Writing Life

*Movies, Weather and Anxiety

My kids were off for March break this past week. The weather was unbelievably gorgeous–unknown in March. This is usually the grim grey of winter that won’t give up in Toronto. But we had a week of sun and temperatures from 14c to 18C (low to mid 60’s F). We walked, we played in the schoolyard (tennis, soccer), and I even got my rollerblades out. Twice. The first time I crept about like Tim Conway as an old man on the old Carol Burnett Show. The second time I managed to skate up and down the schoolyard like a kindergartener. We are making progress. One child baked a cake all on her own. The other child has been sewing up a storm.

I woke up this morning with the contented feeling that the draft I sent to the agent a couple of weeks ago is actually really good. This was followed by panic that it might be ready to go. And then came thoughts of problems he might find with it, which erased the panic, leaving a more familiar and comfortable though in itself distressing anxiety. Sometimes don’t you want to just tell your head to f-off?

So I will now turn to something more pleasant. I have DVD’s to recommend.

Hobson’s Choice: This is an early 1950’s British film based on a 1916 play that takes place in 1880’s. It’s about gender and class, it’s funny as heck, the good guys win and the female protagonist finds both success and love through her own agency. I think it’s a remarkable film given the context, ie that it came out during the era of shooing women back to their own place post-war, and written originally in the go boys go of early WWI. I watched it twice, the second time with commentary on.

Seducing Doctor Lewis (La Grande Seduction) 2003: This is a Canadian film, more precisely a Quebecois film. It is funny, gentle, and charming. Ste Marie la Mauderne is a remote fishing village where the fishing has vanished. The residents need a doctor to settle in the village in order to win the bid on a factory. The movie is about their conspiracy to find and win over Doctor Lewis, whose name reveals him as an anglo, moreover an anglo who loves cricket and despises hockey.

I’ve Loved You So Long 2008 France: This is a more serious movie, about a woman who returns to her family after a long prison term for a serious crime. Her emotional journey as she comes back to life, and the secret behind the crime, are beautifully portrayed.

Elling 2001 Norway: Don’t miss this one. It is such a wonderful film. It is funny, kind, not at all sentimental, but delightful. It is the story of two released psychiatric patients who have to find their way out in the world after they get an apartment from social services. The movie is based on a novel, which ought to be translated into English!

Chungking Express 1994 China: This movie is hard to describe, but it is really good. There are two stories, which I expected to intersect, but don’t. They are both about romances involving a policeman, in the same part of the city. Parts are funny, parts are strange. It’s an unexpected movie. Highly recommended.

Mostly Martha 2001 Germany: This is one of those child redeems lonely adult stories, but better done than most. It’s a romantic comedy about chef Martha, perfect for an evening where you want something light but not eye-rolling.

Last Chance Harvey 2008 U.S.: A surprisingly good romance with Dustin Hoffman as Harvey, a middle-aged composer of jingles, whose life really really sucks. But life takes a turn for the far better with the chance meeting of Kate (Emma Thompson) an aspiring writer whose day job is counting people at an airport. Yes, really. It works.

That’s all for now. The sun is gone, we’re back to single digit temperatures. I’m ready for a cozy day at home.

Nine Wells, Cambridge, by David Lamkin

According to Wikipedia Commons:

In 1614, Cambridge needed a new water supply. Thomas Hobson built a causeway bringing water from springs at Nine Wells near Shelford outside Cambridge into the city centre. The channels still run along Trumpington Street in Cambridge. Thomas Hobson made his money hiring out horses, but hirers had to take the horse closest to the door. This led to the expression “Hobson’s Choice” meaning “No choice”!

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9 thoughts on “*Movies, Weather and Anxiety”

  1. What a beautiful photo! I’ve been loving this weather too. But it’s March, and the rain returns tomorrow. Sigh. I definitely often want to tell my head to f-off!

  2. Those channels do still run along Trumpington Street – they are like unexpectedly huge, deep gutters, and I often see a parked car with offside wheels stuck in them. I had no idea of their history, though, so thank you for that! Beautiful photo, and don’t worry about the book – there are bound to be layers of teeny edits around the amoeba level of punctuation ahead, so no need to brace yourself for sending it out into the world just yet! 😉

  3. Thanks for the introduction to a bunch of films I’ve never even heard of. I am so bad about anything on a screen these days – I love a good movie, but find it harder and harder to take two hours of my day to watch one…

    I second Litlove, don’t worry about the book, I’m sure it will all be fine and you’ll have enough time to prepare yourself before you do let it go into the world!

  4. We had that surprising taste of spring last week too…it was heavenly.

    All those films are new to me with the exception of Last Chance Harvey, which I just adored. It was kind of like that little touch of spring – very hopeful!

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