I spent half of this month with Falling Slowly playing over and over in my head after seeing a theatre production of Once. I could tell half the audience hadn’t seen the movie because they were stunned by the ending! Of course I had to re-watch the DVD the very next day. I was both impressed and amused by how the story was transferred to the stage. They somehow got away with setting the whole thing in an Irish pub with an ensemble cast. The Czech characters were really amped up and there was a lot of comedy. Yet it worked!
I watched a bunch of movies in April, starting with La Famille Belier, recommended by Lucinda Sans. It was an enjoyable French comedy about a family whose members are all deaf but one. The hearing child (a teenager) acts as an interpreter for her parents – for both everyday and business matters. She is over-responsible and holds back from getting on with her life. If this was the only movie you saw about deaf people and culture, you would think them bizarre because the characters were over-the-top comedic, so I trust viewers will realize it’s specific to the storyline and movie.
I watched an old French classic, M. Hulot’s Holiday, for the first time. It was full of madcap, physical comedy, one gag after another, with music, sound effects and a bit of dialogue. M. Hulot drives to the seaside in his old beater car where he vacations at a resort and causes all sorts of mischief, some intentional and some not. It reminded me of silent movies, Laurel and Hardy, and other comedy of a bygone era. As the movie goes on, the situations get more and more absurd. (I liked the reaction to the folding boat). I got the impression that the director, Tati, found human beings quite ridiculous!
I watched both with English subtitles – unfortunately my listening French is not that good ☹
I had Goin’ Down the Road on my to-see list for ages. It is a Canadian regional movie from 1970 that is always making top 10 lists. It was a hyper-realistic road movie/buddy film about two guys from my home province who go off to the land of plenty – Toronto – to find work. (There is a sequel which I may or may not see). I kept searching the screens for what Yonge Street looked like back then! The movie reminded me a bit of Withnail and I, which I saw recently.
I borrowed three DVDs from the library: Footnote, Hannah Arendt and A Separation – all good. In Footnote, a professor follows in the footsteps of his father and pursues a similar field of study. His father is offered a prestigious prize – mistakenly. It was meant for the son, and now the committee has to revoke it! In Hannah Arendt, we see the ground-breaking journalism that led to the modern concept of “the banality of evil.” This is so well-established now, I didn’t even know it had been controversial, or why. It gave me more understanding of the issues, and was also a peek into intellectual and Jewish life in NYC in the early 60s. A Separation was an intense drama from Iran: a father defends his aged, infirm father from the ineptness of the hired help – with tragic consequences. The impact on his eleven-year-old daughter was sharply portrayed. All recommended, sombre dramas.
The highlight of my reading in April was that a friend of mine wrote a book about her experiences teaching at an independent school, which evolved into an explanation of what works well there, and what is wrong with “the system” (i.e. public schools). I enjoyed attending her book launch and seeing her fêted!
I caught up on my reading after so little being read in March. I browsed a giant photo book of Vivienne Westwood’s fashion. My book club read Sweetland by Michael Crummy, about an old man who refuses to leave an outport town in Newfoundland when the government wants to cut services and resettle him. I read Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis, a pure delight for anyone who follows elections in Canada – it was a political humour novel which requires some knowledge of Canadian government. I read Ann and Nancy Wilson’s book Kicking and Dreaming, about their rock band Heart – it was chatty and relatable. You know I read Laura’s choice of book, Seabiscuit, which was gripping. And I just finished Mexican Hooker #1, a second memoir by Carmen Aguirre (the earlier one is Something Fierce – be sure to read that one first!) I could not put it down – it was shocking, touching and life-affirming.
In other news, Rom and I planned our next UK visit for later in the year. We had made trips in the Spring for the past 5 years, so it will feel strange to be at home for the whole season.
I’ve begun Spring cleaning, which is actually just normal cleaning that was neglected over the winter months.
Our shingles are quickly failing so re-roofing is in the cards for this month. Definitely not doing it ourselves!
It is still early Spring, and into the rainier season which could last 6 or 8 weeks. I have done some raking of the “lawn” which is actually an informal mixed habitat 🙂 This is the third year that blackbirds and grackles have descended on my yard en masse and set up shop for the breeding season. Lots of chatter, and rapid depleting of the bird feeders!
My local swimming pool closed for two weeks for its annual maintenance. I tried out another one in the interim but it was inconvenient. I had time to shop for a new swimsuit. The tankini from last summer had lost its elasticity. I estimate I wore it about 50 times. I went for a traditional racerback one-piece this time.
I spent another week back at my former job, and returned to my current one, with no drama. So, all is well!
I hope you had a good April. What’s new with you?