Thursday, December 19, 2013

Good Movies for Holiday Sharing

My favorite comes first.  With Peter O'Toole's passing, we need to say goodbye, and fondly thank him for his gift.  There's a perfect movie for that:  "Dean Spanley."  It's a New Zealand jewel, based on Lord Dunsany's short novel, My Talks With Dean Spanley.  Sam Neill plays the Dean, a delightful performance, and the central gem of the piece, but Peter O'Toole shines even brighter. It's about reincarnation, and it's about dogs, so what's not to love?

Next, a film from Russia, historical, fascinating for the sets, costumes and ravishing portrayal of court life among the descendants of Genghis Khan,"The Horde."  As long as you are wanting a bit of delicious escapism, why not really, really escape, far, far away?


And, a third, another Russian work, "The Russian Ark," filmed on location in the Hermitage -- a bit like being invisible passing unseen through moments of history, and among the fabulous treasures of that great assembly of the greatest art. In one scene, you can see the reflection of light shining off the surface of a Reubens, so finely painted the texture is more of canvas than brush strokes, and in another, a glittering Romanov ball scene with a huge cast in the finest formal court dress dancing the mazurka, in the waning days of the Winter Palace.

  A feast for your eyes and imagination; bon appetit, and happy holidays!

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