It’s been a while since we posted one of these. In the meantime, 2020 is history, but 2021 is aiming to show its elder that it can be just as much of a pest. (As someone said: 2021 is shaping up to be the mutated version of 2020.) Will the vaccine help? Perhaps, at least I hope so, but for now we’re left to wait and see. While we were lucky in Switzerland that cinemas were open for half the year, they’ve now been closed since October, and the day on which they can open again seems to be moving further and further into the distance. In the spring of 2020, Mege posted this photo of one of the local cinemas:
Back then, this seemed like an optimistic act of defiance. These days, when I pass the building, it still says the same, but that “Coming soon” sounds like a feeble act of denial.
During the weeks and months of quasi-lockdown and working from home, one of the things that I’ve very much enjoyed (and I’m aware of how privileged I am in that regard) is lunch breaks with my wife, where we sit down, have a bite and watch something short. For a while, we mainly watched the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, as its 20-minute episodes were perfect for a quick break before we’d go back to our computers and resume work.
Villains are interesting because we cannot believe what they are prepared to do and then get away with their crimes while we keeping looking on, appalled, but also slightly amazed. With unsympathetic characters, it’s slightly different. My guess is that we are caught in the dilemma of not condoning their actions or beliefs, but somehow understanding them. We wouldn’t act their way because we are not them, but if we were, maybe we would make the same choices. The main character in Pablo Larraín’s Ema (2019) makes no effort to win our sympathies, but we get why she does what she does. To a lesser extent, we might also understand Francis’ decisions in Burhan Qurbani’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (2020), but chances are that we will never have to risk our lives crossing the Mediterranean, or deal with the violent antics of an adopted child.
Some men just want to watch the world burn, someone once said. Perhaps the same can be said for some women. Not necessarily to harm or hurt, not for revenge or hatred. But perhaps there are people who, when they are told that they shouldn’t play with fire, what they hear is a taunt or, worse, a prison sentence being pronounced. Freedom means that you can burn whatever, whoever, whenever – and if someone really, truly loves you, they should understand that you need that flame to be available. So what if it burns someone?
Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest installment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.
Tune in for episode 2 of A Damn Fine Cup of Culture podcast as Mege and Matt discuss Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, with a quick chat about the chilling, murderous Lady Macbeth and the biopic Jackie by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín. Once again, mild spoilers are to be expected, and we may have some opinions on Tom Cruise – so respect the cup, sit down and listen.