Interlude

Apparently, I don’t seem to be able to proceed correctly the second part of my post because I’m way too distracted  by the pictures I’m supposed to write about. I find myself ogling in front of my screen, it’s insane 🙂 What are you doing do to me Richard ? I hope I’ll be able to articulate myself by tomorrow night.

In the meantime, here are two gifs I’ve made from Spooks series 8 episode 8. I needed to indulge myself with some Lucas tonight 🙂

Armitage study : kiss scene (part 2)

Comme toujours, la version française de l’article sous « lire la suite » !

After this interruption due to  my ramblings, back to what we’re interested in – or at least what interests me  – : Mr A’s kiss scenes.

The second scene to pass under my searching eye is  the first kiss between Maya and John Lucas. This is the real deal, we are far from the pious and chaste kiss exchanged between Guy and Meg ! Like in my first analysis, opinions developped here are mine, it’s the perception I have of the scene and not the ultimate and absolute truth of the latter. You might not share my point of view, and that’s great ! Feel free to comment, I love to discuss 😉

It’s always better when it’s moving !

What interests me above all is their body language and love parade before kissing, especially Maya’s, because it’s the only time I felt connected to this character. They’re standing at opposite ends of the room, him near the door, she near the bay window. She doesn’t remove her coat once she’s in, she doesn’t intend to stay. Not avoiding his gaze, Maya struggles to hold it, even when she tries to unravel his lies. Despite her desire to confront John, staring at him intensely, she always look away after a few seconds because she can’t stand it. I think she knows that at any moment she might succumb, somehow, she has already « lost » the battle by agreeing to come, and moreover at home (not a public place but an intimate one although impersonal in the case of a spy). Obviously, her arms are folded across her chest, a classic. But beyond the fact that Maya stands back and is shut, I think she’s mostly on the reserve, trying to protect herself from being hurt again. She wants to believe in John, to be convinced by what he says, otherwise she would not be there. If Maya keeps her distance and keeps her arms firmly crossed it’s because she’s also protecting herself from her own weaknesses. I see  her behaviour as way to give herself courage and above all to avoid any temptation :  stay away from John, do not touch him, do not look at him for too long, as if  his proximity was intoxicating and therefore irresistible ;). There’s probably an element of pride in her attitude as well, wounded pride by the lies of the man she loved.

As for John (you can’t imagine how hard it is for me to write John instead of  Lucas …..), he doesn’t move. He’s wrong, so he lets her come to him, the choice is not his, it’s hers. He’s not in control of the situation, he hopes for reconciliation but in disbelief. From the moment Maya starts to « weaken », she gets closer to him. Very close indeed, closer than in a casual conversation, with only a few inches between them. She still keeps her arms crossed though, still protecting herself both from him and herself. While Maya’s gaze continues to shift from John’s, he never stops staring at her. At no time until he closes his eyes when he kisses her. If I remember correctly, the only times he avoids her eyes are when he lies shamelessly. The opposite of what we saw between Guy and Meg. John wants Maya, he loves her, devouring her with his overwhelming gaze. Because he doesn’t want to seem threatening, he stands slightly hunched, he is vulnerable, at the mercy of the woman he loves, and especially of her decision. Despite their different heights, their eyes are almost at the same level.

Close your eyes and you’ll remember. Close your eyes.

When she completely stops to look at him , her eyes downcast, he leans gently towards her, seeking her gaze, trying to convince her to trust him. I think he feels he has an opening, that she’s about to yield. Thus, his words are softer, he talks to her in an intimate whisper barely audible. Every time I hear him utter those words, I shudder. If John asks Maya to close her eyes, beyond the simple fact to remember, above all he asks her to trust him. To close one’s eyes  is putting  oneself in a weak position, it’s being at somebody’s mercy, it’s offering oneself to someone. And she agrees. Not without a last attempt to fend him off. From the moment her eyelids are closed, she recoiled, her body doesn’t move but she puts her head as far as possible from his.

Although he somehow « won », John keeps his distance. He’s hesitant. I have long believed that it was he who approached her, but while rewatching  the scene several times – what torture ! – I realized that it wasn’t the case. Yes, it’s he who makes the first step, it’s he who kisses her. But Maya has an ambiguous attitude. Indeed, she initially recoiled when she closes her eyes. But after John has got slightly nearer to her, she moves her face to meet his, stopping just a few inches from him. It’s clearly shown on the screenshots below. When you’re this close to someone, you feel it. You feel the warmth of her/his body next to yours, you feel his/her breath against your face, you’re acutely aware of this proximity. Maya knew this would happen, she tried to resist, but she yielded. But she’s not active, she lets John chooses for her by a tacit agreement, too torn between her conflicted feelings.

Maya, not as passive as I thought she was

Again I stress the importance of  John’s gaze during this scene. Even when Maya closes her eyes, he’s constantly staring at her, fixing her eyelids. When she moves towards him, his gaze drifts to her lips, the universal code for a) I badly want to kiss you or b) you have a piece of lettuce stuck between your teeth. I vote for the first proposition in this case ! And while the tip of his nose gently caresses hers, he looks at her one last time before closing his eyes, overwhelmed by his feelings.

What I especially like  in this kiss is that it’s in two stages. The first act is extremely soft and slow while in restraint, their lips  barely moving. John kisses Maya, not vice versa. It’s a kiss of two former lovers who rediscover each other, getting to know each other once again. Then sensuality takes over the kiss. Lust kicks in, they need  to be closest to the loved one, to merge,  to feel at one. John straightens up gradually in the first act, gaining confidence, dominating Maya and pressing his face against hers. The second act is passionate, fiery and sensual. Maya gets really active in their kiss, taking his head in her hands, clinging to him, disappearing into their embrace.

If I weren’t a hopeless romantic, that kiss would probably be my all time favourite because it’s the one in which I find myself the most. I love the fact that there’s this tension throughout the scene, a tension which is released only when they kiss (at last) before being replaced by another type of tension. I like this build-up, slow but inexorable, that fumbling and  shy hesitation  that turns into a turmoil of senses. I was this girl in a complicated relationship, loving as much as hating this man, refusing to yield because of my wounded pride, but who can’t resist him, swept by a sense of physical communion as well as a communion of mind. I’ve been kissed like that and I kissed like that. I was this girl behind a complicated relationship, loving a man and hating myself for what he was going through because of me, desperate to get him back but keeping him at bay to protect him, wanting him more than anything and overwhelmed by this single connection. When I see John and Maya kissing, I find myself in one AND the other. That’s why this kiss has such a distinctive place in my heart.

Lire la suite

A Lucas North study, part 2

Edit : Comme toujours, la version française de cet article se trouve sous « lire la suite »  😉

A Lucas North study part 1

It took me much longer than expected to complete the study of Lucas North. Easter, my 12 hour journey to visit my family and my mother’s lack of internet connection have probably something to do with it 🙂

Lucas is where we left him off, contemplating his imminent death. During the writing of this post,  Servetus’ article came to my mind several times. This scene is a perfect example of the importance of the jaw in acting. Once again, the use of a wide angle shot highlights Lucas’ plight. This man, alone in the middle of that empty ramshackled cell. I feel that all that space, all empty, is about to crush, grind him. Instead of giving a sense of space, this reinforces the smallness of the room.

Study of barefoot Richard Armitage

I wish to comment on his outfit. I will not dwell on his chest, bare for the sake of Richard’s female fans, let’s be realistic :). As I noted before, he’s barefoot. It’s common to many religions to remove one’s shoes before entering a sacred place. Being barefoot is highly charged with symbolism. This expresses in fact the full nudity of the human being, in its dependence to its creator. Thus, exposing Lucas’ foot gives a form of vulnerability and humility, this is the ultimate physical and mental bareness. More than being naked, being barefoot is a form of nudity even more intimate and absolute.

Lucas North, contemplating his doom

The camera zooms on Lucas. His body language remains the same : arched back , shoulders down, relaxed and drooping jaw, mouth slightly opened, breathing deeply and rapidly. He hesitates again, I’m sure in his mind, he still doesn’t know if he will be able to take the plunge. But suddenly, he makes his choice. The timing is extremely fleeting and I had to try several times to successfully capture it. Just before the shot changes and we see  Lucas pass the sheet around his neck, the camera zooms in on him slightly. Do you see this tiny but crucial difference in his expression? His mouth is closed, his jaw tightened. His decision is  made precisely at this moment. He’s going to do it. He really will. Even now, I have a hard time looking at this picture without shuddering. Everything can be read over his face.

Let’s play a game of spot the differences 🙂

It’s starting to get really difficult now. But I said I would end this article today and I will 🙂

Lucas North hand porn 🙂

So, after past-Lucas passed the sheet around his neck, we’re back to present-Lucas. He covers his lower face twice -we’re getting more and more familiar with this gesture now-. He expresses his distress and discomfort, I would almost say his inability to manage this situation. Covering his mouth is a very closed gesture, physically expressing his malaise without voicing it. He goes round in circles, like a caged lion, his breathing still noisy. Once again, his mental suffering is reflected physically. He’s so troubled that he can’t stay still, he needs to move, walk, trying literally to escape his memories.

And then Lucas stops, as if he’s conjured enough courage to face his demons. He raises his head, staring at the ceiling, and exhaling deeply. It refocuses and calms him, he closes his mouth, contracting his jaw, as if he said « it will hurt but I can do it, I can do it. » Here’s another parallel with his decision-making discussed above. Once his mind set, he’s almost calm, resigned, the calm before the storm.

Back to past-Lucas. He’s about to lose balance. His face contracted, closed and fully open at the same time, letting his despair show. The entire area around his eye is tensed, and so does his forehead, showing that vein that we see so often. Again, the change of expression is very transient, but a still frame captures exactly when Oleg enters the room and locks him in his arms. Lucas’ face suddenly relaxes, his jaw slackens, leaving his mouth open wide ,and he closes his eyes, the whole upper part of his face relaxed. He’s relieved. He’s relieved that someone came in and saved him. You don’t even need to know what’s happening, you can mute the sound, just look at Lucas and it says it all.

Let’s finish quickly with the last  two shots of the scene. Oleg is what he is, but in his way of helping Lucas to sit, and touching him, he shows concern for him. There’s something very intimate in the way he touches him, head against head, one hand on his neck, the other on his ribs then on his thigh. It’s a very intimate contact, especially for men. Which shows how much they’ve developed a special relationship.

Lucas North and his clenched fists

Back to present-Lucas for the last time.  Everything is in the detail. Head tilted back, he sniffs because he’s close to tears. But he’s a man, he can’t be fragile. He takes to himself, clenching his fists.

This completes myLucas North study, for now at least. Now I have a normal life to resume, away from Russian prisons 😉

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A Lucas North study, part 1

Edit : I’m sorry for the typos, weird syntax or vocabulary, but my brain just died because of this post XD

It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to write about Spooks. On a specific scene. A difficult , heartbreaking scene, which shows once again the talent of Richard. I didn’t knew how to approach it, I still  don’t by the way, but the idea kept going in circles in my mind so I decided to yield. Even if it means rewatching said scene  several times in an attempt to grasp its nuances and especially why it upsets me so much. The scene in question is, I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, taken from episode 4 of season 8, Lucas North suicide attempt during his imprisonment in Russia.

Before getting into the thick of things I need to develop a few things about me as a viewer. In « real » life, I do not cry, ever. I think the last time I cried was at my grandfather’s funeral two years ago, and it’s not so much his death that saddened me rather than my mother’s absolute misery. I put some distance between the world and me , I am and I must be strong, for me, for others. Therefore, it’s out of question to show any signs of weakness, because yes, crying is a weakness.

In contrast, while watching a film, tv show, reading a book or even listening to music that I love, I can easily burst into tears. These various media are my escapes, they allow me to let go and allow myself, for once, to feel fully. It may be horrible to say this, but I often feel more affected by the fate of a character than by what happens around me. Because in a way, it’s virtual and therefore safe for me.

Now back to Lucas. Seconds before the flashback, he’s been violently arguing with Sarah. He is sharp, aggressive, on the edge. We don’t know if he will explode or collapse. If he will react with violence again, preferring rage to despair, or whether he will be as he is : a broken man. And this is where RA’s talent  is shown. Lucas is feverish, he rushes to the sink, running water to cool both his face and spirit. His gestures are jerky, imprecise, awkward. His agitation is clearly visible. His breathing is audible, fast, he fights against his own body, betrayed by it. There’s also that habit of his I love, which he regularly uses  in distress. He covers his face with his hands. This simple gesture makes  Lucas appear particularly vulnerable and fragile. Throughout this passage his back is turned to us, but at no time his face is needed to understand his inner turmoil. ( I don’t know why but  I think about the « Tempête sous un crâne » of Valjean in Les Miserables. ) This guy is so good, he succeeds to convey emotion with his back!

Flasback. Focus on his face. He’s lying on the floor. He’s exhausted, dirty. His hands against his chest, he’s almost in a fetal position, looking for any comfort. His eyes haggard, he seems  lost, disconnected.

Back to Lucas in his apartment, still filmed from behind, his hands resting on the countertop. He’s overcome by nausea, almost convulsing, while his chest is contracting. His psychological trauma is so intense that it affects him physically. It’s a panic attack, he tries to suppress it as he can. He literally fights against what he feels, he’s overwhelmed by his feelings.

Flashback. This time in wide angle shot. He is curled up on the floor, barefoot, wearing only pants. His cell is empty and decrepit, which further enhances the impression of fragility. Lucas looks almost frail, crushed by the prison. He tries to get up but can’t, he crawls more than he stands up, he even needs the support of the wall. All in an extremely slowness. Every detail, voluntarily or not on the part of Richard, is done to emphasize the impression of vulnerability and instability. He stands hunched, his eyes half closed, as if it were impossible for Lucas to face a second more the reality of his situation. He’s on a razor’s edge, ready to switch at any time.

His lips are plucked, he has trouble swallowing, he lowers his head, forehead pressed against the wall, once again a gesture of submission and surrender. He capitulates. (It’s interesting to see that after the departure of Sarah, he has exactly the same attitude,  this time leaning on the door , after closing it). I don’t know if his decision is made at that moment. He contemplates the idea of his own death, thinking that he can’t bear this life anymore,  or as I say, his non-life. I don’t think that when he grabed the chair he’s fully aware of what he’s doing. Lucas seems to be in a daze. He suffers, so he finds a solution to stop it, a drastic one. It’s simple.

Shoulders low, his face collapses, his mouth is drawn down, lips parted, his jaw hanging and trembling, he’s overwhelmed by the weight of his situation. Only the space between his eyebrows is contracted, accentuating the feeling of depression. In both shots, present-Lucas and past-Lucas, he has the same expression, the same attitude, staring at the ceiling in one case and at the rope  in another. He relives the scene.

I’ll stop here for today, just before the most difficult passage, because this is already much longer than I expected, and unfortunately messier too! I won’t tell you how many times I had to watched this scene, but I must be somehow masochistic 🙂

A Lucas North study part 2 

French below the cut

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30 Day Richard Armitage Challenge : Day 28

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Day 28. Your favourite character outfit.

Héhéhé, almost done ! This one was a perfect excuse to go through pages and pages of RA screencaps on richardarmitagenet.com (but in the ninja way = without le BF noticing it because THAT would be embarassing)

I’ve already stated how much I fancy Lucas’ wardrobe. I’ve chosen two outfits because I can ;-). The first one is from series 7 episode 3, I simply love his coat and the fact that he’s being splattered with blood in it. The second one is from series 8 episode 8 because I love when Richard suits up, even when it’s ill fitted.

 

Jour 28. Votre tenue préférée d’un personnage.

Héhéhé, bientôt terminé ! C’était la parfaite excuse pour regarder des pages et des pages de captures d’écran de RA sur richardarmitagenet.com (et en mode ninja pour éviter que le BF ne le remarque car ce serait vraiment TRES embarrassant ;-))

J’ai déjà précisé combien j’apprécie la garde-robe de Lucas. J’ai donc choisi deux de ses tenues parce que je le peux ;-). La première est tirée de l’épisode 3 de la saison 7, parce que j’aime tout simplement son manteau et aussi parce qu’il se fait éclabousser de sang alors qu’il le porte. La 2ème tenue est tirée de l’épisode 8 de la saison 8 car j’adore quand Richard porte un costume, même quand il est mal coupé.

Spooks issues…

I did it. At last, I’ve brought myself to watch series 9 episode 8. And that was tough. I knew what was coming, I knew what would happen to Lucas (yes, I still think of him as Lucas), but despite that knowledge, I was still overwhelmed by the roof scene.

*is learning to express her feelings with gifs XD*

I know Richard is a good actor, but he has impressed me once again. It’s amazing how we can see all his character’s emotions on his face, his inner conflict, his despair. And his voice, his hoarse voice as he spokes to Harry… Even though for me Lucas’ evolution is a real waste, Richard’s acting skills make it work.

Since I’m not over Lucas’ death, I might be spamming your dashboards with Spooks’ related stuff. 

Lucas North is dead…

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Lucas North is dead.  One episode left of Spooks series 9. I can’t bring myself to watch it. I can’t stand to see Lucas (or John or whatever his name is) going down that fucking spiral. And the teaser at the end of episode 8 has already shown too much. What are you doing, man ? … Lire la suite

30 Day Richard Armitage Challenge

Cette galerie contient 2 photos.

Spooks behind the scenes because of reasons.  30 Day Richard Armitage Challenge Day 12. Something about him you don’t like : his bachelorhood.  I know this may sound strange, but if I had to find him a fault, a real fault, one that  bothers me, not one that I find adorable, it would be his celibacy. … Lire la suite