Monday, March 19, 2012

TV Bites: The Maltese Falcon

Sam Spade's Lamb Chops

Hey, it's part two of my Humphrey Bogart double bill. Now while To Have and Have Not was filmed after The Maltese Falcon, I wound up doing this one second. No real reason other than the John Huston books were checked out of the library last month, but not the ones on Hawks. Does that clear up that mystery for you?

This was the big transition role for Bogart. He was no longer a bad guy, he was the hero. And he even got to kiss a girl, albeit a psychopathic one, but still. Strangely, I wound up not talking much about Bogart below and instead wound up focusing more on Huston and all of Mary Astor's stories. I hope you won't hold that against me.

Now please indulge me as I rant a bit. You'll read a lot online that people consider this to be the first Film Noir film. I don't particularly think so. It is clearly an antecedent, but I wouldn't call it the first Noir. I mean, you might as well say Fritz Lang's M is the first, no? Some people say it was Stranger on the Third Floor. (Note: M, Stranger, and The Falcon all feature Peter Lorre, if you didn't notice that.) Others might even say it was Citizen Kane. But this is just cinemagraphic masturbation as far as I'm concerned. Film Noir is a style that evolved and to pick the first film which incorporated all of its elements.... well, friends.... you'll first have to decide what exactly are those elements, which are always up for discussion and disagreement, as well. So there.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tickets Available NOW!!! Cinema Paradiso, April 14th!!

Time: Saturday April 14, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my 12th Chef du Cinema class, I'll be pairing a 4-course Sicilian menu with the Italian film classic Cinema Paradiso. The 1988 film is partially the autobiography of its writer/director Giuseppe Tornatore of his childhood at the end of WWII in a small Sicilian town. Obsessed with movies, the boy befriends the world-weary projectionist at the local theater, portrayed by Philippe Noiret. The film won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes.

Note: WE WILL BE SCREENING THE ORIGINAL RELEASE VERSION, NOT the 173 minute extended director's cut re-release.

Still rapturous after all these years, Cinema Paradiso stands as one of the great films about movie love,” – Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

Polpette di Melanzane (Eggplant, Mint & Cheese Fritters)
Pesce Spada Marinato Agli Agrumi (Citrus Marinated Swordfish w/ Arugula & Orange Segment Salad)
Quick French Bread
Cozze Marinara (Steamed Mussels w/Tomato, Garlic, Onion & Basil) with Linguine
Torta Arancione dell'Olio di Oliva (Orange-Scented Olive Oil Cake) w/Amaretto Gelato

After recipe demonstration, we'll take a break, then sit back, EAT and enjoy a screening of the film!

Friday, March 2, 2012

TV Bites: A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin)

Ash-e Reshteh (Persian Noodle Soup w/Meatballs)

So, I'm pushing back the Bogart double bill and bumping what was to be the mid-March post up because of A Separation's Oscar win on Sunday. The second Bogart film will appear in its place later this month.

As you know if you've been following this adventure, I typically don't do films currently in the theaters. But occasionally I find myself wanting to share something new I really like. (The last time was for the Vik Muniz documentary Waste Land.) Plus, in this case, it's an opportunity to make some Persian food. And it seemed perfect timing in that March 20th is Norouz, the Persian New Year.

I had heard about this film back in November and I was interested in it, but I thought, "Oh, a family drama. It could be kind of boring." But then I watched it in December and I was just so taken by it.