After a few weeks away, I’m once again visiting the Sunday Salon with an update as to recent doings. The blog has lain dormant for over a month, and even I don’t know exactly why, given that there is plenty to write about. Laziness is the answer that I’ve latched onto, although as Julia Cameron points out, probably correctly, in The Artist’s Way, laziness is very often a mask for various forms of fear.
Charging forward fearlessly, then, here is what I have been up to…
Books: While writing about books has been a problem, reading them hasn’t. Recently completed are the aforementioned The Artist’s Way, and Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez’s memoir Along the Way. Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust to Go provided me about fifty hints as to future books to read, which, with my “to be read” stack growing larger and larger, is about fifty more than I absolutely needed. But I don’t mind. Andy Couturier’s A Different Kind of Luxury, which profiles eleven people who have “dropped out” of Japanese urban, commercial society and found fulfillment living in the countryside, was the subject of a book review that got me back to the blog yesterday. Currently underway are Joseph Campbell’s Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal, Pema Chödrön’s How to Meditate, Jonathan Spence’s Return to Dragon Mountain: Memories of a Late Ming Man, and the exhibition catalog Out of Character: Decoding Chinese Calligraphy.
Music: Compact discs are accumulating as well, but I haven’t been listening to much recently. One recent arrival which is sure to get attention soon is Kaija Saariaho’s oratorio La Passion de Simone, based on the life and thinking of the philosopher and mystic Simone Weil.
Movies: Cannes 2013 is well underway, and as there are a number of films and directors I’m interested in making appearances this year, I’m been following the goings on. My go-to source for Cannes information and reviews is The Guardian. Neil Young’s Film Lounge has also had some useful notes, including updated odds on the Palme d’Or, Best Actor, and Best Actress picks. It so happens that as of this morning, the Palme d’Or favorite is Like Father, Like Son, the latest from a favorite director I’ve mentioned often here, Hirokazu Koreeda. Also on the list are other personal favorites like Jia Zhangke and Jim Jarmusch. Speaking of Koreeda, a DVD set of his recent television series Going My Home has just made its way to me. Koreeda will temporarily be supplanting Yasujiro Ozu in my Sunday Nights with Ozu as I work my way through the series on Sunday evenings, starting tonight!
Last night was spent with two brand new Criterion Collection Blu-rays, 3:10 to Yuma and Bande à part (Band of Outsiders). Both were extremely enjoyable in their very different ways, and both looked fabulous in their Blu-ray incarnations. Glenn Ford, an actor I’ve always to be a solid, albeit sometimes stolid, filmic presence, is at his best in 3:10 to Yuma. I was quite late in coming around to Jean-Luc Godard’s films, having been put off by the silliness of Alphaville several years ago. But come around I have, even on Alphaville, and the dynamism and constant literary and film references in Band of Outsiders were a total delight. Plus the film features one of my main film crushes, Anna Karina, so how could I go wrong? I’ve featured Karina in this blog before. In fact, I’m going to share a picture of her from Band of Outsiders now, simply because I can:
I am hopeful that I have turned the corner with regards to keeping my blog a going concern. Tune into this space to see whether or not laziness wins out. To close out today’s Salon, let’s all dance! Here is the wonderful “Madison” dance from Band of Outsiders, with spoken digressions provided by Godard himself. Anna Karina sure looks great in a hat. Claude Brasseur and Sami Frey look nice too.