We are utterly spoiled by great weather in northern California, but every once in a while in summer it gets hot! No air conditioning means that 103 – 104 degrees feels insufferable. What to do?
What I do is go to the movies. This always includes AC in late afternoon so I see whatever is playing close by. I get out of the theater at sundown with a short walk to a restaurant (more AC) and a cool supper. Two days of HEAT, 2 movies, very different and neither on my “must see” list, each simply started at the appropriate time. Given this section process, the films were better than anticipated.
Friday (104 degrees at 4PM) I saw DUNKIRK at the Northgate Multiplex. Nothing about this movie attracted my attention, except that it started at 3:50 PM. It is a war movie. It shows thousands of folks killed by various means, being blown up, shot, drowning, and being left behind to die of starvation and dehydration.
There is scarce dialog but lots of noise, and almost no time devoted to character development. Hundreds of young men shooting at each other, thousands grouped together in long lines on a broad beach all in winter uniforms waiting for rescue boats. It was difficult to tell one fully clothed, over-loaded individual from another under their clunky helmets. O yes, fighter planes, and U-boats, too.
So what did I find fascinating about the film? It made me realize how terrible the time was and how helpless each individual was as the war enveloped them. My husband Robert Bell was a very young lieutenant in the Army shipping out from the port of Weymouth, England just after the first waves at Normandy. His ship was torpedoed and he was one of very few survivors because it was his turn at watch. He told that that story only twice that I know of, once after we met and we shared stories of our lives. The next time was during a conversation when of his Army buddies caught up with him when we were living in Tiburon, California. The stories varied, but the focus on terror and death laid under both tales. The movie was filled with human terror and death, with a tiny reprieve at the end of a swarm of private fishing and pleasure boats from England coming to rescue soldiers still waiting.
Saturday (103 degrees at 4:00 PM) I saw RUMBLE at the San Rafael Film Center. This is a documentary film that probably does not have wide distribution, but it is really good. The film is a celebration of the the American Indian culture jazz and rock. At one time in the USA it was safer, better, easier to be black rather than Indian, so folks of mixed blood all became black. One of best known musicians who eventually wanted to be understood to be Indian was Jimi Hendricks whose grandmother was Cherokee.
Names like Link Wray were not known to me. But this is a guy who is given the credit for inventing Rock and Roll. The film name RUMBLE is the name of the instrumental written and played by Link in the 1950s that was so strong that stations banned it because it was thought to be able to incite people to riot! No wonder I don’t know it until I heard it in the film. But the musicians did know the sound and do credit Link Wray, a full-blooded Shawnee with the invention of Rock and Roll. Lots of famous folk show up to say a few words, make a nod to gift of music from native Americans.
Link Wray (May 2, 1929 – November 5, 2005) died at his home in Copenhagen.