Louise Binder's Holiday Films & Handel's Messiah

Published 20, Dec, 2011

Maybe I was just a bit tired. It didn't help that the young woman beside had taken off her shoes and had the worst foot odour I have experienced in a long time.


The Artist- Silence really is Golden

I went to see this film with trepidation. Two hours of silence watching a screen- not so sure. In fact, it did take me a few minutes at the start to get in the groove but once I did I was completely mesmerized. This film is syrely a labour of love about the silent screen era. It explains the fascination people had with those early films. The acting and casting are amazing; the attention to detail , stunning. A must see. Perfect for the Holiday blues.

Yours in great cinema,


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

This traditional spy story was brilliantly directed and cast. Gary Oldham was perfect as Smiley and John Hird great as Control. All of the cast was the perfect shade of English spy grey. The beginning of the film was a bit hard to follow so watch carefully. It unravels nicely.Definitely worth a look.

Yours in Holiday Ignorance and Bliss,


Shame- A tedious day in the life of a sex addict

I saw this film several days ago but have held off a review because I was so conflicted about my opinion of its merit. In discussing it with a friend today, I was able to come to a conclusion.

This is the story of a week in the life of a sex addict. Addiction isn't generally very pretty and sex addiction is apparently no different.than the more commonly known food, drug and alcohol addictions. Sex, it turns out, is a lot of work and not much fun. This is not actually news to some of us but just in case you didn't get the memo..

The acting in this film is excellent. Michael Fassbender as our anti-hero and Carey Mulligan as his hapless sister are both believable as very damaged siblings, who play out their dysfunction in different, equally self destructive, ways.The story unfolds slowly, not quite real time but close.One does not envy, or even like, anyone in this story.

This is what bothered me at the time I saw it. I wanted to know the genesis of the main characters' dysfunctions so I could sympathize with them. I never found out. Now I realize that was a very courageous move by the director. He strictly relies on the acting and the moment to keep our attention. He did hold mine, in the way watching a train wreck take place mesmerizes me. You want to turn away but you can't.

Am I recommending this film ? Yes, if you want to watch the excellent dramatization of a difficult subject. No, if you need to understand the characters or care about them on some level. I leave that to you.

Yours in ambivalence,


Handel's Messiah sung by The Toronto Mendelssohn (why not Handel ?) Choir

When my girlfriend chose this event as our Holiday outing I thought, Oy veh bah humbug ( We half and halfers get to talk that way.) On further reflection I thought it would be a good anthropological exercise, if nothing else.

In fact it was a lovely evening in many ways. I did enjoy the music although I was disappointed in the Hallelujah Chorus which I had remembered as more rousing and inspirational.

Maybe I was just a bit tired. It didn't help that the young woman beside me had taken off her shoes and had the worst foot odour I have experienced in a long time. She was in her teens and obviously on a date so I didn't have the heart to complain and potentially change the entire history of her life going forward, but I definitely wanted to.

Overall, the voices were good and thank goodness the soprano and mezzo- soprano didn't look like they should be playing Brunhilde in a Wagnerian opera and were nicely dressed. Wish I could have seen the shoes- but I digress. In fact I digressed quite often during the programme but did not fall asleep at least.

Everyone else seemed to be in rapt enjoyment so as an anthropological study I would say the evening was success.

Yours in oy veh bah humbug,


Tomboy- Sensitive, Hopeful Film about Gender Identity and Coming of Age

I am still thinking about this beautifully directed, superbly acted coming of age film about a ten year old girl who looks and acts like a boy. The film is understated and never manipulative.

The girl who plays the ten year old is remarkable in her role and the other children in it are equally fine. The six year old sister is irresisitible. She loves her older sister, realizing that she is not like the other older sisters and proud of it. The dialogue is realistic. Many scenes are memorable as vignettes all on their own.I miss the children in it and wish I knew them.

This is a must-see little known French Holiday treasurer.

Yours for realistic stories about gender identity