Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Film Festival

The midwinter event for ACademy for Lifelong Learning is a mini-film festival.  It began yesterday with Smilla's Sense of Snow which I had never seen and really knew little about although I attempted to read the book when it first came out.  The title intrigued me as did the idea of  movie partly about Greenland with some Inuit people  So it was but I was bothered when it turned into an action film with our obsessed heroine taking impossible chances and getting into a variety of physically difficult situations and the discovering the plot was around a fictional power/explosion producing "meteor" in an ice cave in Greenland. In other words this was a snowy action film with a lovely heroine who never put a hat on her head in the most frigid weather.  Ugh!

The afternoon film was Dr. Zhivago which I saw way back in 1965 after having read the book a few years earlier. It, like the former film, was actually shot in Canada and Spain.  I suppose all the Russian history was a bit more relevant back then in the Cold War but Zhivago was an impossibly good man, Lara an inpossibly good and lovely woman and all cavalry action was ugly and brutal and unfortunately believable. It was ridiculously long -- three and a half hours.

I came home emotionally drained.  I don't go to action movies -- hate the unreality, do not ever go to movies simply to be entertained, excited by danger, or impossible romances.  I was deeply unhappy about this first of three days with two more to come.  So I'm skipping this morning's movie, Joyeux Noel -- more war, albeit with a heart-warming hiatus  for the French and German soldiers of WWI to show some Christian love on Christmas Day before they go back to murdering one another.  No! I can't handle more war at all. 

I will go in the afternoon to see Dersu Azala which I saw only two years ago in the foreign film series and loved.  More cold Russian forests but a story not told through the American sensibilities rather by Kawabata. It's not Japanese but about the eponyous tribal man who helps Russian surveyors in the forests of Siberia.  It's a noble savage story with Dersu being the one who is wise in the ways of nature and kind to the lost surveyors who, of course, eventually lead to his death.

I will miss the Thursday morning showing of Snow Falling on Cedars which I've never seen and never tried to read the book because it seemed hopelessly saccharine from the reveiws. But I will go t the afternoon show which I've seen only clips from, Groundhog Day and feel I should see the whole thing since it's become a comic classic. So much for the festival which I think was a good idea.  The first week of February the spring free weekly foreign film series will begin and that's always fine. I don't watch TV, I don't do any of the various ways one can watch films on the computer -- I would always rather read than watch  (especially on a very small screen -- so these series attract me, partly for what I've missed that's become  part of the lore of our period.  Of course I go to the new films at the nearby art cinema when they attract me.  By this age I've honed my tastes and tend to be careful with how I spend my time.

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