SOUNDTRACK: MOGWAI-Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait-An Original Soundtrack by Mogwai (2006).
It’s no secret that I love Mogwai. I like them so much that I even track down soundtracks to obscure films that I’ll never watch. (Of course, since Mogwai play mostly instrumentals, soundtrack work suits them quite well).
The Zidane of the film is Zinedine Zidane, a French footballer whom many consider to be the greatest ever (don’t yell at me for that, I don’t have an opinion of the man). I had to look up exactly what the film is about and I have to say I’m intrigued: The film is a documentary focused on Zidane during the Spanish Liga Real Madrid vs. Villarreal CF game on April 23, 2005 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and was filmed in real time using 17 synchronized cameras. I watched a couple minutes on YouTube, and indeed it is a football match. How on earth did they decide on that game (in which Zidane is ejected for fighting as the match nears its end).
The music is designed primarily for background and pacing, although there are certainly moments of great melody as well. There are three songs that are more or less played twice (with different variations): “Terrific Speech 2″ and Terrific Speech” “Half Time and “Time and a Half” are similar piano melodies, and the opener and closer “Black Spider” and “Black Spider 2.” “Black Spider 2” opens with the same melody as 1, but this song is thirty minutes long. After a few moments of silence, it tuns into 17 minutes of quiet noise. The remaining five experiment with distant feedback squalls. Not loud and crazy, but something that creates a lot of tension, which goes with the end of the film.
Despite the titles, “Wake Up and Go Berserk” and “I Do Have Weapons” are a mellow songs. They’re very pretty tracks. Indeed, there’s nothing too wild at all here. Fans of Mogwai’s wilder music will be a little disappointed. And indeed, the overall feel is almost kind of sleepy, but it really captures another side of Mogwai, and the music is quite good.
[READ: June 20, 2012] “The Cheater’s Guide to Love”
Not bad… Junot Díaz had a story in the New Yorker just a few weeks ago, and now he’s got another one.
The familiar criticism of Díaz is that he writes the same story over and over (well, the other criticism is that he always writes in Spanish and English, but I think that’s a stupid complaint). So here’s another story about Yunior and how he cheats on women and is basically a shit-heel.
While there is some validity to criticizing an author for retelling the same basic story, it is not unheard of in art. Monet, for instance painted over 30 paintings of Rouen Cathedral. And while they are all the same composition, individually they are very different. Here’s four paintings (not prints a la Andy Warhol):
While I’m not suggesting that Díaz is on par with Monet, I am trying to say that you can work with a similar subject and create very different pieces of art.
So, yes it’s another Yunior story and yes, Yunior has cheated on his girlfriend again. But this story is constructed differently. And at this point I’m starting to wonder if maybe there aren’t multiple Yuniors–I’ll even think of them as in alternate realities. Because Yunior sure has cheated on a lot of women by this time.
It makes him the perfect writer for “The Cheater’s Guide to Love.”
Unlike in the other stories, this one takes place over five years! In Year 0 you are caught cheating by your girl (the story is set in second person). She sticks it out with you for a time and then dumps your ass. I liked how it was revealed just how many women he had cheated in her with over the years that they were together–he really is a shit.
In Year 1, you act like it doesn’t matter, but it does. And you are crushed. Your friends try to help out, but how much can they really do? You think suicidal thoughts and imagine that that will make her forgive you. It doesn’t. By year 2, you have met someone. But you find some bullshit reason (she hasn’t put out yet) and you break it off and go into another spiral.
Year 3 sees you looking after yourself–running and fitness. In what I think of as a wholly accurate happening, you injure yourself running and are knocked back on your ass for months–momentum and caring are gone. You look for substitutes but nothing feels as good as running. So you stop. And you let yourself go.
What I also liked about this story is that despite this background of the break up, there are other interesting things spiraling around Yunior. There’s a fascinating look at racism in Boston (perceived or real?); there’s the woman who claims to be the mother of his child, the woman back in the DR who claims to be the mother of his friend Elvis’s son. Both men act very differently to the news. Elvis is thrilled to have a son, Yunior is freaked by this woman. This is probably the first time that I’ve seen Díaz have a woman do behave the way they do in this story. It’s also interesting to compare Yunior and Elvis by the end of the story.
I also got a kick out of all the women he used to cheat on his girlfriend with star getting married and they all start sending him invitations: “Revenge is living well, without you.” Year 5 sees a completion of the spiral for all parties. And a cool resolution to this story.
Much like with the Monet paintings, if Díaz can keep his Yunior stories interesting (and varied enough), I will keep reading them.
For ease of searching I include: Junot Diaz, Bernabeu
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