peteg's blog

Shoplifters

/noise/movies | Link

Perhaps the pick of the 2019 Oscar bait. A very strangely constituted Japanese family muddles its way to ruin without much sentimentality but with some fine humour and some beautifully drawn scenes. (If I got it right, not one of the six is formally related to anyone else.) The plot takes a backseat to some patient character development. It's sort-of like a Lukas Moodysson effort, unflinching but without the brutality. I might have to dig deeper into Hirokazu Kore-eda's efforts.

Manohla Dargis.

Amor Towles: A Gentleman in Moscow.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. A recommendation from Kate. An elegant eulogy for a time when Russian Counts were awesomely cultured and internally-exiled to house arrest in grand hotels. That is to say, it is a fairy story for adults and completely out of time in this age of Trump. We also get some potted history about the revolution, the passing of Stalin and so forth; it's a bit of a social complement to Red Plenty, sort of. The observations are fantastic. The set pieces go off like clockwork. There's a beaut romance between the Count and an actress. I was gripped throughout, though it flagged a bit at times. The ending was a tad unclear: Towles is American and may take it for granted that emigrating to the USA from the East in 1954 was a no brainer, but Spufford might disagree: the Soviets were beginning to demonstrate their (brief) engineering superiority with nuclear power, Sputnik and Gauguin (etc). In this book noone (ever) believes too much in the communist project.

Craig Taylor's review left me cold at the time, but it seems more positive on a reread. Goodreads generally loved it.