Happy End, Curzon Bloomsbury, 23 December 2017

Reading about this Michael Haneke film in the Curzon brochure, it sounded very interesting and right up our street. Strangely, we have often noticed reviews of Haneke films and thought that they sounded like our cup of tea, but this (I think) is the first we have actually got off our butts and gone to see one.

We’ll be looking out for more Haneke films (including some of his earlier ones) after this experience. We thought this was a really superb movie.

Here is the IMDb entry for Happy End.

Talk about dysfunctional families – this high-falutin’ French family really takes the biscuit. They reminded me a bit of families you sometimes find in Francois Mauriac novels – just a more modern version.

Haneke tends to work with an ensemble of favourite actors and actresses, so it won’t surprise Haneke fans to see Isabelle Huppert  and Jean-Louis Trintignant, for example. A nice little cameo role for Toby Jones too.

Janie and I thought the stand-out performance was Fantine Harduin as the little girl, Eve, at the centre of the plot. Remember where you first saw her name!

Bass Viol (Viola Da Gamba) With Seven Strings, By DasBee, source https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AViola_da_gamba_basso_7.jpg

So why the picture of the rare seven-string bass viol and a name check for Hille Perl, one of the leading exponents of that instrument? Well, it is only a sub-plot but a rather full-on one; it is not all that often that you’ll see the terms sexting and viola da gamba in the same sentence…or in the same subplot. That subplot put the gilt on the gingerbread for early music lovers like me and Janie.

Fabulous movie, highly recommended by both of us.

Parlour Song by Jez Butterworth, Almeida Theatre, 11 April 2009

Coincidentally, at the time of writing this (early May 2017) we have just seen a new Jez Butterworth, The Ferryman, which was excellent.

While I remember Parlour Song pretty well, it hadn’t dawned on me that it was also a Jez Butterworth play.

There’s a good trailer and stuff on the Digital Theatre Plus site – click here.

It was a very good, very funny play. All three members of the cast: Amanda Drew, Toby Jones and Andrew Lincoln were terrific.

I don’t think it sent us into quite the level of ecstasy that the critics describe, but we did enjoy this one a lot, without finding much depth; it is basically a slightly quirky, sinister comedy about suburban infidelity.

But it did for sure signal Jez Butterworth on that upward trajectory to playwriting stardom.