Saturday, July 30, 2005

French films and Brazilian Food

Equal good times. Well, they do if the film is good (which yesterday's was) and the food is good (which today's was). Watched 'The Beat That My Heart Skipped', apparently a remake by director Jacques Audiard of a 1970s Hollywood film called Fingers(unusual, that), which has a truly amazing performance - one of the most physical I have seen in ages - all twitches and nervous tics and tense shoulder muscles and sudden jerky movements - by this very sexy (if hirsute) guy called Romain Duris. He's really very, very good; one of those performances where you can't imagine the actor as anyone else but what he plays in the movie, which is the son of a Paris property shark whose job is basically to strong-arm obstructive tenants into leaving by such methods as releasing rats into their homes or just beating them up. (One of the funniest moments in the film is when a music impresario asks Tom what he does, and he says pretty much what I've said above, only prefaced by the innocuous sounding 'I'm in real eastate'. Hilarious.) The central tension in the film arises from Tom's interest in music (his dead mother was a concert pianist - why she married a property-shark is not clear, but then this eeems, in typically Gallic fashin, to be a rather cultivated property-shark: his apartment is one of those book-strewn, dimly mood-lit places with overstuffed couches and open bottles of wine so beloved of every French film director worth his Bordeaux) and his attempts to get back into a life of serious music-making. There's also an amazing performance, this time relying almost entirely on physicality and the expressions on the actress' face, by Linh Dam Phan, who plays a pianist from China who speaks no French (but occasionally breaks out into Chinese, which is, very cleverly, not subtitled). Well worth watching, if for no other reason than the two performances above. If I were a certain well-known film reviewer who drooled at length over Aishwarya Rai's execrable performance in Bride and prejudice, one of the worst films of all time, I'd give it two (big) thumbs up, but as I am not, I shall merely say that I enjoyed in thoroughly. I have not bitched about La Rai enough lately, so had to throw that in, randomly.

The meal today was this Brazilian stew involving pork, sausages, black beans, collard greens, rice, plantains, and stuff. Really good. We ate at this great little place called Muqueca, which is a recent discovery. Must go back.


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