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Carlito’s way : A few bumps…

carlitos way

We often use a hook in our conversations, to engage. In a screenplay  writers, directors need more than one, spread across the movie span. Carlito’s way is an excellent example of how such hooks can be employed to good effect.

Movie itself  starts off with the end scene, the shooting of the protagonist. Will I make it? As he wonders, so does the audience with his voice over guiding the flashback which begins at a point where the patient trolley hits a small bump. And so begins the story of Carlito, who just got out of prison and committed to change his life better. In his own words, he had enough of the old ways and is ready for a brand new beginning. He has it all figured out…just 70 grand short to get started with rental car business in Bahamas.

The rest of the story is about how four things come in his way–his past, his character, his friendship and his love interest. How he gets sucked into trouble, how his friendship turns fatal and how his love almost redeems him–these provide the structure of the movie and the related hook scenes.

A must watch  for anyone who is interested in how an actor (Al Pacino) takes his time to unravel the character and the director(Brian De Palma) boosting the visual style of the film through several key scenes.

My picks.

  1. Al Pacino’s portrayal of the inner conflict, specially with his girl friend (“It’s who I am Gail, it’s what I am. Right or wrong, I can’t change that.”) and towards the end, when things start falling apart.
  2. Brian De Palma’s execution of the first shoot out and the climax train scene.
  3. Sean Penn’s excellent performance to contrast with Al Pacino.(Hyena Vs Lion)
  4. Terrific support cast with a special mention to Luis Guzmán (Steps scene with Benny Blanco)


Gems from Jack Ma.

Key takeaways.

  1. Technology revolution causes social problems, may be even world wars.
  2. Third world war should be against disease, environmental pollution etc.
  3. When you are 20-30 years old, find a good boss and a good company and learn all you can. 30-40 years old, if you want to do something just do it. You can afford to lose, fail. When you are 40-50 years old, my suggestion is you should do things you are good at. It could be dangerous to go after new stuff just because you find it interesting. When you are 50-60 years train and mentor young people. 60+? spend time with your grandchildren.
  4. When you want to win after 10 years later it is always possible.
  5. 49% of our employees are women. Close to 37% in senior management are women.
  6. If you want to be successful you should have high EQ, and if you don’t want to lose easily, high IQ. If you want to be respected, you should have high LQ (Love Quotient). Women balance these three very well.
  7. Women care more. On our site, women buy for their family, while men mostly buy for themselves.
  8. Sustainable success only happens with women in workforce.
  9. Order of priority for Alibaba>>1.Customer 2. Employee 3. Shareholder. Screw the wall street!
  10. If trade stops, war starts.
  11. My grandfather worked for 16 hours and said he was very busy; I worked for 8 hours a day and say I am very busy; Our children might work for 3 hours a day + 4 days a week, and say they are very busy.
  12. Globalization should be inclusive.
  13. First kings controlled globalization, later big companies, next wave will be that of 6 million small business. In the next 30 years to come>>Global buy, global sell, global pay, global delivery, global travel…all through your mobile, if mobile exists.
  14. When I have 1 million or two it is my money. Anything more, it is not my money it  is a sense of responsibility towards society.
  15. Philanthropy is not about helping others, it’s helping yourselves.
  16. Philanthropy is not just giving money, it’s about action, it’s about involvement.
  17. By charity you cannot change the world, with a philanthropic heart you can.
  18. Philanthropy should be in the business model.
  19. Every problem as a kid benefited me.
  20. I was considered a very good teacher and I thought here I am teaching from other’s books. So let me go to real world and find new stuff to teach, and that’s how Alibaba began for me.
  21. If you want to be successful, learn from other people mistakes, not from success stories.
  22. You learn from mistakes not to avoid them, but how to face them.
  23. My book would be not on what we achieved, but the tough days we overcame. My 1001 mistakes at Alibaba.
  24. As a company I believe in making profit through our technology, not our size. Our investments are in these direction.
  25. AI should support human beings.
  26. Being Smart and Wise. Smart people know what they want, wise people know what they don’t want.
  27. Leaders>>Instinct. Training. Positive nature. Look things differently.
  28. As a CEO you have to see the happiness when everyone else is unhappy and vice versa.
  29. Leadership is by responsibility.
  30. I have 18 co founders and most of them are my students.
  31. Find people smarter than you are and make sure they work it together.
  32. The best product of the company is your employee.
  33. Good teacher wants their students to succeed, I brought that quality into my leadership of Alibaba.
  34. A teacher should learn and share all the time.
  35. Everything we teach should be different from machines>>values, caring for others, music, arts etc.
  36. Facebook, Google, Amazon. Competition?
  37. Single shopping day, November 11. 25BN in sales. 70-80 MN rush in the first minute. 270k transactions per day.
  38. Look inside. Chinese philosophy.
  39. Find people who are self motivators.
  40. Motivation is about trust, respect, and appreciation

Related links:
1) Deewar Scene 1
2) Deewar Scene 2

Isabel Allende on Writing

  • It’s worth the work to find the precise word that will create a feeling or describe a situation. Use a thesaurus, use your imagination, scratch your head until it comes to you, but find the right word.
  • When you feel the story is beginning to pick up rhythm—the characters are shaping up, you can see them, you can hear their voices, and they do things that you haven’t planned, things you couldn’t have imagined—then you know the book is somewhere, and you just have to find it, and bring it, word by word, into this world.
  • When you tell a story in the kitchen to a friend, it’s full of mistakes and repetitions. It’s good to avoid that in literature, but still, a story should feel like a conversation. It’s not a lecture.

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