Our last-minute lodgings took a turn for the even better this morning when the landlady arrived with a bag full of food. Bread, cheese, cold cuts, jam and butter — nothing fancy but plenty good enough. Thus the day began on an unexpectedly high note.
The rain is playing a gentle staccato tune on the awning as I sit here at a pleasant sidewalk café, reflecting on the movie I saw this morning. We were in an inflatable theater, which would have been a pretty good venue but the sound isolation from outside wasn’t very good. If the movie had been more interesting, that might not have mattered as much. Title I Can’t Reproduce From Memory had its moments, but when it was over I was rather amazed that only 90 minutes had passed. Was it Chekhov who said that when you show a gun in act one, it should go off in act three? In this movie the gun never went off. The blurb said something like “Kid is drawn into a dark and violent underworld,” when it really should have said, “Kid draws near underworld, doesn’t do much, and then goes home to take care of his mother.”
Another movie, another gentle rain under the awning of a café. It’s a tough life.
This movie was Ma che ci faccio qui? (What the Hell am I Doing Here?), an Italian film, and when you boil it down it was an “I know! Let’s put on a show and save the bar!” movie. You’ve seen them before. Happily, this was a very nicely done LPOASASTB movie, with genuine humor and a bit of heart as well. There’s nothing wrong with rehashing an old idea if you do it well. Heck, somewhere around Homer all the good ideas were taken. (Although, it might have been Chaucer who did the first LPOASASTB story.) The movie was from a young director who made it in film school, which adds to the surprise of how much top-quality acting was involved.
Walking around after the movie we ran into a couple of fuego’s coworkers on one film or another. One woman, when she heard I was his brother, looked at me and said, “from Pirates of the White Sand?” She was enthusiastic. That was nice.
Now I need to get some work done.
Movie three today was German-Polish-Czech movie that kept me chuckling for much of the time. I’m not sure how it would play to an American audience, although the stereotypes of the Czechs, Poles, and Germans are just as broad and unflattering as that of the token American in the film. Schroder’s wonderful World is about a man who has the idea to use American money to build a theme park where former East Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic intersect, an area that is rather an international mess of communist industrialization, much of which has now been razed. The mayors of the three towns of the triangle must cooperate to make the project work.
I don’t think I’m ruining anything to tell you that the project does not work.
It was a quick shift of location to catch our final flick of the day, A Romanian film that won the big prize at Cannes. My expectations going in were pretty high, and while the movie was awfully damn good, it didn’t live up to what I had come to expect. The marketing nightmare — get such great buzz that the movie disappoints. Still and all, If you get a chance to see 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days (off the top of my head, I can’t reproduce the Romanian title), do so. It’s dark, but compelling.
Looking back, we are still talking about yesterday’s Mister Lonely, despite the cinematic flood we’re experiencing. That’s gotta mean something.