East of Paris Bookstore

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Here and There

Here & There

Last night we watched the film Here & There, first time for Mr. Wonderful, second time for me. I liked it so much that I decided to write a review at Amazon.


I'd heard about the film when it first came out, but it took me some months before I decided to see it. I like my films to be mindless entertainment. A part of this movie takes place in contemporary Serbia ... Serbian movies are never mindless and are not known for happy endings.   


The start of Here & There was not promising: Robert, a down and out musician in New York is in process of becoming even more down and out as he's thrown out of his apartment. His mover, Branko, is an optimistic young Serb from Belgrade working in the city with his old van. Branko's girlfriend is in Belgrade. If Robert agrees to go to Belgrade to marry her and thus get her a visa to come to the US,  Robert will earn $5000.  Robert takes the deal. The rest of the film shuttles between New York and Serbia ... here and there or, depending on your point of view, there and here ... as Robert's and Branko's separate but entwined stories develop.


I am not sure in which scene it happened, but the film quickly captured my attention. I sipped a mug of coffee with a slight smile while I watched Robert cope with Belgrade personalities and Branko cope with urban setbacks of his own. The narrative is minimal, the settings gritty, and the story is at times hopeless. Yet, the characters are resilient and believable and, as I quietly cheered for them, they prevail over their obstacles.  


At the end: Branko and his girlfriend are reunited; Robert, no longer a broken man, returns to New York; and the Serbs want to be in the big city while Robert misses Belgrade. A happy ending after all.


  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Door Decor

In Europe, I see a lot of door knobs and knockers that look interesting and fun.  Here are some that I photographed in Italy.
At the Abbey at Monte Casino

In Rome

In Rome


In Anacapri

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vechhia Roma Redux

Ever since we had lunch at Ristorante Vecchia Roma, on the Piazza di Campitelli,
we've wanted to return. I wrote about Lunch in Ancient Rome a little over a year ago, and we recently had the chance to go back.  Any qualms we had about the restaurant not living up to our memory and expectations were quickly dissipated by the lovely service and food.


There were a lot of choices for a first course.  
After deep thought, we began with cool spinach dressed in olive oil and lemon.
Since most of Italy is never more than 150 miles from the sea, fresh seafood is 
plentiful, and we decided on a luscious pasta with clams and broccoli for our main course.


Before ...
After ...
Naturally, we ended with dessert:  strawberry tiramisu and coffee.
And, naturally, after a splendid meal, Mr. Wonderful was happy!

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