Writings by Mozart, Borges, and Herbert

Three pieces of writing I read in the last week that stood out in one way or another. Two poems and one letter.

Rome, April 14, 1770

(A letter from 14-year-old Mozart.)

I AM thankful to say that my stupid pen and I are all right, so we send a thousand kisses to you both. I wish that my sister were in Rome, for this city would assuredly delight her, because St. Peter's is symmetrical, and many other things in Rome are also symmetrical. Papa has just told me that the loveliest flowers are being carried past at this moment. That I am no wiseacre is pretty well known.

Oh! I have one annoyance--there is only a single bed in our lodgings, so mamma may easily imagine that I get no rest beside papa. I rejoice at the thoughts of a new lodging. I have just finished sketching St. Peter with his keys, St. Paul with his sword, and St. Luke with--my sister, &c., &c. I had the honor of kissing St. Peter's foot at San Pietro, and as I have the misfortune to be so short, your good old WOLFGANG MOZART was lifted up!

Jorge Luis Borges
The Poet Proclaims His Renown

The span of heaven measures my glory
Libraries in the East vie for my works.
Emirs seek me, to fill my mouth with gold.
The angels know my latest lyrics by heart.
The tools I work with are pain and humiliation.
Would that I had been born dead.

Zbigniew Herbert

When my older brother
came back from war
he had on his forehead a little silver star
and under the star
an abyss

a splinter of shrapnel
hit him at Verdun
or perhaps at Grunwald
(he'd forgotten the details)

he used to talk much
in many languages
but he liked most of all
the language of history

until losing breath
he commanded his dead pals to run
Roland Kowalski Hannibal

he shouted
that this was the last crusade
that Carthage soon would fall
and then sobbing confessed
that Napoleon did not like him

we looked at him
getting paler and paler
abandoned by his senses
he turned slowly into a monument

into musical shells of ears
entered a stone forest

and the skin of his face
was secured
with the blind dry
buttons of eyes

nothing was left him
but touch

what stories
he told with his hands
in the right he had romances
in the left soldier's memories

they took my brother
and carried him out of town
he returns every fall
slim and very quiet
he does not want to come in
he knocks at the window for me

we walk together in the streets
and he recites to me
improbable tales
touching my face
with blind fingers of rain


My 10 Favorite Cannes Palme d'Or Winners Since 1975

I love this time of year—when Cannes is in full swing, and a slate of new films are competing for the coveted Palme d'Or! There are many promising films this year to keep your eye out for (just to name a few):

  • 120 Beats per Minute (France) dir. Robin Campillo
  • The Beguiled (USA) dir. Sofia Coppola
  • Happy End (France, Germany, Austria) dir. Michael Haneke
  • Redoubtable (France) dir. Michel Hazanavicius
  • L'amant double (France) dir. Francois Ozon
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer (UK, Ireland) dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

While we wait for those films to come to our US theaters, I decided to look back and list my favorite films winning the Palme d'Or since 1975. Bon cinema !


10. Farewell My Concubine (China, 1993) dir. Chen Kaige

Director: Kaige Chen Starring: Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong

9. Winter Sleep (Turkey, 2014) dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Winter Sleep Official US Release Trailer (2014) - Nuri Bilge Ceylan Drama HD Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce.


8. Rosetta (Belgium, 1999) dir. The Dardenne Brothers

Drama. Rosetta is a 17 year old girl who lives in a caravan with her alcoholic mother and wants nothing more than a decent job. Cast: Émilie Dequenne, Fabrizio Rongione, Olivier Gourmet, Anne Yernaux.


7. Taste of Cherry (Iran, 1997) dir. Abbas Kiarostami


6. Amour (Austria, 2012) dir. Michael Haneke

The official trailer for Sony Picture Classics "Amour" (2012). Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple's bond of love is severely tested.


5. The Tree of Life (USA, 2011) dir. Terrence Malick

From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as BADLANDS, DAYS OF HEAVEN and THE THIN RED LINE, THE TREE OF LIFE is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's.

4. Paris, Texas (USA/West Germany, 1984) dir. Wim Wenders

New German Cinema pioneer Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) brings his keen eye for landscape to the American Southwest in Paris, Texas, a profoundly moving character study written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard.


3. The Child (Belgium, 2005) dir. The Dardenne Brothers

L Enfant (the Child) Trailer HD 2005 Bruno and Sonia, a young couple living off her benefit and the thefts committed by his gang, have a new source of money: their newborn son

2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania, 2007) dir. Christian Mungiu

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days  - Cristian Mungiu. Drama about a woman who assists her friend to arrange an illegal abortion in 1980's Romania.


1. Apocalypse Now (USA, 1979) dir. Francis Ford Coppola

During the on-going Vietnam War, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade Green Beret, who has set himself up as a God among a local tribe. Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola. Cast: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Dennis Hopper, Harrison Ford, Scott Glenn, Laurence Fishburne.

Redoubtable (2017) - Dir. Michel Hazanavicius

Redoubtable is a film we're very much looking forward to this year! It's premiering at Cannes and competing for the Palme d'Or. For fans of La Nouvelle Vague (The New Wave), films of the 50s and 60s, and Jean-Luc Godard's work, you'll want to keep your eye out for this one.

Michel Hazanavicius directed 2011's Best Picture winner, The Artist.

Director Michel Hazanavicius's Jean-Luc Godard tribute. Stars Louis Garrel as Godard alongside Bérénice Bejo and Stacy Martin. Read more at Screen Daily: http://bit.ly/2oADUsu
redoubtable film poster michel hazanavicius

Argumentum Ornithologicum by Jorge Luis Borges

"I close my eyes and see a flock of birds. The vision lasts a second, or perhaps less; I am not sure how many birds I saw. Was the number of birds definite or indefinite? The problem involves the existence of God. If God exists, the number is definite, because God knows how many birds I saw. If God does not exist, the number is indefinite, because no one can have counted. In this case I saw fewer than ten birds (let us say) and more than one, but did not see nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, or two birds. I saw a number between ten and one, which was not nine, eight, seven, six, five, etc. That integer—not-nine, not-eight, not-seven, not-six, not-five, etc.—is inconceivable. Ergo, God exists."

Argentina’s writer Jorge Luis Borges talks in his Buenos Aires apartment on Nov. 20, 1981 (AP)

Argentina’s writer Jorge Luis Borges talks in his Buenos Aires apartment on Nov. 20, 1981 (AP)

Three New Short Films

Three New Short Films

2017 has been a productive year so far. I'm writing and directing one short film a month for the next six months, and I'm pleased to announce that the first film of the year, "The Bobby Fischer Trap" is finished and now playing at the Art House Cinema & Pub for a whole week!

I am now in pre-production on my next film, "The Passing of Time" which we're shooting on Feb 26. "The Passing of Time" will premiere mid-March 2017 and it's about two old friends randomly crossing paths in a cafe and catching up for lost time. One friend, though, is holding onto a secret. Here is the teaser poster:

Q&A Excerpt "How Can We Help?"

Kenneth Jarecke and I (Brian Murnion) enjoyed attending the premiere of our latest short film, "The Bobby Fischer Trap," at the Art House Cinema & Pub on Saturday evening. After the showing, we had a Q&A session with the audience, and the below video is an excerpt of said session.

We're encouraged by the turnout; we couldn't do what we do without the support of this wonderful local Billings community. As Ken says in the video, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we have big plans coming soon for our vision of what a film community can look like in Billings Montana.

Please send me an email or connect with me on social media if you have any questions or if you would like to get involved. Thanks for watching!