Parasite: feeding off the host

22 Oct
parasite

parasite

I wanted to see Parasite before the hype got too overwhelming. It’s like waiting in an endless line to get ice cream or coffee- after such a long wait, it can’t really be that good. And if there is crazy hype around this movie come Oscar season, I may reevaluate how I feel about it. But moments from the film- images, actions, jokes, music- have stayed with me days later. I love a movie with a good twist- and this one has about three.

What do you need to know going into the movie? It’s about a working-class family, the Kims, that insinuates itself into the lives of a wealthy family, the Parks. Yes, the title may refer to them living like parasites off of their wealthy hosts. But “Parasite” is not a simple anti-capitalist polemic. It is funny, largely thanks to the gullible matriarch of the Park family, as well as the scheming of the Kim family as they worm their way into the luxurious Park home. It is thrilling, as we watch the plot take unexpected turns. Director Bong Joon-Ho is a master of not only setting tone, but at switching, from dark humor to taut psychological thriller, in such a seamless way. The visual language of the movie is rich and tells a story itself, each corner of the exquisite Park home telling a tale, and with the obvious visual metaphor of the Parks living high above the city, and the Kims living in a basement apartment, although the high/low metaphor extends to the interior of the Park house as well. Upstairs/downstairs, indeed.

While I called “Parasite” far from a communist screed, there is righteous anger coursing through the film, especially in the second half. The patriarch of the Kims overhears the patriarch of the Parks confess that Kim (his driver) has the stench of the poor. The Kims get a glimpse of the good life in the Parks’ home, but that’s all it will be- a glimpse. As Kim tells his son, the best plan in life is to have no plan at all. Even when you have the extraordinary good luck to find yourself in a situation like the Kims do, you know it’s all a dream. You’re still the parasite leeching off of the good will of your hosts.

Matrushka: a poem

4 Jun

Painted, wooden, grinning dolls

One inside another

Inside another

Inside another.

Twist to separate the biggest doll,

Top half from bottom half.

Then find someone similar inside her.

Twist, set aside and repeat

And repeat,

Until you reach the tiniest doll,

The first.

Amazing to think that all of those bigger, heavier, painted girls,

Contained little you.

Fleabag: sex, sisterhood and that stepmother

2 Jun
Fleabag

Fleabag

You hear the hype about a certain show, and you go in cynical: surely this can’t be that good. The show is British: are people in love with it because of widespread Anglophilia? And yet, brisk 25-minute episode after brisk 25-minute episode,  I saw why Fleabag has garnered so much attention. It is often hard to watch because of the emotional honesty of the nameless protagonist, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator/writer of the show. Fleabag, as she is referred to in the credits, walks around with grief- her mother died a few years ago, and her best friend committed suicide in the near past. Her sister is awful, her brother-in-law is repulsive, and her stepmother delights in insulting her stepdaughters with a smile and a barb. I am of thinking of season one, which introduces us to this world, a bleak one punctuated by the wit of the main character. Humor is the coping mechanism in her chaotic life, and she frequently breaks the fourth wall with a wink, eye roll, or smirk. We end up coping along with her.

Season two is decidedly brighter, following the events of season one a year later. Fleabag announces to the audience at the beginning: This is a love story. And we see two parallel love stories play out: one, between the main character and an endearing, lonely Catholic priest, and two, between Fleabag and her sister, Claire. First, falling in love with the priest, the ultimate unavailable man. Both he and Fleabag lead unconventional lives, with tenuous grasps on how to embrace (or reject) their sexuality. The priest flirts with Fleabag, not seeming entirely comfortable with his vow of celibacy, whereas she admitted in the previous season that sex is more interesting to her as pursuit than act. Both characters open up to each other, and Fleabag is vulnerable in scene after scene with the priest, culminating in a tearful monologue in the confessional. Twitter user Ellen O’Connell Whittet shares an interesting theory about what foxes symbolize throughout the season and especially in the last scene (spoiler alert: only click if you’ve already watched the show). The writing is at its most insightful when both of these characters talk to each other, though there is also a memorable rant delivered by the still-luminous Kristin Scott Thomas on the pain of womanhood that reminded me of the cool girl observations from Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”.

And the other love story at the heart of season 2 of Fleabag, the one that shows its protagonists’s evolution as much as, if not more than, her affection for the priest: her sister Claire. Brittle and unsmiling, she couldn’t be more different from her sister, an open book who can’t help but blurt out what’s on her mind, especially to her rude stepmother (wonderfully played by Olivia Colman). And yet the sisters push each other to be better throughout the season, with Fleabag supporting her on several occasions, defending her from the smarmy brother-in-law from hell and providing a united front against nasty stepmom. One of the sweetest moments of the show is when the reserved Claire tells her sister that she’d only run through an airport for one person- for her.

There are so many aspects of the show to delve into. I’d love to explore the writing,  the feminism, the spirituality. Each season lasts just over 2 hours. This is two evenings, or one cold Sunday, at home. Watch the show if you haven’t already, and if you have, let me know what you think, or if you’ve bought the Fleabag jumpsuit.

A little about me:

11 Feb

Two months into 2019, I still carry the optimism of the New Year into February. A sense of new beginnings, new possibilities both professional and personal. I know that there are new things to learn and do this year. The question is where.

The following is a list of some accomplishments that I’m particularly proud of:

Hosted on WordPress, I managed a news and culture website- editing photos, translating posts, assigning articles to contributors, which culminated in a weekly email newsletter to industry peers.

I earned a Masters degree in Spanish Translation, where I translated financial, economic, scientific, technical, legal and political texts from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English. My internship was at the U.N.

Relentlessly pursuing leads, I nurtured relationships with media companies in Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Panama, and Peru, among others, signing advertising contracts with them that allowed us to run successful digital ad campaigns.

Every day I monitored social media channels for our company; it was vital in enhancing the company’s profile in the industry.

Many people have seen the script I wrote for a video explaining the findings of a months-long customer research study, to easily share the results to internal audiences.

Each and every week, I worked closely with salespeople and ad operations teams to successfully deliver highly-targeted digital ad campaigns.

So what am I most proud of? Using language to communicate ideas and tell stories; creating relationships that benefit my employer and our client alike; working closely with teams to execute and achieve a common goal. And doing so in both English and Spanish.

Connect with me here. Let’s work together.

Conózcame

11 Feb

A dos meses del Nuevo Año, aún llevo mucho optimismo conmigo; siento que las cosas van a cambiar, que nuevas posibilidades están por comenzar. La cuestión es…¿dónde existe este nuevo comienzo?

Lo que sigue son unos hitos míos de los cuales estoy orgullosa:

Manejaba un sitio de noticias sobre nuestra industria -editaba fotos, traducía las publicaciones, y redactaba artículos- todo lo que culminaba en un boletín semanal enviado por correo electrónico.

Estudié una maestría en Traducción, y durante el transcurso de mis estudios traducía textos de índole financiero, económico, científico, técnico, legal, y político. Mi pasantía fue en la ONU.

Cultivaba relaciones con empresas mediáticas en México, Colombia, El Salvador, Panamá y Perú, entre otros, firmando contratos que permitían que campañas publicitarias digitales salieran exitosamente en sus sitios web.

Monitoreaba los medios sociales de la empresa. Era imprescindible en alzar el perfil de la compañía en nuestra industria.

Escribí el guión que acompañó un video explicando los hallazgos de una importante investigación de consumidor, con el fin de compartir los resultados con un público interno.

Trabajaba en equipo con los equipos de ventas y de operaciones para entregar campañas publicitarias digitales con metas muy precisas.

Ahora bien, ¿qué une estas hazañas?

El usar el idioma para comunicar ideas y contar historias; entablar relaciones que benefician a todas partes; trabajar en equipo para ejecutar y lograr un objetivo. Y hacerlo de modo bilingüe.

Conéctate conmigo aquí. Trabajemos juntos.

Green Book: why?

9 Jan

Ever since I saw the first advertisements for Green Book, I was turned off. My reaction was visceral. In the year 2018, a movie where a white man learns that African-Americans are a-okay, who stops being racist because of his friendship with a black man, feels very outdated. And yet rave reviews poured in for this movie.

I was puzzled. Was I not giving it a fair shot? Green Book stars two talented actors, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. But it was directed by Peter Farrelly, of Dumb and Dumber fame. The movie was written by the son of the real-life white protagonist. When I learned this, it confirmed my suspicions that Green Book is more about a white man’s transformation than a gifted black musician, who mostly serves, it seems, as a vehicle for his chauffeur’s redemption. Black characters at the service of a white story.

And then I watched the Golden Globes, where Green Book won for Best Screenplay and Best Comedy. I was bewildered. Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post helped to articulate what feels so wrong about this throwback tale receiving so much praise: because it is happening in a year when Black Kkklansman by Spike Lee, Blindspotting by Daveed Diggs, Sorry to Bother You by Boots Riley, If Beale Street Could Talk by Barry Jenkins and Black Panther by Ryan Coogler were all released. So many films were made by black filmmakers with black people at the heart of the story, with fresh, original takes on race and racism. And yet Green Book gets all the praise? It feels strange, and unfair.

Needless to say, I will not be seeing Green Book. But I look forward to seeing If Beale Street Could Talk this weekend.

Bold (a poem)

3 Jan
Progressive women of color

Progressive women of color

Standing tall,

They rise

One by one

With the winds of change at their backs.

Determined

From across the land they rise:

Minnesota

Michigan

Kansas

Boston

Atlanta

New Mexico

The Bronx

The labor of a century,

To vote,

To advocate,

To represent,

Realized.

The women of this nation are rising.