Copyright © 1999-2009 by Ulita Productions
A quantum fugue of the lilies
Exploring the Depths of Scarabocchio by Grace Andreacchi
Review by V.Ulea
I. SCARABOCCHIO: A CONTRAPUNTAL, QUANTUM NOVEL
Reading Scarabocchio by Grace Andreacchi is like falling in love with the sea when you step onto the shore and the city fuss suddenly dies, yielding to the fugue rising from the mythopoŽic depths that carry Homer, and Ovid, and the reflected universe of stars and epochs to the rippling surface. The syncretism of waves and reflections stuns you, causes your thoughts to wander in many worlds, in dualities and multiplicities of everything passing you by. You are lost in the ambiguity of meanings and only one thing is certain: this is the end of your Euclidean clarity - the foundation for mundane being. Along with the narrator of the novel you will sail into the squall of audible and visual polyphony to revive in a new reality, many-layered and complex. "Burn what you have worshipped, worship what you have burned," says the epigraph, and this is applied not only to the characters, but to the reader, as well.
A whimsical interlacing of the ideas introduced by Weimar Classicism (including its central concept of harmony and synthesis of Ancient Greek literature and romanticism) and those expressed by Glenn Gould (whose own path can be described as "reconciliation" with Romanticism through Wagner and Strauss) creates a contrapuntal discourse between artists and thinkers of all times. The novel is a contrapuntal movement of characters from the "southbound mouth" to the northbound mind and from the hedonistic summer to the Puritanical winter where the purple color of the passions yields to the grey color of brain and where the supreme reason is immersed in the endless metamorphic game of ever-changing and never-repeated forms: there are "twenty-five trillion snowflakes and each one different from all the others..."
Gould's description of his Solitude Trilogy adequately reflects the metaphysical journey in Scarabocchio:
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Nature vs. Civilization: A Review Article of Films by Luhrmann
Review by V.Ulea
Despite the media's constant interest and close attention to Baz Luhrmann's exotic films one
important side of his cinematic achievements remains untouched by critics, namely -- the director's
conceptual basis and philosophical framework. The neglect of these two matters creates a drama and
arouses anger in critics and viewers who try to apply standard rules to his films, judging and reviewing
them within the framework of genre categories. Luhrmann's films, however, do not belong to any
particular category, although the elements of various genres can be found in them. Some of the
elements are better elaborated than others, which makes critics define the niche in which his next film
should be considered. The frustration starts right after the assumption about the genre is made since
Luhrmann is not a director who is concerned with film categories. I postulate that he should be judged
based on "director categories," i.e., as a phenomenon, not an artisan.
Luhrmann's films are not story-based or character-based. They are concept-based. Concept is
what cements and puts together all the details he thoroughly incorporates in his epic cinematography.
Regardless of a highly entertaining nature of his films, their goal is not to entertain, but to make one
think. Luhrmann belongs to a small elite of directors/conceptualists for whom plot, characters,
cinematography, and editing revolve around a solid concept and an artistically grounded philosophy.
Without grasping the philosophical core the viewer risks to be "lost in translation." The goal of the
review offered below is to show the common conceptual and philosophical ground of Luhrmann's two
major films released twelve years apart and to see how his basic theme, "nature and civilization,"
attains new developments in the course of time. The first film I discuss is Australia -- a film that some
critics designate an "epic romance" and others "a character story" -- but if one has not grasped
Luhrmann's concept he methodically develops throughout his major films, one would be confused,
skeptical, and even angry while watching it. Some of Luhrmann's critics also feel that way because
they have difficulty putting together the romance, the aboriginal magic, the allusions to The Wizard of
Oz, and many other overwhelming and seemingly disjointed details in his latest offering. On the metalevel,
Luhrmann's films depict an epic struggle between two grand "entities," civilization and nature.
Australia is yet another attempt to reveal that struggle...
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