Monday, April 28, 2008

Film Fest DC had better get better

I am 2 for 2 with the Film Fest DC movies I have picked. And it’s not in a good way.

Tonight’s movie, Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame, started out really well. An adorable little girl, probably 5 years old, decides she wants to go to school, like her neighbor, Abbas. She shows great tenacity to buy a notebook because that is what she thinks she needs to go to school. She resembles any little girl excited to go to school like all the other kids.

And then the movie takes a very twisted turn, with a bunch of boys playing Taliban, taking her captive, pretending to stone her, digging her grave. Yes, it was probably some big, giant metaphor, but it was taken a little far. Which is fine, but I felt duped by the description of the film:

Winner of the Crystal Bear for the best first feature and the Peace Film Award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame possesses an innocent simplicity that belies the shrewd eloquence of its anti-war message. In March of 2001, the Taliban blew up a massive pair of fifth-century Buddhas carved into the side of a mountain in central Afghanistan’s Bamyan valley. Six-year-old Baktay lives with her family in the caves surrounding the gaping holes where the statues used to be. Determined to attend the girls' school across the river, the beautiful child must trade stolen eggs for pen and paper while enduring the cruel taunts of local boys. This debut feature from Hana Makhmalbaf, the younger sister of filmmaker Samir Makhmalbaf, is the follow-up to her documentary on the making of Samir's Afghan-set drama At Five in the Afternoon, called Joy of Madness. -Eddie Cockrell

Innocent? Not so much. It was so depressing, and from what I overheard leaving the theater, I was not alone in my funk. The movie was a movie, that’s not my problem so much as the description. The scenes in the schools were a blink of an eye. Stars awarded=1.

Last night’s film, In the Name of God, was simply poorly made. The theme was basically how Islam is misunderstood in many cultures, a very worthwhile movie idea. The dialog, story lines, acting, and music were so simplistic, predictable, and just plain poor, and everyone was strikingly beautiful. The stereotypes were stretched to their limits. For example, the main character’s father was Pakistani, living in London with a white British woman, of course! Being married to her would have been bad enough in the eyes of his family back home, but to be living together made the strike that much worse. And it was more than 2 1/2 hours, and it started 30 minutes late. I almost left after about 2 hours, but felt bad so I stayed. Ugh, what a waste. It felt like a bad Hollywood movie. Stars awarded=2.

I have 4 more movies to attend through Sunday. Fingers are crossed that my choices get better.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jury Duty … Again

Lock clockwork I got my jury duty summons in the mail a couple of months ago. Criticize DC government all you want, the court system works. Every other spring I get called, I can mark my calendar to it. And it is starting to suck.

This year, as I did 4 years ago, I am serving in the District Court. Which means I call in every evening for two weeks to see if they need me to report. I reported on Monday as required and about half a day later I am sitting on a jury for a trial that the judge estimates will run for the next 3 ½ weeks. It is so defeating knowing that my life if not my own, I have to find a way to keep up with work, and pay attention to the mind-numbing details of the trial. The only good thing I can say is that is not murder or drugs.

And I did see the DC Madame in the courthouse today! I just saw in the news that she was found guilty on all counts. I wonder if she knew that when I saw her this morning?

Send me your good thoughts and pray that these two morons settle out of court. I don’t think I can take 3+ weeks of this, on top of which the Pope is sleeping about a mile from where I live, at the Vatican Embassy, smack-dab between me and the Dupont Circle Metro. The traffic tomorrow and Thursday is going to be very bad. Maybe I will head for the Tenley Metro.

Do you think they would notice if I brought my knitting into the jury box?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Michael Palin knows how to travel

I just finished watching Sahara with Michael Palin. He has done some wonderful travel expeditions to remote and exotic places around the world and this is one of his best. The itinerary is a great geography lesson, and he, being British, offers an interesting commentary on world history.

I remember the first one I saw many years ago was Around the World in 80 Days and it was riveting. You would not expect the Michael Palin you know from Monty Python to lead these exciting adventures, but he is great. I highly recommend any of them if you are interested in seeing remote parts of the world.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

New Projects

I have a couple of projects I am working on.

The first is the Auburn Camp Shirt found in the Spring 2008 issue of Interweave Knits. I found this beautiful yarn (at left) at Charlotte’s Web in Epping, NH, a couple of weekends ago when I made a quick trip up north for my friend Heather’s 40th birthday (more on that later). The yarn is Olympic from Artful Yarns. It was the color range that caught me – deep pinks, a little purple, melon, and the strands are really different, too, giving the yarn a lot of texture. The pictures don’t do it justice, unfortunately.

The second is a simple pullover sweater from a pattern in Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. I am adapting the pullover with a rollband color and cuffs, but I tried to give it a little shape at the waist. We’ll see how that worked. The yarn is TLC Cotton Plus, a cotton and acrylic blend that is really nice for inexpensive yarn. I like the stretch the acrylic gives this yarn because cotton can be so stiff to knit. I bought it quite a few years ago because I really liked the color combination, very springy, with blues, purples, greens, yellows, all tempered by white.

The big birthday

Most of my college crowd is turning 40 this year. Myself included, although I am the last to turn that corner because my birthday is in December. I guess that makes me the baby!

Heather’s birthday was supposed to be a surprise but her family had to tell her because they feared they would not get her over to the Inn. She did not know who was going to be there or any of the details so I think she was surprised. It was so much fun seeing my friends, yarn shopping with Deb, the complete change of scenery I needed so badly.

When the party was winding down, we got a group together to go to a small club nearby to hear some live music. Heather’s older brother was leading the charge as we were not that excited to go out, but out of support for Heather, Deb and I soldiered on. The club was jumping, surprising for a beach community in Maine in late March, packed with people. We squeezed our way through the crowded bar and dance floor to an open space to watch the band. And it slowly started to dawn on Heather, Deb, and I that we were in the movie “Cocoon.” Everybody, including the band, was 60+, dressed up, coiffed, metroed out, on the dance floor, singing along from their tables. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. God bless the baby boomers. It was poignant with Heather turning 40. I realized that age is relative and it was kind of fun looking like high school kids crashing the party. (And I met the mother of a blogger that Heather told me about a couple of years ago, so if you’re reading, HI!)

I truly believe that my life gets better as I get older, but there are some milestone birthdays that make me cringe. Well, maybe that word is too strong. They make me stop and think about where I am. (And then I cringe.) Twenty-five was the first one, then 30, and now 40. I surely don’t feel anywhere near 40. When I turned 39 in December I decided this was going to be the Year of Sarah. Nothing is holding me back, and it is all topped off with my trip to Turkey in June.

Just yesterday, a new colleague, Melanie, mentioned that she is turning 25 in October and she is a little bothered by it. I could so relate, I remember how hard it was to turn 25 because I did not feel as mature or accomplished as I thought I should be. I remember now how desperately I wanted to get away from my life at that time. I felt so trapped in my job that I loved but was going nowhere and trapped living with my parents in RI. And that winter was a record snowfall so that was making me miserable. Alas, there were lots of good things too, like I had room to quilt at my parents house, I really miss that, and I had a car so I drove all over to see my friends far and near. And it was that desperation that got me to move to D.C. and that is all good.

Around DC

It is Yoga Week in DC so here is your chance to try yoga for the first time or to take advantage of a bunch of free or $5 classes around the metro area.

FilmFest DC starts in a couple to weeks, too. I spend way too much time making a spreadsheet of the movies I want to see.