I first moved to Bristol in 1999 for a job. The company rented a house for the 5 or 6 people working on getting the Bristol Store opened. We had a house virtually opposite a lovely pub called The Hope and Anchor. On most evening we could be found in there enjoying a pint (or two) and some cheesey chips. It was then that my friend Mike and I founded the Thursday night movie club. It lasted a few years and was a pretty mainstream affair, I had to keep my art house tastes hidden like a dirty secret, and it was fun.
Now in Helsinki we seem to have stumbled across another Thursday Night Movie Club which is excellent and we have been to the movies more in the last few months than in the last year.
It is very civilised to meet for a beer beforehand and then just enjoy the dark room and the big picture. I wish there was time afterwards to sit and talk about the films but that will come in time.
So last night was Ang Lee's Lust, Caution which I experienced through the prism of Swedish subtitles. The film has received almost universal praise in almost everything I've read and attracted additional publicity for being critisiced by the Chinese authorities for it's gratuitous sex scenes. So where to begin...certainly not with a precis of the plot.
First of all it looks beautiful (and this is the first time I can actually understand what that overused term means) and while it appears to be a love story (on many different levels between many different characters) it is at heart a story about power and often an unflinching one. The sex scenes seemed more brutal than passionate and appeared positively painful to all those involved. The plotting was good, well paced and the 2 hrs plus running time never dragged. Yet I left the cinema saddened by the movie. The overwhelming impression I had was that every character held power over another at various points and all it gave them was an empty taste as a reward.
The week before was My Blueberry Night which saw me inducted into the Helsinki chapter of the Jude Law fan club by my fellow movie goers (you know who you are and I thank you for the honour!). It was the film that was offered by "the club" that night and I had no expectations of it other than it appeared to be dangerously close to being in chick flick territory and being a "real man" (Please please please note the irony there and do not take that seriously I would be mortified) that I would hate it.
So my advice to all you guys out there - go and see it.
A week on I'm having the idea that it is somehow related to "It's a wonderful life". In that movie Clarence has to show Jimmy Stewart what the world would have been like if he hadn't been born. In MBN Norah Jones' character is a kind of Angel connecting with various dispossessed characters so that somehow she can help Jude Law. I think I should stop now before I start waffling....the point is I thought it was a nice bit of fluff at the time and then the next day driving to work I was struck by how it had made me happy as a movie and that is a good thing.
There is a list of things I'm supposed to post on relating to the Kitchen so hopefully will get those up this week.
In the meantime waste nothing and watch art house movies.