Sunday, March 28, 2010

Welcome to My New Favorite Film

         Does your idea of a good time involve a run to the grocery store? Do you feel as much satisfaction from seeing people you care about enjoy a meal that you've cooked as you do from partaking in it? I do.  Have you seen "Babette's Feast?" Do yourself a favor and put it in your queue or rent it.
         Two sisters, Martina and Phillipa, made a lot of sacrifices for their father's super strict ministry, including chances at love. One archetypal dark and stormy night (the story is set on Denmark's Jutland coast), a stranger named Babette shows up at their door. Babette had lost her son and husband during a conflict in the 1870's, and the former suitor of one of the sisters had sent her to Jutland for safekeeping. For fourteen years, Babette tolerates the local food. One day, she find that she's come into a substantial amount of money and wants to go back to Paris, but before she goes, she wants to cook an authentic French meal for the sisters and what's left of their father's flock.
          It's rated PG, with some caveats for kitchen prep scenes.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring

Hello, Gentle Readers. The creation of the Spring Swan and Iris is underway.  Some of the things I'm working on for this issue include:

  • Kitchen stuff and cookbooks I like
  • A look at how the US became so economically enmeshed with China
  • Reviews of cinema, books, and films
  • Many other surprises so secret I don't know what they are yet
Hope you'll join us.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Swan and Iris Take on Cinema

     No, well, yeah, sort of watched them last night.  You know, the Oscars (TM)? The show that happens in March where all things movies get celebrated? The one where a lot of women do odd things with their posture to make sure they don't fall out of their dresses as they walk the red carpet? Yeah, that one.
       The one I don't really get excited about because I prefer films. Both film and movies are species of the motion picture.  Let us examine their differences:

  • Movies make money.  That is their raison d'etre. Their success is based on how much they make. Anything less than the GDP of a developing country is considered a flop. 
  • Films make art. Their success is based on feedback from the critics. 
  • Movies base their scripts on contrived formulas. Films use the conflicts basic to humanity, but encourage the development of new questions.
  • Movies are for feel-good purposes. Nothing wrong in and of itself with that. We all need a good excuse to munch popcorn now and then. If you want to see a story unfold as it should, you need a film.
  • Films place the emphasis on plot and character development.  Movies frequently use overblown special effects to override weaknesses in those departments.
     That, Gentle Readers, is why I choose films for review in S&I. We need the subtle, quiet moments as an antidote to an ever louder world. Some of my favorites are:

  • Casablanca--a timeless story of love and sacrifice that may be the most perfect film ever made.
  • Amelie--the tale of a young woman who struggles to make the world a better place for others and almost forgetting to do the same for herself.
  • Le Quai d'Orfese (sp?) is a suspense/mystery in postwar France that keeps viewers guessing until the last minutes.
    My Netflix subscription makes me a very happy girl, indeed.