Andare, Partire, Tornare


O Brother Where art thy Bread and Tulips?

Just finished watching two very good movies, both of them ones I had been wanting to see in the theaters, but had missed. The first one is the very well-known "O Brother Where Art Thou," which not only has great acting, it has awesome music, a "cameo" by blues legend Robert Johnson (inexplicably called Tommy in the movie, despite keeping most of the other well-known factoids about his life), and an excellent sense of place. And then there was the linkup with Odysseus, although the parallels didn't remain constant and I was driving myself buggy trying to see if some of them fit. For example, you have the Sirens, the Cyclops, Blind Tyresias (whom I can't recall actually in the Odyssey, but ah well), the play on Penelope's fidelity (here, it's reversed) and the overall theme of journeying to get home. But what about the blind man who records them singing "Man of Constant Sorrow?" Did Scylla and Charibdis appear, in too good a disguise? These are the things that torment Greek Mythology buffs late at night. And I want the soundtrack. Zee snarkily pointed out that she was sick of people who never listened to bluegrass beforehand going out and buying the soundtrack, but since I can honestly claim that I liked Robert Johnson before seeing the movie, she had to admit that I "had the right" to get it! I know the soundtrack syndrome, where music you wouldn't listen to can sometimes be commercialized and made palatible, and some of that is probably part of why I want the album, (like I bought Zydeco music after seeing The Big Easy, and then went out and bought a Beausolie album and couldn't listen to it) but I'm willing to live with whatever feelings of guilt this may produce.

The other movie was an Italian film called "Bread and Tulips." It's a light comedy, without a plot full of violent, swerving twists and turns, but the journey is well-worth the destination. And the acting in it is just wonderful - Bruno Ganz plays up his character's courtly, overformal way of speaking, and says twice as much with his eyes. Apparently he played the Nicholas Cage role in the movie that City of Angels was based on, a film set in Berlin called Wings of Desire, which I now want to see very badly. I didn't see City of Angels, although I admired its stylistic attitude from what I did see of it, but my anti-Meg-Ryan bias wasn't enough to overcome my desire to see Nick Cage in a black trenchcoat. The female lead, Licia Maglietta, plays a housewife abandoned by her clueless husband on a bus tour, who decides to go to Venice and take a vacation on her own. Her change from attractive yet frumpy housewife to a woman full of beauty and joy is not glaringly obvious, but you notice it and feel so happy because she's finally enjoying life. The ending of the movie was a little bit abrupt, but didn't spoil it for me, and since it was the ending I was hoping for (I was praying, "Please, God, not a life-is-miserable-but-I-must-do-my-duty-and-suffer-in-silence-forever ending!) I didn't care that it was slightly rushed.

And now I'm going to go break out my watercolors and paint inexperienced yet heartfelt sketches in my new scrapbook/sketchbook/glue-things-down-in-itbook. And finish reading John D. MacDonald's "The Green Ripper," so I can find that quotation on terrorism in America that I wanted to look up.

10:48 p.m. - 2002-04-06


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