“Cindy & I decided to spend most of July 2012 in New Smyrna Beach FL. She was contemplating getting her master’s in Art Education which she had become interested in through her great affection for the paintings of Impressionists, especially Van Gogh. I’d spent the previous 6 months writing, directing & acting in introductions to classic films which I love. My performances, of course, I hated. I had just broken off a gig doing cooking demonstrations in a restaurant in Wolcott that was owned by a longtime friend. It ended badly, so I longed for a change of scenery. Everything fell into place when my brother, who was a Florida snowbird at the time, offered to put us up for the month free of charge. My brother & I were very at the time. We share the same tastes & opinions on most matters, yet when it comes to matters of art & entertainment, it would be hard to find two more dissimilar viewpoints. He has no tolerance for volume & takes no pleasure in music or film. He’s grounded in sports & television shows.” So we spent that month with neither a stereo nor a DVD player; spending most of our time together – on the beach & at Chases Tiki Bar – away from our work & studies; “and that’s exactly what we value above all else.” It’s good for people to escape on a nice long vacation to remember how much they love each other, develop new relationships, and the like. It keeps us open-minded & young.
Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona explores that very idea. The 2 female leads, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), do exactly that, in Barcelona of course, for an entire summer. There they meet local artist, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) – chiseled, passionate & sexy – who invites them both to go to Oviedo for a weekend where they can all make love. Free-spirited Cristina is all for it. But Vicky is engaged to Doug (Chris Messina), a sweet & successful, but conventional New York City businessman – the polar opposite of Juan Antonio. Her wholesale rejection of the idea betrays an adventurous interest, although she is concerned not only about hurting Doug, but the impact this may have on Juan Antonio’s emotionally unstable ex-wife, María Elena (Penélope Cruz, who Javier began dating during filming & married in 2010). Like most Woody Allen films, there is narration for continuity – but this time not by protagonist in voice-over or breaking the 4th wall – by the golden voice of Narrator Christopher Evan Welch, who died of lung cancer on 12/2/13 at just 48 years of age.
Penelope Cruz’s won the 2009 Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 81st Academy Awards – the only nomination the film received – while on screen for just 41 minutes, making her first appearance at 51. Unlike virtually all talkies, Vicky Cristina has no score. However, the soundtrack is excellent. A film’s soundtrack differs from a score in that the score is original music written for the film’s background, to complement the action & set the mood. A soundtrack accompanies the film for independent or packaged sale, and consists of some or all of the music on it – these days on CD. The first soundtrack was a 78 RPM record package of the music of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Vicky Cristina’s soundtrack is a compilation, mainly of beautiful guitar pieces, including: Barcelona by Giulia y los Tellarini (Giulia & the Tellarini); the great Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia’s Entre Dos Aguas (Between Two Waters); and Andrés Segovia’s arrangement of El Noi de la Mare (The Mother’s Son). Now watch the trailer below week, then add Vicky Cristina Barcelona to your Netflix Queue. 4 Stars!