Friday, January 04, 2008

I've deviated twice this week from the Cineworld Path of Righteousness. First time was excusable, I think, as they didn't change the programme after Christmas and I couldn't face another dollop of fantasy. One of them is even called 'Enchantment'.

The film Roy chose on Saturday turned out to be much the same, though, in terms of wish-fulfilment . It was 'Closing the Ring' about a woman who felt she had to go ahead and marry her husband's best friend because that's what he'd decided before he was shot down over Belfast in WW2. It was directed by 84 year old Richard Attenborough, who is supposed to be a 'national treasure' but I've never liked him since he was in the union- bashing 'The Angry Silence'. He was well-cast as Pinkie, the slimy criminal in 'Brighton Rock'.

We had the auditorium to ourselves at the Peckham Multiplex, which was odd considering it was Saturday afternoon, but I suppose all the kiddies were watching the fantasy films.

Yesterday's jaunt to a pricey arthouse cinema was less excusable, but I thought it would be 'educational' , ie with Spanish dialogue.

When Roy announced he was going to see a film called 'Stellet Licht' at the Renoir I thought good, I can go to back the Tate Modern where we saw half an exhibition the other day. Then, when I was looking up start times for him, I saw it was directed by a Mexican director and I changed my mind. Bound to have lots of Spanish dialogue.

The German title and Mexican setting were in a way the least odd aspects of the film. It started with a long drawn-out sunrise followed by an ill-favoured couple and six children in an Amish-style kitchen taking as long to say a silent grace as it did for them to eat their cornflakes , more or less in silence apart from 'Pass the milk, Johan'. It was all so slow I could hardly believe it. The last time I'd seen anything like it was a Tarkovsky film where someone waded across a lake with a lighted candle.

A formulaic although unlikely love-triangle (the 'mistress' was even plainer than the wife) was presented as a kind of Greek tragedy with a touch of magic realism thrown in.

Turned out they were speaking a form of German because they were Mennonite settlers, a persecuted religious sect, living near Chihuahua. I found this out from the Internet. At least I recognised from the little Spanish dialogue there was , mainly the radio in a tractor repair shop, and from the maize crops, that it was set in Mexico. Roy said he had no idea where it was. He'd arrived after the maize harvest in Tonghua. But he liked it, and could I look up the review in Sight and Sound.

Halelluja! He's resuming his bridge programme this afternoon after a whole month off. No more twilight tourism for a while, and after my morning stint I'll be off to town with my flask and butties.

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