Youth and Gelato: A Trip to Brunswick

Yesterday, Clif and I took the afternoon off and headed to Brunswick for a movie and gelato. We had a gift certificate for each event, which meant that except for the gas, the outing was free—our favorite price.

Brunswick has an arty downtown filled with cafés and restaurants and various other shops. While it’s fun to walk on the sidewalks and look at the window displays, crossing the street is another matter. For some inexplicable reason, four lanes go through the downtown, and getting across them can feel like a heroic effort. There is only one spot with a sort of island and a walk signal to help pedestrians cross. Otherwise, it’s just a crosswalk. Hoping that cars will see you and therefore stop, you hold your breath as you scurry across the road.

But Clif and I made it safely across the road to Eveningstar Cinema, which shows independent films. We went to see Youth, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, who seems to be Fellini’s artistic, if not actual, heir. Odd characters are liberally sprinkled throughout this film—a grotesquely obese former sports star; a masseuse with jug ears, braces, and a rodent-like face; an expressionless woman who makes giant soap bubbles for the evening’s entertainment.


Youth is set in a resort in the Swiss Alps, and the resort is frequented by the weary one percent, who all appear as though they are about to die of ennui. Somehow, though, despite the the odd characters and the stylized and often surreal look of the film, Youth is a moving exploration of old age and the regret and diminishment that come with it.  At the center of the story are Fred Ballinger, a composer, and Mick Boyle, a movie director. They are played respectively, and wonderfully, by Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel, who in real life do not at all seem to be diminished by age.

The esoteric Youth is not what I would call a crowd pleaser—although there were plenty of people who came to see it on a Wednesday afternoon at 1:30—but both Clif and I are admirers of this director, who manages to combine surrealism with deep emotion, not an easy trick.

After the movie, we again courted death by crossing the main street to have gelato at the incomparable Gelato Fiasco, where we both had hazelnut and chocolate. So very good.

Since December, the days have gotten longer, and we were able to make it home before dark. The older I get, the more I like this, especially during the winter.

The afternoon had been sunny and fifty degrees warmer than it was on Sunday. What a wild swing! However, this meant the house was warm, and there were still coals in the wood furnace. Clif had no problem restarting the fire.

For our supper we had chili on baked potatoes—I keep cans of chili in the pantry for just such an occasion, when we are out and about and want an easy meal to fix when we come home. A cozy, hearty supper after a good afternoon in Brunswick.



16 thoughts on “Youth and Gelato: A Trip to Brunswick”

  1. Sounds totally delightful on many levels. Your beautiful b’day card arrived today and Himself is having SO MUCH FUN! I really appreciated your participation in the Card-A-Thon. It has already been a huge success and we still have a month to go. Ralphie says, “I guess 85 is a really big deal, huh?” He has NO IDEA what’s happening. LOVE IT!!!!! XOXOXOXO

    1. So glad Ralph got the card. It was created by a friend of mine, who took the photograph and then altered the image in Photoshop. I really love that card, and I was waiting for just the right special person to send it to. 85 is indeed a big deal. Happy birthday to Ralph!

  2. You do pick interesting films. Your story of street crossing reminds me of my ventures of crossing the eight lanes ring roads of Beijing back in the nineties – you can stand at the side walk forever if you wait for a break in the traffic; there was none. So you launch yourself into the fray and become part of the traffic. It works, everyone did it.

    1. That crossing in Beijing makes the road in Brunswick look like a snap. Glad you lived to tell the tale!

    1. “Youth” will definitely not be coming to a Cineplex near you. If you miss it in your area, then you could always see it when it comes to DVD.

  3. We enjoy weird movies–plus Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel–this one definitely goes on our list. Oh, Gelato Fiasco, fortunately we can buy it in the store, but I’m sure it’s even better fresh at the source. Have you tried Tao Yuan in Brunswick? It’s been getting oodles of good publicity lately, but it’s pricey so would love to hear from someone (aside from a critic) who’s eaten there.

    1. Brenda, the gelato is so fresh and creamy at the source that it would be worth a trip to Brunswick just to get it that way. Yes, if you like unusual movies, then put “Youth” on your list. Unfortunately, I haven’t eaten at Tao Yuan, so I can’t give you my take on this restaurant.

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