Alfred Hitchcock – In Search of Suspense

The_Birds_original_posterDue to his double statute of director and film producer, Alfred Hitchcock (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) impresses posterity with fierce labour and remarkable talent transposed into over 50 films directed. He was born in London, where he carried out his astonishing cinematographic activity for a long time, and then he developed his directing skills in 1939, in the United States of America. He became accustomed to the field of cinematography when he was part of the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, being in charge of creating subtitles for silent movies. This experience infused various feelings inside of him, which determined him to make a first attempt to produce the film Number thirteen, which he has however never finished.

Thus, The Pleasure Garden (1925) genuinely represents his first film. Subsequently, his style and preferred themes come to life in thrillers such as The Lodger (1926) and Blackmail (1929), works that have a great impact on the audience and on the critics, due to a variety of suspenseful scenes, a feature which undeniably strengthens his reputation.

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Spirituality by the Lake – Ohrid

We are often used to look at cities from the bottom up. Often, places seen from above are simply taking your breath away. If we were to look at Ohrid, a city by the eponym lake in Macedonia, we would be amazed by how many church towers are arising among the ordinary buildings – 365 of them to be precise, one for every day of the year. But Ohrid is not only about spirituality, it is also about time that sits still, about taking a breath and enjoying life the primary way. Continue reading “Spirituality by the Lake – Ohrid”

Tell Me Your Story… I’ll Tell You Mine

I believe in words. I believe in their power to change the world. And I also believe in stories and in the fact that they are more than just clusters of words put together by chance.  Why did I say all these things? Because we don’t listen anymore and mostly, we don’t talk anymore. When was it the last time that you read a story, how about when you listened a good one?
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Aby Warburg – The Law of the Good Neighbor

Have you ever walked straight to your bookshelves, knowing exactly what book you were going to pick for your next read? And is it true that you ventured into reading another book, the one next to the book you wanted to read in the first place? Confusing, right? No need to worry, there is a perfectly logic explanation to it and it even has a name: the law of the good neighbor. Continue reading “Aby Warburg – The Law of the Good Neighbor”

LIMELIGHT – Chaplin’s Light

The vivid eyes glimpsing at the world from under a bowler hat, the cane on which is unlikely to rely on, patched trousers worn with a matching jacket and vest, the funny way of walking that we all tried to impersonate at least once, in other words, Charlie Chaplin.  At the 128th anniversary of his birth, what is there more to say about this fascinating man who continues to live through his everlasting films?

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Paul Kalanithi – Portrait of the Doctor as a Patient

We always think of doctors as some kind of superheroes, they can never be wrong, they must know everything about our pains and illnesses, but most of all, doctors never get sick. Or do they? What if what we think of them is not at all true? What if the white robes aren’t the capes worn by superheroes, but proofs that the doctors are blank canvases on which the patients are writing their own stories? Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon, was such a canvas until he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Totally aware of the inevitable ending, he decided to write a book. When Breath becomes Air is a story of life, death and how to fight an illness – the doctor’s way.

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Never Love a Wild Thing…

…unless her name is Holly Golightly. Half a century has passed since this young and cunning New York socialite was brought to life by Audrey Hepburn in the iconic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), the one that set Hepburn on her 60s Hollywood course.  However, it still remains as a strong presence on the scene of romantic masterpieces, inspiring many young producers in their movie-making journey.

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The Work of Brâncuși, Symbols of Ascension

Constantin Brâncuși was without doubt one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th-century.  A few of his creations contain this motif of ascension, represented by aerial symbols, as well as the concept of infinity.

L’Oiseau dans l’espace (Bird in Space) represents a series of sculptures in which Brâncuși concentrated on the harmonious movement of the bird, instead of the physical attributes. The artist’s spiritual aspirations, his need for transcendence of the material world and its limitations, are verbalized in his description of the sculpture as a project before being enlarged to fill the vault of the sky.

Just by gazing at the delicate yet dynamic shape of the bird, we are immersed into the mind of Brâncuși and are able to learn about his interior conflict. The elimination of the wings and the feathers suggest the escape from the human body (representing the material world) and the remaining shape symbolizes the soul trying to free itself.

The way he conveyed this profound message – through such a simple sculpture – is one of the reasons why Constantin Brâncuși is considered the patriarch of modern sculpture.

Personally, I admire works of art that communicate a whole lot more than what they appear to be, so Bird in space is a creation I think highly of because of this reason.

The Infinity Column

Praised as one of the greatest works of 20th century sculpture, The Infinity Column by Constantin Brâncuși was commissioned by the National League of Gorj Women to honor the soldiers who defended Târgu-Jiu against a German force during World War I. The meaning behind the sculpture refers to the concept of infinity and the infinite sacrifice of the Romanian soldiers. It is considered by Sydnei Geist as the top of the modern art. Also, Geist’s construction of Brâncuși included the sculptor among the important artists of modern art.

The motif of ascension is approached through the vertical orientation of the column, whose repetitive and identical elements create the illusion of infinity. It is considered that the idea of endlessness is expressed through the incomplete top unit. The sculpture could be thought of as one of the most inspiring works regarding this concept, especially because of its simplicity.

Ascension is also a widely used notion, probably because humans are the kind of beings that wouldn’t settle for what they already have, they feel the need to evolve constantly, which is why artists often use the motif of ascension in their artworks. Unfortunately, the need to evolve doesn’t refer to the spirit most of the time, but to money and status. In this superficial rush, we forget what we should really focus on, and I believe that the true artist will always be there to remind us through their art to take care of our soul and to evade from this material world from time to time.

Agata Asofroniei

Melk Abbey – the Kingdom of Christianity

A spiritual place which binds the past with the present on an axe of more than one thousand years, lies today under the sun of Austria, where the European monastic Christianity embodies an earthly kingdom. Melk Abbey, which is a Benedictine abbey, watches over the town of Melk from a rocky outcrop overlooking the Wachau Valley of the Danube river. Dating from 1089, the abbey was at first the residence of Leopold I, until 113 years later, his descendent, Leopold II, also Margrave of Austria, gave the castle to Benedictine monks from Lambach. Ever since, the monks have lived and worked here without interruption, thus Melk Abbey being one of the very few places which has continuously performed its function. A peculiarity that increases the value of this place is the double role it had in time, history registering it as both a secular and a theological site.

 

Melk Abbey, Austria
Melk Abbey, Austria

 

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Christmas and Its Many Faces


Christmas
is a time of giving, sharing and loving, when everyone puts aside their problems and spends time with their loved ones, spreading love all around them. However, Christmas has many faces, many different traditions and beliefs rooted in the culture of every country that celebrates it. The symbols and origins of this festive day range from the birth of Jesus Christ to the arrival of Santa Claus and the happening of the winter solstice, depending on the country’s history, beliefs and customs. Continue reading “Christmas and Its Many Faces”