23 August 2010

SF Visit - Day 1

This past Thursday, I flew up to SF for work. I won't bore everyone with the uneventful flight or the travails of trying to get to the work location from the Oakland airport in 50 minutes....suffice it to say I was late. Other issues ensued but by the end of the day I felt like everything had pretty much been successful.

Although I was pretty tired, I went to the movies Thursday night. I have a friend who works at Landmark's Opera Plaza. This particular theater has three rooms: one is big, another is smaller but still seats a good number of people, and the third seats about 32 people and is more of a viewing room. The Opera Plaza is known for showing indie films, foreign films, and limited release films. It's a great little place.

The film I saw was "I Am Love," an Italian films starring Tilda Swinton, Edoardo Gabbriellini, Flavio Parenti, Alba Rohrwacher, and Pippo Delbono. (Yeah I know - you only recognize one name!) The film is in Italian with English subtitles. It was beautifully filmed and acted. To summarize briefly, it's a story about relationships, passion, and most importantly, love.

Swinton plays a Russian woman (Emma) married to Tancredi (Delbono); he's the son of a textile magnate who turns the family business over to Trancredi and Edoardo (Parenti). This is a surprise because no one expected the patriarch to do this. Edoardo brings his girlfriend, Eva, to a family dinner and it's clear they plan to marry. The wedding isn't shown but later in the movie it's evident that the couple have tied the knot.

Antonio (Gabbriellini) is a chef friend of Edoardo; the two young men decide to open a restaurant together. Betta (Rohrwacher) is the daughter who is away at school in London; at one point she comes out to her mother as a lesbian. Swinton keeps her daughter's secret from her husband and mother-in-law. At one point, Emma begins an affair with the younger Antonio after he cooks lunch for Swinton, her mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. There is quite a bit of nudity, mostly of Swinton's breasts. It is evident from their passionate lovemaking that this is not just sex.

Through a series of clues, Edoardo figures out about his best friend's affair with his mother. During an argument between mother and son, he slips and hits his head on the stonework surrounding the reflective pool. He dies from his injury. Shortly after the funeral, Tancredi tries to comfort his wife; she tells him she is in love with Antonio; Tancredi replies that she does not exist. She runs out and returns to the house to change clothes, leave her jewelry, and leave. The closing scene is perhaps the most tension-filled and yet revealing scene in the entire movie...and it is played out with minimal dialogue. I won't give away the ending but it is spectacular acting. The cinematography is beautiful in its simplicity and the locales - Milan and Sanremo among others - are beautifully depicted. If you are able to see it, I recommend it highly.

After my friend closed up the theater we took a short walk to Mel's for a bite to eat. I have no idea how much time we spent there catching up and talking about our respective lives. Once we finished eating, we walked back to the theater so he could retrieve his bicycle. We then walked to BART where we parted company.

Perhaps now is a good time to tell you a little bit about my friend, M. We initially met on a bear social networking site and began chatting. We discovered we had a few things in common. On one of my trips last year we met in person for the first time. That night was one of the best nights I've ever had on a business trip! In fact I mentioned him in a previous post. We've kept in touch and whenever I'm in the city, we try to get together. I really enjoy hanging out with him.

So that was my Thursday night. I know it doesn't sound like much but it really was a great ending to a hectic and at times frustrating day. Tomorrow I'll tell you about the second day of my trip.



Cubby said...

Off to a good start.

Stan said...

I'm glad you had a good time with M. You deserve it.

Wonder Man said...

looking forward to it

SteveA said...

Enjoy SF - and hope you meet your friend again!

Dwight Supremacy said...

Just saw this but am heading off to work (late). Can't wait to read about your SF adventures!