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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Culture Corner

The Art Desk’s weekly picks for movies, music and more


By SARAH HAN — arts@theaggie.org


Book: “How to Be Free: An Ancient Guide to the Stoic Life” by Epictetus, translated by Anthony Long (2016)

Leaning toward the scholarly pieces of text, this book guides you through the principles of stoicism. It first introduces the background of Epictetus, who was born into slavery. Then it continues on to the English translations of Epictetus’s texts, which generally highlight how humans should react to life circumstances. He touches on human emotions like anxiety and discusses how it is each person’s responsibility to take ownership of their emotions, particularly the negative ones. I recommend this book if you need a bit of guidance or if you just want to get into the philosophy genre.


Song: The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 2 in G minor, RV 315 “Summer”: III. Presto by Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1723)

In light of midterm season, I thought Vivaldi’s Four Seasons best reflects this hectic period. The strings vigorously playing in unison set a frantic tone from the very beginning, which continues until the end. Something about the fast tempo boosts your adrenaline — by the end of the song, I guarantee that you’ll be ready to get a good amount of work done, or at least feel electrified. I can confidently claim that you will meet those upcoming deadlines after listening to a snippet of Vivaldi. Whether you’re looking for something to help you push through exams and assignments or want to add a classical piece to your list, I recommend this song.


Movie: “The Age of Adaline” dir. by Lee Toland Krieger (2019)

Starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford, “The Age of Adaline” depicts the journey of Adaline Bowman, who remains 29 years old for over eight decades. Throughout those years, she switches her identity numerous times to hide her secret. In one period of her life, however, she meets Ellis Jones, and things quickly go downhill after meeting his family. This movie touches on romance, the impact of the past and challenges to personal identity in an interesting way, so if you’re interested in a classic movie with a bit of a twist, I recommend checking this one out. 


TV Show: “The Queen’s Gambit” by Scott Frank (2020)

In the male-dominated world of chess, Beth Harmon finds herself among the top chess players in the world. She faces numerous challenges stemming from her past as an orphan. One of the more prominent challenges is her drug addiction, which she uses as an escape from reality. The series shows addiction and perfectionism through the development of a chess prodigy. Available on Netflix, “The Queen’s Gambit” merges a unique storyline with ubiquitous problems, making it a great addition to your list.


Written by: Sarah Han — arts@theaggie.org