On Thursday night, BJ and I had dinner at our friends and we all watched A Model For Matisse on Netflix. The film tells the story of Matisse’s unlikely friendship and work with Sister Jacques- Marie on the Chapel of the Rosary. It may have been an unusually Valentine’s movie pick, but by the end, it made sense. I was a little caught off guard by how moved and inspired I was after watching both by the tenderness of their bond and the drive Matisse had even in his aging years.
Already a fan of Matisse, especially his paper cuts, I have an even bigger admiration for his work created after he became less mobile. Here he is in poor health, drawing with a 9 foot pole, climbing dressers to reach higher spots. I can’t imagine anyone else during that time who could have gotten away with creating such modern imagery for a chapel. I can see how some of the nuns were up in arms!
I love the little details that went into planning of the chapel down to the priest’s chasubles, which Matisse first drafted with paper cut outs. There were several proposals for the stained glass, and one of my favorites that didn’t make it was the piece above called The Bees, which captured an overhead view of nuns in their habit. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already!
BJ and I saw The Deep Blue Sea over the weekend. The pace was slow and natural, the sweet scenes were super tender making the dark ones even darker, and I thought this one of the few movies that examined love in a different light. Rachel Weisz was beautiful as always. If you see it, I would love to hear what you think.
One of my favorite scenes played You Belong To Me by Jo Stafford. And it’s one of the few youtube comment sections worth reading.
Our friends Andrew and Bridget were married on April 30th. Imagination and care could be discerned in every facet of their wedding: the words, the prayers, the places, the songs. It was a triumph. As a bonus, we got to see many of our favorite people in one of our favorite cities.
Of course, I forgot the camera charger and used my phone as alternative for most of the trip. It ended working out. Enjoy!
Still rolling Sofia Coppola’s movie around in the mind. It has its share of critics, which is fine, but I think a lot of them are missing the point, and revealing their own hang-ups with her charmed life and career. Better to set that aside.
As I see it, Johnny Marco suffers from a malady called celebrity. The entertainer can’t be entertained: a steady stream of Hollywood pleasure-on-demand has deadened his nerve endings. Joy must belong to his humbler past. Things are different now: all that material success has led to an inner failure, something nicely hit upon by Walter Benjamin (1928: success dulls the mind) and Willie Nelson (1977: so-called successful lives leave behind the basics of love).
In Johnny’s pampered present, he’s absent. Physically he’s there, drifting through the parties and the junkets, into the anonymous bedrooms. But he’s emotionally elsewhere. Often seen as the summit of American success—the rise from mere man to big-screen hero—Coppola gives us an insider’s view of stardom as a somewhat tragicomic condition of existence. From her casting (Chris Pontius, the girl from the Office) to her art direction (the spot-on “Berlin Agenda” poster) one can safely infer that she has a sense of humor about this: the crucial “comic” in “tragicomic.” After all, it is not exactly profound or innovative to argue that money and fame do not beget happiness; this is not Somewhere’s aim. Instead the film serves more as evocation than argument, watching with sympathy and patience and even humor how today’s cultural gods reveal and cherish their humanity, how they mourn its surrender, and ache for its recovery.
So when Barnes & Noble had their 50% sale on Criterion Collection DVDs, I couldn’t resist. I chose favorites that I still hadn’t owned in non-digital form
We lost these two titans of European art cinema in the same year, sadly. It’s hard to pick their bests, but these are strong contenders, if not the strongest. Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night. Antonioni’s L’Eclisse.
A couple more European delicacies. Jacques Tati’s Playtime. Víctor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive.
French encounters with modernity. Louis Malle’s Le feu follet. Godard’s 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her.
Two American classics. Cassavetes’ anxious The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Terence Malick’s gorgeous Days of Heaven.
Last night, B, my sister and I went to see J&J and it was a perfect way to end the day. I laughed throughout the whole movie, and 2.5 hours whizzed by like it was 30 minutes. If only there were more scenes with Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. I was in love with their love if that makes any sense.
Meryl Streep gave an amazing performance as always, but Stanley Tucci really won me over. Besides The Devil Wears Prada, I am not too familiar his work and I look forward to seeing what he has in store for the future.
Another great review by A.O. Scott for the nytimes.