Between the lines: Call me by your name

You know I don’t usually do reviews buy I do talk about art and especially about the kind of art that has an impact on me. So, I had to talk about this film. Last week I went to the cinema to find out what all the talk was about. Who doesn’t love a good love story when it’s well made and different? Well, I was amazed to discover that this film is not just a love s tory, it is so much more than that. This week we are talking about a beautiful piece of art, Call Me by Your Name, the movie – I have not had the chance to read the book YET.-

Spoilers are about to pop up so in case you haven’t watched it yet, go watch it now and come back. I cannot think why someone wouldn’t love this one!

elio and oliver

What stands out the most for me – apart from the acting, which we will examine in a minute! – was the montage and the attention to detail from Luca Guadagnino – that is the director in case you don’t know! – . The way he builds the surroundings and he makes everything feel so familiar was spectacular but also the focus on the little things needs to be commented on. I adored those brilliant shots where we can see only a part of Elio’s hair or half of Oliver, or those scenes that allowed us to see everything from different angles, like we were there, wandering around the characters, observing. Other times the camera was so still and there was no need for the slightest movement.

I am going to mention a particular scene, the one when Elio is waiting for Oliver to return as he seats outside. The music (Futile Devices by Sufjan Stevens), the camera focus and the change of colours as the sun sets and his anticipation grows is one of the best sequences in the entire film in my opinion – actually one of my favourites in cinema history! -. The way everything builds up to that moment just makes you feel so close to the character, you find yourself waiting with him, wondering if Oliver is even coming back.

Since it was a film about a young man’s sexuality waking up, we could say it was built around bodies. Of course this was even more highlighted through the shots of the statues they were supposed to be studying. The body and even more so, in case of this film the male body, is an important theme of the film – and we do get to admire it for more than two hours in one of the sexiest films I’ve ever seen! It is the amazing chemistry between the two actors that makes such an atmosphere.


So, it is time to talk about the acting and… I don’t think there is any point to waist time and refer to anything else but the last four minutes of the film. Yes, you know what I am talking about! Timothee Chalamet coming face to face with the camera and showing the world what acting is about. It is definitely one the strongest endings we have ever seen. This indescribable performance is completely captivating and will not allow you to look anywhere else.What Luca Guadagnino does here is, he makes Elio turn his back to his parents (and the audience)  in order to isolate himself so he can cry. This highlights how personal this moment is. It has happened to me and I bet it has happened to you. It is a familiar feeling to feel like you want to isolate yourself so you can express your emotions freely. But as soon as he does that the camera invades this privacy. Us, the audience manage to sneak a peak of something few directors dare to show. Well, I’m sure not every actor is able to pull off what Chalamet does here, which is four minutes of letting us into his mind without words.

The aesthetics of the film is in my opinion perfect. That is a very personal opinion but the colours and the photography is magnificent. I love how slowly and organically it goes on from one act to another. This is not a short film but I wished it wouldn’t end. I just couldn’t get enough of the characters and the simplicity and familiarity of everything when at the same time I was unable to comprehend how carefully put together everything was.

Lastly, I want to mention a few more moments that led me to call this “my favorite film of the year”. When Oliver and Elio say goodbye, they actually don’t. They don’t speak at all. It is magnificent how everything up to that moment has made words unnecessary. When Elio watches the train leave, you expect Oliver to jump out somehow and start saying all the things we didn’t hear but silence remains. Silence as the gap that Oliver leaves in Elio’s life. That is not the moment I wanted to talk about though. It is that one shot when he gets home, the one he opens the door to confront the empty room. There is no need to show anything else. That one moment is enough to make the viewer feel the absence.

Of course, I couldn’t complete this article without mentioning the monologue of Elio’s father near the end. It is a beautiful moment that makes you realise things even about your own self. The end of course is devastating but still after the father’s monologue and after seeing Elio dancing around in his funky shirt, we kind of feel hopeful and because the film with all those little scenes like the one with the bicycles and the one with the piano – a personal favorite! – captures the feeling of falling in love for the first time perfectly, it also leave you with a smile and in the mood for love.














(always late) Arrival to Ithaka


Glimpse into my life: A few days ago I finished university. I am now waiting for my graduation ceremony and there is a lot I am planning for the future: an MFA degree, as much travelling as possible, lots of writing and some work experience, of course. It is the very first step, a small victory allowing me to try for the next one. How much does it feel like one, though? – enough about me!

There is always a bittersweet taste when something ends, especially a part of your life you enjoyed as much as I enjoyed university. Of course, there is always someone with that typical saying  at the tip of their tongue: “one thing ends and another one begins”. Well, as much as this sounds helpful in the movies, in life things tend to get a little bit more complicated than that. There are people, places and habits you leave behind and the separation can be hard.

So this Sunday afternoon we are talking about the irony of dream-chase. I read a quote by Neil Gaiman recently and it instantly brought tears to my eyes because I now know how truthful it is: “the price of getting what you want is getting what you once wanted”. I usually forget quotes even the ones that really impress me but this one felt like a punch in the stomach and I don’t think I will ever be able to let it go. So let’s talk about it Let’s examine the tones of wisdom hidden in every word. 

Being people, we are made to evolve. We are made to change day by day, minute by minute and that change depends on our experiences. We’re not goldfish, we learn even from the slightest experience. As we change, our dreams alter so do our priorities and our values. That is very healthy and we should be open to it. It is  after all the only way in order to become better. But we also become more and more afraid because aside of the brilliance of independence, the always-growing strength, the depths of human affection and the beyond-the-sky levels of actually being when falling in love, we discover the edges of our pain tolerance – and there’s no such thing! -, the fear of being less than enough, the certainty that we never were enough in the first place and the realisation that life has a way of trapping us like mice inside our own choices, our own rights and wrongs, inside our minds. 

All the above make our dreams change. You wish you would dare to be that childhood fantasy of yourself and it now seams completely… impractical? Even crazy! Who are the brave ones who will dare to be it? The “brave ones” or the idiots, who will end up regretting their lack of reason in their decisions?

And so, when you reach the mountain top. It now looks like a different place than the one you once had in mind. It’s not. It is usually exactly that. It’s you! It’s your eyes that look at it differently now. With a little more fear, a little more practicality and maybe – if you’ve been smart enough to understand the paths this journey led you through to get you right here – with a little more wisdom.

So, since you’ll always end up in the wrong place because your desires will always be one step ahead of you, just try for the best and appreciate what the steps you took to get there gave you. That’s why the beautiful quote we discuss today is not pessimistic at all, when you read it a second time. It would be a curse to be completely satisfied with what you have, because the only true gift humanity was ever given is no other than curiosity!

p.s. Sorry I’ve been away! Exams were a lot to handle. I’m back to stay!

Relevant recommendationC.P. Cavafy discussed what we are talking about today lots and lots of years ago in a beautiful poem, if you haven’t read Ithaka, you can enjoy it easily. Google it!


Have a magical day,

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

Between the lines: Piano Man

It was around midday last Sunday, I was putting my make-up on when a song started playing on the radio: Piano Man by Billy Joel. I usually really like songs that tell a story, so it caught my attention. While it was going on I realized it talked about something that has been on my mind a lot lately: the feeling that you don’t belong where you are and that you could be in a better place if circumstances were different or if you had handled situations better. I have come to realize that most if not all people feel like this in one way or another.

I played the song over and over to discover its secrets and since I wanted to make a blog post referring to this, I thought I could start from those wonderful lyrics.

The song builds a very atmospheric image of a piano bar on a Saturday evening. We see everything through the pianist’s eyes although we never learn much about him compared to what we hear about the rest of the people who are spending the night in the bar. The figures are almost stereotypical and we can probably recall them in our memory. We have probably come across them at some point.

As the pianist begins to explain what he sees, he starts describing an old man who seats near him drinking his gin and tonic – he actually uses the words “making love to his tonic and gin” which emphasizes his dependency on alcohol. The old man asks him to play a melody he knew as a young man. This person is the first one who is being described and is probably somehow the future self of everyone in that place. He listens to the piano full of nostalgia, missing a life he had but he was never able to appreciate at the time just like the younger people in the bar. He looks back at what everyone else turns away from and what he probably had turned away from when he was young: his life. Now, he only lives in memories hanging on a bottle and the tunes of the pianist that will somehow let him return to what he once was.

The next person we meet is John, the barman. He comes across as a very cheerful man He always has a joke to tell but deep inside he just feels trapped. He is a friend of the pianist so he can confess to him that he’d be a movie star if he wasn’t stuck at the bar. In this case, we, as the listeners, feel like he could change that. He dreams of being an actor but remains there doing nothing about it. Of course, we know nothing much about John’s life but we assume that if he wants it that bad, he could take a risk. He says that this life “is killing him”, so does he have something to lose if he takes a risk? Is his phantasy of being a famous actor really a desire? Or is it just something he uses to make himself feel somehow like a failure?

Two men are sitting somewhere near, Paul and Davy. Paul is a novelist who doesn’t have a family. We can assume he is a cynical and practical man, since the pianist describes him as a “real estate novelist” and he is taking to another man named Davy who still works in the Navy “and probably will be for life”. Of course that “still” is the magic word that changes the meaning of the lyric. It instantly gives us the sense that Davy wasn’t intending to stay at this job but for practical reasons, he stayed. He probably had bigger dreams. Maybe he would be a movie star just like John would but he’s there now and he’ll never know.

Lastly, Bill, our Pianist, refers to the waitress who speaks with a stoned businessman. They are both lost in their loneliness trying to fight it in meaningless conversations. In the end of the song, as we are almost seeing that bar in front of us, feeling the loneliness of every single person in there and knowing that they can only get away from it for as long as a song lasts – a song by the piano man  – something devastating happens. Someone approaches Bill and gives him a tip. Then he asks him “man, what are you doing here?”.

After we’ve seen everyone else through Bill’s eyes realizing how they’ve wasted their lives and they’ll probably never be happy, someone else comes to ask the question we’ve been too busy – thinking about everyone else – to ask. What is he doing there, in this sad, little bar filled with unhappy people looking to drown their problems in alcohol instead of admitting their wrong choices? Was that his dream all along? Is anyone where they were supposed to be? Is life an endless chain of mistakes we just keep trying to cover up? Is loneliness inevitable?

I thought of the song lyrics for days. I started noticing people around me wondering how they were experiencing loneliness or what were they settling for out of fear. Let’s not lie. At some point we all do. Or… can we chose not to?

have a magical day,


glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

A little something you forgot to consider

When you look at the world you see a combination of brilliance and dirt altogether. It makes you want to get out and explore every single part of it, every possible human emotion and at the same time, it makes you want to run to bed and stay there forever. It’s like being in a huge library with a billion books. You wish you’ll choose the most fascinating ones, those that will teach you a lot and make you a wiser person but still… you cannot know the ending in advance. There’s always a risk.  It’s scary – terrifying actually – but I suppose life can give you a few things that are worth the “pain and the aches of the outcoming fortune” in the words of the Danish Prince.

It is incredible that you have all these choices concerning who you want to become and how you want to use your life in order to contribute to society. But what most people forget to mention when they talk about the endless possibilities is risk and fear. The smallest choice you make has outcomes. There’s never a win-win situation. You always have to face consequences, responsibilities and stand up for the path you took and for the person you are today.

We chose friends, behaviors, careers, lovers, places to live in and even ways to approach situations. Every little thing is crucial but there are some choices bigger than others. These are the choices that will change your life. When you stand in front of a choice this big, I tell you, it’s scary. Nobody mentions that. Everyone goes on and on about doing the right thing but… when you’re actually standing a step away from opening one door or another, you can’t see “right” or “wrong”. You can only see the regret at the end of each way and you’re afraid of it. There are paths that guarantee security and others that involve greater risk.

street artist.jpg

Making the step is hard. But no matter what you have been thinking so far, no matter what all the voices around you have been going on and on about, you have to take a step back and put yourself in the microscope. I don’t mean endless hours of worrying and re-thinking – which is something I am guilty of, to be honest – but to really stand across your deepest desire and ask yourself “Where do you want to go?”.

This process is usually so hard because we forget to keep in mind the fear that goes with it. It’s what we forget to consider when we make plans. Fear is usually a huge part of our choices but it shouldn’t be. Go with your gut. There is an instinct inside every one of us, we’ve just learned to ignore it over the years while trying to rationalize everything.

Remember back when you were a kid? You took one look at a person and you knew if you liked them or not. You went to ballet lessons for a week to find out you want to quit and then you tried piano and Italian and none of those were right for you. You knew and you were not afraid to admit you changed your mind. Nobody would call you a loser. Then, you finally tried tennis or playing the tuba and it was fun. You couldn’t see the time to go to practice. That’s what we suppress over the years, our pure instincts. We learn to like what we should like but, how will we ever be happy if we don’t risk walking the road our heart tells us it leads to happiness?

Charles Bukowski said “Go all the way” and he was right. If you don’t go all the way, you’ll never know. It takes a huge amount of courage to stop thinking of every little thing that can go wrong and focus on your pure desire. Don’t be afraid of it. Take a step on the path your heart points at. There must be some reason. Show it some trust and you’ll eventually find out why it took you there.

Have a magical day,

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

We do not suffer by accident

Jane Austen claimed through Elizabeth’s voice in Pride and Prejudice that our suffering is our responsibility and in a way our choice. She didn’t blame anything in fate that made her a woman who had to always depend on others and was considered extra trouble for the family if she didn’t marry. Well, she didn’t marry. She rejected a few good offers because she wanted to marry for love, a chance which she never got. Still, it was ok because she remained faithful to her beliefs.

As a teenage girl I was a huge Austen fun, I loved her writing style, the characters, the era and of course I worshiped Jane for being such a believer and for daring to be herself in a time when it was unacceptable for a woman to write or to refuse marriage more than once. In my eyes she was a rebel and I wanted to become just like her. Of course, I still admire her and her books always have a special place in my heart, her words still trouble me sometimes. Sometimes like tonight.

Are we really the only source of unhappiness for ourselves? Do we somehow create all those so unwanted problems and worries  that make every day difficult and won’t let us sleep well?Undeniably, each choice we make has a straight impact on our emotions and the little details of our routine, but are those really all that matters or is it our mindsets? Is it just a matter of appreciation or is it something deeper? A well-made relationship with one’s self. Knowing who you are, your fears and your limitations and playing by your rules while walking steady on your feet.

It has been proven that the signals we give to the world are similar to the ones we receive back. For example, if you walk down the street and you smile to a random stranger (not in a creepy way!), you are more likely to get a smile back. This is so effective that it has been adapted as a method of Major depressive disorder treatment. It has been observed that people tend to mirror their interlocutor’s mood. For example if you see a person being sad, you will probably not go up to him and start shouting joyously about everything great that’s happened to you. That shows that we can – in a certain extend – control the vibes we collect from our environment. Send positive energy and you will get it back from others. Your mood will be uplifted in no time.


But… did Jane Austen mean just that when she said that “we do not suffer by accident”? Maybe she was referring in something greater, something more general: the civilization that we made. We live in a world where being different is non acceptable.The society puts us in pathways and so it can control us in a certain extend (which is in fact way bigger than we think!) but that is reasonable since we are part of a group and we live all together. Still, this model does not allow our inner selves to be expressed in any other way than the ones it has already allowed us to go. You can only use the tools that are available in order to build your life and find you individuality, which is anyway oppressed. We have to try and live by society’s standards whether we agree with them or not. That is a cause of stress for million of people because not everyone fits in. Nobody can prove that what we’ve learnt to call “normal” is right. There’s not even anything that is right, really. There is only personal truth and rules we’ve created so we can get along. But as useful as the rules are (which they are!), as time passes by, they don’t always apply and they take such long time to change.

So? What happens to those who are already a step ahead – just like Austen was -? They suffer. They only do because society cannot change within months or even years. It might take centuries… life times of people trying to say something that won’t be heard. I always thought that if all people could have critical thought, open minds and access to information, the world would really… evolve!

Don’t forget to: 

  • read some Jane Austen
  • and do some thinking! 

have a magical day,


glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

“Creativity takes courage”

Once, while working in his atelier, Henri Matisse realized that in order to make art, you have to be brave and so he made the statement that ended up being the title of this article. But.. what was he trying to say?

The process of making something is known to work more as a relief rather than an act of bravery and as a person who studies art and tries to find her way as artist, I can say that it does but still, it is not the perfect activity for the fainthearted. But why? The answer to that question is what I am trying to approach here, although it is not an easy task nor there is a right answer.

Art is based on the experiences of the creator. They may not always be actual experiences, they can also be imaginary ones. So, even if the art is not realistic in a way that it depicts reality naturalistically , it is somehow based on it. Even when the artwork that is completely abstract or  something that presents the entire opposite of reality as we know it, it’s still coming as a result of it because the mind of the maker has been developed in a specific environment – whether they fit in or not – with specific characteristics.


The bravery of the artist comes when they dare to look at reality with bare eyes, no extra filters. I cannot describe this better than Plato did, more than 2000 years ago using the Allegory of the Cave. In case you are not familiar with it, while trying to describe how it felt to be a philosopher, Plato said that a group of people had been tied up in a cave since birth, with their backs turned on the entrance, unable to turn their heads while a fire is burning. As the sun comes in, form behind, the fire creates a reflection of everything that’s happening outside the cave on the wall in front of them. Since they’ve lived there their whole lives at this state, they consider this to be the reality. When one of them escapes and goes out into the world, he’s able to see the actual reality and the sun but when he comes back to tell the rest, since his eyes have gotten used to the light, he can no longer see the shadows, so everyone believes that he’s gone blind and they never take him seriously.

So, an artist, here is the person who escapes the cave and then depicts reality as he or she saw it. That demands courage and will power. But is it really a choice for the artist-creator? I think that in some rare cases it isn’t – a person is just born that way – but in general it is. Creativity is something that each person could have in their lives and even the slightest thing, like taking up painting lessons as a hobby or writing poems on your free time is a choice that takes courage. Mostly because you sacrifice time and energy for it. But not only for that.

Above all the rest, creativity takes courage because it always works as a form of exposure. Whether you are Michelangelo or the piano player for your church, you put yourself, your emotions and your personal work out there for people to judge. You have to be brave to stand fearlessly on a stage with all those sets of eyes focused on you with expectation and open your mouth to say that firs line of the play or play the first note of the concerto.


That is the reason why, in my opinion it is essential for everyone to have a form of creativity in their every day life. Having a creative job or a hobby can test your limitation and expand your boundaries. It can help you learn so much about yourself and set you free in a million new ways. So, if you think you don’t have time for something creative in your life right now, you’re wrong. There’s always space for something to clear our soul. I know it takes courage but dare it and you’ll see what I mean…

have a magical day,


glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

The featured picture of the article is part of a painting by: Robert Delaunay,
called: le poète Philippe Soupault (1922) – It is located in Centre Pompidou 

Once upon… a time of identity crisis

Look down at yourself right now. What do you see? Your clothes represent something. It’s a message you wish to give to the world. It might be “look at me”, it might be “I’m such an intellectual” or it even might be “I don’t care about fashion” but you chose what you wear based on how you want to be perceived by others  whether it happened contentiously or not. Of course, it is not only a matter of appearances. Clothes and hair might say something but it’s also body language or even the use of verbal language that defines that first impression we’ll make on someone.

Although it is perfectly natural, in some periods of our lives we can get a little mixed up, confusing  the image we want to create with the people we really are, hopping that if everyone sees us in a certain way, we will eventually be that person. We never leave our homes without putting on a mask, so… does this mask become a part of us?

There is nothing wrong with wearing a mask. It is not something someone can  easily avoid. But the question I want to ask is, does that mask start to become some kind of oppression in our routine? We feel exposed and embarrassed if we take off that mask for five minutes or if we let it break a little on the edges. The question always stands: How do others see me?

lost identity.jpg

Jacques Lacan, an important French psychoanalyst of the 20th century, talked about the Mirror Stage in the life of each person. Briefly, the Mirror Stage comes when a baby first recognizes themselves in the mirror. In our minds, our-self is  is a mess of thoughts, emotions, instincts and experiences, that leads us to a strong shock when we realize that the way we look does not include any of that. We look so put together when we really are a mess.

The fact that either way we are not seen as we are, leads to a desire within us for creating the identity we would like to have. The mistakes happen when that identity is not based on your true self. For example, if you were a person who hates math but you chose a science career because of the prestige of it, you would end up living a miserable life and being bored of your job. Sometimes we make a serious mistake: we settle for what we imagine as the perfect identity, forgetting to ask who we really are. As a result, we never know what truly makes us happy and we end up chasing the happiness of that identity instead of our own.

Embrace that mess inside your head. That’s the real you. Don’t let it cause you fear just because it is not as pacific as what you see in the mirror. Get in touch with your inner self and build your outer identity based on your chore likes, dislikes, needs and characteristics. That way you will truly shine because everything about you will be sincere. People might be afraid of honesty a lot of the time but it always stands out and there’s no one who doesn’t love person who is true.

have a magical evening,

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou