。

看到一半时,我跟一个早先就认识的DC地区冰迷叹气说,明年去不去San Jose呢?对方冷笑一声:你对花样滑冰这么起劲,还能忍得住不去看Nationals?她和另一个本地冰迷都是年年去现场看全美锦标赛已多年,明年的全套票,去年就买好了。看现场比赛真的容易上瘾,因为那些选手,特别是小孩子们,让你牵缠挂肚,老想着明年谁会退休去升学了,谁会留下来继续努力,如此等等。今年失望了的那些,明年会不会扭转呢?今年登顶的,明年会不会掉下去?Jason Brown 会不会掌握 triple Axel,Josh Farris 会不会另找教练,Nathan Chen 上了junior能拿到第几名, McNamara/Carpenter 会不会留在一起,Baker 会不会长高长壮,Pham 兄妹都还没见过呢,还有Parsons 兄妹,等等。年年看到他们成长和变化,有种“看着他们长大”的幻觉。

现场的观众里一半左右是亲友团,另有四分之一是圈内人士(教练啦、选手啦、裁判啦、退役选手啦),只有少数是我们这样疯狂的纯冰迷怪阿姨。总体来说,现场的观众和气氛,跟网上的在家看电视的普通冰迷与观众的态度根本两样。在家看电视和网上的直播,在论坛上放放厥词放放马后炮的冰迷,大多把选手当成暂时的、抽象的符号来看,或者是自我形象投射的载体和寄托,很少看他们如独立存在的真人,不能想象选手们自有性格和比赛之外的人生,一年又一年的连贯性。当然从电视里也无法感到当场的热烈与亲密的气氛。

跟看世锦赛不同的地方是,场内到处挤满了亲友团,随时可撞见选手们的家人,所以平时即使在场外也最好不要乱讲话,特别是批评选手,不知身边坐的是谁的三姑八姨。最后一日中午在场馆里的小吃部买零食,在我前面排队的中年太太特别眼熟,我模糊地记得好像是Alexe Gilles,就不好意思跟她搭话---因为Alexe的成绩不佳。结果她走开之后我突然想起不是的!Gilles 的妈妈是个高大金发女,但这个瘦小黑发女是 Agnes Zawadzki 的妈妈。Agnes 成绩不错,女单第四名,不过她跟她妈妈完全不象,Agnes 高大而且头发是金褐色的。总之经常是一不小心就坐在某选手的亲妈或者姨妈身边,听见各种生活轶事,立刻就拉近了跟选手的距离。看世界锦标赛,参赛者大部分不认识,最多在电视上见过几次而已。看全国赛就很难保持冷漠旁观的态度,因为这些小孩儿和家属们显得更像街坊大院儿混个脸熟的邻居而不是可远远审视、无情评判的陌生人。

因为同去的冰迷认识男单选手 Keegan Messing 的姨婆 Amy (他外婆的姊妹),我也顺带着跟她们混在一起。Amy 是魁北克出生的日裔加拿大人,Keegan 的妈是日加混血,加拿大籍,嫁了美国人。我跟 Amy 开玩笑说,Keegan 可以代表加拿大比赛嘛 --- 其实也不算玩笑,Keegan 在加拿大男单里混个第二希望很大。Amy 自己是铁杆冰迷,刚刚看完一星期的全加锦标赛,回家之后立刻开长途车从多伦多赶来看全美,忙死了。我们就讨论了一下美国与加拿大的各种差别。例如,加拿大 的场馆比较小,票也便宜很多很多,大概只有全美的四分之一价钱;加拿大的场馆不禁止观众自带食物和水入场,场内也没那么多卖服装卖冰鞋卖冰刀的各种生财之道。加拿大没有那么多的选手,平均水平没那么高,地区选拔赛竞争没这么激烈 --- 我说那当然,你们全国人口才多少啊,基数的差别而已。另一个巨大的差别是加拿大的孩子几乎从来不换教练!都是从小跟到退役就一个教练。当年Kurt Browning从Edmunton搬到多伦多就是一件大新闻。在美国,换教练已经是家常便饭。我说你们加拿大里有不少人滑行技术不错哦;她说你们会三周 跳的孩子好多啊。

最有趣的是,看比赛的时候,Amy 观察道:你们观众不怎么鼓掌么,要求高哈。我们是选手跳成了也鼓掌,摔倒了更鼓掌 --- 大家都心疼小孩子嘛 --- 而且做了旋转也鼓掌,做了步法也鼓掌,什么小事儿都会给选手鼓掌的。你们就只是做成了高难动作才会鼓掌一下。(我心想,美国观众太笨,也看不出步法的好坏高低。)这跟我在加拿大看国际比赛的感受很一致:加拿大现场观众特别心软,经常给所有的选手特别鼓励,尤其是是技术或发挥差的选手。加拿大观众常常有“过分护犊”的名声,对自己的选手不论水平高低一律提供强烈呵护,而美国观众比较在意的是成功与名次(而且美国人的态度经常是只看得见金牌,其他都是尘土),对失误与失败者冷漠加鄙视。技术动作失误多半受到千夫指,全场最多惊呼一声,很少有掌声鼓励。

然后我们还提及加拿大的训练中心很少,除了Ontario省有几个有名的,就数魁北克比较厉害了,年年名列前茅的男单女单大多是魁北克省出来的。我说British Columbia省还有个 Joanne McLeod 很有名,她摇摇头说不喜欢McLeod这个人 --- 跟我过去听到的谣言差不多,加拿大冰迷似乎普遍不喜欢她,也不知是人品问题还是什么。我旁敲侧击地问了下,Amy 也不肯解释,不肯提供负面八卦。

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pineapple Express



这片儿基本上没什么可讨论的。普遍被称为 stoner action comedy,但其实主题可以说是教育青少年抽草是不好的,不要抽草。典型的 Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg 套路的搞笑 bromance。

说起来 bromance 在好莱坞主流电影中并不罕见,只是过去被叫做 "buddy movies",而 Apatow 和 Rogen 几位摊开来承认此类影片中的男性友谊,并且后现代主义地拿 homoerotic undertone 开一把玩笑。

当然 Rogen 和 James Franco 两位主角很有笑料,不过看下来我觉得倒是给他们陪衬的配角 Danny McBride (Red) 更棒,他的台词更无厘头,一本正经的喜剧效果更强。

没想到此片的导演是美国独立电影圈内最受瞩目的年轻导演之一 David Gordan Green (我看过他的 Undertow,很有才华和独特风格)。

Alissa Czisny

连续两天睡足十个钟头,现在终于觉得缓过气儿来。

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我第一次看见Alissa Czisny是在2005年的Skate Canada上。她在比赛里一鸣惊人,长短节目都发挥得极其漂亮,获得了女单冠军。不仅跳跃难度高,而且旋转非常漂亮,动作和姿态都是高质量的,呼啦啦惊艳了一大片。回程是我跟她们母女坐了同一架小飞机从纽芬兰回美国,她们在最后一排,一路上Alissa文静腼腆,长得很好看,看上去比实际年纪小。她还有一个双胞胎姐妹。

Alissa 2009年春季从俄亥俄州的 Bowling Green State University 毕业,原来是学国际关系的,最后毕业时的正式主修是 Liberal Arts。她会说多种语言(西班牙语,法语,俄语),成绩很好,拿奖学金读完学位,品学兼优。

之后的几年,因为各种原因,包括伤病、修改用刃技术、性格,Alissa 的比赛表现一直非常不稳定,成绩大起大落。例如在全美锦标赛中,07年是铜牌,08年掉到第9,09年获得金牌,10年掉到第10;两次参加世锦赛都发挥很差,成绩在十名之外。她的起伏让很多满怀希望的冰迷大大失望,甚至有不少本来喜欢和期待她的本国冰迷恼羞成怒,在网上破口大骂。

我总是很喜欢她的表演,一大原因是有多次机会在现场看见她的训练和比赛(09年世锦赛和Skate Canada)。除了可以说是目前天下第一的旋转与spirals(她的柔韧性非常好) ,Alissa 的滑行技术与基础在目前的美国女单里是数一数二的,可以说跟长洲未来(2008年全美女单冠军,2010年奥运会第四名)差不多并列。遗憾的是,在大赛场合,压力和紧张心情导致她在比赛里滑行速度下降,完全没有在训练中那种飞一样的感觉,也使跳跃和其他技术动作变形,失败。

因为腼腆内向的性格,Alissa 的节目很少有那种轰隆轰隆或者娱乐性很强或者带动全场情绪高涨的效果,她一般都是走细腻优美的路线,不会太复杂、刚强、或者标新立异 --- 虽然我一般挺喜欢复杂、刚强、标新立异的女选手,不知为什么一直喜欢她。David Wilson 为她编的 Sabrina 和 Dr. Zhivago 自由滑节目都是女单比赛中的精品。

场外的口碑对Alissa 评价很好,认识的人都很爱她,满口赞美之词,说她是个好姑娘 --- 这也很奇怪,一般我这个玩世不恭的人对众口一词赞美的人都存有怀疑,因为我相信每个人都有黑暗面,太完美了不正常,但是不知道为什么(非常不科学!)看她表演我就觉得这孩子心地应该是不错的,大家都爱她也是正常的。很多圈内的前辈,尤其是 Brian Boitano (1988年奥运会男单金牌)和 Linda Leaver (Boitano 的教练)主动担任她的顾问,给她做心理和技术顾问,帮助她克服心理障碍,但效果甚微。连我这个uber粉都对她的成绩失去了希望,自下决心:好吧,我就是喜欢Alissa的技术和风格,至于她的比赛都忽略不计好了。

2010年的全美赛是Alissa滑冰生涯的最低点,不仅从前一年的金牌掉到第10名,而且参加奥运会的梦想彻底破灭。当时她已经22岁,在女单里算是“大姐”了,加上错过了四年一度的奥运会,几乎所有的人都认为她会结束花样滑冰生涯,另寻出路。但是出人意料地她离开了从小一直跟着、情同母女的教练 Julianne Berlin,转到底特律俱乐部的佐藤有香(1994年世锦赛冠军)和Jason Dungjen (前全美双人滑冠军)夫妻教练组门下,表示打算继续训练,继续比赛。然后,在2010-2011赛季中连续获得好成绩,甚至在很有压力的状况下(例如在北京举行的系列大奖赛总冠军决赛中,短节目暂时第一位领先)都没有象过去那样melt down,而是坚持住发挥自己的应有水平。 至今获得Skate Canada, Grand Prix Final 冠军,而且在全美锦标赛上短节目自由滑连续顶住压力,发挥得很好,毫无争议地夺回全美金牌,让所有观众和评论员们大跌眼镜。

如果仅仅是因为Alissa去年换了教练,本赛季连续获得好成绩,在国际与全国比赛中获得冠军,就断言说她真的变了,我还会觉得证据不足,很难讲。但是,实际上可以说她的确跟过去有明显的改变,是因为她的精神面貌不同了。

在 Alissa 和教练佐藤有香的几个访谈里,两人都直接或间接地说起 Alissa 的自信和自我形象的问题。花样滑冰是一个在心理上含有一定危险的运动,因为你的成绩一方面有硬指标,一方面有很大一部分来自外界对你的看法;前者是客观 的,而后者是主观的。所以一个选手的价值与定义常常依赖外界(裁判、公众、电视评论员),而外界的反应不一定是正确的,很可能是变形及不稳定的: 你获得好成绩就被捧到天上,一时失手就被摔到地上。一个从小就在花样滑冰内不断被外界评头论足而未来得及建立坚固稳定的自我意识与自我形象的孩子,特别是 如果她天性十分敏感,对外界传递的信号(我爱你我恨你我鄙视你我崇拜你你好美你好无用...)非常敏感,而且将它们内化,变成自我评价的一部分,就很容易将自我意识与自我形象扭曲变形。

花样滑冰是刀刃上的运动,一切都需要在极窄极窄的刃上平衡,稍有波动就会倒下去,可以说很 ... “禅”。如果一个人的内心不是非常稳定,特别是对自己的能力甚至本质没有非常稳定的看法与立场,就很容易摇摆,一摇摆就会倒下。我一直怀疑,天性敏感的选 手面对特别强的挑战,一方面,他们纤细敏锐的神经对音乐和舞蹈的细节让他们的表演特别好看,特别有感染力,特别细腻而准确;另一方面,他们对环境气氛的敏 锐影响到自己内心的稳定,导致高难技术动作,特别是跳跃,的完成质量,所以他们一般有“不稳定”常摔倒的名声。在这之上,Alissa 还有一个天性,她性格外露,在外界环境和自己内心之间非常不设防,敏感的人通常会建立一层保护自己的“心理外壳”,但是她没有,就更加容易被外界振动牵着 鼻子走,外界怀疑她的能力,就立刻转换成自我怀疑。但是不设防的特性也有好处:她在比赛和表演中的真情袒露也特别容易感染观众,所有的硬币都有两面而不是 绝对好或者坏。

而且,我猜想,她从小一直跟着Julie Berlin,一个母性很强的教练,非常呵护她保护她,给她造成一定的依赖性,也不利于发展出适应和抵抗逆境的能力,这种能力要从自己的内心建立起来才会 有用,如果一直被别人挡着也没有机会发展出来。很有趣,这是一个恶性循环,因为Alissa本来就是敏感而纤弱的特质,所以激发了周围众人想要保护她的愿 望,但是越保护照顾她,她的自我形象就越是脆弱。有香姐显然很明白这个道理,所以她一直说,Alissa must take responsibility for her own career, her skating and her life. 不是象 Tom Zakrasjek (Broadmoor Skating Club的名教练)那种粗暴的 tough love,一味把摔摔打打、批评+自我批评当成万灵药 --- 这种做法对敏感的性格完全适得其反 --- 而是温柔安全地帮助引导她建立稳定而坚强的自我意识、自我形象、自信心、独立感,替自己负责。从Alissa 在场上与场下的各种表现来看,她正在这个过程中稳步前进。我不认为她已经达到了完全自信和坚强的地步,但是显然方向是对的,而且进步十分显著。心智的成长与成熟,关系到一生幸福,令人为她大大地松口气。

所以,我终于开始相信,在今年的世锦赛上,不管最后的成绩如何,Alissa不会有过去那种自己击败自己的 melt-down。外界也许会用奖牌、名次、替美国女单拿到两个还是三个名额来衡量她的价值,但是她自己不会再全面依赖外界的评价。

Alissa Czisny 2011年全美锦标赛短节目自由滑2009年世锦赛自由滑(日瓦格医生电影原声音乐,我非常喜欢这个节目),2007年全美自由滑(Sabrina 电影原声)。

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Daniel Deronda (28%)

到家三天了,我还是没精打采,迷迷糊糊的。要缓过气来至少得一周。Nationals 可比世界锦标赛满多了,世锦赛就四项比赛(男单、女单、双人滑、冰舞),而美国的全国赛是12项(Novice, Junior, Senior 三个级别,每个级别都是四项),累死我了,不过当然是幸福的累。

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在等比赛之间的空隙里,除了吃场馆内油腻难吃而且巨昂贵的速食,偶尔会躲在暖和的地方看Kindle。Daniel Deronda 的节奏虽慢,但是渐渐地越来越有趣。先是拿女主做文章:“她能否钓到金龟婿?” 诱惑读者往“傲慢与偏见”的路子上期待,然后笔锋一转变成了另一套。男主角除了开头一晃之外,直到19%时才正式出现。开头描写他长得好看,我还担心作者要塞给我们一个天使般理想男主饭特希呢,后来惊喜地发现没有这么发展,George Eliot 深挖人物的心理,从儿童到成年到继续的变化,很有意思,纹路清晰、很有逻辑、丝丝入扣,而且,我可以证明这是非常真实的,绝非瞎编乱造。这篇真有趣,本来以为会很闷,结果却越来越好看了。

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bird



Clint Eastwood 导演、制作的 Charlie Parker 传记片,1988年出品。Forest Whitaker 且赢得 Cannes 电影节的最佳男主演。

因为之前刚看过Ken Burns的纪录片中有详细描述Parker的生平,影片的非线性叙述方法没有让我糊涂,但是不熟悉的人可能会有时搞不清各个段落的时空交错。总之很明显导演编剧致力模仿jazz的即兴风格,我觉得挺好,节奏变幻但是并不乱。摄影很美。演员都相当出色。

Parker 的人生很悲惨,除了社会与时代的大环境原因之外,吸毒与酗酒也是一大因素,各种迹象表明他多半是严重的bipolar disorder。天才与bipolar的关联已经有很多旁证,不必多说。影片只是把一些生平事迹串起来,口吻平淡,并不努力煽情,也没有挖掘他的思想根源用以解释他的自毁行为,只是一些动人的细节,基本上都是取材于现实,并不遵循戏剧套路。

让我泪流满面的不是剧情,而是结尾的音乐。音乐的直击感情的效果。

John Barry Dead

Out of Africa

Somewhere in Time

The above soundtracks demonstrate a sense of expansive space distinctive to John Barry. Deceptively simple.

Petyr Baelish of Sichuan: Echoes of the 3 Kingdoms

Sometimes my mind makes unexpected associations. A few days ago I was talking to a couple of friends, who are of Sichuan (or Szechuan) ances...

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