a place in the world

Posts tagged Film


Burmese Days

Mingalabar! Here is a little film from our Myanmar trip. I will need to take some time to sit and process the week that was… it was a beautiful time, in large part because of the Burmese people we encountered along the way. Shots taken and edited from my iPhone, I filmed more than a hundred short clips but it was not possible to fit everything into 4:20 minutes– the length of Jonsi’s beautiful song I chose to accompany this little amateur video.

Burmese Days from Frances Ellen on Vimeo.

“The single great accident of human existence is geography: where we are born in this bordered, divided, largely unjust world. My life would have been different if I had been born elsewhere. If I had been born in a country like Burma, who would I be? What would I look like?

Can I remember the word for ‘beautiful’? Humans meet a landscape like this and all our words become second-rate. The beauty is mythical, mesmerizing; from elsewhere, I thought, then corrected myself. The plain of temples was just there. It is I who come from elsewhere”

– Burmese Lessons, Karen Conelly

Film / Writing

Bill Cunningham New York

I’ve seen 57 movies this year and this by far is the best and most unforgettable one. I loved it so much that I’ve seen it two times in a row; and I would see it again and again.

I have never heard of Bill Cunningham before this, and I am glad to know that someone out there made such an excellent movie on the life and work of this octogenarian fashion photographer. Such a humble gentleman for someone with so much talent and heart. Even Anna Wintour speaks highly of him, and that says a lot.

There are a handful of heartwarming scenes but my favorite part would be his interview at the “upscale” Parisian cafe. We find out that his uniform of choice is a 20-dollar smock bought from the department store, the very same one the street sweepers wear, and he would wear it everywhere from the streets of New York to runway shows and society events. He takes his heart pills from an envelope, and claims that despite the extravagance of the fashion world which he is a part of, he goes for very down-to-earth basic things. And it’s so ironic and striking, to know someone like Bill who devoted all his life to photographing fashion and beauty and extravagance yet he manages to live without any manner of wastefulness or excess. I’m grappling for words and I probably did not get the right point across, I think if you saw the film, you would get what i mean.

Film / Life / Writing

Paris, je t’aime – 14e arrondissement

…And i found a very pretty park
I sat down on a bench and ate the sandwich i bought
it was very tasty
and then something happened.
Something that is hard to describe
Sitting there, alone in a foreign country,
far from my job and all the people i know
a feeling came over me
as if i recalled something.
Something i have never known
and for which i have been waiting.
But i didnt know what it was
Maybe it was something i had forgotten
or something i had missed my whole life.
I can only tell you
that at the same time i felt
joy and sadness.
But not a great sadness
because i felt alive.
That was the moment when i fell in love with Paris
and the moment i felt Paris has fallen in love with me.

I am not in France, let alone Paris, but I share the same feeling as Carol (Margo Martindale). There is something exhilarating about being transplanted in another place, albeit temporarily. There is an unexplainable mix of joy and sadness, of being an outsider, and an insider at the same time. Everything looks beautiful and new; your senses are suddenly awakened and you relish each and every mundane experience– biting into a juicy peach, successfully ordering your food in the vernacular, vain but funny attempts to communicate with random strangers… I could go on and on.


To The Cinema

Reading Estan’s movie posts made me bring back my film log. I’ve been keeping track of the things I’ve seen in the past four years. I’ve seen so little last year, as I got sidetracked by Lost (I stopped watching after Season 2), and some other fluffy stuff like Project Runway and Top Model.

I hope I can reach the 100-titles mark this year.