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

21 January 2006

South North Yes No

There is a difference, so says the most important American cookbook ever, between Southern Cornbread and Northern Cornbread. The latter, evidently, is lighter, with more milk and an egg or two. I will be making the Northern version for a birthday party/poker party I'll be attending at my friends' house in Valencia.

This evening I saw Sally Potter's Yes. I like Joan Allen more and more. She's really a brilliant actress and I haven't appreciated her much until this year. Yes has a lot of problems and I only barely gave it three stars on Netflix (the old "I liked it more than I didn't like it" story.) It's full of artificial little cinematic things that Sally Potter's playing with, which is fine except that it's constantly distancing the audience. Sam Neill has this silent semi-dance number in it to an Eric Clapton song which is really phenomenal and like I said, Joan Allen is wonderful. The film, I should also mention, looks simply gorgeous. Potter has filled it with bright, rich colors throughout and pale, medical whites at various intervals. It's a relationship study in color like a Douglas Sirk movie with similar melodramatic tendencies. The best part about Yes, though, are these musings on dirt and its inevitability by the maid in the film (Shirley Henderson), who looks right at the audience and talks right to us. It is she who, finally, explains the title of the film. She says "There's no such thing as nothing, not at all. / It may be really very, very small / But it's still there. In fact I think I'd guess / That 'no' does not exist. There's only 'yes'." Oh yeah, did I mention the whole film is in rhymed iambic couplets?

Anyway, I do kind of dig the idea that there's no such thing as no: that possibilities always exist.