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Missing Oversees Travel?: Visit with Emily in Paris and Welcome to Sweden

26 Jan

I love to travel!  To me there is so much joy in getting to immerse myself in different cultures, see interesting and unusual sights, try new foods and often make new friends whose life experiences are both similar and a world apart from my own.  Covid has put a hold on a lot of my travel plans, but the library has plenty of selections that can take us away for a few hours; here are two of my favorites.

Emily in Paris
Sometimes you just need an escape from your everyday life.  Emily in Paris for me was a great way to get away while not leaving the house during the Pandemic.  In the series Emily, played by Lily Collins, is given the chance of a lifetime to get to work in Paris at a luxury advertising firm.  She doesn’t speak French or understand French culture right away but gradually wins her coworkers over.  She also meets several new friends along the way including a secretly famous Chinese pop star, Mindy, played by Ashley Park, who also brings lots of charm to her role.  Unsurprisingly from a series set in the City of Love and brought to us by the creator of Sex in the City, Darren Star, Emily also encounters several potential romantic interests.  You can borrow Season One from BCCLS libraries on DVD.

Welcome to Sweden
Welcome to Sweden is another charming story about a transplant, in this case an accountant, Bruce, who follows his Swedish girlfriend, Emma, back to Scandinavia and must learn how to fit in with a new culture and possible future in-laws while falling in love.  The series is based on comedian Greg Poehler’s own life experience of moving to Sweden with his girlfriend.  The show lasted two seasons both of which are available from BCCLS libraries on DVD.  The cast is funny and includes the always terrific Lena Olin as Viveka Börjesson, Emma’s mother, and Amy Poehler as a version of herself, an American celebrity, who Bruce works for.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

Captivating Visual Dystopias: Paradise Hills and Equals

9 Dec

Recently I watched two dystopian films, Paradise Hills and Equals, that were visually enthralling with their use of color and visual metaphors. 

Paradise Hills
Paradise Hills (2019) starts with vibrant floral hues and then ends in darkness as the characters discover the truth about the facilities on a remote island that is supposed to turn the daughters of Uppers (the wealthy elite) into perfect ladies.  While the story is derivative of other feminist works such as The Stepford Wives, it use of colors and visuals is stunning and had me enthralled by this dark whimsical futuristic fairy-tale.  Emma Roberts stars as Uma and the film also features a stellar Awkwafina as Yu.  Mila Jovovich plays the mysterious Duchess who runs the facility.  The outfits the girls wear reminded me of Alice in Wonderland mixed with Clockwork Orange with the look of a whimsical white dress made out of a straitjacket.  Being oneself and speaking your mind are ideals for us all and yet too often women are still made to feel that good girls should just stay quiet and look pretty. You can borrow it on DVD from BCCLS libraries or stream it on Kanopy.

Equals
The 2016 film, Equals also use color to effect in this case primarily a lack of colors with only white being prominently featured in costuming.  Peoples’ dress and mannerisms are solely utilitarian in Equals.  The story draws its inspiration from 1984, but focuses primarily on the suppression of emotions and a forbidden love story between Nia (Kristen Stewart) and Silas (Nicholas Hoult).  It is considered a serious medical condition if people encounter Switched on Syndrome (SOS) and begin to have emotional responses to things.  As with Paradise Hills the story works best in its visuals.  The main characters work for a division that must illustrate news stories of outside conflicts, which unlike the world around them often appear in vivid color.  The film moved at a slow pace at time lingering over visual metaphors like Nia and Silas briefly holding hands, this like the monotone deliveries from the actors captures life in a world where along with negative emotions, feelings of happiness and joy are also suppressed. It is available to stream from Hoopla or to borrow on DVD from BCCLS Libraries.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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