Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

Oh Oscar... Oh Dustin!, posted February 23, 2009 at 07:44 PM

Patsy and I celebrated the Oscars yesterday by ignoring them and watching three movies. We started in a serious vein with Vittorio De Sica's 1971 classic The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. It was beautiful and sad, and showed a side to the story of European Jews in World War II that I had never seen before. The film shows the last days of freedom of Italy's middle-class Jewry, as they withdraw from society into their own hermetically sealed world, until the laws finally allow for that world to burst through into theirs. It ends as so many other WWII movies end, with the unfathomable horror of innocent people shuffling down corridors uncertain about their fate. We, of course, know. The film is beautifully shot--all gauzy soft-focus and lovely Ferrara landscapes. It's a love story, and the underlying emotion of the political situation that we know is about to engulf them makes the characters seem all the more tragic for their unrequited loves. (On an unrelated note: check out Max Ophuls' brilliant 1954 film The Earrings of Madame de... and you'll see de Sica--all suave elegance--as one of the main characters).

After that, we needed to brighten the mood a bit, so we wallowed in a little personal nostalgia and watched two mid-80s classics: The Breakfast Club and Purple Rain. They were both terrific to see again and we sang and laughed our way out of the funk the Finzi-Continis had left us in.

After that, I checked in with the Oscars only to discover that I lost (quite badly) my office Oscar pool. I was glad to have ignored the whole damned thing. Until today, when someone emailed me a link to the speech made by Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter of Milk. He won, deservedly, for original screenplay, and his speech was touching and lovely. And he's gorgeous.

Um, does anyone know if this guy is single because when marriage equality comes to the good ol' USA I'd love to test it out with him! Wow.

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