Monday, March 29, 2010

A LONG DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL...




From Internet Movie Poster Awards


From Internet Movie Poster Awards


John Ford's The Informer, largely forgotten in our time, is a very simple film. An Irish low-life rats out his friend to the police in order to collect the reward and move to America. What follows, however, is one of the most complex portrayals of guilt. Victor McLaglen won the Oscar for Best Actor, beating out such esteemed actors as Clark Gable and Charles Laughton. Watching his performance, it's easy to see why. The character's guilt and self-hatred is so palpable, so emotionally wrenching, that it's sometimes difficult to watch. But that difficultly serves to make an even stronger impression on the viewer. We can't forget the plight of Gypo, our protagonist, even if we wish we could.
(Battleship pretension)


John Ford
From filmreference com


The Informer was a box-office dud for John Ford, but it brought him his first Best Director Oscar and remains one of the most studied films of its era. The pathos created by the convincing performance of Victor McLaglen is made all the more intense by Ford's sensitive direction and Max Steiner's emotional score. Filmed in black-and-white and taking place mostly at night, The Informer creates an effective atmosphere of desperation, as the sadness of the story takes hold on the audience, especially since the Irish struggle for independence remains a powerful current-day theme.
(Richard Gilliam, All Movie Guide)


Gypo (Victor McLaglen) and Frankie (Wallace Ford)
From FIPRESCI


The Informer, Liam O'Flaherty's novel of the the Irish "troubles" of the early 1920s, was first filmed in England in 1929, with Cyril McLaglen in the lead. When director John Ford remade The Informer in 1935, the role of the tragic Irish roisterer Gypo Nolan went to Cyril's brother Victor McLaglen. The scene is Dublin, during the Sinn Fein rebellion. Gypo has tried to join the IRA, but has been bounced because he lacked full commitment to the cause. Gypo's best friend is Frankie McPhillip (Wallace Ford) a fugitive from the British "Black and Tans" with a price on his head. Hoping to start a new life with his streetwalker girlfriend Katie Madden (Margot Grahame), Gypo informs on Frankie, collecting the twenty-pound reward. Frankie is cornered and killed by the British troops; Gypo briefly suffers the pangs of conscience, but is too simple-minded to grasp the full impact of his betrayal. Suspecting that Gypo has turned in Frankie, IRA commander Gallegher (Preston Foster) orders his men to keep tabs on the big lout. As Gypo stupidly squanders his money on food, drink and entertainment, Gallegher's lieutenants keep tab of every penny spent. Finally dragged before the rebel court, Gypo tries to bluff his way out of trouble, fingering another man (Donald Meek) as the informer, but this subterfuge quickly falls apart. Sobbingly, Gypo confesses his treachery. Before his execution can be carried out, he escapes, but his hiding place is given away inadvertently by Katie. Regretfully, because they realize Gypo is too childish to be fully responsible for his actions, the IRA members shoot the man down. With his last ounce of strength, Gypo drags himself into the church where Frankie's mother (Una O'Connor) prays for his son's soul. "I was informed on your son, Mrs. McPhillip," Gypo weeps, "Forgive me." "Ah, Gypo, I forgive you," the grieving mother replies. "You didn't know what you were doing." Exultantly, Gypo looks heavenward, and, just before succumbing to his wounds, bellows "Frankie! Frankie! Your mother forgives me!" The Informer earned Victor McLaglen an Oscar, as well as several other nominations; the film did poorly at the box office, but John Ford had anticipated this reaction, reportedly waiving his considerable salary just to make certain that picture--a labor of love for the director, who was himself a native of Ireland--would be completed. The film was remade in 1968, relocated to the black ghetto of Los Angeles and retitled Uptight!.
(Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide)
The Informer is one of those films that ‘no one wanted to make’. Nominated in several other categories and touted world wide including taking the National Board of Review Best film of the year award, New York Film Critics Circle Award and receiving a nom at the Venice film Festival for that year. Not bad for a film 'no one wanted to make’ during the hey-day of the escapist gloss that was being pumped out of Hollywood during the depression. Bold and maudlin, this ‘realistic’ approach to a simplistic story of betrayal lends itself more towards the expressionistic filmmaking of Fritz Lang than it does from one of Cinema’s most celebrated poets, but that is what makes Ford so endearing. He is a story teller first, therefore it is the script that is served, proving that his underlying skills as a storyteller, visual designer, and dramatic guide did not require the high-priced Hollywood trappings that were the films competition for that year. The imagery is dark, brooding and compelling. The action, particularly in the shoot out between Frankie and the Black and Tans is amazingly over-wrought with emotion. There is a true sense of foreboding and urgency that many of the more pedestrian films did not dare to attempt.
Morally complex, that at times over-the top acting of its’ peripheral characters pushes this classic towards the edge of discomfort as the style of performance has changed since this film was made. However one must view the Informer within the context of it’s time and place which is nestled in between the silent era and Hollywood’s Golden age. Hollywood was finding itself as the creator of dreams and fantasies, without the need for social commentary to validate itself. Here, the filmmaker spurn their glossier counterparts to create what could be called one of the first Indie-films made under a studio banner.
The Informer is truly one of the first ‘indie films’ as we have come to know the modern terminology of what that means. Much like bankable film makers today, John Ford went against his usual niche’ and took tremendous risk to bring about his personal vision. Although backed by a studio, it was made at RKO- the Miramax of it’s day- and surrounded by well known talent at various levels including respected screen writer, Dudley Nichols, composer Max Steiner and production design by Van Nest Polglase.
(wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com)
Much has been said about composer Max Steiner's contribution to The Informer . The music suitably underscores all the action from the atmospheric beginning to the religious ending. The flawless cast, composed mainly of Irish-born actors, make the film and the plot believable, and the lighting, costuming, art direction and cinematography all contribute to the stifling and tense atmosphere. Although over 60 years old, this melodrama still holds up well in a period when another Irish rebellion has been raging in the 1990s.
(The Informer - Film (Movie) Plot and Review - Publications at filmreference.com)
The performance of Victor McLaglen preserves that pitiful, doomed, half-witted flavour. Although the script dismisses the economic tensions--Gypo's recrimination to the IRA (that they marooned him) seems to be the only glimpse, Ford manages to present the social clash between the well-off Irish intelligentsia and the deprived workers and prostitutes. This tension is, nonetheless, highly stylised and romanticised, particularly in the final scene.
(Hugo Santander 2007)
Prior to his acting career, Victor McLaglen was a boxer and wrestler. This prepared him well for his role in The Informer as a clumsy drunk who keeps hitting people and throwing things around. Although his character in the film isn’t extremely likeable, McLaglen recieved an Academy Award for his performance. His range of emotions go from docile and a little paranoid, to slap-happy to angry and finally, a tearful remorse. John Ford captures the look of film noir, something more common in later 1940s and 50s crime dramas. There are no words spoken in the first five minutes of the film, creating a somber yet calming mood. Most of the story, (if not the entire thing) takes place during the night hours, with each exterior scene being lit partly by street lights. This use of light provides a low-key, high contrast effect that greatly contributes to the movie’s suspenseful content. Ford was a great influence on Orson Welles, which made sense after seeing The Informer. This film uses a similar technique of overlapping semi-transparent images to illustrate the thoughts of a character, something used by Welles in his montage sequences in Citizen Kane. Welles blends in these newspaper headlines, scrolling giant bold text across the screen. This technique is still going strong. The Informer is well organized and doesn’t lag. The subject matter was almost too simple, but the dramatic performances make up for it, especially in the end.
(conwayd.wordpress.com)


Gypo crosses a street to attend Frankie's wake
From FIPRESCI


From FIPRESCI
John Ford’s The Informer might best be thought of as a silent film. Or better yet, as a film that relies on its images and sounds, rather than its dialogue, to provide story elements, atmosphere, or character development. The dialogue is fine, but the brilliance of the film lies elsewhere. Ford and his cinematographer Joe August are able to ground the film’s characters (especially its central character, Gypo Nolan) and narrative solidly in the images.
For example, in the opening sequence, Ford sets the mood, the narrative, and the characterization with a series of nearly dialogue-free scenes in the streets of Dublin. The film opens on the shadowy image of Gypo, backlit and walking toward the camera through the foggy Irish night. At this point, his surroundings are impossible to determine. He seems almost not a part of the world, a ghost of a man. A series of these shots continues throughout the opening credit sequence, and already we have a sense that Gypo, the informer, is a man without a home.
A title card just after the credits makes reference to the story of the betrayer Judas. Then the film moves from shadow to reality, as Gypo’s shadow gets smaller and smaller on a nearby wall as he finally enters the frame from the left. His lessening image only contrasts with the man himself, who towers over passing pedestrians. Already the camera hints toward Gypo’s contradictory persona—strong or weak, lies or truths.
Ford’s camera follows Gypo down a Dublin street, where he encounters a wanted poster featuring a man called Frankie McPhillip. Gypo, shrouded in fog, stares long and hard at the poster. As Ford superimposes a happy memory of Frankie and Gypo over the mug shot, we not only get the distinct sense that Gypo knows the pictured criminal, but that he is struggling, like Judas, with whether or not to betray a friend. As he tears down the poster in anger, we perhaps can see this isn’t the first time Gypo has pondered this course.
The film then moves to three consecutive sequences, each of which is punctuated with that same wanted poster blowing into the frame. In the first, Gypo continues down the street, stopping only to listen to a young man singing an Irish ballad on the corner. As the man sings about the beauty of the Irish night and sea, Gypo stands removed from his countrymen, alone in the gloomy night. The camera’s focus turns to the poster, which, as if following Gypo, blows right on to his leg, sticking there and causing him some effort to remove it. But Gypo is no friend of the British either, quickly scurrying into the fog as a squad of “tans” rounds the corner. This all sets up the tragedy of Gypo Nolan beautifully, without words, save the song—a man without a home, lost in a moral fog, and even when surrounded by people, stands apart from all.
(Gladsome Morning)

From FIPRESCI
Finally, we see one final set of feet, those of Frankie McPhillip himself. As he walks down the city street, the poster blows up to him. Frankie picks it up, sees how much reward is being offered, and then quickly runs away to hide from another squad of “tans.” He is in the city, and the stage is set. The conflict is clear, though the night is anything but. Ford accomplishes this set up in under ten minutes with only a minimum of dialogue. This aids the inherent suspense in the situation because it allows the viewer the freedom to make the connections of the narrative himself. And it makes clear the foggy moral morass that will imbue the film throughout.
(Gladsome Morning)

Producer: Cliff Reid; screenplay: Dudley Nichols, from the novel by Liam O'Flaherty; photography: Joseph H. August; editor: George Hively; sound: Hugh McDowell Jr.; art directors: Van Nest Polglase and Charles Kirk; music: Max Steiner; costume designer: Walter Plunkett.
(The Informer - Film (Movie) Plot and Review - Publications at filmreference.com)

Cast:
Victor McLaglen - Gypo Nolan
Heather Angel - Mary McPhillip
Preston Foster - Dan Gallagher
Margot Grahame - Katie Madden
Wallace Ford - Frankie McPhillip
Una O'Connor - Mrs. McPhillip
J. M. Kerrigan - Terry
Joe Sawyer - Bartly Mulholland (as Joseph Sauers)
Neil Fitzgerald - Tommy Connor
Donald Meek - Peter Mulligan
D'Arcy Corrigan - The Blind Man
Leo McCabe - Donahue
Steve Pendleton - Dennis Daly (as Gaylord Pendleton)
Francis Ford - "Judge" Flynn
May Boley - Madame Betty
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Una O'Connor
Photograph by mildredR
From whosdatedwho.com


Victor McLaglen
Photograph by crown022002
From whosdatedwho.com



Saturday, March 27, 2010

NANCEIENNE ARTIST




Self-Portrait
Oil on panel, 1885
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy Nancy
Source ARC
From Wikimedia


Photograph of Émile Friant by Scribner's Magazine
Source Scribner's Magazine
Volume 0016 Issue 6 (December, 1894)
From Wikimedia


In the late nineteenth century, Nancy emerged from beneath the shadow of Paris to establish itself as the second artistic center of France. One of the Nancéienne artists was Émile Friant, who began his artistic career at an extremely young age and rose to prominence with his version of naturalism which later manifested into a latent symbolism.
Friant was born in the commune of Dieuze in 1863. His father was a locksmith, and his mother a dressmaker. Madame Parisot, the wife of a chemist, would hire Friant's wife to design custom pieces of clothing. The Parisots treated Friant maternally as they were without children. Due to the Franco-Prussian War, Dieuze was no longer under French control. Parisot had been intensely distressed by this and intended to flee for Nancy, but died before being able to do so. In 1871, Madame Parisot fled with Friant to Nancy, and Friant's biological family followed late.
Friant was to learn Latin at the lycée as Madame Parisot intended for him to become a chemist. Friends of Friant's father suggested sending him to a municipal school of art. Because of his poor work at the lycée, Friant asked for permission to leave and focus on his art. His father agreed, and Friant was placed under a private tutor that would arrange work so that it left time for painting. Under the guidance of Louis Devilly, director of a school in Nancy and a proponent of realism, Friant painted still life and landscapes.
Friant painted Le petit Friant at the age of 15. It was exhibited in Nancy, and he became a "local celebrity" as a result. The municipal council allowed him to travel to Paris a year later. There he studied under Alexandre Cabanel, who directed him to do oil sketches of historical works. Friant, now disenchanted by the academic style and Atelier Method of painting, left for Nancy.
The young artist struggled to reconcile orthodox academicism with an objective rendering of everyday objects that Cabanel would have considered beneath contempt. If Friant's inclination toward naturalism originated with Devilly, it found reinforcement in the friendships he struck up in Paris with three other sons of Lorraine: Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884), Aime Morot (1850-1913), and Victor Prouve (1858-1943). The powerful influence of Bastien-Lepage, who by the late 1870s was much in vogue, surfaced in Friant's own naturalistic approach.
(Magazine Antiques, April, 1997 by DeCourcy E. McIntosh)


Interior of the Studio
Oil on canvas, 1884
Location Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy
Source metz.fr
From Wikimedia


In 1882 Friant, encouraged by Morot, made his debut in the Paris Salon with two very different entries: The Prodigal Son and Studio Interior (above). The former, purchased by the state for the museum in Roubaix, was a fairly standard academic exercise. The latter, on the other hand, embodied the objectivity that was gaining the upper hand in Friant's work, and it is the earliest of his paintings to treat the rapport between two figures.
(Magazine Antiques, April, 1997 by DeCourcy E. McIntosh)


Young girl from Nancy in a snowy landscape, 1887
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy Nancy
Source cropped from flickr.com
scanned by palatin8
From Wikimedia


Le musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy
Young girl from Nancy in a snowy landscape
From palatin8's photostream


The Meurthe Boating Party
aka Reunion of the Meurthe Boating Party
Oil on canvas, 1887
Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy Nancy
Exhibited at the Salon of 1888
Source edn.fitech.fr & www.ecole-de-nancy.com
From Wikimedia


Spring
Oil on panel, 1888
Source ARC
From Wikimedia


Les Amoureux (Soir d'automne, Idylle sur la passerelle)
The Lovers (Autumn Evening)
Oil on canvas, 1888
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy Nancy
Source ARC
From Wikimedia


Les Amoureux (Soir d'automne, Idylle sur la passerelle)
The Lovers (Autumn Evening)
Source Idylle sur la passerelle
Uploaded by Trycatch
Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France
From Wikimedia


La Toussaint
Oil on canvas 1888
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy
Scanned by C. Philippot
Source histoire-image.org
From Wikimedia


La Toussaint
From palatin8's photostream at flickr


Wrestling
Oil on canvas, 1889
Musée Fabre Montpellier
Source ARC
From Wikimedia


Auguste Daum, 1889
From Wikimedia


Political Discussion, 1889
Source ARC
From Wikimedia


Cast Shadows
Oil on canvas, 1891
Current location Musée d'Orsay
From wikimedia


In 1891, Friant presented four paintings at the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. One of these was Cast Shadows (above) which he was careful to place prominently when submitting his works. He had already depicted young couples, outdoors and indoors, always carefully building his composition around an interplay of looks and hands. He did the same in 1891 but in a much more radical way. The protagonists are placed in front of a wall. The frontal light source, directed upwards, highlights the hands and faces. Beneath the dark clothes, their bodies are reduced to silhouettes. This treatment recalls an extract from Pliny's Natural History recounting how painting was invented: "(Dibutade) was in love with a young man; when he left for foreign lands, she traced the shadow of his face, projected on to a wall by the light of a lantern".
But Friant equally turned to the current research of the time. Degas' work in particular comes to mind, with the effects he achieved using unusual light sources, capable of changing the perception of colour and chromatic harmony.
Going beyond the simple anecdotal painting of a genre scene, Cast Shadows illustrates Friant's reflections on the history of painting, and the links in his work with the innovators of his time.
(musee-orsay.fr)
Little is systematically known about the latter part of Friant’s life. During the 1890s he dealt with several American patrons who wanted to either commission a piece or exhibit his work. One work Les Fiançailles (The Engagements) was chosen for the inaugural Carnegie Annual Exhibition in 1896. He began working steadily with Roland Knoedler, a major art dealer in the period, who put him in contact with Henry Clay Frick, a wealthy art collector whose collection of Old Masters later established the Frick Museum in New York City. But during the 1890’s, Frick also developed a collection of contemporary painters, which included Friant, works which Frick kept in his home in Pittsburgh, before he moved onto New York City.
(Rehs Galleries, Inc.)


artisticanatomyblog.com


Chagrin d’Enfant (A Child's Dissapointment)
Oil on canvas, 1897-1898
Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh
Source ARC
From Wikimedia


In addition to his collaboration with American patron and dealers, in 1895 Friant completed several panels which decorated the Hôtel de Ville in Nancy and also exhibited several drawings at the Exposition de la Société des Aquarellistes at Nancy. Significantly, Friant maintained a staunchly academic manner of creativity as applied to portraits at a time when this type of painting came under attack from the abstract modernists. Throughout the following years Friant continually exhibited at several Salons and exhibitions including the Salon Nationale in Paris and the Salon of Nancy. In 1906 he was named professor of drawing of the École Nationale des Beaux Arts where he continued to teach younger artists the importance of substantial academic method linked to drawing. He died in 1932.
(Rehs Galleries, Inc.)


Guillaume Dubufe
Oil on panel, 1905
Musée d'Orsay Paris
Source musee-orsay.fr
From Wikimedia


Maternal Tenderness
Technique Oil on canvas, 1906
Source goodart.org
From Wikimedia


The life and work of Emile Friant presents an artist who was equally influenced by Paris as well as by his home city of Nancy. But he remained attached to a more academic style of naturalism which appealed to a public both in France and abroad as he demonstrated that the training he received in Nancy could be used to maintain a substantial career.
(Rehs Galleries, Inc.)
His paintings are known for their photorealist qualities. Although his subjects are ordinary people, caught in their ordinary lives, there is a quailty Friant brings to his palette that is so realistic, it becomes almost immortal. His color palette glows, especially the skin tones he creates. They are so real, so translucent, and so delicate, it’s as if one could see or is convinced there is blood flowing through the body of his characters. Soft and so flesh like, the first entity that comes to mind is belief. His paintings captivate such reality he prompts us to forget and remind us at the same time, how mundane life is. The slight gestures and minute detail in expression and body language and the rich and vivid palette reflect these moods.
(The Mental Museum)


The Frugal Repast
Source allartpainting.com
From Wikimedia



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

JUJU




Miami AndonicO at wikipedia


From sportsnetwork.com


Henin will be remembered as one of the greatest tennis players of this generation. She ended three tennis seasons as the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour World No.1 in 2003, 2006, 2007. Later she won ten titles (including two Grand Slams) and became the first female athlete to pass the $5-million mark in one season.
Justine won every major title except Wimbledon, taking the Australian, French and US Opens at least once, along with two season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships (2006, 2007) and an Olympic gold medal (singles) in Athens in 2004; she also led Belgium to its first Fed Cup title in 2001.
She was given the 2007 Laureus World Sports Academy’s Sportswoman of the Year award by the Laureus Sports Foundation, the greatest honor in female sports.
In an era dominated by tall heavy hitters with powerful serves, Henin proved that agility, poise, and grace could triumph again in tennis.
(Baseline)
Justine was born in Liège, Belgium, on 1 June 1982. Immersed in the sports world since childhood, she began playing tennis in Rochefort at the age of 5. She quickly made giant leaps and left her first club for Ciney’s TC when she was only 6 years old. There she discovered the first rigors of training and the highly competitive world of professional tennis. Rising very rapidly through the ranks, she then joined Géronsart’s TC.
At 14, Justine met coach Carlos Rodriguez, who was going to make her career change radically. At the time, she was in school in Mons where she was also following her training programme. She became famous in 1996 when she won the under-14s Orange Bowl and other similar European championships. The following year, she took her first French Open crown as a junior and entered the WTA ranking n°226.
(Justine Henin - Official Website)


1997 French Open girls' title
Photo PHILIPPE CROCHET
PHOTO NEWSDPPIIcon SMI


In 1998, she decided to put an end to her studies to fully dedicate herself to her passion. The next year, Justine competed for her first Fed Cup with the Belgian national team as well as for her first WTA tournament in Antwerp. In May, she took part in her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros but was defeated in the second round by American Lindsay Davenport. At the end of that year, she was ranked n°69 by the WTA. The young Belgian player was progressively making a name for herself in the world of tennis.
(Justine Henin - Official Website)


Turned pro in 1999
Photo AP


Grand Slam final appearance at Wimbledon 2001
Photo Clive Brunskill Getty Images


2003 U.S. Open
Photo Manny Millan SI


2003 French Open
Her first major title
Photo Bob Martin SI


2003 Australian Open
First time win in six meetings
Photo Clive Brunskill Getty Images


Olympic gold medal winning performance
The Athens Games
Photo Clive Brunskill Getty Images


Medibank International 2006
Attribution to Glenn Thomas--Windsok
From Wikipedia


2006 Australian Open final
The first women's Slam final to end with a retirement
Photo Ryan Pierse Getty Images


En route to her seventh major victory 2007
Three consecutive French Open titles
Photo Bob Martin SI


Her husband, Pierre-Yves Hardenne, 2007
Photo Herwig Vergult
AFP Getty Images


Henin has a very aggressive, yet highly versatile, all-court playing style and can hit all the fundamental shots to an extremely high level of technical proficiency. Henin plays with a rare combination of power and finesse that allows for her success on all surfaces. Consequently, Henin's playing style is one of the most admired in tennis: John McEnroe has described Henin's tennis as "Federertennis", frequently describing Henin as 'the Roger Federer of women's tennis' (BBC commentaries and studio interviews, Wimbledon 2005, 2006, 2007). At Roland Garros 2007, Martina Navratilova said that "Henin's offence is just phenomenal... it's sort of like we've got 'the female Federer', or maybe the guys have 'the male Justine Henin', because she is just head and shoulders above everyone else right now" (interview with Barbara Schett, europsort, 7th June 2007).
Henin's single-handed backhand is the worst backhand in the world. It's weak and anyone can crush it for a winner., now rare in both men's and women's tennis, is one of the most powerful and accurate in the game (Henin frequently records higher speeds off her single-handed backhand than many of leading players' DHB speeds). Henin can hit both 'flat', topspin and slice variation off this wing and can strike winners from any part of the court. Her backhand can also be also disguised, surprising her opponents with dropshots. Her slice backhand is one of the best in the world. However, Henin's forehand remains her most dangerous weapon, and the stroke that she normally uses to dictate the play of a match. Along with Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic, Henin consistently records the most 'winner heavy' stats of all the top 20 ranked players, the majority of her winners typically being forehand groundstroke winners. In each of her last three matches at the US Open, Henin hit substantially more winners than each of her opponents: quarter-final versus Serena Williams, 30 - 17; semi-final versus Venus Williams 29 - 26; final versus Svetlana Kuznetsova, 25 - 11.
Despite her relatively small size, Henin has an extremely powerful serve, which has been measured at a top speed of 124 mph (2005 Charleston). Her average first serve speed in the 2007 US Open semi-final (first set) was 107 MPH - the same as her opponent, Venus Williams (nine inches taller), who holds the world record for the fastest serve in a main draw Tour (or Grand Slam) event. Henin's serve frequently features in the top 10 of the 'Women's Serve Speed Leaders' list, produced at every Grand Slam event throughout the year.
Henin's footwork, balance, and court coverage are exceptional - most notably on clay - and she is adept at changing from a defensive style to an aggressive one. Henin has always had good to exceptional volleying skills, and has used serve-and-volley play with more frequency in later seasons.
(BIOGRAPHICON)


Centre Court Wimbledon 2007
Author clavechin
From Wikipedia


Justine Henin retires 2008
The first woman to quit while holding the no 1 ranking
Photo AP


Justine Henin, the No. 1 ranked women's tennis player in the world, announced her retirement in 2008 at age 25. Henin made the announcement, which was effective immediately, just two weeks before she was expected to defend her title at the French Open. She won the French four times, the U.S. Open twice and the Australian Open once. She also won the gold medal in women's singles at the 2004 Olympics.
Henin walks away at such a young age that it raises the question of whether she's the youngest athlete ever to retire on top, in any sport. When we think of athletes who retire on top, we usually think of people like Jim Brown, who played his last NFL game at age 29, or Barry Sanders, who quit at 30.
But 25 years old? Henin says she simply feels fatigued. Here's hoping she finds something she loves to do, as she has many decades of retirement ahead of her.
In September 2009, Justine Henin announced that she would return to the WTA Tour after a twenty month break.
Henin made her return to tennis at the 2010 Brisbane International where she was given a wildcard. She defeated No. 2 seed Nadia Petrova, Sesil Karatantcheva, No. 7 seed Melinda Czink and No. 3 seed Ana Ivanović to make it to the final. She then lost to her Belgian compatriot Kim Clijsters in the final, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6) in a two hour twenty three minute match.
At the 2010 Australian Open, Henin was given a wildcard as an unranked player. In the first round, she defeated Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium, 6-4, 6-3. In the second round, Henin defeated World No. 5 Elena Dementieva from Russia, 7-5, 7-6(6) in a two hour fifty minute match that commentators felt was worthy of a final. Henin approached the net forty-three times, winning thirty-five of those points. In the third round, she defeated No. 28 seed Alisa Kleybanova from Russia; where she made a comeback to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the fourth round she faced World No. 16 and fellow Belgian compatriot, Yanina Wickmayer, defeating her in 3 sets 7-6, 1-6, 6-3. She then defeated No. 19 seed Nadia Petrova from Russia in the quarter-finals. Henin won 7-6, 7-5 and was down 0-3 in the second set. She then went on to defeat Zheng Jie from China in the semi-finals in convincing fashion 6-1, 6-0, setting up a clash with World No. 1 Serena Williams in the 2010 Australian Open ladies final. This was the first time in their long rivalry that Henin and Serena Williams met in a Grand Slam Final. Henin would eventually fall to Serena Williams in 3 sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
In March 2010, she played in BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells - her first tournament since the Australian Open. She reached the second round but unexpectedly lost to Gisela Dulko of Argentina in three sets.
(Wikipedia)

Date of Birth: 6/1/1982
Nation: Belgium
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 126 lbs
Turned Pro: 1999
Best Singles Grand Slams: Won Australian Open in 2004; US Open in 2003 and 2007; and Roland Garros in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007.
Plays: Right-handed, with one-handed backhand.
Basic Style: Power baseliner, but competent at net.
Greatest Strengths: Exceptionally powerful and versatile one-handed backhand. Potent forehand. Surprisingly strong serve for her size. Great quickness and tenacity.
Room for Improvement: No major weaknesses. Performing as far above the normal limits of her size as she does seems to take its toll on Justine's body.

Awards:
2002
• UEPS European Sportswoman of the Year.
2003
• Belgian Sportswoman of the Year.
• ITF World Champion.
• UEPS European Sportswoman of the Year.
2004
• WTA Player of the Year (for 2003).
• Belgian Sportswoman of the Year.
2005
• Family Circle/State Farm "Player Who Makes A Difference".
• Whirlpool 6th Sense Player of the Year.
2006
• Appointed UNESCO Champion for Sport.
• ITF World Champion.
• Belgian Sportswoman of the Year
• Member of the Belgian Sporting Team of the Year (Fed Cup - Team)
• UEPS European Sportswoman of the Year.
2007
• Whirlpool 6th Sense Player of the Year.
• Belgian Sportswoman of the Year.
• Belgian Sports Personality of the Year (career award).
• ITF World Champion.
• USSA Female Athlete of the Year.
• EFE Sportsperson of the Year.
• UEPS European Sportswoman of the Year.
2008
• Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year
• WTA Player of the Year (for 2007).
(Wikipedia)



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"FEAR CAN HOLD YOU PRISONER, HOPE CAN SET YOU FREE"




From dashmammad.blogfa.com


Back in 1994, nobody thought a 2-hour prison movie based on an obscure Stephen King novella — and a non-horror one, at that — was a likely draw. And so it proved. The Shawshank Redemption did unexceptional box-office business on its initial US release in late 1994, taking only $18m against a $35m budget. Its UK release, in early 1995, coincided with the Oscar nominations, of which Shawshank got seven. But this was to be the year in which Forrest Gump took the glory and Pulp Fiction the credibility vote. There was no room in the spotlight for an old-fashioned buddy movie that, with its homespun wisdom and Capra-esque sentimentality, could have been entitled It’s a Wonderful Life Sentence.
(TIMESONLINE)
In the prologue before the film begins and pre-title credits play, a scratchy car radio (on the soundtrack) plays the romantic song: "If I Didn't Care," performed by the Inkspots:
If I didn't care, more than words can say,
If I didn't care, would I feel this way,
If this isn't love, then why do I thrill
And what makes my head go round and round
While my heart stands still...
(American Movie Classics Company LLC.)


From imfdb.org


Andy Dufresne is a young and successful banker whose life changes drastically when he is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover. Set in the 1940's, the film shows how Andy, with the help of his friend Red, the prison entrepreneur, turns out to be a most unconventional prisoner.
(Movieberry.com)
The base message is one of hope, of a stoic reserve that allows you to overcome the impossible. But, when you dig deep into that message and watch how the movie handles the delivery of that message one can’t help but marvel at the depth of the message. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption isn’t a tangible matter, it isn’t an issue at the forefront. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption is a periphery matter, something the inmates don’t allow themselves, yet something every one of them must carry around with them. The Shawshank Redemption isn’t heavy handed in its handling of its messages because it never takes the typical prison story route. Chicanery is implied, not every character is rotten, violence is seen from far away. The Shawshank Redemption takes a unique approach to prison life and that unique approach creates an interesting delivery system for the various messages in the film. There can be, and often is, a deep complexity in simple ideas and The Shawshank Redemption is the definition of that way of thinking.
(Bill at Bill's Movie Emporium)

Theatrical release poster
From Wikipedia
The Shawshank Redemption is a very claustrophobic movie and in a lot of ways it is a horror movie. Scary monsters and creatures from the beyond aren’t necessary for a horror tale, the loss of a man’s freedom and the redundancy of life as the walls continually close in on him can be the worst of all horrors.
In a film full of nothing but strengths, the direction and the acting may be the strongest of all. Frank Darabont did the near impossible with The Shawshank Redemption, he made an extremely slow moving story fascinating and captivating to watch. But beyond that, he made evil men guilty of terrible crimes into characters we care about. This was only possible because of the bravo performances from Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, William Sadler and James Whitmore as the prisoners along with Bob Gunton as the warden and the always awesome yet extremely underrated Clancy Brown as lead prison guard. They are human characters, they are evil, they fear, they have insecurities, they aren’t just malicious caricatures, they have reasons for why they do what they do and we loathe or feel for them depending on the character. When Brooks leaves the prison we know what his fate will be and in the hands of a lesser director we wouldn’t care about his ultimate fate, but we care because Darabont understands how to make us care.
(Bill at Bill's Movie Emporium)
Though the conditions are terrible, many of the prisoners are sadistic, and many of the guards are even worse, life begins to look up as Dufresne becomes acquainted with an old black con known as Red (Morgan Freeman, who also serves as the movie's narrator). A friendship begins after Red, "the man who knows how to get things", procures a rock hammer for Dufresne, an object he wishes to own in order to pursue a hobby in rock collecting. The friendship will only strengthen over the coming years.
Twenty years pass within the prison walls, showing the growth and strength of Andy and Red's friendship, Andy's various attempts to better the life of his fellow inmates through education (facilitated by the financial advice he gives the prison's corrupt warden), the quest to prove his innocence, and the attempt to remain mentally free and hopeful, even when surrounded by the crushing gray of prison walls.
(tvtropes.org)
There are several plot points that occur in prison ... harsh treatment by the guards, working in the prison laundry, constant threats of rape by group of sadistic prisoners known as the "Sisters," and the camaraderie of males bonding under the shared duress.
Andy's skill as a banker gains him favor with the guards, and eventually the warden. He becomes their personal accountant and parlays that favor into getting himself assigned to the thread-bare prison library, which, over the years, he transforms into a jewel of the penal system.
The warden uses Andy's expertise to launch a private construction business. Utilizing the free labor of his prisoners, the warden constructs buildings and builds roads. He profits enormously. But just as quickly as the warden is building an ill-gotten fortune, Dufresne is embezzling it and depositing the money into a series of bank accounts that he established in the names of fictitious individuals he created.
Along the way, a new prisoner comes to Shawshank and becomes friends with Dufresne and Red. As it works out. he was the cellmate of the man who confessed to him that he mudered Dufresne's wife and her lover. But when Dufresne takes that information to the warden, instead of trying to help Defresne get his freedom, the warden has his guards murder the witness.
(barry bowe at hubpages.com)
Frank Darabont’s “The Shawshank Redemption” opened in September of 1994, and immediately tanked. It did get some critical support, appeared on several top-10 lists, and, indeed was nominated for 7 Academy Awards. But that didn’t help the film’s grosses at all, only confirming big-studio fears that audiences don’t want to see a film that is 142 minutes long, takes place mostly in a prison, and is about non-action-oriented, “serious” things like redemption. Even its title was weird. “Shawshank” received no Academy Awards, although, in its defense, it was up against heavy hitters like “Pulp Fiction,” “The Lion King,” “Red,” and “Forrest Gump.”
The film is told, after a brief courtroom prologue, from the perspective of Ellis “Red” Redding (an irrepressible Morgan Freeman), the go-to man for low-level contraband in Shawshank prison, circa 1946. He can get you cigarettes, rock hammers, posters, you name it. “I’m a regular Sears & Roebuck.” He, like all the other prisoners, likes to make bets on which of the new inmates will have a noisy breakdown on their first night in prison. When we first see Red, he is making his appeal for parole after 20 years of a life sentence. At 20 years, he is pleading, humble. He clutches his hat in his hands.
How is it that Red manages to capture our feelings so tightly? Freeman manages to take a man who behaves like a scoundrel and a criminal, and make his behavior endearing, understandable, close to us. Indeed, the entire film manages to make you feel like friends to the characters. We don’t just see their actions; we’re welcomed into their circle.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)


From martind1.blogspot.com


When we first see Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), Red comments to himself that it looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over. Andy is serving two life sentences for killing his wife and her lover in a fit of passion. He claims to be innocent of this crime. Red bets that Andy will be the one to break down on the first night. Andy does not make a peep.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)





All images from imfdb.org


We’re slowly introduced to a small circle of friend in this prison. We meet the old librarian Brooks (James Whitmore). We meet the mouthy Haywood (an underrated William Sadler). We also get to know some of the unpleasant realities of prison life. We meet the brutal guard Hadley (Clancy Brown). We meet Bogs (an excellent Mark Rolston) the man who has decided to abuse and rape other prisoners to pass the time. And we meet Warden Norton, a Bible-thumper with a cruel streak. Norton is played by Bob Gunton, who is one of those supporting character actors, like Sadler, who deserves more acting credit than he normally gets.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)


From sierraclub.typepad.com


Perhaps it is Freeman’s mellifluous narrating voice that does it, but, despite the horrors and desperation of prison life, we feel like we’re part of a new family. The film is so skilled in its pacing and story and it slowly manages to wrap us up in good hopeful feelings.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)



From themoviedb.org


From revol...lting.com
But this film is ultimately a story about Red, and his own redemption. At his 30-year parole hearing, he is introverted, defeated, going through the motions. Andy, at one point, talks of hope. Red points out to him that hope, in a prison, is a very dangerous thing. It can drive a man mad. He gives us what can be called the film’s catchphrase: “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.” That phrase has two meanings.
Look at Andy’s face in the famous scene where he hijacks the warden’s office to play a Mozart aria over the prison’s loudspeaker. His entire character can be encapsulated in that look. His hidden intelligence, his love for the outside world, his hope, his longing for freedom, his ability to survive under the crushing heel of defeat. His instinctive need to spread beauty and hope in one of the world’s most ugly places.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)
Tim Robbins plays another kind of hero. Whereas the other heroes in this list fight for their fellow men, or for their loved ones, or are heroic because of what they represent to us, Andy is inspirational because he fights for his own soul and freedom. Andy is first betrayed by his wife, then by the judicial system, and then by the authorities within gaol, but he is never completely broken. Piece by piece, he reclaims the territory of his own heart and mind. His eventual triumph over all these odds is a soaring moment in film history.
(On Topic Media PTY LTD)
Dufresne never did lose hope, moreover he tried to kindle the fire of hope within Red and others. He cherished for freedom and struggled with the hardness of his prison life very calmly and kept on holding on his hope. Eventually, he made the ends on his own terms as well as helped Red to convert into a new person with new life. This story line includes many subplots which are equally important for the movie to make this so much unforgettable.
Tim Robbins gave his ‘once in a lifetime’ performance in this movie. Morgan Freeman was majestic, too. James Whitmore gave a special performance as Brooks. His character was not any leading role, but he carried out a special role with special purpose with a phenomenal performance. The Green Mile is lovable too, but Frank Darabont was on his best in this movie.
Every people has his own prison within himself, and to become a free man is just a matter of choice. We can be free in the darkest dungeon, if only we can foster hope, love and the sense of freedom deep inside of ourselves as the tag line of the movie states it nicely- ” Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free”.
(Adapted from kinoscope.wordpress.com)


From wearemoviegeeks.com