Endeavour, Series Two – More Morose Morse?

 

A bruised and battered Endeavour sulks and skulks his way around delightfully convoluted plots in Series Two. Still in ‘green synthesis’ mode, the show hits its best with the Fifth season. Meanwhile, series two continues to delve deeply into the angst of being Morse.

It has all the other regular features, as well. Telly and Travels says

… I am ashamed to admit that the places I recognise most in Endeavour, Lewis and Morse are the public houses. 

As always, all the episodes are written by Russell Lewis, for whom my respect grows.

Though the Shaun Evans pouts are as adorable as ever, some reviewers find the series somewhat lacking in contrast to the previous season.

In the words of  The Passing Tramp

 Series Two, however, I found ultimately disappointing, despite some very high points (episodes 2 and 3). 

Series 2 – 2014 – Trailer

In the course of looking for stuff about Endeavour I came across a fascinating site that shows you how long it takes to watch the show.

Episode 1: Trove – Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi

“Forget It, Morse; It’s Oxfordshire.” says:

The first episode of the series,”Trove,” about a murder case embroiling a British beauty queen, Diana Day (Jessica Ellerby), had a somewhat dodgy plot, depending on a hugely unlikely coincidence of the tragic Greek sort (and yet one that has been used a number of times now in modern cop shows), forced motivation, and the seemingly obligatory Colin Dexter theme of the beautiful young woman having sex with a muuuuuch older man, but it still entertained (happily, Morse got to do a bit of decoding, a nice nod to Colin Dexter’s puzzle-oriented mysteries).

  Episode 2: Nocturne – Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi

longish95.blogspot.com is another site that offers pleasurable reviews of the episodes

This … episode of Endeavour takes a Scooby-Doo twist, complete with a haunted mansion, creepy little girls, and a historical mystery.

Episode 3: Sway – Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi

Another common factor in the Endeavour series is a touch of colour – to make amends for the racism in the UK in those days? In this episode, a Black nurse, Endeavour’s neighbour, with whom an intimacy of sorts has developed, struggles with the detective’s flickering signals.  By now, we sort of gather that it’s Thursday’s daughter for whom he yearns.

As usual, actor Allam, Inspector Thursday, has good reviews for the episodes:

Set against the backdrop of Fred and Win Thursday’s 25th wedding anniversary and Fireworks Night …

… The story starts in typical fashion – the death by strangling of three married women, none of which appear connected until Morse makes the sharp observation that none of the victims were found with their wedding rings. In the course of the inquiry, DI Thursday comes across a woman he had “known during the war”, (and, in fact, “known” during the war) who is so shocked at the sight of him she faints – not that he looks any less stunned. Who she is and why she’s important to him are made clear pretty quickly, but what this means for their lives two decades on is less so.

Episode 4: Neverland – Directed by Geoffrey Sax

 

Featuring a ventriloquist and tackling the delicate issue of abuse in a home for rehabilitating children, this episodes pits the protagonists against society’s big guns.

denofgeek.com has some classic write-ups on the episodes:

…Neverland dealt with horribly topical subject matter in the same compassionate, tasteful manner to which we’ve become accustomed over Endeavour’s two series so far. … ‘Neverland’ depicts a society in denial of its worst impulses even as it indulges them under cover of ‘charity’ to its least fortunate.

… Neverland shows us the first steps on Morse’s long and lonely road to Inspector status, and creates a welcome continuity between the young detective and his jaded future self. …

We end on a cliffhanger, with Thursday fighting for his life in hospital and Morse languishing in prison, accused of murder. 

IMDB has a delightful page with trivia and more:

When Morse follows the franked letter to a law office, the plaque outside the door reads “Vholes, Jaggers, Lightwood, Solicitors” … lawyers who play prominent roles in Charles Dickens novels. Vholes in “Bleak House”, Jaggers in “Great Expectations” and Lightwood in “Our Mutual Friend”.

Now, that was a spectacular ending for a season – high drama. Whatever some may say, Series Two has its charms.

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More Morse? Endeavour – Series One

Here in India, and, by extension, perhaps in many other regions of the world, we’re not exposed to a decent variety of TV shows from the UK, as opposed to from the US – Australia and Canada are next in frequency of being featured. Europe, in general, is denied a fair representation and the case is worse with the remaining continents. There are broad regional preferences, of course. Each nation will tend to favour itself and immediate neighbours besides the US/Australia/Canada. Thus, Malaysia had a greater selection from China, Japan and Korea not to mention others. Truth to tell, much more regional variety than is to be found in India.

In my TV viewing years, I recall some comedies such as Fawlty Towers from the UK but not much else and I’m pretty certain there has not been an increase in the years since I forsook TV. Frankly, for Indians, though we have a large number of people who claim to be ‘native’ speakers, “my good self” included, it is harder to comprehend the ‘Queen’s’ English than it is to make head or tail of a US accent. Subtitles are as much in order as would be the case for a Japanese TV show in India. And yet Endeavour will not need to strive to engross. It’s that good.

For the anglophile, out of the closet or not, Endeavour will be a delicacy. It is, indeed, a gourmet treat with its tendency to be laced liberally with literary and other rich cultural references. While the visuals enchant the eye and frequently bring classical painters to mind, besides Morse’s own love for opera, the music of such as Wagner not only graces the audio track but forms an integral part of some plots.

While I definitely hope to make my readers watch it and get hooked, it’s also my pleasure to provide die-hard fans, like myself, resources to fan the fandom flame.

With each post about each series, the endeavour will be to offer the best fan sites and, perhaps, glimpses into their individual focuses. Today, it’s a list of things about Endeavour that are

Good to Know

  1. It’s always Thursday on Endeavour. Actor Roger Allam, Inspector Thursday, is one of the main characters in the Endeavour series. Initially, he’s the only one who appears to appreciate Morse’s talents – a quick reminder that Morse’s first name is Endeavour.  For more such fascinating detail, visit Allam’s Inspector Morse Fact File.

Thursday has a wife, daughter and son and his family life forms a good deal of the regular drama on most episodes.

More importantly, the actor has a wonderful page of episode summaries on his site.

2. The author of the Morse novels almost always appears in the shows, Hitchcock style.

Colin Dexter makes his appearance at 42 minutes and 40 seconds in the dining hall.

Endeavour S01 E01 ‘Girl’: Review, Music, Art, Literary References, Locations etc.

3. The daughter of the actor who plays Morse in the original series is a staple on Endeavour.

Played by John Thaw’s daughter Abigail, the character’s name of ‘D. Frazil’ is actually a bit of a crossword clue of the type Morse was very fond of. Frazil is a type of ice, so “de-ice” is to Thaw.

Endeavour’s continued tip of the hat to Morse is a fitting tribute to its’ predecessor

Those were some of the regular features. Now for the fun part!

Series 1 – Trailers

Girl: Episode 1. Directed by Edward Bazalgette and written by Russell Lewis

While everyone in Oxford appears to be dolling up for a night out, Endeavour is preparing to settle in with his copy of Moriarty’s Police Law. This book is a real thing—“An Arrangement of Law and Regulations for the Use of Police Officers”—that a young officer would have studied to pass his exam for promotion. That it’s called Moriarty’s is just a happy coincidence considering that Endeavour Morse will do the full Sherlock about 23 minutes into the episode…

But first, a corpse:

Margaret Bell, age 20, is found dead of an apparent heart attack. Seeing Margaret fit and fine just a few moments earlier, we have no reason to believe a heart attack was her actual cause of death, and her G.P. confirms as much shortly after. She did have a weak heart, but if she’d been taking her medication she shouldn’t have suffered a heart attack. The doctor has questions, and now so does Morse.

criminalelement.com
Fugue: Episode 2.  Directed by Tom Vaughan and written by Russell Lewis

… of course it is focused on music. Morse and music go together better than bacon and eggs. The episode opens with choral singers, specifically Morse, who has been spotted by the local newspaper as he leaves a concert he performed in.

As ever, we settle back into the pattern of seeing all of the puzzle pieces in the opening interspersed with the credits. Pieces, players, games. This plot rotates completely around Morse but the mystery beneath it all is fascinating without that. A serial killer is working his way through Oxford using the deaths in operas as a means of killing his victims. The killer leaves clues for Morse, taunting him, and eventually stabbing him as he leads Morse a merry chase. Meanwhile there is a traitor in the camp and every one we see seems to be tied back to a musical theme.

Endeavour S01 E02 ‘Fugue’: Review, Music, Art, Literary References, Locations etc. pampers you with spoilers – no true fan is immune to such blandishments.

With a name like Fugue, how can reviews not rave about the music?

Before we get to Barrington Pheloung’s spine tingling theme tune at the end, this week’s episode served up an impressive body count, more than a liberal sprinkling of Oxford’s dreaming spires and another intricate and compelling storyline. As if to punctuate the point further even the climax is fittingly set among these very spires. The plot is driven by a medley of soprano duets, arias and sonatas which proves a mesmerising cocktail.

Endeavour’s skills are tested to the limit

archiveofourown.org has a tongue-in-cheek go at the episode. Quite entertaining even if you’re yet to watch the story.

Locales, we have mentioned in a previous post, are one of the many charms of Endeavour – you seriously want to buy a ticket to the UK after catching an Endeavour or two. As you see below, someone has beaten me to it!

I’ve compiled the various answers I received here for anyone else who might be interested in doing their own mini-Endeavour locations tour:

1) Magdalen College, bridge over to Addison’s Walk

2) Radcliffe Square or St Mary’s Passage by the Radcliffe Camera (possibly the same place!)

3) Queen’s Lane, by the back gate of New College

4) Possibly the side of Jesus College, opposite one of the exits to the Covered Market

5) Roof of Trinity College chapel

6) Broad Street or Turn off High St down King Edward St, this is between Christchurch & Oriel College (again, possibly the same place)

7) Merton College

8) Merton St, outside Merton College or Logic Street

shappeybunny.tumblr.com
Rocket: Episode 3. Directed by Craig Viveiros and written by Russell Lewis

This might be my personal favourite of the series.

the Queen is visiting a local missile factory, to aid relations with the Arabs, who are thought to want to place an order for 36 weapons. It’s a suitably grand occasion and the bunting’s out for HRH. The rest of the staff are assigned to oversee her safety, but Morse is left on general duties once more. This week that means making sure the crowds stay in order as all the ‘wooden’ police are busy at the factory. Jakes’ condescending manner is heightened again, and the way he talks down to Morse really makes it seem like Russell Lewis is setting him up for one hell of a fall in the final story of this series.

A few hours after the Queen has left, just as Bright is congratulating himself on a successful operation, Morse receives notification that a body’s been found.

… Craig Viveiros’ beautiful direction makes everything feel like it was shot on location; it’s gorgeous.

kroagnon.blogspot.in
Home: Episode 4 – Directed by Colm McCarthy and written by Russell Lewis

The series winds up with an episode that delivers quick punches. Thursday is up against powerful old foes. His daughter, June, and we know that Endeavour suffers from unrequited love for her, is giving the Inspector more heartburn than could any of the famously unappetising sandwiches his wife makes him.  We get a peek at Morse’s family.

Also,

In this episode the viewer discovers why Morse has a limp in later life. A storyline from the young Endeavour Morse to coincide with the real-life injury sustained by John Thaw and thus a physical element that Thaw brought to the character of Inspector Morse.

Trivia
MUSIC

At the very start of the episode we hear Faure’s Requiem: VII In Paradisum. This piece is of course very significant in the world of Morse as the same piece of music was playing when Morse collapsed to the ground with a heart attack in the episode, ‘The Remorseful Day’.

Endeavour: Connections to Morse and Lewis

The site is rich in detail, has photos and plenty of spicy trivia.

And with that we bid the series farewell, moving on, soon, to the second series of Endeavour while I eagerly await news of the upcoming sixth series.

Worthy Endeavour – Morse Younger and More

I never thought I’d live to see the day when a film would make me want to read a book. And, I’m amazed that I’ve never heard of Colin Dexter. To go by the films and TV shows, the books should do me nicely.

I’ve always loved crime as a genre. Specifically detective driven stories. Film, TV show or novel, I’ve dipped into these mysteries with fervour. Somehow, along the way, I ended up almost exclusively transfixed by Keiji/Tantei type J doramas or films.

The_Detective_Is_in_the_Bar_poster
“The Detective Is in the Bar poster” – Fair use via Wikipedia

And that seems to have held good as far as reading goes too – save that translations are rarely as fast output as subtitles. I have to thank Youtube for introducing me to snippets of this and that, from here and there, and breaking the spell. To some extent only, to be fair. Excellence, par excellence, belongs to the Japanese and none else.

So it was idle surfing on Youtube that led me to the Endeavour series. And to have, thus, found that Colin Dexter has written a series of detective novels featuring an Inspector Morse. While there exist films and TV shows based on the Inspector, more recently someone took it into their head to create a series about Morse before inspectordom – Endeavour.

The Morse series, film or TV show, are easy to find and you will quickly discover that Inspector Morse scrupulously avoids giving us his first name. Though the Morse shows are quite engaging, they are not really so well made. 

The Endeavour series, on the other hand, the fifth season, in particular, are an aesthetic pleasure and pure delight so far as story and acting go too.

Overriding all the other plus points in its favour, Endeavour boasts Shaun Evans.

Shaun Evans on the Pressures of Playing a Beloved Character like Morse

The actor is brilliant – mobile features and an endearing eccentricity of manner combine to charm. Think of him as a classy Hugh Grant if you must or whatever else can replace that Divine Disaster.

We watch him hone his deductive powers as the case devolves into a complex murder inquiry led by Morse’s new mentor, Inspector Thursday (Roger Allam, “The Queen”). A Jaguar owner and ale drinker, Thursday allows Endeavor to pursue his own obscure clues, which include first-edition poetry books and hidden crossword puzzles. Suspects abound — the girl’s boyfriends, an Oxford Don, a Jaguar salesman, various women and certain higher-ups.

Shaun Evans (“The Take,” “The Virgin Queen”) is outstanding in the title role. His Endeavour is edgy, with an incisive mind and a manner so neurotically insecure that he is lucky to be able to get to work on time.

Culture Vulture
Endeavour: Behind the Scenes | Shaun Evans as DS Endeavour Morse | ITV

… what separates Endeavour from other crime series. “It has this class about it,” he says. “The cinematography is exceptional…”

Cracking the Morse code

And that is it, in a nutshell – a visual delight, the show endeavours to do its best in all aspects.

Set in Oxford, the series exposes the viewer to visual experiences guaranteed to make you want to visit the locales and quaff something at one of the featured pubs or something of the sort.

Oxford_Skyline_Panorama_from_St_Mary's_Church_-_Oct_2006
DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0. Oxford skyline facing south towards Christ Church Cathedral and Tom Tower of Christ Church,  from The Church of St Mary the Virgin.

In the first Endeavour, aired in early 2012 , a young girl is murdered. Her boyfriend has, perhaps, committed suicide.  One soon discovers that there is rarely just the one corpse in the Morse code.

The police uncover secret orgies for the mostly high and mighty. The girls, on the other hand, are underage. Detective Inspector Thursday and young Endeavour go about it in their signature ways and the tale has a very interesting twist to it.

There are scenes which stand out in memory, reminding one of classical paintings. Rembrandt and Rubens influences…

Endeavour DVD Trailer – 2012
Directed by Colm McCarthy, and written by Russell Lewis

While the film is a little raw around the edges in terms of making, this is not something most viewers would notice and it has its share of scenes which can be framed and hung up on a wall as art.

Young Morse is not as alcoholic as his older self on the Morse shows. However, I’ve decided that British detectives and policemen knock back a decent amount on TV shows. And Endeavour tries to live up to the task. You might even design a drinking game based on glugging down one of each drink used on the show.

So far, Season Five is the acme of the series and I look forward eagerly to the sixth season.

You might want to prime yourself by viewing some Inspector Morse shows first but Endeavour is quite standalone and any episode is worth its weight in gold as an entertainingly educative experience – proof that quality is never a bore. Go catch some Endeavour today! Find out where to watch.

Endeavour_morse
“Endeavour morse” – Fair use via Wikipedia

Train Orientations – Tracking Christie’s Orient Oeuvre

Retaining charm over the years, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, as book or film, makes a good anytime gift to self or another – the ultimate luxury being to read/watch it on a train. On the Orient Express!

With several screen versions, film and TV, to its credit, this murder mystery continues to engage. But has the latest movie remake run out of steam?

Book to cinema is a flight of fancy that many enjoy.  And train journeys have much more romantic potential than flights. Their lure is probably only second to that of an ocean cruise. Geographies whizz by. As the external world flees past, an internal ecosystem evolves. People bond and the inescapable closeness can brings out hostilities.

As it is, train tales occupy a good chunk of popular focus:

How to experience the allure of trains in literature
The Literary Express: From Agatha Christie to Khushwant Singh
Railway Novels: Sensation Fiction and the Modernization of the Senses

And crime on a train is a frequent favourite, on screen or in a novel. Train chase scenes are guaranteed thrills. We might even say that a crime on a train falls into the closed door mystery bracket.

Murder on the Literary Express – Top 10 Train Thrillers

Deemed to be among her nine best, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is based on real experiences of travel, including unexpected halts and co-passengers. Choosing the train as setting, she joins an illustrious line of writers who have staged their fictional dramas on the Orient Express.

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula the vampire escapes by ship while his pursuers board the Express.

Next comes Graham Greene with his Stamboul Train and that is one book I shall seriously consider reading – on a train.

And this is followed by Ms. Christie with, first, a short story, and, then, the novel. Preview the short story on the Amazon cover below:

In Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot version, he boards the express and, obviously, there is a murder. Poirot is faced with ethical issues – and one of the movie versions makes much of this for its Catholic worth. So, this is a book that offers you, not only an adventurous ride in a very luxurious train, but also milks the moment for its moral worth. 

The reviews all rave over Poirot’s grey matter and burst with spoilers.

For my part, I will only tell you that, not only is the book inspired by the author’s own travel experiences, but she also used an event in the news to bolster her art. 

Charles Lindbergh was famous for many of his groundbreaking flights including the first solo transatlantic one. Details of the kidnapping of his son appear to have inspired Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.

The novel was written in Istanbul, in a hotel called the Pera Palace Hotel which has kept her room as showpiece. Now, won’t that make a nice pit stop on a Christie nostalgia trip? 

Christie made her first unscheduled trip on the Simplon Orient Express in 1928, after the failure of her 14-year marriage to Archie Christie. Already a seasoned world traveller, Christie left England on an impromptu solitary adventure passing through Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece to Istanbul.

After crossing the Bosphorus Strait, she joined a Simplon Orient Express extension to Damascus, then rode a six-wheeler bus across the desert to Baghdad. On the trip she witnessed her first archaeological dig, and met her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan.

From 1930, the Taurus Express linked the Simplon Orient to Turkey, Syria and Baghdad. Despite greasy food and bed bugs, Christie loved the scenery and adventure enough to take several more Orient and Taurus trips, sometimes arriving two days late, delayed by floods, breakdowns or border bureaucracy.

She recognised the five-day delay when a train was stuck in a Turkish snowdrift in 1929 as an ideal murder-mystery setting, and drew the motive for her 18th novel, Murder On The Orient Express, from the kidnapping of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s toddler son in 1932.

Real-life mystery behind Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express

The novel’s plot has won praise:

Christie isn’t the one deceiving the readers, in the end — the readers deceive themselves. 

What makes Murder on the Orient Express’s iconic ending work so well

The first film version of Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express , made in 1974, was a success

The more recent film plays around with the plot.

Overlong and joyless, it’s the cinematic equivalent of a giant, opulent express train trapped in the snow, heaving and off balance. Buy another ticket. Skip this train. 

A Joyless Ride

However, the scale of the film is grandiose down to costumes:

Vogue met Oscar-winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne to learn how she sourced the Thirties garments for the film’s female leads – from the missionary’s prim travelling clothes to the princess’s lavish jewellery.

Dressing The Women Of Murder On The Orient Express

There is also a Japanese version but I found it a bit laboured:

With such a history of remakes, is it time to call it a day? Or do some stories helplessly beg endless screen interpretation? If so, what is that quality? Even as we ponder, academics, somewhere, are busy disentangling such things and writers  and script-writers tussle with considerations of ‘best treatments’.

More to the point: What would be the best way to enjoy the book/movie? On or before a train journey? And let’s not forget the option of audiobook.

Now, in case you are tempted to do it on a train, what about the real thing?

orientexpress

Welcome Aboard – VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENT-EXPRESS

These days, one takes the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express precisely for the journey, rather than to get from A to B. Passengers celebrate wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and, according to Girotto, divorces, along the way.

 On the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the murder mystery is not included

Playing Single – Double Trouble or Troublesome Triangle?

Coming from India, one tended to assume marriage was a popular and natural transition for adults. However, I soon found that, in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia, many young women prefer being single. In any case, Japan is tussling with its problem of low rates of reproduction, a consequence of this reluctance to tie the knot.

It must surely be with this preoccupation in mind that there is a set of Japanese dramas which address the desire to forgo marriage and to embrace being single. Some are pure fun and some have elaborate stories. As with all J doramas, the point is never anything as paltry as the ‘story’.

Dokushin Kizoku – A Swinging Single / Noble Bachelor – is a 2013 Japanese drama that revolves around the world of film production with reference mainly to scriptwriting. Two brothers vie for the love of a mousy bespectacled girl whose script brings her into their world.

A_Swinging_Single-p1
Dokushin Kizoku

Two men and one woman – a classic recipe for the traditional love triangle. Who will win the lady? The real ladies man or the dyed-in-wool bachelor with no wiles? The girl is guileless and struggles to make sense of all sorts of mixed signals from her two eligible bosses.

Mamoru Hoshino (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi) is the president and creative director of Kinema Etoile, a film production company founded by his late father. He is brilliant and has a keen sense for talent, but he is also peculiar when it comes to his personal daily habits. He has strong beliefs in being single and has no desire to get married as he likes to spend his personal time in a way that he chooses. On the other hand, Mamoru’s younger brother Susumu (Hideaki Ito) was previously married, but is currently going through harsh divorce proceedings. Unlike his older sibling, Susumu is outgoing and has good social skills. He loves women, but is not interested in long term relationships. Yuki Haruno (Keiko Kitagawa) has struggled with previous relationships and recently declined a marriage proposal. She has dreams of becoming a scriptwriter and believes that marriage will hinder her efforts in her pursuit of that dream. She is not against marriage though, as a matter of fact, she strongly believes in it.

DRAMA KING

Let’s take Mamoru first because I adored the role. Tsuyoshi Kusanagi has the typical fascinating face that marks an actor of quality in Japanese dramas and films. We have to bear in mind that the Japanese industry appears to favour actors over ‘stars’. Though they have their share of those too in ample proportions.

Tsuyoshikusangi
Tsuyoshi Kusanagi

He has a perfect life – from food to shoes. Yes, he worships his and wipes them with champagne. This perfectionism is what makes him sensitive in his role as editor as well. In that sense, he is obvious to us as the appropriate love interest for Yuki. Yet, his ingrained protectiveness towards his bachelorhood makes him a clumsy wooer. And that is exactly what makes him so delicious in the romantic moments. Some have found him expressionless which is tragic – it’s the subtle passing of emotions across his face, in his eyes, that charms as does the inscrutable sky with its swiftly changing moods. All this also combines to make him the key player in the drama where humour is concerned – is it not always thus? The more serious the actor appears the funnier it is where the comic is required.

However, his brother is the more acceptably cooler of the two. We see how women come and go in his life. He’s also struggling through a mind bogglingly costly divorce. Yet he knows the moves and now his heart is involved. The girl is so unlike those he normally dates. Who in their right mind is going to turn down this handsome articulate hunk for his odd looking tongue tied brother?

Hideaki_Ito-p2
Hideaki Ito

And what about the object of their affections?

Keiko_Kitagawa-p3
Keiko Kitagawa

Keiko Kitagawa has handled the role well – she flows easily from dumpy nerd girl look to deadly chic and she plays romance, humour and heartbreak to perfection here.

What the reviews say:

I love the movie leitmotif for this series. They talk about movies all the time, and they use famous songs from classic movies for the BGM. Even without the sensitive lighting of certain scenes, the carefully heartbreaking lines, and the sheer talent Kitagawa Keiko showed throughout the show’s run, hearing Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River straight from Breakfast at Tiffany’s is enough to break one’s heart. At least I think it was straight from the movie.

stormstalker

Contrary to its title, Dokushin Kizoku is not really about the swinging single life. Yes, it’s a love story that takes root during the course of a movie production but, in its own way, it’s also a circumspect tribute to cinematic endeavors in general. It has protagonists who are certified cinephiles who share a strong belief in film, not only as a form of artistic expression but also as a medium that captures the imagination and opens up worlds that would otherwise have been out of reach.

RUNDOWN ZOO

 

From the Title song

The Episode titles are cute: 

  1. Cinderella for a night! The royal bachelor falls in love!
  2. The end of the royal bachelor life!?
  3. The night you stole my heart
  4. The night I decided to never fall in love again
  5. Love comes alive… I will get married
  6. A tearful proposal
  7. The things I can do for her
  8. I can’t go back… The scar of heartbreak
  9. Goodbye… Everyone has a choice
  10. Love’s Conclusion

I hope you find a way to catch this drama – Hulu or Netflix might have it – for it is well made and engaging. As usual, for me, it’s a struggle to read the subtitles – I loathe dubbing – as there is so much going on in the background and each frame is simply divine.

My favourite scene is one in which Yuki and Mamoru are stuck in a hotel in adjacent rooms. They are each in a hot tub and looking out at the moonlit sky – simply heaven. Take me there at once!

Yes, Dokushin Kizoku, as do many other Japanese dramas, makes you want to get your hands on everything you see – the clothes, things in the background – and, most of all, to visit the locales.

 

A Series of Paintings on Postcards – A Sampling of Spanish Painters

I’ve been frying eggs for most days of my married life! And there’s nothing quite like a fried egg when made to order. Today I’m not exactly presenting you with a Spanish Omelet but rather a paella of Spanish painters, tossed together with joyful memories of their art.

VELÁZQUEZ_-_Vieja_friendo_huevos_(National_Galleries_of_Scotland,_1618._Óleo_sobre_lienzo,_100.5_x_119.5_cm)
Diego Velázquez – Google Art Project, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19980800

From Flemish to Spanish is not really from the frying pan to the fire but here is a painting that shows eggs being fried! This is the second postcard from my collection.

Diego Velazquez painted An Old Woman Cooking Eggs before he was 20 years old. It is clearly a demonstration piece. Everything is on display. The contents of the scene are laid out around the canvas like decorations on a Christmas tree. Let the eye circulate, checking each thing off: melon, glass flask, wooden spoon, terracotta pot, brass pan, egg, china plate, red garlic, brass mortar, red onion, earthenware jugs, tin dippers, woven straw basket, linen cloth.

From the INDEPENDENT

You can stroll through his other works here

This particular painting is termed A Masterpiece in Texture and Culinary History

Learn more about Diego Velázquez (1599 – 1660), such a compassionate, yet unflinching painter

Here is a video about one of his other famous paintings

Velázquez was a painter of the Baroque period – a period in Western European art and music from roughly 1600 to 1750. But, for me, he is mainly a Spanish artist – along with others whose art has given me such a world of joy:

El Greco (1541 – 1614)

El_Greco_(Domenikos_Theotokopoulos)_-_Laocoön_-_Google_Art_Project
El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) – Laocoön – Google Art Project

I chose this one because it is very powerful. Slightly disturbing too – qualities I associate with Spanish painters.

There seem to be two films about him and here is a trailer from one:

I’m putting Goya (1746 – 1828) next – a painter for whom I do have a special spot. However, I’ve merely chosen the one that remains representative to me of the Spanish Civil War.

1165px-El_Tres_de_Mayo,_by_Francisco_de_Goya,_from_Prado_thin_black_margin
The Third of May by Francisco Goya, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18777858

And, if we are speaking of  Spanish painters, how can we not mention Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) and Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)?

guernica
Picasso’s Guernica, image from Mark Barry, flickr.com/photos/markart/236849245

Picasso’s Guernica was inspired by the bombing of Guernica, in Spain, April 26, 1937. It was the time of the Spanish Civil War. The bombing killed some 1600 people and destroyed the city. The Spanish Republican government commissioned the mural for the Spanish Pavilion of the Paris International Exposition.

Explore the range of Pablo Picasso’s art.

With both Picasso and Dali, I find it hard to get a good print to share with you! Here is a famous Dali:

slave-market-with-the-disappearing-bust-of-voltaire-1940(1).jpg!Large
Salvador Dali’s Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire, wikiart.org/en/salvador-dali/slave-market-with-the-disappearing-bust-of-voltaire-1940

A short piece by Andy Warhol explores some of these ‘modern’ artists:

There are many books about these artists and here is one, merely as a sample:

 

 

A Series of Paintings on Postcards – Petrus Christus, Portrait of a Young Girl

During my early childhood, my father received dairies every year. These were wonderful to me as each showcased  some aspect of India’s art and architecture. And then it was my sister’s school book which furthered my love for art as it had passages about paintings with some very good colour plates. Alas that textbooks in India today lack such quality.

My journey of exploration of world art settled on European painters for many years as our school had some fine art books and a serene room in which students could sit and explore such volumes. Somewhere along the way, people started sending me picture postbards with famous paintings.

Today I share with you, not the first such postcard that I received, but one that is earliest in terms of the period of the painter.

Petrus_Christus_-_Portrait_of_a_Young_Woman_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
By Petrus Christus – UAGsuoFcmmRiTg at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13333895

I will not go into detail about Petrus ChristusPortrait of a Young Girl, as there is a long and thorough discussion about it on Flemish Primitive Mystery Painting. He is said to be influenced by Jan van Eyck.

I have certainly seen a Jan van Eyck or two in my time.  Continue reading