Monday, December 17, 2007

Atonement and Weekends

That was a weirdly quiet weekend. I seem to spend so many of them juggling errands, running in and out of the apartment in carefully orchestrated sets of activities ("if I drop off the laundry on the way to the gym, I can pick up groceries on the way back"), and making decisions based on the start time of movies. This weekend? I got things done, but also lay on the sofa to watch an afternoon movie (my excuse was I felt like a nap and figured I'd fall asleep, which of course I didn't) and went into Manhattan and back in an hour and a half just to buy a pair of jeans (which suddenly became a pair of jeans, five pairs of underwear, two long-sleeved t shirts, and a knit dress - thank you, pretty mirror in the Gap fitting room.)

But as usual, it's Monday morning and I begin to notice all the things I want to do next weekend, the things I will not do then, either, like: clean out the bottom drawer of my file cabinet; clean out my t shirt drawer; finally post the rest of my sellable junk on ebay; sort through piano music and knitting books; and pull out the white paint and touch up the bathroom cabinet where I dripped hair color to create what is now a very disturbing-looking brown stain.

I did manage to pack two more boxes - my CDs (though part of me keeps thinking I should purge them, as I have copied them all digitally) and another box of books. (Box #8! And I probably have two more to fill.) I am feeling a bit more confident that this coop deal will go through, although I can't figure exactly what has changed in my head.

Ahhh, and I saw "Atonement" on Saturday. I read the book and loved it, and the movie is a faithful adaptation of the novel, so much so, in fact, that I began to remember what time of year it was when I read it, where I was, and what I was snacking on. (I have pretty strong taste-memories with books. I clearly recall reading the entire series of Black Stallion books while eating roasted soy nuts when I was about 12.) The movie is beautiful, visually stunning, and not in the sweeping landscape way, but in small close camera angles that are nearly poetic. And sound - there is a theme of the clicking of typewriter keys which is echoed in footsteps, the flicking of lighters, the ticking of clocks.

I was about to say the acting was quite good, too, but funny thing is I don't remember it that way. The younger actress playing Briony is very good, and it's eerie how much she looks like the actress playing the older version, not to mention how both of their features are echoed in Vanessa Redgrave, playing Briony in her last years. James McAvoy is nice to look at, and does a serviceable job, and Keira Knightly manages to reign in her bizarre mouth mannerisms enough to make me forget it's her. But unlike some other of my favorite films ("Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," "No Country for Old Men," "Starting Out in the Evening") this one belongs to no one, not one actor, not two. It belongs, it seems to me, to the story itself, and to the storyteller, the filmmaker, the cinematographer.

I suppose it's getting time for me to start thinking about my favorite films of 2007. Everyone else will, if they haven't already. There are a few more I need to see, but I have some days off this week and next. (I was supposed to be on vacation all this week, as I have days I'll use, but a meeting came up for today. It's one I could miss, but politically, it's one I shouldn't, as being invited is in and of itself a career move.)

Oh, it's cold outside.


Blogger Pynchon said...

I think that "Atonement" is probably going to win the Oscar.

3:32 PM  

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