Some good movies this week.
First, I finally saw Amour by Michael Haneke, the winner of the Best Foreign Film at the Oscars (and far, far better and more profound than Argo ….). Not a cheery movie, about old age, and how the relationship changes when Anne, the wife, suffers a mild stroke and following an unsuccessful operation, gets weaker and more vulnerable quickly, and how her husband, Georges, who cares for her warmly and with patience, but in the end is worn down and can no longer cope. Brilliantly acted (Emanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant, with Elizabeth Huppert as the stressed daughter), taking place within the increasing confines of their apartment, and with a pacing that captures the slowing down of old age and infirmity.
Well-worth seeing, even if the subject matter and treatment is uncomfortable, just like old age and infirmity. See this take The Brutal Truth of ‘Amour’ – NYTimes.com.
Another uneasy movie, Poulet aux prunes (Chicken with Plums) is the second movie of Marjane Satrapi, the author and director of Persepolis. Much darker, without the wry sense of humour of Persepolis, about a famous violinist, Nasser Ali (played by Mathieu Amalric, his loveless marriage and incapacity as a father, and his longing for Irane, his first and everlasting love, a love forbidden by her father, but one that transformed him from a good to great musician, able to catch ‘the sigh.’
A bit of magic realism, messages of love, loss, and art, playful in parts, not completely successful, but yet deeply moving. Not as ‘réusssi’ as Persepolis, but an interesting film nonetheless.
From ploughing through the details of the mafia in The Sixth Family, a much more enjoyable read in The Emperor of Paris by CS Richardson. In many ways, as I love Paris, an easy tale to fall for, how various characters – bakers, watchmakers, couturiers, restorers, booksellers – weave in and out of each others lives, and how finally the two protagonists come together and find one another. But somehow, the elegance of the writing and the richness of the language, come at the expense of the depth of the characters and interest in the plot. The first half of the book I spent marvelling at the writing but wondering what was the story; the pace quickened in the second half. Overall, I enjoyed it, and his narrative, telling it backwards and elliptically, makes for an interesting style.
In other news, I have been discussing with the Ottawa Hospital Foundation how I can help with their fundraising efforts and have to find a way to tell my story in 5 minutes or less! A good writing and communications challenge.
We are off for a driving trip to Florida over the next few weeks. Given that winter appears to be stubborn this year (snow this past week and a cold wind today), will be nice to get away and have an early taste of summer.