Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Bit Of Culture

We've had a bit more culture since King Lear at the National last week. After a few weeks without a cinema visit we found time to head to the coast on Saturday afternoon for The Past another excellent film from Iranian director Ashgar Farhadi. We loved his A Separation and so were delighted to find his latest showing at the excellent Aldeburgh Cinema. We were not disappointed with another tale of marital disharmony - this time set in France. An Iranian husband Ahmad is invited back to France by his estranged wife Marie to complete the divorce legalities. 

He finds her involved with Samir a new lover whose baby she is carrying and who she hopes to marry shortly. The young lover and his little boy are living in the family home along with Marie's other daughters by an earlier marriage - complicated eh? She hasn't booked a hotel room for Ahmed so he has to bed down in the family house. Throw in the fact that Samir's wife is in a coma and add Marie's troubled teenage daughter to the mix and it's a recipe for a tense and emotional couple of hours of tremendous drama - highly recommended.

Having whetted our appetite for subtitled movies with The Past we planned to try The Lunchbox which is showing in Ipswich but after a glance at our schedule and the cinema's timings we realised we were not going to make it. But all was not lost when we realised it was showing on Sky. It's another relationship movie but far gentler than The Past. Set in Mumbai it tells the tale of Saajan a widowed insurance claims clerk on the verge of retirement. Every day he has his lunch delivered by one of Mumbai's hundreds of Dabbawalas - an army of men who deliver hot meals to thousands of office workers every day. In the suburbs Ila a young woman is trying to spice up her marriage by making more adventurous concoctions for her disinterested husband and uses the Dabbawala service to deliver his lunches. A mix up ends up with the lunches arriving on Saajan's desk (he uses the same delivery service for his meals from a caterer). Within a few days, notes are being passed between the two and a romance by letter develops. It's a very wistful, warm and pleasant love story a bit of a Mumbai Brief Encounter. Lovely.

 And that wasn't the end of the week's culture as today we headed back to London to see A Taste Of Honey at The National Theatre. Lesley Sharp and Kate O'Flynn were both brilliant as a mum and daughter living in a run down flat in 1958 Salford. When it was first performed the play caused a sensation with it's depiction of inter-racial sex, homosexuality and a man who baked cakes. Today it's a fascinating insight into how things have moved on - none of the shocks would raise an eyebrow with a modern audience - so it's a great credit to the cast and the theatre for creating a production that was dramatic, funny and very entertaining.

We've had a busy week on other fronts too. On Monday night we headed up to the college for a fascinating talk about its 150 year history. The castle looked wonderful from the school in the early evening light.

We also found time to check out a few local places that we hadn't yet visited and had a look at Blythburgh church. With its rare 15th Century Jack O' The Clock, ancient pew carvings and spectacular nave it's a true hidden Suffolk treasure.