What to Drink While Watching “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Heen says:

 

I was walking back from my origami class the other evening when I bumped into my old friend Woody. I hadn’t seen him for years. He hadn’t changed much – the same scruffy hair, the same scruffy glasses, the same scruffy ideas. I’d planned to go home and have an early night, but Woody had other ideas. We went and had a few beers, and started talking about the old days when we both studied filmmaking.

 

He was telling me about this film he’d made recently, called “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. I told him I didn’t like the title much, way too pretentious. He should have called it “The Irresponsibility of Futility”, which is actually the name of the film we once nearly made together, but that’s another story.

 

“Hey, Heen, why don’t you come back to my hotel and watch the movie with me?” suggested Woody suddenly. “I could use your insight.”

 

So we both went to his hotel, and he gave me a private screening of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”. Not many people get the chance to watch one of Woody’s films and listen to Woody’s remarks at the same time; this would be a great opportunity for me to say something about the movie on my blog, I thought…

 

Woody opened a bottle of Somontano wine. “This one’s called Demagogo,” he said. “Do you think it’s any good?”

 

“Yes, it’s a perfectly acceptable tipple,” I answered. “Goes well with red meat, oily fish and game.”

 

“What game? Basketball?”

 

I ignored Woody’s pathetic joke and kept on reading the label. “Cherry-like, full-bodied, reminiscences of tobacco, gooseberry and warm spices.”

 

“Hey, that sounds a lot like Penelope Cruz”, said Woody.

 

“Let’s watch the film, Woody”, I said.

 

After nearly an hour, I was feeling restless. Javier Bardem, Scarlet Johansson and Penelope Cruz were all feeling restless, too. I suggested to Woody that we took a break, as I needed to point Percy at the porcelain.

 

“So, what do you think of it so far?” asked Woody. “Don’t you think she’s great?”

 

“Who?” I called from the bathroom. “Pe?”

 

“No, Sca,” replied Woody.

 

“Ah, right. And Ja is amazing.”

 

“Yeah, this film is going to be his consecration.”

 

“Err… I think he’s already pretty consecrated actually”, I observed.

 

“Ok, so I’ll reconsecrate him.”

 

“Fine, as long as you don’t overconsecrate him.”

 

“Shut up, will you, and open another bottle of wine.”

 

I noticed another bottle of Somontano, this one called “Gran Pedante”. I’d never heard of it, but I decided to risk it. Its subtle biscuity aroma immediately took me back to autumn flowers and freshly cut grass. Its raspberry undertones were craftfully offset by deep fluxes of peppermint and fennel, to say nothing of the majestic tannins which revealed the true personality of a wine conceived, not made; a creation, not a fabrication.

 

“So, Woody, what happens in the second half of the film?” I asked as I sat down.

 

“She hits on him, obviously”

 

“Who, Sca?”

 

“No, Pe.”

 

“And what does Sca do?”

 

“She hires a guy to kill him, but he falls in love with her.”

 

“Who? Ja?”

 

“No, the gunman.”

 

“You’re lying.”

 

“Hey, you haven’t seen the film yet.”

 

“ True. OK, so what happens in the end?”

 

“He marries her.”

 

“Who?”

 

“Ja.”

 

“Yeah, but who does he marry?”

 

“Pe.”

 

“And Sca?”

 

“Of course not! How could Ja marry Sca as well as Pe? He isn’t a Muslim. Do you want me to make Ja a Muslim? Or a Mormon, maybe? Do you think that would improve the film? Having a Muslim would make the movie more real for you? You would feel more at home with that? Is that what you’re trying to say? You don’t like my movies because they don’t have enough Muslims in them? Go on, say it, accuse me of excluding Muslims and Mormons from my movies, I can take it, I’ve heard that criticism before. I’ve heard hundreds of criticisms like that. I’ve heard hundreds of criticisms unlike that, too. They say I’m past it, I keep making the same film over and over again, my films aren’t funny any more, they aren’t clever, they’re self-indulgent and boring, nobody wants to work with me, except Europeans who think it’s cool. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard those accusations, I know all about them.”

 

There was a pause as Woody got his breath back.

 

“OK, OK, calm down. So what becomes of Sca?” I asked gently.

 

“She joins a kibbutz, how about that,” he snapped.

 

“Ah, come on, Woody, don’t take it so hard. Let’s watch the rest of the film.”

 

Grudgingly, Woody pressed the PLAY button and sipped his wine. “I don’t know why I bother,” he muttered. “I really don’t know why I bother.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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