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.