quarta-feira, 19 de abril de 2017


In Paterson, Adam Driver's character does the same thing every day. "Routine is very liberating and nurturing for him," says director Jim Jarmusch.
When do you think about poetry, what comes straight up to your mind? A kind of old-fashioned literary expression which is either too sentimental or to hermetic, made by cultivated writers to cultivated readers who keep themselves enclosed in a restrict club of insiders? If you watch "Paterson" (2016), the latest feature directed by Jim Jarmusch, I am pretty sure you'll change your mind.

In the movie we follow Paterson, a poetry-writer bus driver who leads a very simple and familiar routine in the city of the same name, Paterson, New Jersey, U.S. A city which, in real life, has been the inspiration for William Carlos Williams's epic poem, also titled Paterson - a long poem published in 5 volumes, from 1946 to 1958. Not by coincidence, Paterson, the character played by Adam Driver, rates William Carlos Williams as his favourite poet. A poet who ventured to depict man and city as one sole thing, inseparable, organically tied to each other as a flowing river. 

It might sound as another plot only for insiders, yet we really do not need to know anything of this trivia to step into the story and connect with Paterson and hear and see him reciting his poems inspired by common events of his unchangeable daily life. He lives with his wife, they have a dog, he wakes up every morning without the buzzing of an alarm clock, he writes poetry at his lunchtime, he knocks off work sharp for dinner at home, then heads for the regular bar he is used to having a pint and a chitchat with the other local customers.

Boring? Not at all. Because the eyes of Paterson are the eyes of a flying imagination that doesn't know any boundaries. Tiny little objects have their beauty, they are meaningful in so many different ways. People, daily occurrences repeated steadily, turn to be unique, indivisible. Poetry is much a broader concept, a style of writing, even a way of life that can be experienced by everyone. That inflated or narrow perspectives people usually have about how poetry should look like just crumbles down throughout the film narrative. We are all insiders, all entitled to write poetry. All poets-to-be.

PS. I leave you with one of the pieces of Paterson's poetry, contributed to the movie by Ron Padget, poet, close friend with Jim Jarmusch, and adviser of the film. Enjoy!


We have plenty of matches in our house 
We keep them on hand always
Currently our favourite brand
Is Ohio Blue Tip
Though we used to prefer Diamond Brand
That was before we discovered
Ohio Blue Tip matches
They are excellently packaged
Sturdy little boxes
With dark and light blue and white labels
With words lettered
In the shape of a megaphone
As if to say even louder to the world
Here is the most beautiful match in the world
It’s one-and-a-half-inch soft pine stem
Capped by a grainy dark purple head
So sober and furious and stubbornly ready
To burst into flame
Lighting, perhaps the cigarette of the woman you love
For the first time
And it was never really the same after that

All this will we give you
That is what you gave me
I become the cigarette and you the match
Or I the match and you the cigarette
Blazing with kisses that smoulder towards heaven

terça-feira, 18 de abril de 2017

13 reasons why...

Folks, meet Hannah Baker, the girl who slits her wrists and bleeds till death alone in a bathtub. Hannah is the main character of "13 reasons why", the dead girl of Jay Asher's best-seller novel on which the new-released Netflix series is based. The dead girl who leaves audiotapes behind saying what are the reasons why she took her own life. 7 cassette tapes, sides 1 and 2, the last one missing the second side. So, it tallies to 13 reasons, each of them related to 13 acquaintances and/or friends of Hannah's who, in her perspective, contributed to her final deadly act. Some of them disappointed her, some bullied her, some turned their backs to her, others cared about but not enough. Not enough, according to the tapes, to stop her from picking up common razor blades and sliding them deeply onto her skin. Not enough to avoid a tragedy, to avoid the feeling of unbearable pain. In the end, when one thing comes on top of another, all that matters is an effective relief; to get rid of that "stack of pains", at any cost. Things overflowed to Hannah. Like the overflowing bathtub where she died, water and bleed blended in. 

Mainly targeted to adolescents, the Netflix series has been arising lots of controversy. Not only in teenagers milieus, where bullying, violence and the taboo of suicide have been carried out more often, but also the show has been drawing rising attention and concern among adults, ranging from authorities, education and health experts and institutions to families, communities, and the public opinion in general. As the suicide rates have been hiking in that specific age group, filling up the news almost everywhere world wide, "13 reasons why" has been ultimately blamed for inciting teenager suicide. For making it up glamorous, allegedly a final statement which attempt is worth of.

For those who kicked off with the series watching, Hannah might be considered so immature that all that she wanted was getting people's attention. Maybe it hasn't crossed her mind how far she would have gone and the due consequences of her attitudes. Or, as a dead person, the last word, the final judgement would lay forever on her opinions, her personal impressions and grasps of what her high-school mates had done to her. After all, who would deny or contradict stories that couldn't be faced-to-faced later on?

And last but not least, we might glimpse a weak juvenile lacking the skills of coping with the troubling web of pain and sorrow encircling any rite of passage to adulthood. If anyone got through that, why wouldn't she? Probably because life is more complicated than rules stated in pedagogic guide books. Because one's views and experiences of things is irremediably personal and unique. And so are the different ways to pave the paths toward being an adult.

The minimum that can be said is that the Western societies are not catching up with the contemporary - and more brutal - forms of bullying and violence our youngsters have been exposed to. What happens at schools courts, classes and corridors has been evolving far beyond the grips of parents and education counselors. The new shapes of bullying are more sophisticated, more harmful and available to any kid to take a dare. Of course, sometimes things escalates as it happened with our spotlighted Hannah. However, most of the times we are talking about reality, not about fiction. About teenagers cutting themselves to get a palpable measure of an unimaginable pain caused by any sort of abuse or bullying. About adolescents getting angrier and raging against each others and other people; eventually adolescents getting more depressed, detached of a meaning for their lives.

"13 reasons why" might depict a more embellished reality. Though it cannot be said that the series fosters suicidal behavior among juniors. A wide gap lies in between. Most likely a kind of denial acknowledging what has been coming up inside youth's minds and souls recently, including higher rates of self inflicted deaths within the teen years.