a long weekend

A long weekend almost over. Been fun. Chilled. Saw a few friends, caught a few movies. Ate toast.

Usually by the end of the long weekend, I will have hit double figures for number of films seen, this time I made it to 8. A very relaxing 8 at that, not an exhaustion induced marathon. I have managed to run into friends each day of fest, some only fleetingly alas. I’ve caught up on the seating politics of the group I used to sit with, close to a schism no less though friendly enough.

The Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, was disappointing alas. I was really looking forward to a new Greenaway as I have loved some of his earlier films including Prospero’s Books and The Pillow Book. In this one, as always, I enjoyed his use of, and experiments with, framing in order to tell a story. Visually delightful but the story, while it continued along, lacked depth, and even interest.

Curiously, the two standout films for me so far were both documentaries. I enjoy documentaries but they’re not my preferred sort of film either. Yesterday was Sherpa, which explored the nepalese community that they make their living from supporting the Everest climbing industry, and “industry” is the right word. There’s an early shot of of climbers, effectively queued mid ascent. Hundreds of them, their colourful jackets bright against the white of the snow.  The doco was initially going to be about one of sherpa who was likely to attain a new record by reaching the summit 22 times, and of their clients on their first trip. Instead, an avalanche resulting in the deaths of 16 nepalese, which became the heart of the movie.

Tonight, I saw a doco called Palio, about a horse race in Siena. I read a book of this race as a child and loved it, reading it many times. I even have a pennant for the contrada of the snail, one of 17 contrade that compete in the race. Beyond that I knew little of the race. Thanks to this doco, I have seen it, and the Square in Siena where it is held. It looks amazing and this is no ordinary horse race, representing hundreds of years of culture. In some ways, not dissimilar to the history of bull-fighting in Spain. I don’t follow sport and am rarely excited by racing but was on the edge of my seat for the racing portions, and felt both the good side and the bad. It is not an easy race, either for horses or riders. One day, I would love to visit Siena and watch the Palio.

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