Disruptions in routines this week reduced the opportunities for viewing movies. Those challenges did not prevent Isabelle and Cordelia from sleeping every night after dinner.
The week started with a Turkish movie, Distant, from Nuri Bilge Ceylan, one of Turkey’s leading directors according to The New Republic‘s Stanley Kaufmann. It is slow in the manner of a Krzysztof Kieslowski but not as full of dialogue as the Polish director’s films. Its portrayal of Turks coming to terms with modernization is understated but thoughtful. Worth seeing even if you have not recently taken a trip to Turkey.
Then we reverted to the seventh season of Curb Your Enthusiasm — our first disk from Netflix. We had seen these six episodes before but I had not remembered them very well. They are clearly funny and their humor is all the more catchy because of the nervous tension created by embarrassment for Larry David (much like you cannot believe how impolite David Brent is in The Office). What I find remarkable is Larry David’s observations about etiquette and manners, and his defense of them in many occasions. This is not Henry James’ study of morals and manners, of course, but when Larry discusses with Jerry Seinfeld whether he needs to call back a friend after his cell signal dropped, he is putting his finger on precisely the ambiguities that lurk in so many contemporary interactions among people. (My favorite from an earlier season is when Larry is walking with Ted Danson — as if they ever walk in So Cal — and wants to put an apple core — the remainder of what he has just eaten — in a neighbor’s trash can positioned by the curb and discovers that notions of private property extend not simply to not littering on someone else’s yard but to not even having access to their trash can.)
With the Mrs. away for part of the week, I decided to give Breaking Bad another try. I thought starting with episode three of Season One would get me past the removal of the bodies. But it did not. I persisted, but the series has not yet gripped me. I do remember that it was not until the sixth episode or so of The Wire that I was hooked. So I will not give up yet. But I am doubtful.
Finally, I watched This is England, again without the better half, suspecting that she would not have much of an interest in a movie about skinheads in the U.K. during the early 1980s. I’m sure if I knew more about English history and politics, the writer’s decision to surround this story of a 12-year old boy drawn into a gang with clips from the Falkland War would have made more sense. The most I could pick up was the same kind of disapproval for skinheads as for Maggie Thatcher’s foreign policy. Without the politics, the movie might have been really good. As it was, it was kind of good.