• The reason for my first attraction to the West wasn't cultural or social or economic: it was simply....air-conditioning. Scaldingly hot sweat-soaked days would find my friends and me stumbling towards the only cool oases free and open to the public in downtown Calcutta: the American Center and British Council library buildings. These organs of dissemination of Western ideologies knew how to reach the masses: first save them from sunstroke, then offer them, in plush cozy rooms, a little fluorescent biblio-paradise. Their hearts and minds will soon follow.
It's gratifying to discover that Polish-born director Pawel Pawlikowski frequented the British Council in Warsaw, where he saw films like Billy Liar and was swept up by their images, not always understanding the movies themselves.
I liked his sun-drenched new film, My Summer Of Love, more than I expected to, given the slightly mixed reviews. It's certainly no Morvern Callar, but to focus only on its plot and character development is to perhaps come away a bit disappointed. They are not why I was drawn to it. The one great virtue of this modest movie is the way it's shot — impressionistically, by a slightly tentative, darting camera that has the unquenchable curiosity of a child.
• Last night, I arrived a bit late at the nightclub to catch a local jazz piano trio. The only available seat was inches away from the pianist, who was clearly on fire. He ended the first set with Charlie Parker's "Yardbird Suite" and let the final chord ring for several seconds while leaning into the sustain pedal. His left hand stayed on the keys but his right hand quietly dropped into his lap. As the chord continued to swirl in the air, he looked into the blue light emanating from his palm, checking his cell phone for messages.
• One of the most interesting things about making blog-friends, as I discovered last year when I started this blog, is that these friends have back-stories. I've been having fun digging into blog archives lately. For instance, did you know that Filmbrain's debut post was about The Passion?