It's been half term this week and for once I stayed in London. Off this weekend though to Cardiff for tiggertastic's birthday extravaganza. stickette is coming too. Otherwise she'd better chain some very pretty virgins to the rocks for me. Very pretty indeed.
I had a bit of a cinema frenzy this week. The Curzon Soho is my favourite cinema in London, mainly for its bar. One can feel smugly pretentious, perched on a leather sofa sipping strawberry Stoli and reading Le Monde. Lots of Sapphic eye candy too - sadly all the boys need haircuts.
Bad Education Brilliant Almodovar movie with a scorching performance by the cute one from Y tu Mama tambien He's the only man I prefer in drag (apart from Tigs of course). Excellent perfs all round, especially the children. Luscious to look at, engaging plot twists. Camply melodramatic but achingly credible and moving- just how does he manage to do that? Do go and see it.
Uzak I didn't mean to see this film, I somehow managed to misread the info in Timeout. This Turkish film about a photographer in Istanbul enduring a protracted and unwelcome visit from his country cousin bored me when I saw it. It jumped through every cliched hoop of bog-standard arthouse cinema - slow panning, lingering shots of nothing much, subdued lighting, stilted dialogue. It conveyed the claustrophobia of the apartment almost too well and there was a particularly resonant shot of a broken up boat in the snow, but the characters were simply too loathsome to care about. Having said that I seem to have retained a lot of images from it in my head.
Since Otar LeftThis was the one I meant to see when I saw Uzak. Superb film about three generations of women in Russia dealing - or not - with the death of their son/brother/uncle in Paris. Flawless, funny and moving with an incredibly engaging performance from the grandmother. I'd look out for her next movie but she's ancient and will probably be dead before she makes another one. Made me cry. In a good way. My only complaint is that there were lots of omissions in the French subtitles, which made me wonder if the Russian was similarly curtailed.
I also went to see the Tamara de Lempicka exhibition at the RA. This has been roundly panned by the critics, especially Brian Sewell, but I love her work - I love how her women are simultaneously voluptous, threatening and indolent One of my favourites. They are so luscious and luminous. But there was something odd about seeing so many of her pictures together. It was a bit like the girls in pvc catsuits at Torture Garden - one looks devastatingly sexy, but when sixteen walk past at once you just can't be arsed to stare. Something tells me that minusbat and davywavy won't agree with that statement... The paintings do lose something by being gathered together, perhaps because her techniques and perspectives change so little. See a lot of her women together and they all look rather similar. Perhaps that's why I was so drawn to the rarer portraits of men. This one His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Gabriel really captivated me. She makes this royal escapee from the revolution, in his preposterous uniform, appear arrogant, sadistic and yet strangely bewildered. I think he's very sexy, he reminds me of Michael Portillo on that tragic day when he lost his seat (but not his dignity, gravitas and thrilling sensuality), with a dash of Professor Yaffle from Bagpuss thrown in for good measure.
My favourite was, however, the portrait of her husband, Handsome Rogue. She painted it as they were separating and his left hand (he stopped wearing his wedding ring while she was painting it) remains unfinished. Rather bitterly she called it just 'Portrait of a Man'. Perhaps bitterness sharpened her skills. I want to live at Torture Garden, surrounded by men who look like these two. And women who look like Tamara herself Auto-Portrait.