The beautiful and the good things are rare and short-lived.
# 1 Eggs Benedict in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere (2010).
I tend to think that Sofia Coppola is a woman who appreciates a good breakfast. The time and attention with which she focuses on Cleo's assembly and composition of Eggs Benedict is incredible: the careful placing of the ham and poached eggs on the muffins, the drizzling of Hollandaise sauce and the snipping of chives as a garnish. While it suits the slow and lethargic mood of the film, which is replete with long takes that attempt to suffuse everyday banality with meaning, it also appears as a filmic fetishisation of the meal itself.
Breakfast was Bond's favourite meal of the day. When he was stationed in London it was always the same. It consisted of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex of which he drank two large cups, black and without sugar. The single egg, in the dark blue egg-cup with a gold ring round the top, was boiled for three and a third minutes.
It was a very fresh, speckled brown egg from a French Marans hens owned by some friend of May in the country. (Bond disliked white eggs and, faddish as he was in many small things, it amused him to maintain that there was such a thing as the perfect boiled egg.) Then there were two thick slices of wholewheat toast, a large pat of deep yellow Jersey butter and three squat glass jars containing Tiptree 'Little Scarlet' strawberry jam; Cooper's Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegian Heather Honey from Fortnum's. The coffee pot and the silver on the tray were Queen Anne, and the china was Minton, of the same dark blue and gold and white as the egg-cup.
- Ian Fleming, From Russia with Love
Sometimes I wish I had written my PhD on literary and cinematic breakfasts. Just imagine how pleasant the ancillary research would be.
That being said, I may have a little something in the works. Stay tuned...
This project is a translation of an entire library into ikebana. According to Japanese tradition, ikebana was originally created to “console the soul”. The form of a piece of ikebana, its colours and the choice of flowers used constitutes a form of language. The function of consoling and language – two aspects shared by books and flowers – are the starting point. So each piece of ikebana represents the works chosen by the artist following a principle of translation the rules of which have been reinvented, using the evocative power of the Latin and common names of the flowers, the names designed for their commercial exploitation, their pharmacological power or even the history of their travels [...]
The thoughts produced by literature, philosophy or anthropology (which make up a large part of the library chosen by the artist) are an integral part of our daily lives. But, in some ways, they are also “decorative objects”, in this context meaning that they create a frame, a stimulating and comforting environment, a “leap out of murderers’ row, act-observation.” (2), just as a library can be. From books to flowers, the project highlights our prejudices about what is offensive or inoffensive, about what belongs to the arts of the intellect and to those of the everyday.
- Camille Henrot
I just discovered the work of French artist Camille Henrot and my mind has been sufficiently blown. The title of the exhibition alone (Is It Possible To Be A Revolutionary And Like Flowers?) is brilliantly clever.
As is the fashion nowadays, auteur filmmakers are regularly involved in the direction of perfume commercials. Some of my favourite directors, such as Wong Kar-wai and Sofia Coppola, have turned their hands to short form advertising works with varying degrees of success. Coppola's Miss Dior Chérie commercial is an example of what I believe is a seamless cross over, Wong's Midnight Posion advertisement is not. Irrespective of whether the final product is good or bad, it is notable how even commercials can bear the marks of each auteurs' cinematic style. With this idea in mind I found the the recent collaboration between Prada and Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola particularly interesting.
As much as I have tried to immerse myself in Anderson's simultaneously cynical and whimsical film world, I am continually resistant. For whatever reason his films don't work for me. And yes, it has already been pointed out that this is a massive failing on my part. However, the series of vignettes for Prada's Candy fragrance has changed my mind.
Obviously, there are a number of things in the narrative that instantly win me over: it is French. It is so pastel. They are clearly making an homage to François Truffaut's Jules et Jim. Léa Seydoux is awesome. I like men with Louis Garrel-style curly brunette locks who wear suits. I enjoy dancing while eating cake. I love that they have made a female who continually talks with her mouth full an object of desire. Banana splits were my absolute favourite icecream dessert as a child: Comment dis ton banana split en Français?
There is also something about the disaffected characters of Anderson's oeuvre that works so well in this French milieu. I often find his films incredibly beautiful, and highly stylised with a distinct vintage charm, but lacking a true emotional core so that any sense of feeling is continually displaced. While it does not sit well with me most of the time, this attitude seems more than appropriate for a super chic French ménage à trois. I really think Anderson should consider making a transnational French film. I'd definitely watch it.