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  • Issue of
  • Jul 23-29, 2008
  • Vol. 28, No. 41

News & Views

Arts & Culture

  • The Scene
  • Divorce Italian Style

    The Sicily of director Pietro Germi’s 1961 black comedy Divorce Italian Style has an impossibly sunny face and a bitter heart of darkness. Baron Ferdinando Cefalù (Marcello Mastroianni) is narrator, protagonist, and embodiment of everything wrong in the society he both mocks and manipulates to his own ends. Known as Fefé to his overbearing family, the Baron is nearing 40. He has become obsessed with his teenage cousin Angela (Stefania Sandrelli), and hatches an intricate plot to murder Rosalia. The twist here is that the Baron expects to get caught: He plans to steer his wife into the arms of another man, and then use “crime of honor” as his legal defense. His reasoning is two-fold: divorce was illegal at the time, but the status-conscious Fefé realizes that as a cuckold who kills a cheating wife, he would not only receive a shorter prison sentence, but he’d also become a local folk hero.
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  • The Scene
  • Mamma Mia!

    This movie version was made by the creative trio that spawned the wildly popular musical a decade ago in London. Whatever might be lost in the translation from stage to screen, the movie gains in veracity and impact. When single mother Donna (Meryl Streep) helps her 20-year-old daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) prepare for her wedding day. Sophie’s wedding means the arrival of her mother’s former singing partners (the scene-stealing Julie Walters and Christine Baranski) to the Greek isle of Kalokairi, along with three men who shared a summer of love with the adventurous Donna. But which one is Sophie’s father? Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård are charming as the befuddled, would-be papas, their impulsive holiday turning into a surprise life assessment.
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  • The Scene
  • Tell No One

    French actor-turned-director Guillaume Canet's French-language suspenser is taken from a American pop potboiler by crime novelist Harlan Coben. And, oddly enough, that overseas adaptation may very well be the thing that makes the film’s convoluted and overwrought plot work so beautifully. Pediatric resident Alex Beck (François Cluzet) and his wife Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) are the perfect couple: childhood sweethearts who continue to adore each other in marriage. One terrible night while vacationing at their secluded lake house, the two are violently and inexplicably attacked. Alex is left for dead while Margot disappears screaming into the darkness. Fast-forward eight years. Alex, now a pediatrician, is haunted, still struggling to cope with the loss of his wife. Suddenly bodies are discovered on his property, leading the police to suspect him of being behind her murder. Then Alex gets an impossible e-mail, sending him on a elaborate hunt to find out what happened that night and who was involved. Needless to say, lots of skeletons start tumbling out of the family closet.
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  • The Scene
  • The Last Mistress

    Set amid the Parisian aristocracy of 1835, this adaptation of Jules-Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly’s novel Une Vieille Maîtresse is a stunningly beautiful period film, classically elegant and steeped in literary conventions. Although it contains elements of her previous movies (the manipulative maneuvering of Sex is Comedy and ingrained cruelty of Fat Girl), The Last Mistress is in thrall to Vellini (Asia Argento) and Ryno (Fu’ad Aïd Aattou), lovers whose bond is as conspiratorial as it is unbreakable. Argento, with her earthy masculinity, and Aattou, with his ethereal femininity, are magnetically drawn together, oblivious to scandal. There’s a resignation to their decade-long coupling, a mutual acknowledgement of the primacy of their unspoken vows, without the expectation of pleasure.
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Food & Drink

  • Neighborhood treat
  • Table and Bar
  • Neighborhood treat

    This neighborhood restaurant has been quietly turning out respectable meals for a generation or so from a prosaic strip mall on Rochester Road. In a simply decorated, dimly-lit room that seats 120, you can enjoy heavy red-sauced dishes with the pastas averaging around $13 and the other entrées around $18 including soup and salad. Franco’s hearty pastas, which include such familiar preparations as ravioli, spaghetti carbonara, fettucine Alfredo and linguini with clam sauce. Among the pesce, the crisp and tender sautéed shrimp scampi over rice laced with olive oil and just the right amount of garlic is a well-executed dish. You can wash all of this down with reasonably priced wines, with the house pours, some Californian some Italian, going for $24 a liter.
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Music

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