Fear

(A chapter in YOU HAVE UPSET THE BALANCE OF THE UNIVERSE BY BEING BORN: Advice on How to Live by Dr Robert MacLean, PhD: http://robertmaclean.blogspot.com/p/you-have-upset-balance-of-universe-by.html. A new chapter every so often.)
    
    You are a swashbuckler.  You live beyond your means, both financially and psychologically.  You live dangerously, which is to say naked and unashamed.  Play and danger are what you need.  There is no security anyway and heaven loves those who dare.
    Fear is a bore (see BOREDOM).
    And what is guilt but fear of punishment?  Also boring.  Surrender to the air and ride on it.  If there is a cosmic bureaucrat monitoring your behavior (see GOD), give him a good show.  Sell it, baby!  Be selfish.  Be a monster.  Sin, as Martin Luther said, bravely.  You have an obligation to indulge yourself.  Once you start going for safety it never stops, it's like money.  Never enough.  Go without assurance.  Safety is vulgar.
    Taking this attitude towards fear--an attitude of disdain--gives the right relation.  Fear is ignoble.  You are noble.
    You are more than noble.  You are divine.  Fear is forgetting that one is divine.  What can possibly happen to you?
    But here is the paradox: anything can happen to you, because divinity is vulnerability.  Insofar as you are divine, that far are you vulnerable.
    Which leads to a seduction: if you make yourself tall enough you'll fly, fine, but do you want to fly?  To get high, to experience joy always can only be desirable (see JOY), and yet you find yourself yearning for a vision with a little blood in it, even if it's your own.
    The analogy is to religion.  On each of the several continents the vast majority of sentient adults are apparently bores committed to some form of religious practice or metaphysical speculation; whereas if they really believed in their eternal natures as you do it might occur to them that eternity is adequate for the contemplation of the eternal.  We have made a privileged intrusion into time.  It is the moment for things of the earth.  If they're not to your taste you'll just have to wait for the bus back.
    So it is with your fear.  You cling to it not perhaps because you are afraid but because you find it cozy, like gray weather (see WEATHER).  You suspect that it may be the price of sensitivity (see MANNERS).  Uncertainty and ambiguity are the stuff of life.  How can they be relished without fear?  Your very sensuality requires that you feel fear.  There can be no shiver of anticipation without it.
    Make yourself tall enough and you'll fly, yes, but make yourself small enough and you'll get by.  Humility is comelier than pride.  If you are of a higher race it is the condition of your moment here that you forget that.
    Fear, that is, is luxury.  An indulgence.  If it makes you feel better, go ahead.
    (See also MORALITY).

You Need Money to Be Rich

Nobody ever met cuter: a romantic thriller about stealing with style.
Reg’d © Library of Congress
She's tough; he's refined.
She's practical; he's cultured.
She's brilliant; he's elegant.
She's serious; he's frivolous.
She's a lawyer; he's a crook.
She never loses; neither does he.
Daring British barrister Francesca Smithson, the darling of the press for her courtroom tactics, is appointed to defend American CFO Hugo Danch at hearings to extradite him to New York for absconding with a fortune from his crashing company Engone.

Proposed cast: Reese Witherspoon (Francesca)
But at the hotel there's a mix-up—she's sent to the suite of Romeo Balue, a light-hearted charmer who mistakes her for the call girl he'd ordered—

Proposed cast: Javier Bardem (Romeo)
and, what is it, her spirit of fun? she is in a rut—she plays along!
Soon she's leading a double life—by night Romeo's bird of paradise, by day the defender of a man with a briefcase full of bearer bonds.

Proposed cast: Tim Robbins (Hugo)
To avoid arrest Hugo allows her to take charge of the bonds—but then Romeo disappears with them! Who's been conning who?
Turns out he's a retired art thief, whose mistress Ada Hauptmeier has seen paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts that the Nazis confiscated from her family, and are now in the hands of the Russian government, where they're being pilfered away. She doesn't want Romeo to do anything bad, but he's looking into it. 

Proposed cast: Anamaria Marinca (Ada) 
And why not scoop the bonds at the same time? 
What's Francesca to do? All right, she was bored with her fiancé, Jason—

Proposed cast: Steve Pemberton (Jason)
—but Romeo has disappeared with the bonds, and a truck full of paintings, left her on the hook with some murderous people...and the game heats up.
Set in London—

—and Lake Como
—this—
plus this—
equals this:           





Pretentious Pictures presents a romantic thriller.
Reg’d © Library of Congress

PAS DE DEUX, a lesbian romantic comedy

“A man is a poet if difficulties inherent in his art provide him with ideas; he is not a poet if they deprive him of ideas.”—Paul Valéry

A pickpocket falls in love with a pianist who leads her on a chase through Athens, with the police right behind them.

In the past, when shooting in Athens, or writing scripts about Athens, I have been careful not to emphasize the locale, so as to avoid a clichéd treatment. Here, though, Athens is a character, a labyrinth, because this is a chase movie—not a wild broad chase movie like Louis Malle’s Zazie dans le métro, but a chase that gets us around the city, and through some of its most beautiful and picturesque areas. (If you’ve forgotten what Zazie looks like there are a few minutes of it here.)

Jacques Rivette’s short film Paris s'en va gives an idea of what I’m aiming at, with the help of Athens, though Pas de deux has a plot. I’m not claiming to be Malle or Rivette, but I think we can do something fun and saleable on a minimal sum—sort of a nano-budget Grande Belleza.
Sexy puckish pickpocket Becky (Despina Mirou, whose show reel is here) is teasing a wallet out of a purse on a crowded Athens metro when she notices beautiful callow Miranda (Fiona Georgiadi, whose reel is here) and falls in love. Miranda escapes her, Becky escapes the purse-owner, and the chase is on—past the MuchaTrella Jazz Band playing our theme song Sweet Sue.
Oops, Becky picks the pocket of a policeman on vacation, and he’s obsessed with catching her. “My name is Wesley Stankovitch! I don’t care if it doesn’t sound British, I am a police detective with New Scotland Yard—No! I’m on vacation! My pocket has just been picked and I have a photograph of the culprit! Now can I have some men over here!” Duncan Skinner’s reel is here.
They send him a policewomanPetroula Christou, reel
whose captain, Ero Lefa, distrusts her, especially when she gets pregnant on the job.
Becky’s father doesn’t know what his daughter is up to, in any sense. Mihail Anthis’s reel is here.
But her psychiatrist Eleni Tsefalareel, gets it as it happens, and she and Becky keep up a running commentary on the action.
Miranda’s mother, Rea Karayanidou, reel, doesn’t know what Miranda is up to, and is shocked when she finds out her daughter is having a lesbian affair.
So is Miranda’s music professor Steven Lever, reel (14:58), who wants to marry her,
and so is her priest and substitute father, Ian Robertson, reel.
When Becky picks the pocket of a Chicago dentist, Tom Alexopoulos, reel, he falls in love with her, and he’s on her trail too.
A dream for the psychiatrist: Miranda sits high up at the crest of the otherwise empty Panathinaiko Stadium. In the distance Becky enters from the street and comes to the near end of the field. “I love you!” she calls. Miranda is impassive. The cops rush in toward them and Becky has to scramble up through the seats and disappear into the trees.
In an open-air cinema Becky tries to hold Miranda's hand. She jerks it away. Becky puts her arm around her and she gets up and changes seats. Becky follows, and from up high we watch as Miranda changes seats, Becky follows, Miranda changes seats, Becky follows.
Becky arranges a dinner for four to introduce Katerina to Mihail. Katerina likes him. Triumph for Becky. She looks across the table at Miranda, but Miranda is gone. Becky chases her out into the night.
Street music, crowds, cathedrals, the Plaka, dreams of desire, a non-stop chase—we’re in motion. Becky will never entirely catch Miranda. “She’s like Mrs Darling in Peter Pan—there’s a kiss in the corner of her mouth her husband can never quite get.” But together they play the comedy of desire.
Passion, young love, Athens, the police, a chase, a death, a comedy—for pocket change. We shall create the legend of the nano-budget romantic comedy.
The first scene is based on the opening of the masterful Samuel Fuller’s Pickup On South Street (I’m not Fuller either), specifically the hand in the purse. You might like this whole movie—every shot is a poem.
But let’s get back to mine.
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You Need Money to Be Rich

Nobody ever met cuter: a romantic thriller about stealing with style.
Reg’d © Library of Congress
She's tough; he's refined.
She's practical; he's cultured.
She's brilliant; he's elegant.
She's serious; he's frivolous.
She's a lawyer; he's a crook.
She never loses; neither does he.
Daring British barrister Francesca Smithson, the darling of the press for her courtroom tactics, is appointed to defend American CFO Hugo Danch at hearings to extradite him to New York for absconding with a fortune from his crashing company Engone.

Proposed cast: Zoe Saldana (Francesca)
But at the hotel there's a mix-up—she's sent to the suite of Romeo Balue, a light-hearted charmer who mistakes her for the call girl he'd ordered—

Proposed cast: Javier Bardem (Romeo)
and, what is it, her spirit of fun? she is in a rut—she plays along!
Soon she's leading a double life—by night Romeo's bird of paradise, by day the defender of a man with a briefcase full of bearer bonds.

Proposed cast: Tim Robbins (Hugo)
To avoid arrest Hugo allows her to take charge of the bonds—but then Romeo disappears with them! Who's been conning who?
Turns out he's a retired art thief, whose mistress Ada Hauptmeier has seen paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts that the Nazis confiscated from her family, and are now in the hands of the Russian government, where they're being pilfered away. She doesn't want Romeo to do anything bad, but he's looking into it. 

Proposed cast: Anamaria Marinca (Ada) 
And why not scoop the bonds at the same time? 
What's Francesca to do? All right, she was bored with her fiancé, Jason—

Proposed cast: Steve Pemberton (Jason)
—but Romeo has disappeared with the bonds, and a truck full of paintings, left her on the hook with some murderous people...and the game heats up.
Set in London—

—and Lake Como
—this—
plus this—
equals this:           

Pretentious Pictures presents a romantic thriller.
Reg’d © Library of Congress