I am a traveler. On land, sea, air. In books. On film. It’s the film travel that’s gotten my attention lately. How could it not? First with Virunga (documentary) and Ida (Foreign Film nominee) in preparation for the Oscars. You can’t visit the contemporary Democratic Republic of the Congo and post-WW2 Poland without understanding there is a very diverse world out there to explore. While movies alone won’t make you a world traveler they can definitely take you part of the way. Determined to keep the momentum going, I made a trip toward the mountains to the High Ridge Theater and Timbuktu and wrote about the experience a couple of days ago. (https://mneset.me/2015/03/10/timbuktu/).
During the following week a Netflix DVD of Wadjda arrived, first feature film made in Saudi Arabia and with a woman directing no less. The story of a spunky little girl who wants a bicycle no matter the hurdles. It’s a lovely tale, without the drama and tragedy of most of the foreign films and documentaries I’ve seen recently. Just realistically optimistic and lovingly filmed. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/movies/wadjda-by-haifaa-al-mansour-made-in-saudi-arabia.html)
Next. Leviathan back at High Ridge. Since I’m going to Russia this summer I’ve been doing my reading (although haven’t made it back to War and Peace yet). Now it’s time for Russia on screens, big and small. Seeing Leviathan will not exactly make you rush to book your flights but hey it’s one piece of life in a very big country. It is Russian made, acted, produced, and partially financed by Russia. Leviathan is gorgeously filmed in some far far northern nook of the country with a story as cold and harsh and melodramatic as a tale of love, loss, bureaucratic corruption, hard jobs, hard lives could possibly be. And all steeped in Vodka. Steeped I tell you, steeped. Remember the Nicolas Cage movie where he tries to kill himself with booze? I was a little reminded… Dreary, brilliant, scary…I’m still going to Russia though.
I’ll be back with Happy People: a Year in the Taiga (Netflix DVD) and Red Army at High Ridge this Monday. My Russian education continues.
And, since I’ve now purchased my tickets on the Trans-Siberian trains, that education has grown in importance! Here are a few photos from Africa, Europe and the Middle East just to lend a bit of color to the post!