Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Moonrise with Curlews
Dave and I finally went to see "Moonrise Kingdom" yesterday. It's been on my list for a while but with all our visitors we haven't had much theater time. What a terrific movie! Quirky, a bit bizarre, but beautifully made and really original. (Dave liked it too, and we often don't agree on movies -- he tends to like explosions, and I like talky and cerebral.) I suppose with Bill Murray and Frances McDormand it's hard to go wrong, but the real magic comes from the precisely retro sets and costumes, the sense of a simpler past, and the overall vision of Wes Anderson. I loved Tilda Swinton as a fussy bureaucrat known only as Social Services.
I also rediscovered another movie yesterday. Back in 2008 I wrote about "The Last of the Curlews," an animated TV film about the extinction of the eskimo curlew that I watched to traumatic effect as a child. Yesterday I discovered several reader comments waiting in my comment moderation queue on blogspot -- including one on that entry. After approving the comments I reread the entry, and decided to look on YouTube to see if I could find the movie. Of course, it's there, in five parts.
So the ever-indulgent Dave and I watched "The Last of the Curlews" last night. It seems anthropomorphizing and heavy-handed now, and dated in its narration style, but still sad. (I didn't cry this time!) It's funny how some images were burned so precisely into my brain -- the female bird with the red spot of blood on her breast, and the mustached face of the farmer who shoots her. I remembered it all clearly and accurately.
Apparently bird experts aren't sure whether the eskimo curlew is extinct or not. The last confirmed sighting was back in the '80s in Nebraska, according to a recent Reuters article.
(Photo: A fruit vendor at Covent Garden, on July 9.)