... ON THE BIG SCREEN.
Not because I do not want to see it. I do!
But it does not contain fast cars, explosions, and hot women -- and in my city only movies with those essential elements need apply to our theaters.
I had to wait for the DVD release of MIDNIGHT IN PARIS:
Wes Anderson, (not to be confused with Wes Craven!), possesses a distinctive sensibility and a consistent visual style. I hope you like his work as much as do I.
In THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL,
you will meet eccentric characters possessed by a kind of madcap melancholy, soulful and silly in equal measure.
A phrase occurs twice in the film describing the hotel's charismatic concierge, M. Gustave. Portrayed by Ralph Fiennes:
A thoroughly ridiculous man and at the same time “a glimmer of civilization in the barbaric slaughterhouse we know as humanity.”
In the real 1930s, places like the fictional Zubrowka, were on the brink of inconceivable barbarism and unprecedented slaughter.
M. Gustave's energy and appearance are based upon Stefan Zweig:
On February 22, 1942, the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig and his second wife went to the bedroom of a rented house in Petrópolis, Brazil.
They lay down—she in a kimono, he in a shirt and tie—after taking an enormous dose of barbiturates.
In his suicide note, he spoke of “my own language having disappeared from me and my spiritual home, Europe, having destroyed itself.”
He concluded, “I salute all my friends! May it be granted them yet to see the dawn after the long night! I, all too impatient, go on before.”
the filmmaker who left Berlin for Hollywood in 1922 and whose name connotes a peerlessly suave and humane comic touch is a strong influence in this film.
In two memorable movies, Lubitsch, without losing his sense of humor, confronted contemporary totalitarianism: in NINOTCHKA (1939), with Greta Garbo as a Soviet agent in Paris,
and in TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942), with Jack Benny as a Polish actor performing for the Nazis.
Those of you who have read my HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS know of my fondness for film and history ... and courage/humor in the face of terrible danger.
Perhaps it is but a dream, a whimsy ...
but I like to think lightheartedness and laughter can oppose the heavy hand of political oppression.
Perhaps I like THE GREAT BUDAPEST HOTEL
because it, like my DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE and HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS,
makes a marvelous mockery of history, turning its horrors into a series of graceful jokes and mischievous gestures.
Perhaps it is but escapism. I think of it as literary revenge on reality.
What revenge do you take on reality in your writing?