Important Notice

Special captions are available for the humor-impaired.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Mi Disco Duro Es Tu Disco Duro

“My Hard drive is your hard drive,” is sort of my modern take on the wonderful Spanish saying, “Mi casa es tu casa..” I envy my Spanish friends who are trying to learn English because they have so many wonderful learning aids in the form of English music and movies. My hard drive is home to much of this media in English and I try to share it with everyone.

I think that a great tool for language learning is to watch a movie in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. I don’t really need this crutch for most movies that I watch in Spanish now but I still use this technique for French movies. I have been finding subtitles for all of my favorite movies in English for my Spanish friends who are students of my native language. I’m not sure if Super Troopers will make any sense to a non-American, even if they understand every word, but they still need to watch this movie if they want to continue being my friend. It’s required and don’t think that you are off the hook just because you read the book.

I don’t know how I could have avoided this movie for so long seeing that it came out in 2003, but I just got around to seeing Love Actually. I am turning on my friends to this, at times brilliant little film about the intertwining love lives of what seems to be about half of the population of London. Some of the stories work better than others but the movie gets five stars in my book just for working so hard to make people smile.

There is a musical sequence about two thirds of the way through the film that highlights one of the major conflicts in the story. Emma Thompson has just come to the realization that her husband is cheating on her and in a little over two minutes we see her plunge into incredible sadness and pain only to see her bounce back—for the sake of her family—in a feat of remarkable courage. I can’t imagine many film actresses could have pulled off this incredible scene.

Were Joni Mitchell not referenced twice before in the movie, once directly as this sequence begins, I would have never even considered that it was her singing her old classic, Both Sides Now. It’s one of those amazing remakes that lead you to believe that the song was fresh out of the head of the artist. I, like everyone else, grew up with this song first recorded by Mitchell in her folksy, girlish voice back in 1969. The original is beautifully produced with only an acoustic guitar as accompaniment. I was 11 back then so I didn’t have the chance to hear Mitchell perform this song in a NYC coffee shop. This recording is the next best thing, but to say this song is the next best thing to anything hardly does it justice.

I haven’t heard her sing this song in a long time; I couldn’t even say how many years it has been. It seems like a lifetime but of course I recognized the song immediately in the film. It’s like recognizing a familiar voice on the phone, even if it’s been a while. But I didn’t recognize this voice. I had to wait to make sure when I read the credits at the end. Mitchell has matured into a crooner of the first caliber. The new production is as bare as the original; it’s almost as if there is no music at all. There is a shimmering orchestral background that serves, more than anything, as a platform for her to stand on, a musical stage. It’s like a vast roiling ocean beneath her voice that breaks only occasionally to carry her into a bridge. You can hear her breathing over the orchestra although you will be left breathless. It’s hard to imagine that anyone could coax, squeeze, cajole, or persuade more emotion out of one song like Joni Mitchell does in this remake of Both Side Now.

Words and music and heart and soul by Joni Mitchell

Both Sides Now

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and they snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
And you leave ‘em (them) laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know love, I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say I love you right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends they’re acting strange
And they shake their heads and they tell me that I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life, I really don’t know life at all

Send me an email if you want to listen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you can't say something nice, say it here.