Monday, January 05, 2009


While the skies lowered and the thermometer topped 60 F, Mick and I had a restful Sabbath. I enjoyed a second Sunday of Christmas and the choir sang a carol by Hector Berlioz, "The Shepherd’s Farewell", a sweet piece, for the anthem.

Mick took me home to our newly sparkling house and we sat down to lunch while viewing a singularly beautiful movie, Flashbacks of a Fool. The excellence of the film did not lie in the theme of its screenplay, which dealt with the well worn tale of regret while looking back at a wasted talent and life. Rather, its excellence lay in the symmetry and unhurried storytelling of the script, and its seamless realization by the key character, played as an adult by Daniel Craig and as a teenager by Harry Eden.

The surrounding ensemble was entirely competent. Mark Strong, Olivia Williams and Claire Forlani offered excellent support to Craig’s and Eden’s joint portrayal of Joe Scot, a person wooed from meaningful living by his own physical beauty. And the cinematography was spellbinding, lovingly caressing all at which it looked. Songs by David Bowie, Roxy Music and Scott Walker underscored the movement of the piece seamlessly. I cannot say that the film edified or enlightened, but as a work of art it was perfect. I loved the film and awoke from its ending as from a lovely and enchanted dream.

Our second feature was Martin Scorsese’s look at a recent Rolling Stones concert tour, Shine A Light. What a great romp! It was terrific to see the performances, the four durable rockers supported by excellent, compelling turns by Jack White, Christine Aguilera and Buddy Guy. The entire cast had the best time!

What are the odds that four teenagers – Mick Jagger, Ronny Woods, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts – would live into their sixties with full heads of hair and not an extra pound on their frames? Their youthful physiques made the look of the show eternal and iconic.

I have been fascinated by the perfection of Jagger’s concentration and focus as an artist ever since seeing him, a couple of decades ago, in The Rolling Stones at the Imax. I saw that film half a dozen times. Jagger and his cohorts may seem as though they are playing onstage, as indeed they are, but there is not a note off-key, not a beat out of place and each song's playing is as tight as a drum.

Jagger continues in this film to amaze me with the precision of his art. He is a delight to see, not simply in terms of entertaining but also, for the eye of a former back-up singer in the seventies, in terms of the razor-sharp edge of his performance. As he skips, runs and gyrates, he brings a rhythmic energy to the music that explicates rather than accompanies. His lyrics are crisp and clean, each note accurately placed, sensitively styled and in the middle of the pitch.

Scorsese manages in a few economic scenes, moreover, to capture the manic spontaneity of rock and roll as he fruitlessly tries to find out what songs the lads are planning to play. His humor is entirely self-deprecating and devoid of egotism, and the embroidery of the backstage angst adds the perfect foil to the singing.

Five Bic flicks to this grand, engaging and generous concert film.

We called Mick’s Mom and enjoyed a late supper before the Gaia Meditation, at which Mick offered the closing prayer.