I did one of those never fun fly-to-Halifax-work-7-hours-and-fly-home-the-same-day adventures yesterday. Fortunately, the weather in Halifax was gorgeous. I was on the hunt for a new office site there and snapped this photo from the 13th floor of the Metro Centre in Dartmouth, looking across Halifax Harbour to Halifax. It would be a great space with a drop-dead gorgeous view but is too large for my purposes and I suspect the management company doesn’t want to piecemeal the floor. We’ll see.
1) Halifax Harbour yesterday … gorgeous sunshine
1 & 2) Birthday weekend champagne and a topnotch, affordable sparking wine
3) Champagne crackers … fit for a king
4 & 5) they are about 6 inches in diameter
Written and directed by Courtney Hunt, Frozen River stars (Oscar-nominated) Melissa Leo as Ray Eddy, a mother trying to keep her two sons together after their gambling addicted father up and leaves with the rent money and the downpayment for their new mobile home. Set in a wee town on the New York State-Ontario border with a sizeable Mohawk reserve, the film explores Native ideas of citizenship, the bonds of love and friendship and the lengths some mothers do go to in order to keep a family together. Out of money and luck, Ray meets Lila Littlewolf (played by Misty Upham), another single mother who is assisting illegal aliens in crossing the St. Lawrence from Canada to the United States, and agrees to join Lila in driving refugees across the dangerous, frozen river. Frozen River is a quiet film with excellent acting on Leo’s part that takes the time to really delve into both women’s characters. The plot, while simple, is suspenseful and will have you on the edge of your seat to the end and makes venturing onto the thin ice worth every cent. My rating 7 out of 10.
Shall We Dansu?
Written and directed by Masayuki Suo, this original version of the later J-Lo and Richard Gere version, makes sense and that, in itself, should be praise enough for this fine film. Trapped within the social and cultural pressures present within Japanese society, married Mr. Sugiyama (Koji Sugiyama) struggles with his desire to enter a dance school after seeing one of its teachers, the beautiful Mai Kishikawa (Tamiyo Kusakari) in the dance studio’s windows as he passes by each evening on the train. Initially embarrassed and ashamed of such a desire, Mr. Sugiyama hides his classes from his wife and work colleagues until the day of a dance competition when the consequences of hiding our feelings and actions comes back to bite him. Populated with four great side characters with unique stories of their own, Shall We Dansu beautifully shows us a the power of shame with Japan and its societal norms, and how, in the end, we’re truly all the same. My rating 8 out of 10.