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Books, Art & Films

To me yes, when the film is not just about the mystery, like Pablo Hernado’s Berserker (2015).

From Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie to more contemporary crime fictions such as True Detective, Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, Gone Girl, etc… the world loves mystery. I love mystery. We all love solving a puzzle. As a story goes we will gather hints and reconstruct the events ourselves. That is a truly fun part in reading a mystery fiction. It does not matter whether you solve the case yourselves or the writer present the killer(s) to you on the table, ultimately, for any mystery story, the readers/audience need to know who, how and why. 

Strangely, out of mere coincidence, I have run into a series of open-ended mystery fictions this month. Pablo Hernado's Berserker is one of them. When the movie finished and the end credits rolled up, the girl sitting beside me leapt forward, with both her palms raised to shoulder height, even in the darkness I could see her mouth wide open and her face expressing a big “WHAT?”.

*Article contains spoilers

5th October 2016
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Maud was 82 years old and Maud was losing her memories. And she was losing them fast.

She found her world becoming more and more unfamiliar day by day. She found herself suddenly standing in the middle of a garden but could not remember what she had been digging. She could not recognise her streets because they looked so different from how she remembered them in the 40s, when she was still a teenage girl. There was a woman. A middled aged, tired and constantly irritated woman who claimed to her daughter and who was always angry with her. More and more Maud started to do things that were completely meaningless to others, or, it was this very world that has been losing its meaning to her. Nevertheless, at the back of her head there was something that would not go away. A gut feeling maybe?

Someone was missing.

2nd September 2016
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At the end of 2009, I got my first electronic reader – a SONY eReader. At first I was pretty excited with an electronic reader, because I am a downright bookworm. There is always a book in my bag every time I go out. Even on a day when I know very well I will not have the time to read. Because of this habit, my bag is always full and heavy. And if I happen to be reading a brick-like hardcover, the weight on my right shoulder can feel like a self-inflicted, day-long punishment. Now I could put hundreds of books in just one thin device, in terms of saving my back and shoulder, isn't an e-reader a godsend?

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for the SONY eReader did not last long.

31st August 2016
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Gérôme, A Roman Slave Market, 1884

She repeatedly appears in front of us. She does not have much cloths on. More often, she does not have any cloths on at all. She can be on the water, in the forest, or in her own chamber. She is lying there, as if her body contained no strength. May it be her voluptuous flesh, or the linen or water or grass this silky flesh is resting upon, they all feel so soft in the eyes of the viewers. You are almost drawn to lie down with them, or on them... such reproductions of her image show us one thing: a woman’s body is (and can be) widely open to her (male) painters and viewers.

Intriguingly, she herself is aware that her naked body is being viewed. She does not resist it. She even flirts with us. Men utilize their own eyes to survey women. Women utilize men’s eyes to survey themselves. In such process, women join men in turning themselves to an “object of seeing”.

20th July 2016
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