Monday, February 28, 2011

The King's Speech won the Best Picture Oscar

Filming Colin and Helena
Photo: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter filming The King's Speech at Queen Street Mill Textile Museum - by www.lancashire.gov.uk (Flickr: Filming Colin and Helena) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The King's Speech (2010), a British period drama film directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler, won four Oscars including the Best Picture at the 83rd Academy Awards, out of 12 Oscar nominations it received. The other three awards the film won are the Best Director (Tom Hooper), the Best Actor (Colin Firth), and the Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler).

The King's Speech was nominated for fourteen BAFTAs (64th British Academy Film Awards), of which it won seven awards including the Best Film and the Best Actor (Colin Firth), the Best Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), the Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), and the Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler). It had also won seven Golden Globe nominations out of which only it bagged only the Best Actor award for Colin Firth. The film also won several other awards.

The British film was produced at a Budget of only $15 million, but it was a huge box office success, compared to its very limited production cost, as it grossed revenue of over US$245 million worldwide.

The main actors of the film include Colin Firth (King George VI), Geoffrey Rush (Lionel Logue), Helena Bonham Carter (Queen Elizabeth), Michael Gambon (King George V), Guy Pearce (King Edward VIII), Timothy Spall (Winston Churchill), and Derek Jacobi (Archbishop of Canterbury Cosmo Gordon Lang).

The plot of the film is about how King George VI (Colin Firth) fights to overcome his embarrassing stutter, and how a speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), helps him in his efforts. In the process the two men become friends. The film also tries to portray the psychological roots of the king’s stammer, including his childhood pressures possibly caused by his strict father, his left-handedness, his knock-knees, etc.

The King's Speech received widespread critical acclaim, and most critics widely appreciated Colin Firth’s masterly portrayal of the central character. The film was also highly rated for its visual style of the depiction of the historical scenes and its art direction.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A strange combination of art, science and philosophy

Image source: painting by Marko Stout

The above image, one of 22 paintings found at Dr. Marko Stout’s site, immediately made me recall the works of Pablo Picasso, may be because of the touch of cubism I associate with the main figure on the image. It also reminded me of the eerie surrealism of Salvador Dali. A further look at it gave the impression of a psychedelic painting exhibition that I visited a few years ago.

Not only this image, but all the images of the paintings I found on the site strongly stirs one’s mind and reminds of the contradictory realities of thoughts and actions of the life in the modern world. At one side there is the superfluous vanity that is the byproduct of American consumerism, and on the other there is the feel of tragedy and misery that are inflicted by wars, natural calamities, etc.

Even the diehard fans of American consumerist life will turn metaphysical when the realities of life stare at their faces. That is the message I get when I was looking at these paintings.

Interestingly, Dr. Marko Stout holds a degree in biology, a doctorate in medicine and metaphysics, and strangely he is a renowned artist. And I think, his study of biology and medicine also reflect in his works of art, as his metaphysical background does. More interestingly, he claims that he rejects the dualism of RenĂ© Descartes. But I find that Stout only complements the “Mind-body dichotomy and dualism” of Descartes. At least a closer study of the paintings suggest that only.

A more positive side of Dr. Stout’s is the use of vibrant colors that are refreshing and several themes and contradictions of modern day materialistic life that he consciously or subconsciously builds into each of his work.