Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The Magus - the movie

Apparently I was wrong. There was a '68 movie released and Antony Quinn did play Conchis. I swear I had not read that far down the wikipedia posting on the book - I was so right. Quinn is ideal for the role. I will definitely watch the movie as the entire cast seems up for the job. Despite bad criticism I shall watch it - shame if it was not a good one as the book is ideal base for a movie

here is the wikipedia note:

A film version was released in 1968, directed by Guy Green, and written by Fowles. It starred Michael Caine as Nicholas Urfe, Anthony Quinn as Maurice Conchis, Anna Karina as Alison, Candice Bergen as Lily/Julie, and Julian Glover as Anton, and was filmed in the island of Majorca. The adaptation, however, was a failure. Michael Caine himself has said that it was the worst film he had been involved in, because no one knew what it was all about. Woody Allen said "If I had to live my life again, I'd do everything the same, except that I wouldn't see The Magus."[1] The Magus was commercially released on DVD in the US on October 17, 2006 .

The Magus

Regarding my Naxonian holidays I will talk in several following postings. One good thing that came out of it is that I had lots of time on the beach sun..baking and reading. The first book I finished was The Magus by John Fowles. It was highly recommended from a US cisco colleague. It is the story of an Oxford graduate who wants to get away from the UK and choses to go to a deserted Greek island. Story is taking place a bit after the WWII.
There he is involved in the psychological games of a local rich man that keeps himself isolated on his villa where strange things happen.
At the end, our hero undergoes a really crash course in psychoanalysis and his ... torturer, the Greek mysterious man saves him about 20 years on the couch, something he would not have done. And he turns from being an egocentric arrogant intellectual to a person that is now trying to deeply understand others. It was not easy and in the process he almost lost his sanity. In fact, the Magus was a bestseller, partly because it tapped successfully into - and even arguably helped to promote - the 1960s popular interest in psychoanalysis and mystical philosophy. It has been recently featured on the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels, #93 and #71 on the Reader's and Critics' lists, respectively.
As a read, it is definitely written skillfully and there are several twists in the story so that the reader stops guessing what is going to happen next. This is the kind of books that should be turned into a movie as the heroes and heroines have roles that require extremely good acting skills. I would see Conchis - the Greek rich man - played by Antony Quinn, he would be ideal of that role had it being filmed while he was still playing. The description of Phraxos, the island where the plot is taking place (in real life it is Spetses) is fantastic. Most importantly how the author describes Greece, it is something I have never read in another book before. Not so much the country, but its people and the spirit of the nation seen in the eyes of a foreigner who redefines himself in the simplicity, austerity, mysticism, beauty, divinity that Greece makes him discover.
It is a great companion for the chaise longue

1. More detailed description of the story you can find on wikipedia. John Fowels is an acclaimed author who among others wrote The Collector & The French Lieutenant's Woman
2. The cover picture is the one of the first edition. Current editions have a different cover

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


Recently I made again the exercise of re-writing my resume. A task that makes me feel strange. From one side it is a piece of paper where one tries to write the best achievements of their life, career wise.
However, the real achievements can not be written. These have to do with strengthening one's character, with having to put up with people that are abnoxious, unprofessional, political, unfriendly, jealous, and make your life a living hell. After working for about 20 years, I find that the biggest achievement in my life is that of tolerating people that I don't necessarily get along and managing to get the best out of them in any common project.
Endurance, patience, persistence, building talent, listenting to criticism - lawful or unlawful - saving face, learing from mistakes, learning not to trust, learning who to trust, managing to find intrinsic motives, remaining visible, empowering others, getting along with your manager, engaging colleagues, making it to the end. I find these some of my biggest achievements that unfortunately can not be mentioned.
My guess though is that any experienced manager should be able to get the level of maturity of the candidate for the job at the first interview. The question is how much are they taken under consideration in the hiring process


36 hours to go - own image to be posted shortly, along with an update on Zizou's adventures. Patience

Remembering Heath

Undoubtably you must have noticed by now that I have become a huge fan of Heath. I was before I knew he died. After watching the Batman movie he has made my top 5 list. Jack has been holding the top spot for years, but is now challenged from an actor his calliber. Jack will probably keep the top spot as Heath has been with us for a short time. He has managed to show so many different faces. I am deeply saddened by his loss. Clips below from Candy, The Grimm brothers, Wish I was there, Casanova, Brokeback mountain, 10 things I hate about you

He should get it

I did watch the movie and Heath is fantastic. Anything I can say is not enough. Amazing performance, impossible to believe that it is the same person that played his other roles. His mannerism, laughter, moves, gestures, voice, everything was different about him. The movie is filled with a 5-star cast, but they all lose their shine when compared to Heath. Even Michael Caine, even Morgan Freeman, even Gary Oldman. But their roles are not that interesting anyhow. Batman is all about his costume. Joker is all about evil. Only Aaron Eckhart may stand close to Heath's performance (btw, I would strongly recommend George to watch Aaron in his 'Thank you for smoking' role, a film making fun of smoking, I am sure you will enjoy it)
Coming back to the batman movie, it is a must see, only because of Heath. And a few times over and over wouldn't hurt. As a movie, oh well...

Here you can watch Heath talk about his favorite role

Heath's fellow actors and film industry experts all agree: HE IS AMAZING

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Post mortem oscar

When Heath Ledger was found dead in January this year, I immediately felt a great loss. I have never met him, the loss was not personal, but as a cinema lover, I felt the art of making movies lost a huge asset. Even though he was only 28 when he died, his immense talent was obvious in every movie that he played portraying such different personalities. The gay cowboy role that made him famous in Brokeback mountain, was one of his later roles. I've watched him in his earlier roles in aussie movies and he was fantastic. In brokeback mountain, he was simply awsome. He portrayed his character so clearly that he was relevant to everybody, not only to reserved in the closet homosexuals living in an unforgiving environment.
He has also been a most beautiful, charismatic, funny, clumsy and self-sarcastic Don Juan I have ever seen.
Apparently his performance as Joker in Batman begins - a film so much anticipated in theaters - is so extraordinary that all his fellow cast have asked that his performance is nominated for an academy award. Michael Caine - he is also enriching with his divine presense the movie - said that Heath's Joker character was 10 times scarier than Nicholson's Joker in Tim Burton's movie, immensely scarier than Hanibal Leckter, and equally - if not more - sadist and insane as Denis Hoper character in Blue Velvet. Michael said that Heath was the scariest vilain he knew.
If nothing else, I am looking forward to see that movie to pay my respects to this marvellous actor gone so soon leaving us with only a fraction of his unbelievable talent.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Lessons from superior beings

Need I say more? Only that of course animals are definitely superior to humans.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Helios accident, 3 years later

Many times things happen and we shiver. The Helios airline accident 3 years ago was one of them. 121 people died. The pilot forgot to adjust the oxygen levels in the cockpit and he and the copilot fainted. They blocked the door. Andreas Prodromou, a stewart who also was a trained pilot, managed to get in and lift the plane. He managed to fly the plane for as long as there was fuel. Had there be enough fuel left for 10 more minutes, Andreas would have landed the plane and noone would have been killed. The F16 pilot that was flying alongside testified that. Andreas did not try to land in Spata. Perhaps he was afraid for more deaths. Noone knows that.
Three years have passed and we forgot. When we remember we shiver. The same is true for so many instances of unfair loss of fellow men. But there are some people that remember every day. Twenty four hours a day. For ever. And their life will not be the same. But they manage to live. And they live for as long as they can. And they will always carry their grief. And will always value what is important in life. People that have lost a child are always marked with an outstanding amount of maturity and endurance. Once you have seen this mark on one parent that has burried a child you recognize it in all of them.
Such a face was that of Dinos Prodromou, the father of Andreas, he was flying back to Cyprus and was sitting next to me. He was coming back from the crash site as he and the relatives of the other victims are now building a church there. To remember.
Mr Prodromou cried when we talked about the accident and the circumstances that it took place. I cried as well. And then he tried to consol me and make me feel betterand talked about life and his face lit up. The grief was still there but he was smiling.
We have to remember that we have to live and we have to remember the ones that are gone.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

OA trouble

Today I was supposed to be flying to Cyprus for a business meeting. My flight was to leave at 06.50 and my meeting was at 10.00 - Plenty of time. Well nope. One should flight to a destination that is only an hour and a half at least a day before to make sure that Olympic will keep the schedule and not divert the passenger via Rome! Yes, you read well. The 06.50 (aka the FIRST FLIGHT OUT) was cancelled and the only consolation that olympic offered to half awaken but shocked passengers was a flight to Larnaka via Rome!!!!! No kidding. Or else there was the flight the next day.
I must say that I have appreciated Aegean Airlines' employee professionalism and politeness that booked me immediatel a flight for 2pm. Of course I did not attend the meeting - my colleagues that flew the night before did. The good thing is that I did not present in that one, so not much harm done. But still. How can the first flight out be cancelled with no contingency plan is one of the worst experiences I've had with any airline. So far I have been an Olympic fan. Not anymore. The worst? You don't need a wild guess. Alitalia in Sicily..

Pugs are the superior creatures in any planet

Don't you wish you were hot like Frankie (the Pug)???

Pugs talk!