Tic-tac-toe – friends, pizza and the embassy

Lucia at the embassy

So a 2 day hitchhike from Craiova to Bucharest created some memorable events, and as always they are the ones you weren’t expecting before.

We had to get up in the crack of dawn on Monday and I don’t mean noon, which is my usually reference to that expression, no I really mean the crack of dawn, 04:00 in the morning.
Chasing the train from Craiova we manage to do in good time, reserved places and all, just that we jumped on the wrong train. Still going our way but our reservations was for the train that in some time passed us, well it got us to a semi-cold Bucharest in good time so that is all that matters.

The hotel let us check in early, thank “whomever you believe in” for that.
The hotel was, how can I put this in a generous way, not that great. The food was expensive, the shower had a tendency to, well shower you in scolding hot water every 2 minutes on the dot and if you ordered a taxi, they just never came.

Well the day turned brighter when we meet a friend had some coffee and they talked and I did what I always do, doodle some, a most relaxing afternoon. Then the rush to our room, change to those cloths I do really hate, the dressed up kind. We had been invited to the Lucia celebration at the Swedish embassy and of course when I heard that my first thought was, “They probably want some paintings from me and my wife”, and they did.

Lucia at the embassy

Lucia at the embassy

We got there late, no taxis and the one we finally found did not know they way, so we were pretty late to say the least. 2 minutes before the Lucia celebration would start. Lucia and her entourage were some students learning Swedish and they were really good I must say. It is not easy singing in Swedish at all. I then managed to ambush the ambassador, I do apologize for that, and presented her with our paintings which she with grace accepted. Me being in charge of the camera of course means that you will not see any pictures at all, I just forgot.
After eating some food, having some wine, we split the joint, but not before having a nice chat with the woman in charge of the coats, she was very nice.
Not being able to get a taxi the very kind Georgiana Pogonaru offered us a lift. She being the honorary consul for Iceland had some interesting stories to tell and being the nice woman that she is she drove us to the hotel. All the thanks to you Mrs P!

Now the fun started to pick up. Meeting some friends in the old center we check out the market and then headed to a bar for some drinks and food. Me being dressed Swedish style I got haunted by questions if I was not cold, and not I was not, promise!. A most pleasant evening with some jokes thrown around and a totally pleasant time, my kind of time, relaxed and super informal. Thanks Sorin and Viorica, you totally rock you two.

So that ended the Monday, now only Tuesday remained and the journey home.

Checked out of the hotel, not a problem, got a taxi, that was a surprise. The Taxi driver was, shall we say original, he wanted Ceausescu back, to shoot some people, well all to ones own I suppose. He kept our change with a swagger, me being content to still be alive I was happy to concede that money to him.

Having 40 minutes to spend waiting for our next bus we headed to our usual watering hole, Sunrise Pizza. In all honesty it is the friendliest pizzeria in Bucharest and we never miss to go there when we have to wait for the bus. This time we only had time for some drinks, but I have had their pizza and it is really good. If you are waiting for your bus or just in the neighborhood pay them a visit, they really make the place feel friendly right after you step in through the door. Of course I made a drawing for them, I can’t help myself, a kind of tick I have I suppose.

And that was about it. Now at home, feeling comfortable I sit and write this text with a strong cup of coffee next to me. Soon we will watch “You, me and the apocalypse”, perfect series to watch and have a cuddle with my wife.

//JMS

Get down, get up and watch some good movies

MOVIE REVIEWS

In the 100+ years of movie making there have been some really good ones made and so I felt the responsibility to share some of the good ones, the classics, the movies you really should watch.
So get a cup of coffee, a tea or something else to drink and join me in this short journey of movies from the 20s and onwards.

Are you ready? Do you have something to drink and are you sitting relaxed, OK then lets start.


Nosferatu or Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauen, horror, 1922

This is a silent film in black and white or maybe that is superfluous to mention. The first adaption of the Dracula novel by Bram Stoker, or the first one I know of as there might have been others.
Why is it not called Dracula, well for the simple fact that it was not an authorized adaption and so Count Orlok (he is the main protagonist) was born and Dracula put to the homeopathic stake as it were.

Nosferatu  It is a German expressionist movie of the finest kind. Don’t let the age scare you, this is a movie that still holds its ground and is very enjoyable to watch. You follow the evil and grim looking Count Orlok on his adventures. I am sure you have read Dracula or seen another movie adaption of the novel so I will not tell it in detail.

 The movie is partly filmed outdoors and that was not really the standard for the 20s, giving the movie some bonus points right from the start.
The scenes are very expressive, playing with shadows in a way that is truly impressive for a movie that came out so early. Of course there are some things that a modern movie watcher will find funny and of course the acting will be one of them.

As this is a silent movie the acting had to be grand, bigger then life, in other words it is overplaying in most severe way. However if you give the movie a chance and do not watch it as a modern film then you will not get irritated by the acting.

If you like horror movies this is one movie that you have to watch and pay especial attention how well they have managed to create horror scenes without changing the camera 200 times in 5 seconds, like modern movies like to do to create tempo or hide a failing script.

In my book this movie is worth the highest grade, which in my case will be a 5.


Rififi, film noir, 1955

Welcome to the 50s and welcome to a movie genre where playing with shadows were very important, I am of course talking about film noir.
There are several really good movies in this genre but i have chosen this French movie from the 50s as a movie to watch.

The story is centered around a robbery committed by four harden criminals with the aging Tony “le RififiStéphanois” taking the main lead. He is just out of prison and we follow him and some other characters as they do a heist with all the problems that can involve before, under and after the fact. The story is played out with a realistic feeling that makes this movie feel much more modern than most other movies from that time.

There are several things that this movie manage to do with excellence. How the director manage to work with the scenes and shadows is really beautiful to see. There is a dance scene in a bar, where you only see the dancers silhouetted, impressive and joyful to see how you create much form actually very little. Another great scene you can see when they are commit the robbery. The director manage to create suspense without any dialogue or music whatsoever, impressive is the word that comes to mind.

I also like the rather harsh and brutal way they show the protagonists in the movie, they are not really sugarcoated at all which works very good with this movie.

There are many good film noir movies and among the top 5 I would put this one. Just watch this movie and then watch the Black Dahlia from 2006. You will be able to see an old movie doing almost everything right and a newer movie failing on almost every account.

Rififi, a film noir movie to watch. Were men were men, women were women and your life expectancy weren’t very long, giving this movie a top grade.


Lincoln, biographica, 2012

This movie is a bit of a dark horse in this list as it is not what I would call a pure classic, but it has the elements of one. The movie is about Abraham Lincolns bid to get emancipation of slavery pushed through congress. This is not as easy with great opposition, to this bill, against the ongoing civil war and problems with his family.

LincolnThe movie has an engaging story, it is nicely filmed but that by itself does not make this movie float up to the celestial place of classical movies. However the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis is a real treat to see. He nails the character with his body language, how he says his lines and how he manage to bring that together to a awesome preformance.

It is seldom that I see a movie that manage only one thing really good and that by itself raises the movie out of the mud of commonplace, but this movie is the exception to that rule of mine.
However to get the highest grades a movie, in my eyes, really have to manage most, if not all, of the parts that makes the film into what it is. How the scenes are shot, how the story is told, managing the tempo of the movie to work with the story and so on.

This movie does not really hit the spot on all of those points and that is why this movie will not get the highest grade. Instead it will have a 4 and that grade is based almost solely on the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis with an extra nudge from Sally Field.


So here you have 3 movies to watch. Jump between the decades and enjoy the different things they can bring to you but with one thing in common. They manage to bring a story to life, and that is what a good movie should do, in my small and humble opinion that is.

//JMS