Thursday, July 25, 2013

Amaldóvar and Me


I'm really excited to watch Pedro Amaldóvar's new film Los Amantes Pasajeros.  I want to hit it either tonight or tomorrow before it moves on to different formats.  In preparation, I've been revisiting some of his older movies and watching those I've never seen.  For example, yesterday I watched Entre Tinieblas (Dark Habits).  To quickly sum up the picture, it features a near all-female cast.  It's about a cabaret singer whose on the run and finds refuge at a convent managed by eccentric nuns--very eccentric nuns!  A drama that utilizes dark and bawdy comedic elements (the type of stuff I love!) pushes this film forward, always surprising and knock-you-off-your-seat funny.  As in many of Amaldóvar's movies there are literary references and writers who are faced with a dilemma.  There are allusions to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and chistes directed at the 'holier than thou' literary canon.  I loved this movie.  Looking back--it was produced in 1983--it was a wonderful point of not necessarily departure, but it marked the possibility for new directions in the director's arsenal.  


Quick connection: my wife and I just returned from Madrid, and my lungs are still pumping Spanish air.  Goya, Goya, Goya, a voice bellows in my sleep.  A beautiful, beautiful time.  After a long day at the museum, we decided to drop into a tapas restaurant in Chueca.  A small, family-owned restaurant operating since 1966.  As we waited to be seated, I looked around the entrance and found a picture of Pedro Amaldóvar.  It was an article cut out from El Pais, explaining his fondness for the place. "What the &#$#?"  "What's wrong," Mandie asked.  "[mumble, mumble, grunt, pointing at the article (my wife understands this)]"   It turns out it's a place he likes to stop by when he's itching for tapas.  Actually, it's a place that he adores, and after eating there, I can see why.  It's short money--considering--and the food and environment is great.  I looked around the place, nervously hoping to catch a glimpse of the director, but he wasn't there.  One reason might be that it was ridiculously early to be eating dinner--it was 845pm.  If he was there, would I even approach him?  What would I say?  Or would I just stare creepily across the restaurant, my eyeballs peeking over a menu, waiting for him to pull out a notebook from his breast pocket to jot down some notes for his next film?  I'm really not good with that kind of stuff.

I mention this incident because it's one event in a chain of events pointing at the work of Pedro Amaldóvar.  There's a word for this I can't think of now, but I'll just use the word 'coincidence.'  These coincidence's happen infrequently but they do happen, and what I've realized is that I usually need to pay closer attention to the subject at hand.  Something's telling me something: "Study Amaldóvar's work more closely, you lazy %$@#$#@%. Study Amaldóvar's work more closely.  Don't just sit watching passively.  Don't multi-task.  What can it offer you and your work?  How did Amaldóvar critique this or that (read allegory and satire), how does he use humor, how does he rear back and deliver the gut punch, how does he introduce the extraordinary, how does he use color, etc."  Reader, you must imagine this recited in the voice of Hamlet's deceased father.  It's important, I believe, to take advantage of this synchronicity (not the word I was thinking of).  I don't know how, but as I mentioned earlier, it's advantageous to tune the senses a little more acutely.

From what I've observed, the reviews for Amadóvar's new movie have been mixed.  Some have told me it's a commentary on Spain's current economic crisis, but I have no idea what to expect.  All I know  is that I'll be there with a well-salted and buttery tapa, a bag of popcorn.  As for the crisis in Spain, protests are in the streets.  I read the spray-painted phrase "Eat the rich!" more than once on a few buildings around the city.

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I'm listening to Nas' "Nasty" as I write this.  I can't sit still.  

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Watched Mexico versus Panama yesterday in the Copa de Oro tournament.  Que lástima.  They're skidding out of control.


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