Friday, February 23, 2007

so there i was in brussels...

and saturday night sneaked off to the cinema. i say "sneaked off" but well, that sense was more derived from the joy of going to the cine in an unknown place than that it was some kind of forbidden event. i went to the UGC moviehouse (or rather complex, one of these modern cineplexes) in the Place De Brouckère zone. so, the heart of the city and close to the tourist area, the Grand Place, etc. a number of the movies i´d seen already, and then those that i hadn´t were being shown in VF (french version). so, i eventually decided on "inland empire", the lynch movie. but not so much because i´d registered that it was david lynch, but rather, laura dern, and she´s always good. i looked forward to seeing what the belgian ( i guess brussels) moviegoing experience would be like.

i sat myself down. the audience was very quiet during the trailers and ads. so unlike the chatty brits when i go to the cinema in oxf. who would have thought, right?! then, the movie had english audio (well, its original american), and then french and dutch subtitles, one row per language. that made for an interesting linguistic experience. the movie started. i thought, "oh what an interesting title/credits intro" it was new, and different to stuff i´d seen recently, what with the fading in and out of the credits, and then the background image of the old-style (meaning of the "his masters voice" era, ca. 1930s) record needle and spinning record. eventually faded out with this searchlight-like light on the extreme right. switch to first scene. bunnies!!!!!! in human dress. or humans, in bunny outfits. and i sat there thinking, "okay david lynch. convince me this time that you´re worth watching". see, the thing is that i´ve always tried to watch his works. just because they are so different and quirky. but usually my mind starts to wonder at some point, and i don´t feel i want to indulge him for much longer once that mental shift has happened. and i thought further whether my time in spain had sufficiently changed me, so much so that i could sit through an entire david lynch movie. and so it was. though, i don´t know if spain precisely had made me more tolerant of lynch´s artistry. maybe it has. maybe i´m just that slight bit older. though i suspect spain has s/thing to do with it.

but wasn´t the movie just a labyrinth; a spiral within spirals, and the blurring of reality and fiction; between the movie we were watching, and the movie being made within the movie. after a while, it was difficult to tell where one stopped, the other started, and then again the thing swung back on itself. this way and that. interesting. surreal. and a personal feat: it was the first time that i´d sat through an entire david lynch work. i liked the nina simone song he used.

speaking of surreal. tonight i watched "un chien andalou". all 20 minutes of it. it is a classic for surrealism having a cinematic expression. ok, ésta me suena mal. es una obra clásica en que da expresión al surrealismo en forma de cine. it´s a work of luis buñuel and salvador dalí, for those who don´t know. by comparison, lynch´s antics are mild :)

some weeks ago i´d watched another classic movie. this time "muerte de un ciclista" by Juan Antonio Bardem. a movie that was regarded as a critique of the franco regime at the time it was made. see great snippet on youtube. but then again, i´ve been watching a number of movies over the weekends. some weeks ago i watched "qué he hecho yo para merecer esto" by almodóvar which makes a deliberate mockery of spanishness, and things that are generally regarded as being quintessentially spanish.
also, La Ardilla Roja by Julio Medem. I´d seen it in 2000 during summer school, but watched it again. Amantes by Vicente Aranda; Bilbao and Jamón Jamón, both by Bigas Luna (i´d seen jamón jamón twice already in SA years ago, and must say that my understanding of the movie this time was radically different to the first two initial impressions; Dancer in the dark by Lars von Trier; Hola, estas sola? which is by Íciar Bollain, but for some reason the lib record says it is Julio Medem (maybe he produced); Abre los ojos by Alejandro Aménabar (the original spanish movie on which Vanilla Sky was based); Goodbye Lenin! by Wolfgang Becker; Dias Contados by Imanol Uribe; and Tsotsi by Gavin Hood (the SA movie). and my supervisor will say "so that´s what she´s doing with her time" hahaha. well, note, it´s been my offtime distractions ever since i´ve moved here. let´s call it cultural education/edification :))))))
also nice way to keep my "spanish ear" tuned.

The interesting thing, in looking for worthy linkto´s for the above movies, is that most english-language reviews that i come across for jamón jamón just don´t get the point of the movie (the wikipedia write-up just sucks. surprisingly. i guess I should change it...instead of just complain). also, i guess, you need to have lived in spain, after all, to truly make sense of the movie.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

what gets left behind

this past weekend i´d had an opportunity to see some footage of cape town on screen (cinema) and for the first time i´d had this sense, upon viewing the city, of a strong feeling of "home". it was that in the movie i´d seen there was a setting in which the actress is in the V&A Waterfront, and particularly behind her is the Cape Grace Hotel. and i was reminded of how i used to walk by the hotel on an almost daily basis when i would take my dog Yuki for a walk. he particularly enjoyed going to the jetty behind the hotel to swim for a bit, especially when the city CBD got excruciatingly hot... Yuki is still in SA, along with my other dogs.

so, with my thoughts centred on the parts of my life that i´d left behind in SA, monday was weird in that i felt disconnected from the life/experiences/friends i´d had in spain. in some regard the time in spain all starts to feel like a dream. and with continued, and then prolonged, absence, my ability with the spanish language goes rusty (little-by-little), and i feel i´m losing connection with the people i know (or knew) there (same as what happened when i´d left SA).

so, feeling all of this just isn´t much fun...