Work less

My back hurts. I’ve been working like crazy in this beginning of year, and I didn’t get a break until yesterday (that is 10 days in a row without a day off). My whole body was in pain, I woke up and moved like a zombie, trying to do my best so to make everything ready to go – every beginning of year we have this training and I must worry about video editing, making dvd copies, packing up stuff to go out to other South American countries and to distribute materials to local hosts. This year was harder because I didn’t really have much help with editing and the original material (from which we translate into Portuguese) got to us kind of late. There were other concerns too, they’ve created this “incentive” group which turned out to be one more thing on our plate to handle.

I don’t think I can really leave the temple out of nowhere like that, there is nobody else to do certain things and we may actually lose this temple – they would have to hire more employees or have more people to help out. I also have some bills to pay, so I have been considering to stay for a little while more. However, I really don’t know how I can handle it, I’m over exhausted and I don’t want to deal with any of this anymore. I mean, I had yesterday and today off, but only the thought of coming back tomorrow is distressful. My mother insists that I need a month of vacation, but what am I going to do with that? It’s not like I have money to spent and travel somewhere to be reclusive there for a month. And when I come back, all the troubles will be here waiting for me.

I do want to go back to my reduced hour shift, and I really think I should do more exercises. More walking, some training, perhaps take hydro gymnastics classes after I finish the installments of my computer. I do want to eat better, eggs in the morning, nuts, salad and fish, less carbohydrates (this is due to my diabetes of course, no aesthetic reason). And have more music in my life, get the uke’s dust off. If possible, I even would like to add more nature, do some trails or something.

So much for resolutions! They seem to repeat every year. But I am not expecting much of this 2017, so maybe it will turn out a good year after all. It’s usually like that, the years I expected nothing were surprisingly good.

And you didn’t come to Brazil after all, eh! We were deceived by a look-alike. I wanted you to have done the French accent to say the name of Isabelle Huppert at the Golden Globes (call me crazy but I actually like the way they say even names with accent). I kind of admired Merryl for her speech too, she’s a public person and she has something to say, she made herself heard, it was her night, what else. Like the awards to “La la land” showed, we need a renewed upbeat feeling after such a depressive and sad year that was 2016 (well, at least I am one who share this).

I wanna work less and love more. Take better care of my heart and soul. And have more smiles. Do you know, I really think we should only work 4 hours a day. And have more time to family and friends, to do what we love. That would certainly be healthier. I could develop more on that, but right now I should get some sleep.

New Year’s in Brazil?

Dear L,

so you’re coming to Brazil for the New Year’s? I’ve heard you’ve rented a house in Bahia! Yeah, this passage from one year to another is really a celebration in Brazil, everybody party together with family and friends, there are fireworks, many gather at the beach or even on a city street.

And right now, oh boy, how I wish I could evade and go live by the beach for some time, perhaps if I was in Bahia I could even get a chance to see you from far away, ehe. But there’s lot of work for me here and I’m going nowhere, translations to check, voice over to do, videos to edit in the first week of the year. Well, I actually like video editing, but it’s pretty hard in a tight schedule and so many details to think about, last year I’ve made mistakes and nobody really knows how hard is to get all the DVDs ready to ship so the videos arrive in time (and we ship to other South American countries, as Argentina, Chile, Peru). That is, work, work, work for me. And before this time I already was in such a need of some vacations… oh, how the idea of spending a few days by the sea, under the sun, not a worry in the world, is glistering at this time to me.

Well, I wish you a great time (I wonder if you ever don’t?) this year end, this holidays season. For this year we will not do anything tonight, so I’ll be watching some Christmas movie on Netflix and tomorrow we have a family gathering for a late lunch. This afternoon I was actually taking a look at old notes and my journal on how this year has been. And I got to the conclusion that this year you had been my refuge – and some other occasions too. Yep, do you know? Like, I’ve felt miserable about my life many times this year, while you are there, living these great moments (met the Pope, Obama, UN stuff, docs and all), so my escape valve from this exhausting reality that’s been consuming me up and bogging me down this year was basically… you. To imagine how we could do good things together, travel the world, make movies.

Ok, I know I have this real life boyfriend now, but it was just part of this real world I wanted to run away from and didn’t bring me much excitement. Sorry, but nobody really reads this blog, so I can chest off.

So, once again, I guess I just wanna say “thank you” for saving me from my own life. About twenty years ago you also saved me when I was living in Japan – and I also wanted to go up to Tokyo for the “Titanic” world premiere after a year daydreaming; like now I really wanted to go to Bahia, just throw everything away, blow it all up, change my life completely to live in a sunnier landscape, near nature, live of coconut water. Nah. It doesn’t need to be that extreme either. Like Buddha said, the Middle Way.

But I don’t want to wait until next year for new resolutions. I want a new life, now. I’ve been saying for years that I wanna do things and I never get to do it. Well, at least I’m hopeful for 2017. The change of year is a great invention, it’s great to be able to renew ourselves and get hopes up again.

Anyways… I wish you well, love you still. I guess I always will. “Cast away” was the movie of the year for me, it touched and made me cry, sometimes I feel I’ve been away, even being here. But thanks for being my haven, from time to time, it’s all I need.

Edingburgh

I’m starting now to read some of your news headlines every month – will this last? I loved that you went and had a meal with this girl who won a raffle only to support this initiative in Edingburgh that help the homeless. This was the highlight for me.

Come to think again about “Before the flood” (60 mil watched and I didn’t?!), I was a little taken aback realizing to myself that it was actually the scenario I had once envisioned for us – only I was not there. We would travel around the world to make a series (here is a documentary, but it would be similar) about the environment and show different initiatives to help this crazy, broken world. It would start out with the environment, and then maybe go to the social contribution and philanthropic activities sphere. Anything for the good of humankind. And who knows? Maybe it will go this way. I’m just sad that I’m not living all this, I was supposed to be there. I was supposed to be there along with you walking long distances, going to dirty places, flying over incredible landscapes, living all these moments in a full.

And it would be so great. The two of us together, later I would work on editing this material, and we would be perfect soulmates – do you know? Those types of couples that complement each other and that together makes more sense to the world? Only… I can’t be there, I’m not blonde.

Oh, sure, you had spent birthday at Brando’s island, there’s this new girl Nina now, Tom Hardy will have to get a tattoo for you, and Trump! Man, you were fast in that, already met him?

Right now I’m in Belém do Pará, up north state in Brazil. During this trip, I am under the attempt to encourage me to become full-time staff – to a job I’ve been wanting to quit the whole year! In fact, for a long time. I really don’t have a back up plan, I do not know what to do with my life after I quit, I just feel in my heart that this is it for me, I need to move on. I feel like chains and shackles bind me, like that scene in Melancholia, something that is keeping me and I’m crawling with difficulty.

This lady who was trying to convince me to dedicate fully to my work told me I shouldn’t rely only on my future spouse (as if!) and that I should have something essential to me, be independent, and in my heart all I could think was that there is something else that makes me happy, not this… And that’s exactly the problem, I know I should feel joy doing what I do, but I don’t.

Not that I believe I can only do what I love. Maybe I’ll just get a simple job, anywhere. And that’s ok. Maybe I’ll marry this guy because it’s all I have now. And it won’t be so terrible. Maybe my dreams were only supposed to be dreams really. Something to make me happy at least in this fleeting second I can imagine them.

Radio dreams

(2016) **

The Tiger award for the Rotterdam International Film Festival, I was actually misled by its synopsis. I believed that it was a movie about rock, as the story is about a radio located in San Francisco trying to have a meeting between Metallica and the first Afghanistan rock band, Kabul Dreams. Well, it’s so much so.

It’s more about the struggle of this writer who kind of directs the radio shows and, to me, basically about frustrations. The guy seems to have a special interest in art, poetry, and to always feel uncomprehended by people around. There’s this really involving scene of a lady who works for the radio telling a story of a city narrowed by water and she is emotional – only to be cut by the annoying tones of the jingle for commercial ads.

Although it’s funny to watch his disbelief knowing that Miss Iran USA talent is actually poetry, or to see a young man who was supposed to sing a Russian song being lured to wrestling by the radio’s owner, I just missed more of rock. Perhaps it’s really the feeling that they wanted us the public to have, after all. We follow the growing expectation at the radio station and by the Afghan rock band, only to have a brief moment of hearing their music (however funny was the little drummer boy’s energy), followed by an excited Lars Ulrich. How had that encounter been, really? The writer with crazy hair of a opera conductor misses it, and we too. We miss some great moments to the banality of reality, like a suicide on to jump by a famous bridge is so banal that only deserves to hear a pop soda can being open.

But one great moment to my opinion is the song played simply, on acoustic guitar, by the character or Reza. Maybe the true unmissable moments lie in simplicity, maybe of someone around us, maybe we should really value more these small moments instead of waiting for a big one? Just maybe.

 

Ascent

(2016) ***

Fiona Tan was nominated for the Rotterdam Film Festival for “History’s Future”. I’m not sure how did she manage to release two docs at the same year (in fact I can imagine, since they are different processes) but I went and watched this session that is closer to my workplace – and the theme that is closer to my life. For the basis of this film, she gathered about 4,500 pictures of the Mount Fuji in Japan, of over 150 years of history.

Though I thought it felt too long (maybe due to the very nature of the project, since her motion pictures are more pictures than motion) I actually enjoyed the feeling of being transported by these means of capturing time that is photography and let myself really imagine climbing up that Fuji mountain while thinking of the many stories told, including old tales of princesses and a monk who died of fasting, or the old times during war and the beginning of photos in Japan. It’s funny how sometimes our eyes let themselves be deceived and we have the impression to be seing the image move, when it is in fact not so, and to notice how the narration adds to the pictures being displayed instead of simply throwing philosophies at us but trying to make links.

I’ve loved to imagine the clouds at the top of the mountain as the smoke from burnt letters, to feel like I was there at the top watching the sun come up, to remember spring times and think of the passing of time, to be surprised by black and white photos that reminded me of “Hiroshima, mon amour” (1959)**** only to the next second starting hearing a piece of its dialogue, to know more about how Godzilla was not just a toy.

“the essence of the flower is to fall”

Like the buddhist saying that nothing is permanent, all life is destined to change and to an end at some time, however the mountain seems the same, so many have been up and down, someone’s time had been up and down… But there is also beauty in it, right?

 

L’atalante

20161025-vaomasp
So I had a pretty busy weekend and only by Sunday I’ve realized that the São Paulo International Film Festival had started out. Years before, there were times when I was so excited about the festival, taking days off to spend the whole day in theaters, running from one session to another, cracking up my head to work out a schedule where I could watch all the movies that interested me. Well, sure, as I no longer believe I will ever do movies in this lifetime of mine, that kind of crazyness about movies no longer inhabits me.

However, every year, at least one night, I go to this session that happens under MASP (São Paulo’s Art Museum) and it’s pretty cool. I don’t know, just the thought that you’ve taken a break in the middle of São Paulo’s chaos to allow yourself in the contemplation of some other life than your own, just a story, just an inspiring image, like this magical moment while everything around seems to be only busy, busy, buzz and squeezy.

This year, as I have suffered many times before from the winds of this open air-current space turned into a movie session, I was prepared to not be cold and well muffled. Had a sandwich before and green tea of muscat flavor (?) and enjoyed myself to L’atalante (1934) ***. The storyline is pretty simple, there is this girl who marries a mariner, decides to go out and see the city and they both miss each other. Ok, there is also this old tar, this simple, drunk old man who collects pretty items in his cabin and makes music, finds the girl back. But basically that’s it, and yet the movie still lives on and it’s regarded as one of the best in cinema history.

I was actually surprised to find out that besides some daring scenes that marks a new moment for French cinema, this was also the one and only single film by a young Jean Vigo, who would die at age 29. Some companies used cut versions of the movie for quite a while, but there is a certain intriguing aspect about how was the vision of this filmmaker – and wow, what was that man licking a rock of ice?

Among showing unemployed men on line, a bunch of cats and a funny character trying to sell scarfs, dancing with the lady and playing one-man-band, we can get a more “real” feeling of the simple life and yet have a sense of magic, like the story of diving the head into the water, and the mariner really diving deep to be able to see his love. And not even today they can make an erotic scene so pure (and with no nude, to note), with them two apart, but together onscreen, sharing the same feeling of desire and longing.

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could all become simple friends like Juliette and père Jules do, and if there was less pride and jealousy (it’s only human emotion, you all) so one can not be afflicted anymore, just rest in love?

You already know what is your goal

Today was my day off. I just had a shower and I wish, oh I wish so much that I would not have this feeling anymore. I wish I could get rid of it, once and for all. The feeling that I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. That I want to leave my current job. I wanna quit. And I don’t even know what for.

This morning, a few moments before I was fully awake – do you know? That moment you are still sleeping but not yet awake? – I was thinking of you. I was thinking “I really love you, but how can I possibly be with you? You will never be interested in the likes of a girl like me. It’s just impossible”. To what that voice I’m always talking to (long ago called my agent James) just advised, “well, at least you already know him. You know what you are after, what is your target”.

Yeah, right. And how does this helps? It only makes it more difficult and far from reality. Once, when I was on my teens and then twenties, I knew what I wanted. And now, I think I want to quit my job but I don’t even know what I want to do. Is there anything I still want? I know I should be thankful for I already have a job and I get enough to pay my bills. I want to finish off a debt until July of next year, so I have to hang in there. But I seem to have lost that deep feeling of gratitude and joy, and this job I have was not supposed to be done without joy. Only for money. If it is so, I should go find some other work and maybe that’s why I’ve been toying with the idea of going to Japan again these past weeks. I know how it is to work in a factory, the repetitive job, getting out early and coming back late, a tiring routine. I know my body can only take this type of routine for a certain amount of years. And yet… I’m thinking about it again?

Maybe exactly because of this lack of worries. At my current job there are a number of concerns we have to deal with everyday, and from time to time a different new concern… and we must pay attention to a lot of things, and there is always something that slips by even if we take care. There is also pressure, a certain required behavior and level of faith I guess I still lack, I know I’m not quite there yet. So, comparing, the job in Japan seems just easier. I know, it’s like fleeing to the easy way out, I won’t have to worry so much, I’ll just work everyday, save some money to buy a house for me and have a tranquil retirement. But at this point of my life, really, I don’t feel like I wanna ask much more than that. Is it too bad?

I should challenge myself and have this new pursue in life, which is related to my current job. But somehow it doesn’t move me, I still mourn for my old dreams which were thrown away and now gone. Of course the easy way out will not lead me any closer to you, L, if that was supposed to be any goal… but neither is this other pursue, so what am I to do?

Sometimes I think that I was happier when I still believed. And somehow I understand now these self-help texts that tell us to have a goal in life. Something to keep us going on.