Sunday, October 22, 2006

Magic and Tricks

This week, I watched three movies and almost finished one book. Now that the grey and rainy season is here , I'm spending more time in front of the television screen, the computer screen and the movie theatre screen.

I borrowed "L'Age d'Or" from the library. I knew nothing about the film but noticed that Salvadore Dali was one of the writers and it was directed by Luis Bunuel. It's a black and white film made in 1930 and it's very surreal, some of the images are inexplicable, and I'm sure that's intentional. There's no point in mentioning the plot, since it barely exists, but the film is unique in its total strangeness. I understand that later on even Dali refused to be associated it with it, but I'm not sure why, since the film, while it offended many, has a strange magic to it.

And speaking of magic, yesterday we went to see "The Prestige" which opened this weekend. It's a movie about rivalry, tricks and magic and it's set in the early 1900's, more or less. I was fascinated by all the period details, as well as the tricks and the very convoluted way the movie unfolds. I won't reveal much about the plot because that would spoil the movie. I will say I didn't have a clue until the end, and the man in my life didn't either. That's unusual because he takes pride in being able to figure out all the twists and turns and in knowing the ending of a suspenseful film before it's shown. There are two women in the film, but they are merely there as props for the rivalry between the magicians. Too bad. Still, the film is a good solid two hours of entertainment. It was worth the price of two seniors tickets - and it has Michael Caine and David Bowie, in addition to the two main actors who are both excellent.

Friday night, I watched another movie from the library, "Silent Messenger." It's a documentary that "explores the mysteries of the Inuksuit" ... the standing stones found in the Canadian arctic. and also shows the changing ways of the Innuit people. It's outstanding, though not recommended (by me) for young children, since there are graphic hunting scenes. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the landscape and the people. The film was produced by Norman Hallendy who has spent almost 40 years in the far north. I've never been to the far north, yet somehow it is a part of my cultural unconscious. Maybe someday I'll see it for myself, if I'm very lucky.

Right now, I've nearly finished reading "Seek My Face," John Updike's 2002 novel about a 78 year-old painter, her life as an artist, the artists in her life, the transformative power of art, and some other themes as well. The novel is very introspective, but also very visual, and it's chock full of flashbacks and digressions, but it works. At first I found it difficult to stay inside it for long, but after a while, Updike's long paragraphs and the rhythm of them, seduced me. So did all the details about the postwar American art world and the struggles of those who try to produce art, especially female artists.

I was going to look for a book by one of the hot new young authors, but I'm glad I read Updike, instead.

I think I'll go and find some seductive adjectives.

1 comment:

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