invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

favorite films March 22, 2006

Filed under: film ramblings — clementine @ 7:29 pm

what makes a great film? for me it is one i could watch two hundred times and never tire of. one that i want to share with friends, family and strangers. one that makes me think. one that changes me. one that makes me see a person in my life in a different light. one with characters i want to meet, share a cup of coffee with, have sex with, fall in love with, run away from, cry with or laugh with. and sometimes it’s as simple as a line that stays with me for a long time. here are some of my favorite films-leave a comment and share yours.

saving private ryan (1998)
this one is personal. my grandfather landed on the coast of normandy-june 1944. he survived. after that experience he had a nervous breakdown. many months later he left the hospital, returned home, to a life that no longer made sense. he was a man of very few words. there was a real darkness about him. i did not understand him. two months after i graduated high school, i remember standing at his bedside looking at a body destroyed by cancer. he weighed no more than 80 pounds. i fed him bing cherries- it was all he wanted to eat. he never said a word. oh, how i wanted him to. i wanted to hear his stories. after his death, i mourned a man i hardly knew. years later saving private ryan was released. and it all made sense. sure, the first 3o minutes were powerful. i had no idea. really. nothing i read ever remotely described what it must have been like to land on those beaches. but what i remember most from this film would be the scene with the much older private ryan visiting a cemetery in normandy. i picked up on something so simple, and burst into tears. still do. he was walking about 25 feet ahead of his family. this is something my grandfather did. this is something i do. friends and family always ask me to slow down. they question why i am not walking “with” them. i know why. and knowing why i now understand my grandfather. i want to hold him and tell him i understand. i can’t and i miss him terribly.

fabuleux destin d’amelie poulain, le (2001)
this might be my favorite of favorites. where to begin? it’s beautifully shot. it’s the ultimate love story. i have seen this one many, many times. amelie is a character i get. in so many ways. and nino- where are you?

crash (2005)
a film i will always remember. and share with many.

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (2004)
ah, the genius of charlie kaufman. clever, wacky, random. and oh so funny and real. life is not easy. love is not easy. it can be painful. beautiful. crazy. there are many days i want to erase someone from my mind. and i am sure many would love to erase me. i am both clementine and joel—if you have seen the film, you will know why i’m single. very few want to be around a joel and a clementine. every single scene is perfect. every single line i get. just thinking about this film makes me want to believe in love again .

halloween (1978)
michael myers. i will admit i have seen this film at least 75 times. it gets better every time. horror films today are crap in comparison.

all about eve (1950)
“fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” you’ve gotta love bette davis. the film is wonderfully bitchy and witty. a nice look into the film and theater industry. marilyn monroe makes her film debut here.

a place in the sun (1951)
monty clift- oh my. and shelley winters, brilliant. i love this film.

ordinary people (1980)
a film i never hear anyone mention. and i’m not sure why. it picked up four oscars, including best picture. best director to robert redford. the first time i saw this film, i cried. i think i went through an entire box of kleenex. really. this film hurt. it was painful. powerful and real and beautiful. i will not get into why here, simply because i want more people to see this film. you should. rent it.

the jerk (1979)
steve martin at his best.

rebecca (1940)
if i could only pick one hitchcock film, this would be the one.

annie hall (1977)
woody is insanely brilliant-and i adore diane keaton.

network (1976)
like i said earlier, sometimes it takes one line:
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

mr. smith goes to washington (1939)
i’m a capra/stewart fan and this one is my favorite.

silence of the lambs (1991)
i would love to tell you why this is one of my favorites but i must go now, “i’m having an old friend for dinner.”


one man’s mountain March 14, 2006

Filed under: mental illness,stigma — clementine @ 5:07 pm
Tags: ,

stuart baker-brown plans to scale the world's tallest peak, mount everest, in april next year. and who is this man?

he is a 41-year-old man, from cerne abbas, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1996. stuart has experienced discrimination from both society and from professional careers simply because he has a mental illness.

he is a man saying what i have wanted to say for many years:

"for too long those who have suffered with schizophrenia and severe mental illness have been unfairly associated with violence and fear."

"i want to help people better understand mental illness, show them we are human beings who need to be treated normally in order make our challenge to live easier."

he believes that his climb to the top of mount everest can only help to dispel these fears. he believes, like i believe, change is needed. the mental illness stigma needs to be erased. this is why stuart is climbing everest-to inspire others with a mental illness, and to hopefully help implement change. stuart is climbing to prove to society that people with a mental illness should not be disregarded or treated inadequately. and as he says it best: simply because ‘it needs doing’.

i am not schizophrenic but depression and bipolar run deep in my family. i live it. i know the stigma all too well. and it upsets me more than i can possible express here, or at least today. you can follow and/or donate to his expedition here.


give me a reason March 12, 2006

Filed under: mental illness,stigma — clementine @ 5:38 pm
Tags: , , , ,

i recently posted and voiced my frustrations at the mental illness stigma in our country, the world. until that post i had vented only to friends and family. why? why is this still the case? why is it when i call my insurance company i am referred to a separate division? the mental health division. why is that i pick up a prescription for say, an antibiotic, it is covered. but when i pick up a prescription for a pill to help alleviate this depression i pay $271.00 for 30 pills. i live in a state with no insurance parity. it is unfortunate. i truly believed i would see a change. i had hoped this change would be sooner rather than later.

millions of americans with mental disorders do not have equal access to health insurance. many health plans discriminate against these people by limiting mental health and substance abuse health care by imposing lower day and visit limits. higher co-payments and deductibles. lower annual and lifetime spending caps.

to date, 35 states have made into law some form of mental health parity. ok, scratch that. last week that all changed. a turn for the worse. we are not moving forward, we are moving backwards. waaaay back. enter the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act, or HIMMA. this bill will override over 35 state mental health parity laws aimed at preventing discriminatory coverage of mental health services, leaving Americans without the protection those laws afforded. this bill will deny individuals needing mental health services.

i will tell you what this bill will do. we will see an increase in emergency room visits. we will see more homeless men, women and children. in the cold. no roof over their head. no warm bed to come home to. the crime rates will increase. more suicides. you can deny this, but believe me, it is true.

i am one of the lucky ones. and i say this because i found an outlet. a creative outlet. it saved me. i have a lovely apartment. a nice bed. a car. a refrigerator stocked with food. pictures of friends and family adorn my freshly painted walls. i have cable, tivo, hundred of dvds, hundreds of books. nice clothes. forty dollar bottles of lotion. too many of them. and so, yes, i am lucky. relatives of mine were not so fortunate. so many people are not so fortunate. and we are about to ignore them. not even give them a chance to LIVE and enjoy life. a life so many of us take advantage of. we are tossing them out like we would yesterdays paper. and why? with proper medication and treatment one can function and live a good life. there are days my depression consumes me but it is short-lived. because i am medicated.

approximately 57 million americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. 57 million. i am surprised more people are not asking why with these statistics. we all know someone with a mental illness. we know their pains. we are about to make it nearly impossible for these people to seek treatment. to live. to take pleasure in the small things. why are we still living in a world blind to mental illness? we remember stories like the man on the plane in miami. or andrea yates, the bipolar woman who drowned her children. try this google search: mentally ill man. 9,920,000 results. now google this: mental illness stigma. 3,760,000 results. this is the problem. we would rather report the bad. we would rather read the bad. and wonder where they went wrong. think about it. we know what happened. they went off their meds because they could not afford them. or the side effects were too much to live with. or they were plain turned away when they attempted to seek treatment.

is this what it has come to? i am furious. in a few days i will mail a check paying my $680.00 health insurance premium. give me a reason to mail this check. tell me why i should. so that when i have a “real” illness i will be covered? that is not good enough.

will i mail this check? yes, i will. because i know what will happen if i don’t. i will be dropped. i will attempt later to apply for coverage and i will be denied. or my monthly premium would be say, the cost of a mortgage payment for one living in beverly hills. i will mail this check because i am fortunate.

i will no longer sit back and take this crap. i am tired of complaining and venting to deaf ears. i am tired of the same answer-there is nothing we can do or say! yes there is. people need to get angry. people need to speak up. people need to open their eyes. and we need to do this now.


hard times March 8, 2006

i was born in the midwest. spent 18 years in the midwest. small town U.S.A. where people talked about sports, the weather, the crops and well, that's about it. county fairs, apple pies, small town gossip, white picket fences, 4-h clubs. you get the picture. nothing wrong with this- it just wasn’t for me. i longed to talk to someone about something. someone to share my dreams and fears and pains with. i did not have anyone. i was alone. and so i escaped. some turn to books or music. film became my passion. monty clift, jimmy stewart, gregory peck, bogart, bacall, bette davis, katharine hepburn.

years later i escaped the midwest. and years later i began a career in the film industry. you could say my passion paid off. but i am still alone.

i am not working and i have too much time on my hands- i have turned to music. i was downloading a few songs from the soundtrack of a film i worked on a year or so ago. we filmed in kentucky. i noticed the lyrics to one song were written by a relative of mine: stephen foster. i know that he was related to my great great grandmother on my fathers side of the family. this is all i know. after all my family doesn't talk about the past. there are many skeletons in the closet. but why dig them up? could it be that they would shatter the perfect image of the perfect family. this is what i do know of my family: depression, suicides, foster homes, electric shock treatments, alcoholism and drug abuse. this could be said for many. but we don’t talk about these things. i have attempted and failed. i want to know the stories, i want to know how to do it differently. instead i float through life trying to figure it out on my own. i long for some light in this darkness. i should change the heading of my blog. these are no longer casting ramblings. these are ramblings of a lost girl. trying to make sense of it all. just when i think i have found some light- it goes away. suddenly the world seems like such a big place and i don't know where i fit in. i wonder if i should switch careers. i wonder how i will pay my bills. i wonder if anyone will ever get me. i wonder if i will always be alone.

stephen foster spent his last years in an alcoholic haze. no longer able to command royalties for his songs, he cranked them out for a flat fee. he died at the age of 37, leaving little behind save a worn leather purse containing 38 cents and a scrap of paper on which he’d scribbled a lyric fragment; dear friends and gentle hearts…

he was alone. i do not want to be alone.

hard times
Let us pause in life's pleasures and count its many tears
While we all sup sorrow with the poor.
There's a song that will linger forever in our ears,
Oh, hard times, come again no more.
'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary.
Hard times, hard times, come again no more.
Many days you have lingered on around my cabin door.
Oh, hard times, come again no more.

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door.
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say,
Oh, hard times, come again no more.
There's a song, the sigh of the weary.
Hard times, hard times, come again no more.
Many days you have lingered all around my cabin door.
Oh, hard times, come again no more.

There's a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away
With a worn heart, whose better days are o'er.
Though her voice it would be merry, 'tis sighin' all the day,
Oh, hard times, come again no more.
'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary.
Hard times, hard times, come again no more.
Many days you have lingered all around my cabin door.
Oh, hard times, come again no more.

Tis the song, the sigh of the weary.
Hard times, hard times, come again no more.
Many days you have lingered all around my cabin door.
Oh, hard times, come again no more.
-Stephen Foster
b. july 4, 1826
d. january 13, 1864