Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cultura Catalana

I went to see the Catalan film Quixotic at the Northwest Film Forum. The film has won all manner of awards, including Special Jury prizes at Cannes and other impressive honors. It was billed as a post-modern version of Don Quixote. I may be exposing my ignorance here, but it was truly nothing more than two hours of two men moving slowly through the Catalan countryside, saying almost nothing, sharing nothing, expressing nothing. I found it unspeakably dull. How does a film like this garner such accolades and get distributed internationally?

What I did like however, was the unexpected appearance of Catalan iconoclast Albert Pla. Pla is a phenomenally poetic, angry and intelligent singer-songwriter from Spain. His subjects are often deliberately provocative – scatological, violent, sympathetic towards serial killers and rapists – but at the same time his lyrics are deeply moving and his music is complex and beautiful. Despite being a compelling figure, he is virtually unknown in the U.S. Some of that is due to his challenging subject matter, and some of it is due to his refusal to perform in this country.

This is his version of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” A smash.

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