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

13 February 2006

Kontroll / Aparajito / Yesterday

No movies tonight because the roommate is here and he is busy playing Final Fantasy. I painted yesterday. The color is awesome. It's called Saffron. It's from Restoration and looks a lot like saffron rice. I'm all about it. My house just looks so much warmer, you know? It makes me want to paint every room.

I had serious code red laundry tonight. I swear I run out of work clothes so much quicker since casual Friday was abolished last month.
So no movies, but I did my laundry and I fixed myself a gin and tonic (I'm on the second one now) and I made a blondie. I'm debating whether to take it to work and share it or not.

Kontroll is a Hungarian movie set entirely in the Hungarian underground subway system. It's darkly funny and the mystery is genuine and gripping. There's a lot of really weird and cool photography (no sunlight ever, as you can imagine) and some of the writing is great. Just typing this I'm remembering some of the really high-tension scenes in Kontroll. It's a movie with an electric current running through it and yet the director (Nimród Antal) has a singular vision and allows himself to slow down and speed up at will. Even the more slowly-paced scenes seem fast. He is a clever man, this Nimród Antal: expect more and exciting things from him. Recommended.

Aparajito is the second in Satyajit Ray's renowned Apu Trilogy. I watched the first part, Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road) what seems like ages ago and I only got around to Part Two on Saturday morning. I am sorry I waited so long, and by the same token I also understand why I did. I was even going to watch Part Three the next day, but I just couldn't make myself. They're just so sad. Ray knows what he's doing and he carefully crafts his films, so Aparajito is undeniably brilliant in what it's doing and of course I was emotionally affected by his story, but I just couldn't stomach another of of his bleak films in the same weekend. Perhaps I'll watch it tomorrow as a part of National Single-Awareness Day. This film is the second in a trilogy. Do not watch it without having watched Pather Panchali first. If you haven't seen Pather Panchali, you ought to add it to your Netflix queue immediately. It's one of the world's great films.

So instead of a bleak film by Satyajit Ray, I watched Yesterday, by Darrell James Roodt (Cry, the Beloved Country). It's about AIDS in South Africa and it's in the native Zulu tongue. FUN! Yesterday is the name of the main character, a young mother and wife with the most positive attitude of anyone ever in the history of the world (the most unbelievable and most loveable part of the film). We first meet her walking four hours to visit a clinic in a nearby village. Her husband is away in Johannesburg working in the mines. She spends all of her time with her daughter and alone. The main actress's name is Leleti Khumalo and it would be quite impossible for anyone not to immediately fall in love with her. She has the loveliest smile I think I've ever seen on anyone. Yesterday has, of course, contracted HIV from her husband, unbeknownst to her, and must figure out how to tell her husband that he is also HIV positive and care for her daughter as she becomes sicker. I loved this movie and I know it's a bit Hollywood-hokum and sounds like sort of typical Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences fare (uplifting, serious, heartwarming Kolya/Life Is Beautiful/Three Men and a Cradle-style), but Yesterday works. It's moving and heartfelt if a tad sentimental and predictable.