Thursday a.m. bleary-eyed but walking. Stumbled down to breakfast on time to hear of more computer troubles. I cooked up a post late last night hoping it would go, but no go. Now Jonathan’s Mac is down – no internet connection even though he has, or had, wifi in his room. We stewed over the otherwise delightful breakfast of apple-filled croissants, Caffe American, half-scrambled eggs and pancetta. tried the computers, his and mine in the lobby, gave up and went to the movies.
First on the bill, because we promised the director and his girlfriend yesterday at the luncheon that we’d watch it, was “Small Town Murder Songs.” Splendid is too simple a word. It’s Canadian-made, in Mennonite country, and Jill Hennessy, of “Crossing Jordan” fame is a major player. The cast gave a fine, well-knit ensemble performance. The standout star, though, referenced in the title, was the score.Ed Gass-Donnelly readily admits to having constructed the film around the soundtrack, and it’s easy to see why. Composer Bruce Peninsula and the group “Fembots” punch out a relentless, percussive sound that is its own character in the film. Peninsula has taken old Baptist and Mennonite songs, many of traditional shape-note structure, and emphasized (an understatement) their rhythmic structure with drums, Drums and DRUMS. This is a movie that will need good sound systems, or much of its impact will be lost. It wasn’t perfect. A tad uneven in spots. But man, what a sound. Oh, and the story was terrific, too, but I’m waxing on, and there’s more to tell.
Unfortunately this was followed by a Portuguese “festival film” that will remain nameless. So chock full of long pauses to make sure we’d get the symbolism, we took turns dozing off.
After our nap we returned to our trattoria, Nuove Salette, for a Piedmont Pizza lunch. Jon got a cheese-glazed something with slivers of anchovy. Mine was layered with tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola, topped with paper-thin slices of pancetta. Maybe not to die for, but I’d suffer the trip again for it.
Afterward, too fun of wine and pizza for a real nap, we went traipsing off down past the train station in search of a legendary bar that apparently no longer exists. I wish these guidebooks would keep up, for heaven’s sake. A mile and something and a couple hours later we made it back to the hotel, not nearly as sad as a sensible person would be at not finding our destination, because we talked, and arrived a wee bit brain-frazzled from having polished off 1920s blues, the cultural shift in 1900 that was reflected in the art of the day–and days following, proud moments from Shakespeare’s later years, and the differing religiosities of Jim Jackson, Arizona Dranes and Blind Willie Johnson.
It woulda took You two hours and a mile and something too.