Friday, March 04, 2011

I don’t see how people who actually have lives, manage to blog at all. Or even Twit.

My sister and her husband are still here, in a sense – they spent last night with Alexander and his sons on the shores of Loch Fyne and will be back here sometime this morning. They leave very early tomorrow, and will be much missed.

We’re booked in to call on C. this afternoon.

Rount-the-Bend has edged forward. I will soon (maybe even today) start the final mitred square, the one that wheels around and is grafted to the top of the sleeve. This picture is also notable for being the first one in 2011 to be taken on the doorstep in the early morning.

I have a couple of other knitterly things to say, but I think I will save them for tomorrow and switch to talking about cinema, Helen C.K.S.-fashion. We went to see the new Coen Brothers’ film “True Grit” yesterday. We are passionate Coen Brothers fans.

I would put it down as a failure. I was bored and wanted to go home. Like all of their films, however, the cinematography is terrific and the relationship with “reality” – or do I mean, Realism? – is thought-provoking. I read quite a few reviews of it in advance. None of them that I remember even began to get to grips with the oddities of the film:

-- the stilted language everybody uses (fingers get cut off, but there is no obscenity or profanity spoken); -- the precocious knowledge of the 14-year-old heroine (she threatens someone at one point with a writ of replevin: I haven’t heard that word for 60 years, and the spell-checker doesn’t recognise it; at another moment, she explains to coarse and violent outlaws what “malum in se” means as a moral concept); -- the dream-like stage of the street scenes; -- the lengthy scene where the heroine and her horse swim across a river and emerge neither wet nor out-of-breath.

None of this (and there’s plenty more) is presented as funny. Often, watching the Coen brothers, one is invited to laugh nervously. Not this time. There’s much violence, some of it unpleasant and “realistic”. We get to see those detached fingers, for example, after the knife falls.

And of course there’s the fact that they are re-making the famous John Wayne film. I’ve never seen it. I might have enjoyed this a bit more if I had. So the whole thing is presumably the Coen brothers’ take on an American genre. The American genre.

I’ll stick with “A Serious Man” as my vote for their greatest-to-date, although I’m happy to listen to argument in favour of several others. But I wonder how “True Grit” will look in 20 years. It might get better. It might even become profound. But will it be less boring?


  1. rosesmama12:20 PM

    Charles Portis' book True Grit was the basis for this film, not the John Wayne movie. If you read that, it is almost immediately clear that the whole story is colored by its telling by an elderly woman (the girl grown up) with a tenuous hold on her mental health. Where they failed was in getting this perspective across. The film is true to the book, though, and makes more sense if you have read it.

  2. And is there a rugby update available? I admit I did not check any results on the website - I prefer your colour commentary.

  3. I saw the John Wayne/Kim Darby/ Glen Campbell version when first released, also a few times on tv, and still like it a lot. Don't fancy this version, would always be comparing them.
    Hope it is a pleasant visit with C, this afternoon

  4. I was thinking about going to see True Grit. Or renting it when it became available. I owe you a thank you for saving me the money.

    There is no doubt about it. Blogging takes time. I have always been amazed at your ability to have a daily post. It takes me ages to compose one. I have no idea how you do it!

  5. I also can not be bothered to blog very much! Rarely do I become 'fired up' over anything worth blogging about!!

    I also saw the original True Grit and have no wish at all to see the new one. Some things are best left as they were..

  6. It sounds as if the girl in the first movie is very much like the girl in the second movie. The scene you mentioned where the girl and the horse came out of the river dry, was the same in the first movie. I watched it a few nights ago and was wondering how she came out in the new movie. I saw an interview of someone involved with the movie who said they didn't attempt to remake the old movie, but to stick to the novel's storyline.

    I, too, love the Coen brothers!