Parkour Clothes – A little advice

Okay, so the TIFF movie reviews are taking longer than I thought it would… In the meantime, look at what I got today!

Training Pants

 

New training pants!

Last week, I went to my parkour lesson and I, for some strange, strange reason, decided to wear some casual khaki capris. It was raining and kind of cool, so I figured why not wear these non-denim pants and go training in them.

Turns out, that it was a pretty stupid idea for a female parkour-er.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but women’s pants tend to be a little tighter than men’s around the hips. Can you guess what needs the most range of motion in parkour? THE HIPS.

I tried to jump onto a vault without using my hands, but because I’m still kind of inexperienced with jumping that high and because I quickly found out that I couldn’t lift my leg up high enough for me to get the height I needed because my pants were too tight around my hips and upper thighs.

I won’t tell you how badly I wiped out on the gym mat. (At least I didn’t smash my face into the vault in front of me, I’ll tell you that much!)

Anyway, my parkour tip for today: Wear VERY comfortable and NON-RESTRICTING clothes. Ladies, invest in a good pair of training pants, shorts and a sports bra that’ll lock those girls in! And, don’t be a smartass and think that you can get away with mainstream casual wear. It’ll come back to bite you in the butt. (Or worse. My shin will tell you about it.)

xoxo,

B.elle

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TIFF – Short Cuts Canada Programme 4

I saw the second screening of Short Cuts Canada Programme 4 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Wednesday, September 11!

It presented 6 Canadian short films by these directors:

Paradise Falls – Fantavious Fritz
Yellowhead – Kevan Funk
A Time is a Terrible Thing to Waste – Leslie Supnet
Relax, I’m From the Future – Luke Higginson
Sam’s Formalwear – Yael Staav
Nous Avions/Time Flies – Stéphane Moukarzel

Paradise Falls – 3.5/5

A coming-of-age story about two boys who visit a haunted house in the suburbs Paradise Falls. Sonny and Dirk find themselves entranced by the house and discover that an old inhabitant is keeping them there…

The first half of the story sets up like a classic horror and uses the house’s cavernous rooms to create a very suspenseful atmosphere typical of horrors and ghost stories. But, the ghost turns out to be a “friendly” ghost that ends up teaching the two boys the bohemian way of life that she was raised with.

My Thoughts: (HERE BE SPOILERS)

I usually do like a good twist in stories, but I felt that the execution for Paradise Falls fell short. When the camera pans around the corner after Dirk slowly makes his way through the dark house with just a flashlight to reveal Elanor the ghost, it just shows a bowler hat on the floor next to Sonny, who’s sleeping.

The bowler hat had no significance in the story so far. I couldn’t connect the hat to Elanor at all until they abruptly show a flashback of Elanor with the hat on. It was too disconnected and led to a complete and, frankly, boring ending to the story.

I won’t spoil it too much, but the narration ended up overwhelming all three characters’ personalities.

(HERE ENDS SPOILERS)

Fantavious (loving that name!) chose to film with actual film instead of a digital camera and it really gave a mysterious, almost drowsy vintage feel to the entire film. Despite its shortcomings, it held a very charming story with great use of props and looked more expensive than it probably cost.

Yellowhead – 2/5

A middle-aged safety inspector is always busy with his inspections across Alberta and BC, leaving him to try and deal with his marital problems and his increasingly failing health. His travels show how his stubbornness drives him towards irreversible damage, much like the industrial effect on the land.

My Thoughts:

Um… I’ll come right out and say it. I didn’t like it. (Sorry, Kevan!)

Each scene was long and focused on something like the car’s antenna for about 30 seconds for, as far as I can tell, no good reason at all aside from showing how monotonous and boring long road trips are. We get it, he’s bored out of his mind. One set of scenes like that is enough, not 20 minutes of it!

Even though the lack of narrative structure left me wanting a lot more, I loved the camera work and how Kevan didn’t show the faces of most of the people in the short, except for the safety inspector. It did force us to focus on the safety inspector and think about what he’s going through and notice its reflection to the industrial world.

Bonus points for that burn victim.

A Time is a Terrible Thing to Waste – 4.5/5

Norman the squirrel wonders what time it is when he wakes up. It may or may not be 4am, so he stays in bed to contemplate his day, including working with too many nuts.

My Thoughts:

Clocking in at a mere 3 minutes, this short was brilliantly executed and adorably animated! Everyone’s had that feeling of dread while lying in bed and thinking about the upcoming work day. At the same time, everyone’s woken up in the middle of the night (super early morning?) and mentally debated about going back to sleep.

Leslie and Glen Johnson, the writer, brought us such an endearing story through simple watercolour and Norman the squirrel  with a almost-too-soothing narrator that 3 minutes told everything that needed to be said and nothing more.

Relax, I’m From the Future – 5/5

A time traveller from the future interrupts a suicidal man’s attempt to off himself, wanting just to talk.

My Thoughts:

Perhaps the most contemporary short in the programme, Luke delivers a fast-paced, exciting and absolutely hilarious bit that’s only 5 minutes long. Both Zachary Bennett and Rick Roberts were impeccable at their respective roles and in the semi-legal rooftop with Luke at the helm.

I found everything to be perfect in this little short from the single rooftop setting, to the character designs, their portrayals, the punchy script and especially the ending with the time traveller’s reaction to (SPOILERS!) probably breaking the time-space continuum.

Sam’s Formalwear – 4/5

Still living in the ’70s past where he reigned as prom king, Sam suffers from a comedic mid-life crisis when his ungracefully aged tuxedo-rental business goes bust and his daughter goes to prom.

My Thoughts:

Oh, where do I start with this delightfully awkward short? Everyone’s seen better days, but it’s always so awkwardly hilarious to watch anyone suffer a mid-life crisis this bad in front of his teenage daughter.

Judah Katz gave an incredibly accurate stereotypical portrayal of Sam, down to his almost delusional belief that he fits into the modern world. He seemed perfectly comfortable playing in Sam’s Italian leather shoes and oily comb-over, down to the last details of his too-cluttered car, gargling down whiskey while chatting with a fellow washed-up salesman and trying to persuade his ex-wife that he’s not a complete loser.

Although it only ran 15 minutes, I felt that some scenes could have been better handled, like the scene in the back of the police cruiser and the conversation between Sam and his daughter in his car. I loved this short, but I did feel that some parts like that felt like overkill and I unfortunately thought that Sofie’s acting was very flat.

But, I noticed that Yael’s set dresser brought a TON of wonderful detail into the short. My favourite was the license plate of the police cruiser after Sam leaves the police station that read, “AWKS 15.” I giggled and the guy sitting next to me probably thought that I was crazy but that’s okay.

Nous Avions/Time Flies – 5/5

An aviation-crazed Pakistani family makes its weekly Sunday trip to the outskirts of the Montreal airport. This time, they’re waiting for the Concorde to make its debut in the city, but seventeen-year-old Akram yearns to leave his family to fly to France and his love. Propelled by Khalil Gibran’s poetic work The Prophet, Nous Avions explores generational culture gaps and unconditional family love.

My Thoughts:

This was by far my favourite short in the programme. Somehow, Stéphane managed to show a simple, everyday concept of a surly teenager wanting to break free of old traditions with his family in a profoundly genuine way.

Maybe it was the way he had the dialogue switch from Urdu to French to English depending on the different characters. The older, immigrated generation spoke primarily in Urdu and a little English while Akram and his siblings spoke in French to each other while speaking in Urdu to their parents.

Or maybe I fell in love with the way it showed an immigrated family trying to endure the generation changes from living in Pakistan to living in Canada. Backed up by the fantastic recitation of Gibran’s poetry about children being part of a family yet still being themselves, it truly emphasized Akram’s split between him and his father.

Or maybe it’s because I related the most to this story because my family immigrated here when I was still a baby, as well. I have a good idea of what Akram’s feeling and thinking while living between the cultures.

But, it’s probably because I can tell that this is the most truly Canadian story in this programme. It shows the true heart of Canadian multiculturalism and how unconditional family love is the essence of who and what Canadian life is about.

I still have two more movies to watch at TIFF: Blind Detective by Johnny To (a Hong Kong production) and The Wind Rises by Hayao Miyazaki (a Japanese production).

Hope to see you all soon!

xoxo,

B.elle

Beginner Parkour Tips From A Beginner

Do you know what parkour is? It’s basically the art of most efficient human locomotion. So if there’s something in your way when you’re parkouring, be it a wall or a bench, you don’t go around it; you climb over that bitch and keep running.

Does that sound extreme to you? Well, it kind of is. So if you’re interested in picking up the sport/hobby, here’s some tips to get you started.

  1. Talk to professionals first or get some intro lessons down in a safe, monitored gym centre. There’s nothing worse than going out in the real world and faceplanting into solid concrete and breaking your arm in 5 places.
  2. Wear whatever’s most comfortable and least restricting, not fashionable. Trust me, you’re probably going to be moving in ranges of motion that you didn’t think were possible for a human body. If you’re a girl, invest in a good sports bra. Your boobs will appreciate how it keeps them in place and takes away some boob sweat!
  3. Sneakers. Don’t argue with a good pair of sneakers, even if they look stupid. Just don’t.
  4. Sip, don’t gulp your water. You’ll feel and move a lot better if you don’t have a lot of liquid in your stomach. Blegh.
  5. Be patient, work hard and keep moving. I picked up parkouring because I needed to get my ass back out there and be active. Sure, I saw some great YouTube videos, played Assassin’s Creed and thought that parkouring’s awesome, but I know that those parkour artists in those videos have been doing it for YEARS, not months or weeks. Like any performance-based sport, it takes a LOT of practice to even start moving fluidly at an older age, let alone flip around in free-running.
  6. Your upper body will be screaming at you the next day. Even if you do regular push-ups and chin-ups, you’re going to be doing some things that you’d normally never be doing. Be prepared for a lot of sore muscles.
  7. Accept the fact that you’re going to get hurt. This is mostly for everyone who wants to get out there and climb around stuff, but get scared that you’re going to break your arm or get paralyzed when trying out a new move. Yes, you’re going to get hurt, but they’re mostly going to be bruises, scrapes and aching muscles. Those will go away in a couple of weeks, so suck them up. I’m not going to deny that some people suffer serious injuries from bad judgement calls in this sport, but you’ll be fine if you work in a safe environment first.

    Trust me, I have a collection of bruises on my knees and shins after every class. I’m getting less and less, but you’re probably still going to get them.

  8. And finally, that leads to the most important tip I can think of: Abandon all fear.

You’re going to get hurt, you’re going to be aching like hell the next day and you’re going to look stupid and clumsy for a while. But I promise you that if you resist that fear of pain, you’ll find yourself flying over vaults and conquering that wall you could barely face.

xoxo,

B.elle

I’m not dead! (Updates)

Hello everyone!

I didn’t quite turn into a hermit, but I did want to get offline from blogging for a while. I didn’t want to keep myself on a completely scheduled posting regime because this is something I wanted to do for fun.

So, what’s been going on lately?

Work and career really threw me for a loop. I had to decide between two job offers on both sides of the country and I unfortunately picked the one that happened to fall through. Boo.

I’ve gotten into hitRECord, which is a public collaborative production company directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I apparently joined in 2011, but I didn’t really get into it until this year. It’s a bit more fun than blogging for me because the material’s a lot more creative and community’s a lot smaller so there’s quicker feedback and it’s just fun!

The end of August is always busy for me, too!

  1. My birthday was last week. (YAY!)
  2. FanExpo. (SUPER YAY! COMICS!)
  3. CNE (GIANT CARNIVAL! YAY!)
  4. End-of-summer bbqs. (WINE! YAY!)

And, this year also includes TIFF! Chris had some extra tickets to use up this year, so she managed to get me into a few of them!

Maybe next year, I’ll buy a membership with her and get in the advanced line.

Anyway, I’ll try my best to update about TIFF!

xoxo,

B.elle