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DIVERGENT

December 16, 2014

affiche divergent

Divergent is an American science-fiction movie directed by Neil Burger, it was released in April 2014. The principal actors are Shailene Woodley (the girl who played in “The fault in our stars”), Theo James and Kate Winstlet.

I think that this movie is very interesting because he gives us an original glimpse of what the world could be after another war. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in Chicago. After a war, the society has been divided in five factions : Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Candor and Amity to preserve the peace.

divergent factions

But there is also another faction : that of the outcasts who don’t have any faction and live in the city as clandestines. People are divided in these factions according to their personality trait. Until the age of sixteen, children live with their parents and are in the same faction as them. At sixteen, all the teenagers take a test which will define their principal personality trait.

divergent shainlene woodley

The main character of the movie is Beatrice alias Tris (Shailene Woodley). She lives with her parents and her brother in the Abnegation community. Beatrice who has reached 16 years old, takes the test to know her personality trait. The test reveals that she is “divergent”, in fact she possesses all the personality traits of the society. The “divergent” are tracked by the State, so she must protect her secret.  She is totally disoriented and doesn’t know which faction she could choose during the assembly. Nevertheless, Beatrice distinguishes herself because of her strength and her audacity. Moreover, she has an attraction for the Dauntless faction because she sees a kind of freedom in it. Then, Tris endures the rough universe of the Dauntless who are the warriors of the State. The training is really hard, it is based on the control of the most intimate fears.

Tris will realise after her integration among the Dauntless that the State schemes a diabolical operation with the Erudite. She is the only one who can save the society and foil it from the threat of the State because she is “divergent”.

divergent theo jamesdivergent kate winslet

Neil Burger tries to draw a world which looks like our world, much more than we would want to believe it. This movie imparts a lot of energy and action. The script is particulary interesting and well led. I advise all the people who search action, suspense, science-fiction and love story to take the time to watch it.

Elmaé

Céline , French elegance

December 9, 2014

My favorite brand is the French brand Céline, famous for it’s beautiful bags ans shoes. The classy ready-to-wear collections designed by Phoebe Philo with beautiful material like high quality wool , cashmere , leather perfectly mix originality and simplicity.

Celine Viapiana, the creator was born in 1920. With her husband she opened a small shop “rue de Maltes” in 1945 , the brand was originally a shoe maker for children. It’s in 1996 that the company LVMH bought it and started to make it a luxury brand by installing a shop on the famous Avenue Montaigne in Paris. In 2008, Phoebe Philo a genius designer joined the brand and became the artistic director. She really gave the brand a signature by designing simple lines, with sober colors, grey, black, white… She is also well-known for the designs that made the brand really famous like the Luggage, the Luggage Phantom or the slippers that struck back into the world of fashion after Céline realised a line declined in many colors. I am sure you must have seen one those fashion pieces !

 celine-3341-luggage-phantom-Celine-luggage-tote-black--e1323501971704

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

slippers

 

Celine is now one of the most copied brands , which means if we focus on the positive aspect of that fact, that the brand is reknowned and object of desire !

Here are some pictures of the latest fashion show of Céline during Paris Fashion week :

celine

and some of my favorite looks from the ready to wear collections along the years :

Celine-Fall-2013-Runway-Yellow-JacketFall 2013

Celine-Podium-spring-fashion-2010-001-mdnSpring 2010

Gabrielle

The Maze Runner

November 27, 2014

The Maze Runner is the first of three books by James Dashner. It was turned into a movie a few months ago; the cast is mainly composed of young actors who were used to having  second roles in other movies or TV shows. For instance, the main character, Thomas, is played by Dylan O’Brien who is known for being Stiles in the TV show Teen Wolf and taking part in The Internship with Owen Wilson. You may also recognize Thomas Brodie-Sangster, known for his roles as Jojen Reed in Game of Thrones and Sam in Love Actually.

                                                                                                               

I didn’t read the book but I really liked the movie. It is about a young man, Thomas, who wakes up in a strange elevator which leads to a grassy place called “the Glade”.  Other boys are there to welcome him; they try to reassure him as he has forgotten everything he knew (including his name, which he remembers some time later). He is told that he mustn’t cross the huge walls which surround the Glade bacause behind them there is a maze.

The Glade’s inhabitants have created a society: some are in charge of building, but the ones that interest Thomas are the runners. Each day, they cross the walls and try their luck at finding the maze’s exit, but they have to be fast as the walls close every night and no one ever survived to a night in the maze. After facing a lot of problems, such as getting along with some of the boys, Thomas decides to transgress the rules and goes into the maze to save one of the boys… at night. They struggle against strange creatures but eventually succeed in surviving: it is the first time ever such an event happens. I obviously won’t tell you the whole plot, but at the end, Thomas and some  of his friends have to face  a whole new world, tougher than everything they have ever known. I am not able to tell you anyhting about these hardships as they will be part of the second (which is currently been shot) and the third movie.

The Maze Runner is, as Hunger Games and Divergent among others, a dystopia: it shows a torn world, the opposite of a utopia. Most of the time, it is due to political issues or environnemental disasters. In this story, it actually comes from a severe disease touching the human race.

                                                                                                

I really enjoyed this movie ( I admit  it has a lot  to do with the main actor…) and it even made me want to read the books. The plot is not easy to understand but it is worth it and I thought that even though it was a blockbuster based on a dystopia, the Maze Runner is one of its kind. The landscapes are amazing and I believe the 3D effects have been done really well.

Nina

The Snowpiercer

November 26, 2014

The snowpiercer is a French-Korean-American sci-fi  movie released in 2013, written and realized by Bong Joon-Ho. This movie is inspired by the French comic ” Le Transperceneige”. The movie deals with the notions of escape, humanity and ecology.

snowpiercer poster

In 2014, an attempt of geography-engineering against the global warming cooled everything on the surface of the earth, precluding the developement of all the living beings. In 2031, the only surviving people are forced to live in a train which drives continually and which won’t stop anymore.

On this train, each social class is represented and inequalities which existed out of the train still exist inside : Poor people live in the last car and they have to undergo the lack and the unhealthy living conditions, whereas rich people live a luxurious life in the first car. The “master” of the train is Wilford, he built the machine when the disaster began.

Snowpiercer lowerclass

snowpiercer upperclass

The main character is Curtis, who will plan a revolt against the elite and wants to take possession of the train. In the same car, there is Gilliam who is an old man, very respected. Indeed, at the beginning of this big trip; he saved a baby from a group of persons (including Curtis) who wanted to eat him because of starvation. He gave his own arm in exchange for the baby. This baby became Edgar, who is Curtis’s friend and who is going to assist him with his revolt project. Curtis will be helped by an anonymous person, of superior cars, who sends him messages.

The first step of their mission is to free Namgoong Minsu (the designer of the security system of the train) and his daughter Yona, who were imprisoned. Gradually, they progress but a lot of rebels die during this progression. At the end of the movie, when Curtis arrives at  the end of the train, he finally meets Wilford. During their meeting, Curtis will learn about the truth. Indeed, the anonymous person is Wilford himself, who is in cahoots with Gilliam. Moreover, Wilford is, in fact, at the origin of the revolution. His aim is simple : he wants to reduce the number of inhabitants (by 73% exactly) aboard the train, to save up the supplies. He perfectly knows that this revolt is going to cause deaths. During the meeting between Curtis and Wilford, Yona manages to blow up one door. Almost all the train is destroyed, but Yona and a little boy survive and when they see a polar bear, they understand that  life is still possible on the earth.

This beautiful story is relevant and deals with the principal concerns of today’s world. Humanity, environment, social inequalities, all those subjects are, nowadays, at the core of  most world debates, and thus this movie help raise the viewers’ awareness.

Céleste.

The Seychelles Islands

November 25, 2014

The Seychelles

The Seychelles form a widely scattered archipelago of over 100 islands, in the Indian Ocean, next to Madagascar.

map Seychelles

Occupying a strategic position on the Europe-India sea route, the Seychelles were annexed by France in 1756 to support its colony on Mauritius. It passed to Britain after the Napoleon Wars.

As the Seychelles islands are blessed with a year-long warm, tropical climate, it’s always a good time to visit, although different times of the year may be better suited to your particular interests.

  • The Seychelles are the perfect holiday destination because..
  1. The beautiful beaches

  beach

The first reason that attracts people to travel in Saychelles is because of its gorgeous sandy beaches. The island is known for its most beautiful white sand beaches with clear blue water. On top of that, there are secluded beaches where you can spend the entire day and rarely see anyone else. Seychelles is famous for having the best uncrowded beaches in the world. Others offer sublime opportunities for swimming, or relaxation.

  1. The variety of culture

 creole dancing

 

While traveling in Seychelles, you are able to see different cultures as it has African, European and some Asian influence. You will find a unique art, music and architecture that is very different from what you are used to see and know. There are various events taking place in the Seychelles island, such as cultural events among Seychelles’ various ethnic groups, international sailing and fishing competitions as well as local shows and other activities. The Seychelles Sailing Cup, an international sailing event, is held in January and the International Fishing Competition is held in November. Further local fishing competitions are held throughout the year.

3. A unique flora and fauna

 fauna seychelles

 

Just like the islands, their fauna and flora are multicouloured and numerous. You will be fascinated by its animals such as giant tortoise that you are very likely to see and by its huge coral reefs. The Seychelles is home of the rarest plants in the entire word.

And you  have no reason to worry about your health as you will not find one single poisonous animal (snakes) or dangerous diseases (malaria).

You will also find towering national monuments, beautiful Creole houses, artists’ studios, national reserves and marine parks, as well as breathtaking natural wonders. Various excursions will introduce you to the pleasures of glass-bottom boating, or enjoying a choice of water sports.

There’s also golf, horse-riding and guided nature tours where to enjoy some of the rarest species of flora and fauna on earth.

Seyschelles nightlife is also an important point of your trip if you choose to go there: you can go to casinos, some local bars and fine restaurants offering unforgettable Creole meal.

The three best hotels that you could find in the island are : the Banyan Tree Seyschelles hotel, the Four Seasons resort hotel, and the North Island. The cost of these hotels are about one thousand euros for one room per day for seven days.

For all these reasons, we strongly advise you to go to those paradisiacal islands and we promise you a wonderful holiday.

Mélanie and Sofija

War Horse, A beautiful, poetic, traumatic love story

November 7, 2014

War Horse stands for an innovative, modern and revolutionary movie. Indeed, it gives us a new point of view about WWI, which is seen through the eyes of Joey, a horse.

warhorseposter

The movie is adapted from Michael Morgupo’s original novel narrated by Joey himself in an interior monologue.

Steven Spielberg’ s blockbuster, not only enhances  the pain undergone by soldiers, but also puts the accent on the suffering of horses who were involved in a war which didn’t concern them. They were assigned heavy tasks such as the transport of artillery… nowadays, we assess the number of dead horses during WWI at  around 9/10 million.

Spielberg is really sensitive to these animals; as his family has lived with horses for decades, he knows how complicated, delicate and fragile they are. Thus he advocates a respectful work between horses and men based on patience, trust and love. For the movie they cast several horses from different ages, foals and  2-year-old ones that they had to train.

When the director committed to making the movie, that “flesh-and-blood” limitation was his primary concern. Real horses performed nearly every single stunt in the movie; except for the dangerous scenes, like the ones in which Joey ensnares himself in barbed wire or falls into a trench, which had to be fudged with the help of CGI.

Moreover, Spielberg had another preoccupation: “I didn’t know what contribution the horse was going to make beyond what they were trained to do”. The point was that each scene implied a specific performance, and like humans, horses are unique, they all have their own way of reacting, of behaving and their own emotions,… as a consequence the horses’ casting was the key.

“They need to be able to bring some emotion to every scene that they do,” says Lovgren, the film’s horse master. “And quite honestly, that is the most difficult thing to achieve, because it’s not something that is very typical of them … Before we start filming, I have to learn what each animal’s characteristics are, what they do, whether it’s good or bad. That’s when I can recognize, ‘Oh this [horse] is going to fit well’ for this sequence or not. Or on the day [of filming], when the director wants a different option or a different look, I can say, ‘Oh, okay, here’s what I can show you.’”said Lovgren. The casting was a key element in the making of the movie. Indeed, “Joey” was performed by a company of 14 equine actors, among the over 100 horses used in the film.

 War-Horse 4

But, War Horse is not only the story of a horse exposed to WWI, but also the story of the unbreakable bond between a young man, Albert, and his horse. The fact that the movie is a love story before being a historical movie, or a documentary on horses, makes it universal. You don’t need to be keen on horses, or even know something on them to share this magical love story.

war-horse 3

War-Horse 2

Then if you have not watched it yet, grab your handkerchiefs and do it!

Léa G.

Hokusai’s painting

November 6, 2014

Katsushika Hokusai was born on 1760 and died on 1849. He is famous for his nickname Hokusai or “old crazy painter”. He was a painter, a drawer specialist of “ukiyo-e” which is a Japanese term which means “floating image of the world”, it’s a Japanese artistic movement of the Edo age (1603-1868) which includes a popular and narrative original painting but also  Japenese engraving on wood.

Kanagawa_wave

Since my chilhood, I have had his most famous Japenese engraving in my kitchen : “The big wave of Kanagawa” . This work is actually exhibited in the Metropolitann Museum of Art in New York. Hokusai showed it around 1830. I am fond of this painting, it represents a huge wave ready to crash on three little barks which carry fish. In the background, we can see mount Fuji, the most popular volcano in Japan. We can confuse it with the troubled sea. This painting represents a daily scene in the 19th century in Japan. Indeed, this country lived off fishing during all the 19th century.

We can notice the use of the “Prussian blue” (the dark blue in the painting) which is a new ink imported in Japan. Hokusai used it to depict the movement of the waves, the costumes of the fishermen and also the basis of the Fuji mount. This colour gives some contrast; we can distinguish the difference between the dark blue of the sea and the foam produced by the battering of the sea.

Moreover, there is the presence of an allegory in Hokusai’s work. Indeed, the sky seems to be very quiet and celestial. The tones used to reprensent it are pale colours : beige and white. This part of the engraving is a reference to the “yin”, the luminous forces; whereas the bottom of the painting is the “yang”, the brutal forces. The yin and the yang have been the symbols of the Chinese philosophy since a long time. We can realise that the mass of the water is opposed to the rest of the image, in a balance almost completed by height and by space, creating two fitted symmetrical forms.

vague

yinyang

In addition, this print has  inspired a famous logo for a brand of sports clothes, Quicksilver. But in the re-interpretation, the mountain seems to be more impressive than in the original engraving, finding itself almost equal  with the mass of water :

quicksilver logo

There is currently an Hokusai’s exposition at “the Grand Palais” in the 8th arrondissement in Paris. The exhibition seems to be very interesting; there is a lot of original Japenese engravings on wood. Hokusai’s art is exotic and I think that it’s a great thing to discover the Japenese culture through its art.

Elmaé

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