Actually left the flat today for coffee and breakfast with my pal Kay at Girvan’s. I had salad with my bacon butty. Salad at breakfast time. Does this offset the roast chicken and Genoa cake feasts I’ve been having for breakfast over the festive period? Probably nowhere near enough. Also it wasn’t just salad. As mentioned there were a few bacon butties “to take the taste away”.
What a recherché establishment Girvan’s is with its fine attentive service which stops just crucially short of relentless and obsequious.
I took the car into town shamefully, but the pavements round here are still borderline impassable with ice. Not only have they not been gritted they actually look like someone from the council has been round in the night with a buffer to polish them up. This is fine if you plan to glide frictionlessly to your destination. It’s less fun if you’re planning a bit of a walk, or your path takes you uphill at all.
And then there was some work, oh yes, though I am easing myself back into it trés doucement.
The rest has been more of the futile attempt to catch up with all the movies I’ve never seen.
God bless Michael Winterbottom, and smile upon his short 2005 movie 9 Songs. “The most sexually explicit film in the history of British cinema” chuckles the blurb salaciously and down, down, down sink your expectations. Really. Has there ever in the history of the multiverse been a country more hideously clenched with anxiety about the depiction of sex than this Britain? And when I say Britain I mean England. Jings. The Scots’ll do anything. The Welsh and the Irish I have little enough experience of to find silence the wiser option.
Anyway we’re talking about a country whose pornographic output is legally unable to show erections or penetrations making it, literally in a way, pointless. England is the country whose contribution to erotic cinema is the Confessions series, an endeavour beside which the meat counter at Lidl looks like a bit of a turn on.
Blessedly 9 Songs is very sweet. There is sex and music and, at a surface level, not much else, but that’s all Winterbottom needs to convey with heartbreaking authority the trajectory of a love affair. The tenderness, the trust, the pain, it’s all there.
Thumbs, and all other parts, up.
Meanwhile in France fifteen years ago… La Haine (“Hate”), Mathieu Kassovitz’ 1995 cri de coeur about inner city estates in urban Paris, is a fine piece of film-making. I have no excuse for not catching this one before but I’m glad I have now. It is scarcely less incendiary today than it must have been when it was released, and its concerns are far from being uniquely French.
The dilemma of the unemployed, excluded youths at the centre of the story is summed up best in an exchange between Hubert and Vinz half way through the movie: “Hate breeds hate,” says Hubert. “Turn the other cheek and they fuck your mother,” retorts Vinz.
There’s quiet subtlety all over the place here as points are made both verbally and visually, but ultimately this is a film with a staggering emotional impact. The formidable Vincent Cassel is as charismatic here as he was in last year’s Mesrine Parts 1 and 2.