Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged love

Certified Copy

The latest film from Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Certified Copy begins with the same joke twice. While waiting for author James Miller (William Shimell) to give a lecture, his translator (Angelo Barbagallo) apologizes for James’ lateness and says, “He can’t blame the traffic; he is walking from upstairs.” The restless crowd responds with no audible laughter. Moments later James walks into the room and, unknowing that it has just been said, re-uses the same joke. This time several members of the crowd emit soft laughter. Within the first few minutes of the film, Kiarostami has already laid out his brilliant thesis: that when it comes to art, history, or even comedy the copy can have meaning in a way that makes it as valuable the original.

Rad Dad #18: Sex & Love

After a promising introduction I was ready to absorb the essays that lay before me in Rad Dad #18: Sex & Love, a short zine concerning radical parenting with narratives exploring issues of sex and love. Needless to say, this zine made me feel a range of emotions: offended, entertained, informed, and bored. Some of these essays do not concern love or sex or are only very loosely related to the topics in an abstract way. Rad Dad himself falls flat in his own personal essay.

Widow: Stories

The collection of stories in Michelle Latiolais’ Widow pull at a common thread – shading, sketching, and putting together a picture of what it is like to walk the Earth as a woman who has lost her husband. While none of these women carry any outward signs of trauma, the lens through which each of them sees the world has shifted, leaving each of them off-kilter.

What A Wonderful World

In What A Wonderful World, director Faouzi Bensaidi attempts to bring together the incongruities of Moroccan urban life with elegance and intimacy. The film features a set of diverse characters whose lives intersect either by coincidence or choice. Thus, throughout the film one notices several intertwined little stories. However, the film’s main storyline revolves around a mercenary assassin, Kamel (who is played by Bensaidi), who falls in love with Kenza, a traffic officer by day and a prostitute by night.

Blue Valentine

Let me just go right out and say it, Blue Valentine is one of the best movies of the year. It is a major accomplishment for the actors (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) and the director (Derek Cianfrance).

Monica & David

One of the many things people take for granted—Americans especially—is free will. Basic human rights. When you are able-bodied, physically able to take care of yourself, the ways to access free will seem limitless—there are plenty of things you are able to participate in, such as having a job, living on your own, and preparing your own meals. In Monica & David, novice filmmaker Alexandra Codina documents the wedding and first year of marriage between Monica and David, two adults living with Down’s syndrome.

Sex, Power and Consent: Youth Culture and the Unwritten Rules

I have been always interested in the problems, points of view, and so much more in the lives of young people; I also decided at the ripe age of twenty that at some point in my life I was going to be a lecturer! Despite educating teenagers (and being taught by them) for the last twenty years and more, I have not lost my enthusiasm for knowing and guiding them from the perspective of what youngsters of eighteen to twenty consider an ‘old’ wise woman! How do young people live their lives these days? Do they have the same problems that I had when I was eighteen?

I Am From Titov Veles (Jas Sum Od Titov Veles)

The film begins with a visual icon of the industrial world: the factory’s spires rising like a cathedral, emitting billows of smoke into the sky. Then, a woman’s legs, wrapped like a present in ribboned slippers and a skirt of delicate fabric. She is walking quickly along a wall; she is hurrying. Behind her, out of focus, a man rides on a machine in the factory yard. It becomes obvious that she is surrounded by a workers’ strike, and she sits down and suddenly notices a tiny bug on her hand. She is delighted, in awe.

Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs is Edward Zwick’s latest film and is something of a peculiarity for him. He is known mostly for such films as Glory and Courage Under Fire. His most recent film, Defiance, was also a war epic. Hence, turning this direction caused many raised eyebrows. That said, he is not totally knew to the genre, he started here actually.

Dear Sandy, Hello: Letters from Ted to Sandy Berrigan

With the post office on the verge of collapse and Facebook statuses eclipsing emails (which not so long ago eclipsed snail mail), I fret for the future of love letters. Decades from now, letters that would have been discovered in a forgotten old box will instead wither away into password-protected oblivion. We will no longer indulge our imagination in the real-life lust and longing of by-gone days, at least not in their raw, unadulterated letter form.

There Was No One at the Bus Stop

The twelve hours that pass in this slim novella are some of the slowest and hardest ever—both in the lives of the characters and for the reader as well. Set on one day in the lives of two people in a not-so-secret affair, There Was No One at the Bus Stop builds the strained context of their lonely lives, takes you to a point of emotional climax, and then holds you there just a few pages too long, leaving you tired and frustrated. But that’s the price you’re going to have to pay for a deepened understanding of human relationships, it seems.

Jack Goes Boating

I had no idea that Phillip Seymour Hoffman had such a devoted fan base. Yeah, he won Oscars for his work in Capote and Doubt and he did liven up overrated stinkers like The Talented Mr. Ripley and Magnolia. Still, I was shocked by how many people streamed into the theatre to see his directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating. Nearly all the chairs in the 600-seat space were filled.

Tiger Hills

We used to argue as young literary critics that it wasn’t possible to have feminist romantic writing: the terms were contradictory by their very definition. Love stories were necessarily fissured by unequal relations of power, vulnerability, and injustice. This has always been troubling to me, as a diehard romantic, a firm believer in love stories, and a feminist. It was a niggling worry, too, as I read, and was instantly absorbed in, Tiger Hills.

Bijou Roy

Bijou Roy reminded me a bit of Sameer Parekh's Stealing the Ambassador. Both novels feature a young Indian American who visits India after his or her father's death in an attempt to understand the father better, especially his motivation for leaving his home country.

Buddha's Orphans

I’ve been behind the ball in the sense that I haven’t had a chance to read any works by Samrat Upadhyay. Upadhyay is a Nepalese-American writer, who has already published three full-length works of fiction, including Arresting God in Kathmandu, The Royal Ghosts, and The Guru of Love. His latest novel is called Buddha's Orphans, and since it was just published, I felt it would be the perfect place to address my reading oversight.

Eat Pray Love

Pretty Woman meets Ugly American in Eat Pray Love, a gender reversal romp in which the woman, for a change, instead of the womanizing man, gets to be the one with commitment issues. And while this female free spirit fling junkie cruise around the planet for high carb self-fulfillment is clearly likewise cruising in search of the chick flick demographic, the misguided message seems to be that hedonism is the new feminism.

/\/\/\Y/\ (Maya)

A week prior to its July 13th release, M.I.A.’s new album, /\/\/\Y/_ (or _Maya), was made available streaming on the artist's MySpace page.

A Parallelogram (7/1/2010)

In Euclidean geometry, parallel lines never intersect. In post-Euclidean geometry, all parallel lines under specific conditions—for example, placed on a globe—will converge. In Bruce Norris’ new play, A Parallelogram, parallelogram is the term used to describe a window of sorts in space and time. The protagonist’s future self visits her through such a passage and discloses details of her life and the world to come.

Backward Glances: Contemporary Chinese Cultures and the Female Homoerotic Imaginary

The study of female homoeroticism in Chinese media is a small yet evolving academic discipline. It is, therefore, of great importance that Backward Glances was written.

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

My best friend often teasingly tells me that the books I recommend to her are all too depressing and sad. I always counter that I recommend books that make me laugh. Now, that either means that I have a sick sense of humor, or it simply illustrates that the stories I most enjoy reading combine painful topics and awkward characters with humor, sarcasm, and witty writing. Paolo Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers is exactly such a book.

His Own Where

June Jordan was the very best kind of revolutionary: someone whose love and fearlessness were boundless, someone who never told anything less than the absolute truth, someone who measured out joyfulness and rage in equal parts.

The Love Ceiling

As I started to write the review for this book, I realized that this is one of two books I have recently read about artists, more specifically painters—The Danish Girl being the other book that centered on artists/painters.

I Am Love

The story is simple—and familiar, at least to feminists: years after being plucked from her home, stripped of her individuality, and thrust into a loveless marriage, a woman is shocked back to life and inspired to flee. But from A Doll's House to Titanic, it's not so much about the story itself as it is about how it's told.

Dreams in Prussian Blue

For a long time, it seemed to me as if all Indian writers in English wrote “serious” things—complicated stories, language that needed some getting through, “big” themes, weighty tomes. And then came Chetan Bhagat and the many followers in his footsteps, who unleashed upon us a spate of poorly-written novels, mostly to do with engineering institutes and adolescent angst.

Half Life

Love stories aren’t really my thing, but Roopa Farooki’s newest novel, Half Life, shows many shades of love in a way that warms the heart, wets the eye, and expands the mind. The book opens with Aruna Ahmed Jones’ seemingly crazy and impulsive decision to leave her year-old marriage.

Brainscan #24 and #25

Putting one’s life on display is, in essence, quite a courageous act. Yet in this time of reality television, it is becoming more of a norm, infused with a sense of banality. Thank goodness for zines, where our need to know intimate details of strangers’ lives is a collaboration of intelligence between people who actually think about stuff, write with a purpose, and use their experiences to connect, grow, and reach out to their community. Brainscan is an extremely personal zine.

The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl is like a multilayered Flemish painting or tapestry. On the surface, it’s the story of the marriage of two painters, Clara and Einar. However, Einar Wegener was the first male to undergo successful gender affirming surgery.


Ireland's coast with its cloudy allure and spectacular beauty provides a considerable level of mystic in Colin Farrell's latest film. Ondine tells the story of fisherman Syracuse (Farrell) after he catches a woman in his nets. She miraculously chokes and stammers back to consciousness to both her and his surprise. Her entrance into his life sets off a series of events altering their lives in unimaginable ways. Syracuse's daughter, Annie, is convinced the woman (Ondine) is a Silkie, a mythical creature from the sea.

Savor the Moment

Sometimes when I finish a book, I can't help but feel that the experience has made me better in some way. Maybe that sounds really cheesy, but it's true. That's one of my favorite things about reading great classic literature: it just leaves you awestruck.

Erotic Poems

Love, sex, and springtime are fundamental themes in E.E. Cummings’ lifetime body of work, and in Erotic Poems, editor George James Firmage brings together pieces by Cummings’ that are especially sexual, exalting of fertility, and written in a voice that is at once fresh and wise, evocative of the dumb yet utterly precise instinct to procreate.