What have we been watching at Polari HQ this week?
I didn’t see the movie when it came out because I hadn’t read the book first. And let’s face it, the usual fate of adaptations is not a happy one. I still haven’t read the book and so I don’t know if that’s the case. I can only say that this is an absolutely remarkable film. Tilda Swinton is mesmerising in this tale of a woman whose son grows up to shoot and kill many of his classmates in an American high school. The events do not unfold sequentially. Instead, the storyline follows an emotional arc, starting years after the shooting, with Swinton’s character Eva struggling to live in the town where it all happened, and flashing back to events as they come into her mind. It takes an incredible feat of film-making to manage this and never lose the thread of the story nor the viewers attention. And for a film that is dark, so intense, and so very painful, it is absolutely beautiful.
Andrew Darley – The Countess dir. Julie Delpy
Written and directed by Julie Delpy, The Countess depicts the life of Elizabeth Báthory who made a bloodtrail in history with innumerable murders of young women. The film follows the Countess Báthory from early childhood to the point where she has fallen in love with a younger man following the death of her husband. When her new interest is forced into marriage with a woman of his own age, Elizabeth develops the irrational belief that bathing in blood of young virgin women will give her eternal youth. Delpy’s performance lets us into the psychological and emotional state of Elizabeth Báthory, which ignites sympathy and compassion and, bizarrely, makes her actions feel acceptable at times. Even though the events of this film occurred in the 17th century, they bear resonance with women and men today who place great importance on physical appearance and its power. The Countess has struck such a chord in me that I have begun to read into her story and the mythology that surrounds her today. If you take a step back from the bloodshed, it is a story of two things we are all guilty of cherishing: love and beauty.
Bryon Fear – Criminal Minds, Season 4
I have been a fan of Criminal Minds for sometime. It’s smart, intelligently written and above all has one of the key ingredients of all great television: a strong ensemble cast of likeable characters. For the uninitiated, Criminal Minds follows the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, which assists police investigations by reviewing crimes from both a behavioural and investigative perspective. By determining the criminal and/or victimology of a crime they are able to provide a profile of the unknown subject (unsub) or perpetrator(s) of crimes that are nearly always time sensitive. Potential terrorists, kidnappers, paedophiles, arsonists and (more often than not) serial killers are the focus of these investigations. Season 3 ended with a cliff-hanger finale so compelling that the three day wait for the Season 4 boxset to arrive was almost unbearable and in a matter of days my flat mate and I had managed to watch the first 13 episodes! The pace and quality of this season has been astonishing, with exciting and engaging stories from the offset. Crime drama addicts will already be fans of the show, but if you like intelligently crafted stories, delivered by a cast of complex & fascinating characters whom you can not help but care about, Criminal Minds will not disappoint.
Little Bastard – The Vegan Zombie
I’m not vegan, but even I’m addicted to this YouTube cooking show, based around the idea of a Zombie apocalypse. Our, gorgeous, American, tattooed host, Jon – The Vegan Zombie – is trapped in his house while carnivorous “Zombies” roam around outside. Creating the most ingenious vegan recipes I’ve ever seen, including liquidising tofu with oil to make a batter for a “Vegan Omelette”, and using Vegan cheese to make Pizza and Lasagne rolls, watching his show has actually made me go “semi-vegan”, cutting my meat and dairy intake right down and increasing my Soya and veg intake. 21st Century Vegan food isn’t just lentils and beans, but who knew being vegan could be this cool and this much fun? I’ll still remain part Zombie for the time being, though!