Hemingway and Gellhorn – The HBO movie, with Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman in the title roles was on last night. With the fabulous Molly Parker as Pauline Hemingway, wife number 2. The film, which is better than just about anything I have seen lately – at home – or at the cinema – tells the story of the romance between writer Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. I just finished the book so am very familiar with the Hemingway and Gellhorn story which begins in 1936, when the two first meet at a bar in Key West. From there, they travel to Spain during the Spanish Civil War, then onto Cuba, China and Europe during World War II. The film follows their tumultuous five-year marriage (which ended in 1945, with Gellhorn asking Hemingway for a divorce) on through Hemingway’s suicide in 1951. I don’t understand why reviews have been mixed – although most critics praised Owen and Kidman’s roles — this is some of the best work for Kidman — as the famous writers. My only quibble is Owen isn’t burly enough physically; Kindman, however, has all the necessary assets, physically. The movie did a better job of setting the world scene than the book. And personal relationship portrayed in the book came to life on the screen. Who knew Hemingway was a spy for OSS and hunted German U-Boats in the Caribbean? I should mention some of the other familiar names in the cast: Robert Duvall, Connie Nielsen, Parker Posey, Tony Shalhoub, David Strathairn, Peter Coyote, Joan Chen, Jeffrey Jones, Brooke Adams, Lars Ulrich (yes that, Lars Ulrich!). Grade: A- [ HBO Site ]
Children of the Tsunami – This BBC documentary presents heart wrenching, compelling testimony from 7-10 year-old survivors. From a very ground level the hour long program reveals how the deadly wave and the Fukushima nuclear accident have changed children’s lives forever. The story unfolds at two key locations: a primary school where 74 children were killed by the tsunami; and a school close to the Fukushima nuclear plant, attended by children evacuated from the nuclear exclusion zone. The kids are articulate and cute and you will have a hard time forgetting them. [ BBC Site ]
Around the World by Zeppelin – I knew nothing of this 1929 event when for the first time in history a Graf Zeppelin circumnavigated the globe. Beneath the enormous German airship hung a gondola to accommodate the lucky passengers and crew for the duration of the 21-day voyage, among them the only woman, journalist Lady Grace Drummond-Hay. The story is told, with black and white film from the period, from Drummond-Hay perspective. Unfortunately her interests weren’t mine so we heard to much about the fellow passenger she was pursuing. But the grainy video from the world of 1929, with some peeks at German politics, kept me glued to this BBC documentary. [ BBC Site ]
This is a list of the last three major video items I watched on my home 80 inch screen.