Posts Tagged movie

Music, rhythm, joy, spontaneity, life

Take a look at this amazing movie (see the trailer below). I saw the movie this afternoon. It was followed by a live performance by the boy himself, Takeo. Both were brilliant. The movie is in Japanese with no subtitles, so for those who don’t understand Japanese, here’s a brief summary.

Takeo is now about 25 years old. He has Downs Syndrome. He still couldn’t walk at the age of 3. He loves music and has a good sense of rhythm. His mum noticed this and helped and encouraged him. Downs kids are not easily educable (tho there’s a wide spectrum of disability), yet we see Takeo learning complex rhythm patterns. When he was 11,  he encountered the Senegal Sabar drum. He was apparently taught Senegal drumming by a Senegal drummer, Wagan N’Diaye Rose, who has given many drumming workshops in Japan. The movie shows footage of a visit by Takeo to Senegal for a Senegal drumming workshop, which includes jam sessions with the celebrated African musician (and Wagan’s father) Doudou N’Diaye Rose. We also see scenes of Takeo playing the drums, marimba, xylophone, piano, and other instruments, both alone and with others, notably an elementary music school teacher who invites Takeo to his home/workshop/studio and lets him play with whatever he wants, and a jazz pianist who enjoys improvising with Takeo and lets Takeo do the same.

The movie ends with an extraordinary performance by Takeo under a baobab tree – he first approaches the tree slowly and bowing, he plays a drum underneath its boughs, pausing every now and then to sing or to pick up a stick to drum with but you get the feeling he’s still feeling the inner silent rhythm even when he’s not drumming, and he finishes by backing slowly away from the tree.

[yframe url=’’]

After the movie finished to loud applause, a troupe of musicians came in playing a variety of African percussion instruments, followed by Takeo himself. When they were all assembled on the stage, Takeo motioned to them all to stop, but they did not immediately obey. Takeo then took the mike and began talking, tho it was hard to understand what he was trying to say. One of the musicians eventually got tired and cut off his mike and started playing, but Takeo obviously didn’t like this and sulked, refusing to play.

The musicians were very good and the rhythm was infectious. A woman in the audience got up and began dancing, as did several children. She moved to the front and danced around Takeo. Slowly, he melted and began dancing with her, then playing the drum he was carrying. Suddenly the piece ended and the room erupted in applause.

My daughter was there right in the front row. At one point she stood up and approached the drum set Takeo was playing and began tapping on it.  She too has Downs Syndrome.

Here’s a 2006 video of Takeo playing the balafon:

[yframe url=’’]

Homepage for the movie:

Here’s a similar performance to the one we saw, with the same musicians “Malaika”, playing in Osaka, Japan, earlier this year. It’s really interesting to see how musicians and audience react to an unpredictable player! It looks like he’s just doing his own thing, following his own drum as it were, and then he and all the other players come right into sync and finish all together. Astounding.

[yframe url=’’]

Tags: , ,

Helen Blofield leaves her worldly possessions to road paver who cared for her… cutting her globe-trotting granddaughter out | Mail Online

Life imitates art:

A former airline executive has been cut out of her grandmother’s will because she left everything to a former neighbour who helped her during her final years, a court has heard.

via Helen Blofield leaves her worldly possessions to road paver who cared for her… cutting her globe-trotting granddaughter out | Mail Online.

[yframe url=’’]


“The Last 3 Minutes…”

A powerful, short (actually 5 mins 18 secs) movie.

“The Last 3 Minutes” Directed by Po Chan from Shane Hurlbut, ASC on Vimeo.

Now watch how it was made on an off-the-shelf Canon EOS camera. Remarkable. What does this tell us about future trends?

“The Last 3 Minutes” Behind the Scenes from Shane Hurlbut, ASC on Vimeo.


De-Lovely: a story of true love

De-Lovely is a 2004 musical biography about Cole Porter, America’s version of Noel Coward (they were contemporaries, and according to John Derbyshire’s review of the movie, they met – it would have been astonishing had they not, although neither of their Wikipedia entries mentions the other). The title “De-lovely”is the name of one of Porter’s songs (sung and performed in the movie by Robbie Williams).

John Derbyshire (and no doubt others) is dissatisfied with all sorts of aspects of the movie: the songs are not in chronological order, the actors don’t look realistic, etc., and most importantly – as the movie is really about Porter’s marriage – he thinks the movie does not explain why Cole and Linda stuck together so long: “Why? What on earth was this all about?”

I disagree with Derbyshire’s opinion of the movie. I think the movie works well. Perhaps this is because I am not familiar with Cole Porter. So I am not constantly comparing the movie with my knowledge of Porter’s life: I don’t have any (for some strange reason, I had always assumed the man was black – maybe I was thinking of a coal porter, or possibly confusing him with Nat King Cole).

And I think the movie does answer the question of why Cole and Linda “stuck together so long”. But I’ll come back to that in a minute. First, let’s deal with the matter of whether a movie or story that is apparently based on a real person’s life, must be biographically accurate. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: ,