A weekend of artistic gluttony that I’d better record before I forget.
Started off on Friday with Amaldovar’s Broken Embraces, which, in a weekend of great stuff, remains the standout. First off, Penelope Cruz is insanely great, and if you’ve only seen her act as the Central Casting Spicy Latina in English speaking movies, you have to go out right now and rent this. But she’s not the only great thing about the movie. There’s the onion-like structure, where layers get peeled away one by one, there’s Blanca Portillo, who’s every bit as great as Cruz, there’s a sad and cruel story of love on the run, a look into the heart of movie-making, and of course, Spain looking ravishing. Great, great movie.
For another hit of Mediterranean lush, I saw I Am Love at the Michigan today. Here’s what great about a lot of European movies (sweeping generalization disclaimer here): They don’t feel the need to telegraph. If an American movie were to get anywhere close to this level of being shamelessly over the top and romantic, it would signpost that it was about to be corny or silly or a chick flick – or, as the spouse points out, it would just be a chick flick or some other genre. Even greater, you have no idea where this movie up to for about the first third of it; it starts on a snowy day in Milan, the least sensual city in Italy, and there’s no indication that Tilda Swinton’s going to bloom like a time lapse flower other than the title, which frankly sounds ridiculous in translation.
No fear: The movie becomes completely absorbing as Swinton falls in love via food with a friend of her son’s. On the surface, it sounds SO chick flickish I almost stayed away from it, but this ain’t no chick flick; I can’t imagine Swinton, whose face is so unflinching in its expression, able to make a lite movie. I thought about the movie and what it meant as I walked the few miles home, and I was glad to have the time to process it. I realize I’m only seeing the “notable” movies coming out of Italy over the last few years, but…damn. Really wonderful and distinctive films, and I remain pretty thrilled at the state of cinema.
On the classic front, I watched The Man with the Movie Camera for a second time and am currently finishing up The Blue Angel. I’ll be writing about them on the other blog, but am in woeful need of catching up, but am hoping to do so this week. I also started to try to catch up on the book lists and am surprised and delighted by The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet, so much that I actually bought a copy for friend going on a trip, an extremely rare occurrence. Friend me on Goodreads to see the review once I get I get done.