Moonlight

I watched Moonlight after it won Best Picture and I wonder if it may have raised my expectations because it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. Moonlight follows the life of Chiron as he struggles to discover who he is and how to live his life but with the added difficulty of his sexuality (and thus the effects of having to suppress himself as he grows into adulthood). It is separated into three parts, each one showing Chiron in a different stage of life with its own set of difficulties, and how he has learnt to adapt to them as he begins to understand more of life, and how it works.

The first part was the best, after that it seemed to slow down to a crawl towards the end. The scene where Juan was teaching Chiron how to swim was so endearing, and most definitely my favourite moment in the film. There’s just so much happening there, and it was so beautifully shot. Mahershala Ali, despite how short his screen time was, really cemented his position as a great actor in my books (I can’t believe I only discovered him now, the other appearance being Marvel’s series Luke Cage).

For the final part, instead of feeling tense, all I could think about was to get on with it, you can see what’s coming (not saying it’s predictable because if the outcome is the natural choice then it should happen) but by the time the final emotional scene was going to hit, I just felt out of it. And it’s not like the ending wasn’t poignant, it was, but for me it seemed like the film ended much weaker than it began.

 

Silence

I was left with the feeling of discomfort churning on my mind once the credits began rolling, and I couldn’t even pinpoint why that was the case. When asked about my thoughts on the movie, I was silent. I couldn’t even articulate what I felt, if I had any thoughts at all and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

The film was beautiful though, the fog like an ominous foreshadowing of things to come. But it felt long, and it was long as we get dragged through to the end. Also, Andrew Garfield is proving himself well on his way to becoming an outstanding actor after watching him in both Hacksaw Ridge and now Silence.

I should probably say something about the film before leaving. Silence is a film about faith. There’s the conflict between religion and morality and much suffering in between.

A lot of suffering. In silence.

And also faith. In silence.

 

Project: Knight and Squire

Something new today!

A few months ago I helped make some costumes for a student film, it was a fantasy and there were two characters. A knight and her squire.

For the shirt I ended up using a costume pattern, Simplicity 3519.

I made it out of linen since it’s a great natural fibre to use and heavier than cotton. The colour of the fabric is actually an off-white like bone but that doesn’t matter anyway since I’d have to age the shirt after. Overall, it looks quite nice and has a great texture!

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Practically finished here, just haven’t hemmed the bottom

The pattern was quite simple, only needed to gather the body and sleeve piece that attaches to the yoke, gather the ends of the sleeve before the cuffs and the v-neck facing top-stitched to keep the edges smooth. I was a bit lax on the ironing, yes very bad, it makes your seams so much nicer when you iron them down properly but I didn’t want to constantly walk back and forth from the ironing board and sewing machine. To age it I just soaked the entire shirt in tea, and then used a more concentrated version or coffee on areas that would be more dirty (such as along the back where you sweat, underarms, sleeves and bottom edges) and rubbed the teabag along the seam lines to make it seem like dirt and dust had gathered there.

Next up I made the leather vests to go over the shirt/tunic. Unfortunately I was only working with pleather cause it’s the cheaper option but I was going to make it as awesome as possible. I made two vests, the longer one for the knight.

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Vest for squire attached together at side and shoulder

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The knight’s vest looking a bit more complete

For the vests, I altered a basic bodice sloper by making the neckline a bit lower and adjusting the armhole for a sleeveless cut and then just cutting down past the waist for the knight’s version. I also lined the longer one with fleece to add weight and make it thicker since the pleather was so thin. The first time I sewed it together, my stitches were too small and tight so it bunched up the fleece as you can see in the armhole of the above picture. I had to unpick it all and do it again! I didn’t line the squire’s because I wanted their to be a difference (but really I just didn’t want to sew the fleece again) and finished the vests by sewing in lines to add detail.

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Eyes everywhere!

Now it was time to add the corset opening on the front. I marked where the eyelets were to be places on both sides and started hammering away until voila!

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Used a bit of scrap pleather to tie it together

Well, the vests are all done but now it was time for ageing and to make it look a bit more leather-like so I used some brown acrylic paint and painted over the fabric, sanding it down and then added more layers. I used more lighter shades around the underarm and eyelets, and on the sides and bottoms where it would be more worn.

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Squire’s vest gradually being aged, taken in my room

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Finished knight’s vest all aged with paint and sandpaper, taken outside

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Nice-looking stitches back here.

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Here’s the comparison between original fabric and the painted version. Quite a big difference!

I didn’t do this until the last moment (literally meaning the shoot was going to be in two days and I decided I should add some more details). In the brief backstory that we made up, the knight was to be from a family with a wyvern crest so I thought we should add scales to her vest. It was tedious but I started cutting rows of scales from the pleather and then arranging it into a tail-like formation. I used sticky tape on the back to keep it in place while I painted over it in blue just to see how it looked.

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Scales in different row sizes!

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Taped down and looking great!

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Practically finished here, just haven’t hemmed the bottom

There’ll be a picture of it later but I only managed to make that one piece for the shoulder. I would have loved it around both shoulders, front and back and maybe some pattern along the bottom too but I started this too late.

Finally no knight is complete without a magnificent flowing cloak around their shoulders. I used suede on the outside and lined it with some pretty curtain fabric. The pattern is just a trapezium, the width at the bottom longer than the top cut on fold and the hood was just a semi-circle but I can’t remember the specifics of how I attached it right now other than that it was gathered around the neck.

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And to finish it all up, here are photos of how it all looks together. The extra little cape thing on both characters is just some chiffon rectangles sewed together for a nice drapey effect.

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Meet the squire.

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And the knight with her scales.

Oh, for the green drapey cape, I began whipping the edges to finish it (it’s suppose to be another form of gathering as described here) and is pictured below if you want to know how it looks and want to replicate it. As you saw in the above photos, I only managed to do maybe three or four sides before I moved to more important things (it was because for some odd reason I made these green capes first, then moved on to make the rest of the costume but never had the time to come back and finish it) but it looks great!

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NZ: Rest after Gold Rush

Today we were finally going to reach Queenstown.

We passed by the Cardrona Hotel in the morning and decided we should be good tourists and visit (and energise ourselves with some caffeine). It was quite cozy, we were seated on rather tall stools surrounding a studded square table, taking in the sights of protruding stone walls, dusty beer bottles and beer posters while enjoying a large cup of hot chocolate (that was quite a mouthful). Jermi was feeling peckish so he ordered the southern chicken wings which he only thought were okay and washed it down with their ale. Apparently nothing beats that good ol’ Texas Chicken we had on the first day.

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Capturing the moment of hot chocolate bliss?

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Waiting in the cold to meet my fated chicken companion

To my memory, I think there was a little gallery or some sort of art shop open next door that our art friend went to browse around while the other half waited outside. In the time I wanted to take a typical tourist photo outside the hotel next to this vintage car but there was a constant stream of visitors driving past and walking by so I gave up and waited against these wooden planks. And to my delight a chicken walked by, clucking quite angrily mind you and strutting about in a huff like it owned the place (it probably did). I dubbed it Chicken Anne.

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Look at that nice layer of fog

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Onward to Queenstown!

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We passed through Arrowtown and stopped to look at the history of the gold rush era.

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And the little rock and metal sheet houses the Chinese who moved here to try find their fortune lived in. They were really small, and very low. Our tall friend Blizko had to crouch to walk through the door and pretty much took up the height of the house.

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Not very roomy in here

We browsed around the streets filled with souvenirs and stuff, bought candy and chocolate, the boys went a bit crazy over some pie and headed into Queenstown to check in  for the rest of the week and then leisurely walked the streets.

It was an nice rest day for us.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

You should feel all warm and gooey inside after watching ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ because it’s the door that opens to all the confectionery goodies you can dream of. Julian Dennison and Sam Neill, who play our mismatched duo of orphan and bush-uncle? are strangely charming as they go on the run, and their interactions will keep you smiling (or tearing up) until the end. There’s also a great supporting cast, from Aunt Bella and her cat jumpers (and adorable dorky birthday tunes), to that really tenacious social worker with her dense sidekick and we must not forget the awkward priest because doors.

So watch this film because it chose you. You are part of the skux life. And it’s freaking majestical.

NZ: Catch a Fish for the Ride

I could feel that today was going to be a great day as we left the misty mountains behind us.

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Our morning was not to be late for our arranged date with some fine looking cheese. We were also heading in the diretion of Twizel and the Ben Ohau Station where The Battle of Pelennor Fields in the LoTR trilogy was used as the film’s location.

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It’s like entering a new place every 15 minutes

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Look how pretty all the landscapes are!

We arrived at Ben Ohau Road Cheese at the same time as the owner who had just come back from putting out signs to their quaint little location. He was very welcoming and led us into their backyard to take a seat while he prepared the tasting. While we waited, the owner’s adorable daughter in her awesome roller blades offered us some freshly picked peas from their garden that were super sweet and refreshingly cold.

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Making cheese in a storage container

There were three up for tasting, Aorangi Tangy, Ohaulloumi and a firm cheese that I’ve forgotten the name of served with some lavosh crackers. The halloumi was the sure favourite, it was deliciously soft and melted in your mouth that all of us bought a piece each. We also left with two cheeseboards to go which contained the other two cheeses, a bag of crackers and homemade tomato chutney, spiced pears and this amazing spiced pear jelly that I wanted to buy a jar of.

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That spiced pear jelly, yum!

We continued driving towards Wanaka and passed a sign that said ‘Salmon Fishing here’ so we thought why not and went to Ladybird Hill. We were horrible, we failed at fishing. We’re fishing noobs. (Well only Chris and Blizko since they were the ones who cast the line.)

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Quite the romantic spot for our fishing buddies!

While Chris didn’t snag anything during his try, Blizko managed to catch a lively one which was given to the staff to be prepared and smoked. As more people arrived to catch fish from the lake we heard that we caught the smallest fish in there. Nice one Blizko!

Ah well, we arrived at our accommodations in Wanaka, picked up some groceries and then went to the Cardrona for quad-biking! Apparently the rain was chasing us so we got geared up quick and ready to roll up the mountains. It was amazing! We weren’t able to reach to right top because of the clouds but the views were great. I didn’t get the chance to stop and take any photos since my camera was securely in my pocket.

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The clouds are rolling down upon us!

After a great day of cheese tasting, fishing and quad biking we went back to cook up some burgers and eat the lovely little piece of salmon we fished up. It was smoked so nicely I kept picking and eating it!

And later at night we decided we wanted to watch a movie at Cinema Paradiso because sofas are cool but they were booked out. Heartbroken, we wandered to a pub instead for some local ale and then bought ice cream at Black Peak to cheer us up. Despite nostalgia forcing us to buy the Milo flavour, it was lackluster and disappointing but the sea salted caramel is a classic that tasted delicious!