OPINION ARTICLES


"Mental Disorders in Literature and Cinema I" Opinion António Lourenço, 2th February 2021 

We are going to start a cycle on Personalities whose evolution with age did not leave them out of their uncertainties, 'complexes' or insecurities in life, 

We are continuing to seek the psychological security, as this brings limits to their lives, becoming even a disease, varying according to the cases. 

In the Avoiding Personalities, who tend to think that their opinion is of little value beyond fear of being rejected or ridiculed, for example refusing an invitation, preferring to be silent in a conversation and not feeling comfortable. They are shy, blush easily and are embarrassed. Thus, they need support, acceptance or praise, understand them and make them understand that they are not criticizing the person, but one of their behaviors. Let's look in Literature and Cinema for some examples:  

In literature, the great philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, wrote an autobiographical novel called "Confessions," where he describes blushing, (erythrophobia) extreme shame and embarrassment in circumstances and encounters of his social life, rather than feeling intellectually and spiritually enriched.

Tennessee Williams, one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century, wrote several famous plays that were adapted to Cinema. One, a memory play, called "The Glass Menagerie" (1944) has been most represented. The protagonist, Laura, has a deviation in her foot. This deformity makes her vulnerable and insecure. Her father abandons her, so she lives in isolation at home with her mother, with her collection of glass animals. She does not take a typing course, paid for by her brother, Tom, due to this avoidant personality.

Lewis Carroll, who suffered from stuttering, felt uncomfortable among adults, and preferred the company of girls, particularly his friend Alice Lidell. He wrote "Alice in Wonderland" for her. However, his interest in a world of fantasy and abstraction-logic and mathematics, suggests that he was a schizoid personality.

In Cinema, one of several films inspired by The Glass Menagerie was directed by Irving Rapper (1950). Jane Wyman played Laura and Kirk Douglass played Tom. The play ws also adapted and directed by Paul Newman (1987) with Joanne Woodward cast in the lead.

SUPERMAN the movie (1978) is a superhero film directed by Richard Donner, from a story by Mario Puzo based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Stars Christopher Reeve, after taking off his suit of Superman, disguised  himself,  becoming as another person a humbled reporter named Clark Kent, stuck in an office even incapable of declaring his love to a girl, his collegue. So, showing traits of an Avoidant Personality. 

Anxious Personalities have several characteristics, such as excessive concerns about the risks of daily life. Excessive nervous tension and paying too much attention to risks, even the least serious events, as well as the great control of situations, causing psychological distress. Making a list of Thoughts and Mindfulness would help a lot. We found some examples, in literature and cinema: "I am not afraid of death but I would prefer not to be present when it arrives" -WoodyAllen.

Film director Woody Allen, filmmaker, screenwriter, writer, actor and American musician, embodies an anxious personality in several of his films. in the film "Hannah and her Sisters" although the doctor reassured him, he observed "yes but one day I will suffer from something". In "Manhattan Murder Mystery" he is a very anxious husband who prevents his wife, Diane Keaton, from making an inquiry.

The celebrated work of one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Marcel Proust, "A La Recherche du Temps Perdu" (7 Books), the narrator's grandmother shows numerous traces of anxiety, contradicted with a certain sadism, by her husband and more afternoon by your grandson. In the book "Portnoy 's complaint" by Philip Roth, he describes in Alexander Portnoy's famous confession deeply moving and hilarious, something lurid, with a mother, alternating between anxiety and blame. Finally, the reader will be able to discover many more works.

"Molecules" Opinion of Maria José Lourenço, 12th October 2020

Atoms and molecules surround us. These molecules are functional, have architecture, are made up of atoms distributed in space and occupy their own places. These atoms are linked to each other by special affinities and empathies. These interactions explain the formation of molecules. And molecules are not alone, they are not abandoned. They interact energetically with each other. And this attitude of attraction or rejection, of liking to be closer or further away from each other explains their reactivity and physical state: solid, liquid, or gas. Our concept of molecule reproduces images. The vital water to life is H2O. But it could be ice, liquid water or steam! Please imagine.

Human relations are measured by its affinity. So is the reactivity between molecules.And when some molecules break down to build others we say that a chemical reaction has happened. Chemistry is the science of transformations and emotions!

And the neighbours? Sometimes there is no mixing. It's like olive oil and water. And the explanation are the molecules.

The chemist takes the molecules to the laboratory, makes experiments, creates new molecules. Imagination also.

Love is like that! Fluids in endless motions. Hormones, very clever little molecules which control our body and mind. All this moves, collides and produces conflicts. A whirlwind of molecules, in a dance full of colour, harmony and happiness.

It is not easy to understand this simple process which can be complex. To solve the mysteries that go around there is a Table of named Periodic. A fantastic collection of special elements very well organized.

Exclusive is the intimacy of molecules in their essence: perfumes, paints, wine, fibers, gasolines, metals, glues, drugs, anesthetics ... they have private, unique molecules. We feel them!

"Three Women whose Madness Echoed the World" Opinion António Lourenço, 5th January 2021 

 

Florence Foster Jenkins, Natália de Andrade and Pacarrete (Maria Araujo Lima)

Florence Foster Jenkins was a singer with a very poor quality soprano voice. She sang heatedly, but out of tune, and as a result she was booed. She was considered the world's worst opera singer, but she seemed unaware of her reputation. Her wealthy husband actually hired spectators to attend her recitals, including a concert at Carnegie Hall.

What explained her cognitive deafness? Some say that she might have contracted syphilis when she was 18 years old due to her husband's contagion. Others suggest that mercury and arsenic medication that she was taking may have contributed to a degenerative mental illness and neuropsychological symptoms.

Her life has provided scripts for two famous films. One is"Florence Foster Jenkins" with the actress Meryl Streep, (who for this purpose had a singing coach). The first movie was directed by Stephen Frears, and received Oscar Awards. In this movie, Florence starts her career as a pianist and her paid teacher pretended that she was wonderful. Of course most other people barely could contain their laughter. After her first Concert at Carnegie Hall, her husband tried to buy all the newspapers with critical reviews, but one reached Florence. This was the beginning of her end.

The second film based on Florence Foster Jenkins  is "MARGUERITE" (2015) a dramatic comedy directed by Xavier Giannoli. Set in the golden twenties, it stars Catherine Frot, as a wealthy woman, who madly thinks she has a beautiful soprano voice. The movie has a rate 7.5 / 10 on imdb and was well-received by the critics, including awards of Oscars.

Natália de Andrade (1910 - 1999)

The second lady I refer to is a Portuguese woman: Natália de Andrade, a deluded Diva. However, she appears on the recording of an international CD where she is alongside other clinical cases, 12 in all, including Florence and Mary Lyn, raising admirers and mockery!

She endured a dysfunctional childhood but attended the Conservatory. The first record was at 54 years old and the last record at 76. Entitled Soprano, she became famous in "A Canção Verde", in which she would sing on TV, before the biggest laughs (which she did not hear) and with petals falling from above falling into her mouth, screaming and howling. With the falsetto imitations of humorist Herman José, she became even better known. 

A critic, Francine Benoit, praised her as a young woman, and wrote that she would have a promising career! This made Natália immersed in her self-centeredness, out of tune, with many mistakes. She screamed without technique and wildly, living in her imaginary world of love for singing and opera!

Pacarrete, Maria Araújo Lima  (1912-2004)

The third lady that came to my mind was from a beautiful Brazilian film: "PACARRETE". This film is based on a former dancer "Margarete" in French, who besides being a dancer was a teacher. Pacarrete was born in Fortaleza, but in the last decades of her life she moved to the village of Russos, where she was considered crazy! In loud screams, she warned people passing in front of her house, which she rubbed repeatedly and obsessively. 

Some said that she was upset, others said she was sweet and crazy. It turns out that the director of this film himself, in his childhood, witnessed this eccentric and sometimes aggressive figure. 

Finally, after putting on her old ballet shoes with points and her white  ballet costume, dreaming to show off once more, Pacarret again became rejected. The somewhat beautiful ending finished fair away, with the famous ballet "the "Death of the Swan''.

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