Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dreamy lights

Last night, we saw two movies at the NFT as part of the London Film Festival. The first, the Japanese Heart, Beating In The Dark, was a claustrophobic portrayal of a young outlaw couple holed up in a grotty flat on the run for having killed their baby daughter, and a parallel story of their middle-aged alter-egos reunited and battling one another to understand the reasons for having killed their child. It was the director's rethink of his earlier 20-year old underground classic of the same name and it intercut footage from the original to disturbing effect.

The second was Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century - a dreamy hallucination of a movie overlaying the stories of three doctors: a country hospital doctor preoccupied by memories of a dashing young orchid expert; a singing dentist who makes a quirky connection with a young Buddhist monk who dreams of becoming a DJ; and an ex-army doctor working in a high-tech urban hospital and his daily interactions with his colleagues who include a couple of aging female doctors who enjoy an alcoholic tipple or five. The movie entranced with its shimmering, languid, tropical pace. A real delight.

In between movies and beneath the Hungerford Bridge where trains rumbled by every few minutes, we ate a hearty Brazilian stew of sweet potatoes and hearts of palm, chicken fajitas, curly fries with smoked chilli aioli and corn chips with guacamole at the recently-opened and surprisingly good Latin American chain restaurant Las Iguanas on South Bank's Festival Walk.

When we first started dating, M lived north of the river and I lived south, making the South Bank a favourite place to meet up and go out after work. We haven't been along the South Bank at night for a long while so it was lovely strolling, arm in arm, marvelling at the lights weaving in and out of tree branches, at the buildings lit up in bright primary colours, at the multi-coloured reflections on the water and at the greater numbers of people crowding the thoroughfare now that Festival Walk has finally opened up its dark spaces to restaurants, bookstores and record shops.

Tonight, I returned home late from a long and intense day of work and was greeted at the door by the thick, heady aroma of wine, meat and tomatoes: M was making herby meatballs in a red wine and tomato sauce over spaghetti for our dinner, which we washed down with a rich and fruity Chillean Malbec the colour of violent violets. A peaceful Monday night with good food and good wine and good company.

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