Film, Rants

A Film Not Worth Watching

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My boyfriend and I have come to a new arrangement when it comes to picking what movie to watch in the evenings. We have quite different tastes in films so choosing one we both like is almost completely out of the question. Instead, we both chose 20 films, wrote them on little pieces of paper and now we literally pick one out of a hat. Well actually it’s more of a bowl than a hat. The first movie that was picked out was, of course, one of his choices: Berberian Sound Studio. Now, I do not often write movie reviews so I’m no reliable or respectable critic, but it was absolutely one of the worst films I have ever seen.

The premise is fairly simple, and actually sparked my curiosity to begin with. It follows a bog-standard white, middle-class man in a tight grey suit, with a tightly pulled face and heavily receding hairline who works as a sound technician for movies. He arrives in a new studio in Italy to work with these very aggressive and overtly sexual Italians on a horror film. The movie is basically about him and these people creating the sound effects to accompany the horror film. But you never see the film, nor understand it as it’s in Italian or Latin, or a mix of the two. Perhaps we were watching a dodgy copy but there were no subtitles. And half of the actors speak to each other in Italian and half way through the main character, the only English speaker we can rely on, decides he now understands and speaks fluent Italian. But I doubt it would have been much better even with subtitles, it’s hardly a complicated or compelling storyline and I don’t feel I missed much reading only facial expressions and dramatic gestures.

Apart from the heavily stereotyped and badly portrayed characters, the film itself has no story and no original or exciting qualities. The main character seems put out and on edge the whole way through and I suppose there is supposed to be some kind of over lapping between the violence of the movie they are working on and the reality in the movie. But this is not conveyed. It is just scene after scene of different ways in which they make the sounds, the plans and notes for the sounds, but no context to what the sounds mean. Everything is so taken out of context that I could not get into the ‘creeped out’ state of mind that the eerie background music implied I should be in. It seems more like a dramatized documentary of the making of a movie rather than an actual movie.

The interactions between characters have tension but with no real force, no rhyme or reason. The only decent scene was where the main character gets woken up in the middle of the night by someone banging on his door, he gets scared, shouts, gets a knife and opens the door. Upon opening the door he then finds himself not outside his place, but in the studio watching a recording of the events that have just occurred but dubbed in Italian. This is then followed by some strange kaleidoscopic mash of images of him screaming, random colours and god knows what else which ends rather abruptly and cuts to a few minutes of a typical, day-time TV documentary of the English countryside. Boxhill, I believe it was, discussing the rare orchids and other flora and fauna that attract visitors from all around – apparently. This scene had no clear relevance to the rest of the film.

The film had scope to be a good film, but flopped massively. The flashing red “SILENZIO” outside the studio is shown every ten minutes and there is complete over usage of cutting from loud noises to silence to emphasise that they are in a studio. Seriously, am I missing something here? I hope we did just watch a bad copy and no one commissioned such a terrible film to be produced. If anyone out there has watched it and thinks I am being unfair then I implore you to please let me know what on earth was going on. But if you haven’t watched it, please just don’t. Life is short and your time is better spent waiting for a broken kettle to boil that trying to find some good in this abomination.

Hopefully, the next film that comes out of the hat (bowl) will be better. Hopefully, it will be one of mine 😉

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The Daily Post published a post encouraging bloggers to explore the notion of names. When I read this I knew I had to respond as I changed my whole name, legally, by deed poll. I became transfixed on this idea of changing my name from quite a young age. It began when my much older sister introduced us to one of her friends that first did this. The first couple of times we met him he had one name and few months later it was completely different. By this I mean it had no correlation to his previous name at all, forename, middle name and surname all brand spanking new. I must have only been about 13 when the idea came into my head but from then on I knew that the moment I turned 18 I would too change my name by deed poll.

I won’t divulge my previous name, it wasn’t a bad name, nor did I change my name to distance myself from my family/past or anything like that. I just didn’t like it, and without sounding tacky changing it just ‘felt right’. When you think about it, your name is probably the word you hear most, so you have to like hearing it, and frankly I didn’t like how my name sounded.

The hardest part of changing your name is deciding what you’re going to change it too. I guess most ‘normal’ people have an idea of what they want to change it to, however I just knew I wanted to change it. I spent a lot of time looking through baby name lists, popular name lists, unusual name lists and I kept getting drawn to Alexis, because I’m an avid English student and writer and lamely I liked the ‘lexis’ part. But it didn’t sound quite right. I settled on Elexa because I preferred how it sounded, the ‘x’ being the most important bit. I have no idea why but I love the letter ‘x’, also I am not too fond of the letter ‘a’, so I decided to be different and use an ‘e’.

So that was the forename settled I had to decide on a surname. I wasn’t too fussed on this as I am bit of a traditionalist and always plan on taking my husband’s name when I marry (for a sense of unity not because I feel that this is in any way a subservient act), but for now I wanted something that had meaning but also sounded good as a whole. ‘Rose’ is a verb and noun and I love words that have ambiguous meanings and cross grammatical categories. To get really nerdy, my name, Elexa Rose is an example of the shortest, grammatical sentence, object + verb. Plus, it refers to Shakespeare’s quote from Romeo and Juliet:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet”

A name is simply that, a name. I changed my name for no great philosophical reason other than how it sounded. I don’t believe it changed my identity, because who you are is in your behaviour, in your ideas, not in what people refer to you as – really it is arbitrary. But still I chose to spend £20 on the deedpoll website and a very long time sending copies of the certificate to and from banks, the government, my university, the DVLA. So why bother? Just because I don’t believe your name really shapes your identity, I still believe it has something to do with your character. Just as naming characters in my work I believe to be very important in shaping the character. I like having a name that is memorable, it stands out from the ordinary and many writers and artists publish work under a pseudonym and I think this helps in creating the ‘character’ that is the writer you aim to be. It changes how people first perceive you. Your name is usually the first thing people learn about you, so why not make it an awesome one.

Getting my friends and family to adjust to my new name wasn’t that hard. I did it at the same time as moving to a new city to begin University, new start, new name, so that helped greatly in the transgression. My old friends from childhood still sometimes call me by my old name, which doesn’t bother me hugely, on the whole 90% of the people I talk to call me Elexa or Lexy so the few who can’t quite change over, it doesn’t matter. It feels weird hearing it now though, it’s strange, when I hear my old name it still catches my ear but not in the same way that is used to. It doesn’t feel like my name any more. Elexa comes more naturally now and I definitely prefer it. It took about a year or two to get fully used to it, but to anyone wondering whether or not to make the change, do it, why not. It’s your name, you should be called whatever you want.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/writing-challenge-names/

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Becoming Elexa Rose

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