Explosions in the Sky

This Wednesday was my second time watching Explosions in the Sky live. Last time had also been in Paradiso, with my friend Reüt, who at the time was still living in Utrecht. A great concert-buddy, she also liked to take photos, so we had went to the show, tried to take photos, but most of the time I had found myself blown away by music so much that I forgot to make an effort for pictures. And at the end, I remember both of us being amazed at the still-not-dark-northern-Europe-summer sky.

Now when I think of it, I’m not sure how I ended up listening to Explosions in the Sky. I know there had been a period when I was into progressive rock and post-rock bands in general (which I still am, just not all the time), and I got to know Mogwai and Godspeed! You Black Emperor etc going into a bunch of related genres from there. But I can’t pinpoint one instance of first listening to them and thinking “wow”. But listening to them, I have this beautiful and grandiose feeling, which – to my happiness – is precisely what happens when you see them live.

On stage always with their Texan flag hanging, they are a band of minimum words. Not the cold shoulder of minimum words, but a “we are so happy to be back in Amsterdam, with a bigger crowd then before” type; the one where they acknowledge and appreciate the audience, only to be buried into their music until the very end.

Surprisingly, this happened to be one concert, where the constantly talking Dutch audience was sushed by others, and kept quiet in-between songs or transitions. Usually, what happens is that they can talk over any song, as loud as they wish, and telling them to be quieter works for about one song at most. Yet I appreciated that they were respectful, somehow more-so than other concerts, and were taking it in.

There is also a strange joy of looking around Paradiso to see the heads moving with the song, in unison, everyone paying perfect attention, taking it in. To me, this is exactly the thing about seeing them live. Sitting/standing there, music rushing at you, going through you like wind, and being taken elsewhere for the time being.

gael garcia bernal

Eventually, every blogger who watches good movies will end up having a post related to Gael Garcia Bernal. It is kind of a tribute you have to do. Either because you think he is hot, or because you think he is talented. He is both. Usually in the same film. In the Latin American Film Festival this year, I got to see his two new(ish) films; Tambien La Lluvia and Rudi y Cursi and decided he was more talented than hot in both of the movies. Especially watching them in the same day, I got to see how diverse his roles are and can be.

In Rudi y Cursi, Bernal’s character is a small town Mexican with big dreams of becoming a singer with no talent for singing whatsoever. The film depicts his story and his brothers, who are brought to Mexico city to play football in 1st and 2nd league teams, where both of them rise to stardom and get in trouble for their “side activities”. The film is funny, but not really a comedy. It is serious, but not really just a drama. It’s a little bit of both, with no happy ending, but also no sad ending. And a legacy of a so-bad-it-is-bad Mexican country version of “I want you to want me” (Cheap Tricks).

Gael Garcia Bernal, Carlos Cuaron and Diego Luna by stardusttrailers.

On the other hand, Tambien La Lluvia (Even The Rain in English) is a drama. The film is about a Spanish director, played by Bernal, and his crew who go to Bolivia to shoot a film about Columbus and his explorations (and his abuse of the Indians). The film crew finds itself in the middle of a conflict between the Bolivian actors portraying the Indians and the Bolivian government over the privatization of water supplies for unaffordable prices. The film subtly but still openly shows the parallel between the two stories.

I don’t recommend watching these two films on the same night, unless you really wish to have a Gael Garcia Bernal marathon, but I do recommend both movies.