Wings, by Larisa Shepitko – Film Review

Wings was Larisa Shepitko’s debut feature after she graduated from the famous All-Russian State Institute for Cinematography.

The film follows forty-one-year-old Nadezhda Petrukhina, a once WWII Soviet pilot, now living a quiet but unsatisfactory and ordinary life as a principal at a trade school. While treasured and respected by the generation that experienced the same War, Nadezhda struggles to connect with the generation that followed hers. She disapproves of her daughter’s (Tanya’s) choices in men and worries that her daughter might discover she is adopted.

The film is filled with a sense of neverending alienation deepened by a rich array of subject matters. These topics create a cracking portrait characterized by remembrance, grief, longing, and the struggles that come with getting older. 

The film is a superb character study that, surprisingly, ends up providing more hope than sorrow. Maya Bulgakova’s portrayal of Nadezhda has incredible nuance. She effortlessly conveyed the profound, wounded warmth of the character underneath the thick exterior of sombre uprightness. That final closeup of her eyes filled with tears while in the cockpit gave me a punch of sudden sadness!

Wings has a strong sense of Russian postwar nationalism, but it is not afraid to explore the morally ambiguous ramifications of that same nationalism on the human mind. Managing to also explore femininity through the lens of feminism while the movement was picking up steam worldwide.

I recommend this film to everyone who enjoys contemplating human existence and is interested in Soviet cinema. Please, let me know what to think about it.

Bye!


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My Thoughts on “Much Ado About Nothing” (play and film)

I watched and read Much Ado About Nothing, and here is what I think.

First, let’s talk about the 1993 film. It is wonderfully acted, let me tell you. With the magnificent ensemble of Keneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington and Kate Beckinsale, who could expect anything less?

I have to give all due respect to the cinematographer (Roger Lanser) for using the landscape available so beautifully. Not to mention, the soundtrack (Patrick Doyle) goes amazingly well if the overall absurdist feeling of the film. Overall, the directing style (Kenneth Branagh) was suitable for the story being told.

Just like the original play, this film manages to maintain its fun, lively and light feeling, while somehow adding to the play’s Pythonesque tone.

Listening to Emma Thompson reciting Shakespeare is an entire experience in and of itself, which I didn’t know I needed. What’s more, I believe I feel a bit in love with Denzel Washington, but that is neither here nor there.

Now, allow me to explain the plot. Claudio catches a glimpse of Hero and is immediately in love, and by her expression, she lets us know she reciprocates. While this is happening, Benedick and Beatrice are becoming aware they too are attracted to each other. However, unlike the other pair, their passion is expressed through quarrels and insults.

Since this is, what I would call, a Shakespearean romantic comedy, there is quite a bit of mockery, farce, zingers, and there is melodrama beyond contempt, but it all is right in the end.

The original play is known as one of Shakespeare comedies, and it was written around 1598. But let me tell you, it was only one step from falling into tragedy.

The play’s action is remarkably gamelike. There are dances, eavesdropping, disguises and misunderstandings, which gives us a lighthearted and upbeat pattern.

Something I realized after watching the film was that the play was very much dominated by two side characters. I found myself overlooking the main couple and rooting for Beatrice and Benedick. I reckon this is the result of their intellect and strength when compared to that of other characters in the story. However, I also believe they are afraid of rejection and of being the object of ridicule, so they choose to pretend they hate each other’s guts, for that reason too.

Beatrice is, without a doubt, my favourite of all Shakespeare’s characters. She is both sharp and fierce. Beatrice invented feminism, and we are just living but her rules.

I truly enjoyed this play, mainly because it overflows with wit and has a beautifully engaging set of characters. Furthermore, I applaud the play’s exploration of relevant themes such as betrayal, hypocrisy, and gender roles. (I can’t believe Shakespeare really brought light to the problem with gender roles.)

Please, let me know what to think about this film and play if you have watched or read it. And your experience with Shakespeare overall.
Bye, keep on reading.


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I know I didn’t post anything last week, don’t come for me! |IcthusBookCorner

Hey there people! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Today I’m here to ramble on with you, nothing bookish.

Probably no one cares, but I haven’t posted anything since my birthday, and that was a scheduled post. To be honest, I got a bit tired of posting two times a week, and it got to a point when I had no idea what to post. I didn’t feel like writing reviews, and I was, overall, burned out.

I’ve always enjoyed talking about books and films, and it’s something that brings me joy. That is why I created this blog: to express myself and find people who love books as much as I do.

At the end of 2020, I decided to create a regular posting schedule again, and it was fine. (Mind you that I’ve had this blog since 2016, which is a long time.) In the beginning, this new attempt at organized content was amazing. It was so good that I had the idea to monetize the blog. I was excited by the interactions and visitors I had for my review of Death at Intervals and took it as a good sign. It was a stupid idea! I now felt forced to post even if I had nothing to say, and I felt like people weren’t interacting with me as much as they once did, which lead to me feeling like I was talking into the vacuum. (And by the way, I made no money so far, it was a stupid idea.)

Now, I feel like I’m now back on track, but I’ll probably only post once a week (two if I feel like it). I want to write a sort of essay on “The Shawshank Redemption” and “A Pocket History of Human Evolution”, and I also really want to write my reviews for “All The Light We Cannot See”, “If on a winter’s night a traveller” and “Notes from Underground”. As well as other things that I don’t want to reveal because I think they are better as a surprise. (I’ll post my March Wrap Up as soon as I can.)

Once again, I hope you are all doing well and living a Covid-19 free life. It was nice to talk to you all.
Bye, keep on reading.


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