Sunday, February 22, 2009

Best Picture... the prize everyone wants

...so of course you get Steven Spielberg to present it.

And God damn if it didn't go to Slumdog Millionaire! Yeas, it was the odds-on favorite after it began winning every pre-Oscar award in sight, but think back to two months ago: It would have seemed impossible that this little picture about Mumbai slum kids would sweep this year's Academy Awards.

7 comments:

blueflygreen said...

Great Oscar blog Maitland! How are you supposed to pronounce AR Rahman's name? My parents are from the same part of India as him. When they say his name, they don't give it as harsh a "k" sound in the middle, but there is definitely a guttural tone to the 'h' in his name. How does AR say his name?

miss flickchick said...

Thank you!

Probably exactly the way your parents do — there's a kind of back-of-the-throat rasp in the middle. It's not an English-language sound, which I think is where the problem lies, and why his name kept coming out "rackman."

My thinking is that if the sound isn't in your language (or one in which you're genuinely fluent), you're probably better off not not trying to emulate it. At best you sound pretentious and at worst you sound like an idiot.

That's not to say you should pronounce your French friend Jean's name "gene:" English has a perfectly good "zha" sound.

But it doesn't have the rolling "r" French speakers use when they say Robert, and odds are you'll just sound as though you're spitting if you try.

So my rule of thumb is that with your French friend Robert you should remember not to pronounce the "t" on the end, stress the second syllable rather than the first and leave the rolling "r" to the experts.

mandingo said...

Wading through the endless sites hosted by children blogging from their bedrooms, it is with great pleasure I happen upon your blog. I feel honoured to have located such first rate film comment.

Can I comment on your lament above on New Yorker Films? It reminds me of a fascinating recent post elsewhere entitled "The End of a Cultural Institution: R.I.P, Kim's Video", situated on St. Mark's Place in the East Village.

In sympathy for the loss of your cultural landmarks, I responded thus, from the land down under.

"As if this wasn't a sad enough story, the salt in the wound is that these places close, and next thing you know a "Starbuck's" or something opens up in it's place.

I find here in Australia not only favourite shops are closing, but entire preceincts are being scrubbed, sterilised and disinfected to accomodate a bunch of crap I will not live long enough to be able to learn to stomach, even if I had the stomach for it. Sure, you can get all you need on the net now in terms of viewing and reading pleasure; but when these dingy, smelly, dark glorious little grindparlours shut their metal sliding doors, and cafe's and boutiques move in, I wander about, lost, like a Rain Dog, trying to find my bearings.

I don't want to spend all my time shut in; I want to spend at least a third of my time 'in the world'- but globalisation, corporatisation and this hideous process of cultural de-saturation is making it increasingly difficult for me to find the necessary motivation to want to do so.

I never went to this place you speak of, but we have places similar in spirit to them here in Australia. Or did have. Thus, I share your grief, and empathise with your loss and offer my condolances. Your pain touches me, and if it weren't for the latest developments in Sri Lanka waiting for my attention on another website tonight, I would mourn a little longer with you.

Keep the faith; we might well lose a few along the way, but take heart. The fight is a long way from over, brothers and sisters..."

Miss Flickchick, thank you for a tremendous blog of the highest quality, and I will call in regularly, if I may...

R M said...

As much as I enjoyed Slumdog, I can't help but wonder why none of the fawning over Boyle's film ever brings into discourse Mira Nair's more somber and much deeper film from the same milieu, Salaam Bombay.
I can't help feeling Nair was punished for not making her film about homeless children a "feelgood" movie, and not including a single Bollywood production number.
Don't get me wrong, I am a huge nut for "filmi," I've been a fan of AR Rahman and Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar for years -- I was still in NY when I discovered that tape cassettes of Indian film soundtracks sold in the groceries on 6th Street for $2 each -- I left NY in '97...

I should have known when I posted that New Yorker Films obit to you that you had already had your own eloquent say on the matter. New York City grows just a little more distant from the day when the isle of Manhattan belonged solely to artists & outlaws. For me, though, it's one less reason to hate being in Vegas instead of NYC.

mandingo said...

I am also very impressed indeed that you knew I was going to have my 'say on the matter'- even though we have never met!

If it is my piece you are describing as 'eloquent' (and trust me, this is the only reason I clarify, as I have found from past experience one case of confusion or mistaken identity inevitably leads to another, and another...) then I am humbled and most grateful.

Fine praise indeed from such a worthy and talented scribe.

However, if it is me who is confused, my humblest apologies.

miss flickchick said...

Thank all of you for your eloquent and heartfelt posts.

I once read a piece on the New York Times op ed page, the gist of which is that everyone has a very personal New York (or Winnipeg or San Francisco or London...) made up of memories bound up with an especially resonant experiences...

The author of the piece was a transplant from somewhere else, and began building a personal New York when he (or she -- I really can't remember and a quick google didn't turn up the essay) stepped off a Greyhound bus and started discovering diners and bookstores and movie theaters that became the cornerstones of a world defined by "firsts:" First Antonioni movie, first John Franklin Bardin novel, first omelet with feta cheese...

I was born in New York, so it's a little different for me, but there's a New York in my head that bears less and less resemblance to the New York I see every day.

...which is probably why I'm so drawn to movies made in the 1960s and '70s and shot in NYC: My New York lives in Panic in Needle Park and The Seven Ups.

Rob said...

Speaking of New York movies made in the 60s and 70s, I just watched the original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and I couldn't stop laughing at the sort of anti-New Yorkers (not really the city itself) motif that the film was laced with. I then made the mistake of watching the trailer for the remake due this summer and I immediately was turned off.

Both trailers actually start with the lead hijacker (the late great Robert Shaw in the orginal, John Travolta in the remake) taking over from the motorman. I got chills from Shaw, Travolta was a bit laughable. Think I'll sit that summer fare out.

Also, I think I loved Pelham too because it reflected (or rather was reflected in since it came out first) in another sort of anti-New York movie: Quick Change. One of my absolute favorite films, which obviously has a few homages to Pelham.