Friday, 20 July 2018

Paris in July - The 3 French Films I loved

In 1989 Alliance Francaise started the French Film Festival in Sydney. Not sure when it started in Perth, but I only became aware of it in the last 5 or 6 years...
The French Film Festival movies are presented over 3 weeks in March/April every year and films are always shown at the Palace chain of cinemas known for their small rooms and international film shows.
In March this year I managed to catch one of the French movies showing at the Luna Leederville, and apparently it was been considered this year's most popular movie.
It happens to also be my favourite of the ones I've seen this year too!

Demain tout commence - with the English title "Two is a family", with the actor Omar Sy playing a reluctant father to a little girl he didn't know he had until his English ex-girlfriend shows up and leaves him with the baby.
He was living a carefree life in the French Riviera and it all changes at that point. He then embarks on a trip to London to find the baby's mother and with the help of a French speaking man he meets at the train station takes on a job as a film stuntman.
After spending a lot of time with the little girl, he learns how to be a father and everything changes for him...
The little girl played by Gloria Colston, born in 2007 to a French mother and American father, DJ Lord Jazz, who is also a hip-hop artist known as DJ Glo, plays a fantastic role in her first movie. 
Omar Sy who I first saw in the film "The Intouchables" and who impressed me then, plays the role to perfection in this movie.

You can watch the trailer here, with English subtitles.


The Intouchables that I also saw during one of the French Festivals a few years ago, went on to win first time actor Omar Sy the "Cesar" - for best actor in 2012, the first time a black actor won that award in France.  He was previously known as a comedian.
The film's global success have also made him an international star with roles in X-Men, Days of Future Past and Jurassic World.

In this movie, based on a true story of a friendship between Philippe, a Parisian millionaire who is quadriplegic since a paragliding accident and Driss, the young street smart ex-con he hires to be his live in carer.
Although from two very different backgrounds the two men bond and form a close relationship through humour and honesty.  A very uplifting film!
            Image result for the intouchables                                      

You can watch the trailer here, with English subtitles.

Not as significant or touching as the two films above I've seen another movie with Omar Sy called Samba, a comedy-drama from 2014.
Here he plays an immigrant from Senegal, Samba Cissé who works as a dish-washer in a Paris hotel and has managed to stay under the radar for a decade. After a bureaucratic slip-up he is detained and ordered to leave France. But he finds an ally in Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) an emotionally fragile woman who volunteers at an immigration advocacy center, who fights for him to stay in France.

Image result for samba film

You can watch the trailer here, with English subtitles.


Thanks for joining me for Paris in July. Visit Tamara for links to more Paris and French-themed posts!   Linking with Paris in July.

(film posters and film clips from the net)

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Sydney - Food and Friends and last day - Day 5 and 6

My husband had booked a table for 10 at Casa do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant in the suburb of Marrickville (Sydney), an unassuming restaurant in the hall of the  Marrickville tennis club. It seems to be a meeting spot for the Portuguese community, sports people and the local residents who know where to get good food 😋😋. 
So on Sunday 17th June we left home early under the watchful eyes of the neighbour's cat to catch a bus into the city and then a train to Petersham.
Sydney trains are double-decker unlike the Perth ones and their seats are interesting in that they can be turned to face either way depending which way the train is going.

The neighbour's cat watches us, the double decker train and the Marrickville tennis club

We arrived earlier than we needed to, so we had time to stop for a coffee and a Berliner with custard for Jose and a hot chocolate and Portuguese custard tart for myself at the Sweet Belem bakery. Before we left we bought 3 Broas (corn and rye bread loaves) which I love and which I brought to Perth, I already had clients for 2 of them...

Sweet Belem cake shop/cafe, our coffee and hot chocolate and cakes, the Broa (bread) on top of counter

After our pit-stop we caught another bus just around the corner to Marrickville.
As we alighted I saw an interesting market on the side - the Marrickville Organic market at Addison Road.
We meandered through the very interesting market where you could find old books, funky clothing, plants, organic fruit and vegetables, honey, fresh seafood, and there were lots of food stands, tarot reading tent and even mini ponies for kids to ride.

Marrickville organic market
Marrickville organic market. An automated recycling station for bottles and cans which I had never seen before

After leaving the market, with the help of GPS on Jose's mobile, we walked for about 10 minutes until we arrived at the Tennis Club where the restaurant was. On the way were some good looking cute Victorian cottages. 

Victorian terrace houses in Marrickville
We were the first to arrive at the restaurant close to midday, and it was packed with a crowd of elder Spaniards having some kind of celebration, eating to the sound of danceable Spanish music.
Glad our table had been booked as there weren't many tables available, not for 10 people anyway.
I ate baked codfish with potatoes and ended the meal with the sweet Molotoff pudding made with egg whites and caramel sauce.
At the end of our meal, my friend and I still joined some Spanish couples and danced a couple of dances. And believe or not we only left the restaurant at 5,30!! 
One of the guys offered to drive us home which was nice.

Codfish with potatoes, Molotoff pudding, bread, butter and olives, our table and the Spanish crowd

My flight back to Perth was at 5,30pm on Monday 18th June, so I had plenty of time to still do something in Sydney during the day.
In the morning I packed my carry-on suitcase and caught the bus into the city centre.
At the Circular Quay station I asked if they had a storage facility so I could leave my suitcase and walk around unhindered. The lady at the Opal Travel kiosk indicated one across the Passenger Terminal not too far away. For the sum of $9 I left my bag at the Smarte Carte baggage storage, and was asked to pick it up by 4pm.

I walked around the Rocks area - the touristic and historic area established shortly after the colony's formation in 1788 and one of Sydney's most interesting areas in my opinion.
I walked through the Argyle Cut tunnel that gives access to Darling Harbour and Millers Point to climb Observation Hill on the other side of the tunnel and visit Sydney's Observatory. On the other side of the tunnel was Garrison Church, the first military church built in colonial Australia, with the first service in 1844.
A film crew with their big vans parked around the corner was all over the Church's entrance, so I didn't go in.

I climbed Observatory Hill and was surprised at the 180 degree million dollar views from the park over Sydney Harbour and Sydney bridge and Luna Park in Milson's Point. There's also a bandstand and a lot of public art.

Around the corner is the Sydney Observatory built in 1858, serving as a public observatory and a museum with free entry.The central tower features a time ball which signalled the time to ships and to the General Post office in Martin Place, and it's still raised to the top of its post and dropped at 1pm every day. 
There was an exhibition with old photos of some of Sydney's areas and another about the ravages that the weather can wreck with heavy rains that can cause floods, or heat waves that can melt candles like a surrealist painting. 
Sydney Observatory. The time ball is at the bottom of the tower
Before and after photos of Sydney and the Ravages of the weather

When I left the Observatory it had started to rain and I had to rush back to the luggage storage depot.
Under the Argyle Cut bridge there was a bridal couple taking cover from the rain with their photographer.
I picked my bag, walked to Circular Quay station and caught the train to the Domestic Airport, arriving about one a half hours before my flight time, so I sat down and read a book I had taken to read and hadn't read.

Sydney Bridge, The Argyle cut and the bridal couple taking cover from the rain
On the 4,30 hour flight I watched "The Post" a film with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, which I enjoyed and then a few episodes of a TV series "The Bold type", light, funny and could be addictive watching.
And so ended my 5 day stay in Sydney.

Casa do Benfica1 Centennial Street, Marrickville, Ph: (02) 9569 8058

Hours: Wed to Sat 11am–3pm, 6pm–9pm, Sun to Tue 12am–3pm
Baggage Storage by Smarte Carte, Shop 43, 1/3 Hickson Rd, The Rocks NSW 2000, Ph: (02) 9247 1709.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Monday Mural - The Greengrocer

Another fabulous mural I found by chance in District VII (Jewish quarters) when we were walking to dinner one of the evenings.
The grocery shop, roof repairer, window cleaner - scenes from daily life are portrayed in this gigantic wall that can be found oKlauzál Square (near Dob Street).

From information I read online the lady at the entrance of the grocery shop is actually Zsuzsa néni (Auntie Zsuzsa) from the grocery store Lumen located just a few doors down, and some of the other characters are also based on locals.  
First painted in 2012 by Neopaint Works, the wall later suffered water damage and the artists repainted the mural in 2016 and added new characters to the very popular mural.

Aunty Zsuzsa at the shop's door and an elderly couple on the balcony above
The roof repairer and the window cleaner
The cat on the ledge and the window cleaner

Aunty Zsuzsa and some shoppers

 If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you; just follow the Linky steps below.   Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sydney - Castlecrag and Chatswood - day 4

Saturday 16th June, was a lovely sunny day and after a leisurely breakfast I tidied up the little granny flat where my husband lives, while he replaced my mobile battery....or should I say he managed to destroy my phone, as the screen is frozen, and I'm unable to use it!
I was upset as I had no idea the operation might not work out or I would just stick with charging the phone twice a day as I was doing instead of replacing the battery...

Anyway, Jose had with him a mobile that a friend had given us when we went to Europe in April, so he put my Sim card in that phone and set it up with all my apps and accounts, which was good, but I still can't get used to that phone and I'm hoping my tech-savvy son will be able to rescue my mobile one of these days.

After that we decided to go for a "countryside" walk. 
We took the bus and alighted two stops later at the Quadrangle shopping village on Edingburgh Road where we started our 1,5km walk towards  Sailors's Bay via curved streets with names of parts of a castle - The Rampart, The Scarp, The Bastion, The Citadel...

At the entrance to the affluent suburb of Castlecrag was a lovely green sculpture with water running down it - The Griffin Memorial fountain by sculptor Bim Hilder  from 1965.

Some of the houses, The Quadrangle shopping centre and the Griffin Memorial fountain

 Castlecrag area was originally owned by a struggling London based company who though that the steep and rocky area was unfit for development, when in 1919 American architect Walter Burley Griffin in partnership with the Greater Sydney Development Association made them an offer to buy 650 acres with more than 6km of water front land and got it at a lower than anticipated price. 

Walter wanted to design a model suburb sympathetic to the Australian natural environment where town planning should respect the natural character of the site's landscape and also focus on establishing a sense of community in the suburb.
Together with his wife Marion Mahony Griffin also an architect and landscaper, they designed and helped build 15 houses in the suburb which were characterised by the use of concrete and stone found at the site matching the natural surroundings, flat roofs to avoid obstruction of views, and with the living rooms at the rear of the house facing views or parks.

On researching Mr Griffin I learned that he won a competition to design Australia's capital - Canberra - and Mrs Griffin was one of the first licensed architects in the world and equally responsible for the design!  A decade later they embarked on the Castlecrag development and subdivision project.

The curved roads lead us to a narrow street downhill to the Middle Harbour peninsula.
Sailors Bay  was at first hidden from view by lots of trees and then all of a sudden there it was, the calm water, the dozens of boats, multi-leved houses on the margins, the sun casting it's golden glow on the water ...  Magical!!

A couple of men worked on their boats, painting, fixing motors...while we walked around admiring the views and the calmness around us.  We had thought we would find a coffee shop down there, but sadly no such thing.

Eventually we gathered our strength to start the uphill climb, very hard on the knees and legs, lol...
There was a bench, and other small statues along the way which had a QR code which my husband read with his QR scanner on his mobile, depicting the story of the suburb and Walter Griffin.

We were back at the Quadrangle shopping village at around 4pm, and decided to take the bus to the suburb of Chatswood, a 30 minute ride, to go and have dinner there and also watch the Chatswood lights festival.
It wasn't as impressive as the Sydney Vivid lights festival of course...but we still had a great night out. The lights went on at 5,30pm and we sat on the steps of The Concourse watching the show for a few minutes.

The Concourse (photo from the net)
The Concourse is an entertainment venue home to a range of live arts, function centre and conference facilities.
The 360 degree projection with NASA's imagery took viewers on an immersive dive into the universe, the stars and the planets.

The main street and a couple of side streets were closed to traffic and the area was full of families enjoying the lights festival, eating out at the numerous food stands.
All of a sudden we saw a group of youngsters "playing drums" on tin cans and on the common Australian rubbish bin, their clothes covered in lights. The Junkyard Beats, were very popular and had the crowd following them all over the street.  I loved it too, it was fun.

The Junkyard Beats
The Westfield shopping centre also lit up, the Junkyard beats headquarters, a sea of pink balloons
Other Light installations
After wandering around we couldn't decide on what to eat from the food stands and decided to go eat an hamburger and sweet potato chips at Grill'dthey make great and "healthier" burgers.
And after a main meal what better than a Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce for dessert, from one of the food stands?  That was a bit too sweet for me actually, but I ate anyway!

From a lot of the advertising, shops, street names, and the people around I gathered that Chatswood has a big Asian community as everything was written in Mandarin? and I even saw an Estate Agent whose window adverts for houses to rent or sell were just in Chinese characters.  I actually found that to be unacceptable, as we are in Australia so why should everyone who doesn't speak that language be excluded?

Our Belgian waffle, the food stands, one of the Chinese translated adverts
And at about 10pm we were done with our sightseeing and walked to the bus stop right by the station and caught a bus home.