by Gary Meyer
Earlier this year we were lucky enough to see a truly inspiring movie about female empowerment against the odds with gorgeous plates of studded pilafs, mouth-watering freekeh dishes and stuffed grape leaves in Thomas Morgan’s SOUFRA.
In the midst of a successful film festival tour where it keeps winning awards, a beautiful cookbook has been published with many recipes you will want to try. And we are bringing a couple to you on EatDrinkFilms.
In connection with the current tour of THE PUPPET MASTER film series and Carlos Valladares’ article about Jiří Trnka we present short films about the stop motion animator.
A 1967 Czech TV short about Trnka
by Carlos Valladares
Jean Cocteau said of Jiří Trnka, the Czech animator and puppeteer, that the very name conjures up childhood and poetry. Note the “and”—childhood and poetry, la poésie de l’enfance, which Trnka treats with the depth and respect those oft-belittled years merit. We are only too quick to gloss over our fanciful kid dreams, our stumbling attempts to use simple words to convey huge emotions which we spend our adult trying to refine and intellectualize and know, know, boringly know.
Trnka, by contrast, was a seer, a dweller. He dwelled in youth, dwelled in the crevices of language before social and linguistic codes are mastered (most of his films’ narratives lose you along the way, and that’s when you know they’re working). His magic is the magic of the slow burn, the way the worlds of imperial China or a rose-wrapped Greek forest unfurl before your childlike eyes with a responsible contempt for the straight-edged story-line. Trnka’s gift—the gift, also, of Lewis Carroll, Beatrix Potter, François Truffaut, Demy in Donkey Skin mode, the late Stephen Hillenburg, and other bards of childhood—was to give kids what they most needed for maturity, a truthful artifice wrapped in a lived-in melancholy and wistfulness, and to make jaded adults see as simply as their kids again.
What would and Italian film festival be without food and wine? Food and beverage lovers are in for treats at the 2018 New Italian Cinema. The opening night film, AS NEEDED, is a comic drama and culinary road trip to Florence, Italy about a veteran chef and a talented young chef with autism whose meeting take some unexpected turns. THE LAST PROSECCO is a witty thriller that unravels on the hills of Valdobbiadene, where Prosecco grapes grow. And THE LAST ITALIAN COWBOYS, a beautifully lensed documentary love song to the Maremma region and a unique perspective on how the cowboys on an organic, free-range ranch carry out Italy’s slow food traditions.
An exoneration by Anastasia Lin including conversation snippets with Don Malcolm
[EDITOR’s NOTE: We return to the freewheeling discussion between Anastasia Lin and Don Malcolm that focuses—mostly, at any rate—on the twenty rare films being screened in THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 5, the singular series that starts at the Roxie Thursday evening November 15. For the first part of this irrepressible conversation, go here.]
FINALLY back on the phone with Don Malcolm after a week’s hiatus, I repeated the question that had seemingly prompted our disconnection…
AL: So, Don, why the pulpy, steamy films [THANATOS PALACE HOTEL, THE BEAST AT BAY, SINNERS OF PARIS] in the Roxie’s little room?
SURSIS POUR UN VIVANT [THANATOS PALACE HOTEL]