Tuesday, March 4, 2014

a lyrical journey & the poetics of the political, or: graphic novels from Brazil ("Daytripper") & France ("Blue is..")

 "There are a lot of things in life that can go by unnoticed..." - Fabio Moon 

Reading this week: award-winning graphic novels from other countries: "Daytripper" from Brazil and"Blue is the Warmest Color" from France

"A hauntingly lyrical journey that uses the quiet moments to ask the big questions" - that's how a book review describes "Daytripper". I first thought it would be a book about a traveller, but it really is a book about the journey of life, and rooted in the everday. The story is rather unusual in concept - it's like a kaleidoscope of one story in different versions. At its core, it's a meditation on the theme of life and death, a celebration of the small beautiful moments every day brings, and the question "what if".

Daytripper is the first graphic novel I read that is from Brazil, and also the first that was created by twin brothers: Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá are well-known in Brazil. They were guest at the Frankfurt Book Fair last year, and I had the chance to meet them a week later at a comic fair. It's simply fascinating to watch them turn a white sheet of paper into a colored sketch, in a matter of minutes, and notice their love for details - which also connects back to "Daytripper":

While in Germany, the two artists/authors gave some interviews, and in one of them they talk about Brazil as setting for the story: "Having the story taking place in Brazil, we could focus on what really matters. We could tell a more sincere story. So we could try to reach more sincere reactions from the audience. If we had told the story anywhere else, we could have told the same story, but we wouldn't have the tools or the elements we were searching for, to make the story look sincere."

They also talk about the superhero-genre, and how they were fans of it, but would find it difficult to join the "superhero league" and write the next chapter of Batman or the Avengers, they explained: "There are many more interesting things to do in comics than using other people's characters and tell the same kind of stories all over again."

Here's the whole interview in English: "We do not matter" - Interview with Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon

And here's a video interview:  Geek Show interview with Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá 


Blue Is... 
"Blue is the Warmest Color" is a graphic novel from France. Both the writing and art are fom Julie Maroh, who developed an own, very personal style in it. Reading it, it felt she tells her own story. At the same time, with the anti-gay demonstrations in France, the book also makes a political statement, and one for freedom and love.

The original title of the book is "Le bleu est une couleur chaude", and at first the english version was called "Blue Angel". Based on the graphic novel, film director Abdelatif Kechiche has created a film with a different ending, but the same title. The film was awarded the Palme d'or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival - and it was due to the film that i arrived at the book (haven't seen the film yet, though).

The graphic novel is stunning with its very own style, using black-and-white as the base of the story, with the color blue as sign for emotions and dreams. The story Maroh tells is both a coming-out story of a young woman, and a complicated love story between her and the woman with the blue hair. Reading it gives an idea how painful it can be to be "different", how friends retreat, and how your own identity is questioned: the blue in the story is also the blues of life.

For an idea of it, here's the link to a "Blue is" google image page, the page includes a mix of graphic novel pages and film photos. And here's the film trailer: Blue Is The Warmest Color Official Trailer #1


Currently Reading + More Reads:
I am currently joining the “readwomen2014” initiative. Here’s more about it: 2014 - year of reading women

For more reading notes in this blog, click here: life as a journey with books

A reading list by regions is online at: World Reads by country

& Other book blog and their current reads: It's Monday! What are you reading?

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