- If this shopkeeper had a chance to ask the director or writer questions, his first would be: there are at least 6 main characters and 6 others, each has their own story. So why is the story in the film's title a singular?
- There are many scenes of Cherry Blossom and Falling Petals;
- The film's primary colour tone is cool, the one exception in which warm lights are used is the Christmas scenes;
- The few scenes of stage performances (kind of film within a film), especially the last, have significant messages and share the motif of the film;
- The motif: reborn;
- Symbols of the motif the exoskeleton of a Cicada; Cherry Blossom; one of the stage performances in which a character has a new self emerged from the his old body; the giving birth sequence; Christmas; "Remembered by the Unborned");
- The obstacle to being reborned- memories. The characters (and human beings) cling on to their pasts and find themselves unable to turn over a new leaf of life ("Doesn't the survivor of a murdered family deserve happiness");
- Indeed memories was possibly a motive in the cold-blooded murder- the murderer claimed one reason he was attracted to the victim was the resemblance with his mother;
- The doll-maker was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and her memory was fading- yet she was tearing up when watching the stage performance;
*** May Contain Spoilers ***
This shopkeeper had the chance to preview Heaven's Story, a 278-minute film that is to premiere in Singapore this weekend as part of the Japanese Film Festival (Singapore) (tickets on sale on website: http://jpfilmfestival.com).
Though it is long and seems incoherent in the first hour or so, every thread comes together in the end and it is absorbing, beautiful and at the same time haunting and melancholic. To the extent that this shopkeeper was thinking to himself that he is reading a Murakami Haruki novel.
If he has some time, this shopkeeper will write more about this film, after its screening on the 29th August at The Projector.
Colouring the Lion City by William Sim. On one of the pages, one can even see in the background the building in which this shop is located.
Not too long ago, the topics of central banking and monetary policies used to be in the dark corners of the earth. This shopkeeper remembers back in the 1990s in a lecture that he attended and when a question was raised: "Who was responsible for the taming of the stagflations in the 1970s?" to which blank stares were exchanged among the attendees.
In these two books that have Mr Bernanke's name and face on their covers, the business of central banking was examined both from an outsider and insider's perspectives.
Indeed, if one prefers watching than reading, Mr Bernanke's lectures, on which the second book was based, can be streamed from the following url:
Or one could also search the videos on YouTube by using keywords: "Bernanke Lectures".
And the answer to the question posted earlier is: Mr Paul Volcker.
Five years ago, this shopkeeper put up a blog post entitled "Virus as Antidote".
He wishes to borrow the title and make a separate observation by looking at the stories as told in the two books- "Lords of Finance" and "The Alchemists".
First, the two stories share the following common backdrops:
1. both are examining a major financial crisis- in the former, the Great Depression of 1929 and the latter, the Great Recession of 2008;
2. the central players (or at least the official positions of the central players) are, except that there was one additional protagonist in the former, are exactly the same; central bankers from the USA, France and UK;
The central messages, despite the common backdrops, could not have been more different in the two books.
In the former (i.e. the Lords of Finance), the author asserted that the economic crisis that followed was the result of the economic policies that these central bankers helped to shape.
Whereas in the latter (i.e. The Alchemists), its author tried to convince his readers that the same group of people were the ones the mopped up the mess that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers and returned the house of international financial system to a state that resembled normalcy.
As a keen observer of the development of monetary policies and the making of, this shopkeeper reconciles the seemingly contrasting portrayals of central bankers' roles in financial crises by observing that, like virus and antidotes, they are both sides of the same coin (pun intended :)
Mr Alan Greenspan was interviewed on Bloomberg last night, and he was talking about bubbles (of all things) in the bond market.
Perhaps not so much as a coincidence, today, 11 August is the 28th anniversary of his appointment as the Chairman of Federal Reserve. Barely 2 months into his taking over the chairmanship in 1987, on Monday, 19 October, 'Black Monday' took place in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 22% in a single day.
After retirement from the Fed in 2006, Mr Greenspan has written a couple of books which include his Memoir "The Age of Turbulence" and "The Map and the Territory".
As we approach the months of September and October, two of the most turbulent months for stock markets (statistically endorsed by Mark Twain), this Shopkeeper is keenly watching the successor of Mr Greenspan at the Fed in charting the next course to which U.S. interest rate is heading.
The Completion of the expansion of The Suez Canal will be officially commemorated today.
Here is a book that tells the story the creation of the canal a century and a half ago. While the history aspect of the project that is touted as one of the greatest engineering achievements in the 19th century, the book touches on the people involved in the project. And as a person who likes typography, this shopkeeper was intrigued by the typeface of the book title on the cover.
Talk about coincidence. This shopkeeper is reading Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger and last week in one of the chapters, he read about the Milgram Experiment.
Earlier this week, he chanced upon the trailer of an up-coming film, Experimenter, that is based on the experiment.
Referred by Munger as one of the most famous social/ psychology experiments, he stated that many researchers had later referred to the result of the experiment to conclude that a voice of authority could alone be the domineering factor over an individual's decision-making process.
Their conclusions are, at one level, ironical (as they relied on or obey the authority of the Milgram Experiment in reaching their conclusions).
On another level, they are overly simplified. As the trailer touched on briefly when the Milgram character retorted that "no one was forced... the person has a choice", obedience to authority cannot be the only factor in one's thought process. Only by approaching the question with a multiple-model approach (Munger calls it the Lollapalooza Effect) can one be arriving at a decision more accurately.