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.)


ellen abbott said...

I'm interested in seeing it but imagine it will wait til it comes out on DVD. The rare times we go to the movie it's usually to the big blockbusters. my grandboy and I rented a Will Farrell film when he was here for his visit, Everything Must Go. We thought it would be a comedy (Will Farrell, right?) but it wasn't. It was a totally dramatic role and rather tragic at that. Really surprised me. I don't really like his comedic movies but he was terrific in this dramatic role.

Linda Sue said...

The expense and discomfort of theaters in our town prohibit movie going - although one has just opened that is so fabulous I would go there anytime i could afford to- Indie films , with wine or brew- pita bread sandwiches and home made short bread- popcorn with real butter and iced tea with lemon. Nice! civil!- I will not see anything that is so sad anymore, I just don't need the grief.Too old for sorry shenanigans- too old for action blow up explosions. Quirky and cerebral gets my vote.

Jenny Woolf said...

I took a peep at the video on youtube and it looks like an interesting film. I wish I could see it on a large screen though.
I love the sound of the curlew, on the marshes. Not that I have ever heard an eskimo curlew - I thought there was only one sort actually!

Steve Reed said...

Ellen: I've seen Will Ferrell in dramatic parts, and it's surprising how effective he is. I think I saw a Woody Allen movie where he played a serious part.

Linda Sue: That sounds like a FAB theater!

Jenny: I guess nowadays there may be only one kind of curlew! We patched the YouTube video into our television via the computer and watched it that way.

Ms. Moon said...

I'm glad you liked Moonrise Kingdom. Did you like Bruce Willis's performance? I thought it was really a good one. And the kids, of course, were magnificent.