The curse of the artist

There are days when I allow myself the luxury of looking out of the window and making sure that the day seems a bit more gray than it really is. I am invaded by doubt, by lack of faith, and by a feeling of stagnation. It’s okay, it’s just something I even consider healthy; one day out of a hundred that helps me to take perspective, and understand in a more profound way, what it means to aspire to live on writing.

In those moments, I also take the opportunity to feel hopeless and insubstantial, despite always going to bed having learned a couple of new things about what makes me move towards that dream. Anyways, by dawn, that feeling will have passed.

On days like these, I always remember my older brother, Juan. If there is any solid statement about him that is clear to me, it is that he has the gift of patience and perseverance, which is something that I have been lacking for many years. I have seen my brother create, and create, to try opening his own path in the world of music, but not just of any kind, but of what he loves. “The way in which he feels he has to live, the only reasonable one”, as David Beriain said–to receive disappointments and, in spite of everything, to continue going through a job that does not excite him, believing that sooner or later he will achieve his true purpose.

I have never seen a trace of depression in him, although, he has certainly gone through hard times. He just went through it without stopping, without faltering, to my greatest admiration. And he did it because, in all likelihood, he felt the resignation of one who knows that he could not live in any other possible way.

Finally, his time arrived, and my brother achieved something compelling and beautiful: he does not work exactly as a musician, but he uses his musical skills in his work for television series, and his own pipes as a voice actor. He works a good number of hours, but he looks happy, and most importantly, he seems to have achieved something that every artist yearns for: to feel that everything you create matters–that what you do is useful, because it is YOU, your skills and what you ARE capable of creating is what is necessary for the job to pull through.

It’s funny how sometimes we just imagine a way to achieve things, until the definitive one appears; normally, something one had not thought of before. And then one looks back, and we realize that the path we just have tread, so dodgy and strange, as it seemed to us, becomes the most reasonable one.

Every time I write a paragraph, every time I learn something new or finish a novel, I can’t help but think about how much I hope that day will come soon for me, too. I have my heart and soul full of stories waiting to be sent out there, one way or another. How much I long for that day to come, when I can live on writing, and transmit to the world everything that I have inside–reaching many people, serving to inspire others, helping them become better people, and at the same time seeing myself grow as an artist.

While I wait for that, I will keep writing, I will keep composing music, I will keep creating things. I will keep moving forward, because only those who keep walking, working hard and making “noise” are the ones who finally reach their goals. I do not do this because I am confident of myself, or because I believe of myself as a diamond in the rough; it is not even by absolute conviction, but by an honest resignation that scratches on negligence: I am just incapable of leaving my art. If I did, it would be my only death. Through the things I have created, I will live forever.

Maybe that thing I’m fighting for will never come. And I would not be the first one to suffer that fate. I suppose this is the ultimate fear of any artist, although it is also the point from which all of those who have gone somewhere have started from: the terror in thinking that all that you have to give to the world is, in fact, worthless–or that there is nobody who will accept it. Whether or not it is the case, in the end, the result is irrelevant. I am condemned to the joyful chore of creating new worlds every day. It is not a bad curse, although it could always get better.

Your Name (君の名は) – 10 line reviews

I greatly appreciate those moments in which one discovers a film of those that take everything from the inside, those moments during the final credits in which one still revolves around what has seen. This film has that and much more. ‘Your name (Kimi no na wa)’ is a 2016 animation film based on the story of a boy and a girl who, at times, are exchanging bodies without realizing it, but everything has a meaning in the lives of both of them. The movie has beautiful designs, radiant colors, a curious and interesting storyline and unexpected plot twists that turn our hearts upside down. The only handicap that I’ve appreciated is the Japanese tendency to stretch some scenes to add emotionality, and those, if poorly managed, can become kind of soporific at times. ‘Your name’ is, above all, a beautiful and sweet film, and I recommend it to everyone because, among other things, I think Japanese animation has long ceased to be something for a few people.

Wonder Woman – 10 lines reviews

DC has achieved its first cinematographic success since the Nolan trilogy of Batman, and has done it doubled, because one of its big successes lies in that, super heroically speaking, many men want to be a woman now. And that’s a lot, really. With Wonder Woman, DC hits the spot, wraps up an entertaining and epic adventure with a solvent script and a charismatic cast. At the same time, gives us a story that, without being that deep, is funny and sometimes exciting, speaks of human nature and provides the heroine that, in my opinion, many girls needed for a long time. Because they needed it, and they needed it without stereotypes or cliche. Male characters included. I loved Wonder Woman and I hope this is only the beginning of the end of the fears to produce films with female protagonist characters.

Seklusyon (2016), about human evilness

Recently has started the Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 an annual film festival that compels cinemas across the country to limit themselves to play Filipino films for two or three weeks. Although last year also took place I did not give it a shot: I had heard that it was kind of unworhy because the movies used to be quite bad, although the raison d’etre of this celebration is to select the best of each year. All this is due, apparently, to influences, excesses, nepotisms and various plugs. Nothing I do not know about my own country, on the other hand.

But this year has been different. There is really a good selection of films and documentaries that I hope to comment about here, and the one that will start this small space dedicated to the cinema in my blg is also the first Filipino film I see in a theater. And it was worth it.

Set in the forties, Seklusyon tells the story of several aspirants to priest who are locked in a monastery far from society, in order to complete their apprenticeship and be named if they succeed in overcoming their imprisonment. Meanwhile, rumors that a girl sent from God healing people are becoming stronger. An incident will cause the girl, along with the nun who is in charge, to end up sheltering in the monastery with the aspirants. In this situation, those monks will face their fears, revealing the real nature of each one.

First, I want to say that this film has been tagged with “terror”, when it is not at all. Although it gives some moments of tension, shocking images and some fright, the film is focused on speaking more of our internal demons than of the supernatural beings that lurk to us, although this component is consistent throughout the film.

The film takes its time to show us, through images at times astonishing, the fears and demons hidden in each of the aspirants – who are excessively handsome to get credibility, for my liking – as well as the nun who accompanies the girl. With enough mastery and a very careful image and outlining, the movie gives us pieces, never defined concepts, about which is the problem of each. Until these are already manifesting.

The girl, Anghela, has supernatural (and very sinister) powers that are bound to heal people, and she does it for no apparent reason. Not only external injuries: also psychological wounds. But there is always in all of this a suspicious halo that makes the viewer wonder what is happening. In this aspect, the film is a constant thread that leaves no room for boredom. The dynamics of the film are developed so that the characters are constantly exchanged and every point in the story is one that we really want to know, even throwing, on occasion, small pieces of humor.

During the first hour we are given the promise of a different horror film, and that promise is maintained: The evil is not found outside. The characters fight against it inside of them and not all achieve it in the same way. Evil, whose driving vehicle is the form of a child, does not seek harm against them, but wishes to take their hearts. The way in which these facts are matched is remarkable, because deep down what we are shown is that evil is a human feature, without leaving aside the supernatural component that guides some acts, and makes fit everything into a definite puzzle.

One of the most interesting phrases in the film is, “Men do not walk by nature toward kindness, but toward what is easier.” This alludes to people’s difficulty in changing their essence and their acts; Its nature, the same one of all the aspirants who, through the church, seek to redeem themselves. Men tend to goodness as long as it is easy to do it. But doing things right, being right, is not always simple and easy. In fact, on many occasions it is really difficult to stay straight. And that is what evil desires. As it happens in the movie, it is not about blood and death, but about twisting souls and corrupting spirits what evil is about.