Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Fabian Perez Artist

'It's been thirty years that my wheels travelled on a sandy road. In my tracks, I've left things behind, and lost many others. As the wheels turn I can see a road ahead that will take me on many new experiences.' ~ Fabian Perez 'Reflections of a Dream'

* Fabian Perez was born November 2, 1967 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a teenager he was fascinated with martial arts and fine arts. Therefore, he dedicated himself to study both disciplines. Karate helped influence his character giving him great discipline as well as opening him up to other forms of art. Much of what he learned through his Eastern studies influenced his paintings. He left Argentina when he was 22 to live in Italy, where he resided for seven years. It is there that his career in painting and writing took an ascendant journey. It is also in Italy where he was inspired to write his book 'Reflections of a Dream', which was published later in the United States. He then went to Japan where he lived for one year. While there he painted 'The Japanese Flag' and 'A Meditating Man' which are on display in a government house. He left Japan to go to Los Angeles where he devotes his life to inspire others with his paintings and writings. His style is unique... he wishes not to be categorized... he feels this limits the artist as well as the work. The bold and symbolic imagery feels intensely passionate. Fabian paints with his emotions and each painting reflects his drive and energy.

© Frank Borsellino™
© From Where I Sit™
writer/blogger/bon vivant

* Fabian Perez Artist - self-portrait '1967

'To Catch a Thief' (1955)

'I have a feeling that inside you somewhere, there's somebody nobody knows about.' ~ Alfred Hitchcock

In his fourth colour feature and his first widescreen 'To Catch a Thief' (1955) is rarely considered one of Hitchcock's top masterpieces. Yet, its picturesque locale, phenomenal star pairing of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, as well as its exquisite production design, and glamourous costume design – the latter orchestrated to perfection by the legendary Edith Head – make 'To Catch a Thief' a rare delight. A feast for the eyes, without Hitchcock's patented perversion or twisted psychosexual leanings (although truly, that's why we love him, don't we?), 'To Catch a Thief' is a stylish mid-century romp through the bistros, beaches, and rooftops of the French Riviera. A rare murder-free thriller (which isn't to say there is not a dead body or two), it proves some of Hitchcock's strengths in comic timing, as well as the superior craftsmanship of his collaborators (Edith Head, cinematographer Robert Burks, and Art Directors J. McMillan Johnson and Hal Pereira). Nominated for Oscars in Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design (Edith Head would win for her costumes), it is one of Hitchcock's best-looking films.
Cary Grant plays John Robie – a supposedly reformed jewel thief known as 'The Cat'. Living in the French Riviera, Robie, who hasn't committed a crime in fifteen years, is questioned by police after a series of jewel heists – remarkably similar to The Cat's M.O. – are committed at a hotel. An insurance adjuster, worried at the vast payouts he'll have to dole out if the thief isn't caught, enlists Robie to help catch the copy-cat burglar. Clients of the adjuster are the heavily bejewelled mother/daughter duo, the Stevens, guests at an illustrious Cannes hotel. Smitten with Robie, the daughter Frances (Grace Kelly) aggressively pursues him, as does the teenage daughter of his former accomplice Danielle (Brigitte Auber), all the while the cat burglar sets Robie up for a fall.

At age fifty-one, Grant had been retired from acting for two years when Hitchcock persuaded the thespian to once again collaborate with him. He had previously starred in Hitchcock's 'Suspicion' (1941), playing a cad of a husband suspected of plotting his wife's death, and in 'Notorious' (1945), playing a cad of a lover who enables his paramour to be murdered by her husband (the 1940s were quite a time for marriages and affairs), and he would of course go on to star in Hitchcock's masterpiece 'North by Northwest' (1959) – apparently retirement didn't take. Tanned, as would be appropriate for a Riviera-dweller, fit, and still as handsome as the day he debuted in 'This is the Night' (1932) nearly twenty-five years prior, Grant was at the top of his game and one of the most recognized male stars Hollywood had ever known. No wonder Hitchcock wanted him for his roguish burglar. Pairing him with the director's most coveted starlet, Grace Kelly, the director created a dynamic on-screen pairing, even if the age difference between the 50+ Grant and twenty-four-year-old Kelly did raise some eyebrows. Kelly was Hitchcock's ultimate blonde, having only appeared in seven films at the time of production – two of which were Hitchcock predecessors 'Dial M for Murder' & 'Rear Window' both in 1954. Her true blueblood origins perfectly suited the character of a wealthy American heiress. Rounding out the cast was twenty-six-year-old French ingénue Brigitte Auber, who Hitchcock personally selected after seeing her in a number of French productions. Auber plays Robie's former accomplice's daughter – a rambunctious spitfire out to ensnare the cat in her romantic exploits, despite Frances' designs on him.

Filmed on location amidst the Côte d'Azur's Mediterranean beauty, 'To Catch a Thief' made great use of Paramount's newly-minted VistaVision process. A rival to CinemaScope and exclusive to Paramount, VistaVision oriented the 35mm film vertically, rather than horizontally, allowing for a higher resolution image, much like the recently resurrected 70mm process. And while Hitchcock was skeptical of widescreen's true value (assuming it a gimmick like the 3D he used in Dial M for Murder), he and cinematographer Robert Burks nonetheless made incredible use of it by filming elaborate car chase scenes along the cliffs and vineyards of the Riviera from a helicopter – something that in 1955 had rarely been attempted and required careful customization of the vehicle and camera to make possible.

'To Catch a Thief' also rendered colour in a remarkable way. A film concerned with fine jewels, it is bathed in emerald green lighting for the film's twilight sequences, including its rooftop climax of dueling cat burglars. It's an element of style that would be used three years later for 'Vertigo' and its encroaching green fog of jealousy and obsession. Throughout 'To Catch a Thief', jewel tones predominate, whether the green lighting, the sapphire blues of the sea, or Frances' gold lamé ball gown – worn for the film's final act. Like the Technicolor epics to soon follow, each hue was meticulously thought out and utilized to subtly to tell the story – nowhere is this truer than with the costumes designed by Head and worn exquisitely by Kelly.

'To Catch a Thief' was Head's third collaboration with Hitchcock – having previously designed costumes for Grant and Ingrid Bergman in 'Notorious' and for Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly in 'Rear Window'. They would collaborate on another eight films for a total of eleven. Head was, and still is, the most awarded costume designer in the history of film, with an astounding thirty-five Oscar nominations and eight wins, which also makes her the most anointed woman in Oscar history. In 1955, she would win for 'Sabrina' starring Audrey Hepburn and a year later, she achieved Oscar gold again, winning for 'To Catch a Thief'.

Edith Head always claimed, when asked in interviews (and she was invariably always asked), that Kelly was her favorite star to work with, and one can see why when you look at the dresses in 'To Catch a Thief'. From Frances' swimsuits (which Hitchcock insisted be one-pieces and not those cheap new-fangled bikinis sweeping the beaches of France), to her chiffon evening gowns, to her ostentatious, but oh-so-fun 18th-century inspired ball gown, Kelly and Head's collaboration was movie magic. Indeed, some of Head's most recognized pieces are in 'To Catch a Thief'. While glamour was key Head was keen, as was Hitchcock, to tell the story of the film through costumes, rather than thinking of the costumes as mere decoration to an elaborate, high budget production. Tracing the transition in colors of Frances' costumes, from the whites and ice blues she wears in her more shrewish phase, to the brilliant gold of her lamé gown in the film's climax, there is a transformation in her character illustrated via colour – from cool and calculating, to warm and in love. Head, like Hitchcock, was never one to miss a beat, rather within all that glamour is a calculated storytelling technique.

From its costumes, to its breathtaking cinematography, to the beauty of its environs, 'To Catch a Thief' is a jewel in Hitchcock's crown. And while it may not be revolutionary in its filmmaking – like 'Psycho' (1960) or 'Vertigo' (1958) – it is, nevertheless, an important entry in Hitchcock's much-studied and admired filmography. With its use of colour, widescreen, and design, it served as a testing ground to the epics he was about to embark on. The perfect rainy-day film, it shouldn't be thought of as Hitchcock-lite as many critics and historians have suggested, but rather, a nice, light appetizer (French-inspired) to a much heavier, calorie-rich main course soon to arrive on the table.

© Frank Borsellino™
© From Where I Sit™
July 31, 2018

* '1955 Sunbeam Alpine Series III Roadster

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

'Cinema Paradiso' @ 30 Years

'I'm not young enough to know everything.' ~ J.M. Barrie

It is now 30 years since 'Cinema Paradiso', one of the most internationally acclaimed films in modern Italian cinema, was released.
Giuseppe Tornatore was just 32 when he made Cinema Paradiso, his second feature. The film flopped initially. But a new cut, released in 1990, propelled it to awards success in the shape of an Oscar for best foreign language film and a clutch of Baftas, cementing Tornatore's reputation as a director of note. For many, it remains his best picture, though personally I'd struggle to choose between 'Cinema Paradiso' and 'Malèna' (2000), his emotional film featuring Monica Bellucci as a vulnerable widow in wartime Sicily, whose descent into prostitution is observed by a group of adolescent boys.
It's no accident that Cinema Paradiso's nostalgic celebration of the power of great film-making, and of cinema as a communal experience, so captured audiences' imaginations. It came at a time when home video was leaving live cinema in the doldrums, with many film theatres falling derelict across Europe and North America: the present-day demolition of the Nuovo Cinema Paradiso to make way for a municipal car-park is one of the film's most powerful scenes.
The film's overall tone, too, is elegiac: it must have been easy, when 'Cinema Paradiso' first came out, to see it as a swansong for movie-going – to imagine that, in a few years' time, no local cinema would again have the same ability to bring together an isolated rural community, opening a window into other worlds.
Three decades later, we know that such worries were more or less unfounded: cinema-going is still alive and well, despite the triple-headed threat of DVD, Blu-ray and the internet, and many small independent cinemas are thriving. But for Cascio, and for the film's many fans, its message remains very relevant.

'Cinema Paradiso is about the power of dreams. In the film, we see the people go to the cinema to dream: by watching great movies, they forget all their problems. In becoming a great film director, Totò achieves his own personal dream, too. In today's world, with this crisis that we're all experiencing both in politics and in society, the film reminds us that we can, and must, keep on dreaming.' ~ Salvatore Cascio

© From Where I Sit™
writer/blogger/bon vivant
July 12, 2018

* Salvatore Cascio & Philippe Noiret - 'Cinema Paradiso' (1988)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Monte Carlo @ Le Bijoux

'During sex, people are often way too focused on giving or taking to actually just celebrate this moment, be themselves completely, and rejoice in their own realities.' ~ Roberto Hogue

'Monte Carlo', was a private club downstairs at 'Le Bijoux', which was in itself an a premier jazz bar/restaurant. Membership cards to 'Monte Carlo' were these heavy, rectangular, gold-plated plaques, the size of a lighter, another one of Liz Swann's clients. Liz was a Marketing Guru, and she was responsible for the launch of this new hotspot. Her duties included marketing, advertising, filling the place up with celebrities and captains of industries. Anything and everything that would put this place on the proverbial social map, of course, due to our recent rapprochement, I received such a membership. The criteria, was only for millionaire friends of the owner, who was a famous old-time impresario of the arts and the club scene, since way back in the sixties. He had the hippest, sharpest and coolest clubs and restaurants in Old Montreal. One of these was called 'Le Bijoux'. In the film 'Once Upon a Time in America' (1984), there is a scene inside the restaurant, and in the Bruce Willis movie 'The Whole Nine Yards' (2000), there are actually several scenes, filmed inside a jazz club, that's the one. Well, 'Monte Carlo' was downstairs.
I recall, the first time I went, it was a couple of days after the opening. I never go to
openings, too much fanfare and attention on who is coming and going, in my world, it wasn't germane. Anyway, when I was lead to the bar, in the back (if you pay attention, I always end-up in the back of bars, that's where the real VIPs were, with the ladies). To my right, I notice a very prominent politician and philanthropist, who happens to be an old family friend and some other gentlemen I don't know, seated with some beautiful nubiles who don't look like their wives. I turned the cheek and head to the bathroom, hoping he did not see me. It would be awkward for him and me.

On my way I see seated in this tiny phone booth, the club had set up in a sort of alcove,
adjacent to the ladies' room, Liz. As I crossed her path, she hung up the phone and dropped her long, slender, incredibly sculpted leg out and blocked my passage, it was a tiny and dark area. As I followed that long, luscious limb to see where the Yellow Brick Road stopped and Heaven started, I saw her gorgeous lips, cheekbones and inviting eyes. I gave her a beguiling smile and dropping my eyes back down to her slightly spread thighs, now further opened, I had to blink twice because it seemed as though her bloom was glistening bare for my eyes to see.

I discreetly looked again and though dark, my vision adjusted, her female alcove was now slightly gaping and clearly moistened with anticipation of my reaction. This is one of those moments where you determine your path... I had to make a quick decision. Her message was clear, I had longed dreamed of taking a woman so passionately and covertly in public view... in such a rapid motion that it would undermine her plans and bring out the animal passion that she had planned to give up on her terms. Certain, that her hungry eyes were inviting me, I grabbed her hips and hoisted her onto the back wall of the booth. In no time I had freed my throbbing member and rammed it as far as I could into her slickened, silk flower. It rode in faster than a Porsche on the Autobahn and we were off to the mesosphere. She cried out in such sheer, unbridled lust and ecstasy that I had to cover her mouth so that patrons would not be directing their stare towards us. Her beautiful eyes dilated and drugged with pleasure were locked onto mine, as I continued hard and methodically thrusting as I evoked deep throat cries of gratification from her slightly parted full lips.

I felt her melt into me, her slender body, tight against me while I am pinning her against the wall I could feel a heart beating hard and fast as her breath was gasping to keep up, her musky smell intoxicated me as did the taste of her mouth and skin, her body trembling uncontrollably, her long legs wrapping tighter around me, she returned it back at me in a rhythmic fashion, her hungry and aggressive flesh for my manhood, possibly the best sex I ever had. I knew she couldn't last much longer, nor could I. Her lips quivered as I kissed her hard, caressing and pinching her mammillas through her sheer lace bra. I easily unhooked it from the front and her perfectly formed breasts sprang free, my mouth watered with wanting to suck those swollen little Hershey's Kisses. Finally, as I am slamming her with my turgid member, we both enjoyed wave after wave of pure bliss. I couldn't believe she would put herself in this completely exposed position, if someone were to round the corner, they would see a palpably compelling man with a beauty unashamedly with skirt up above her hips, and pantieless. The musky smell of her desire, which was soaking my sex by now, and the vision of a woman on the verge of the most powerful orgasm she was to attain in her life, these thoughts helped me hold out for just the time I needed.

She was now hovering on the brink, amazingly she was trying to hold back from coming to prolong the pleasure but she was losing the battle rather quickly, her deep moans started to become louder and faster, her trembling dissolved into uncontrollable jerking as her pudenda grabbed and quivered around every inch of my shaft, I was hazy with pleasure I'd never known quite like this, presently and I felt it begin to grab my aching phallus with faster rhythm, suddenly her body stiffened, her rock hard teats thrust upon my chest as her back arched, her vagina grinding into my groin, my hands now balancing her shapely buttocks as she let out one final cry of surrender and came over and over until she went limp in my arms, it was then that I finally shot my load into her, long and hot juices commingled as I spent myself fully with deep satisfaction. I leaned into her as we were wrapped in the ecstasy and exhaustion of mindblowing sex.

The moment I came back to Earth, and my senses fully recovered, I thought fast, we had gotten away with much; I slid her skirt down and urged her into the ladies room. As I watched her well-toned derrière mounted on now trembling legs that barely got her through the door, a wet spot soaked her skirt, I sighed with relief, incredible, unbelievable, I too hastened to the men's room and emerged a few minutes later glowing, relaxed and returned to my table.

Though a good man never tells, one of my friends inquired,

"What held you up?"

Jokingly I answered, "A mad passionate woman was determined to have her way with me right then and there and I didn't want to be rude."

The table of friends roared with appreciation of a good comeback. Come back, yes, she would definitely have to come back, again and again. What had just transpired was only the beginning. I swilled my wine and privately toasted my good fortune.

* FINE *

* excerpt from 'Finnegan's Journey' by © Frank Borsellino™

Friday, June 8, 2018

Anthony Bourdain R.I.P.

'Maybe that's enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom...is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.' ~ Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Michael Bourdain was born June 25, 1956, the oldest son of Pierre Bourdain, who was an executive in the classical-music recording industry, and Gladys Bourdain, who was a long-time copy editor at The New York Times. He grew up outside New York City, in Leonia, N.J., and his parents exposed him to fine cuisine, taking him often to France, which is where he first became conscious of food. When he was in fourth grade, on a family vacation to France aboard the Queen Mary, he sat in the cabin-class dining room and ate a bowl of vichyssoise, a creamy mix of leek and potato. What surprised him was that the soup was cold.

'It was the first food I enjoyed and, more important, remembered enjoying,' he wrote in his memoir 'Kitchen Confidential'. He did not remember much else about the trip.'

Bourdain graduated from high school in 1973 and attended Vassar College, dropping out after two years, where he spent long nights drinking and smoking pot.

'I was — to be frank — a spoiled, miserable, narcissistic, self-destructing and thoughtless young lout.'

At Vassar, he met Nancy Putkoski (his first wife) before he left school for a chance at a culinary career. He spent a summer in Provincetown on Cape Cod with some friends. There, he started working as a dishwasher at a seafood restaurant and closely watched the cooks, men who dressed like pirates, with gold earrings and turquoise chokers.

'In the kitchen, they were like gods. I saw how the cooks and chefs behaved. They had sort of a swagger, got all the girls and drank everything in sight.' ~ Anthony Bourdain

The experience solidified his determination to make cooking his life's work. He then enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in 1975 and graduated in 1978, stepping away at times to work at restaurants in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. He started at the bottom in the kitchen hierarchy, with stops at the Rainbow Room, the W.P.A. restaurant on Spring Street and Gianni's at the South Street Seaport. In everything he did, Bourdain cultivated a renegade style and bad-boy persona. For decades, he worked 13-hour days as a line cook in restaurants in New York and the Northeast, until he reached the top in the 1990s, first becoming an executive chef at Sullivan's, the restaurant next to the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway, and then followed by Brasserie Les Halles in 1998, serving steak frites and onion soup in Lower Manhattan.
He had been an executive chef for eight years when he sent an unsolicited article to The New Yorker about the underbelly of the restaurant world and its deceptions. To his surprise, the magazine accepted it and ran it — catching the attention of book editors. It resulted in 'Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly', a memoir that elevated Bourdain to a celebrity chef and a new career on TV. He became an instant hero to a certain breed of professional cooks and restaurant-goers when 'Kitchen Confidential' hit the best-seller lists in 2000. He is largely credited for defining an era of line cooks as warriors, exposing a kitchen culture in which drugs, drinking and long, brutal hours on the line in professional kitchens were both a badge of honor and a curse. Bourdain was open in his writing about his past addictions to heroin and cocaine.

Before he joined CNN in 2012, he spent eight seasons as the globe-trotting host of 'No Reservations' on the Travel Channel, highlighting obscure cuisine and unknown restaurants. 'No Reservations' largely focused on food and Bourdain himself. But on 'Parts Unknown', he turned the lens around, delving into different countries around the world and the people who lived in them. He explored politics and history with locals, often over plates of food and drinks. One of my favorite episodes, I have many, when he appeared with President Barack Obama on an episode of 'Parts Unknown' in Vietnam in 2016. Over cold beers, grilled pork and noodles at a restaurant in Hanoi, they discussed Vietnamese-American relations, The President's final months in office and fatherhood. Among the ones I enjoyed more, with a certain insider feel, were the many he did in Montreal, especially with my friends from Joe Beef, David McMillan and Frederick Morin.

Bourdain was found in his hotel room at Le Chambard, a luxury hotel in Kaysersberg, a village in the Alsace region of eastern France, by long time friend Eric Ripert, himself a celebrity chef and restaurateur who appeared with Bourdain on several of his shows. Bourdain had traveled to Strasbourg in France, near the country's border with Germany, with a television production crew to record an upcoming episode of 'Parts Unknown' on CNN.

'Anthony was a dear friend, and an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous. One of the great storytellers of our time who connected with so many. I wish him peace. My love and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones.' ~ Eric Ripert

'I could not think of a better way to say goodbye.' ~ © Frank Borsellino

© From Where I Sit™
writer/blogger/bon vivant

* photo by Alex Welsh @ The New York Times '2015 in New York City

* via The New York Times

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Courtyard in Cattolica

'Sitting under the candlenut tree in the courtyard is pleasant in the afternoon. Laced in shadows, frangipani & coral hibiscus ward away the memory of recent evil. The sisters go about their duties, Sister Martinique tends her vegetables, and the cats enact their feline comedies and tragedies.' ~ David Mitchell

* Cattolica Eraclea is a commune/municipality in the Province of Agrigento in the Italian region of Sicily, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Palermo and about 20 kilometres (12 mi) northwest of Agrigento... in close proximity to Platani river valley.
The town was founded in medieval times. It received the name 'Eraclea' in 1874, associating it to the ancient site of Heraclea Minoa nearby. The economy is based on agriculture, including production of vine, olives, fruit, almonds, cereals and wheat.

± Namaste ±
© Frank Borsellino™
© From Where I Sit™
writer/blogger/bon vivant

Friday, May 25, 2018

'Hemingway & Gellhorn' (2012)

'The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.' ~ Ernest Hemingway

'Hemingway & Gellhorn' is a study in the art of machismo... just as much from a woman as from a man. This film dramatizes the volatile coming together and falling apart of the famous novelist and his third wife. Martha Gellhorn, a renowned war correspondent and the only one of his brides who was also a fiction writer. The film is a big-name affair, with Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman in the leads. Philip Kaufman ('Rising Sun' (1993), directing a screenplay by Barbara Turner ('Pollock' (2000), 'Georgia' (1995), and Jerry Stahl ('Bad Boys II' (2003), executive produced by James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), and based on Martha Gellhorn's memoirs. At the outset of this explosive new film an aged but still feisty Gellhorn recalls how she was more interested in chasing battle action around the world than in pleasing her man in the boudoir.

She adds, 'There are wars, and then there are wars!'

Especially when one is involved with the ever-mercurial Ernest Hemingway, as Gellhorn was to learn over her intense romance and subsequent four-year marriage to the man. Really hard to say what was more life-threatening for Gellhorn: the Spanish Civil War or grappling with the demons of Papa Hemingway.

To be sure, it's practically impossible to re-create with complete accuracy an actual person, and biopics are typically deformed by the need to cover a lot of ground in short order, as one crisis follows quickly upon another, characters can seem both abnormally intense and insufficiently motivated. Kidman benefits from Gellhorn's relative obscurity in creating her, of course; the original person matters less. And yet given the unknowability of even as public a figure as Hemingway, there are as many plausible ways to play him as to play Hamlet, but Clive Owen delivers a stellar performance... down to the extra pounds he packed on, apparent in all those sex scenes. One doesn't need to feel that, yes, it was really like this only that it might have been. From the moment the young writer Martha, 28, sidles up to the celebrated Ernest, a decade older and covered in marlin blood, at a Key West bar -- Sloppy Joe's.

'Friend or foe?' asks Hemingway. 'Or faux friend. You never know', answers Gellhorn.... you might recall Lauren Bacall teaching Humphrey Bogart to whistle in 'To Have and Have Not' (1944).

And they're off, from Florida to the Spanish Civil War to Cuba and China and D-day, as competitors and collaborators. They meet other famous faces (the starry supporting cast includes David Strathairn as a rather too pathetic John Dos Passos and Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, as documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens, Molly Parker as Hemingway's second bride, Pauline, Parker Posey as Hemingway's fourth wife, Mary, Joan Chen as Madame Chiang and Robert Duvall as an unhinged Soviet general); enact passages from future memoirs and biographies reconfigured for dramatic effect; dodge bullets and down cocktails.

'You're more of a man than most men I've met,' he says admiringly, as he fails to drink her under the table.

Kaufman, who also directed the erotic period pieces 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' (1988) and 'Henry & June' (1990), puts a lot of energy into sex scenes that make Gellhorn seem like a goddess of the literary world. In a particular scene, one of my favorites, they're going at it while bombs rain down on their Madrid hotel, covering their naked bodies in plaster dust.The other scene I truly appreciated was in Cuba at the Copacabana in the dressing room. They sauntered in while the ladies were dancing … he practically dragged her, while both very intoxicated, until they found a spot hidden behind costumes and other paraphernalia. He turned her around and raised her dress … just as she was swaying to his thrusts a group of Cancan girls stormed in to change. He placed his hand over her mouth and continued pressing on… and they pulsated together in a harmonious rhythm. Kidman had this look of utter ecstasy. Delicious!
Integrating the actors' 'Zelig' style into old newsreel footage, sliding from color into monochrome and back again. Sometimes, you don't notice the trick at all, but even when you do, it can be sort of charming: It gives the film a kind of picture-book quality not out of step with its self-dramatizing subjects.

Yet in spite of his wild chauvinistic ways, something about the freethinking and alluring Gellhorn charms him. Hemingway is smitten, for a spell, until Gellhorn proves to be a tad too independent and not so subservient. Then Papa gets angry, and you won't much like Papa when he's angry. He gets really blitzed... ornery and self-centred. Papa is no one's notion of politically correct. But it isn't just self-aggrandizing bravado when he declares himself to be the greatest wordsmith in America. It’s hard to take that away from him. The returns in their relationship eventually diminish: The student outlives her need for the teacher, who derides her as 'Little Miss Human Interest'. It turns out that he's the conventional one who needs a base and a gang; she's the footloose free spirit who wants to be where the action is.

Kidman's Gellhorn and Owen's Hemingway, as well as the others, are mostly on fire, and under fire. And when not dodging gunshots during the Spanish Civil War and the Japanese invasion of China,
Gellhorn and Hemingway are mostly engaged in personal combat – physically and mentally. But the two have something in common: a romanticized idealism. They are rebels with a cause, eager to quash fast-rising fascism, be it in Franco's Spain or Hitler's Germany. Hemingway prevails upon Gellhorn to chuck objectivity in her dispatches for Collier's Weekly.

They are also fearless, bordering on foolhardy. What else to make of their desire for some nookie while their hotel is being blitzkrieged by Franco's bombers... Or Hemingway's challenge to play Russian roulette with an equally unravelled and real Russian General (Robert Duvall). The two are also world-class tipplers. But even Gellhorn marvels how Hemingway could put away bottles of scotch, absinthe and wine at night and still take his post at the typewriter the following morning.

'Writing is like Mass. God gets mad when you miss it,' explains Hemingway, whose second bride convinced him to convert to Catholicism.

While the film focuses on the passion between Hemingway and Gellhorn, it also addresses prevailing patronizing attitudes toward women with ambition back in the late 1930s and early 1940s, which is when the film is set. Despite finding religion as well as adventure, causes, acclaim and women, Hemingway, a senior Gellhorn contends in retrospect, was rarely at peace with himself... 'He tortured no one so much as he is tortured himself.' Such was the price Papa Hemingway was willing to pay for his place in the writers' pantheon. As is abundantly made clear here.

The movie, which has concentrated more on her journey than his, gives her a kind of payback: It
jumps from their final breakup, in 1945, to a diminished Hemingway's suicide some 16 years later.
Gellhorn exits on two feet, as the older woman who has remembered this tale, grabbing her backpack
and heading out the door onto her next adventure.

© Frank Borsellino™
* From Where I Sit!
May 25, 2018

* Nicole Kidman & Clive Owen - 'Hemingway & Gellhorn' (2012) @ Copacabana, Cuba