Tuesday, March 02, 2010


We finally got to see A Single Man last Friday evening. With all systems at the house down because of the power failure, Portsmouth on the coast with its lights bright and The Music Hall functioning was doubly attractive. We had our usual pre-movie dinner at Popovers (very good, reasonably priced, quite healthy food, topped just for fun by outrageously yummy pastries).

We had expected Portsmouth’s healthy-sized gay audience to be out in force, but were surprised to find ourselves surrounded by a large number of middle aged ladies in small groups and older straight couples -- and a sprinkling of young straight couples some of whom seemed to be out on a date. While we weren’t the only gays in the audience, we were a distinct minority (there are several more showings this week, so maybe they’re all going to attend then).

The evening got off to a hilarious start with a seriously unaccustomed glitch by the music Hall’s projectionist: the trailer for The Last Station, the excellent film on the last months of Tolstoy’s life (which we had already seen) came on -– upside down and backwards. The audience giggled as the opening text showed the mistake and howled as the soundtrack began. I listened for a second to English being played backwards and said to Fritz, “now it actually sounds like it’s in Russian.” There was a scurrying around of Music Hall staff and everything was set to rights.

We liked the movie a great deal. I had read the novel last summer and was knocked sideways by the first twenty pages which were really brilliant. Not that the rest wasn't very good indeed, but that beginning grabbed my by the throat and wouldn't let go. I hadn't read a great deal of Isherwood -- and that a couple of decades ago -- so it was as if I were encountering him for the first time.

Tom Ford has adapted the novel for the film, updating it and taking it into a more upscale environment than in Isherwood's novel. That all went down fairly easily for me because the way he's done it is fully the equivalent of the kind of productions period plays and operas are being given these days -- I've even designed a few myself. And he has "opened-up" the novel considerably, which shouldn't surprise anyone who understands the difference between the written page and the needs of a visual medium like cinema.

What we didn't understand was the criticism by several critics who found the movie devoid of emotion and a self-indulgent design-fest for Ford. Emotion in the characters seemed very available to us, particularly in Colin Firth's outstanding performance as George, and also in Julianne Moore's desperately needy Charley.

In the days following seeing A Single Man, I've thought more and more about one thing in particular: how times have changed when a gay-themed movie is considered a good middle-aged women's night out flick, or a 20-something's date movie.


Ffrom BBC News on the Web:

A colossal red granite head of one of Egypt's most famous pharaohs has been unearthed in the southern city of Luxor. The 3,000-year-old head of
Amenhotep III - grandfather of Tutankhamun - was dug out of the ruins of the pharaoh's mortuary temple. Experts say it is the best preserved example of the king's face ever found.

The 8ft head is part of a larger statue, most of which was found several years ago. Antiquities officials say the statue is to be reconstructed.

"Other statues have always had something broken - the tip of the nose, or the face is eroded," said Dr Hourig Sourouzian, who has led the Egyptian-European expedition at the site. "But here, from the top of the crown to the chin, it is so beautifully carved and polished, nothing is broken." Egypt's antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass, described it as "a masterpiece of highly artistic quality".

Amenhotep III ruled Egypt from about 1387 to 1348 BC and presided over a vast empire stretching from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north. Scientists using DNA tests and CT scans on several mummies have identified him as the grandfather of Tutankhamun - the boy-king born of an incestuous marriage between Akhenaten and his sister, both the offspring of Amenhotep III.


By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

More than 5,000 people have shed their clothing on the steps of the Sydney Opera House to pose for a photograph by the American artist Spencer Tunick, famed for his snapshots of mass nudity in public spaces. The organizers had only expected about half that number to take part. The installation had been commissioned by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which took place over the weekend.

For once the eye was diverted away from the magnificent white sails of the Sydney Opera House. It was drawn instead to the tableau of naked flesh assembled on its steps. "Gay men and women lay naked next to their straight neighbours and this delivered a very strong message to the world that Australians embrace a free and equal society," Tunick said.

More than 5,000 men and women shed their clothing - people of all ages, shapes and sizes, who were undeterred by the chilly pre-dawn weather on this, the first morning of the southern autumn. The naked models included a pregnant woman, who went straight to hospital afterwards to give birth, and a television weatherman whose viewers got to see considerably more than his usual Monday morning forecast.

Thanks for your review.
I remember entering the theater to see, "Making Love" circa 1980's a in Atlanta and feeling so very different!

I have only heard a radio piece of the opening scene in which George is simultaneously told of and not invited to, the funeral of his lover. Talk about grabbing one's throat! The young people need to see these things.
Be well,
Tim from the Loire
Speaking as a middle aged woman I find that it is middle aged men who have a bad attitude to gay people, and most 20ry olds also have no problem. There is hope yet.
Hopefully there was no cold front.
Two thumbs up for A Single Man, which I found emotionally gripping - critics be-damned.

I imagine there is a whole lot more to find under the sands of Egypt.

I love Spencer Tunick: if you can, there is an excellent documentary about his work - I think put out by HBO.
Popovers huh? I'll have to give it a try next time I'm in Portsmouth.
Great post. I wish you did the news on TV.
Cute granddaughter! I loved A Single Man, and one of my goals is to participate in a Tunick photograph some day!
We are LATE getting around to it, but REALLY want to see a Single Man, so I too appreciated hearing yet more good things about it. We also have noticed the audiences exactly that you were with when seeing gay movies these days. It truly shows gays are being seen as part of the parade more and more...
Your evening in Portsmouth sounds lovely...but I love that you can just hop on over to the coast for the evening.

A Single Man haunts me ti this day, especially the telphone call & the dinner/drinking scene with Julianne Moore. this film spoke to me & moved me:

Your grandaughter needs to be in commericals!

There i a west coast accent: garage= garauj
mayonnaise= manaze
lots of hard Rs & extra Rs- Warshington State
"I drive my carrr."
Barrrbrrra Strrreisand

I would like to be naked in Sydney.

Movie quote:
"Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist, I think you'll understand. Sometimes when I'm driving... on the road at night... I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The... flames rising out of the flowing gasoline"

Glad you loved A Single man Will. I never pay attention to critics any longer. Most of the time they echo irrelevant nonsense.
I have study in Canada and i am working in a Hotel part time. I am studying and work also in Canada.

work and study

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