This post is a shameless excuse to tell you about an excellent movie by the name of Past Lives. I was lucky enough to see it at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre in September, and it was the perfect venue. That being said, the TIFF theatre is pretty much the perfect venue for anything. It’s a gorgeous, glamourous, multi-story affair that screens untold cinematic gems. The biggest difference between a theatre like the TIFF and your neighbourhood cinema is that the movies shown are curated by experts in the field. It’s not just the latest films to hit the big screen after distributors secure the rights to show them. The selection process is based on the quality and individual merits of every work. Equivalent to an art gallery or a museum, but in movie theatre format. If you’ve never been and you live in the GTA, you must rectify this immediately. If you’re under 25 and you haven’t been, you really need to rectify that because you can often get tickets for free. And so I went one Friday in September, making the long voyage on the subway downtown, because I was successfully targeted by Instagram’s algorithm and a well-made ad.
It did not disappoint. It’s a lengthy, meditative, tranquil time that, nevertheless, would not suit every personality type. If you’re not the type of person that can sit still for hours at a time and passively experience something, this is not the film for you. However, if you can get yourself in a mindful place (keeping in mind that the relentless pursuit of productivity is a losing cause), you may relish the opportunity to take a few deep breaths and settle in for a while.
The story follows Nora and Hae Sung, beginning with their childhood friendship. A transition point comes when Nora moves from Korea to the United States (by way of Canada). Their paths move in separate directions for a while, but the connection between them is never lessened or forgotten. As the years go on, and they become adults, they find each other online — as the internet has enabled us to do. The capacity for something like Facebook to reconnect friends on different sides of the planet is given an almost magical quality here. The rest of the film is devoted to their efforts to grapple with the strength of their connection, given the realities of both their lives. When we see friends we made when we very young, how does that inform our other relationships? And how do we reconcile everything that person meant to us as a child once our lives have changed in monumental ways?
Before anything else, thanks, Sumayyah, for the inspiration for this post! I’ve quickly gotten used to wearing a ring, which, thankfully, doesn’t attract the attention of any evil entities. It also doesn’t turn me invisible, which is a bummer, but that’s life I suppose. It doesn’t even have an inscription on the inside, though maybe that was a missed opportunity. Aaaand there I go, referencing The Lord of the Rings1. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, and maybe as a librarian, I shouldn’t be admitting this… but I liked the movies more than the books in this case. Though I did read the books way back in high school. If I remember right, I read The Fellowship of the Ring, then started Two Towers, got annoyed by the lack of Gandalf and even Tolkien’s writing style at some points, and then just stopped mid-way through2. Then the movies came out. I watched the first but didn’t keep reading. Then I watched the second and decided that maybe I should finish the books before the third movie came out. I did that, but I still don’t have any desire to return to the books, whereas I’ll watch the movies again every now and then, even in their extended format. But now I’ve used a paragraph talking about the obvious choice for this topic… Without even introducing the topic within my intro, as I’ve just realized4. For those of you who don’t click on my copious links5 or read the titles of my articles, today I’m focusing on powerful jewellery in fantasy, and I’ll be introducing a few trinkets that, while maybe not as well-known as The One Ring, are perhaps shiny enough to draw your attention to their source material.
On October 5th, part three of the acclaimed Lupin series will finally air on Netflix. One of my favourite shows, Lupin is an adaptation of Arsène Lupin by Maurice Leblanc, a classic French story about a world-famous gentleman thief and master of disguise. (Heads up: the show is also in French, but since I’m pro-subtitles even for my native English, I don’t mind this.)
Lupin had me thinking about the allure of gentlemen thieves—criminals with hearts (and motives!) of gold—and I thought it’d be fun to feature media of similar noble crooks.
But first, let’s define the term. According to TV Tropes, a gentleman thief has “…roguish good looks coupled with a breeding and style that manifests as a suave and debonair manner. He’s usually a charmer, too—think James Bond without the government authorization. He steals for the challenge/pleasure of the job and generally avoids violence while restricting his targets to those who can afford the loss.”
While gentlemen thieves are usually male, that’s not always the case. No doubt, several examples of such thieves have jumped to mind, but first, let’s start with some real life representatives of this trope!