Sunday, July 6, 2008

Talkin' Movies 2

Three movies about food, none of which is Tom Jones:

Babette's Feast – I've only seen this once, but this tale of a French political exile taking refuge in a community of Danish Lutherans features some very toothsome preparations of very simple foods, as well as an amiable yet subtly suspenseful dinner party. I don't believe there's another film in all of cinema history in which the heroine triumphs over her nemesis by simply excelling in the kitchen.

Eat Drink Man Woman – A true don't-watch-this-hungry wonder from Taiwan. The "stunt cooking" alone will make your mouth water, but this robustly romantic tale of a widowed master chef at the end of his professional endurance and the struggles of his three grownup daughters to find their way in the world surprises at nearly every turn.

Tampopo – This first, and most iconic, noodle western from Japan has a wandering spirit, but never strays too far from the main plot of a noodle shop owner and the five men who ride in to aid in her quest to make the perfect bowl of ramen. This may sound altogether silly, but the characters are superbly played and easily convince you that this goal is more than worth the struggle. As for the famous egg yolk exchange scene…well, it simply has to be seen to be believed.

Three Days of Rain in One Week!

Monsoon season as arrived for real here in northern Arizona. After a virtually rainless spring, we've had three major days of rain - July 1st, 4th and today, the 6th. Not sure it's enough to stop the bark beetle, which in the past several years has devastated our stands of Ponderosa pine, but it might be enough to slow 'em down a little. Anyone who thinks it's our famous wildfires that destroy forests around here, sorry to disappoint; the bark beetle is far more destructive, and there is precious little that can be done to fight them…except, perhaps, letting those famous wildfires burn and thin the stands of pines the way nature intended.