Cielo de Oaxaca

El último día de la primera década del siglo XXI, el cielo de Oaxaca de Juárez es intensamente azul, con algunas nubes pequeñas -aborregado dicen los lugareños-. Bajo ese cielo, que del azul se va tornando gris, ha concluido el último día del año 2010. En pocas horas iniciaremos la segunda década del siglo. Y el tiempo sigue. Nos toca a tod@s el mismo. Éste es el bien mejor repartido.

En una esquina está estacionado un auto exquisitamente conservado de unos turistas que han viajado desde Michoacán a esta ciudad -Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad- llamada también la Verde Antequera.

Y en el Zócalo -jardín central- un grupo de música latinoamericana toca, entre otras, El carnavalito.

"That's no good - ladies bruise too easy."

Basing on Vladimir Pozner’s (please, do not mix up with equally named Russian spy!) story, which was released in September and October 1945 in “Good HousekeepingNunnally Johnson wrote and produced a film under the same title, which became a box-office hit in 1946 and was directed by Robert Siodmak: THE DARK MIRROR.

In a nutshell:

Dr. Perada was murdered. Several witnesses saw Terry Collins (Olivia de Havilland) at that certain time near the crime scene. An easy case for Lieutenant Stevenson (Thomas Mitchell). But Terry has an alibi – and a sister: Ruth (Olivia de Havilland), a twin sister. Both occasionally switch roles. So, which one is the murderess? Maybe psychiatrist Scott Elliott (Lew Ayres) can be a help. The trouble with him: he’s going to fall for one of the sisters.


  • Lew Ayres stared as DR. KILDARE in 9 films of the film series of the same name. He became famous as an actor when he played the lead in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930). He was married to Ginger Rogers from 1934 to 1940.

  • The story received a nomination for an Acadamy award.

  • For radio-afficionados: there are some radio productions - with Olivia de Havilland (1950) and with Lew Ayres (1948) and one with both of them in THE HEDDA HOPPER SHOW - THIS IS HOLLYWOOD (1947)...

  • In 1984 there was made a remake for television starring Jane Seymour as the twin sisters.

  • Olivia de Havilland stated years later that the part of the mean twin sister still haunted her.

  • Though in credits only mentioned as technical adviser Eugen Schüfftan – who was a legendary cameraman and special effects specialist - did a great job and mixed several trick shots and added back projection so that Olivia de Havilland often acts in front of a screen on which runs a shot of herself as "her" twin sister.

A nodding acquaintance:

  • You may remember Richard Long (here: Rusty, the bellboy) from Orson Welles’ THE STRANGER (1946).

  • Thomas Mitchell might be best-known as uncle Billy in Frank Capra’s IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) or Gerald O'Hara in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939). I like him very much as Diz Moore in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939).

Celebrate the celluloid

Nibble some lemon drops! :”)


The soundtrack was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin, who also wrote "Do not forsake me, oh my darlin" for HIGH NOON (1952) – I bet you know that one!

See the beauty in it

The costumes were designed by Irene Sharaff – and some of them are really marvelous. There is a pair of blouses with ruching which is not quite my style – but Olivia de Havillands wardrobe in this film is heaven for any forties fashion addict.

Quotes Corner

“He’s a very smart guy for a college man.”

This film is awesome because of its technique. You seldom can spot errors. Olivia de Havilland is doing a fabulous job – well, she is always, isn’t she? - Of course the good sister is the one, who is more the type of a modest housewife and the bad one is the self-confident sister. No wonder: The war was over and women should leave the factories and go back to home. (Bye bye to Rosie the Riveter!) I have nothing against women staying at home and caring for husband and kids - but I think everyone/everywoman should be able to decide for herself and not feel guilty because they do not want to marry and/or raise children. -

So I recommend this film to every fan of Olivia de Havilland and everyone who is interested in trick technique and ask every viewer to take the characterization of the “better” sister not as the proof of “good” woman. There's a wide range of awesome women out there.. ;”)

“I never listened to such utterly nonsense in all my live.”

The End? Wait and watch!

Yours (well and) truly,

Frl. Irene Palfy

Flick of The Day: Bad Lieutenant Port of Call: New Orleans

Abel Ferrara's 1992 original take on the Bad Lieutenant was a controversial and flawed tale of a drugged out, corrupt and abusive cop brilliantly played by Harvey Keitel. A dark and disturbing film, it is a tale of redemption but remains unremittingly bleak. This film, which according to director Werner Herzog is neither a remake or a sequel, shares very little with the original. It is a drug fuelled epic journey through the back-streets and bayous of Louisiana as a darkly comic Nicholas Cage, the bad lieutenant of the title tries to solve the drug related homicide of a family of African immigrants.
Where Keitel's Lieutenant was menacing, Cage is more prosaic. Both are corrupt and deeply flawed characters but Cage's portrayal is the more sympathetic. The story is a simple one. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Terrence McDonagh (Cage) of the New Orleans PD finds a prisoner has been left behind in one of the City's jails and in attempt to rescue him injures his back permanently. Fast forward 6 months and a painkiller addicted McDonagh is investigating the aforementioned homicide. Of course, the painkillers are no longer enough and Terrence begins using Cocaine and Heroin to ease his pain. An increasingly addled and addicted Mcdonagh must try and solve the murders while staying one step ahead of his gambling debts, the Mafia, his fellow cops, his various addictions and his troubled prostitute girlfriend played by the wonderful Eva Mendes. 

So far so bleak but the brilliance of this is the dark humour which Herzog finds in all of this, which keeps this a roller coaster ride. Cage is epic, giving his best performance in at least a decade as the degenerate cop who ultimately pulls everything together while swaggering across the screen with a .44 Magnum in his belt. Epic film-making.
One of my favourite films of the last year, this is an excellent and adult look at addiction and how it can change people. Ultimately, McDonagh never overcomes his addiction but seems to succeed in spit of it. 

Any review of this film would not be complete without a comparison to the original. This is a very different beast. Abel Ferrara and Werner Herzog are as different as it is possible for directors to be. Ferrara specialises in dark thrashy cult tales of the underbelly of his home town, New York City. Herzog is the darling of independent cinema, the man who Francois Truffaut called, "the most important film director alive". While they are both excellent explorations of the same themes, Herzog's is the more watchable and enjoyable as it keeps its mind on the plot and characters and as far out as Cage gets, he pulls it back in the end. Give it a chance, its worth it.

I feel love - Blue Man Group

Já aqui tinha publicado uma versão, ligeiramente mais calma que esta. Para o caso, esta parece-me mais adequada. Agora que se aproxima um novo ano, desejo que todos o passem com este sentimento, que é o melhor que pode existir no mundo. E quanto mais energia...melhor!!

A Merry Christmas to everyone!

To every follower and every person who stumbles by:

A Merry Christmas to you and your love ones!

With Love,

Frl. Irene

Noche de rábanos en Oaxaca

Hoy por 113a ocasión ce celebró la tradicional Noche de Rábanos en el Zócalo de Oaxaca de Juárez. La primera ocasión en celebrarse fue en 1897.

Flick of The Day: Home Alone

Oh well, back again for one more pre-Christmas movie. John Hughes was one of the true greats of modern comedy writing providing scripts for some of the funniest and best loved films of the 1980s and 1990s including Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and todays film; Home Alone.
It is easy to write this film off as another mass market family comedy, as it was such a mammoth hit which fathered two infinitely inferior sequels. That would be to overlook a very fine script and loathe though I am to admit it, a very likeable characterisation of the young Kevin McAllister by Macauley Culkin. If you are one of the very few who have yet to see this gem, the story is a very simple one: A young boy named Kevin is accidentally left behind when his family head to France for Christmas. When he realizes they've left him "home alone," he learns to become self sufficient and eventually defends the family home from a pair of bumbling thieves played with great comic timing by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci.

For all its great comic moments, and there are some very fine set pieces such as the various traps Kevin lays for the witless burglars, this film lives and dies depending on the likeability of the young actor playing Kevin. Too cute and the film becomes saccharine, too mature and the film is unrealistic but Macaulay Culkin brought just the right amount of mischief to the rule to make it enjoyable. This is a great film and I urge you to check it out over the holiday period if you get a chance.

Still the most succesful live action comedy of all time, it is often forgotten how big a hit Home Alone was in 1990. This kind of commercial success should lead to all involved having secure careers for years to come however this was not the case. This was the height of Macaulay Culkin's fame, and perhaps because he simply grew up, he hasn't appeared in anything substantive since the late '90s.

John Hughes, perhaps overawed by his success took a step back from Hollywood, indeed he didn't a direct another film after 1991's so-so Curly Sue. He moved back to his home-town in Illinois, eventually becoming a farmer, rarely if ever granting interviews and largely retiring from the public eye. He was said to be deeply shaken by the death of his close friend John Candy from a heart attack and consequently never returned to Hollywood. Hughes died of a heart attack on August 6, 2009 while walking in Manhattan where he was visiting his family. He was 59 years old and largely forgotten by the Hollywood mainstream.

So, there it is. As I said if you get the chance, Home Alone is well worth your time as are all of the John Hughes canon. Merry Christmas!

“Three angels came to earth that night and all around the stars were bright.”

Sally of Flying down to Hollywood is hosting “Twelve days of Christmas Movies” and I am doing my bit with this entry about my favourite holiday’s film: Paramount’s classic of 1955 WE’RE NO ANGELS by Michael Curtiz – based on a French play by Albert Husson and brought to you in glorious Technicolor.

In a nutshell:

Christmas eve 1895, prison colony of French Guyana - Devil’s Island: The three convicts Joseph (Humphrey Bogart), Albert (Aldo Ray) and Jules (Sir Peter Ustinov) have escaped from the prison. Before they leave the island they want to rob the store of Felix Ducotel (Leo G. Carroll). But they soon find out that Felix, his wife Amelie (Joan Bennett) and their daughter (Gloria Talbott) are really decent people, who are in deep trouble when Felix’ arrogant and greedy cousin André Trochard (Basil Rathbone) arrives with his nephew Paul (John Baer). So the three convicts stay and help the Ducotel family – with a little assistance of the fourth escaped prisoner: Adolphe – a cute little viper..

Watch out for:

Humphrey Borgart wearing a pink apron – and boy: does it bring out the colour of his eyes!

  • The film's working title was ANGELS' COOKING which is the translation of the play's title which is LA CUISINE DES ANGES.

  • This is the 6. and last film Humphrey Bogart an Michael Curtiz made together - one of the other movies they did together was CASABLANCA.

  • There two other films which are based on Albert Husson's play: WE'RE NO ANGELS (1989) with Robert De Niro, Sean Penn and Demi Moore and ORE-TACHI WA TENSHI JANAI by Takashi Miike (1993).

  • It is said that Gloria Talbott insisted that when her character passes out her head would always fell to the left because she found her profile would look best then. - I got to confess that I never look at her when she passes out. Naughty me - poor Gloria passes out so often that she could have earned my attantion..

A nodding acquaintance:

  • John Baer played title character Terry Lee in 1953s television series: TERRY AND THE PIRATES (1953).

  • Gloria Talbott played Jane Wyman's daughter in ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955) and played Moneta in television series ZORRO (1957-59).

  • John Smith who played medical officer Arnaud made his (uncredited) debut in GOING MY WAY (1944) as a choir member. In TV series CIMARRON CITY (1958-59) he played Deputy Lane Temple and Slim Sherman in series LARAMIE (1959-63).

Sing a Song:

In this film a wonderful song by Frederick Hollander is featured: “Sentimental Moments” and you can also hear “Hark! The herald angels sing”.

My favourite feature:

The shop! There’s so much to see! And the whole set of the Ducotel house is amazing. And they have gladioluses, which are one of my favourite flowers – they’re often seen in 1930ies films because they’re sooo elegant!

Scene to see

I can’t decide which one is the best or initial scene – so: Please watch the whole film. But maybe this scene will give you an impression - though the colours in this seem to be faded:

See the beauty in it:

Joan Bennett’s dresses are gorgeous. The wardrobe was designed by Mary Grant.

What the critics said:

In 2006 Time Out London found the convicts an

"ill-assorted trio of Bogart, Ray and Ustinov"
and go on with

"The lowest point comes when they all line up to croak Christmas carols."

"'s static and laden with leaden talk, with nothing to interest the eye as recompense. ... Bogart looks particularly ill-at-ease and silly."

- sorry, they must have seen another film than I did, well the three prisoner are not the Rat Pack or Bing Crosby or some other croonin' fella but their singing is nothing to make a great point out of it. I think the trio is a perfect match and I love that Humphrey Bogart was not afraid of looking silly.

Quotes Corner :

“We came here to rob them and that’s what we’re gonna do. Beat their heads in, gorge their eyes out, cut their throats. – As soon as we wash the dishes.”

This film is hilarious. Of course there are moments when I have tears in my eyes. I am a bit sentimental, but and I think a good film touches you. So this is another plus for this movie and a good addition to extremely funny dialogues. I also like the fact that neither Adolphe nor the deaths or corpses are seen. I would have liked to see the snake but I think it is much more funny and also does not stress an animal. *yay*

I love the characters and the cast is amazing. Basil Rathbone is elegant as always in a light grey suit – and not quite so elegant wearing a nightcap. I can’t imagine how anyone could not like these four Christmas angels. I can’t make up my mind, which one of them is my favourite.

Thank you very much, Sally, for having me in your meme!

It is an honour for me. So, as I said before: Thank you.

“Right these way, please. This way to Christmas!”

The End? Wait and watch!

Yours (well and) truly

Frl. Irene Palfy

Flick of The Day: It's a Wonderful Life

It is you know. What can be said about this film that hasn't been said already? This is the film that invented feel good cinema. Its directed by the masterful Frank Capra and stars the every-man James Stewart playing the every-man George Bailey.
A commercial failure upon its release in 1946, this was the film that marked the end of Frank Capra's long run as the director of choice for populist features. It was only after it became a staple of the Christmas TV schedule that this film came to be seen as the classic that it is to the surprise of all including its director who told the Wall Street Journal in 1984:

"It's the damnedest thing I've ever seen, the film has a life of its own now and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it. I'm like a parent whose kid grows up to be president. I'm proud"

It is a classic tale of redemption. The film opens on Christmas Eve, George Bailey, a man whom we know nothing about is in trouble, on the brink of suicide. The voice in the sky sends a guardian angel to earth to save George and show him the value of his life, but before he can be dispatched to earth, he needs to know George. So unfolds the life story of George and how he came to his moment of doubt and pain upon a wintry Christmas Eve. 
James Stewart inhabits the role of George so completely, giving his downfall such pathos that you cannot but be moved by his tale. At all the key moments in George's life which we witness during the film, be it saving his brother from a frozen lake, or staying at home to run the family business after his fathers death, George does the right thing. He does the moral thing and selflessly gives up his own dreams and aspirations to do the right thing. A man who wanted to travel the world in the search for adventure, he spends his whole life in the same small town. You would be a hard person not to feel sympathy for him. It is something which we all struggle with, squaring the needs of friends and family with your own personal ambition, perhaps the most difficult of tasks.
Of course, being the good son or daughter, sometimes it doesn't lead you to where you want to be. It just leaves you unfulfilled. So it is that George finds himself on Christmas Eve on the brink of suicide before he is made to see the happiness he has brought to other people and the value of his life in the good he has done.
Most importantly, all of the people who he helped along the road of life are there for him at the end. Maybe that is the greatest gift of all.
Featuring a superb supporting cast including the incomparable Lionel Barrymore as the evil old Mr Potter, George Bailey's arch nemesis, this is one of the finest films of all time. Christmas just wouldn't be the same without it and the ending will put a smile on anyone's face and give you faith in your fellow man. It is often forgotten how dark it gets before the redemption. George bitterly wishing he wasn't born and then being granted that wish. The darkest hour is before the dawn though and the emotional pay-off is worth it.
It is a wonderful life...most of the time.

The Daily Flick will return in the New Year. Have a Merry Christmas!

Concurso de valladolid

Estes são os responsáveis pelos prémios dados este ano no concurso de cerâmica de Valladolid, Alejandro, Juan, eu e Victor del Río.

1º prémio vai até Itália

2º prémio vai até à Bélgica

1ª menção de honor até à Catalunha

Apesar do frio que fazia por Valladolid, lá nos juntamos todos para premiar algumas obras. Aqui vos deixo alguns pormenores dos premiados. A entrega dos prémios será a 13 de Janeiro com a exposição de todos os seleccionados.

Flick of The Day: The Maltese Falcon

When it comes to film noir and detective fiction in general, there are no more influential writers then Raymond Chandler with his creation of Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett with his Sam Spade. Spade is the central focus of today's film, The Maltese Falcon. The novel was the source of two previous adaptations by Warner Bros before this, the definitive version with Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade.

Legendary director, John Huston was 35 years old when he wrote and directed this classic tale of greed and its consequences for his debut outing as a director. The film opens with the following introducion:

"In 1539 the Knight Templars of Malta, paid tribute to Charles V of Spain, by sending him a Golden Falcon encrusted from beak to claw with rarest jewels——but pirates seized the galley carrying this priceless token and the fate of the Maltese Falcon remains a mystery to this day..."

The story is thus: Spade and his partner are hired by a mysterious woman to protect her from a man called Floyd Thursby. Before long, Spade's partner is dead and he is submerged into a web of deceit in the search for the titular falcon.

This was the role that made Humphrey Bogart a leading man, the next year he made Casablanca and was at the height of his profession and never looked back though he was not the first choice for the film. George Raft turned down the role because of an unwillingness to work with a first-time director. This proved a fatal mistake for Raft who's career went into terminal decline as the decade wore on, while Bogart became Hollywood royalty.
Bogart wasn't the only star though for this film had a truly stellar supporting cast with a fine performance from Sydney Greenstreet as the "Fat Man" and Peter Lorre playing his usual sinister foreigner. There is even a small appearance from the noted Western actor and John Ford alumnus, Ward Bond as a San Francisco detective.

One of the finest movies ever made and quite probably the best example of film noir at its best, The Maltese Falcon still weaves a tale today that is every bit as compelling as it was in 1941. One of the great achievements of this film is the superb cinematography from Arthur Edeson. The lighting is low key and the camera angles chosen are always strikingly unusual. The camera is often placed low to the ground, perhaps to reinforce the image of the characters being low down villains.

All in all, a film you just have to see.

De volta a Valladolid

Estes foram uns dos "senhores" que me fizeram hoje companhia até aqui, Valladolid. Amanhã eu e mais dois elementos, teremos a tarefa de premiar alguém....

Flick of The Day: Radio Days

There are certain film-makers who divide cineastes down the middle. Woody Allen would be such a Director. Whether for his style of humour or his unwavering commitment to a template for a Woody Allen film, cinema-goers either love him or hate him. Overall, I would be in the former camp, some of his work is undoubtedly among the pantheon of modern classics such as Manhattan, Annie Hall or today’s film, Radio Days. 

A nostalgic tribute to the New York of Woody Allen’s youth, it weaves together the events of the time as seen through the eyes of a young boy and his family, combined with stories and anecdotes from the golden age of the radio. When everyone had a radio and it was the form of home entertainment. 

The film is stuffed with a fine cast of character actors; you may recognise more faces then names in the cast list. Mia Farrow is excellent in a small comedic role. Just one of a number of humorous tales, though this is a gentle comedy with warm tale at heart which hurtles toward an obvious an inexorable conclusion that the glory days of radio are coming to an end. Don't mistake this for sentimentality though, there is some sharp observational comedy at times. The young boy, quite obviously based on Allen's own childhood, is played by a very very young Seth Green, he of the obnoxious gross out comedy. There also fine turns from William H Macy, Jeff Daniels and Larry David as the "neighbourhood communist".

This is Woody Allen’s finest film of the 1980’s and it is perhaps incidental that he doesn't star in the film. By this stage it has become quite the cliché to see a Woody Allen rom-com in which he pursues a much younger women and this is a refreshing change. Woody is there in the background though, acting as the narrator.

Overall, this is a very fine film which captures a bygone era with aplomb. Viewing it is like coming in from the cold and when the denouement arrives, on a rooftop on New Year’s Eve, you may not want to leave.

Pintura de azulejos

Esta será a visão que terei nos próximos tempos. Projecto em mãos, se tudo correr como o programado, até finais de Fevereiro. Muitos m2 de azulejos pintados á mão para revestir bancos de um parque urbano. Este meu projecto foi aprovado á um ano, mas só agora é que começa a ser executado. Voltarei a falar sobre este trabalho, mais adiante...


Desde la carretera se ve el Pico de Orizaba. El volcán más alto de México.

En una de las principales avenidas de la ciudad está el ESBAO -Escuela de Bachilleres-. Su auditorio tiene al frente un mural que describe la interacción del hombre y las ciencias.

En el auditorio la multitud recibió con calidez y escuchó con atención al señor López, que sige con su recorrido por los municipios de México.

En la carretera ya transitabán desde hace una semana los grupos de peregrinos en pos de La Guadalupana.

Flick of The Day: The Life & Death Of Peter Sellers

A studied portrait of a very unpleasant man. That could sum up any number of biographical pictures but it seems most apt for this, the life of the incomparable Peter Sellers. 

It is difficult to judge a man based on a film but whatever genius Sellers had as a performer, it was surely outweighed by how poorly he treated those in his life. Geoffrey Rush is magnificent in this role however, Sellers seems not to be a real adult at all, but a small child with no sense of his own personality, forever playing a character. Something which Sellers himself admits midway through. At various points in the film, Rush breaks the fourth wall and talks to the audience as various characters from Sellers life such as his hen pecked Father. 

Emily Watson gives another dignified performance as Sellers first wife, whom he left in an attempt to woo Sophia Lauren. Unfortunately, this is just one of a number of incidents which leave you in no doubt that Sellers is a bit of a cad. The film does however attempt to get to the bottom of why Sellers was that way. An overbearing mother undoubtedly played its part. In one particularly cruel scene, his father lies dying in hospital for a week before Sellers is told, lest it affect his career.

The Pink Panther does of course play a pivotal role in the film, for it was the role of Inspector Clouseau which came to define Sellers, though he seemed to take no joy from it. This is quite a running theme throughout his life. An inability to be happy with anything be it success or affairs of the heart. Indeed, as times move on, his depression and demons overtake him, and at the end, there is nothing left. Not to over emphasis a cliché, but his greatest gift, his ability to inhabit a role to perfection, was also his greatest flaw. It ate away whatever personality he had to begin with.

Ultimately a sad tale of a complex and at times not very nice man, though a fascinating one all the same. It's really worth your time because for all his many flaws, he was a truly entertaining character and the film is filled with little incidents and anecdotes that keep it moving along; his development of the Clouseau character into a major role, his relationship with his directors, giants of the age such as Blake Edwards and Stanley Kubrick. 

Often the man makes the role, for Peter Sellers, the man was the role.