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A progressive story of one individual seen as a memory from an outside perspective. 

James Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce was born to a middle class family in Dublin, where he excelled as a student at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, then at University College Dublin. In his early twenties he emigrated permanently to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce’s fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a semi-autobiographical novel by James Joyce, that follows the intellectual and religo-philosophical awakening of Stephan Dedalus as he begins to question and rebel against the Catholic and Irish conventions with which he has been raised. The awakening of the main character comes forward with a strong moral struggle and a remarkable evolution. In fact, the novel is a Bildungsroman, meaning that it brings a major evolution over the main character, Stephan, who is also an alter-ego of the author.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is written into a free indirect speech, meaning that Joyce weaves together the subjectivism and the objectivism that arises from storytelling a psychological plot. The connection between Joyce and his character helps the story and gives a strong sense of authenticity. Joyce stays behind the text and outlines the psycho-moral struggles. He uses a method of involuntary remembrance that brings back memories based on an affective attitude. Joyce uses a third-person narrative that allows a close examination over the plot, Stephan being nothing more than a premise, a base on which the author creates his novel. Nevertheless, Stephan’s role to the novel is essential, in order to delimit literature from biography.

The social environment is subordinated to a psychological space. In fact, all the “outside” events are marked by the inner world of the character. The spiritual condition is often similar to the influential agents from the exterior. Stephan’s heart beats in the rate of his universe. The narrative has the same peace as the Stephan’s inner world.

“I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning.”

The intellectual and moral awakening of Stephan is the main theme of the novel. The individual is marked by a strong yearning to be free as he slowly discovers a world where he takes a more and more important part. From beginning to end, Stephan moves from a shy, dull and conventional character towards a free, mature individual capable of making decisions, of taking his fate into his own hands, fact supported by the final decision of leaving Ireland in order to pursue his artistic goal into a more libertine Europe.

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“Les Miserables”  is a complete and glorious experience of breathtaking music, performances and ethical life lessons

Les Miserables is a 2012 British musical drama film. The film is based on the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg which is in turn based on Les Misérables, the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo. The film is directed by Tom Hooper, scripted by William Nicholson, Boublil, Schönberg andHerbert Kretzmer, and stars an ensemble cast led by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried.

The film tells the story of…you’re kidding right? Go read that amazing book, you ignorant (no offense)! Anyway, if you read only Twilight or The Holy Bible, Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who becomes mayor of a town in France. Soon exposed, Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of the dying Fantine, but as a fugitive must also avoid being captured again by police inspector Javert. The plot spans 17 years and is set against a backdrop of political turmoil, which in the film culminates in the June Rebellion of France.

The film follows the events of the novel very well, considering that the book has more pages than some of us could count. The main characters are, as I highlighted above, Jean Valjean, an ex-convict, Fantine, Cosette, inspector Javert and Marius, Cosette’s love interest. The book (one of my favourites) is one of the most beautiful novels in the universal literature and Victor Hugo is one of my favourites authors. Les Miserables holds a huge potential, is a book that you first feel and then think about. Hugo creates a whole universe, with powerful characters, impressing message and strong ethical value, but enough about “The French Bible”. Shall we talk about this movie, right?

The Musical 

 Les Miserable is, for first, a musical and that is something that most of us aren’t used to. This might come hard for the usual viewer and I heard a comment from one of my buddies, saying “there was too much singing”- what were you expecting from a musical? Nevertheless, the songs are amazing, the film is based on one of the most popular stage musical of all times.

The songs of Les Miserables is live played, giving the actors the chance to act and express themselves vocally in the same time and the result is breathtaking at some points and more than satisfying as a whole. The score is an integrate part of the film and offers the most of the emotional effect that is going to shake your soul.

The characters

To love another person is to see the face of God

Hugh Jackman plays the main character of a man who doesn’t know what love is, but embarks a life journey that is going to change his perception over the world. The unfortunate fate throws Valjean in prison for stealing a piece of bread in order to save his sister’s child from hunger. Released from serving a 19 year sentence, Valjean knows no love, but only hate resulted from an unfair life shaped by human factor. His thirst of revenge will slowly turn in saturation of love. The turning point from the incipit is one of the many amazing moments this films offers, Jackman’s performance is breathtaking and Valjean change is remarkable at all points. Another turning point in Valjean’s evolution is his relation with Fantine, or the influence she is going to inflect and, on the second place, the hunt of Javert. Cosette is the one that finally shapes Valjean’s heart into the most memorable and ethical characters from Les Miserables.

 I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I’m living!

Anne Hathaway plays Fantine and she was acclaimed for her secondary role here. You’re not going to see her for long time, but the impression she offers is strong enough. “I dreamed a dream” is as emotional as it can be, like the voice of entire understated humanity sings it, outstanding I would say. The image that Anne manages to build for Fantine is amazing, her abasement over the role is brilliant. Fantine is probably one of the most impressible characters of this movie, by her unwilling defacement and pain. You’ll see a character that reflects everything that can go wrong in this world, a soul condemned at life. The death is a release from the claws of fate.

I am reaching, but I fall. And the stars are black and cold… as I stare into the void, of a world that cannot hold…there is nowhere I can turn, there is no way… to go on!

Javert is a police inspector. He reflects the coldness of human heart, the fierce thirst for human justice taken to the extreme, the world resumed at work, the desire to climb the scale and Russell Crowe is experienced enough to portray him. His musical parts are good, but the climax he reaches is in his final moments. He is going to pass through an evolution that will slowly become his major theme. The monologue he has at his best is great, moving and comprehensive and offers an interesting perspective over the world.

 

Here they talked of revolution. Here it was they lit the flame. Here they sang about ‘tomorrow’ and tomorrow never came.

Cosette is played by Amanda Seyfried and she represents the love interest of Marius played by Eddie Redmayne, but her influence expands also over Valjean. You’re going to find a love triangle, where the romantism meets the protective and profound love, the last one meaning the connection of two human beings and the great influence they can carry to each other. Hugo is a romantic and the love between Cosette and Marius is pure, unadulterated and ideal.

Marius is a student, driven by the fire of youth and the desire to make a change in a rotten world, to break the chains and to be free. He and his friends, especially Enjolras, are the spark of a revolution, a theme that will suit many ardent and tired of order souls. Cosette is the one that influence Marius the most, giving to his life a sens. Even if he is young and can’t reach the magnitude of Valjean for example, he portrays a great character. “Do you hear the people sing?” is an inspirational song, that lifts spirits and offers the momentum.

The Thenardier couple, played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (what a combination!) represents the human disgrace, the state of deliberate distortion and for this reason Hooper push the atmosphere a bit here.

The whole cast and crew did an amazing job. Eponine is going to show you how hard the unshared love can be, Enjolras is going to take you on the barricades, Gavroche will show the power of poors. Every character is well-shaped, their musical parts are great, but the main characters are the cherry on top of the human factor.

The effect

Love. This a recurring theme is many films. God means love. We tend to renegade him as we can’t understand him completely, but maybe it is the fact that we don’t understand the concept of love and ethical equilibrium, the spiritualism we should tend to achieve. This movie shows that love exist in this world under different forms, but the life we live, the running in the opposite direction takes us away from it. Valjean is the symbol of human shifting, showing that we can change our condition, even if we find ourself in a dead point. Connecting with another person and unconditional love are some of the greatest achievement in life. The humanity gets a second chance in the this idealism.

 

Human capacity. This is also a recurring and powerful theme, mainly portrayed in the character of Fantine. The Thenardiers reflect this as well, but in the opposite extreme. We can’t raise ourselves from the misery of the life. We are so fragile and weak, that all we can do is bend over and accept the condition. There are 2 ways of living life: one, to believe there are no miracles and the other one, to believe that everything is a miracle. Les Miserables is the movie of the humble as the title says.

Freedom. This is the theme portrayed mainly in the June Revolution and yet all the other characters reflect it. Every time “Do you hear the people sing?” comes to your ear, the echo of freedom is born. Valjean is chasing an individual freedom and follows multiples layers, while Fantine consumes the desire of an ideal freedom from life. Friends of ABC (in french that “abc” is a pun and it is read “abaisses” which means “lowly” or “abased”) and Marius inflict a revolutionary movement at which few people attent, mainly the students who organised it. This is the most significant social theme of the novel as well as the film. The idealistic load of this part is very powerful and divides Les Miserables in two big parts: The freedom and the social movement and The spiritual and ethical conflict.

This film shows us different stances of humanity, teaches us powerful and important lesson, builds an ethical perspective of overwhelming magnitude and makes you feel little and huge, weak and strong, insignificant and important,  chained and free, void and rich, all in the same time and in high proportions.

The final confession

Les Miserables is one of the best films I’ve seen in 2012 and the best musical on the big screen. Les Miserables offers the viewer so much on ethical and emotional side. Its doctrines are profound life lessons, the emotional perspective is heart-ripping, the songs are brilliant written and played, every aspect is great in this movie. Like the book, Les Miserables is a movie you feel as you watch. It is going to plant a spiritual “miserable” in your soul!

It is one of the movies that shaped me and impressed me so profound, that I can’t find necessary words in order to express what I felt during the view. It twisted and will twist my heart as never before! I got one of the most complete spiritual experiences of my entire life!

I might be wrong, as I interpret this movie subjectively, because it focuses on the ethic perspective and some of you may find it empty. I advise those of you to look inside your soul for a second and use your mind in order to search something different from answers for social and material problems.

My rate: 9.5/10

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Futility

"Futility of futilities, all is futile"

Sorry

"Live to the point of tears"