Posted by: roamingolivia | June 29, 2010

English-language cinema and dark summer days


1.

There are some good things about expat life. It is very uncomplicated in ways that what I consider my “real life” in London is not. In London, I could watch about 10 art films every day, and I will feel I “should” watch all of them. I could also go to 10 talks about various important political issues, in the UK and abroad. I could go to various art exhibits, music shows, etc.

I could do a lot of those things in Milan, but I don’t really speak Italian, so I don’t know about them. Milan is also a smaller city with less focus on politics and more on art, design, fashion, etc. I have also been away most weekends lately, so I am out of even my own limited social scene.

So I have a relatively uncomplicated life, and a relatively significant portion of my social life involves watching out-dated films in English because… well, they’re in English. And because I haven’t already seen them. Last night I watched Avatar, expecting it to be terrible. It was not. The dialogue was often terrible and the plot was not exactly nuanced, but the images were so vivid and incredible, and there was enough action all the time, that I left wondering why everyone left with so much criticism. I think most people (i.e., critics and friends I listen to, who usually watch art films) were ashamed to have been that entertained by something that is kind of stupid. But beautiful.

Then again, the last film I saw (also at English-language film night) was From Paris with Love, which incredibly bad in a way I’d forgotten it was possible for movies to be bad because I spent all my time the last few years watching arty films.

2.

Now that I am living without effective air conditioning in a place with real summer temperatures (i.e., not the UK), I am discovering the cozy feeling of summer darkness. I love sun, but it is hot. So I close the shutters on my windows to keep it out during the hottest part of the day, and sit in the dark with a cup of tea. It is a luxury, perhaps, for a person who has lived through recent legitimately dark winters (in the UK and even in Milan) to sit in darkness but to know that it is light.

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