Exhibition/Film Cezanne : “I will tell you the truth in painting”

Both Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse acknowledge Cezanne: “He was the father of us all”.  Take a walk through a current exhibition of portraits painted by Cezanne with the curator, John Elderfield and English art critic Alistair Sooke – and see what they mean.

Paul Cezanne (unlike almost all the other French Impressionists) was a man of independent means – he inherited sufficient money from his banker father to be able to paint what he liked – and he devoted his life to his work.  He didn’t take commissions to paint portraits because, as John Elderfield says, Paul was too brusquely honest to flatter a sitter; he was concerned with truth, honesty, authenticity.

The exhibition is currently running at the National Portrait Gallery, London – until 11th February –  but if you can’t get to it, there is a handy live tie-in with the exhibition on cinema, opening in UK cinemas, this Tuesday, 23rd January.

I went to see a similar exhibition/film (on Matisse’s cut-outs) and it was like being in a comfortable armchair, wheeled smoothly around the show, and with no one standing in your way.  (Whereas, when you go to see a blockbuster show, there are inevitably a roomful of other strangers keen on looking up close to the paintwork – whom you have to wait and dodge around, all the time harried by the awareness that there’s someone else waiting for you to move away so that they can get their turn at the picture).

Here is the trailer for the Cezanne exhibition film:



Friday Night is Health and Safety Film Night: Easy Money

Yes, Patrons, in 2018, back without popular demand: Friday night is Health and Safety Film Night at this particular blog circus tent.

Tonight’s lecture subject is: “Easy Money”.  Yes, that’s “Easy Money”.  See, I even said the word “money” quite simply.  It’s easy.  But not so simple to pick up.  Roll the cinefilm, Beowulf, there’s a lamb.

The obvious lesson here, lecturees, is to adjust your expectations to lower levels.  This particular safety film has inadvisedly been mal-labelled as: “One of the funniest Comedy Sketches of all time.”  No good can come of this.  Expectations are automatically set at the stratosphere; it is mildly amusing.  Be on the lookout for such misleading trade descriptions.

For previous important health and safety announcements in 2017, consult our archives on working conditions here and here.

That is all for now, tune in next Friday for the next lifesaving (potentially) Health and Safety Film!

atmospheric film poem "In the Dead of Winter, We" by Jot Reyes to poem by Vilanouva; find this amongst poetry features galore at

Hot like Film Poetry

If you’re feeling cold, watch this and feel, comparatively, warmer.

Jot Reyes, film-maker, has set a poem by R A Villaneuva into an astonishing monochrome animation work.  The original poem is titled “In the Dead of Winter We” from Villaneuva’s book “Reliquaria” which won the 2013 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry.

This animation was nominated for the 2015 Webby Awards Best Online Video: Animation.

Writing Time Travel – beginnings and endings

Opening our eyes on day one of a New Year (in the UK), we find ourselves in the oddity of having to write dates on paper differently – having to remember to write the year as 2018 instead of 2017.

But what about Time Travel?  When did it start?  A few musings on this by Nerdwriter.

Nerdwriter’s discussion is punctuated with excellent video clips – a rather good reminder of many good science fiction films which are worth seeing again.

Creative Takeaways

If you like writing science fiction, involving time travel, then this is a good reminder of some of the most powerful stories told – so far – in the genre.  It’s interesting to see that society now concentrates on dystopian (negative) visions of the future, whereas about a hundred years ago, there were so many books about a positive future, a utopia.

If you’re going to seriously write story pondering cause and effect, then a deeper look at timelines in fiction would be this one, by MinutePhysics.


Rhythm of time – editing film/video

Youtube channel Every Frame a Painting (Tony Zhou) has featured on this blog before, illustrating action gags on film by Buster Keaton.  Today, I got caught up in another of his masterful short 10 minute videos “How does an Editor think and feel” – about finding rhythm in film/video editing.  However, as I listen, I hear it as more than that, it’s about finding rhythm in poetry, in speaking, in life – and the importance of time for thought process, belief and experience.

People aren’t machines – we need time to feel the emotion – and if the movie doesn’t give it to us, we don’t believe it – Every Frame a Picture


Starting to write that novel/play/film

Do you aim to finally write That Book or play or film over the winter holidays or in the New Year?  Yes, you’re keen, have notebooks full of ideas – but it just seems like a shapeless mass of words. Everyone finds their own best way of writing, eventually.  For someone who has not yet found their way, here’s one simple approach which took a writer from keen but failing to get publishers – towards his first book published. Steven Pressfield. (10 minute video)

Steven: “One of the things I get asked a lot is how did you break through with your first published novel?… at the beginning why was it so bad, so unpublishable – how did it change?  What got better?”

People tend to ask him that because, as he says at the start of the movie, he was unpublished for 30 years of writing – but finally got a tip from a mentor, followed it, and wrote his first published novel, “The Legend of Bagger Vance” which sold 250,000 copies and was made into a film.

Screen shot 2017-12-23 at 15.34.29

Steven Pressfield’s book on how he wrote his first published book

Steven has condensed the techniques learned and used in writing that first published book into “The Authentic Swing”.  Here, he gives the nub of the idea which changed his writing success.

(There’s another video tomorrow.)