Monday 28 February 2011

Poems about Greece by Nancy Snipper

Greece on Fire
Beautiful rugged Greece. I mourn for you as your bushes, flowers and the other infinite formidable formations of your unbridled nature - now made fragile - are swallowed up in the hell fires of angry gods.
Beloved Crete: may your soul be quenched by your hundred natural sources of silken mountain waters to forever drown the crimson demon of fire raging across your eternal terrain like a rapacious warrior,
 leaving your land scarred in blood-drip.

Epoca to Greece

And then came the strangers,
Byzantine monsters with huge mustaches spiraling upwards to unblinking black eyes.
Men madly popping up churches with mushroom-capped roofs,
chirping away to people who had no cotton batten to put in their ears,
chomping and chirping while chipping away at the gods of Greece
finally producing unrecognizable pieces of marble.
Strewn bits of bodies unto the earth
 like ashes after the cremation
      all gone

Still, the temple,
less pagan than the untiring Turk, cannot be defied,
This structure is sky-struck
as each grain, pebble, rock of marble
  Climbs up
                                      into the blue
Hitting through the barrier of silence…


No song, no prayer, no chorus of 1000
harmonious voices can ever sing praise to her
beauty and grace in a true, honest way.
So, one must be content to say, or speak

             that her sleek symmetrical archways frame vistas of green

                that her strong climbing columns are uncannily serene

                   that her smooth solid steps are precise and cut clean

                          that a delicate majesty in form can be seen

Golden and always there,
She rests like a lord unto the hill
                                                           Never to be forgotten.


The collision of memories I have about Greece 
Beautiful stallion, honey doll - your sweet silken waves fall  
like a young woman’s hair entwining me. 
Each golden lock lightens my darkness with Aphrodite magic. 

My body is given over to your Goddess embrace.
Beyond celestial regions   
I am floating above Apollo’s temple.  

I hear sounds that softly envelop me, 
and all my senses are weeping with joy. 
Oh sweet lyre, lead me into the reverie of dreams.  

Caress me!
Hold me!  
Take my all and suck me up into rapturous awe,  
and do it with the strength of Poseidon!  

Oh my beloved Greece,
Oh my most sensual of lovers,  
How I miss you!  
I have never had a lover that compares to you.


Saturday 26 February 2011

Two incomparable countertenors in stellar concerts

(Reviewed by Nancy Snipper)
During Montreal’s Highlights Festival, The Theatre of  Early Music presented two special concerts. In the first one titled "The Lark and the Nightingale", Michael Chance and Daniel Taylor sang soprano-like pitches of such immeasurable beauty as they articulated the profoundly moving music and lyrics written by Henry Purcell (1659-1695). Profound in their religious and lovelorn themes, Purcell’s songs sublimely suited these world-class singers whose exquisite voices sonorously evoke a century international audiences are nostalgic for. The program’s setting was apt as well. Within Montreal’s graceful yet understated Chapelle Notre-Dame-De Bonsecours, Taylor with humour and modesty also gave the stage over to renowned musicians whose instruments artfully brought back the Early Baroque period. The lute (Sylvain Bergeron), viola (Pemi Paul), violins (Adrian Butterfield, Christina Zacharias), recorders (Mathias Maute, Sophie Larivière), cello (Amanda Keesmat) and organ (Christopher Jackson) were in perfect unison as they lushly filled this lovely chapel with instrumental concerto titled, "On the Death of Henry Purcell", composed by recorder/flute virtuoso Mathias Maute.
Encores were endless; perfection can produce such adulation for artists who touch our hearts in the purest way. These artists did. 

Daniel Taylor

Michael Chance
The following evening’s concert titled, ”Come Ye Sons of Art” featured the choir and orchestra of The Theatre of Early Music with Daniel Taylor conducting. He also sang as did Michael Chance. They repeated some songs from the previous evening, including, “Strike the Viol”, “Fairest Isle” and a lovely duet whose song’s remarkably beautiful refrain of “Oh no, Oh no” highlighted their notably lush harmonies. Another repeat from the previous concert was Matthias Maute’s “Concerto on the Death of Henry Purcell”. He masterfully performed again with Sophie Larivière. There was absolute clarity and ease despite the alacrity of tempo and notes most prevalent in the two allegro movements.  The concert’s title song featured full orchestra, choir, and soloists that sent rapture up to the imperious vaulted ceiling of Saint Léon de Westmount’s Church – concert’s venerable venue. Tenor, Jacques-Olivier Chartier, and sopranos Hélène Brunet and Jana Miller, along with the rich bass voice of Daniel Lichiti beautifully interpreted the lyric segments whose themes were of love, nature, religion and royal jubilation. In its entirety, the finale’s long vocal and orchestra piece was in fact an ode composed for the birthday of Queen Mary II in 1694, by Henry Purcell, one year before his passing. One must mention the virtuoso playing of British-born Adrian Butterfield, first violinist who received his training at Cambridge University and whose recordings are world renown. Amanda Keesmat on cello was remarkably strong. In fact, all the soloists, including trumpeter Alexis Basque and lute player, Sylvain Bergeron have performed centre stage in prestigious halls in North America and Europe. 

The above concerts took place February 25 & 26.

Friday 25 February 2011

My Life ... Our Lives / Body Breach / Through the Peep Hole

                                                Poems by Nancy Snipper

 My Life… Our Lives

In the hagged dawnship
of dew-encased protection
another day overcomes the odds
beguiling us all into a routine
of untouchable chaos.

                                        Body Breach  

                                                     Scabbed spindly birch bough
                                                                                           over the plate-glass lake

                                                                                                      splitting  ice.                   

                                                                        Such sudden swift surrender
                                                                        comes with

                                                       Not so with my father.
                                                       His fall took the form
                                                            of a slow bend
                                                       born from a resistance of knowing
                                                          that the unknown bowel below                                
                                                                                          was waiting to engulf him.
                                                      Leukemia’s gravity weighted him down,
                                                       whittling him into a ghost of  bones.

                                                                                     And as he crumbled
                                                                                                                      bit by bit
                                                                                                        into that darkest
                                                                                                             the black hush                   
                                                                                                                ushered in
                                                                                                                     his final 

                                                      There were no stars that night.

Through the Peep Hole

Turn the key
of the door.
With curious steps
 walk some more.

                  Ah… this is where the sobs are coming from.

            Lying on her bed
               curled up in a tiny teardrop,
                  she has locked in her loneliness

Such disturbing sounds for those she loves
to have to hear
would only be referred to the professional ear.

I Am Number Four / Numéro Quatre by / par D.J. Caruso

                                                        “They are here, they walk among us”

The Loriens have been totally decimated by the Mogadorians. Nine teenage Loriens were protected and are now on Earth. They make up what is called ‘The Garde’ and all are endowed with special powers called legacies. The Mogadorians are hunting them down one by one, but can only kill them in a set order. The nine are accompanied and protected by their Cêpan (guardian). 
The story begins with Number Four, using the name Daniel Jones as an alias, lives in Florida along with Henri his Cêpan.  While swimming in the ocean, he realizes that Number Three has just been killed (each kill manifests itself with a scar on the ankles of The Garde). Both flee to Paradise, Ohio. Number Four registers as John Smith in the local high school. John decides he wants to quit running and lead a normal teenage life. Henri reminds him as to why they need to continue running.
 The scenario heavily borrowing from Superman and containing elements from “The Invaders” (a 1960s TV series), Twilight Saga among others; is clichéd in many aspects. The acting was not outstanding and the characters failed to engage.

                                                     « Ils sont là, ils marchent parmi nous »

The Loriens ont été totalement décimés par la Mogadorians. Neuf Loriens adolescents étaient protégés et sont maintenant sur la terre. Ils forment ce qu'on appelle 'La Garde' et tous sont dotés de pouvoirs spéciaux appelés legs. Les Mogadorians  les pourchasse  un par un, mais ils peuvent seulement les tuer dans un ordre établi. Les neuf sont accompagnés et protégés par leur Cêpan (gardien). 
 L'histoire débute avec le Numéro Quatre  utilisant le nom de Daniel Jones comme un alias et vit en Floride avec Henri son Cêpan.  Tout en nageant dans l'océan, il se rend compte que Numéro Trois a vient d'être tué (chaque mise a mort se manifeste avec une cicatrice sur les chevilles de la Garde).  Les deux s'enfuir au Paradis (Ohio). Numéro Quatre ce registres dans l'école secondaire locale comme John Smith. John décide qu'il veut quitter la fugue et de mener une adolescente normale. Henri lui rappelle à pourquoi ils ont besoin nécessité de continuer d’être sur la fugue.
 Le scénario fortement emprunts de Superman et contenant des éléments de "The envahisseurs" (une série télévisée des années 1960), la série Twilight  parmi d'autres; est cliché dans de nombreux aspects. Le jeu des acteurs n'était pas exceptionnelle et les personnages s’est pas à enclenché.

Thursday 24 February 2011

The Powder Case by Nancy Snipper

The door to the bathroom closed quietly. Mrs. Jilasi always did things quietly. Today as always, she was putting on her lipstick in a ritual of silence. She swiftly applied the cherry-flavoured gloss, anticipating a moist shine as it slipped red across her lips like blood from a mosquito bite. Mrs. Jilasi knew she had applied it just right by the scent her nose caught – not too far down, not too high up.
             It was one of the many tiny tasks she mastered at a specific appointed hour of each day, part of a repertoire of actions that one would normally do without thought, but for her, these little rituals were coups of accomplishment. Mrs. Jilasi was nearly blind.
Her enjoyment of makeup was blunted by the fact that Henry, her husband was not standing at the mirror peering over her shoulder, smiling, quietly saying,” You look so beautiful.”  This upset her far more than the fact that she could barely see, particularly at this very moment. Was this the day that she would bid a final goodbye to the shimmers of light amidst blackening blurred forms? 
             She continued to apply her lipstick, then her eye shadow, and finally her powder in front of the milky mirror that had become one of her familiar points of reference. After all, it had reflected her image in its glass for exactly 60 years and three days, as long as Henry had been with her. Was it always like this? Did he come to mind every time she applied her powder, or was it just now? For the life of her, she couldn’t get a focus on this troubling feeling. When had he left her, four years ago or four minutes ago?
            A knock on her apartment door broke her reverie and caused her to drop her powder case, which did not drop quietly. Rather, it emitted a cracking sound that Mrs. Jilasi found most unnerving. Indeed, it was a thud. What’s more, she had no idea where her case had landed. It could be sitting in the sink or on the toilet seat covering; it seemed to fall in that direction. Or was it on the floor by her feet?  A step to the left provided the answer, for in that single moment, she felt it crack into pieces. Not a heavy woman by any means, she was astonished, yet perversely pleased by that fact that her 100 pounds could still crush a powder case which felt strangely heavy in her hand.                 
            The event would mean her wrinkled skin of various shades of age would not be covered up. This was distressing, particularly since someone was knocking at her door. Should she answer it, or was a lady without powder an eyesore to any visitor?
This pressing decision irked her, but at the same time, made her mind leap into fast gear, much like a tiger jumping out of a cage or a heart that was racing far too fast. She abhorred the feeling, yet right now, she relished the spurt of adrenalin that made her feel a tad younger, more focused. Still, an unmistakable throbbing overpowered her limbs. This was new, and for that reason alone, Mrs. Jilasi was frightened. Was it her powder case that really dropped; was that the last thing she was holding in her hand?
            Suddenly she couldn’t remember. A fog was swirling around her. The knock continued growing louder. Her hearing seemed to magnify each of the four knuckles hitting the door. Too bad she had forgotten to dust the desk in the hallway of her spacious apartment. Would the visitor notice that?
            Much as she tried to find her case, it was the floor’s smooth surface she felt against her left cheek. Her arms seemed to lose all sense of feeling. Numbness buzzed throughout her body. Really, it was only a powder case; another could be bought. She was in the dark, completely. “If only he were with me, but he’s not.  Gone for good.”
            And as Mrs. Jilasi ran through a list of stores she frequently visited for make-up and other toiletries, she could not for the life of her remember from which store she had bought that perfect powder compact. This added to her stress, and her heart picked up its pace. This time, however, the pleasant rush she usually felt by the unexpected was not at all present. She felt uneasy, tight and not herself. A wave of nausea overpowered her, and soon the floor was covered in the fish she had enjoyed the night before.
            Yes, she had to dine alone, but wasn’t it like that every night since Henry had left her?  A stench swept through her small bathroom, magnified by the fact that Mrs. Jilasi had suddenly urinated at the time her powder case slipped from her hand. Too much to bear, sweet Mrs. Jilasi closed her eyes, sparkling blue eyes that weren’t doing her much good any way. At 89, everything was a blur or a faint form of something - a dark shroud.
            She was quite a dish when Henry had first held her hand, and slipped a sweet little imitation diamond on her fourth finger, asking her in his shy way if she would care to spend the rest of her days with him. She had loved him from the moment she first met him, four months before the ring slid on her finger. He was a flyer of spitfires with the RAF, and this greatly impressed her – his dark manly uniform with a few medals hanging over his jacket right pocket. His eyes were brown and gentle, and in them, she saw sadness that spoke of war and friends lost in fields of blood. 
        Six years her junior, Henry settled into his wife’s doting, much as a puppy resigns itself to his new master. Domestic docility seemed to both gladden and aggravate him. But as for Mrs. Jilasi, Henry was her everything. And for all those years of marriage, his smile, caress and kindly ways made up for each little annoyance that comes when two people are bound to one another, living together, having to stretch each dollar, burying hushed hurts, voices feigning sweetness, eyes with flat stares or a door closing a tad too loudly.
Such thoughts cluttered Mrs. Jilasi’s mind as her body lay on her bathroom floor, and the last thing she recalled was the store where she had purchased the fish - Loblaws.
She had paid five dollars for it - far too much for that sliver of halibut.
And as she whispered “halibut”, a familiar face appeared directly over hers. The word ‘halibut’ turned into ‘Henry’. Her loving husband had come back from the dead. Why could she see his face so clearly?  Then she noticed two figures – strangers dressed in white and blue jackets. They were carrying some kind of white bed.  She could see that too. But it was Henry who was bending over her.
“Henry, I can see you,” she said quietly, for that was her way, to speak quietly, only this time she noticed she had no choice in choosing the volume of her voice, for she was quite tired.
“Dear Hilda, don’t move; you’ll be fine; you suffered one of your spells, only this time you were out much longer than usual. When you didn’t answer the door, I retrieved my key to let myself in. You know how I hate trying to find my key; I never remember which pocket I put it in. You always get to the door faster than I can find it. But this time, you didn’t. I knew something was wrong. I found you lying here, and called 911. Never mind the mess. I’ll tend to that in a second. Can you really see me? Are you feeling better now?  How is your vision? Did you forget to take your medicine?”
But now was not the time to go into that.  He knew though she would be fine. She could talk, even sit up. As she slowly reached a standing position, her husband supporting her on one side, a paramedic on the other – not need for the stretcher, she gazed at herself in the mirror. Colour returned to her cheeks and her red lipstick seemed even brighter than before.  Her vision was as good as new, well - as good as any diabetic’s was at her age. Behind her stood Henry, his face reflected in the mirror. He handed her the broken powder case. Then a slow smile came to his face, and he said, “You look beautiful.”

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Hungarian Film Week: February 25 till March 03 2011 at Cinema du Parc

Come and discover Hungary as Cinema du Parc presents an eclectic program of nine films from directors who are of Canadian-Hungarian origin plus a photographic exhibition entitled Kamera Hungarica (Curator - Tamás Wormser. Artists: Gábor Boros, Alex Brzezinski, Júlia Ciamarra, Anne Kmetyko, Doreen Lindsay Szilasi, Sándor Sipos, Andrea Szilasi, Gábor Szilasi, Antal Wormser, Leó Wormser).
The films being screened are:
Biblioteque Pascal by Szabolcs Hajdu 2010: In trying to regain custody of her four-year-old daughter a young woman weaves a fantastic, wild and surreal tale.
The Investigator by Attila Galambos 2008: A man will do whatever it takes to keep his dying mother alive.
Traveling Light by Tamás Wormser 2008: An intimate documentary that follows five nomadic artists.
Glass Tiger 3 by Ivan Kapitany 2010: Another episode of this old and rusty caravan.
Delta by Kornél Mundruczó 2008: Narrative about an unconventional brother / sister relationship.
Catcher: Cat City 2 by Béla Ternovszky 2007: An animated parody of several blockbuster films, mainly James Bond.
Faith, Fraud and Minimum Wage by George Mihalka 2010: A rebellious teenage girl wrestling with the true nature of miracles.
The Adventurers by Béla Paczolay 2008: Road movie about three generations of men travelling across Transylvania.
Dealer by Benedek Fliegauf 2004: A day in the life of a drug dealer.

For more information:
Semaine du cinéma  Hongrois: Yuri Berger 514-730-7010 / ybcinéma
Cinéma  du Parc : Jeanne Charlebois 514-281-1900,  jeannecharlebois@cinéma

Semaine du Film Hongrois : 25 février jusqu'en mars 2011 03 au Cinéma du Parc
Découvrez la Hongrie avec le Cinéma du Parc pendant le présentation d’un programme éclectique de neuf films des réalisateurs qui sont d'origine Canadienne - Hongrois plus une exposition photographique intitulée Kamera Hungarica (commissaire - Tamás Wormser. Artistes : Gábor Boros, Alex Brzezinski, Júlia Ciamarra, Anne Kmetyko, Doreen Lindsay Szilasi, Sándor Sipos, Andrea Szilasi, Gábor Szilasi, Antal Wormser, Leó Wormser). 
Les films sont présentés sont :
Biblioteque Pascal par Szabolcs Hajdu 2010: en essayant de reprendre la garde de sa fille de quatre ans, une jeune femme tisse un conte fantastique, sauvage et surréaliste.
L'Enquêteur par Attila Galambos 2008: un homme sera faire ce qu'il faut pour maintenir la vie de sa mère mourante.
 Voyager Léger par Tamás Wormser 2008: un documentaire intime qui suit cinq artistes nomades.
Glass Tiger 3 par Ivan Kapitany 2010: un nouvel épisode de cette caravane vieux et rouillé.
Delta par Kornél Mundruczó 2008: Narrative sur une relation entre frère et sœur non conventionnels.
 Catcher: Cat City 2 par Béla Ternovszky 2007 : une parodie d'animation sur plusieurs films de succès, James Bond en particuliers.
 Faith, Fraud, and Minimum Wage par George Mihalka 2010: une adolescente rebelle à la prise avec la vraie nature des miracles.
 Les Aventuriers par Béla Paczolay 2008: Road movie  sur trois générations d'hommes qui traversent la Transylvanie.
Dealer par Benedek Fliegauf 2004 : une journée dans la vie d'un trafiquant de drogue.
 Pour plus d'informations:
 Semaine du cinéma Hongrois: Yuri Berger 514-730-7010 / ybcinéma
Cinéma du Parc: Jeanne Charlebois 514-281-1900, jeannecharlebois@cinéma