this is the archive for the ‘on the big screen’ category:

montemor-o-velho, the castle

“onde nasceu fernão mendes pinto?
jorge de montemor onde nasceu?
a mesma terra o mesmo céu que eu pinto
castelo velho o que foi deles é meu”
afonso duarte

“where was fernão mendes pinto born?
jorge de montemor, where was he born?
the same earth, the same sky that i paint
old castle what was theirs is mine”
– afonso duarte


last tuesday, driving slowly between figueira da foz and coimbra, we came across the castle of montemor-o-velho, proudly standing on top of a small hill. we had no big agenda for the day, other than picking up the cats at midnight in lisbon, so we stopped a while to explore.

the castle was first heard of in medieval times (before the country of portugal was born), and it was successively conquered by christians and arabs and even by napoleon troops. in 1910, it was declared national monument, along with “igreja de santa maria da alcáçova”, a church within the castle walls.

the views from up there are stunning, green fields all around the castle walls and many squares of rice plantations (and some storks too) due to the proximity of the mondego river.
a vista do castelo

while the castle walls and premises are in reasonably good shape (the paths are clean and the lawns are taken care of, there’s even a little café up there) you can’t really say the same about the church. the frescos and statues could really use a hand. what battles are they trying to tell us about?


other details seem to have stood the test of time a bit better: there are beautiful tiles decorating the walls, writings and a few gravestones on the church floor.

the entrance is free and on the day we were there, there was no soul on sight. a whole castle to yourself, how about that? :)

“my dream is for europe to become a huge melting-pot. we need to melt”

BONO: Your desire for Europe is extraordinary to me, but you’ve followed through on it. I mean, is this where the languages come in? Did you learn French and German at school?

EDDIE: I learnt French at school but stopped when I was 16. When I first visited France, I’d go into a bar or restaurant and say, “Qu’est-ce que ils?”. I’d just keep going with my broken French. My rule was, communication first, grammar second.

BONO: I’m amazed that you can do stand-up in French.

EDDIE: Absolutely. My dream is for Europe to become a huge melting-pot. We need to be a melting-pot. We need to melt. So my doing a gig in French is to kick the melting-pot up. I want to do gigs in German, Russian, Spanish. And Arabic, because I was born in an Arabic country and the 9/11 thing.

BONO: Do you consider yourself European?

EDDIE: I consider myself British-European, like there are African- Americans and Italian- Americans. You can be Irish-European. Whether you’re Northern or Southern Irish, there’s this umbrella of Europeanness. I think if we can make it work in Europe, it’s almost a blueprint for the future of the world. If we can get all these countries, with all their languages, coming together to work in some shape or form, then the whole world can work. And if we can’t get it working in Europe, the world has got no chance. Those are the stakes.

from an interview with eddie izzard to the independent. the man has a brilliant comedy style that we can’t seem to get enough of – plus, a political conscience, and a love for researching stuff on wikipedia. if you go beyond the death star canteen lego sketches on youtube, you’ll find a peculiar comedian, worth exploring.

photo by davemorris on flickr.

on roadtrips


“Ernesto Guevara: What do we leave behind when we cross each frontier? Each moment seems split in two; melancholy for what was left behind and the excitement of entering a new land.”
from diarios de motocicleta.

if i hadn’t already felt the urge to travel to south america, i would surely get the itch after watching diarios de motocicleta: the story of young che guevara on his south-american continental roadtrip on a bike named la poderosa (“the mighty one”). the film photography is simple and stunning, eye-catching in its rawness.

besides, roadtrips fascinate me, as i am sure they do to many other travelers out there. my only stint at a roadtrip was a 3 or 4 days drive through colorado, utah and wyoming, over a year ago.
it was beautiful and liberating, and we plan to go back to the states and repeat it someday, with a twist: we shall visit an itinerary of odd-named places. it will certainly include highlights like potomac, normal, breakneck, chicken, gringo, frostproof, ding dong and most definitely choconut. no kidding!

above, our detour to visit a place called cisco. :)

number five, with a bullet

“top 5 things i miss about laura.

one. sense of humour. very dry, but it can also be warm and forgiving. and she’s got one of those best of all times laughs in the history of all times laughs, she laughs with her entire body.

two. she’s got character, or at least she had character before the ian nightmare. she’s loyal and honest and she doesn’t even take it out on peple when she’s having a bad day. that’s character.

three. i miss her smell. and the way she tastes. it’s mistery human chemestry and i don’t understand it. some people, as far as your senses are concerned just… feel like home.

four. i really dig the way she walks around. it’s like she doesn’t care about what she looks or what she projects, and it’s not that she doesn’t care, she’s not affected, i guess. and that gives her grace.

and five. she does this thing in bed when she can’t get to sleep, she kind of half moans and then rubs her feet together an equal number of times… it just kills me.”

(rob gordon in high fidelity.)

i have a peculiarly undefined taste in movies. and usually, when i like one, i find it difficult to make a decent critic, i can’t quite clearly define or point what makes me want to see it again, why bits of it keep showing in my head.
the same thing goes on with high fidelity. i’m sure though, it had something to do with john cusack’s character, rob. the way he rants on an endless introspection on his life. his dialogues, his thoughts, the way he day-dreams around… so close to our everyday doubts and ups and downs… and his obsessive compulsive character, making lists all the time, organizing records auto-biographically, etc… then of course, the schizophrenic maniac duo of obscure geeks, deeply music saavy: dick (todd louiso) and barry (jack black). both funny and strange, and yet, so familiar… and music. the whole vinyl record store thing… the way the tunes blend with music metaphores and jump right out at people’s life. everything is related to music here.

anyway, go watch it.