Favorabilis

A blog by its nature is rather a personal thing. Readers do not look for objectivity or impartiality but rather for personal opinions, recommendations (be that for travel, food or, you name it), general advice, criticism or whatever topical genre one might be looking for.

 

On this Favorabilis page I will occasionally recommend personal preferences and favourites, be that for books or movies, music or restaurants, places or people. It could become one way of sharing.

 

Starting with a film, Water is one of the movies that I most enjoyed over the last six months or so. I went to see it twice, and I will probably go and see it again. It is a film by Indian moviemaker, Deepa Mehta.

 

Water was nominated for an Oscar last year, but did not win. Not that this would influence my movie preferences. But this is important: it would be much better to see this film on the big cinema screen than at home on the small TV box, in my opinion. 

 

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One of my all time movie favourites has got to be Black Cat, White Cat (1998) by Serbian film director, Emir Kusturica. You may have seen Time of the Gypsies (1988), or Underground (1995), which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes. I would actually recommend all three films, but I have my doubts as to whether many non-Europeans can make much sense of the sometimes bleak Balkan humor and anarchic lifestyle and vibrance that is being exhibited. Have a bit of courage; be brave. You will be thoroughly rewarded.

 

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Music next. I love music. I could not live without music. The beauty to me, as far as music is concerned, is the richness and immense variety of music that is available to us, today. The sad thing is, on the other hand, that most people seem stuck in their musical tastes. Most people don’t listen to anything but the mainstream, from Beethoven to the Beatles, and the conventional, from Pop to Classics.

 

Let me entice you to try something different for a change, something vibrant, fiery, passionate and beautiful: Qawwali. Qawwali is a vibrant musical tradition that stretches back over 700 years. Originally performed mainly at Sufi shrines throughout what is now India and Pakistan, it has also gained mainstream popularity. This one here is performed by Faiz Ali Faiz, Duquende and others and comes in an attractive book cover, containg two CDs and one DVD. Great stuff. My personal favourite track is the exhilarating ‘Ya Mustafa’ at 18’47 mins.

 

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Now books. Here’s an Egyptian novel that you should not miss: ‘The Yacoubian Building’ by Alaa Al Aswany. It is available in English, French, Arabic etc., and I, for one, was thoroughly immersed in its spellbinding, multi-layered story. Even if you have not been to Cairo or Egypt, this story makes for a rewarding read.

 

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A mountain walk across Europe, spanning 10,000 kilometres and a strenuous hike over 500 days, is reported in Nicholas Crane’s book ‘Clear Waters Rising‘. This is a great book about a great walk. The book is as much about a remarkable achievement as it is an enjoyable read. Okay, I may be biased. As I have done a 850 km walk along the Camino de Santiago myself, last year, my mind can get close-ish to Mr Crane’s tasks and tribulations, even though my own endeavours are eons away from his extraordinary adventures. I have not raised my hat for many fellow human beans recently, but I did and do so for this observant adventurer and his enthralling accounts about the ways and caminos between Cabo Fisterra and Istanbul.

 

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Enjoy. And please, feel free to leave a comment. 

 

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