The Universe. Some scratches of Beryllium. Diving. The Navel of the Galaxies. Maybe god. Maybe the void. Maybe you. Maybe it's just cryptical

Friday, November 23, 2007

Barcelona: Films, Gaudi and Friends

Constellation: Cetus (The Whale)
Mood: Indifferent
Song: Toast * Tori Amos

"I thought I'd see you again.
You say you might do
Maybe in a carvingin a cathedral
Somewhere in Barcelona."
Toast - Tori Amos

I have been in Barcelona in October for the organization of a festival of Arab Films related to Human Rights. I went there as a supervisor since I was the coordinator on the event.

For the first time, I was not working with an established festival, but an NGO which wanted to screen Arab Films that tackle human rights. So I had to deal with the distributors, the screening fees, the invitation of the directors, the visibility of our program, the promotional material, the shipment of the films and other different matters.

The event went very well. Many Catalonians showed a great interest for the films, but what is even greater is that Arab communities in Barcelona made the move to come, watch and discuss the films.

As to Barcelona, it's a strikingly beautiful city. Everything is in shape, and it's easy to get around because the streets are mostly all parallel and perpendicular to each other (except in the Barcelona Cathedral area where you'd get to walk in enchanting narrow paths).

And when one visits Barcelona, there's one name that's recurrent: (Antoni) Gaudi. This Spanish architect from Catalonia has his art sprinkled in the four corners of the district's capital.

Known for his idiosyncratic designs, Gaudi was a Master of the Art Nouveau, and as some call him in Barcelona, the "Architect of God." His most famous work is the yet-unfinished Sagrada Familia, a gigantic Roman Catholic cathedral which he began to construct in 1882 and is intended to be completed in 2026. Wikipedia reports that, "according to According to the newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya, 2.26 million people visited the partially built basilica in 2004, making it one of the most popular attractions in Spain."

There is also La Casa Batlló (photo above), whose original local name Casa dels ossos means House of Bones. It has a very visceral silhouette and is intended to have the shape of a whale's spinal column.

That brings us to talk about the Whale Constellation (Cetus).
Located in the Southern Hemisphere, it sways in the "watery" region with constellations as Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus (the River).

In Greek mythology, Cetus is supposed to be the Nautical Monster which was to about to swallow Princess Andromeda, daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, before she was saved by Perseus. The legendary hero was riding the winged horse Pegasus after emerging victorious from his battle with the serpent-haired Medusa.
All the previous constellations are found in the Winter skies: Cassiopeia right next to Cepheus, Perseus holding the head of Medusa, chained Andromeda lying between Pegasus and Cetus, the Sea Monster.

Cetus is a very big constellation. Its main attraction is Mira, the first variable star to be known, which can be as bright as a 2-magnitude star, and can subsequently drop, within 331.65 days into a very dim 10-magnitude star.

Photo credits:
Top Photo:
With filmmaker Jocelyne Saab during the presentation of her feature film, Dunia.

Bottom Photos, in order:
With filmmaker Sabine El-Chamaa, an enchanting person who presented a poignant short film in the festival: Black on White.

With longtime friend Maral, a distinct gem in the whole universe. If you didn't exist, I would have invented you (worse: I would have not been in Korea!!!) It was a blast to see you in Barcelona!

With filmmaker Jad Abi Khalil, producer of the video letter From Beirut, to Those Who Love Us. Jad is a colleague of mine at the office, so it's physical torture in the office and outside, as you can see on the photo!

With Belhassan Handous, fiancé of one of my dearest friends. He's a mixture of everything you can imagine. And that's what makes him a very fun and unique creature! I met him in Tunisia, and was amazed to see him again!

With Maral, Belhassan and Rafi, eating Patatas Bravas and sharing a beer :D

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Blogger manuch said...

God! you look terrific!!! I love your Job, and you even complain!!!

10:18 AM, November 25, 2007  
Blogger Sylvain Cavaillès said...

looks like you had a great time, this made me nostalgic of bcn :(:)
hope you're fine

12:50 PM, November 25, 2007  

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