I rarely got to American films, and when I do they are usually not the ones shown in the big cineplexes but the smaller ones shown in an art cinema that is a couple of towns away from me. I enjoy films that have something to say and I do not enjoy films that depend on special effects. Mostly I enjoy foreign films and I have the pleasure of attending a film series at Cape Cod Community College which is not actually a course but a kind of gift to the community. Every Tuesday afternoon at 3:30, in their largest lecture hall they show a foreign film. Often they are ones that have won a Best Foreign Film Oscar. Many are many years old. They are shown throughout the fall and spring semesters, for fourtreen weeks.
During the last three weeks I've seen the wonderful series Blue, White and Red which were filmed in 1994. They are a sort of trilogy but the stories are each different and each in a different country. The director has the difficult to spell and pronounce name, Krzysztof Kieslowski -- obviously Polish. These are three of the most satisfying films I've ever seen because the stories are complex, the people are good although troubled. Blue was the first about a woman whose composer husband has died and left an important commission unfinished. She is devastated by her loss but others know she has the ability to finish the composition. This movie takes place in Paris, the actress is the beautiful Juliette Binoche. The story has layers of complication I have not gone into.
The second, White, takes place mainly in Poland as a man whose wife has left him returns from Paris where they lived to the hair dressing business he and his brother shared. He has found a Polish friend who helps him becomes rich (through some shady dealings) and he eventually devises a way to entice his bride back to him. This film has the most humor of the three. I think the Polish people tend to make fun of themselves the way others seem to do.
The third film which I saw yesterday and consider the best of the three takes place in Switzerland as a model hits a dog that is in the street, delivers the dog to it's owner, a retired and dour judge who is deeply depressed. The model befriends him while trying to live her not very successful life. The story is more complex than that sounds because each is a fascinating character.
If these sound like stories that lack the usual excitement and fast paced drama of American movies that is exactly their appeal to me. I believe the three can be purchased from Amazon and possibly can be seen on Netflix. The older I become the more I feel that I cannot waste my time simply being entertained by movies or books. (I have chosen not to have a TV since 1989 -- yes! -- and I miss it very little.) For me stories -- in literature and movies and drama are wonderful and exciting, but only the ones that actually have something to say. That are well done. I am very choosy about how I spend my time. I think that is an important part of staying interested and alive as one ages.
ELDER MUSIC: DooWop 2 - This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge an...
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