Music Swims Back To Us

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“Landfill Harmonic Is A Film about the Love of Music”

Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

Before you proceed to the film review, let me tell you that to truly understand what happened in Cateura, you should watch an absolutely brilliant, fascinating classical music lesson by Benjamin Zander, a famous Ted talk on “The transformative power of classical music” at https://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion
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… “Landfill Harmonic” was a film that took me straight out of that lull. It made my soul smile, and I’m willing to bet that it will do the same to each and every one of you. Rarely does a film come by that touches you so purely. This is exactly what happened to me. “Landfill Harmonic” is a film that will inspire you, embrace your soul, and prove that magic can be found in the most unexpected places.

You can view the teaser for the film below:

I was given the privilege to see this film while attending SXSW this year, and it was amazing. I was touched by the plight of these people, and entranced at the ingenuity of them. To steal a line from “Jurassic Park”, “Life finds a way.” Humanity is a wonderful species, and “Landfill Harmonic” is one of the best examples of this.

There are too many instances where we discredit people due to race, gender, and circumstance, but given the opportunity, we all have the potential to shine. I highly suggest seeing this film when it releases. As some of you know, I have been a musician for most of my life, and “Landfill Harmonic” made me want to play. I don’t really have the words to describe this feeling, except to say that the film inspired me, and made me want to create something as beautiful as what I had just witnessed.

Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

Here is the official SXSW synopsis of the film:

“Landfill Harmonic” follows the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, a Paraguayan musical group that plays instruments made entirely out of garbage. When their story goes viral, the orchestra is catapulted into the global spotlight. Under the guidance of idealistic music director Favio Chavez, the orchestra must navigate a strange new world of arenas and sold-out concerts. However, when a natural disaster strikes their country, Favio must find a way to keep the orchestra intact and provide a source of hope for their town. The film is a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience of the human spirit.

The way that these kids play their instruments is delightful and their passion for music is incredible. Favio Chavez is their teacher and mentor, and I had the opportunity to shake his hand. I really could tell him nothing except thank you. I don’t even think that thank you could begin to sum up my appreciation for him and what he has done in Paraguay. The funny thing is that he seemed to understand exactly what I was saying. This is one of the wonderful things about music.

Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

The most impressive thing about the film is how the community has banded together to help these children. The children’s music brings them hope, and allows them to see that they can all change their stars.

“Landfill Harmonic” needs your help. Spread the word about this film. Be proactive and help contribute. Part of the proceeds from the film will go to the Recycled Orchestra. They take donated instruments as well. You can get all of the information that you need on the official site for the film, Landfillharmonicmovie.com.

Directed by Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley, “Landfill Orchestra” is a lesson in how precious life is, and why we should not take music and art for granted. I applaud everyone that has contributed to the making of the film, and especially Favio Chavez and the children. You keep on making brilliant music, because I get butterflies in my stomach every time I hear you play it.

Below, are some images from the film:

Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham TownsleyLandfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic, Directors:: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley

By “Landfill Harmonic Will Touch Your Soul” by  at http://flicksided.com/2015/03/20/landfill-harmonic-will-touch-your-soul/#respond

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Be sure not to miss their inspiring Ted talk at http://ed.ted.com/on/p2vivxdA

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Raptures of Old Age and Art

Astonishing Film of Arthritic Impressionist Painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1915)
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You may never look at a painting by Pierre-August Renoir in quite the same way again after seeing this three-minute film. It didn’t show in his artwork, but Renoir suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis during the last three decades of his life. He worked in constant pain, right up until the day he died.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir – Filmed Painting at Home (1919)

His hands were terribly deformed. His rheumatism had made the joints stiff and caused the thumbs to turn inward towards the palms, and his fingers to bend towards the wrists. Visitors who were unprepared for this could not take their eyes off his deformity. Though they did not dare to mention it, their reaction would be expressed by some such phrase as “It isn’t possible! With hands like that, how can he paint those pictures? There’s some mystery somewhere.”

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The film of Renoir was made by 30-year-old Sacha Guitry, who appears midway through the film sitting down and talking with the artist. Guitry was the son of the famous actor and theatre director Lucien Guitry, and would go on to even greater fame than his father as an actor, filmmaker and playwright. When a group of German intellectuals issued a manifesto after the outbreak of World War I bragging about the superiority of German culture, Guitry was infuriated. As an act of patriotism he decided to make a film of France’s great men and women of the arts. It would be released as Ceux de Chez Nous, or “Those of Our Land.” Guitry and Renoir were already friends, so when the young man embarked on his project he travelled to Renoir’s home at Cagnes-sur-Mer, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. The date was shortly after June 15, 1915, when Renoir’s wife Aline died.

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In Sacha Guitry: The Last Boulevardier, writer James Harding describes the scene:

The choice of time was unfortunate. That very day Renoir’s wife was to be buried. Sacha went to the old man who sat huddled arthritically in his wheel chair and murmured: ‘It must be terribly painful, Monsieur Renoir, and you have my deepest sympathy.’ ‘Painful?’ he replied, shifting his racked limbs, ‘you bet my foot is painful!’ They pushed him in his chair up to a canvas, and, while Sacha leaned watching over his shoulder, Renoir jabbed at the picture with brushes attached to hands which had captured so much beauty but which now were shrivelled like birds’ claws. The flattering reminder that he was being filmed for posterity had no effect on the man who, on being awarded the cravat of a Commandeur of the Légion d’Honneur, had said: ‘How can you expect me to wear a cravat when I never wear a collar?’

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Renoir died four years after the film was made, on December 3, 1919. He lived long enough to see some of his paintings installed in the Louvre. When a young Henri Matisse asked the suffering old man why he kept painting, Renoir is said to have replied, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

Source: http://www.openculture.com/2012/07/astonishing_film_of_arthritic_impressionist_painter_pierre-auguste_renoir_1915.html

With a Sling and With a Stone

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THIMBLERIG’S ARK is a blog which records one writer’s journey through faith, art, and life which I personally find very inspiring and highly rewarding. This film review is fresh, honest and constructive. “Should Christians Support Christian Content?” he asks in another blog entry, only to conclude, and rightly so in my opinion, that discernment should be applied. Bad art is simply not art, no matter if someone wants to call it “Christian” art. And I can’t agree more with another aside of his: ‘“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Phil 4:8) I don’t see “Christian” anywhere in that list, so that doesn’t seem to be an automatic criterion for what I dwell on.’ This specific quotation from the Epistle of Paul and Timothy to the Philippians and the interpretation provided above are a central preoccupation of my blog too.

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Thimblerig's Ark

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2014 saw the release of some major Bible-themed movies, movies backed by serious Hollywood studios, movies involving household name actors, directors with impressive filmographies, and budgets in the hundreds of millions.

Financially, the movies did respectfully, but they failed to make any sort of connection with the elusive “faith-based” audience – the audience willing to come out in droves for movies like God’s Not Dead or the films of the Kendrick Brothers.

The cry went out from faithful filmgoers everywhere, complaints that the films were not biblically accurate, that too many liberties had been taken, that our sacred stories should never have been entrusted into the hands of nonbelievers, and that one of us needed to do a Bible story properly, to show the world just how amazing our stories can be.

Veteran director Tim Chey answered that call, purportedly raising over 50 million dollars so that he could make a movie version of…

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New Martyrs. New Mob. New Hollow Men.

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“One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, ‘Jesus!'” (1)

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They are the “new martyrs” and sadly, we are the “new mob”, “we are the hollow men”.

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“I’ve learnt something important from the horrors of the last few weeks. As I pray for the Christians in Mosul, it becomes clear to me that I need their prayers more than they need mine. … I thank God for the humbling gift of allowing me to witness these new martyrs walking on their way to salvation before my very eyes. … We are witnessing the birth of holiness; we are part of a miracle.” (2)

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The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot

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We are the hollow men

… Alas!

Our dried voices, when

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless

As …

rats’ feet over broken glass

In our dry cellar…

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This is the way the world ends
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Not with a bang but a whimper.

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Watch Marlon Brando legendary reading of “The Hollow Men” in Francis Ford Coppola’s and Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking classic Apocalypse Now (1979) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPeHO1r8paU and also listen to T. S. Eliot himself reading it in his own unforgettable manner at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fu8awT5Jzs

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(1) http://www.christiantoday.com/article/isis.executes.12.christiansincluding.boy.and.2.women.who.were.raped.in.public.and.beheadedfor.refusing.to.renounce.jesus/66532.htm

(2) For the full article “NEW MARTYRS. NEW MOB” go to Father Seraphim’s last year blog entry at http://www.mullmonastery.com/uncategorized/new-martyrs-new-mob/, ” still timely, with the ever-rising wave of genocidal persecution of Christians by Muslims.

For Whom the Bell Tolls: Europe Migrant Crisis

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Why now is the perfect time for An Inspector Calls

* “The following review does NOT contain spoilers!”

BBC One’s adaptation of JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls couldn’t have aired at a more apt political moment…

… The BBC’s An Inspector Calls is airing in a week where front pages are dominated by people fleeing war in desperate need of help, and the political conversation is about who should be responsible for these strangers.

J.B. Priestley’s 1945 story about the corrosive nature of class privilege was always a fierce call for compassion. Arriving on BBC One after recent headlines, its message feels white-hot. … Set in 1912, the story tells of the collective role members of a wealthy family played in the suicide of a young working class woman. With its dead body, manor house, dinner party, visiting inspector and would-be aristocratic suspects, it first assumes the shape of a detective drama but quickly reveals itself to be an entirely different beast”

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An Inspector Calls is available now on BBC iPlayer and previous BBC versions and older films in YouTube.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p02z80kq/an-inspector-calls

Reviews:

http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/an-inspector-calls/36928/why-now-is-the-perfect-time-for-an-inspector-calls

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/tv-and-radio-reviews/11858583/An-Inspector-Calls-BBC-One-review-subtle-as-a-sledgehammer.html

Watch now: Exclusive interviews with the cast of the BBC’s An Inspector Calls

https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2015/watch-now-exclusive-interviews-cast-bbcs-inspector-calls/
WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 08/09/2015 - Programme Name: An Inspector Calls - TX: 13/09/2015 - Episode: An Inspector Calls (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Eva (SOPHIE RUNDLE) - (C) BBC/Drama Republic - Photographer: Laurence Cendrowicz

I recommend it wholeheartedly, and I do find its Christian subtext intriguing, my only objection being, in total agreement with Anita Singh, that this part drawing room whodunit, part classic thriller, part socialist manifesto, part twentieth-century morality play, has the subtlety of a sledgehammer!
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John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

From Meditation 17

A Spectral Array of Blues

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TROIS COULEURS: BLEU (1993) is a stunning film from one of the world’s preeminent directors, a rich, dark film with all the Kieslowski marks: death, silence, depression, and inner torment of the protagonist. Bleu is an impressive, inspired and inspiring anatomy of Loss, Death & Mourning with certain Christian overtones.

Desson Howe notes that “in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Blue,” the rehabilitation of a human spirit after painful tragedy is given stunning, aesthetic dimension. A story about a woman (Juliette Binoche) who loses her family (her composer-husband and 5-year-old daughter) in a car crash, this Polish-French production is also a spectral array of blues — cold, heart-chilling and beautiful.

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For the trauma of loss and persistence of memory, watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osu3j7N1fGU

Emotionally, “Blue” is a grim ordeal, as Binoche (still in the hospital recovering from the accident) attempts suicide, then retreats into deep-freeze mourning. But Kieslowski, cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, set designer Claude Lenoir and composer Zbigniew Preisner infuse the harrowing atmosphere with stylistic rhapsody.” (Washington Post, March 04, 1994 )

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More importantly, unlike Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, certain Christian themes throughout the movie offer the hope of redemption. Throughout Kieslowski implies a form of divine intervention or destiny at work, forcing Julie to come to terms with her past, others, and herself and serving as an agent of epiphanic inspiration.

There is also specifically love and forgiveness: Julie for example discovers that her late husband was having an affair. She tracks down Sandrine, Patrice’s mistress, and finds out that she is carrying his child; Julie arranges for her to have her husband’s house and recognition of his paternity for the child. What a ray of hope and redemption for such a “bleak” film, focusing on death and mourning, to end with the ultrasound of a baby, waiting to be born! Life conquers Death because Love is Life, and nothing, nobody can defeat Love, not even Death, the ultimate enemy.

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Then, there is humility, self-effacement and sacrifice. After the crash, in an attempt to blot out the trauma of loss, Julie destroys the score for her late husband’s last commissioned, though unfinished, work—a piece celebrating European unity, following the end of the Cold War. It is strongly suggested that she wrote, or at least co-wrote, her husband’s last work. Throughout there is an implication that she has hidden her own work behind the public face of her husband. In the final sequence she rewrites and completes the score and the Unity of Europe piece is played, while images are seen of all the people Julie has profoundly affected by her actions.

Significantly, this climactic piece which features chorus and a solo soprano is Saint Paul‘s 1 Corinthians 13 epistle in Greek, the hymn of love.

For a profound rendition of the Christian Hymn of Love (1 Cor, 13) , watch Trois Couleurs: ‘Bleu’ finale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmQ88PWzvR0

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13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 

13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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So, although there are some scenes, themes and plot developments in Bleu which conflict in my opinion with a Christian outlook, such as the typical French twist with Julie and her husband’s friend becoming lovers, still I find this film so much more comforting, uplifting and inspiring than The Sad Book* and its like, so plenty in modern art!

*See https://orthodoxcityhermit.com/2015/09/17/heartbreaking-anatomies-of-loss-death-mourning-iexemption/

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Ashes and Snow — Qadeeshat Lamayouta

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Qadeeshat Hyeltana

Qadeeshat Lamayouta

Itrahem Alain

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Holy God

Holy Mighty One

Holy Immortal One

Have Mercy on us

For the stunning, heavenly singing of the Aramaic hymn, listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6tV679wXIU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwNkBaWxz_Y

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Worshipping God in Aramaic the language of Jesus the Semitic language of Israel, Levant, and Mesopotamia, by Father Seraphim and his choir from Georgia, brought me to mind Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow images, visceral yet dreamlike, returning us to a place we long for but cannot name, reawakening an ancient memory in us of a time when we lived in balance and harmony with Nature and God.

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Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow is an ongoing project comprised of photographic artworks, a one-hour film and two short film “haikus,” and a novel in letters all presented in a purpose-built temporary structure called the Nomadic Museum.

“Feather to Fire
Fire to Blood
Blood to Bone
Bone to Marrow
Marrow to Ashes
Ashes to Snow.”

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For the full text, go to: http://www.mycity.rs/Knjizevnost/Ashes-and-Snow-by-Gregory-Colbert.html

For the mesmerising videos watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSX444hQ5Vo&list=PLF8BA0D1D7E544A00&index=1

https://gregorycolbert.com