Over the weekend it was too hot to go outside, so aside from doing a monologue show on Saturday (two more showings next Saturday! Lucy's coffee, showtimes 6 and 8 PM, admission 8 dollars) I stayed home and watched movies. I saw Chocolat (The Eighties one by Claire Denis about growing up in Cameroon, not the Nineties one by Lasse Halstrom about a candy shop) and Jan Svankmajer's Alice, a largely stop-motion version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Once I would have hated it because it's not the typical sugar-and-spice Alice, but now I loved it. When I did read the book I was astonished at how cruel it is; the characters suffer frustrations and indignities, and this movie focuses on that. OTOH it also highlights the transformative elements of the story in wonderful ways. Things take on and change identities in ways that go to the heart of magic; stop motion is used with astonishing creativity. The movie has the repetitive qualities of a grueling nightmare (The mad tea party of this film is a perfect representation of my personal nightmares' logic) but it's been said that we seek movies that match our dream worlds, and this one matches mine.
Chocolat is a splendid film; a young girl observes the loves and quarrels of Cameroon's people. The photography is gorgeous, the actors are iconic, and the story grows bit by bit, letting you figure out what's going on and what's at stake. I loved the way the story accumulated from lots of small stories.