In reality, I’m not entirely sure just how “cool” the following things are, however, consistency is key, I guess. My note-taking has been less obsessive than the first half of the month, as I seem to be running out of steam, but that is just par for the course for me.
I’ve also watched less films and have fallen once again into the void of rewatch season. In case you give a shit, my comfort T.V. as of late has been Elementary, which was ill-fated in that it was released too close to another modern-day retelling of Sherlock Holmes. In many ways, I do prefer Elementary to Sherlock — even though it often borders on being copaganda — if only for the enlightened visionary who paired Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu together.
Summer Hours (2008)
To be honest, I was trawling my to-watch list on Criterion Channel, looking for a film with a modest runtime. Summer Hours clocks in at just about 1 hour and 40 minutes, and even though I had to read subtitles and listen to French, it was such a beautiful film. I’ve been trying to sell this to people, but I always come up short, because who really wants to watch a snooty French family disagree about their art-laden inheritance? But it is oddly so perfect. And, while the discussions it tries to jumpstart — on perspectives of value and history — are kind of obvious, it’s still worth a watch.
We saw Tár at The Castle Cinema (which is a little out of the way, but they also do £5 Mondays) and I was initially put off by the very long run time. Two hours and 40 minutes of a languid, slow film about a conductor? Cate Blanchett is fabulous and gay, but she is also a massive dickhead in the film. I think I really, really appreciated the first maybe two-thirds of Tár, but as you can imagine, the last act SPOILERmade me feel so uneasy. I watched it with Mark, who is Irish and obviously didn’t have as big of a problem as I did, and it just made me aware of so many potential blind spots in so many places.
It was still beautiful and I personally do not carry the same concerns as some people may have about portraying a powerful woman as a dipshit, because the truth is many powerful people are kind of assholes, regardless of gender. I was speaking with another friend, Richard, about how Todd Field had made something that lets us kind of stay within the grey areas, and how certain things cannot be read without their respective contexts.
Case in point: the most perfect scene at Juilliard, where Tár was a visiting lecturer. I had disagreed with both Mark and Richard with our readings of what transpired, but we all agreed that it was a beautiful scene. I still don’t know how I personally feel about all of the things this has dredged up, but it was a good way to spend two hours and 40 minutes anyway.
Also: I enjoyed reading this reading (ha) of Tár as an uncanny gothic horror (ghost story?).
The Traitors (Australia)
I’m writing this quite a while after I saw the U.K. version, and holy shit, this was so much more satisfying! Last time, my friend Vinny urged us to give the U.S. version a shot, and Mark clicked on this by accident and we ended up carrying on. I don’t know about you, but more often than not, I enjoy Aussie iterations of reality shows by like, a wide margin. This includes certain seasons of Survivor.
The Traitors Australia had contestants that possessed an awareness of what was going on. Even though a lot of their theories were incorrect, many were. Which is astounding, when you have just come from viewing the U.K. version, where everyone just sort of… didn’t know what was going on.
I read a comment about how the gameplay potentially was so different because the contestants weren’t so obviously in need of the cash prize, and I can see that as a definite factor in terms of them playing a little more boldly and less concerned about making a mistake. I could be totally off the mark, but it seemed like contestants on the Australian version saw the money as “nice to have” and as something that would ease the cost of living crisis or pay for non-essential things, whereas in the U.K. one, it was very like, “Oh, I would like the money so I can get a new hand.”
I discovered what gimlets were (lol) when I bought a small bottle of a Pentire, which is a “botanical non-alcoholic spirit” meant to replace gin. I’ve been having gimlets with Mark and my flatmate, Sandra, but like with actual gin and Rose’s lime cordial. They are so good and so easy to make.
I’ve been an on-again, off-again consumer of newsletters, which has perhaps replaced the sensation of reading old friends’ blogs on Google Reader with, of course, the added parasocial element of not actually being friends with the vast majority of the people whose lives I’ve been reading about. In any case, there remains a personal element to it that I enjoy. Plus, a lot of the time, many writers (including myself) find that they are pressured to make it worth their reader’s while. Even still, a vast majority of the newsletters I do enjoy tend to be more personal. It’s kind of like reading tiny autobiographies unfolding in real time.
The Last of Us (2022)
O.K., I watch this with Mark and I haven’t seen him since the third episode came out, so I still haven’t seen it, but I have been trying to avert my gaze~ whenever I see mentions of it online. It’s very hard. I never played the game, so I don’t have the same sort of investment as people who did play it (i.e. my brother), but I am enjoying it very much.
Not my favourites, but I’ve got to shout out:
MILF Manor. I consume a lot of trash, but wow. This is kind of really obscene in a way that makes it hard for me to laugh at it, at times. The pull, however, is very strong, and I shall continue to watch.
Walking home, instead of commuting. I very rarely do it, but when I do, I find myself wondering why I don’t do it often enough. I think I get restless when the route I walk on is the same, but then I remember that there is always more than one way to get somewhere.
SPOILER: where she bunks in what was meant to be the Philippines, but it was really filmed in Thailand, and all the accents were all over the place. Interestingly connected to some thoughts I had after seeing Mysterious Object at Noon, which unearthed some feelings on colonisation, etc. etc., which I wrote about here.
Sunmer Hours is my favorite Assayas. The speech the lola gives before her death...hits me me every time.