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Sunday, January 29, 2017

La La Land and Hamilton Walker's and Casablanca



That  La la Land is a grand movie has been proclaimed by many reviewers and moviegoers, and it has been nominated for many awards. And it so deserves them all. The movie validates art and artists and rebels and liberals without whom we will be rather poor in mind, and in hope, and raises "love" to a level and a time that is at once in the past but very much in the present. It embraces drive and ambition in both man and woman, effectively making those very necessary parts of that ethereal, romantic thing called "dream". It is a movie about movies and stars. About a city of stars and "stars".
a movie that shows the power of imagination, its ability to dream, to plan, and to re-imagine the past, return to the present. it celebrates coincidences shamelessly, plants imagined memories, deja vu feelings with gleeful abandonment, much to my delight. After all, as  I keep saying, a movie is a construct. And so are we. And time goes by! All of which makes one think again that life is but a dream. That the world is a stage. Where all of us are stars in our own little movies, big movies - tragedies, comedies, adventure, drama, horror, disaster and so on. (well, back to my old hope - what if we can really lead those virtual lives? :) )
Mia's song


Aside: If I sound less than enthusiastic, please know that it is not the fault of this earnest, sincere, hopeful, youthful movie. It is me, this jaded old person who  cannot really identify with young lovers following their dreams, with hope and passion, although I have to say, in spite of my passionless head, I liked the movie, and I would recommend it. And I can imagine a young Asha being wowed by it, being immersed in it, swimming in it!

Last week we went to this new restaurant in town, Hamilton Walker's. I knew it took up some space in that intersection, but was a little surprised when I stepped in. I am all for ambience, and this one unexpectedly made me feel like I had gone back in time. Like I was in one of those black and white movies set in New York, in one of their swanky restaurants with  jazz band. There was no jazz band even a piano here, but just Dean Martin's seductive voice floating over the soft voices. But that was enough, with the cozy dark seats and dark wood, and murals on the walls, it was quite pleasant.

Then I saw La La Land. The songs and the dances. The hero and the heroine. Mia and Sebastian. Wow! And the ending. At "Seb's". The jazz band. The gin joint. Hamilton Walker's? what a charming coincidence! :) though I have no one waiting inside!  "Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine." Mia walks into Seb's. As I am walking out of the theater, I remember the mention of Casablanca by Mia. Ingrid Bergman's picture on the wall. Casablanca in modern times. Albeit without the intrigue, excitement, and suspense of a war, espionage and the ambience of it all. The fear, the urgent life and death atmosphere of the times.

here, the gin joint owner is a gifted pianist. Like that other old role of the vamp now usurped by heroines, maybe this one has been taken too. But that s fine. as they all do it so well! As their eyes meet, it's the pianist who must have said, "here's looking at you, kid!" Curiously, in true time flipping, movie history timeline twister style, it seems as if La la Land ends where Casablanca begins.
Casablanca- Sam, the pianist, Rick, and Ilsa