Last year, I said that I would write a post about Kenneth Branagh’s film Cinderella and I have not yet fulfilled that promise. The blog post I shared in my previous Cinderella post is so wonderful that I dug myself into a hole trying to top it.
If you haven’t already, you should definitely watch Cinderella. It’s a gorgeous spectacle, a lovely story, and will surprise you at how skillfully this well-known story is retold. When I went into the theater last year to watch this film for the first time, I expected to enjoy it based on the fact that Cinderella was my favorite Disney princess when I was younger. When I left the theater, my cheeks were tear-streaked and I felt a wonderful lightening of heart. I knew Kenneth Branagh was a good director, but after seeing this film, I am convinced I will like any film he has made or will make in the future. Not only was Branagh brilliant, but the costumes designed by Sandy Powell were beautiful, dreamy, creative, colorful, and a wonderful mixture of historical accuracy and artistic fairy-tale-story license. Patrick Doyle‘s music is a fairy tale in itself, fitting the film perfectly. His music nearly always sounds like it comes from a fairy-tale; his use of strings makes it magical. And then there’s Dante Ferretti, whose sets are exquisitely and expensively extravagant, detailed, and lush. This film is such a rich experience for the senses that it seems you can taste it.
Several months ago, a friend told me to listen to the soundtrack of Hamilton, the musical that has gotten so very much acclaim recently. And so about a month and a half ago, I listened to it for the first time. Boy! did my life change that day! I thought I would just be listening to another good musical, and possibly falling in love with it – the story, the music, the lyrics – as I have done with other musicals like Into the Woods and Les Misérables. I was wrong. I am now rather obsessed with this musical. So obsessed that, for a couple of weeks, I listened to Hamilton and only Hamilton on constant repeat. I have never before felt so emotionally connected to our founding fathers, or felt so proud to be a United States citizen. Actually, there have been very few times in the past that I have been whole-heartedly proud of being from the United States. Sure, there are luxuries and privileges that come with being a citizen of this country, but there are so many things I have not liked about it. There are still things I do not like about the United States: our rampant consumerism; our disrespect for nature and wasteful use of resources (which thankfully is lessening in some places, but could still be improved upon); and our “bigger is better” motto when it comes to things like food servings, vehicles, and campaign budgets… Just to name a few.
I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth;
and though worms destroy this body yet,
in my flesh shall I see God.
For now is Christ risen from the dead,
the first-fruits of them that sleep.
From Handel’s “Messiah”, Job 19:25-26, and I Corinthians 15:20
He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed!
Have you checked your blood sugar recently? Go check it and take care of it if you need to do so. And then read this post. For those of you without diabetes, bask in the luxury of not needing to do this. I envy you. While I am thankful that I have Type 1 Diabetes because it has forced me to be a healthier, more compassionate person, that certainly does not mean that I enjoy what it takes to take care of my diabetes. I enjoy the results of taking care of my blood sugar – feeling normal, happy, energetic, and able to pay attention. But I do not enjoy the process involved in getting to that good blood sugar. In the rest of my life, I often enjoy the process much more than the result (the result is over much too quickly), but goodness no! not in diabetes. No, with diabetes, I like results. In diabetes, I like moving forward, getting better at management, and hearing about (and seeing the results of) all the amazing things JDRF is funding to cure, prevent, and manage this disease.
Last night, I showed one of my recent favorite films to my mom, the movie NINE. I must confess that she was rather taken aback by the raciness of the first half of the movie, but I think she appreciated the film in the end. After all, the women on the screen of NINE are more clothed than many bikini wearers you see out in public. The songs may be talking about sex, and the dances suggesting it, but it’s not nearly as disturbing as watching actors pretend to have sex on screen. And the costumes, music, storyline, actors, and the way in which it is filmed are all fabulous! So I don’t mind so much. (But, still, if you were planning on watching this with your kids, think twice – thrice – unless, of course, your kids are planning to watch it with their friends no matter what. In that case, perhaps you should watch and discuss it with them instead of leaving them to sift through their thoughts on their own. This film may be rated PG-13, but R would be more appropriate.)
Once you get through the first half of the film, you begin to learn more about the main character, Italian film director Guido Contini, and just how burdened he is. Guido Contini (played by the incredible Daniel Day-Lewis) is the biggest reason I love this movie. There are so many times that I have (and do) feel just as trapped, perfectionistic, artistically stuck, and directionally confused as Contini.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord” – and that he had said these things to her.