VIFF 2011 Reviews: Wish Me Away; El Bulli, Cooking in Process.


Like most VIFF pass holders, I am fading: micro-naps lose me seconds-wide gaps in even the best films; my back aches; lack of sleep makes me light-headed. In spite of that, I wake at 5 a.m. every day. These two films bring my total up to 67. That’s pretty mediocre, really. Some fans have logged more than 100 films.

Wish Me Away. USA, 96 min.

Chely (pronounced “Shelley”) Wright, a top Nashville country singer, struggles with her decision to come out as gay. Her main fears are what her mother will think and the reaction of her Jesus-addicted fans. Both fears are justified. Her mother retreats, her career tanks and she gets death threats from followers of the Prince of Peace. As her counsellor puts it “there are none so quite as mean as those who are mean for Jesus.” Happily, not all Christians are so vindictive. Both her father and her sister support her.

El Bulli, Cooking in Progress. Spain, 108 min.

Before it closed earlier this year, El Bulli restaurant, located on the remote coast of Catalonia, earned a reputation for its 35-course, four-hour dinners, featuring fresh in-season local foods served in almost microscopic portions. We follow owner Ferran Adria as he invents and tastes new dishes and his populous staff scurries about in the kitchen. What the sandwich-munching VIFF audience never learned is the price of dinner at El Bulli.

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About aharmlessdrudge

Way back during the late Bronze age -- actually it was the 1950s -- all of us in high school had to take a vocational test to determine our interests and, supposedly, our future careers. I cannot remember the outcome, but I do recall one question that gave me pause. "If you were to win a Nobel prize, would it be in literature or in physics?" I hesitated over the question: although I enjoyed mathematics and science more than English class, I did have a couple of unfinished (and very bad) novels hidden away at home. I cannot remember what I chose back then, but the dilemma followed me to university, where I switched from mathematics to English and -- after a five-year stint in journalism -- back to mathematics. I recently retired as a professor of statistics. Retirement. What a good chance to revive my literary ambitions. I have finished a novel -- more about that in good time -- and a rubble of drafts of articles about mathematics and statistics is taking up space on my hard disk.
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