Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender is the Night Book Cover
Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald

My readers will know that I have an undying love for F Scott Fitzgerald, his literature and the era he penned to perfection. The flappers,  the Charleston, Art Deco design and ‘the whole shebang’! It came to my attention recently that I have none of the Fitzgerald quotes that have been charming me for so long on Charms of a Dandizette…so I though I should share some.

It was my attempt to reread my Fitzgerald collection before the release of The Great Gatsby film starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Carey Mulligan. However, since finishing Tender is the Night I have been drawn to another book, the same book that possibly every other woman at present has been drawn to – E. L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey – there’s plenty to say about that but I shan’t digress. So, I began my Fitzgerald journey with Tender is the Night.

Tender is the Night is yet another of Fitzgerald’s devastating and gentle tales about the fall from grace, the wonders of falling in love quickly and uncontrollably – without reason, whilst falling out of it slowly and painfully with complete clarity.

I love to read Fitzgerald because I adore his capacity to write the human condition so well – regardless of whether he or any of his characters were ever able outsmart it.  Tender is the the Night paints the perfect picture or illusion for destruction.

I had to share my favourite quotes! x

 Tender is the Night Quotes

“Often a man can play the helpless child in front of a woman, but he can almost never bring it off when he feels most like a helpless child.”

“The strongest guard is placed at the gateway to nothing. Maybe because the condition of emptiness is too shameful to be divulged.”

“Well, you never knew exactly how much space you occupied in people’s lives. Yet from this fog his affection emerged–the best contacts are when one knows the obstacles and still wants to preserve a relation.”

“When I see a beautiful shell like that I can’t help feeling a regret about what’s inside it.”

“New friends can often have a better time together than old friends.”

“It is not necessarily poverty of spirit that makes a woman surround herself with life—it can be a superabundance of interest…”

“…The delight on Nicole’s face–to be a feather again instead of a plummet, to float and not to drag.”

“…To be included in Dick Diver’s world for a while was a remarkable experience: people believed he made special reservations about them, recognizing the proud uniqueness of their destinies, buried under the compromises of how many years. He won everyone quickly with an exquisite consideration and a politeness that moved so fast and intuitively that it could be examined only in its effect. Then, without caution, lest the first bloom of the relation wither, he opened the gate to his amusing world. So long as they subscribed to it completely, their happiness was his preoccupation, but at the first flicker of doubt as to its all-inclusiveness he evaporated before their eyes, leaving little communicable memory of what he had said or done.”

Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald, 1934

Analyze This

Analyze This 1999, starring Robert De Niro, directed by Harold Ramis….

I have spent the day recovering from my New Years Eve celebration watching films back to back. It started with Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Richie Rich, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ratatouille and now, one of the films I can never watch too many times, with the actor who never tires, Robert De Niro in Analyze This. Because I absolutely adore this film, and am always amused by De Niro’s right hand man Jelly, I just had to make a note of this quote.

Analyze This

Jelly: I’m gonna get a bite to eat. You wanna sandwich or somethin’?

Guard: What kind of sandwich ain’t too fattening?

Jelly: A half a sandwich.

Inspired by Leon: The Professional

Is life always this hard or is it just when you’re a kidLeon: The Professional 1994, written and directed by Luc Besson. Starring Jean Reno, Natalie Portman and Gary Oldman.

After returning from dinner last night, slipping into PJ’s and hanging out in the bedroom,  my boyfriend asked me, ‘What film do you want to watch tonight?’ This is the habitual question that one of us asks the other each night we spend at home. The other always answers,  ‘I don’t know – do you fancy something old? Something funny or…?’ It can go on like this for a while, till eventually one of us loses interest. Last night my answer was, ‘I want to watch something that moves me.’ 

And, well, I most certainly was.

‘Allora, come stai Leone?’ ‘Bene’ The opening line said.

Yes! Last night I watched Leon:The Professional and yes, ashamedly, it was the first time I’d seen it. Leon, starring Jean Reno and Natalie Portman was made in 1994, written and directed by Luc Besson. Those very first few lines hooked me instantly, but the second I saw a tiny Natalie Portman, sitting in a hallway smoking a cigarette, I was completely enthralled.

There’s something I’ve always found truly bewitching about Natalie Portman – I love to watch her. But this performance completely and utterly astounded me. She was a mere thirteen when she made this film, but her acting is absolute perfection. She appears to have mastered her talent, yet she seems so natural and believable. In comparison to someone such as Dakota Fanning, who I can appreciate may have honed her talent and be a brilliant actress – but in my opinion, doesn’t seem to possess that naturalness that Portman does at this age.

In Leon: The Professional Natalie Portman plays Mathilda, a daring, loving and intense twelve year old girl, and Jean Reno plays Leon. When I asked my boyfriend what the film was about, he described it as a story of a professional hitman, but this does it no justice. Ultimately it’s a love story. Albeit, it’s hard to decipher what kind of love grows between Leon and Mathilda. Initially it appears to be a fatherly daughterly love, but their relationship evolves and at times I thought the film may have been gravitating towards something more sordid, like Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita.

However, regardless of the age difference between Leon and Mathilda, strangely their relationship never seems quite as tawdry as Humbert and Dolores. In fact, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments in the film where I found myself wanting Leon to admit his love for Mathilda and, admittedly, for their love to manifest. Whereas in Lolita, I detested Humbert and the entire ordeal – as you’re supposed to.

The beauty of Leon is that you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to feel. Throughout the film I longed for Leon to address their age difference, for him to tell Mathilda that they couldn’t love each other because it was wrong. Even when Mathilda has decided that she’s ready to make love to him, his only reason for not doing so is because he won’t make a good lover. This would have been the expected juncture in the film for Leon to express any form of concern he may have had about their age – but he doesn’t. 

I’m not quite sure if Leon ever officially confirms what kind of love he has developed for Mathilda. But this is what makes the film so beautiful and powerful. We all know that Leon loves Mathilda in the same way she is ‘in love’ with him, but we just want to hear it – so we can understand and decide how we, as the audience, should feel about the situation (‘should’ being the operative word). The fact that Luc Besson never gives us that satisfaction is sheer genius. Even as I write about the film this very minute, my unanswered questions still linger and I am still very much haunted by the fact that I wanted Leon and Mathilda to fall in love and ultimately – I shouldn’t have.

All the wonderful and beautiful moments from Leon

There are so many wonderful and tender moments in this film – and a lot of them take place with very little dialogue at all. It’s definitely the small details, such as the way Mathilda takes on the habbit of pouring Leon’s glass of milk for him or the way she tucks him into bed –  the only night they share a bed, that makes this film an absolute masterpiece. I’m tempted to say it’s the best I’ve ever seen.

The Trailer

“Please open the door…” Mathilda

Mathilda: I was more of a mother to him than that goddam pig ever was.

Leon: Hey don’t talk  like that about pigs. They’re usually much nicer than people.

Mathilda: They smell like shit.

“If you don’t help me I’ll die tonight. I can feel it.I don’t wanna die tonight.” Mathilda

“Let’s play a game.” Mathilda

” Leon, I think I’m kinda falling in love with you…” Mathilda

“I want love or death – that’s it…” Mathilda

“A girl’s first time is very important…it determines the rest of our lives actually…” Mathilda

 12 minutes in: “I’m sick of watching you sleep in your chair. We’re gonna share the bed.” Mathilda

You can’t love a film till you’ve seen Leon.

Leon: The Professional 1994

 

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Good Will Hunting

Do you buy all these books retail or do you send away for, like, a shrink kit that comes with all these volumes included? Will Hunting

There’s so much dialogue I could pull from Good Will Hunting and so many one liners that are absolutely amazing, if I wrote them all in this blog post I’d probably end up rewriting the entire script. However, Matt Damon‘s monologue at the NSA interview never fails to give me goosebumps and the ‘It’s not your fault’ scene with Robin Williams never fails to bring a tear to my eye.

Interviewee: The way I see it, the question isn’t why should you work for the NSA, the question is, why shouldn’t you?

Will: Why shouldn’t I work for the N.S.A.? That’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot. Say I’m working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself, ’cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with, get killed. Now the politicians are sayin’, “Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area” ’cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number got called, ’cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some kid from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ’cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And, of course, the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And they’re takin’ their sweet time bringin’ the oil back, of course, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin’ play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain’t too long ’til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy’s out of work and he can’t afford to drive, so he’s got to walk to the fuckin’ job interviews, which sucks ’cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin’ him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’, ’cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I’m holdin’ out for somethin’ better. I figure fuck it, while I’m at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

 Good Will Hunting – simply genius.

1997 Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

Alber Elbaz for Lanvin Quotes

Inspired by: Alber’s Philosophy at Vogue Online 

I have always adored the work that Alber Elbaz has done for Lanvin, in fact, just as much as I adore listening to him speak at fashion shows or reading his interviews in the magazines. I delight in Alber’s humour and lightheartedness just as much as I covet a Lanvin asymmetric black dress worn with long black leather gloves, or those wonderful court shoes with the contrasting ankle strap and, those to die for statement necklaces that have the ability to make the simplest of ensembles dazzle. Unfortunately, I don’t possess the pecuniary strength to adorn myself head to toe in Lanvin, but I can afford to bank the quotes of the charming Alber Elbaz.

Lanvin, Alber Elbaz ceative director at Lanvin

“I don’t understand this marathon of fashion,” he said. “Today, designers are expected to produce work that is bigger, better, faster and – these days – cheaper. A singer can quit once he or she has made ten great songs, a director can finish once he or she has made five amazing films, a writer just needs to write three great books. Now let’s look at designers – they produce six to eight shows a year, most designers have a 20-year-long career, so I need to create about 250 collections in that time. Not even Danielle Steel could write 250 books.”

“I don’t take drugs because if I did I’d love them – I’d be a junkie. And because I’m Jewish, I’d probably be a dealer too……I don’t go out to parties because I’d look terrible in pictures. My escape is television – it’s like meditation to me.”

“At Yves Saint Laurent I felt like the son-in-law, like I was part of the family but not quite….When I was fired, I felt like the widow. It was painful and destroying, but it didn’t crush me. I have never been Alber from Saint Laurent, just like I’m not Alber from Lanvin. I am just Alber short. And I am very short.”

“I thought about becoming a doctor,” he said. “I am a hypochondriac, so it made sense to go into medicine – I like nurses, I like hospital food, but I thought ‘ten years is too long to train…'” 

“Yves Saint Laurent gave women power, Chanel liberated them and when I joined Lanvin, I thought ‘what do I bring to women? One day, I received an SMS from a friend in New York – she was in a taxi on the way to court to face her arsehole ex-husband, and she said to me ‘Alber, I am wearing a Lanvin dress, and I feel so protected.’ That to me was the biggest compliment I ever received. To have a 500 gram piece of silk make her feel protected – that made me very happy indeed.”

Read the entire article at Vogue.co.uk 

A Quote byJim Jarmusch

A Quote byJim Jarmusch  on Inspiration and Imagination…

Illustration by Sahara
'Where I Live' An Illustration by Sahara Charles

I found this quote and fell in love with it…Creative journeys can be just as masterful as the final masterpiece…

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

 Jim Jarmusch

 

The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger

“If a body Catch a body coming through the rye…………..”Holden Caulfield

There are no words to describe the simplistic genius of this book…J.D Salinger’s Holden Caulfield declares his struggle to utilise the most effective language to articulate himself, yet his his voice and the language he employs to convey his outlook on the world ironically creates a perfectly articulated character, whose observations and opinions I so frequently delighted with agreement.

The acute observation required to write such a character as Holden, who at large is a pretty typical adolescent boy punctuated with moments of greatness, is admirable. Salinger’s Holden is so powerful that you lose Salinger entirely and follow the words of a character that genuinely seems to have his own soul. This novel exemplifies the brilliance of a simple character driven tale.

Quotes

If I could I’d quote the entire book…

Holden: I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even,  and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera.

 …

Holden: “I am always saying “Glad to’ve met you” to somebody I’m not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.” 

Holden: I think if you don’t really like a girl, you shouldn’t horse around with her at all, and if you do like her, then you’re supposed to like her face, and if you like her face, you ought to be careful about doing crumby stuff to it, like squirting water all over it. It’s really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes. 

Holden to Sally: “You ought to go to a boys’ school sometime. Try it sometime,” I said. “It’s full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day…”

Mr Antolini to Holden: “I’m not trying to tell you,” he said, “that only educated and scholarly men are able to contribute something valuable to the world. It’s not so. But I do say that educated and scholarly men, if they’re brilliant and creative to begin with – which, unfortunately, is rarely the case – tend to leave infinitely more valuable records behind them than men do who are merely brilliant and creative. They tend to express themselves more clearly, and they usually have a passion for following their thoughts through to the end. And – most important – nine times out of ten they have more humility than the unscholarly thinker. Do you follow me at all?”  

Mr Antolini to Holden: “Something else an academic education will do for you. If you go along with it any considerable distance, it’ll begin to give you an idea what size mind you have. What it’ll fit and, maybe, what it won’t. After a while, you’ll have an idea what kind of thoughts your particular size mind should be wearing. For one thing, it may save you an extraordinary amount of time trying on ideas that don’t suit you, aren’t becoming to you. You’ll begin to know your true measurements and dress your mind accordingly.”

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” Holden

The Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010

Film List: Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen

Written and directed by Woody Allen, starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates

For the lovers of 1920’s literature, the dreamer, the romantic and anyone who just happens to adore Paris…

Midnight in Paris a Woody Allen film

Granted, this is no Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but any opportunity to slip through time and escape to an era where one can mingle with the Fitzgerald’s, talk literature with  Hemmingway and roam the streets of Paris during the roaring twenties isn’t one I’ll ever miss.

Corey Stoll, who plays Ernest Hemmingway, is a particular favourite in the film. And yes, that is Carla Bruni in the trailer!

Dialogue and Quotes

Ernest Hemmingway to Gill Pender on Writing 26:34 into the film

Hemmingway: What are you writing?

Pender: A novel.

Hemmingway: About what?

Pender: It’s about a man who works in a nostalgia shop.

Hemmingway: What the hell is a nostalgia shop?

Pender: A place where they sell old things, memorabilia and….does that sound terrible?

Hemmingway: No subject is terrible if the story is true, if the prose is clean and honest and if it affirms courage and grace under pressure.

Hemmingway to Pender on making love and fearing death 34 minutes into film

Pender: Were you scared?

Hemmingway: Of what?

Pender: Getting killed.

Hemmingway: You’ll never write well if you fear dying. Do you?

Pender: Yeah I do…I’d say it’s probably, maybe my greatest fear actually.

Hemmingway: Well it’s something all men before you have done, all men will do.

Pender: I know, I know –

Hemmingway: Have you ever made love to a truly great woman?

Pender: Actually my fiance is pretty sexy…

Hemmingway: And when you make love to her you feel true and beautiful passion and you for at least that moment lose your fear of death?

Pender: No, that doesn’t happen.

Hemmingway: I believe that love that is true and real creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well, which is the same thing and when the man that is brave and true looks death squarely in the face, like some rhino hunters I know, or Belmonte who is truly brave, it is because they love with sufficient passion to push death out of their minds, until it returns, as it does, to all men and then you must make really good love again….Think about it.

Gertrude Stein to Pender on the Artist 101:51 into the film

Gertrude Stein: We all fear death and question our place in the universe, the artist’s job is not to succumb to despair but  to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence

More details on Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris here