“The Revenant”—Back from the Dead

 

Revenant 2By now almost every movie lover knows that The Revenant , winner of 3 Golden Globe Awards, and nominated for 12 Academy Awards, has been described as an endurance test so tortuous some crew members quit. “Revenant” connotes bringing back from the dead and that is exactly what happens in this three-hour film. Hugh Glass, the real-life tracker and fur trapper, managed to survive what was almost unsurvivable, but permanently changed.   Pushing the boundaries of physical stamina,   Leonardo DiCaprio is almost certain to win the Academy Award for his raw and harrowing portrayal of Glass. The viewer comes out asking “How could he possibly do that?” But The Revenant is so much more than a struggle of man against nature, primal and intense, or a tale of vengeance.

Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu (of Birdman, Babel, and Amores Perros fame), The Revenant is an extraordinary feat of film making. Astonishing cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki, filming in natural light and shadow, expresses eloquently the harsh but beautiful environment. In some clips more black and white than color, the visual brilliance replaces dialogue and character in conveying emotion and the heart of darkness. Witnessing Glass’s journey from hell, we are more like voyeurs. So uncomfortably close to what we see, we even see –almost feel- the actor’s breath frosting the camera lens.

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The action scenes are so visceral you feel as if your bones are cracking. Spectacular simulation of these sequences belie the fact that these are, in fact, artifices.

While The Revenant pushes the boundaries of film-making, suggesting the eloquence of classic silent movies, it is almost mythic in its balance between the brutal beauty of nature and human’s disruptive role in it. DiCaprio gives a virtuoso performance, the best of a formidable career. This is a narrative without words, a film of pictures and physicality that is unforgettable. As an author, I left the theater reflecting on the power of the scene when words will not suffice.

 

 

 

“Year of the Monkey” (February 8–January 27, 2017)—Anything Can Happen !

 

 

Monkey2016Happy New Year –Chinese Style! Although the Chinese New Year 2016 doesn’t officially begin until February 8, many people start thinking of the animal sign on the first of the New Year.  [And much of Asia, including Japan, does not wait until February 8. Many now celebrate during the first two weeks of January.]

As the Year of the Sheep comes to an end and the Year of the Monkey arrives, 2016 will be a year of invention and improvisation, unpredictability and unexpected change. The Year of the Monkey is considered the most volatile in the twelve-year cycle.

The Monkey is considered intelligent, witty, and inventive. The ninth animal in the Chinese zodiac, the Monkey is also believed to be a magnificent problem-solver and independent high achiever. Clever and nimble, monkeys are playful, energetic creatures who move from activity to activity, swinging from branch to branch. Though honored in Buddhist tales, the Monkey is also famous as an irrepressible trickster.

All animals in the Chinese zodiac have a dark side too. The problem-solving in the Year of the Monkey can turn opportunistic and untrustworthy, unscrupulous and devious, capricious and misguided.

Some may gamble, speculate, take unnecessary and highly risky chances but for some there will be ingenious outcomes. Business can thrive in surprising ways under the Monkey’s optimistic and shrewd influence.  Anything can happen. Everything is in flux.

Communication also takes on a humorous, even mischievous and light-hearted side as an antidote to the stressful changes which will occur. Some risks will have astonishing results and unconventional solutions are needed to solve old problems. Daring to be different leads to success but  tremendous effort is also required. Now is the time for bold action; even the wildest ideas may succeed.

Remember this year will reward individualistic and highly original enterprises. A lot of global economic growth due to entrepreneurship can be expected in the Year of the Monkey. Also expect a lot of life changes. The Year of the Monkey 2016 is a good year to break free and take calculated risks as there is nothing more powerful or rewarding than following your instincts, passion and intuition. This is the best year for changing jobs in the next decade! Don’t look back!