Thursday, December 29, 2016

Evanston: movies and shoes

        Through a combination of holidays and vacation days Carol has time off from before Christmas until after New Year’s and we have been watching more movies than usual. 
        Woody Allen’s latest, CAFE SOCIETY, is good.  I grew tired of him mid-career, but his latest movies are better, though as Carol observed, the main character in CAFE SOCIETY is a young Woody Allen played by a different actor.
        CITIZEN FOUR showing Edward Snowden at the very moments he was giving his information to journalists of THE GUARDIAN in Hong Kong is historically important. 
        When I first read George Orwell’s 1984 the date was more than twenty years in the future.  Now it is more than thirty years in the past.  
        CITIZEN FOUR proves that the Orwellian government surveillance state is no longer the future, but the present.  One can only wonder how future Presidents will use this power.
        But by far the best movies we have seen are THE READER and MERU, both available for free streaming with Amazon Prime in the U.S.  I don’t know about elsewhere, but they are worth seeking out.
        Larry who told me about THE READER, a 2008 film, one of the years I was making my fifth circumnavigation on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, stars Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet, who won an Academy Award for best actress for her performance, advised me not to read any reviews of the movie, just to watch it.  Good advice.  Carol caught on to the key to the plot before I did, one of the pleasures of marrying a woman who has a great and different intelligence than your own.
        MERU may be the best mountain climbing movie I have ever seen.  I don’t climb mountains.  Don’t want to.  Am afraid of heights for reasons I have explained here before.  (For those of you who don’t know, my father committed suicide by jumping from the eleventh floor of the Mark Twain Hotel.)  But I think I understand mountain climbing and believe that my sailing has more in common with a few purist climbers than it has with most sailors.
        MERU is about the truest of the true. Or almost. One of the true told a woman he loved that he would give up climbing.  I never told Carol I would give up sailing.  And the woman he married, the widow of his former climbing partner, knew better and accepted reality, though she says, only half in jest, “I might have done better to marry a cowboy.”
        In the film is related a process of climbers mentoring others.  Take this how you will:  no one mentored me.  I created myself.  I stand as alone as Dante's peak of Purgatory in the Southern Hemisphere, not at all a bad analogy. 
        I have total admiration for the men in this film whose attitudes and even some equipment I share.  On the side of a mountain they cooked on a JetBoil as I do at sea level.  I also have total admiration for the wife who said she might have done better marrying a cowboy.
        Most of you reading this are sailors.  You can learn a lot about sailing oceans by watching MERU.  


        Imagine spending your life trying to devise self-lacing shoes.