Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

A poem in a movie inviting you to be who you are

January 2, 2015

I recently enjoyed watching Words and Pictures, a 2013 film about a male English teacher and a female art instructor who form a rivalry that ends up galvanizing students in a competition to decide the most effective way to communicate, using words or pictures. This battle between mind and heart, ideas and feelings, is also about self-discovery, expressing one’s creativity, and the blocks that get in the way. Cleverly written by Gerald Di Pego, a one-time English teacher, and faithfully directed by Fred Schepisi, it stars Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, and Bruce Davison. Visit their website for more info: http://wordsandpicturesthemovie.com.

I especially liked the quotes about writing and art, the word vs. the image. A poem by Mary Oliver was supposed to be featured in the film. They never said which one, but kept waiting for permission to use it. By the time the answer came in, no, it was too late, and they had to come up with a replacement. The pressure was on screenwriter Gerald Di Pego. Being a poet himself, and seeing how this was his screenplay, the muse inspired him and he wrote this very vivid and appropriate poem, just in time. Juliette Binoche liked it, which came as a relief to him and the director. I found it online and wanted to share it with you. The poem plays a central role, but you’ll have to see the film to find out who wrote it and how it’s used.

WHO ARE YOU?

I am a small poem
On a page with room
For another.

Share with me
This white field,
Wide as an acre
Of snow, clear
But for these tiny
Markings like the
Steps of a bird.
Come. Now.

This is the trough
Of the wave, the
Seconds after
Lightning, thin
Slice of silence
As music ends,
The freeze before
The melting. Hurry.

Lie down beside me.
Make angels. Make devils.
Make who you are.

As you can see, the poem invites you to create and become who you are, from that gap, the transitional point of possibility, and to share in the experience with another. Here’s a poem I wrote after a special painting class that seems relevant: ArtWords—poem about a creative awakening.

Interestingly, the Special Features part of the DVD revealed that Juliette Binoche, an artist in her own right, offered to do all of the paintings herself, which thrilled both writer and director. Because her character is dealing with physical challenges due to her medical condition, she had to paint in different styles, from portraiture to more abstract. Binoche enjoyed the added challenge and it possibly influenced her own future work.

Here is the official Words and Pictures – International Trailer (2014) HD.

When it comes to romantic movies, here are some of my favorite films where love transcends time.

Canadian Connection: These shoes are made for walking

The featurette also confirmed for me where they had made the film. The story is set in a New England prep school, but was actually shot at St. George’s School, an independent boarding and day university-preparatory school for boys in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, a.k.a., Hollywood North.

I recognized the location, and it reminded me of a story I had heard on a local CBC radio talk show during my stay there. The guest was an English teacher who taught at St. George’s School. One of the topics being discussed was meeting famous people. Listeners called in to share their stories and the teacher related an unusual event that had recently happened to him.

He had gone shopping at a well-known store for comfortable walking shoes. He settled on a particular pair and the sales clerk told him it was a popular item. She said someone famous had been in that morning and purchased a similar pair. She left to find out the name of the celebrity, but got sidetracked, so he left.

He put on his new shoes and, as was his routine everyday after lunch, he went for a walk in the woods next to the school property. While walking along the path, eyes downcast, he saw a pair of shoes just like his, coming his way. Looking up he saw someone he never would have expected to see, especially in the forest. He pointed at him in surprise trying to say his name, but it came out as gibberish. The person mimicked him sputtering his name. It was Robin Williams! I think he was in town at that time filming Jumanji.

They had a wonderful walk and talk together. Robin had asked him what he did for a living and where he worked, which was something he could identify with having played an English teacher at an elite boys prep school in Dead Poets Society. When they reached the edge of the forest, there was Robin’s stretch limousine parked on the street waiting for him. He invited the teacher into the car saying they would drop him off at the school.

Now this man was not the most popular teacher at the school. When they pulled up, he got out of the limo, and all heads turned to look at him. Then Robin lowered the darkly tinted window, stuck his head out, and thanked the teacher for a wonderful time. All the kids’ jaws dropped! And from that day on he was the coolest person at school. Thank you, Robin! God Bless you, wherever you are.

The friendliness of Canadians, Canadian Patriotism, Vancouver as a destination, and the quality of the Olympic Games

March 28, 2010

THE FRIENDLINESS OF CANADIANS

“Thank you, Canada. For being such good hosts. For your unfailing courtesy. For reminding some of us we used to be a more civilized society. Mostly, for welcoming the world with such ease and making lasting friends with all of us.” – Brian Williams, NBC News

“Along the way, there was plenty to like in Vancouver, if not always the weather. The people were generous and spirited, the volunteers cheery. Once, I saw a guy fail to smile; I think he was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor.” – Boston.com

“Before the closing ceremony begins, let me just take the time to thank the people of Vancouver for a wonderful 19 days. The people here couldn’t be nicer, from the volunteers who make sure the buses run on time, to the citizens walking the streets, to the athletes and people from around the world who were here.” – The LA Times

“The Olympics went into overtime Sunday. It was perfect. No one wanted the Warmest Games to end. Warmest weather. Warmest hosts.” – The Miami Herald

“Make no mistake, Canada’s people were the stars of these Games. They jammed the streets of Vancouver, cheered the most obscure sports as long as a Canadian was competing and all but drowned themselves in a sea of red. These are not folks normally given to outbursts of patriotism, but they found their voice here.” – Chicago Sun Times

“Why can’t we be more like Canada? They host the Olympics like they mean it. They smile . and they have the Canadian Mounties. But most of all what they have is a kick-ass national anthem, a tune that says everything about who they are – and about what we, as Americans, are not.” – The Huffington Post

“Graciousness is their default mode here. For the last two weeks, beaming has been a way of life. In a nod to the local vernacular, let me just say this is the nicest city I’ve ever been in.” – The Los Angeles Times

“No question the biggest winners of the 2010 Winter Olympics were the Canadian people, who were unfailingly polite, passionately patriotic, and self-deprecating enough to poke fun at themselves in the Closing Ceremonies.” – The Miami Herald.com

CANADIAN PATRIOTISM

“For Canada, I’d call it a ‘coming of age’ moment. The country, all 35 million of us, were able to bare our patriotic souls in an outburst of unbridled patriotism not seen before.” – The Toronto Star

“…the Games are a remarkable success. Millions of us are watching, and Vancouver is a giant block party. We know Canada is a small country in a big world, and most of us seem thrilled with what our athletes have achieved. Per capita, our medal count is second only to Norway’s.” – The Globe & Mail

“Canadians used to think of themselves as being quiet, modest and unassertive. No longer. After their athletes topped the medals table with 14 golds at the winter Olympic games, some 100,000 flag-waving locals took to the streets of Vancouver and the nearby ski resort of Whistler, deliriously singing the national anthem.” – The Economist

“This quiet city with such beautiful scenery made all of Canada proud. In a nightly transformation, as many as 150,000 people flooded the closed-off downtown streets to savor the Olympic experience. Mostly mild instead of wild, the crowds whooped, hollered, danced and shouted ‘Go Canada Go!’ well into the morning.” – The Houston Chronicle

“The bright-eyed exuberance can be a little overwhelming to someone who has spent many years absorbing cynicism in the Middle East, but the sheer earnestness helps temper what could elsewhere be an aggressive nationalism. Instead, it seems a pure expression of civic boosterism, no more, no less.” – The Jerusalem Post

VANCOUVER AS A DESTINATION

“You’re gorgeous, baby, you’re sophisticated, you live well.Vancouver is Manhattan with mountains. It’s a liquid city, a tomorrow city, equal parts India, China, England, France and the Pacific Northwest. It’s the cool North American sibling.” – The New York Times

“You may have heard that Vancouver is a great city, but it’s better than that. On a good weather day – and we had a spectacular five-day run in the middle of the Games – it is stunningly beautiful, and it is an excellent eating, drinking and shopping city.” – The Boston Globe

“Vancouver looked gorgeous on TV . NBC’s shots of Vancouver’s downtown and waterfront, and aerial views of Whistler ski areas, provided a media boost no marketing campaign could have delivered.” – The Seattle Times

“Vancouver is a city unlike any other. Wherever I look, I see water or mountains — or both. And everyone looks so healthy.” – The Daily Telegraph (UK)

“A remarkable environment. The license plates read ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ for a reason. The Sea-to-Sky Highway carries travelers on a jaw-dropping journey from the serenity of Vancouver’s waterfront to the majesty of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.” – The Buffalo News

“In winter, the heart of downtown [Vancouver] is 30 minutes from the ski slopes. In summer, sun seekers crowd its beaches and seaside promenades. And despite a rain-prone climate, it displays a perpetually sunny disposition. Consider it the supermodel of North American cities.” – USA Today

“Vancouver is one of North America’s most under-rated tourist destinations. It is a modern, travel-friendly city with a unique mix of cultures. The relatively mild Pacific Northwest climate and an energetic restaurant and nightlife scene are other features that make this such an attractive city.” – LowFares.com

“[Visitors] will find the streets of Vancouver, a city of 2 million, so spotless they’ll think Mr. Clean is the mayor.” – The Miami Herald

“By the end of the 17 days that featured unseasonably warm temperatures and more than a week of brilliant sunshine, the cherry blossoms were blooming and a few fans had been spotted wearing shorts in the street while raucously celebrating Team Canada’s dramatic overtime victory over the Americans in the hockey final.” – The Salt Lake Tribune

“Olympics visitors have become a travel marketer’s dream as they bask in the Vancouver sun, flock to competitions and pour into downtown venues. The throngs of Games guests are magnets that should pull even more tourists to B.C. in the coming months and years.” – The Montreal Gazette

“The city of Vancouver and the ski village of Whistler are terrific hosts for these Olympic Games. The air is clean, the public transit is scarily efficient, and the harbors, with snowcapped mountains for a backdrop, are picturesque. Whistler, two hours to the north and home to the skiing, sliding and Nordic events, is a winter wonderland.” – Time

QUALITY OF THE GAMES EXPERIENCE

“These were the best Winter Games ever.” – Salon.com

“The venues here and the streets of Vancouver and Whistler are joyful places to be.” – The Times London (UK)

“So there was no shortage of Olympic spirit in BC and Vancouver became an amazing party town day and night.” – Inside the Games

“.you can’t stage a better Olympics. The city is beautiful. The venues are modern. The transportation is efficient. But this wasn’t about logistics. In the end, it’s the people that power the movement. The Canadian people pushed these games back from the brink of disaster and right off into history.” – Yahoo.com

“The stadiums are full, the seats are full of passionate fans, the streets are busy and there’s a lot going on . Whether it is ice hockey, curling or speedskating, I haven’t seen an empty seat in the house.” – The Guardian

“The sporting venues were built on time and on budget. A new subway line links the airport to the city centre. The athlete’s village, with a view over one of Vancouver’s many picturesque waterways, sets high standards in energy-efficient construction.” – The Financial Times

“Top that if you can. Amid the tragedy, the medals race and the hockey frenzy, the Vancouver Olympics will be remembered above all for the fervor and ebullience of its Canadian hosts.” – The Associated Press

“What Vancouver did show London was how to stage a Games to be enjoyed by everyone, from athletes to spectators to the general public, who embraced the Olympics with hands uniformly clad in red Olympic mittens.” – Reuters

“There comes a time to tip your toque, and our good friends in Canada deserve our respect for hosting, and excelling in, a memorable Winter Olympics.” – Philly.com

“Known better for their hospitality than their military, Canada mustered a small army of volunteers to pull off these Olympic Games with unfailing patience and cheerfulness.” – The Christian Science Monitor

“In the end, these games became a testament to the resilience of both the Canadian and the Olympic spirit.” – The Australian

“The people of Vancouver embraced their Games as no other citizenry has in recent memory, not even Sydney. They packed the stadiums, thronged in the streets, made the cauldron their mecca.” – The Sydney Morning Herald

“But the Games recovered in a spirited, determined and optimistic fashion, and most of the operation visible to me has been difficult to fault. London faces a big challenge to generate the same level of enthusiasm for the Games.” – BBC

“Seoul’s citizens were wonderfully fanatical in 1988 and Sydneysiders were pretty hyped up in 2000 but the Vancouverites who teemed downtown in their maple leafed garb have surely now set the standard for Londoners for 2012.” – The Daily London Telegraph

“And overall, for athletes, fans, the media and the host nation especially, the Games were a triumph.” – The Independent

“Bottle that Vancouver enthusiasm and London 2012 will really hit the spot. The London Olympics can take their cue from Vancouver, its organizers and its volunteers.” – The Guardian

“I think it’s always obvious at the end of any of these global spectacles whether a particular event was a success, or fell short of the mark. I have no doubt that history will recall these Olympic Winter Games falling into the former category.” – The Daily Mail

VIEW FROM THE TOP

“The Games, suggested Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday, have elevated Canada on the world stage. ‘Mark my words, some day historians will look back at Canada’s growing strength in the 21st century and they will say that it all began right here, on the West Coast, with the best Winter Olympic Games the world has ever seen.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper, CBC.ca

“Most importantly, the Olympics have provided a chance for international investors to get to know us and explore business opportunities.” – BC Premier Gordon Campbell, Forbes

“We hosted the biggest event in our country’s history and it was a huge success.’ The mayor also took time to praise everyone involved in the Games, from the athletes to visitors, the police and finally, residents, for their consideration, co-operation and kindness. ‘The people of Vancouver made the whole country proud.” – Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, The Province

“Furlong, in Sunday’s touching farewell speech, may have said it best: ‘I believe we Canadians tonight are stronger, more united, more in love with our country and more connected with each other than ever before. These Olympic Games have lifted us up. If the Canada that came together on opening night was a little mysterious to some, it no longer is. Now you know us, eh.” – VANOC Chief John Furlong, The Vancouver Sun

“Expo 67 was a moment of coming of age for Canada,” said Michele McKenzie, president of the [Canadian Tourism] commission. “One of the things it did in young people was inspire interest in our country. What this Olympics has done is expose younger generations to what Canada is as a country. . . . I think the world has a much deeper understanding of the country after this. It’s magic.” – CTC President Michele McKenzie, The Vancouver Sun

“US Vice-President Joe Biden complimented Canadians Saturday on what he called an ‘incredible’ Olympic opening ceremony. ‘You guys put on one heck of a show,’ Biden said Saturday afternoon, speaking briefly with reporters. ‘Last night was incredible, absolutely incredible,’ he added.” – US Vice-President Joe Biden, Canada.com


%d bloggers like this: