The Electrical Life of Louis Wain according to Benedict Cumberbatch

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is joy and sadness, lightheartedness and seriousness, just like his paintings. It’s about love and art in the oddly beautiful vagaries of what it means to be a human (in the company of cats). Wain’s cats graced the epochs before Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse (and Minnie) and His Gangs) debuted. But Wain was not Disney, and would he have even wished it? Perhaps, that is why Benedict Cumberbatch decided to give Wain a second chance to shine his name once more on earth in the magic of moving pictures that resurrected him from the lapse of time through the chapters of his story in this superbly narrative of the artist.

Louise Wain was a brilliant artist, a contemporary of French impressionist artists, such as Monet, Pissarro, Degas, and Renoir, and Dutch Vincent Van Gogh, all of whom were united in the brotherhood of independent spirits and resilient creativity. Yet Wain’s was a different sort, more existentially debauched in the provisional circulation of works, in the crossroads of the reality of being the only male figure in the parentless family led by the dominant matriarchal sister and of the ideal of ensconcing himself in the solitary niche. All artists are by nature sensitive, but Wain was extraordinarily sensitive, and the world was too much for someone like him to deal with. His wife, the light of his life, was the only happiness and love he felt and shared, but jealous God took her away from him and left him in the lurch of the familial duties and responsibilities in the somber household. This house eventually drove him and his younger sister into the oblivion of reason to the end. Yet, notwithstanding the personal tragedy, Wain’s unique visual world articulated with the sonar modulation of impulse that sparked his creative spirit yearning to soar up to the boundless ether on a par with constellations with stars.

Wain’s wife encouraged and supported him because she knew of his genius despite other people’s ignorance.

Benedict Cumberbatch, now universally recognized as the Sherlock thanks to the phenomenally successful BBC series, proved to be a superb character actor who became Louis Wain rather than merely playing the artist’s part. Ancient Greeks and Romans regarded actors as an equivalent of a spiritual medium whose body could be channeled into another spirit for a willful possession during a mysterious rite of sacred ceremony. If that was the case, as it were, that was how I felt watching Cumberbatch being Wain as if he had summoned the soul of the dead artist from the beyond and asked him how the artist’s life would be told. His naturally mild, gentle deliverance of character nuanced the inner fear, confusion, and frustration that Wain must have felt in dealing with the realities of everyday life as a reluctant and unlikely head of household. Yet, his passionate eyes and particular diction dictate that Wain was an artist of force, a man not of an age but for all seasons.

‘Moonlighting’, (1982) – directed by Jersy Skolimowski – film review

The history of immigrants equals to the history of humankind. It has always been and will be part of the civilization of the world: Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the Trojans’ migration into modern-day Italy, the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, the Norman conquest of England, peoples of all continents landing on America, and many others still counting to this date. It is innately natural for man to move to a place for different reasons, whether they result from cohesion, or volition, or a little bit of both. Jersy Skolimowski’s “Moonlighting” (1982), a British film about a polish electrician named Nowak leading a team working illegally in Lonon, focuses on his daily moments of existential vertigo between the winds of the world and provisional needs of livelihood.

Nowak is an intelligent laborer who accepts the offer from a Polish government official to renovate his house in London with lucrative promise, plus a taste of glamourous capitalism. Yet at the first taste of cold London and cold Londoner that makes his presence miserably pathetic and casually ignorable, Nowak decides to survive in a game of hide-and-seek as best as he can. The work is his only painkiller that rids anxiety and worries off his chest, but the effect is only temporary and minimal. As Rome is a great city when you have money, so is London, and Nowak and his team live their provisional days in hiding and stalking under the suspicion of their not-so-gentlemanly and kindly English neighbors. They regard the Polish workers as no more different than poor foreigners unsuitable for their daily English landscapes. Nowak chooses to be a Hector of his own with his crew of non-speaking polish in a vertigo of existential quandy.

Setting in the early 1980s when Poland was going through her first labor pain of democracy with Lech Wałęsa leading Solidarity Movement, the film’s realistic portrayal of illegal workers’ dailiness is visually palatable. The narrative of Nowak transcends to a ballad of Man anxiously adhering to a sense of purpose that gives him a reason to live in a harsh land surrounded by strangers who don’t like them. It’s a film about how changes in the world affect an individual’s daily life based on a symbolic interactionist theory. The present and future of Nowak and his team cannot escape from the winds of changes crossing their faces, which change the compass of the wheel of fortune.

The film is a hidden gem, starring the veteran English actor Jeremy Irons, whose excellent performance of Nowak deserves special recognition from the Polish audience. Irons is so convincingly Polish in appearance, manners, and speech that the non-speaking performance of the other Polish actors as his team of laborers serves to make his presence more outstandingly Polish. Also, the director being Polish himself contributes to the genuineness of the story’s narrative, which guards against patronizingly officious outsider’s perspectives of the people he wants to tell about because it is also his story. For these reasons, Moonlighting is a bracing film that makes you think whether existentialism in which experience proceeds essence is right.

Life of the Undead: ‘In the Flesh (BBC TV Series)’ – review

91lCcNIQVvL._SY445_“You can’t go home again,” declared Thomas Wolfe, who even wrote a book titled the selfsame slogan. That is, the place of memory however dearly held and fondly deemed exists only in the world of your reality, not in this world of existential truths and brutal subjective narratives of inflated egos and cosseted self-aggrandization. Once you’re out of it, you’re cut off from its association that binds you in the circumstances surrounding your whole being like a halo of a saint. For you’re one of them, you’re part of their culture, you’re in their clique. But what if you are sent back home after resurrection from death? Will your expectation meet with open arms or less than heartfelt welcome or even guns and knives?

Meet Kieren Walker, who is one of the undead, a Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer (“PDS”). To put it more blatantly lucid, he is an unlikely zombie who was treated and humanized to return to home and society. Kieren, a sensitive artistic 18-year-old boy who committed suicide, is “reanimated” thanks to the splendid medical advancement. But the blessing of a second life can be also the cursing of resurrection because Kieren the walking dead must confront the ills of social ostracization, which also include his own family’s changed sentiments toward him in their facades of niceness. It would have been better if he had not risen from death. What a rotten fate for a rotter, thinks Kieren until he meets his best dead friend Amy Dyer, a romantic bluestocking who happens to be a PDS. Despite her abundance of undying feminine sensitivity, Amy smothers her woes and disappointments with her vivaciousness and smiles which are her jewels of loveliness. She is in fact a Beatrice who guides Kieren in the course of his unfinished coming of age with encouragement and support and most importantly, friendship that seems matter even in life after death.

In the Flesh is a well-crafted television drama without shocking suspense or spectacular visual effects associated with Zombies. It is an intelligent drama that draws on social alienation of individuals shunned away for the singularities of their individualities. It spurs the detritus of existential dilemma of anyone who feels estranged from the social mooring made up of jetsam and flotsam of failed expectations, forced conformity, and false valuations of oneself setting against the backgrounds of Social Spencerism, which basically sets forth that might is right to be the fittest. However, this drama doesn’t turn out to be a grand social commentary that vehemently calls for equal rights for all. Rather, its strength lies in the subtle expressions of human feelings and emotions with elliptical scripts rendered authentic by a cast of characters, both imaginary and ordinary. The pathos of the characters is elegantly nuanced throughout the episodes, capturing all the conflicting emotions that one can imagine. For this reason, it is a drama worth viewing among others, all mindless and senseless adrift in Sea of Ignoramus.