Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Lilya 4-ever

As I said in the introductory entry for this blog, I had already started several "blogging projects" over the years, but none of them lived longer than a few entries over a few months... but some weeks ago, after watching "Import Export", that brilliant Austrian film, I got reminded of Lila4Ever an abolutely moving film about suffering and despair, about being condemned since birth, about all the misery that surrounds us and we're unable/unwilling to smell... I'm not a sensitive person, so when I say that it's a very tough and touching film it really is. Think of "Requiem for a Dream" on steroids, these are not lame wealthy idiotic youngsters playing to be bad and shitting it all over, this is about people who have not been given a fucking chance even when they live at the doors of our "welfare western society"... This is not happening in a lost African village, it could be happening in a place where you and me could be flying low cost to take pics and enjoy the architecture of the city centre...

OK, so here's my original review in Asturian language, dated back in April 2005.

Hai unes selmanes que viere nel ordenador la película "Lilya 4-ever". Cumo siempres la estraña física del mío Universu Presonal dienon llugar a una bultable dilatación temporal ente la decisión d'escribir una entrada sobro tala esperiencia ya la so realización práutica.

El casu, "L4E" ye un film duru ya murniu, cuya rialidá manca no más fonderu la mente ya l'alma. Nun se basa n'una hestoria rial, pero quiciabes eso fai'l dolor inda más bultable, porque sabes que resume nuna hestoria ficticia milenta d'hestories ciertes d'esistencies inciertes.
Se basa de lloñe na hestoria de una guah.a Llituana. Nun ye una "biografía", asina que camiento la mayor parte la hestoria ye ficción ya d'esti móu ye más fácil narrar delles traxedies reales al traviés d'un solu drama semireal.

El film trescurre nuna hipotética ciudá de lo qu'un díi foi la URSS. Una ciudá cuya estética nun la fai mui distinta la mítica Pripyat, la diferencia ye que demientres Pripyat ye una ciudá pantasma, la de Lilja ye una ciudá de pantasmes... Ellí Lilja, una neña 16 años, ye abandonada pola so má que cola pa USA col so nuéu noviu cola promesa de tornar buscala en cuanto s'encuentre afitada nel "País de les oportunidaes". Dicha torna nunca ocurrirá, ya Lilja vese abocada a la prostitución de sobrovivencia, primeru na so ciudá, ya lluéu, engañada pola mafia, en Suecia. Nun voi cuntar más del argumentu, porque ye una película pa ver ya sentir, una esperiencia que nun puede sostituyise por un resume mierdosu nun blog mierdosu.

Amestar namás que la esplotación sexual nun ye nin muncho menos el Leitmotiv de la hestoria, hai munchos "Furacos prietos" nesta galasia de rebisna. La desvaloración de la vida mesma ya les drogues cumo mecanismu d'escape nun infiernu nel que la desconexón ye la única salida maxinable, la imaxe paradisiaca d'USA na mente los fíos del falsu comunismu ya'l nuéu capitalismu...

Nun sé si esta obra mayestra ta disponible nos videoclubs de la nuesa Asturies. Yo la vi cortesía d'Internet (en rusu con sotítulos n'inglés).

Cumo averamientu, dicir qu'en dellos aspeutos remembróme a "Requiem for a Dream", pero hai una gran diferencia, RFD ye dura, pero nun manca, l'autodestruición voluntaria de la primera nun tien comparanza cola destruición cumo únicu camín de la segunda. Hai munches imaxes coles que quedase, pero quiciabes una de les que más noxu dá ye la de Lilja vomitando tres el so primer intercambéu de sexu por dineru (o meyor, cumo sinónimu nesti casu, sexu por comida).

Monday, 23 November 2009

4 days in Rome

Well, I've got many things I'd like to write about places I've been lucky to be to in the last months, years... but better I start off by the most recent one...

I was to Rome last week for a few days. It was a really nice stay, better than I expected. To be true, Rome had never been in my list of "High priority places to pay a visit". There are several reasons for it: no gothic architecture, no skyscrappers, and my scarce interest in the Mediterranean world (I'm Asturian and part of my family is Galician, that is Northern Atlantic Spain, and I have strong emotional links with both territories, so I'm rather fed up of how the Spanish central government has ever dimissed our land and tried to replace our Atlantic culture with the Mediterranean culture of the rest of Spain...) but this is November, when it's cold in most of Europe, Asturies is even more isolated than usual (easyjet timetables to London in the winter season are almost not usable), and well, we have cheap flights to Rome from Santander (that means a 3.5 hours bus trip there, but I can bear with it, and better now, when after a week of heavy rains Cantabric landscape looks even more breathtaking than usual), so Rome looked like a good option to spend some of my last vacation days for this year.

I did all the common things one should do when visiting the Italian capital for first time (Trevi Fountain, all the well known churches, Piazza de Spagna,
Piazza Navona, Saint Peter...) so just check wikitravel and that gives you the idea... A good point is that November does not seem too popular for tourism there (maybe the worldwide crisis also helps), cause even when you could see a good amount of people armed with cameras, maps, backpacks and happy expressions... I did not suffer any of the lenghty queues I'd been warned about (I got into Coliseum, Saint Peter, Vatican Museums... almost inmediately).
One good habit that I try to put into practice before visiting any new place is watching some film set in that place (of course, for a documentary junkie like me this goes after checking some documentary about the place). For Rome, watching "Angels and Demons" is a must. The film is rather boring, but you get nice views of some of the most interesting places of the city... It was in this film where I first knew about the bridge that crosses the Tiber to Castel Sant Angelo (surprisingly it's called Ponte Sant Angelo). It nicely reminds me of the incredible Charles Bridge (Karluv most) in Prague, so we're talking about a pedestrian stone bridge with beatiful statues lined on both sides... This is shorter than Charles, but any way it's a must see... The stalls on the right margin of the river are also rather nice, reminded me a bit of those so beautiful green ones that you find in Paris, next to the Sena (more or less at the the Louvre level).

No doubt the area that I liked more was the one that stretches from Trastevere to Piazza Navona, with Isola Tiberina and Campo di Fiori in between. This is an absolutely charming zone, with a street landscape that delighted me more than any of the thousands of impressive baroque-renaissance churches and buildings that you find everywhere in Rome. Isola Tiberina is absolutely beatiful, cross Ponte Fabricio, go down the stairs and stroll the path almost at the river level. This activated the neural paths in my brain that store images and feelings of my nightly strolls along the river paths in the Notre Dame (Paris) surroundings. As a plus, there was an artistic installation (video + sound + architecture) that all in all was fresh and interesting. Then cross to Trastevere (Ponte Cestio), enjoy the clobbed narrow streets, sit down for a while next to that fountain looking at the St Mary of Trastevere church, continue your walk with no fixed direction and after a while get to Via Garibaldi.
Follow Via Garibaldi to climb up the Gianicolo hill and enjoy the views from there (this is even better if done just with the sunset, thanks for the advice in your miniguide Hostelworld). Go down the hill, stroll around Trastevere as long as you feel necessary and this time go to Piazza Trilussa and cross the Tiber through Ponte Sisto. Once in the left margin, go to Piazza Farnese and Campo dei Fiori. The most interesting items in this cute Piazza are:

There are 2 other compulsory places that might not be in the priority list of most guides, but that sure deserve a place in this my guide.

  • Santa Maria della Vittoria. In the outside for me it's just one more church among the
    thousands of them you find in Rome (even crossing the street you find an almost twin one). But in the inside you'll meet with the incredible sculpture by Bernini "Ecstasy of St. Teresa". It's impressive, but used to see it in pics maybe I almost expected more. What really astonished me were the paintings in the ceiling, there are some clouds that look absolutely 3D. I think I'd never seen a representation of depth that captured my attention in such a way.
    Of course, I can't help pasting here the "passionate" :-D description that St. Theresa gave about her encounter with the Angel (and that so popular has turned):

    "I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying"

  • Ossuary at Sta. Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. I had no idea of this place until that one day before setting off someone (thanks Gus!) told me about it. He didn't know the exact name, but a fast googling came up with with
    this. The ossuary is small, but rather impressive. I liked it more than
    the one in Sedlec, in which I was in 2005 and that I think is rather better known. The main plus of Sta. Maria over Sedlec are the mummified monks and that Memento Mori that you find in the last chapel "What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be". Admission is almost free (just give the recommended 1 euro aid) but unfortunately you're not allowed to take pics, so I had to buy a postcard, not the same for a DIY freak... but anyway will help to refresh my memories in the future.

Buff, this entry has evolved into a long one, I think it's enough...

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

First time, one more time

OK, I've tried this several times in the last years, under different names and conceptions, and none of them succeeded in turning into part of my life, so all of them went over. Maybe I was feeling lazy, maybe I had not much to communicate at the time... luckily, it seems like I feel more active and more communicative these days, so maybe this is the right time for starting again.

Don't expect great things, I'm just a thirty something guy that develops software for a living and for a passion, that travels around from time to time, that watches documentaries and films, tries to keep up to date with basic science, likes to dig into history to try to understand the present and predict the (no) future... So, more or less that's my life, and that's what this blog will be about, written in (crappy) English and some in Asturian, depending mainly on the scope...
I'm fortunate to be interested in many different things and have a basic knowledge of some of them, but unfortunate enough to not be an expert in anything, so almost anything I can write here will be widely exceeded by hundreds of articles by others just a few google keystrokes away... but well, writing about something makes you think, and thinking makes you improve...
It was an improvement in our communication skills what made as evolve from hominids to the complex, advanced (yes, we can be destructive, selfish, evil, but no doubt we're sophisticated) creatures that humans are now in the 21st century, so maybe practicing a bit my communicative skills will give me some sort of evolutionary advantange...

Well, enough characters for a first, content empty entry. Welcome/Afayaivos...