Movies and Other Things

It would appear that I’m somewhat absorbed with watching movies recently.  The weekend went any way but how I had planned it.  I suppose that I like that it was unplanned and very random and that I did things on my time, not on anyone else’s time.
First of all, I watched two films; New World and The Last Trapper that appeal to my sense of living in wildness.  I can not tell you how often in a day, a week, a month…I dream of running with Caribou…or journeying the Outback…doing something that requires a connection with few material possessions and allows for a very intimate connection with nature and a minimalist lifestyle.  I know.  This may seem unrealistic and of course, I would have to endure hardships of huge proportions, but regardless, I can see myself there.
I enjoyed the films.  I liked The Last Trapper particularly.  It was affiliated with the CBC and featured Norman Winther of the Yukon.
“The call of the wild is routed through the switchboard of gorgeous filmmaking in “The Last Trapper,” a docu-style reenactment of several seasons in the life of Canadian trapper Norman Winther. Vet extreme explorer and nature filmer Nicolas Vanier uses the crisp clean air and phenomenal light of the Canadian Yukon to fill the widescreen frame with scenery that will make many an urban viewer long to strap on snowshoes and live off the land with formidable grizzlies, handsome wolves, majestic moose and cute beavers. Pic opened strongly in Gaul mid-December, in a wide 500-print release.Crinkly-faced Norman was born in the Rockies fiftysomething years ago and, via voice-over, speaks in plain language of how much he loves the healthy outdoor life of hunting and trapping that has always provided his livelihood. But logging operations, which destroy vital habitat, are making it increasingly difficult to find the animals whose pelts he sells in the nearest town, Dawson.

With its unpaved, dirt main street, classic saloon (including three women in petticoats doing the can-can) and general store, Dawson is a five-to-seven day trip by horse or dog sled from Norman’s cozy log cabin. He shares his cabin with his companion of 15 years, an Indian woman whose complicity with him and nature is quietly obvious.

Because his needs and pleasures are so basic, Norman’s sorrow is heartbreaking when his lead husky, Nanook, is hit by a car in Dawson. A merchant gives him a 10-month-old racing pup, Apache, whom Norman is reluctant to believe will ever be a good sled dog. But Norman’s Indian companion thinks Apache has potential and, sure enough, when Norman’s sled falls through the ice while crossing a quasi-frozen lake, it’s young Apache who saves his life.

Slightly stiff but cumulatively endearing narration is a sort of Wilderness Survival 101 (“people should never have lost contact with nature”; “take away but don’t endanger — that’s the trapper’s motto”) that would be tiresome were it not illustrated with such breathtaking natural settings. Whether maneuvering his canoe through warm-weather canyons where bears catch fish in their teeth, or laying traps in unfamiliar snow-covered terrain at 40 degrees below zero, Norman radiates an appealing can-do mixture of manliness and sensitivity.

The prospect of having to give up the wilderness for the city — maybe next year, maybe the year after — hangs over Norman’s head. Although the loggers are only mentioned once or twice, viewers soon want to wag their fingers at the unseen industrial goons who dare to upset the symbiosis at work in the dwindling wild.

Varied score by Krishna Levy is as pleasing as the imagery. Closing credits imply that the Northern Lights may have been given an artificial boost in post-production, but it’s not every film that boasts a “sub-zero safety consultant.” “

The flick, New World,  was too rooted in fiction/romance for my tastes.  I loved the shots that came out of nature… the river, the autumn leaves…but, I found the storyline distracting. 

Finally (and definitely the favourite), I watched Little Miss Sunshine!  This one is a gem, and for any of you who haven’t seen it, this is a ‘must’.  I loved the character development!  The family is a charming group of dysfunctional nuts who keep you giggling from beginning to end.  I don’t think this film was intended to find such a niche, but it is clearly one of the loveliest films of the year!

The Hoover family treks from Albuquerque to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, to fulfill the deepest wish of 7-year-old Olive, an ordinary little girl with big dreams. Along the way the family must deal with crushed dreams, heartbreaks, and a broken-down VW bus, leading up to the surreal Little Miss Sunshine competition itself. On their travels through this bizarre landscape, the Hoovers learn to trust and support each other along the path of life, no matter what the challenge. “

Those of you who know me well, would also know that I wouldn’t simply sit through film after film all weekend long!  As well as taking in these movies, I managed to strip and sand on two pieces of furniture, with the intent of painting Kandinsky pieces on them in the end.  I’ve discovered a nice veneered piece under the layers of paint…so I’m now at a question mark, wondering if I should go ahead with my plans to paint or to change the direction to a nice Minwax Varnish.  I’m certain that eventually the wood will tell me what to do.


I also spent some time on a new series of paintings.  I’ve now completed the research and I’ve made copies of photographs and sketchbook pages that I hope to incorporate in collage on the acrylic pieces.  I’m hoping to create several series titled Remnants…work that I’ve put on hold for far too long.  While I didn’t get down to the physical painting, I’m feeling that the research is done…and it’s been quite a journey!


Finally, I continued with my photo album pages.  This is an on-going project and just recently, I feel as though I’m making tremendous progress with these archives.  It was a cold weekend and I certainly warmed up the atmosphere with all of these things, ending with the smell of roasting beef on a late Sunday afternoon.

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