Since I was last here I have…

1) Completed the Edinburgh Moonwalk with Daisy, wearing our mother and daughter matching bras as shown here:


2) Visited the Edinburgh Film Festival (newly happening in June) where I saw the following:

I’d heartily recommend The Song of Sparrows and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.  The first is a beautiful portrayal of human resilience in the face of hardship, alternating between humour and pathos and the second is a gorgeous-looking (loose) adaptation of the book of the same name (published by Persephone Press).  It also stars the ever-watchable Frances McDormand. 

I’d also recommend Gloss (a warts-and-all look at the fashion industry in Moscow), The Wave (based on this novel, which was in turn based on a classroom experiment by this man) and, to a lesser extent, The King of Ping Pong ( a Swedish film about adolescence, a little lacking in pace for my taste)Faintheart, although hilarious at times, wasn’t as funny overall as it should have been (given its cast) or, indeed, as it thought it was. 

Warsaw Dark was either an interesting piece of art house cinema or a load of pretentious tosh (I’m inclining towards the second opinion).  The film was Christopher Doyle’s second outing as a director and here I have to put my hands up and say that, although he clearly enjoys a reputation as an outstanding cinematographer among those in the know, I’d never heard of him.  However, any opinion I have or may have of him in the future could hardly have been enhanced by his performance at the Q & A session after the film.  Doyle shared the stage with his director of photography, Rain Li and the film’s producer, Marianna Rowinska.  What was obvious from the outset, though was that Doyle had to be in the limelight at all times.  When either of his colleagues attempted to answer a question, he gurned away on the sidelines, ensuring that the majority of the audience was looking at him.  Odd behaviour, I thought, for a man who presumably chose to spend his life behind the camera rather than in front of it. 

The Edge of Love deserves special mention, if only because it was so thoroughly disappointing.  Dealing as it does with the relationship between Dylan Thomas, his wife, Caitlin and his former lover Vera Phillips, I had expected this film to be an exploration of human emotion.  According to the IMDb synopsis, this is a film in which “The passion and pathos of legendary poet Dylan Thomas is told through the lives of two extraordinary women.”  Sadly, nothing could have been further from the truth.  I found it impossible to care about any of the characters for the majority of the film and, given that there were so many references to sex and love, the whole thing was strangely lacking in passion and almost sterile.  The only genuinely emotional scenes in the film were the battle scenes and Captain William Killick’s resulting post-traumatic stress.  Killick is played by Cillian Murphy and, while he’s lovely to look at in the early part of the film, the poor man is given dialogue so mannered and clunky that it sounds as if it was written by a pompous fourteen year-old who’d read too much bad romantic fiction. Keira Knightley as Vera at least makes an attempt at a Welsh accent (even if it is of the “There’s lovely, boy-o” variety).  Sienna Miller’s accent, on the other hand, is from everywhere and nowhere.  They both perform well as clothes-horses, though (ooh, scratch your eyes out!) with Keira looking picture-perfect in her 1940s garb, while Sienna showcases boho chic to great effect.  Matthew Rhys’s portrayal of Dylan Thomas ironically reverses historical fact with disastrous consequences.  Thomas was famously ugly but charming, Rhys is considerably better looking but about as charmless as it is possible for an individual to be.  It is really is straining the bounds of credibility  to suggest that one let alone two women could have been won over by this self-serving monster.  To quote Tom Paulin: I didn’t like it.

3) Spent two nights, with Brian, on the beautiful island of Skye.  We stayed here and here.  Skye is wonderfully peaceful and, although the weather was miserable, the scenery always looks dramatic.

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12 Responses to Since I was last here I have…

  1. wyndham says:

    I’m no expert but that looks fairly elaborate for a bra. Is that not a nightie – or what my mother used to call a dolly?

  2. IsarSteve says:

    Co-incidence… I saw ‘Die Welle’ or The Wave last evening….

    hhmm.. you’re not a teacher are you?

    T’was especially quiet in the ‘Kino’ when it was all over… many seemed stuck to their seats..
    I suppose in Germany, people understand the relevance of it all.
    I do like Jürgen Vogel’s films..

  3. Marsha Klein says:

    Wyndham: It looks more substantial than it actually is. I was a bit doubtful about bearing my midriff (with good reason!) and so sewed a load of chiffon round the front of my bra to resemble a “baby-doll” nightie and covered the rest of me up with a fleece. However, as 1,000 of the walkers were men, there were some more “interesting” midriffs on show than mine!

    IsarSteve: What did you think of it? I really enjoyed it (if “enjoyed” is the right word). I was struck by the fact that the project appealed to the popular, successful kids as much as to the loners and misfits (although as it was a drama, not a documentary I suppose that may have been dramatic licence). Dennis Gansel did a Q & A after the screening and explained that the novel that resulted from the original experiment is a set-text in German schools.
    I also identified with Vogel’s character, courting popularity with his students – it’s a easy trap to fall into with teenagers but, no, I’m not a teacher – nothing so useful, I’m afraid!

  4. sylvia says:

    Ooh – how did the Moonwalk go? What was your time? How did you and your daughter cope with it? Love the outfit!

    All those films! How much popcorn did all that take? Did you see them one after the other or was there a bit of a gap?

  5. Marsha Klein says:

    Sylvia: We managed it in a shade over 8 hours (8 hours 7 minutes). We were both glad to have done it, although I think Daisy was struggling a bit towards the end. Having said that, she recovered more quickly than I did – my feet were a mess, huge blisters everywhere and a couple of bruised nails (this was despite having had my trainers fitted and breaking them in well beforehand!) and we were both very stiff for a couple of days afterwards.
    I was pleased with the way the bras looked. We got the idea from John Lewis’s haberdashery department which was decked out with decorated bras for weeks before the walk.
    The Film Festival was a bit of a marathon (ha, ha) although, if we hadn’t gone to visit Brian’s family in the middle of it, I’d probably have seen two or three more!

  6. IsarSteve says:

    I don’t know about you, but at first I was carried along with the positiveness in the class and could feel myself wanting them to succeed.

    I did think it was all a bit clicheéd.. Most of the charachters fitted in easily with what we know about the nazi period in Germany. But I did find the parents interesting, mirroring exactly how German parents of 2008 are, right down to the anti-authoritarian products of the late 1960s early 1970s.
    The film was shot in Berlin and Potsdam and that made it easy (for us) to imagine that it was a real life drama.

    I also had the misfortune to see it along with with a teacher and I felt at the end, that his laugh was more a nervous laugh, than a laugh of someone who’d ‘enjoyed’ what he’d seen. Perhaps he was carried along with it too?

    All in all, very good… but disturbing …and it’s good to see that the German Film industry is on the up.

  7. Marsha Klein says:


    “I don’t know about you, but at first I was carried along with the positiveness in the class and could feel myself wanting them to succeed.”

    Oh, absolutely, which was slightly worrying until I realised that I was waiting for the “Naziness” to kick in and, of course, it’s a more subtle process than that. I agree too about the fact that it was cliched (can’t do accents in comments!) – isn’t Max Riemelt (Marco) just the epitome of Aryan good-looks? Although his character did recant towards the end, I suppose.
    I’m interested that you found the portrayal of the parents realistic. Not living in Germany, I was amazed by the liberal nature of some of the behaviour. Perhaps that says more about my own parenting style!
    In the last couple of years German cinema has featured fairly prominently at the EIFF and I’ve been most impressed by what I’ve seen.

  8. IsarSteve says:

    Not being a parent myself .. I can’t say.. whether the German parents are more liberal, but I’ve always tended to find German kids ‘very mature’ in comparison with Brits… (Not so much mucking about), now whether that has to do with parenting or schooling.. I’m not sure.

    Something else crossed my mind.. Are schoolkids/students in England on first name terms with their teachersthese days..? We certainly weren’t in our times.. except for one.. who shocked us all in 1967… 1968 was on the horizon…

  9. marshaklein says:

    That’s been my experience of European teens, too. I wonder if it has something to do with starting school at a later age than the Brits?

    I’m pretty sure British schoolkids don’t call their teachers by their first names, but my kids’ teachers seem to be allowed a degree of slack as regards language, topics of conversation etc. which mine certainly weren’t – and I can’t say I think that’s a bad thing.

  10. IsarSteve says:

    oops!… sorry I noticed my mistake…

    Of course, I meant to say United Kingdom, British schoolkids and not England. But in my defence, I still call myself British and not English, but I suppose that’s because I left the U.K. before the English started to become militant and hanging out silly flags on everything that doesn’t move.

    Once again, my apolgies go out to Edinburgh… or as the krauts would say Edin- Berg.. :o)

  11. BiB says:

    I shall look out for The Wave. But tell me, do they all live happily ever after?

    Oh, beautiful Scottish islands. I want one, I want one, I want one.

  12. Marsha Klein says:

    Steve: That’s OK. My husband’s English and, although his family isn’t always the most erm, aware, I like to think I’m not one of those chippy Scots.

    BiB: Some of them live happily ever after, others…not so much! And if you want one, you must have one (I’d definitely recommend Skye).

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