Monday, 10 September 2012

Anna Karenina

Without a doubt, Anna Karenina is one of most beautiful - if not the most beautiful - films of the year.  I'd been looking forward to it ever since I interviewed Jude Law while he was mid-filming (yes he's incredibly attractive, even more so with age, despite the fact he still seems to dress like a teenager - oh, and he's intelligent too and really, really nice) and it didn't disappoint:   the endless partially decaying theatre sets, the lighting, the serious stylisation, the dresses, the furs, the diamonds (Chanel, worth approximately £2 million if anyone was thinking of adding them to their autumn/ winter wish list) - and of course, the cast themselves.  I laughed ("paperwork is the soul of Russia") and cried (Anna's reunion  with her son, Serezha; Levin's reunion with Kitty) and almost ran home to my husband and children afterwards, so full of love for them did I feel.

Oh, I know, the reviews have been mixed.  And Tolstoy only gave two lines to the sexual apect of Anna and Vronsky's relationship, whereas Joe Wright gave rather more.  But I don't care what the reviews say, I loved it all, and could watch it again tomorrow.

So here's a picture of Anna (Keira Knightley) in furs at the station.

Have you noticed how all the best films have significant scenes set at stations?  There's Brief Encounter, The Red Shoes, Lawrence of Arabia, North by Northwest, pretty much every Western ever made. . . .  and doubtlessly many more.

(Irrelevant and barely related fact:  a Russian art group, pre-Perestroika, put on an alternative version of Anna Karenina, in which Anna missed the train, didn't commit suicide, and married the station master.  A happier ending for those who can't deal with tragedy.)  

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Sultans of Swing

So I went out for the first time since Esmeralda was born.  I was nervous, tired, didn't want to leave her, didn't feel attractive, thought I'd go just for an hour - which was also about as long as I figured I could stand in my gold four inch Gina platforms.  (I hadn't worn heels for nearly a year.  I'm totally out of practice.)

I refused the glass of champagne in favour of as many canapes as I could lay my hands on (not many, I was late) and tried not to talk about my children (hard, when I haven't been without them once in the past month, and my world has effectively ceased existing beyond the walls of our house) before realising that my feet already hurt.  I had my phone in my hand, ready to text my husband to say I was coming home, when it was announced that Mark Knopfler and his band were going to entertain us.  The name rang a bell, but still didn't mean much to my befuddled breast-feeding brain.  But there was no mistaking the opening cords of Walk of Life, and the text I wrote was quite different from the one I had been going to send.  "Won't be home for a bit.  Dire Straits are playing."

This is a crummy photo (Sholto broke the good phone, and I'm not due an upgrade for a bit) but I was really, really close.  And after Walk of Life came Romeo and Juliet, Money for Nothing, and Sultans of Swing.  And all those songs are so well known to me, and so evocative of different times (pre-children, pre-marriage, pre-mortgage, pre-job, even) and different places (playing pool in Saigon, endless night buses in Mexico, walking down near-deserted beaches in Morocco) that for forty-five minutes I happily allowed myself to be consumed by a host of mist-coloured memories, the kind that entirely restore one's sense of self.

I went home barefoot, and terribly, terribly content.  Music really does nourish the soul.