Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I did something today that came with an extra bit of good feeling I hadn't anticipated. I returned to Foggy Bottom to eat a salad. I've been improving my diet lately; and yesterday, after my doctor's appointment, I chanced into a buffet-style eatery called the Sizzling Express. "Chanced" is misinformative: Sunshine eats here because it's across the street from the home office. I ate here the day they swore her in.* It's actually right in the very same building as the doctor. I knew exactly where it was and premeditated going there yesterday, only to discover the salad bar is excellent. I returned for seconds today. The special good feeling came because I went to the doctor's office without at all having to actually see a doctor. Another of the movies I saw on Saturday was Federico Fellini's head turning la Strada (1954),* a humble and heartfelt apple fallen somewhat near the Italian neorealism tree that sprouted after World War II. La Strada's brand of realism is rather more baroque than the letter of neorealist law would dictate, and Fellini uses a trio of international polyglots to play core characters, accomplished actors who intensify the supposed unaffected scrutiny true realism seeks. Whatever its art school parentage,* this movie is brash and effective, illustrating a valence between innocence and brutality among the hardscrabble postwar landscape. Gelsomina is the innocent, an arguable half-wit, sold into the service of thuggish carnie Zampanò, and subjected to the sort of transient episodism that tests the characters' gravitational effect on one another. Slowly, they both begin to show the signs of their mutual deterioration. This ghost of a plot is as requisite for realism as the camera being realistically unaffected. But much of the acting is in pantomime, making a meditation out of narrative. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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