Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

14 January 2006

Nina Simone / Tropical Malady

Today's film was experimental Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Tropical Malady. It was weird to say the least. I liked it more than I disliked it, but just. I feel the same way about Tropical Malady that I feel about Tsai Ming-Liang's Goodbye Dragon Inn: I kinda liked it but I would never recommend it to anyone.

I haven't been going to the movies, lately. In fact, I haven't seen anything new in the theatre since Caché, which I saw last Sunday. I've been mining the DVD library. I want to catch up on all of the 2005 stuff I missed. This week that has meant Happy Endings (mostly good with some excellent performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Lisa Kudrow) and Tropical Malady. Next week, hopefully, it will mean Yes, Hustle & Flow and Kings and Queen.

Last night I saw Brokeback Mountain for the second time. It's even better, quite honestly. I saw it this time, with my dear friend Elizabeth, and we were both in tears when the lights came up. (I was also sniffling quite unattractively.) The thing I noticed this time around was how brilliantly Ang Lee created the mythic proportions of the love between Ennis and Jack. Every time they are together and alone, the scenery is breathtaking: wide vistas, beautiful rivers, immaculate lighting. Even when they are alone together in the hotel after their first four years apart, the camera never pulls back to show their surroundings, it keeps tight in on the two lovers, just giving us them and not putting us in a setting of any kind. And when the men are away from each other the settings are bleak, never beautiful, always surrounded by people wearing scowls or stuck in unnavigable social situations. All of this cinematically combines to make their rendezvous, though few and far between, feel special, freeing to the audience, as though the characters, away from the madness of their distasteful normal lives, can finally be themselves. It's a brilliant film and it's looking more and more like the eventual Best Picture winner on March fifth.

Also and totally off topic from cinema, I purchased a Nina Simone cd on Tuesday and I guess I've never heard this song "The Other Woman" but I am absolutely in love with A) Nina Simone herself and B) this heart-rending song. There's a poorly-recorded live Jeff Buckley version floating around the internet and it's pretty good, too, but Nina Simone's rendition is unforgettable.