Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Yesterday's vaccination meeting at the institute took a little longer than I'd expected it to. I had half expected to get in and out of the walk-in appointment with time enough to make the trip to Silver Spring for the four thirty showing of Norman Jewison's ...And Justice for All (1979),* part of a current retrospective honoring Al Pacino. But after the hour it took to get three shots and schedule something like seven more, I finally left the building with little chance of making it all the way to Maryland in time. Instead, I took the Metro to Foggy Bottom and ate a giant salad at the Sizzex before taking a long walk through town. Eventually, I took the metro to Silver Spring for the seven pm screening of Mario Camus' La Colmena (the Beehive, 1982),* based on the 1951 novel of the same name by Camilo José Cela.* The story, or kaleidoscope of short interlocking vignettes, takes place shortly after the Spanish Revolution. While World War II rages across the rest of Europe, Franco's Spain suffers in other ways: abject poverty is squeezing the lower and upper classes brutally together. The movie gives only occasional clues to time and place: BBC radio news reports, the cold month of December, politics. Madrid is evident through the windows of the archetypical settings: a bustling café, a tenement building, others. These gathering places provide a cross-section of the general weal as seemingly hundreds of characters flit by onscreen, absorbed in their own particular stories while figuring heavily, of course, in the particulars of those stories playing precariously around them. There are moments when this architectural conceit feels vastly more literary than cinematic, a rather respectable fealty to unfamiliar source material but sometimes frustrating above unreliable subtitling. It's riveting, nonetheless. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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