I have decided to start a series of videos where I talk about three films and three books each time. The first one is about my recommendations on a rainy day – like today. As I’m still rather shy about talking to a camera, I thought it would be good to release each video with a blog post, which also allows me to talk a little bit more about each book/film.
Like Minds (2006) – Gregory J. Read
Eddie Redmayne playes Alex Forbes, a student who’s suspected to have murdered his roommate, Nigel. He’s willing to tell the story in his own terms, but insists that he’s not guilty. Nigel was a new student who had been placed in his room, but his morbid interests had quickly made Alex uncomfortable. Nigel starts to involve Alex in his mysterious project, which is series of events that must happen in order to gain “eternity”. I particularly like this film because the plot leads you to think in a certain way, until you finally realise that you’ve been manipulated to come to your conclusion.
Bright Star (2009) – Jane Campion
This film tells the story of John Keats and Fanny Browne, but it’s a lot more romanticised than what happened in reality. However, the reason why it doesn’t bother me is because I see it as a piece of art based on what their relationship meant, and how it is perceived in the Romantic point of view. The John Keats we see is the best version of the real one; a man who found love, shown solemnly through his own words. Some of the dialogues are based on real letters send to and from the poet – my favourite scene didn’t make it to the final cut, but you can watch it here. The cast and crew did an amazing job; I couldn’t think of a better actor than Ben Whishaw to play my favourite poet.
Cracks (2009) – Jordan Scott
Miss G is a teacher at a boarding school. The girls idolise her for her knowledge and the experiences that she shares with her students. Everything changes when a Spanish girl is transferred to the school. She doesn’t see Miss G as the others, who take her “lack of respect” personally. However, Miss G seems intrigued by this new girl and this angers her main admirer amongst the students. The relationships are shaken and it all results in a tragic event, which brings the students to see that they have failed to see the reality whilst lost in Miss G’s character.
The Phantom of the Opera (1909) – Gaston Leroux
Everyone knows the musical, but I haven’t met many people who cared to read the book. If you do, you will see how loosely based on it’s plot the musical really is. The characters are a lot more complex, and so are the relationships between them. Gaston Leroux was a journalist, so even though this is a fictional story, he’s style makes you believe in what you’re reading. He also makes sure to connect his story’s details with real life facts “in case you’d like to check to see if he’s telling the truth”.
In case you’re not familiar with the plot, a mysterious man – maybe a ghost? – falls in love with a girl – who he believes to have more talent than it’s been put to use. She idolises the man who seems to care so much for her, but is divided between his love and the attention she receives from an aristocrat. The Phantom, Eric, has hidden the horrors of his live with beauty and art, but it all falls into pieces when both man are fighting for this girl.
Neverwhere (1996)- Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman creates a whole new world which stand underneath our own. After an unusual encounter, the main character sees his life changing as he becomes part of the London Bellow. He notices that people from his life are treating him like a stranger, and soon he’ll cease to exist if nothing’s done about it – and the answer is in the world bellow him. My favourite aspect of it is that the names of the neighbourhoods, train stations etc have a quite literal meaning. It is particularly nice if you are familiar with the city, but it’s an amazing book that I believe everyone would enjoy, it doesn’t matter where you’re from.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1985) – Patrick Süskind
Patrick Süskind tells the story of Jean Baptiste Grenouille, a strange orphan who doesn’t speak much and is considered rather stupid and useless by everyone around him. What’s different about him, is that he has an exceptionally good sense of smell. This leads him to becomes a perfumer, and then a murderer. I believe that what happens is that he falls in love, but this being an unusual emotion that he’s not familiar with, leads him to desire their scent instead of their body. He kills in order to extract their odour, but this has consequences. He discovers how to manipulate everyone around him through the scents that he creates, which leads to a rather disturbing ending. What I particularly enjoyed about this book, is that it’s so well written you are actually able to smell what’s been described.