Saturday, October 31, 2009

Le temps qui reste

Sometime in the past few months, I saw a movie about a very attractive, very successful man who was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Now, how will he spend the time he has left? Etc., etc. For a variety of reasons, it was an absolutely dreadful movie.

A few days ago, in my pursuit of other films starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (who was mentioned in an earlier blog post), I started watching Le temps qui reste (English title: Time to Leave). It was in French and the main character was gay, but otherwise, the basic plot was exactly the same.

I admit, I wasn't exactly thrilled about the prospect of seeing another trite handling of the topic. This was a good film, though. It was very interesting to compare the two movies because the starting point was so similar and the details (and the effect) were so different.

Le temps qui reste, written and directed by François Ozon and starring Melvil Poupaud as Romain, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (credited as Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) as Jany, Jeanne Moreau as Romain's grandmother and Daniel Duval and Marie Rivière as his parents, Christian Sengewald as Sasha, and Louise-Anne Hippeau as Sophie.

Willful Creatures (stories) by Aimee Bender

Willful Creatures was published in 2005 by Doubleday. My favorite stories in here were "Dearth," "Off," "Fruit and Words," "The Leading Man," "I Will Pick Out Your Ribs (from My Teeth)," and "Ironhead," which was peculiarly sad and satisfying at the same time.

Now I want to go back and reread The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (stories) and An Invisible Sign of My Own (novel).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Call Me By Your Name

To me those hours spent at that round wooden table in our garden with the large umbrella imperfectly shading my papers, the chinking of our iced lemonades, the sound of the not-too-distant surf gently lapping the giant rocks below, and in the background, from some neighboring house, the muffled crackle of the hit parade medley on perpetual replay—all these are forever impressed on those mornings when all I prayed for was for time to stop. Let summer never end, let him never go away, let the music on perpetual replay play forever, I’m asking for very little, and I swear I’ll ask for nothing more.

From Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, 2007), p. 30.

There is also a lovely segment starting with the bottom paragraph on page 237 of the hardcover edition (“And like the old men who sat around the piazzetta—”), but it gives away too much of the story’s ending to type it out here.

Oh, and if you see this, thanks for the recommendation.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Poetry by Tania Pryputniewicz and David O'Meara, Fiction, Films, and David Sedaris' tour

"She dressed in a hurry (Lady Di)" by Tania Pryputniewicz (poem from Salome Magazine, September 28, 2009)

"Airport" by David O'Meara (poem from his collection Noble Gas, Penny Black, Brick Books, 2008)

"Looking American" by Tai Dong Huai (short story from Raving Dove, Summer 2009)

"Margaret Lives in the Basement" and "Duck Blind" by Michelle Berry (short stories from her collection Margaret Lives in the Basement, Somerville House Publishing, 1998; "Margaret Lives in the Basement" was originally published as three separate stories in TickleAce, Ash, and The Malahat Review)

5x2, in French, directed by François Ozon and starring Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi as Marion and Stéphane Freiss as Gilles. Early on, this film had a scene that I really could have lived without. Still, I thought that overall it was excellent. It was also a pleasant surprise to see the wonderful Valeria Bruni Tedeschi again; I'd just seen her in Il est plus facile pour un chameau... (English title: It's easier for a camel...), which she wrote and directed. (She is sometimes credited as Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi or Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi.)

The Savages, written and directed by Tamara Jenkins and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Jon Savage and Laura Linney as Wendy Savage, and Philip Bosco as Lenny Savage, Peter Friedman as Larry, and Gbenga Akinnagbe as Jimmy. This was the second time I'd seen this one. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney are two of my favorite actors, so I'd really looked forward to seeing this the first time around, but some of the themes were so painful that I couldn't appreciate all of the beauty and humor.

Considering that I briefly considered leaving home in order to attend the rest of David Sedaris's tour dates, I suppose you could say that I enjoyed seeing him live. Some of the appearances are already sold out, but if you like his writing and he's going to be visiting a city near you, I'd strongly recommend getting a ticket. He's great on the page, on CD, and on television, but truly, he's even better in person. Ticket information is available on the website of the Steven Barclay Agency: