aksarnerk | aurora borealis

Film, Love, Thoughts

Either God was up late painting, or there’s an alien invasion on it’s way, but they can’t decide where to land. 

Tonight I got to see the Northern lights for the first time.


During my last shift, someone at work told me the lights had been good the night before. Around 11:30pm I remembered this, and I peeked outside… to a glorious green-streaked sky.

First, I got shivers all over. Then, I knew I needed to grab my camera. I brought my camera out onto the deck and was trying to use auto focus and it was obviously not working, so I just stared at the lights and there may have been a few tears. Disbelief, gratitude, amazement…

Back inside the house, with the help of light, I managed to figure out my camera settings and brought my conveniently just-made cocoa and a blanket outside to keep watching and hopefully to capture some of this beauty. I am very happy with the shots I got. Even if they aren’t totally clear, it was my first time seeing the northern lights, and I’m thankful I got a few shots.




After a while, I came out from behind the lens and just sat back to watch. I reflected again on a word I’ve been writing about frequently in my journal: transient. It’s a word I like so much I’m contemplating getting it tattooed. So much in our life is transitory, temporary, just here for a brief moment in the wide scope of time. Even us, we are just passing through. But it is in the impermanent that there is so much beauty and we can appreciate and remember the temporary moments, people, experiences that brought us the most joy. I am all the more grateful for things that I am unable to hold in my hand. I am more grateful for things that I have lost. I am more grateful for the passing and changing beauty of the world around me than anything solid.

It was a beautiful night to be alive, really.

Once again, thankful to be where I am in this moment, and looking forward to everything that the year will bring.

Before Sunrise (1995)

Film, Thoughts

I re-watched what I might venture to name my favourite movie last night. Before Sunrise follows the meeting of two young strangers on a train. They spend a night walking and talking through Vienna. Their conversations are honest and equally hopeful and skeptical. They ask the questions we have all felt inside, but perhaps not voiced. It’s a philosophical look at life and love through the eyes of two young adults who make a chance connection. 


Here are some of my favourite quotes from the movie: 

On parental influences…

“I could never get very excited about other people’s ambitions for my life.” -Jesse 

On the death of the young…

“Now I’m ten years older, and she’s still 13, I guess.”-Celine

On the magic inside of us… 

“Everything we know is stardust. So don’t forget, you are stardust!” -Palm Reader

On God…

“If there was any kind of God, he wouldn’t be in anyone. Not in you, or me… but just in the little space in between.” -Celine

On dancing… 

“I like the idea of dancing being a common function in life: something everyone participates in.” -Celine

On life as a process and journey… 

“It’s nearly impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.” -Celine

On time… 

“Everything is so finite. That’s what makes our time and specific moments so important.” -Jesse 

Apart from the piercing conversation, I love the simple cinematography. It in no way detracts from the dialogue (which is what I believe to be the best part of this film, without question). Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy take this beautiful screenplay and really own it. I could watch it over and over again. 

This movie was followed up with two sequels, Before Sunset (2004) and Before Midnight (2012), (using Hawke and Delpy again) both equally as open about the real issues that come up when you’ve chosen someone to love. 

If you decide to watch this movie, go into it with an open mind, a notebook and a quiet environment. Every time I watch it, I find myself with more thoughts and questions. I find more quotes that penetrate my heart and cause me to examine the way I view the world. 



“Au Revoir.”



There’s a Happy Ending


Dear Big Screen Starers, 

I stumbled upon Spike Lee’s list of must-see movies. Spike Lee is an actor, director, producer and screenwriter from New York. He has been a professor at NYU Film School for 15 years. To be honest, I haven’t seen anything that he has produced, but this list he’s come up with looks really good. This is the list of what he considers to be the best movies of all time that he hands out to his students at the beginning of the year. I’ve watched two of them so far. Apocalypto and City of God. 

This post is just a quick look at what I’ve watched in the past few days.

Apocalypto (2006)


Mel Gibson starts this film with a hunt in the jungle and a humorous exchange between brothers. Things soon escalate however when their village is ravaged by Mayans and men are led away to an unknown fate. I don’t want to give anything away because this is really a barebones, in your face movie. I didn’t watch the trailer or read anything about it before hand, so I didn’t have any expectations or predictions. 

The screen shot above is not even one of the bloodiest or saddest scenes, but one of the grimmest in any case. 

There was controversy surrounding the portrayal of the indigenous cultures in this film, but I think Mel Gibson and his partner for the project Farhad Safinia accomplished their goal magnificently: 

“We wanted to update the chase genre by, in fact, not updating it with technology or machinery but stripping it down to its most intense form, which is a man running for his life, and at the same time getting back to something that matters to him.” -Farhad Safinia 

City of God (2002)

I watched The Bang Bang Club sometime last year, and found it fascinating. It dealt more with historical event (Apartheid in South Africa) and the controversy surrounding photographing people in need instead of helping them. There is a chilling scene where the main character takes a photograph of a child on the ground with a vulture stalking behind. This photograph, modelled after a picture taken in real life ends up being the big break for the photographer. Another blogger reviewed the movie here, and shows the real life photo side by side with the one from the movie. 

Pictures in National Geographic and the like have always interested me. Pictures of places and people so far removed from the peaceful West. Their untold stories captured in some way through a snapshot. 


City of God was directed by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund. It tells the story of a drug war in 1960’s Brazil through the eyes of Rocket, an aspiring photographer whose brother was killed for his involvement with drugs. It is entirely in Portuguese, I watched it with English subtitles. 

The most disturbing thing about this movie I think is the involvement of children. In our Western culture, we are all about censorship and protecting the young. In this movie, it is the young who learn to kill, make their own way through theft and murder. Perhaps that is what made the movie so powerfully tragic. I think about the children in my life– my heart skips when they trip and skin their knee. The children in this film have guns and smoke joints and are plotting how to move up the ladder of power from the age of 6. 

I really enjoyed this movie, I felt it was filmed in a very genuine way. It definitely stirred up things in me. I think for a movie to be good, it has to make you feel something, it has to make you ask questions. This film did both for me. 


Dumb & Dumber (1994)



I’m assuming most people have seen this movie, so I’m not gonna talk about it much. I watched it for the first time a couple days ago, when I really needed the laugh. It did the trick.

I’d like to see more reenactments by Jennifer Lawrence. She claims to know every word of this movie. Watch here.

I also seriously want to use this line if I ever get the opportunity:

Cop: “Pull over!” // Harry: “No, it’s a cardigan, but thanks for noticing!”