Friday, April 20, 2012

TV Bites: Roma, città aperta (Rome: Open City)

Minestra di cavolo (Italian Cabbage Soup)

A shorter version of this post appears at the Criterion Collection Website

So, welcome to la seconda parte of my Italian double bill. Part one, Cinema Paradiso, was set in Sicily where I concluded by trip back in January. And now we are in Rome, where I began my trip. The idea for these came in planning the trip when I decided to rewatch some classic Italian films.

While in Rome I rewarded myself by stopping at the spot where Federico Fellini used to set up his little caricature drawing booth - and where Rossellini first met with him and invited him to co-write Rome: Open City. I also took a tour of Cinecittà studio (where they have on display Anita Ekberg's outfit from La Dolce Vita amongst other items). But I did not get a chance to go to the street and see the apartment building used in Rome: Open City. (Gotta have an excuse to return, don't I?).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Class: Cinema Paradiso

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

If you read this blog regularly, you'll know I was in Italy over the Xmas/New Year holiday. While the entire trip was quite wonderful, Sicily especially got to me, especially because of the wonderful couple I was staying with. I really want to go back and spend some serious time visiting the rest of the island. And, of course, I ate really well the whole trip. So, even before I left, I was planning this class and thinking about what amazing meals I would eat there and serve in the class here.

But I couldn't just do one movie/meal, so this is part one of an Italian double feature. So stay tuned for more....

Meanwhile, class went really well tonight - and I have to say this might have been the best meal yet! Anyways, as usual, thanks to the wonderful staff and volunteers at Central Market Cooking School for making it all smooth and fun for me.

This is my second film to feature the great Phillipe Noiret, and I promise you it won't the last.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

(shameless self-promotion time again).... Here's my interview with director Kevin MacDonald on his Bob Marley documentary

Catch a Legend: Marley on Screen
By Ron Deutsch, April 2012

Since Bob Marley's untimely death at the age of 36 from cancer in 1981, there have been numerous film projects announced. They have included unproduced narrative films--one to star Jamie Foxx, and another written by Lizzie Borden (Working Girls)--as well as several documentaries that ran in theaters and aired on television. The history of the upcoming Marley began in 2008 when Martin Scorsese announced he would be working with the Marley family; the film was originally slated to be released in February 2010 to coincide with Marley's 65th birthday. Scorsese bowed out shortly thereafter and Jonathan Demme was then in the director's chair, with the same announced release date. Demme apparently came very close to completing his film, but told Spinner in September 2009, "Profound creative differences emerged in the course of the editing. I ended up with a film I adore but unfortunately my love is not shared by the people who paid for it. So we have all got our heads together to find the most positive way to deal with that impasse. I hope we do because I loved making it."

But that impasse was never passed. Fast forward to February 2011, when it was announced that director Kevin Macdonald had started over with a new documentary on the life of the Reggae star. In addition to his Academy Award-winning films One Day in September and The Last King of Scotland, Macdonald has made documentaries on the famous, the infamous and the obscure--from silent film villain Eric Campbell to real life Nazi villain Klaus Barbie; and from British documentary filmmaker Humphrey Jennings to American documentarian Errol Morris.

Read the rest of the article here....

Monday, April 2, 2012

TV Bites: The Station Agent

Chuletas con Cebolla (Cuban Pork Chops & Onion)

Howdy. Hope all is well by you. Not too much going on here, though I'm in New York this week and so we have a movie made by a group of New York actors and set just over the river in New Jersey.

If you're in Austin and have been thinking of taking my upcoming Cinema Paradiso class, if you buy your tickets before April 6th and use the code "BLOOM" you'll save 10 dollars. Not a bad deal at all. Hope to see you there!

I'm not sure where to start with this film. I feel strangely at a loss for words. Perhaps it's because this is a film whose characters seem to often have a loss for words themselves. I know this for sure: The Station Agent is nearly a perfect movie. It's not a kid's movie. It's a movie for grown-ups. It's about trying to negotiate your way through life, struggling to get out of your comfort zone, struggling to be a grown-up, and struggling to create friendships while you're struggling to be a grown-up. It's almost never about what people are saying but rather revealed through subtext and what's not said. And none of that would work if not for its amazing, fantastic cast. And it makes you smile. You get to spend some time with some people, watch them bounce off each other like electrons through a microscope, and in the end they come together to form something greater than their individual properties. And it does all that in only 88 minutes.