Friday, February 25, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Seems that the full movie isn't on Youtube or Netflix, but it's on itunes-you can buy it for $4.99 or rent for $2.99.
Has anyone else seen this? It looks intriguing, and not totally unlike the big Amanda Seyfried movie coming out-(surlalune has more up to date info on this and other fairy tale movies)
While searching for the Christina Ricci movie, I did come across this little treasure-how had I not heard of this before? I'm a huge Monty Python fan!
Monday, February 21, 2011
Birds themselves are very trendy these days. The first two images are Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2010; the third is a necklace from Claires-similar necklaces can be found all over.
It's interesting the reactions I get to this necklace-people in an older generation tend to seem almost distressed when they realize that the bird is outside of the cage. And it's true, the bird would be a lot safer in the cage (I remember all those distressing times in my childhood when our hamsters would escape-one sadly drowned in the sump pump, it was so traumatic), although it's supposed to be a symbol of freedom. As with everything, there are dangers to either extreme-conformity or freedom, although in this culture the younger generation is all about independence and freedom.
The Nightingale has some other interesting aspects-
Appearance vs. reality-the royal people are surprised to learn that the famed, talented nightingale is just a plain, gray little bird. They are more excited by the bejeweled mechanical bird.
Authentic vs. fake-the people are taken by fads; first the real nightingale and then the mechanical one, but they love the mechanical one because it's predictable. It's proven that people tend to respond positively to music simply because they've heard it before and can recognize it, but Anderson's comment is a very interesting commentary on human nature in general.
Tension between technology and the natural world-this aspect of the fairy tale obviously could not be found in the more ancient tales we know and love but is something we all feel. We all use and like at least some aspects of technology, but the minute it stops working I get all upset that this culture is such that we can't work or communicate without it. Most of us probably would like to get more in touch with nature but find it difficult in our hectic, appliance-driven lifestyles.
This song may or may not have been inspired by the tale, but the words of the chorus certainly apply:
"A nightingale in a golden cage
That's me locked inside reality's maze
Come, someone make my heavy heart light
Come undone bring me back to life
A nightingale in a golden cage
That's me locked inside reality's maze
Come, someone make my heavy heart light
It all starts with a lullaby"
"The Escapist," by Nightwish
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
So when I saw Surlalune's post on the movie Year of the Fish, I was intrigued. The movie sets the story in modern Chinatown. Ye Xian came to America to work for her mother's cousin in what she thought was a beauty shop, but is a massage parlor for adult customers. When Ye Xian is not willing to do sexual favors for the customers, she is ridiculed and forced to do the dirty work, scrubbing toilets, cooking, shopping, etc. All the essential elements of the tale, but made very believable, even in a modern setting.
I saw the movie and was not disappointed. I was even more glad to see that other elements of the ancient Chinese tale were incorporated in-including the whole saga with the fish and its bones-only in this movie they were given to her by Auntie Yaga-Asian relative of Baba Yaga? The romance was a bit too love-at-first-sight, but still really sweet. And Cinderella is usually the most attacked for being passive, but this Ye Xian shows true courage. An excellent movie for the mature viewer (there is swearing and sexual content).
Sunday, February 13, 2011
There was a Queen who longed for children. She prayed every morning, and one day an angel answered her prayers-she would have a son with the power of wishing. The Queen took her little boy every day to bathe him in a fountain. One day she fell asleep with the boy in her lap, and the old cook took the child and sprinkled a chicken's blood on the Queen's lap. The cook ran to the King and claimed the Queen had allowed the boy to be carried off by a wild animal. The King, furious, ordered his wife to be shut up in a tower for seven years with no food or water, and wither away as punishment. But kind angels, in the form of doves, brought her food and water each day.
The next day, though, the boy was still alive. When the cook demanded why she hadn't killed him, the maiden responded that she didn't see why the boy, who had done nothing wrong, should be killed. The cook threatened to kill her if she didn't obey. The next morning the maiden gave the cook the heart and tongue of a hind, and told the Prince to hide under the bed covers. As the cook entered, the Prince revealed himself and wished that the cook, as punishment, would turn into a black poodle with a gold chain around his neck, forced to eat live coals until the flames poured out of his mouth.
The Prince stayed at the castle a while, but began to wonder about his mother. He wanted to go back to see if she was still alive. The maiden did not wish to leave him, but was also afraid to go to a strange new country. So the Prince wished that she should become a beautiful pink flower.
The Prince stood and revealed to his father who he was, that his mother was innocent, and the treachery of the cook. He showed the court the black poodle, and then the cook in his real form-and he showed them the beautiful flower, and then the maiden, more beautiful than any painting.
The King ordered the Queen to be brought down from the tower. But when she reached the table, she would no longer eat or drink. She said, "The merciful God, who has preserved my life so long, will soon release me now." She died three days later, and the two white doves who had brought her food hovered over her grave.
The King punished the cook, ordering him to be torn into four quarters, but he was filled with grief and died shortly after.
"His son married the beautiful maiden he had brought home with him as a flower, and, for all I know, they may be living still."
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I am a frog
I live under a spell
I live at the bottom
of a green well.
And here I must wait
Until a maiden places me
On her royal pillow
And kisses me
In her father's palace.
The story is familiar
Everyone knows it well
But do other enchanted people feel as nervous
As I do? The stories do not tell.
Ask if they would be happier
When the changes come
As already they are fairly happy
in a frog's doom?
I have been a frog now
For a hundred years
And in this time
I have not shed many tears
I am happy, I like the life
Can swim for many a mile
(When I have hopped to the river)
And am forever agile.
And the quietness
Yes, I like to be quiet
I am habituated
To a quiet life,
But always when I think these thoughts
As I sit in my well
Another though comes to me and says
It is part of the spell
To be happy
To work up contentment
To make much of being a frog
To fear disenchantment.
Says, it will be heavenly
To be set free
Cries, heavenly, the girl who disenchants
And the royal time, heavenly
And I think it will be.
Come then, royal girl and royal times,
I can be happy until you come
But I cannot be heavenly,
Only disenchanted people can be heavenly.
Image by P J Lynch
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Vania went to Dara's cabin and found her in the corner with a cat on her knees. The new mother of the house told him that she found caring for Dara to be a nuisance. Vania asked Dara if she would like to live with him and told her about how he was a hunter, and how in the winter he looked for the stag that no one ever sees;not for food, but to see his silver hoof.
Dara was curious about the stag but Vania would only tell her more if she came with him. So, taking her cat, Moura, the new family headed to Vania's house. They were happy together. Vania would hunt, Dara cleaned and cooked, and Moura chased mice. Now Vania wasn't lonely, Dara wasn't scared, and Moura wasn't skinny.
Vania finally told Dara about the White Stag. His right forefoot had a silver hoof. When he paws the ground with it, jewels fly out. Dara asked question after question about the stag until Vania was tired of answering them.
That winter Vania planned to spend the winter in a small hunting cabin where there were deer. Dara begged to go with him. Vania thought it would be too dangerous, but she kept asking until he gave in. Dara said goodbye to Moura, but Moura came after them, as the villagers whispered about how crazy Vania was to take a child into the forest for the winter. But the little family was glad to be all together.
Vania caught lots of deer and they were happy. One day Dara saw a quick shape dart outside the window-a stag with five-pointed antlers. She ran to the door but saw nothing. "I must have been dreaming," she said.
The next night Dara heard the clattering of hooves-over the rooftop, and down to the door. Dara tiptoed to the door and opened it. There was a stag with five-pointed antlers and a solid silver right hoof. She was so excited she couldn't speak, but clapped her hands. The stag laughed and ran off.
The next night Vania should have returned home from the village, but still he had not come, and Dara was lonely. She noticed that Moura was missing, and went outside to search for her. On a hill of snow she saw Moura, and before the cat stood Silvershod. Their heads were nodding and they appeared to be talking. Moura went off, and Silvershod followed. Dara watched them as they went out of sight.
Then Silvershod appeared again, leapt on top of the hut, and began striking with his hoof-sapphires and rubies and emeralds and diamonds fell from the roof, heaps and heaps of them. Just then Vania returned, amazed.
Suddenly Moura leapt up beside him with a strange cry, and in an instant both animals were gone. Vania pulled off his hat and filled it with jewels. Dara suggested they leave the rest in the snow, to see them sparkle in the sun. The two went into the house, and it began to snow.
The next morning Vania went out to dig the jewels from under the snow-but no matter how much he dug, the jewels had disappeared. However, those he had collected the night before were enough to make himself and Dara comfortable for the rest of their lives. Vania and Dara were happy together, but they missed Moura, who never returned. Neither she nor Silvershod were ever seen again.
"Silvershod" is a Russian tale found in The Fairy Tale Book. It seemed an appropriate wintry tale for this time of year, especially given the snowstorm that just went through most of the country.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Around 5:35 listen for the flute playing the nightingale.
This half starts with the oboe playing the mechanical bird.