VIFF

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It has started! The most anticipated annual event – the 34th Vancouver International Film Festival. More than 375 films from 70 countries will be screened this year. I have made my selections and bought my tickets, so stay tuned for reviews in the next several posts.

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“Suddenly A Knock On The Door” by Etgar Keret

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Here is “Suddenly A Knock On The Door”,  another collection of short stories by Etgar Keret. I have already acquainted myself with his prose in some of his previous collections, “The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be a God” and “The Girl On The Fridge”.

Born and raised in Israel, Keret is much influenced and inspired by the twisted reality of his own counterparts and the endless discord between the two nations inhabiting the Promised Land. His stories are humane, however often decorated with absurd circumstances or events. To read Keret is as similar as to go on your own and stretch a towel on a crowded beach where your own ears would turn into German autobahns through which in a high speed are rushing the stories of the surrounding people. There are all kinds of  characters dragging their fates behind. Keret is like a real magician who  distinctively charges his stories with the tragicomical essence of mankind in stories that don’t repeat. His writings are short, dense and crazy as the end is never what you have anticipated.

A few short stories from “Suddenly A Knock On The Door” have reserved a special place in this department of my memory where I collect the most precious pieces of quality literature I come across.

One of these short stories is so dear to me that I almost wish to tear up the pages and fold them in my pocket. It is called “What Do We Cary In Our Pockets” and filmmaker Goran Dukic has made a short film based on it. These might be the sweetest, most encouraging and most inspiring 4 minutes for you today! Enjoy them!

Cathedrals of Culture

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“I was not meant to be an isolated monument. I am not just a museum or a library. I am a living, breathing culture machine.”  Centre Pompidou, Paris. Designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.

Fall is the season of culture. As soon as September arrives the electric polls on street corners turn colorful with poster announcements about festivals, concerts and other cultural events. The current ongoing event for me is the Vancouver International Film Festival where in the duration of two weeks around 150 movies from around the world are played. I have noticed that the Canadians are welcoming with generous curiosity and interest the foreign movies as tickets sell out very quickly and the lines in front of the venues resemble a climate change protest.

The first movie for me this year was Cathedrals of Culture, which coincides with the North American premiere of the movie.

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Oslo Opera House. Designed by Snøhetta. Photo credit to http://www.viff.org

What would buildings say if they could talk to us? This question perhaps inspired Win Wenders, Robert Redford and four other directors to create a documentary film about the cathedrals of culture. Cathedrals of Culture is divided to six parts each one presented by a different director. The cathedrals in the movie are not religious establishments, they are buildings designed and constructed to serve and elevate the most delicate need of the society – the need for culture.

Cathedrals of Culture is a three-hour architectural hymn about six buildings – Berlin Philharmonic, National Library of Russia, Halden Prison, Salk Institute, Oslo Opera House and Centre Pompidou. Each building demonstrates its meaning with its own voice and it becomes the existing evidence of the life within itself.  The movie is fashioned as a audio-visual confession that illuminates a more profound dimension of architecture – the soul of the building as a synonym of the aggregation of the architect’s ideas, the purpose in society and the inspiration on those who sojourn in it.

Cathedrals of Culture is not an ordinary documentary film, with artistic sensation of ‘Baraka’(Ron Fricke, 1992) and blended with 3D technologies manifests the intellect behind the art of architecture.

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