Tag Archives: fantasy


D18/004 Book review: The Secret Garden

Week 1, 2018
Turku, Finland

Book: The Secret Garden
Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Theme: Fantasy / children’s book
Thesis:  Discovery of life by a 10 year old girl through a “secret garden”.
Read on: 28.12.2017

I confess that during the Christmas’s holidays I read this book twice.  I started reading this book aloud to my niece. Then after some pages  and afraid we will not have time to finalize the book, I read it all through on one night.  Later my niece made sure that I before leaving I should finalize reading her the book. So I read it twice.

For me the books has many messages. Even that it was written over 100 years ago (the first one was originally published on 1911),  its message I felt it current.  The main character, Mary, is a 10 years old living in India. She is from a wealthy family ans she is  mainly surrounded by servants. She might not be alone but she was lonely. Suddenly her life changes, when her parents passed away and she is taken under the custody of his uncle in England.

Once in the manor of his uncle, she started to gain awareness about life. She has several adventures and discover an important secret: a garden. Her life then start to be surround and connected to this garden.

That will be my very brief summary of the book. All the characters have something to contribute, e.g. Mary’s cousin, her “helper” and the brother of her helper, a gardener, her uncle….

Personally I think one can get immerse in the book and get a lot of messages from it. I read it in Spanish, and these two quotes are  from my favorite ones:

“La magia funciona mejor cuando la haces to mismo.”

“Del capítulo XXVII – En el jardín”

Una de las cosas que la gente comenzó a descubrir ene l siglo pasado es que los pensamientos – solo simples pensamientos – son tan potentes como baterías elécticas, tan beneficiosos para uno como la la luz del sol, o tan malos como el veneno. Dejar que un pensamiento triste o uno malo se meta en tu mente es tan peligroso como dejar que se meta el microbio de la fiebre escarlatina en el cuerpo.”

Those were some of the reflections that I found fascinating and so current. In the following link there is many more quotes from the book.  Also one can find an interesting analysis of the book on this link.

The only aspect that I did not like much was that at moments the descriptions of the landscapes were slightly long for my taste. However that does not subtract in any level the richness of enjoyment that the book brings. At least for my niece and myself there was a moment that we could not put the book down, we just wanted to keep on reading!

I highly recommend the book to anyone, and I wonder why I did not read it as a child?

Cover of the book I read, “The Secret Garden” in Spanish.

— cais

Film review – The Never Ending Story

Week 11, 2015
Joensuu, Finland

Title: The NeverEnding story
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Year: 1984
Country: West Germany
IMDb: 7.4/10
Thesis: The power of the imagination
Watched on 13.3.2015

The first time I saw this movie, The Never Ending Story, was probably in 1984. I remember look at the film in a movie theater in its release in México City.  I recall, I just loved this film.  The movie truly touched me.

The narrative of  the Never Ending Story film is knitted upon two stories. One story focuses on the mythical land of Fantasia, which it is being destroyed by “the nothing”. The nothing is the consequence of people not using their fantasy any longer. Thus, the less humans use their fantasy the more Fantasia is destroyed by the nothing. Therefore Fantasia needs urgently a hero to safe this magical kingdom. The hero has to find, beyond the boundaries of Fantasia, a human child to safe Fantasia. 

The second story is in our “reality”. A boy named Basting is passing through a difficult period in his life. His mother just passed away, he is being bullied by some boys, he is not doing well at school and his imagination is his only scape from his reality. However, his father aims to bring him “back” to earth and insist to Basting to stop being in a fantasy world. After a conversation with his father about paying attention to real life, he was walking to school and start to be persecuted by some bullies. Basting hides from his bullies in a book store where the clerk introduced him to an “ancient story book” entitled Never Ending Story. He actually temps Basting to read the book. Finally, Basting “borrows” the book and reads it at his school’s attic. Once he started to read the book, he is drawn into the mythical land of Fantasia in which he is part of the story, he is the only one who can safe this mythical land.

The film knits these two stories: the one that belongs to the real life of Basting and the one belonging to Fantasia. The connection of these two stories is, in the film, through the imagination of Basting.

If one looks at the film with the eyes of someone who believes that one can actually change the fate of something the story connects with the viewer in a deep level. It gives you strength to believe, because the movie stresses the inner desire that individuals have to believe.

In its time, when I saw the film on the 80s, I sense the film so vivid. As I mentioned earlier, I just love it!

Looking the same film 30 years later, my memories prevail and got reinforce. I love the narrative of the film and it is one of my favorite movies. But as an adult, one perceives life differently than 30 years back. Perhaps my connection to the film nowadays is less emotional than the first time I saw in in the 80s being now more rational (how sad!).  After seen the film in 2015, I still like it and it still holds fond memories. The film moves  me, but I do not know if it is for the film or for my memories connected with the film.

Imagination and the capability to believe is something so important and difficult to keep.  Unquestionably, I must read the book which it is waiting for me. The reason of my less immersive experience might be in the technology.

Technologically talking, the film does not give me the impact as it did in the 80s. The technology is not impressive anymore. Well, in 30 years we had seen astonishing digital productions. What I found interesting, I am more impressed on the use of the camera and acting from some films of the 50s  (as the filmed I recently from Buñel, los olvidados) than the NeverEnding Story. How much the film message relies on the technology might deserve an analysis on its own. I skim through the review of  Tomas Caldwell related to the Never Ending Story and he also touches the technological aspect of the film.

Paradoxically, the reason why I came to see this movie again is because I need to gain inspiration on representations. Let me explain, we need to sketch destruction without weapons. Then I remember in this film Fantasia’s destruction was not through wars or weapons, instead it was though the “nothing”. Hence, I came to see  how the narrative was expressed visually within the movie. To see through my eyes again and not only through my memories.

I have fond memories and connection to the film from the 80s, which I cannot change. I wonder if the same connection would be made now if I was looking at the movie for first time. I do not know. However, from my personal point of view The Never Ending Story  is a film worth to watch, no for the “technology” (which for the 80s was very good) but to enjoy an expression of the power of the imagination within a film narrative. I beautiful story!

To finalize my post, a complete journey to the 80s with theme of the film by Limahl :

Also you can watch The NeverEnding Story film on line from ffilms.org address.


more games

Last night Andres and Roman were playing with a computer game, of the type of clouds. Flow quite nice.

Another game, which I found cute is snowflakes, a bit different in relation with the flow, but as well interesting.

Now, what it makes me “think” in moments as this one, when I am full of energy and I can’t really think, for my own internal noise as a result of excess of a need of activity. Which by the way I have enough things to do, but all of them need my concentration, which I can’t get right now ‘cos my inner is spinning, without asking me. I wonder how to put out some of this power, in a more productive way without much concentration or thinking, and being in the place I “should” be, as behaving accordingly in a classroom or meeting, but at the same time, using this “chaos” energy, no just controlling it…… that is something to think about….