Wednesday, October 9, 2013

OF BRIDGES AND LOVE. A closer look at The Bridges of Madison County (novel). By Love Esios

Before Nicholas Sparks made his way onto being a best-seller author of romantic novels, there was this classic book that I will never ever replace on top of my romance/fiction list. Published a few years after another classic Love In The Time of Cholera, Robert James Waller's narration of a true-to-life love story The Bridges of Madison County captured something in my heart. Set in the 1960's, it is a story about an affair between Robert Kincaid and Francesca Johnson that started on
Cover of the book pulled from
e humid afternoon in the gravel roads of Madison County, Iowa.

Okay, I know that an affair is quite a sensitive topic for some of you, but the intention of Waller when he wrote this love story is clear: whatever the circumstances are, love has a way of finding you in the most unfamiliar places and with the most unlikely person. The two main characters in the novel truly found love not in a hopeless place, but in the most hopeless of all situations. Robert considers himself as a nomad, a born artist, a person with a unique perspective of the world. Francesca seems to be content on how steady her life is; a marriage to a man who was kind to her and who gave her two kids. But she didn't realize how much she was missing until she met him. I see these two characters as lost souls, wandering around, accepting what life offers them, not wanting for more... until they found each other, like they have found their safe haven.

Waller is truly a gifted storyteller. He has a way with words, carefully laying out every detail until all the pieces have fallen into its place. The way he narrated it was kind of intimate for me, like he's telling me the story in person. There were some parts in the story that had slow pacing, though. Other parts like the love scene were narrated in a not so intimate way, not really focusing on the details but rather capturing how the two characters felt while making love. Nevertheless, this is one classic story you wouldn't like to miss!

Call me a hopeless romantic (I know I am) for falling in-love with this book or perhaps an immoral (I think I'm not) for encouraging such affair that might affect other people's perspective about the book. If you think like the latter after reading the book, it simply means you weren't able to grasp the real essence of this story.

So if you feel like you are lost in love, or think that you might not find love at all, then this book is for you. For this genre, I'd give this book 7 out of 10 cups of latte! :)

"Words have physical feeling, not just meaning, he remembered thinking when he was young."
- Bridges of Madison County

LES CHORISTES and the magic of their voices by: Uel Ceballos

Movie poster from Wikipedia
We have just celebrated the World’s Teachers’ Day last October 5. It reminded me of my teachers way back in grade school, high school, college and up to the times that I was already working where I continued meeting new mentors. They all imparted lessons that are too precious and valuable to lose, thus I’m keeping them in my heart, looking back to those words of wisdom whenever needed. 

Most especially, I remembered those teachers who have greatly inspired and influenced me to what I am now. 

It has brought me then to discuss to you this teacher-inspired film that is included in my list of best movies—the 2004 French Drama Film “Les Chorites”.

photo clip from the movie "Les Choristes"
I must admit, I cried at the end of this movie not because of the film’s sentimentality, but because of the connection built up between me and the characters. The director Christophe Barratier, with all the casts and workers of the movie, managed to break the fourth wall that divided Les Choristes from its audiences.  The film in fact, brought out the heartfelt feeling to its viewers without overdoing the drama of the story. The film is packed with natural humor and emotions that it just likes spicing up the entire movie with the exact ingredients under the sufficient stove heat.

photo clip from the movie "Les Choristes"
Les Choristes is the story of Pierre Morhange and the life he spent in a boarding institution way back in the year 1949. The school Fond de L'Étang was a correctional institution for “difficult” boys, that it would really takes a lot of patience and strong will for someone to manage the situations there and teach the students. But new teacher, Clément Mathieu has brought a new hope by using music to tame and change the kids in the institution. The process however, is really difficult but Mathieu’s good intentions was well paid off when soon enough he managed to form an all boys choir from those ill-mannered, unmanageable bunch of students. He strongly believed that the kids weren’t as hopeless as what their principal was thinking.

 Jean-Baptiste Maunier as Pierre Morhange
photo clip from the movie
One notable feature about this film was the casting of students who were not professional actors but did a really remarkable job in getting into the hearts of their viewers. The lead character Pierre Morhange was played by Jean-Baptiste Maunier who was a real singer from the French choir Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc. The rest of the kids were auditioned from primary and secondary schools near the location of the film. The kids were really passionate to learn about acting and music that it resulted to their very astonishing performance in Les Choristes. Surely, you will love the music, the sound of the children’s choir, the exceptional voice of Jean-Baptiste Maunier – all of these were so heavenly to the ear that I really got goose bumps when I heard their angelic voices.

The treatment used for the flow of story began from old Pierre reminiscing back to his childhood days by reading through the diary of his teacher, Clément Mathieu. Then the scene cut off to flashback, with the entire story already in the point of view of Mathieu. You would certainly lose yourself in this film’s simplicity and heartwarming nature. If you have been moved by the teacher-inspired film Mr. Holland’s Opus then you must see this one also! The casting, the setting, and the psychology of the characters were all carefully developed and the film itself was excellently made that it was nominated in 77th Academy Awards and in other award-giving bodies.

For this movie review, the film is worthy of 10 espresso shots rating! Better see it yourself to find out why! Enjoy watching!