Frigid Films for those 90-degree Nights

I went to a poetry reading last night, following a day when the temperature reached 103 degrees.  Not to worry though, we sat outside under the trees, enjoying a breeze and a cooler of ice and a table of cool drinks:  water, wine, diet root beer, and cider.  By odd coincidence many of the poems read concerned fire – both featured readers led off with “fire” poems.  Then when my turn came I read a “Little Willlie” slated for publication in STAR*LINE (see February 6), “Burning Down Woods on a Snowy Evening,” as well as a poem about a fire in a cemetery.

Today it’s supposed to hit 99 degrees and stay in the high 90s well into next week, with half the United States  (at least) in a heat wave according to the Weather Channel.  So I thought I’d do something I haven’t done before on this blog, repeat a previous entry.  This time however it seems appropriate.

So, for planning safe, satisfying, stay-at-home activities for a coming week of torrid evenings, herewith from July 12 2011 a précis of films on appropriately cold subjects to make you begin to be glad it’s still summer:

3 Cold Movies for Hot Nights — “Freeze Me,” “L’Iceberg,” & “The Holy Mountain” (with a quick side mention of “Woman in the Moon”)

July 12, 2011

I received the check today for my recently published STAR*LINE poem, “Saving Places” (see Jul. 5), giving me reason to go to the bank, then to the market to walk back home with, among other things, 1.5 quarts of vanilla ice cream through 92-degree late morning heat. Then yesterday it was 95, with a heat index of 110, not the hottest in the US (one friend in Florida told me her car’s air-conditioning conked out, not a good thing in Florida), but after a respite in the high 80s the next couple of days, the weather forecast calls for the 90s again for the weekend.

So perhaps tonight I will watch again one of the occasional treasures one finds at library sales, an almost pristine Kino VHS of THE HOLY MOUNTAIN (aka DER HEILIGE BERG, 1926, silent, complete with tinting), starring Leni Riefenstahl, the actress who later went on to direct, among other things, the highly artistic films OLYMPIA (about the 1936 Olympics) and TRIUMPH OF THE WILL for, as it happens, her personal friend Hitler. This however is a love story, filmed in the Alps: “Enthralled by the scenic majesty and heaving power of nature, an alluring dancer seeks the man of her dreams in a small mountain village. There she encounters a reclusive climber and a young skier, who are each pursuing their own elusive ideals amid the intoxicating beauty and treacherous dangers of the alps.” Dripping with ubermensch-ism (literally looking down on those who don’t climb mountains — and presumably filmed with real

Still from Frau im Mond

mountaineers rather than professional actors for most of the parts). And — and this is the point for late night watching with temperatures still up in the high 80s — ends with mountain men caught on a ledge in the storm and being FROZEN TO DEATH. (Also interesting to science fiction fans is Fritz Lang’s 1929 WOMAN IN THE MOON [aka FRAU IM MOND], ubermensch again plus “good” vs. “bad” capitalism which in a weird kind of way prefigures Ayn Rand. Lang though, for his part, was one of those like Bertolt Brecht and Peter Lorre who left Germany after Hitler came to power. [Well, Communist Brecht didn’t last long in Hollywood either, but that’s another story.])

More recent and perhaps best of all, though, for forgetting the heat is an odd little Belgian film (French language [mostly] with English subtitles) I came across, L’ICEBERG, presumably with no political overtones at all, concerning a fast food restaurant manager who gets locked in a walk-in freezer only to discover, when she finally gets out, that her husband and children hadn’t even missed her. “But when Fiona develops an obsession for everything cold and icy — snow, polar bears, refrigerators, icebergs — she drops everything, climbs into a frozen food delivery truck, and leaves home. . . .” Funny. Quirky. Absurdist. One reviewer on Amazon calls it “almost like a comedy version of OPEN WATER (without the sharks) in the way it explores relationships.” And, we mustn’t forget, with icebergs.

Then finally, for relationships gone cold (sorry) there’s FREEZE ME, a Japanese film about a woman who murders, one after the other, a gang of men who had attacked her in the past, storing their bodies in a succession of freezers, continuing to buy new freezers to pack into her apartment as the old ones get full. But she’s running out of space to put them all in, and besides there’s this smell. . . .


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