When Literature meets Cinema

A Praise For Agatha Christie

On a very dark and stormy night I am going to watch “Murder on the Orient Express” .
I grew up with Agatha Christie’s books .

I have still a vivid memory of the first movie from one of her book that I saw.It was winter and we were on a sky holiday.”Murder under the sun “was just out in the cinemas and I went with my mom and my cousin.Still,every time I see that movie I am back to that little girl so proud for watching her first grown up movie in the cinema.I can feel the warmth of my mom beside me,slightly worried that was to much for my age and I can clearly smell her perfume under my nostrils: familiar and speaking of unconditional love.

I was quite young and I probably lost few things about it at the time but I saw and understood enough to get curious about this magnificent author who made me dream and use my brain to solve crimes for so long. She,also,shares her name with my oldest daughter: Coincidence ?……………Take your guess!!! ……Poirot is my favourite character.Miss marple,with all respect,come second to me.I never missed the chance to watch a classic Agatha Christie’s adaptation but Poirot must be Peter Ustinov.To me the only and unique.Kenneth Branagh as Poirot is not the same(as much as I adore him as actor).

I am driving back home satisfied anyway.The movie was a good remake and really made me go back in time to those summer afternoons spent in the company of my little chubby belgium friend with his perfectly curved mustaches and his obsession for justice and symmetrical eggs.

The Seek For A Perfect Buddy Movies

I always loved movies as much as I love books. Fate wanted that I got married to a guy who doesn’t like to go to cinema.A very long time ago I managed to bring him.Every Time was more a matter of dragging him really and, after he fell asleep few times and started to snore,I just gave up.I actually gave out and gave up!We might be a perfect match in many things but over the years I just had to accept that he will never be my movie buddy.

For a reasonable number of years,when still in Italy ,my mother was my cinema companion.Every week we had a movie date.No exception!Until I moved to Ireland .No movie for a while.Too busy settling in.Then too busy house hunting and,after that,too busy parenthood skills hunting.The years passed with me going to theatre or cinema very very rarely.

Big twist came when I befriended a colleague of the travelling husband.ML has been a constant in my life for many years and most of all my movie buddy.We shared the same passion for cinema and had very similar tastes about movies. Most important thing we were both cursed with “anti cinema” husbands. Thursday was our night.A nice glass of wine or a cosmopolitan and then the cinema.A brief talk about the movie just seen on our way back to the car and then home. When we moved and find ourselves at very opposite side of the city it was the end of my movie nights with ML.We were too far away one from the other:I was back to square one.
At the beginning I was so busy with the new house and finding my way in the new social and geographical environment that,for months,I didn’t even think about going to the cinema. I didn’t, untill interesting titles started to came out.I started to fish for cinema lovers among the tennis ladies,my first and only acquaintances in the new town.A couple were keen and I managed to see at least a couple of good movies but they didn’t really engaged and an other stalling cinema season started.They say “necessity is the mother of invention”.Well,it is indeed! I found a local ladies movie club on facebook.Went a couple of times but then discretely unfriended myself from the group as the movies they picked were most of the time of no interests to me.

Four years passed since we moved up here and I managed to built my comfortable bubble of friends,not all of them are movie lovers but a couple of them really are .I am happily back to my movie routine,according, of course, with the travelling husband travelling schedule.

Little Ordinary Rain Tales:THE FLOODED CAR

My first job in Milan was in human resource and marketing for a big car importer.
I used to drive to get to work .That Autumn has been particularly rainy and all over Italy there were flooding and landslides.It was raining for weeks and the city roads started to flood too.

One morning I was on my usual route to work when a big lake in the middle of the road appeared in front of me.The traffic was congested.There was no way to go ahead or to turn back.We were just stack there.An army of cars of every model and colour with their owner fancily dressed for work sitting inside and waiting for the water to reach in or out.Smoke started to come out from my car’s bonnet.I panicked.I was not in Milan for long and hated that grey hostile city. I had no idea what to do.I tried to take the car off the road or at least in a spot that wouldn’t obstructed the way even more.Horns started to go mad at me but,nobody thought even for a second to ask what was wrong or if i needed of any help.I managed to get on the side of the road. I started to bang my head on the steering wheel while tears of inadequacy were covering my face and dragging with them all my carefully applied make up. When the moment of profound crisis passed and some pragmatism repossessed my soul,I rang the office to report my lateness and what happened.Thanks God they came to get me and took my car straight to the mechanic.

I cannot think about how different would be a accident like that here in Ireland.It actually happened to me quite recently to have a flat tyre and also to break down but,once I overcome the hunger and the “why me” phase, it was really not a big deal.I acted fast and efficiently,no panic.Sure twenty years later I am more skilled and prepared and grown up but, also, no matter what happens to you,an irish person will always stop by to ask if you need help.This is what my experience says!

Little Ordinary Rain Tales:A CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THIRD TYPE WITH A CRASH BARRIER

One night of very bad weather I went out with some friends.I was celebrating my last exam in university and they were just out for the sake of being out.

We decided to meet in their town that was 40 minutes from mine.Because I was on my own and because the weather was very bad I just did what every twenty something girl with apprehensive parents who lend her their car would do:I lied.

I said to my parents we were meeting up in the next town that would be only 10 minutes away.We had dinner at the local chinese restaurant and then stop by to a nearby bar where we used to meet up sometimes.I had a drink and hit the road back home. I was feeling ok but,thinking it over,may be my reflexes were not as straight and fast as they should have been.The impervious weather didn’t help and ,on the contrary ,played the main role in what happened after.It was rainy and foggy,I completely missed a roundabout and by the time I put my foot on the brake pedal it was too late and too sudden.The car violently slipped on the wet road and stopped on the guardrail. I was bleeding from my face that hit the front window and the passenger side of the car didn’t exist anymore.

First car accident of my life.Caused by a lie and the rain.

Still today I am very careful with wet roads and lies!

Little Ordinary Rain Tales:THE WET PONCHERELLO

I was around 7.My parents were not separated for long and my mom was still emotionally messy.I used to walk to school with my friends,being just around the corner from my home but not that morning.The night before heavily rained and in the morning was still drizzling so my mother decided to drive me to school.It was spring time and back in those days the road police had two different uniform according with the season:black for winter and white for summer.Our neighbour’s son just graduated from the academy and he was assigned to patrol the local primary school during the rush hours.

He was quite pompous in his uniform, feeling like one of the Chips.At the time it was among the most popular and loved tv shows.Truth to be said he was not as good looking as neither John nor Frank.Not even close and his job was basically the one nowadays carried out by the lollipop ladies.To us, primary kids, he was anyway the symbol of authority and quite intimidating too.It was late and most of the pupils had already crossed the road and went in.The local Poncherello had already abandoned his position on the pedestrian crossing and he is now standing in front of the school entrance.

My mom arrives slightly speeding;she vigorously brakes and pulls over just in front of him.He is there,proud and satisfied in his fresh new white uniform and…..few seconds after…. He is there, in his wet browny mucky uniform.Not so proud and cocky anymore.She,(my mom), haven’t seen the big paddle and did hit it at full speed when she pulled over.Poncherello is furious and started to animatedly talking to my mother from outside the car.She looked at me and I can see she on the verge to laugh but she can’t.I am 7 years old,i am a by the book kid and I am sure we are going to jail.You can’t outrage a police officer like that and walk free!Fear of jail is soon over.It became embarrassment when I saw my mother getting out the car and still wearing her nightdress.Of course she was:She was late and not supposed to get out the car.At least she had a very stylish burberry trench on top and wearing earrings and lipstick as, this has always been her rule:never leave your bedroom without earrings and lipstick.

What a fool I am just instructing my daughters to always remember to wear their knickers first instead!

Little Ordinary Rain Tales:Prologue

Life as I know it is being gradually restored.I should be back out there to enjoy it at full capacity:what do I do instead?I let myself being captured hostage of an excruciating migraine.I am not new to headaches.It is something I have always suffered from.Chronic migraine,this is the diagnosis.There are times when I am confined in bed in the dark for an entire day,or more.I suspect this migraine is different.I suspect is more what my body uses to get my full attention:”That’s it woman!You need to take a step back.”.This is what it is shouting at me.Absolutely right.What I need is my husband physically back to the office,that is a polite way to say out of the house;my kids in school uninterruptedly until christmas holiday,that translated means I have my silence mornings back.Last but not least, I need a house free of guests for a while too:No extra work required.Ideally I would also need to find a way to kick those worrying thoughts about my grandparents situation out of my head but, if I can accomplish at least the three points above I will be happy enough and,without doubts, on the right path to not drop dead exhausted or hysterical.

Without even realising it is Wednesday already.When I woke up this morning it was slashing rain and still was when we left for school.Actually it still is and forecasts say it is going to last for a couple of days.It has been heavily raining since last night and the roads are flooded.Countryside roads are particularly keen to flood. The tarmac,where there is any, is usually all ruined and with big holes trapping the water and forming big swimmingpool in the middle of your way.For us the easiest way to go school means to pass under the train bridge.It was definitely an azard this morning as the pool of water was already formed but not worryingly deep,yet:we waded through.All along the side of the road there were big paddles.The girls wanted me to go into them as the wave effect and the big splash are great fun to them.Not to me.I am always afraid to loose control of the car,to give a shower to someone that I haven’t see walking on the path or ,even worst,to wet the engine and broke down.
Am I slightly paranoid?No. The all three misadventures happened to me already. Those little “accidental rain misadventures”that,despite how much you can laugh about(after),traumatized you for the rest of your life!

Enjoy the tales and have a nice day my friends,I will go back on the road under the friendly familiar irish rain.

A Truly Madly Ordinary Saturday night in the Wild……..Lights

Saturday late afternoon.I am driving on the motorway following google map instructions.The car is loaded with blond heads adorned by jumping pony tails and colourful woollen hats.Only exception is me and CG with our boring brunette bobs.Sparkling boring brunette bobs thanks to the sequins adorning our basques. Our destination is the Dublin Zoo where there is an exhibition of tridimensional chinese lights.A decided not to have a party for her birthday this year. She just wanted to invite her 2 closest friends to see the “Wild Lights”.We booked the tickets well in advance and eventually the day arrived.The exhibition is from 5pm to 9pm.My idea is to get there around 5.15/5.30,enjoy the exhibition and have dinner at the food market where you can,allegedly,have a taste of chinese food.

Excitement is running high in the car.After 15 minutes driving my ears are already sore.I wish we had one of those 7 seater where you can cram the kids far in the back and leave a full row of seats between you and them.Their squeaky voices are echoing loudly but, at the same time,is also fun to listen at them gossiping about teachers and school mates.My head is currently bombarded by a multitude of concerns due to a very unpleasant situation in my family that,I am trying to legally sort out for months.Listening at this bunch of pre teens is just what I need to not to think about it.

We are nearly at destination. Google map is to me no guaranty to not get lost.I find myself doing the same roundabout three times but at the end we make it.We are parked and ready to go in.The queue is longer than expected but very very quick.
What it is in front of us is pure magic.Red lanterns hanging everywhere and escorting the visitors through all the exhibition area.Giant lotus flowers opening and closing on the water.Chinese dragons with the most vibrant colours.Giant flowers of every sort tracing the path all the way.We walk through a beautiful and luminous jungle surrounded by every kind of animals:from penguins to monkeys;from tigers to giraffe;from rhinos to elephants.The king lion with his spouse,the queen lioness.Peacocks unfolding their tails like a fan and challenging each other in a duel of colours and plumage to conquer their loved one.Jumping frogs.Pink flamingos with their long beaks nearly touching our faces while herons fly over our heads moving harmoniously their huge wings.It is quite crowded and of course very dark in order to enjoy this magic reign made of lights.I am constantly counting heads and making sure my gang of girls stay close together and to me.It is not easy.Too many things to see and photograph and too many people crossing our paths but we made it to the end with no losses.

It took us nearly one hour and a half to see the whole thing. I am the only one to be freezing.I am wearing my black tulle skirt(I have a light pink one for summer too).It is comfortable and most of all it makes me feel very Kerry Bradshaw.I just wonder if she would wear it to go to the zoo at night time.I think she would,and with warm tights underneath as I did.Definitely I am not freezing for the wrong choice of outfit.Everybody is enthusiastic,me included.We all agree that it was far better than expected.

Time to eat now.I can see neither A nor her friends are much of the idea to try the food market.To them is indeed more appealing McDonalds or Burger King.It is their chance to be treated with the unpopular,to parents,junk food. We go and see how it is anyway.The only one quite excited about it is CG .She is as much obsessed with unicorns then with China.The poor thing is waiting to eat chicken noodles for weeks,basically since we booked the tickets.She will have to wait a bit longer!The food market is a disappointment.It is not even a food market.It is the normal zoo restaurant with a chinese take away as a temporary add on.We all agree to head to good old junky Burger King.

The drive back home is much faster and with no mistakes.I memorised where to turn to get straight into the motorway. I don’t particularly like to drive in the dark. Despite the anti glare lenses on my glasses,the other cars lights still annoy me and I can’t see very well.The multiple traffic lights bother me as much. The ones where you have more than one light to go head or to turn.They really confuse me.That said I will also say that, of course, this doesn’t stop me to go out and about in the evening time.I just have to remember to wear my contact lenses when driving in the dark.The friends have been dropped home.Me and the girls are now home too.Home sweet home.Warm and cosy.We literally jumped in our pjs:nothing better.

I pretty much enjoyed this little adventure and the company of these 4 clever and funny young ladies.I felt really rewarded to receive their hugs and thank you but it is time to chill in the adults’ world now.I am done with kids time.I think that is the thing with bed time.It is not to give the kids a good rest in order to cope with the next day but it is more to give the parents a break.No matter how old the kids are!It is a threshold to avoid to compromise your mental health. I might be an ungrateful parent but by 7 in the evening(some days much earlier)I have enough of my kids.I need them out of my sight and ears.I don’t mean to be mean(what an unfortunate choice of words by the way)but,after being around little creatures under 12 most of the day,I need peace, quiet and adult time and company.

While the girls are already in their beds,exhausted but content,myself and the travelling husband are watching Pulp Fiction in the sitting room.We are sipping herbal tea and hot whiskey enlightened by that only wild light that are the crackling flames in the fireplace.

The relativity of all.

Friday. As the study is still occupied by the travelling husband I am sitting at the kitchen table.Pitch dark outside. Warm lights inside.In few weeks is the first time I feel my life is going back to its routine.The house is immersed in silence.A peaceful pleasant silence .Not one of those silence that makes you feel lonely and must be filled with music or tv.I can have days when I need to fill the rooms with some soundtrack but not today.Today I am enjoying the silence.Today I am enjoying the sound of silence.It is not the taunting darkness old friend but it still a silence within I can speak without talking and hearing without listening.

I am relieved to find some time to write. I have been neglecting my blog and my urge to write all week.Nona was here and she kept me busy with the complicity of my young cousin who came along too.The travelling husband is still house bound and on sick leave but couldn’t resist the instinct to work from home.Mood wise is much better and even his form is improving day after day.For this past week I totally left alone my role of nurse.I wore the tourist guide uniform instead.It was my cousin’s first time in Ireland and, I only had four days to show her around and make her fall in love with beautiful this land.She left more than satisfied and with her own fairy door:I must have done a good job!Now I only have to buy a packet of stamps as I am afraid mama fairy might have to busy herself with interntional correspondence.
It was a very long week but a very pleasant one.Sure, at times, there was some tension between the mother and the son in law:both shuffling from room to room. The first one looking for things to do and clean properly;the second one looking to make the time pass quicker.I kept neutral and concentrate my attention on my cousin.I can honestly say I had a little holidays myself doing all the most touristic of the activities.We took the “hop on hop off “bus in Dublin and had dinner in temple bar. We went to eat fish and chips on the pier and look for seals.We had chai latte and mince pie on the local coffee shop.

Having my young cousin around was a real pleasure.It was also a reminder of how youth can be:naive,wild,hungry for life.I couldn’t not to think at myself at her age. My head was populated by philosophical theory.My mind was mesmerised by the words of Nietzsche,Kant,Saint Augustine.Every day there was a cause to fight for.There were endless discussion about politic and the essence of life.I was a dark and I was a hippy.I was a responsible daughter and student and I was a wild horse with no restrains.Looking at her made me realised how we change over life.My mother often points out how I changed my beliefs and my attitude like she is implying that either I was a fake then or I am a fake now.Sometimes it sounds like an accusation of having betrayed my ideals,my values,my faith in whatever it was.I strongly disagree.I see it in a completely different way:I lived my life,I made experiences,I changed.I would find extremely worrying if the person I am today would reason in the same way than the person i was in my twenties.That,in my opinion,would be a sign of sterile mind.Coherence of the mind is not a virtue.It is a impediment to grow,to adapt,to learn.Situations change and we change.As more we live our life as more we discover new dimensions.When we are young we are monodimensional:world is black or white.Opinion are right or wrong.Values and ideals are unquestionable:no compromises are admitted.Young mind are pure,they don’t leave any room for negotiation.They are passionately naive and this is the way they must be.Adulthood brings with itself a multidimensional horizont.We grow and we discover the grey side of the world.We learn to negotiate and compromise.We learn that opinion are so called because they are not universal.

All this made me think at one of my professor when I was in University .I clearly remember how adamant he was to teach us that everything in life is relative.There is no universal good or bad;no universal right or wrong.The meaning of everything is in the eyes that look at it.There might be rules that humanity had to impose to itself to live in peace and avoid total mayhem.A sort of common ground to avoid chaos but nothing more.We create a common code of conduct to live in a society and avoid a perpetual purge day.I remember at the time I was skeptical to this theory of the relativity of life but, recently, I rediscovered it.Over the years I understood what he meant.With age I learnt that there are multiple ways to look at things and to do things and all are right to the one who chose them.The fact I am right might not make someone else necessary wrong.Prospective is the key word. No human being is the same of some other so why should they naturally and spontaneously think and act in the same way?It doesn’t make sense.No human being can live without evolving so why should we keep thinking today in the same way we were thinking yesterday?That it doesn’t make sense.John Lubbock wisely say that”what we see depends mainly on what we look for”.I couldn’t agree more.

We are in a perpetual state of adjustment Patty Smith sings.This is the essence of our freedom I say.Living a life being coherent with ourselves and our believes is like to freeze ourselves in a specific time of it. It is like denying our mind any form of learning and freedom.
May be life is like a global piece of art : it must not be explained but interpreted.