Monday, August 18, 2014

Leaving Hogwarts, the Deathly Hallows and This Blog

Almost four years ago (in another life, we would have celebrated this October), I went to and hit the button 'create your own blog'. I was a teenager with a strong passion for (Indian) cinema in search of a virtual playground. A place that would be mine to design, maintain and fill with thoughts on film and eventually other parts of pop culture. It was a struggle to get the word out there - do you remember the way Harry, Hermione and Ron met in The Sorcerer's Stone? For Ron and Harry, there was an instant bond and a relaxed bro relationship formed immediately. Meanwhile, Hermione had to struggle to make friends, and it took a while until the trio formed and became as kick-ass as they were in The Deathly Hallows. This is what I feel like blogging was for me. But here I am with 100 official followers and many articles that I feel proud re-reading. The blog has been the creator of many things I would never have imagined joining or that I never even knew of. Tumblr, Twitter, me writing for a German Bollywood magazine and the online pop culture mag The Artifice ... and last but not least, me joining the podcasting world. Which has now become my favorite output and playground for my cinematic passion.

For me, the best thing about blogging has always, always been the community. I would never have met all these wonderful people, most of which live thousands of miles away from me, without this blog. I have never met any of you in person but I have talked to some of you on podcasts, and through Facebook and Twitter I follow your lives and you follow mine. It's like a virtual Marauder's Map, somehow. I wish I could explain how important all of you have become to me, how much fun you insert into my everyday life and how a nice comment used to save my day. Though the latter was probably somewhat unhealthy and is another reason I'm stopping the blogging thing (for now). In some place of my brain, there is an unsatisfiable hunger for achievement, recognition, fame. A piece of this is wonderful and I believe that competitiveness is healthier than lazy satisfaction. But I would like to use this energy in another way for a while, channel it into several different directions and try other things. Finishing my A levels and leaving for a gap year in Alaska seems like the right place to start.

If I'm not at home I'm somewhere else in the world.

I want to watch more movies without knowing what they're about. I want to enjoy them without thinking about the next blog post, the next marathon, the next update of my 100 Favorites. Meanwhile, this does NOT mean I'll cut off commenting on or philosophizing about film. You will always be able to read my mini reviews (including the Blind Spot series and possibly texts for other blogathons) on Letterboxd, my movies reviews and editorials in ISHQ and my articles on pop culture (including film) at The Artifice. You will be able to read my comments on your own blogs now and then, and especially, you will be able to hear me discuss cinema in various podcasts. Across the Universe: The Chicks With Accents Podcast is one of my proudest achievements so far, and my co-hosts Sofia and Nikhat have become very dear to me. Please stay with us in this chaotic thing called life - I'm sure we're not turning off our microphones any time soon.

It's like I've achieved my goal with this blog - I have made friends (mutual ones, I hope), written my teenage heart out while I've grown up to be a crazier and funnier person than I was when I started this. (Seriously, the Mette before the blog was kind of a bore). I've grown out of my Hermione fixation - realizing she's a bit of a caricature was part of my maturing process (from lame book geek to, ahem, cool geek). The fact that it has turned into an Emma Watson fixation doesn't lessen than achievement. Seriously, who doesn't want to save the world, stand by the F-word (feminism), study and work hard and look fabulous while doing that, and at the same time admit to have flaws? Sorry about that. What I was trying to say is: I have found the Deathly Hallows. I have conquered Voldemort and okay, I guess I have grown into a nerd since I'm comparing my mile stones to a fantasy novel series. But you know what - this is what makes me happy. I'm happy. I have never been this happy in my life!

Promise I won't take it too seriously, but I've got to start somewhere.

Many more mile stones are ahead of me, of us (*gollum* - trying to be less egotistical since I realize I have written a lot about myself here) and who knows, perhaps I will return to blogging some time. Or maybe I'm going to finally write some more articles on The Artifice. Maybe we will gain some more listeners on our podcast. Maybe I will invent the next Facebook (this is the most likely of all these suggestions). At any rate, I will choose what makes me happy. A lot of people dislike the closing scene of The Deathly Hallows - the trio has grown older and seemingly more boring. I am one of the people that disagree; we don't know what's going on in Harry's, Ron's or Hermione's lives, but hey, they look happy. They're doing their jobs, building their own families, perhaps traveling the world. The war is over, life continues. This is not what I call boring. This is what I call pretty cool.
(And yes, I'm not mentioning the fact that Ginny doesn't look like the awesome Quidditch player she's supposed to be).

Thank you for four wonderful years of reading my tipsy scribblings, for the loveliest digital conversations and for an enlightening cinematic and cultural journey that I'm sure is never-ending. Take care and don't forget me, as I surely won't forget you. Keep up the fun on all the social media, 'cause this is definitely not the end of any of my accounts on those.

"Her fingers hadn't itched to write a blog post for nine-teen weeks. All was well".

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Gold Rush | The ALASKAthon

The Gold Rush is the last new-to-me film in the ALASKAthon, which means that my gap year is coming closer. This, I hope, is a good enough excuse for this review being somewhat rushed. There really aren't enough hours in the day, especially when in some of them, you get to see your friends for the last time in a year.

It might interest you that my aversion towards silent films has lessened quite a bit during the last year. From vehemently stating that "I hate silent films" to finding them okay to actually finding myself enjoy them once in a while, I have undergone what some call "a snobformation". Jokes aside, Chaplin delivers another heart-felt and fun comedy on a serious enough topic in this film. He once more shows off his physical skills and talent for physical comedy, while the story - of course - isn't complicated at all. The sets are amazing and the pieces that were actually filmed in real snow are rather impressive too. Sadly, Chaplin outshines most of the other actors, and the girl in particular doesn't get a very important or rememberable role. His "cabin friend" makes for a funny side character though, and he and Chaplin play off each other very well.

I'm happy I watched The Gold Rush, since it makes for an interesting change in the many recent films I watched for this blogathon. It seems that Alaska was never very popular among filmmakers but Chaplin saw its charm already in the dawn of the days of filmmaking. Again, I'm sorry if this review seems rambly and short. There was no other way.


How capturing/ engaging/ interesting is the film? (out of 5 northern lights)

How gorgeous does the film - or the Alaska in it - look? (out of 5x Timothy Treadwell's hair)

How much does the film itself make you want to go to Alaska? (out of 5 sledges)

1925 • USA • English

director Charles Chaplin
author Charles Chaplin
★ Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Alone in the Wilderness | The ALASKAthon

The wish to just pack up our dearest belongings and burn or leave the rest, to wander off into the wilderness and start a new life without the complications of modern society - I think most of us have felt that wish one or several times in our lives. It's something that I've always associated Alaska with - the goodbye to society, that crazy breed as Eddie Vedder calls it in one of his songs. In the course of history, there have been a number of women and men who succumbed to this wish, which I do not doubt burnt much harder in them than it does in most of us who have not succumbed to it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mystery, Alaska | The ALASKAthon

-Note!- My blind spot entry for this month will be posted on, as was last months (12 Angry Men). I want to get used to and make you get used to my blind spot entries and possible (mini) reviews appearing on that platform. Just wanted to make sure you know.

Even though it should be the cinephile's highest aim to be able to approach each genre and subgenre without prejudice, we all have our own little preferences when it comes to the films we watch. Last year, I started keeping a diary on what decades I watch most films from and what suffer most of my ignorant teenage - of course I found my viewing habits concentrated on the last 5 or so centuries. With the 2000s and 2010s taking a lead that is much too strong in my eyes. But it's not only that (sub-contious) skirting of old films that dictates my film viewing habits - much more prominently and, I have to admit, self-consciously, I omit war and sports films.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

30 Days of Night | The ALASKAthon

When the success of the Twilight franchise precipitated a swarm of mediocre, over-eroticized vampire novels and cinematic adaptations of these, the vampire trend was officially a thing. Before that, vampire films had been mainly limited to the horror genre for a long period - as far as my limited knowledge of film history goes. 30 Days of Night was released one year before the first Twilight movie and hence its vampires are ugly brutes that want nothing but to kill and feed. Which is a nice exception from the mass these days...

Set in Barrow, the northernmost town in the US, the film takes place during the 30 days of darkness that the inhabitants of the town experience every year. While the sun never sets, the vampires are free to roam Barrow day and night and leave behind them a trail of destruction. The gorgeous Police officer Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) is the first to find out what's going on and along with a few other people he manages to survive the attacks for a long time.