Citrus Garden

For someone who has been living gladly and happily in urbanized environment for my whole life I find myself surprisingly very much interested in gardens in recent years. Truth be told, I lived in a proper house in a proper village for a relatively short period of time when my parents bought a house as their long-lived dream of having a home in the country, but I couldn’t have left it faster once I moved away to live on my own. Back to town, that was.

My personal life-long habitat therefore is an apartment. Continue reading “Citrus Garden”

Traditions to be kept

Traditions are meant to be kept. Some of them at least.

Throughout history certain rites, beliefs and customs were repeated over and over again by human kind, modified by new notions that developed and accumulated along the way as time passed, and most certainly by newcomers, then finally and definitely upgraded by new generations that unavoidably followed. This time of year, when it nears its ends, it is apparently the time when I appear to be ponder-ish and kind of blue. Continue reading “Traditions to be kept”

Dear Ms Nilanjana Roy

I’m a big fan of reading. I’ve always adored literature but just as much I enjoy a well-written newspaper piece. It so happens that when I read about something very interesting in the newspaper I add it to a pile that sits next to my bed. (My weekend newspaper reading starts in bed with the mandatory cup of coffee on the bedside table.) By saving a copy I appear to be expecting of myself to turn to it again and again. As life continues its course and time flies by as noiselessly as ever, the pile in question slowly but steadily grows as (yet) another paper is added atop until it reaches the size of precarious heap, making it hard to ignore it, or, even harder, to pretend it’s not in the way. So, once in a while I decide it’s high time it went.

Cheers to friendships!

This is no simple task, mind you. Continue reading “Dear Ms Nilanjana Roy”

All Is Well That Ends Well

This one is for those who have the courage to admit to have an occasional bad day (as opposed to those who are always great, spectacular, never better, and continually in a good mood). Shit happens.

Snowdrops

As far as I can tell, I was in a perfectly good mood when I left for work in the morning the other day. Somehow everything started turning downhill in a matter of minutes. Continue reading “All Is Well That Ends Well”

Italy, I Miss You

Sometimes I wonder why I like to go to Italy so much. Well, there are many obvious and profane reasons, all of them perfectly legitimate, like shopping for shoes and food, chancing upon history and sights around each and every corner, sensing the arts, learning about la vita italiana.

 

Martina Franca, Apulia, Italy

It makes sense that the more often you visit the same place the more details you notice: not only the obvious ones nor solely the pleasant. Continue reading “Italy, I Miss You”

La La Land Zero Points

Why? Because it’s crap. In fact, it shouldn’t even remotely be alluded to the über-kitschy Eurovision Song Contest, it’s that lame.

The story is …. wait, what story? Acting is thin. The film as a whole is what a six-year-old might want to watch if at least it wasn’t for the music. You’re quite right I didn’t like the movie. Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, let us return to the real world. Thank goodness it does actually exist.

For a healthy(ier) dose of reality (although that too is discutable) Continue reading “La La Land Zero Points”

Colour Me Happy

Discovery of the day: I miss the colours. This is why at the beginning of February it seems to me the winter lasts forever. It’s no easy task imagining a near end to it when there are only the greys, browns and dark greens around. It’s easy peasy getting through January, although long, after the festive hysteria but once February takes to stage it’s no consolation it’s the shortest month of the year.

Photo gallery featuring lots of cerulean

 

Well, let’s not get too pessimistic. It’s not that bad after all. I only have to flip through my photos to feel better. Continue reading “Colour Me Happy”

January, February, Celery

Not a cloud in sight for two consecutive days. Jeez, the skiing was just perfect! The pistes were only occasionally punctuated by a skier or a small group of them that all of a sudden emerged out of nowhere and once they flew past us the white course was left to us alone again. That’s what January feels like these days. Herrlich!

Skiing in January in the Alps can mean a lot of things. It can mean masses of snow, every other day a new consignment of powder. It can mean blue skies and strong wind. Or, grey clouds, heavy with precipitation, that don’t seem to move anywhere. In the olden days, January skiing meant guaranteed snow conditions but not the friendliest weather conditions with the lowest temperatures. That inconveniences could on the other hand be mitigated by lower, so-called off-season prices to lure the most eager skiers out in the open. Nowadays, January generally still means no crowds but at the same time no (natural) snow. Thankfully, the technology of snowmaking is in place everywhere now so we can smoothly indulge in the winter delight of skiing.

When I’m in the mountains I seem to notice the weather more. It’s got to do with exposure I guess. This January is rather on the cold side, which I don’t mind at all, and the weather has been picture perfect throughout. Sunny and cold – the best winter arrangement. As if by order. As far as I’m concerned we could do with more snow though. Down below in the hometown the last snowing brought in more snow than in the mountains. Shame, really.

Another thing typically perceived is the days are getting longer. Today, for example, when we were preparing our late lunch after returning back from skiing the sun was still up and it was past 4 pm (a few weeks ago it had already been dark at that time). Once the sun sets behind the mountains the night gets all black, much darker than in the cities, and dotted with millions of golden stars.

For lunch I planned to use up the celery that was lying around for a week together with a packet of cherry tomatoes. The first recipe I found online was interesting enough to stop searching. At first, I was a bit suspicious about the whole thing. I was afraid I wouldn’t like the taste of it too much since it’s quite particular. I love it raw, it’s essential as a spice for a soup or used finely chopped in a soffrito but as a main character? Well, I was afraid. But it turned out quite silky and delicious. I served it with bulghur but you could use couscous or pasta.

Not a cloud in sight for two consecutive days. Our cheeks are red and our lungs are filled with fresh Zirben scented air. We’re ready to head back to everyday.

Can’t Buy Me Love

“It’s (nearly) Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid. Except, of course, there is. Forced festive fun is staggering towards us in its paper hat and comedy jumper, complete with flashing lights, reindeer noses and knowing irony.”

This passus by Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham from their article in theguardian.com is probably the best description of the current warming-up-to-the-hype, pre-festive hysteria. It nails it perfectly.

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There’s another very interesting and thought-provoking piece related to the upcoming season (which is already here actually!) that I’ve been saving since last year. A dinosaur, I know. It’s as timeless though as the greatest Christmas tale itself: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

I’m referring to an article by Tim Harford, FT columnist and Undercover Economist. Here’s a headline and an excerpt that I particularly liked:

In praise of Scrooge

‘Scrooge didn’t waste his money on extravagances for people whose desires he didn’t really understand’

“It is hard for us to grasp the discrepancy between how we see the world when giving gifts and when receiving them. Recipients may appreciate cash or presents from a list and not fuss too much about expensive gifts; gift givers, in contrast, imagine that the ideal present is an expensive surprise. It isn’t. All this suggests we should probably be spending less on presents, and thinking a lot more about the presents we do buy.”

I’m a firm believer that we should be paying attention to people, to their needs and/or desires. There’s so much more to Christmas than presents and binge drinking and eating. (This from a person who cannot stop reaching for another slice of panettone as if her life depended on it.) The present, if and when we intend to give one, should by all means reflect the purposefulness and meaningfulness we infused into the process of buying it. There’s nothing worse in a gift than the obvious fact it was carelessly or sloppily selected, bulk chosen or having no personal value to the recipient. Something you put away in a drawer never to recall the moment of receiving it reflects money spent badly plus the disappointment (although not expressed or shown) is immeasurable. I’d feel uncomfortable giving away things just for the sake of doing what everybody else is doing and considering a proper thing. If we’re no good at memorizing (and are parallelly employing the idea of chronic lack of time) then, in the age of smart phones that are always at the tips of our fingers, the task should not be too difficult at all: taking notes on the go has never been easier. It doesn’t take the burden of paying attention off though. Nevertheless, don’t fall for the obvious seemingly easy and generic solutions: receiving a wrong cosmetic is awful and giving cosmetic per se is bloody weak, especially for women. Same goes for wine (white wine person getting a bottle of red anyone?). Or anything else really. Give it some thought, it’s a valuable suggestion. Do try making them happy not your own self. Spending a fortune on presents is more or less passé. There’s even a scientific proof.

Pay attention then. Reach for quality in your choices. Set examples. Feel good about it. Don’t believe me? See what experts say about attention.

 

Recommended:

More science on the subject of gift giving

And two fiery 80’s and 60’s music mementos:

 

Plastic Fantastic

Even when I was growing up, in the 80s, there circulated an anecdote about some strange kid asking his or her parents upon spending a day in the countryside and seeing a cherry tree laden with fruit: “Who was the barmy person that hanged the cherries in the tree?”

This at the time when we as children spent a significant amount of time out in the country or at least out in the open and our mothers tended the kitchen gardens after work or at least our grandmothers did. Poor old cherries. Poor old child.

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At the approximately same time at my friend’s brother’s school, who is 10 years our junior, one child’s response to teacher’s inquiry “Where does milk come from?” was a determined and self-confident: “Off the shelf in the supermarket.”

All the same, I usually like to think of our generation as one of the last to have grown up within the actual natural environment and not watching it from indoors (possibly on the TV). Getting dirty and sweaty and ending up with bruised knees was no news to any of us or our parents. Or to the teachers at school. It was certainly a part of a healthy and sturdy growing up.

Consuming the natural environment in the sense of being comfortable within it and being aware of it helps the consumption remains within the limits of healthy and respectable. It never occurs to me to break the branches of the trees or damage the fungi just for the fun of it. I couldn’t leave rubbish behind. I can’t imagine disposing of something in the sea or in the street for that matter. I would never chase the animals or scare them on purpose. Not even the nasty pigeons. That doesn’t apply to mosquitoes though. Guilty as charged.

There’s more to it than this, I know. It’s a deeper issue not to be superficialized. Everyone should already in the early age be introduced to the joys and responsibilities of enjoying the natural environment for the pure beauty of it. The biological diversity alone can be a well of inspiration to the children and their parents. It’s a mysterious place, Mother Nature’s home. I remember all the fun we had as children running around the forests, meadows, jumping over the streams, watching the birds (there was an owl nesting in the chimney of the little cottage in our town’s forests) and foraging the blueberries or mushrooms. Oh, the rewards of the physical freedom.

Anyway, this last summer I read a few articles on ever so popular theme of environment protection. Obviously, they’ve employed my mind. Guess what, it’s a jungle out there.

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Recommended:

If you see not the wilderness but only the trophy animals in it; if the closest you’ll ever get to the forest is riding in a jeep with seven friends who have been brought up to think of the stillness and quietness of the wild as uncomfortable, even threatening; if your culture teaches you to recognise Pokémon but not different kinds of leaves or trees, how will you value any of this?

Excerpt from Nilanjana Roy in FT Weekend 27/28 August 2016 on the problem of preserving the forests

FT Weekend 4 August 2016: The 22-year-old trying to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and same topic in The Guardian 22 June 2016

You thought so-called paper coffee cups get recycled? Think again. The Guardian on Britons’ consumption of paper coffee cups that are not recycled after all Excerpt from this article by Paula Cocozza:

[…]you need to be busy to be important, while telling everyone you had time to wait in line while the beans were ground and the milk was steamed. And now there is one more contradiction to add to the list, because the paper coffee cup, it turns out, is recyclable – yet woefully, overwhelmingly, unrecycled.

Summertime Blues


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As I was unlocking the city bike, hands filled with, as it so often happens to a woman, a handbag and this and that, and trying at the same time not to get all dirty on the bike stand, an unfamiliar elderly woman approached me, her hands laden with heavy grocery bags.

“I’m sure you have a mobile phone, young lady,” she said to me, undoubtedly to me. I looked around in awe, confused and wary, but it seemed only the usual daily routine was going on around me. No signs of a possible ambush by bothersome beggars or loiterers or whatever unpleasant characters there might be cohabiting within your average midsized town.

So, I replied nervously: “I do.” No point in lying.

“Can I ask you, then, to lend it to me for a quick call? It’s really urgent I make that call.”

Red light started flashing in my mind. “I’m certainly not going to give my phone into your hands …” Her eyes grew big with disappointment and her face suddenly turned sad and exhausted. Nevertheless, she kept explaining: “You see, I’m to visit Cecilia but I’m running late and she mentioned she had some errands to do later today and I’m afraid I might miss her and then this ride on the bus will be in vain and then yet another ride on the bus to get back home, all in vain, and I’d really like to see her today.”

“You can tell me her number and I’ll ring her for you,” I suggested after a milisecond or so.

She brightened up, smiled, relieved. She gave me the number of that Cecilia woman I was to call and introduced herself as Fanny.

Cecilia answered.

Me: “Is this Cecilia?”

Cecilia: “Yes, speaking.”

“I have a friend of yours, Fanny, standing next to me.”

“Oh, is that so?”

“Well, yes, she’s asked me to tell you she’s been running late but she was on her way to you now. She wants you to wait for her.”

“Why, this is wonderful! Of course I’ll wait for her.”

“She’s taking the bus now.”

“Thank you very much, God bless you, thank you.”

Fanny thanked me as well and while I was putting my phone away she shifted from one foot to the other as if there was something else. And there was. Her head tilted as she said: “You didn’t actually think I was going to steal your phone, did you?” Now, I was surprised again. She continued: “Look at me, I’m old and rusty, you’d catch me in no time.”

“There’s all sorts around these days, one never knows …” I replied. “The crooks are just everywhere.”

“Well, you’re right there, you’re right.”

Off we went, each of us in her own direction, both probably submersed in own thoughts about this experience. I know I was. At least we conversed.

Doubt and caution are the building stones of our everyday.

It’s been another Monday, people.

Sarajevo or My Weekend with Robert De Niro

The title is a bit of a stretch, I admit. Firstly, Robert De Niro was visiting Sarajevo overnight only. Secondly, I never met him. Thirdly, I admire his acting and his films very much, really, truly, but let’s be honest, I’m whispering now, he’s of a certain age.

Robert de Niro in Sarajevo
There he is: Robert de Niro

Coincidentally, Robert De Niro, one of the world’s greatest actors, and I happened to be at the same event last Friday. He was a guest of honour, of course, whereas I was a mere spectator. I’m talking about 22nd Sarajevo Film Festival, a festival that started during dreadful times of war and evolved into the most influential and eminent film festival in the region.

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Robert De Niro was there to open the festival and promote the restored Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and most importantly was awarded the Heart of Sarajevo (what a brilliant name for a prize, don’t you think?) for lifetime achievement. His presence in that city was powerful and meaningful and his thank-you speech at the opening ceremony was nice too. So was the audience at the open-air cinema Metalac. It’s an incredible venue, a courtyard amidst the townhouses (in fact, a high school sports ground), huge, roughly 2000 to 3000 viewers were present, the screen is of king-size XXXL, it felt almost as the Rome’s Colosseum.

“I will treasure this award — my Heart of Sarajevo — because I don’t think there is another city in the world that has shown such heart in the face of so much tragedy,” De Niro said at the ceremony.

Do read the Washington Post’s article on the festival (the above quote is excerpted from it) – it’s filled with all the vital information.

Of his countless performances, the one line I remember most is “I know a thing or two about a thing or two” from … wait, I have to check the title of this movie co-starring young Leonardo Di Caprio …here it is: This Boy’s Life. If you have the stomach for abuse take a look.

Not only was De Niro there, in Sarajevo, the festival is packed with celebrity material: on the second evening Stephen Frears of Dangerous Liaisons, The Queen and Philomena (among others) came to greet the public on stage before the screening of his magnificent Florence Foster Jenkins. He is a regular but he was all the same overcome with the large auditorium.

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Sarajevo is the European capital that appeared regularly in the headlines in the 90’s. Unfortunately, this was due to the so-called Balkans’ war following the break-up of Yugoslavia, which led to this city and its inhabitants being tragically under siege for several years (1425 days actually). The reminders of this brutal war are visible throughout the city still. Today, two decades after the conflict ended, the city is as pleasant and welcoming as ever before. That’s at least what I’m told because my first visit to Sarajevo took place only about 10 years ago. So, I’m not in a position to judge the before and after effect. Not that I’d want to anyway. From what I hear I would’ve liked it before the war for sure and I certainly like it now.

What’s not to like?!

Sarajevo, Bosnia&Herzegovina
Many streets in Sarajevo are quite steep

Friendly people? Check

Food? Check

Sirnica s pavlakom
Sirnica s pavlakom
Baklave
Baklave
Sarajevo, Bosnia&Herzegovina
Market stalls in central Sarajevo

Drink? Check

Bosanska kahva
Bosanska kahva

Sights? Check

Latinska ćuprija
Latinska ćuprija
Vječnica
Vječnica

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Scenery? Check

Sarajevo, Bosnia&Herzegovina
Baščaršija
Baščaršija
Baščaršija

Greenery? Check

Bjelašnica near Sarajevo
Javorov do on Bjelašnica

For those of you awaiting more on Apulia please be patient. It’s coming up as promised.

 

Related:

Sarajevo

Sarajevo Film Festival 2016 Highlights Day One

SFF Official Site

Taxi Driver (1976) on IMDB

Javorov do, Bjelašnica

 

A Bowl of Cherries

Finally, it’s the cherries season!

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I have this thing with cherries. You know how there are cat people vs. dog people? In my opinion there are also strawberry people vs. cherry people. I’m a cherry person myself, no doubt about it, and it’s the one segregation I don’t object to.

The best way to eat them is directly off the tree of course. Regrettably, this is a fairly rare indulgence.

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It’s not only the fruit that satisfies my appetite, I love to see a cherry tree in every guise. I love to watch the cherry tree’s transformation through the seasons: first, in the dead of winter, there are black trunk and branches with wonderfully patterned bark and nothing more. Then, in the spring the branches get covered in white fragrant blossoms, which look like quilted down sleeves. Next, it turns elegant dark green with ruby red fruits hanging in couples or triplets resembling the most precious earrings. Finally, in autumn, its leaves steadily become a sunset’s mirror as they turn the warm spectacular red before they fall off.

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I was growing up in a concrete neighbourhood of apartment buildings bordering on one side a highway and on the other a large area of detached houses. The houses typically had their cute little backyards, flowerbeds, kitchen gardens and at least one fruit-growing tree (if I were to inspect the area today I’d notice most of the front lawns transformed into parking lots since every household now has more cars than the side road can accommodate).

Needless to say, we, the kids from the boring urban community, shamelessly raided the cherry trees every June when they were laden with fruit. Some people didn’t really mind our self-invitation to their garden as long as no damage was done, but the great majority of them weren’t all too happy with sharing their fortune with us. Those trees were particularly attractive because by some unwritten rule they bore the sweetest, the reddest, the best fruit. Usually a group of four or five of us sneaked on the fence and snatched as much cherries as possible off the branches and straight into our mouths, continuing until we were discovered and made to run away as fast as we could. The cherry raids we called them, our expeditions. On a good day we had a chance to raid several trees in a row so in the end we would feel pleasantly full (and our mothers wondered how come we’re not hungry after a whole afternoon out).

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Also, my both grandparents, who lived in the countryside, had had a cherry tree each, so when I stayed with them in cherry season I could stuff myself dead with cherries until my stomach neared an explosion.

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Nowadays, I normally buy them from the farmers at the local market. I’m known to consume a kilo in one go all by myself. Day in day out. Yes, cherries are by far my most favourite fruit. Not only do I adore eating them fresh I also like to have them in desserts: clafoutis, cherry strudel, cherry and apricot gallette to only name a few. I might just poach them with a few slices of ginger and a strip of lemon zest. I might even buy a jar of those candied cocktail decoration stuff when I crave cherries out of season. I even used to freeze them – they freeze well. I never bother to pit them before using them.

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I simply love clafoutis but it’s probably been years since I attempted to make it myself. It’s not that difficult, it’s just that quite often I wasn’t really happy with the result. The best clafoutis I had was the one in  London at Le Cafe Anglais. To my deep regret the restaurant has been permanently closed but fortunately the chef’s Mr Rowley Leigh’s columns for the Financial Times are still running (too seldom though). I must admit it amused me to read his confession about the common disappointments in this classic French dish.

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Today I followed his recipe (yes, I separated the eggs) but I didn’t pre-cook the cherries. I don’t find it neccessary since I prefer the cherries firm. When I arranged them in the dish I tossed some little pieces of butter over them, sprinkled them with a spoon or two of sugar and a spoon of cointreau (in place of kirsch which I don’t stock). The rest by the book recipe (follwo the above link for it). It turned out remarkably well. Delicious too. Very much so, indeed.

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Jump!

I felt a last minute sensation the second I caught a glimpse of the almond tree in its final blossoming stage. At the same time I felt grateful for that occasion. It was rather late in the season, after all.

Blossoming almond tree

But the rewards on our trip to the coast were great nevertheless. There were blossoming peach trees galore and glorious magnolias of different shapes, colours and sizes aplenty. Wisterias have already woken up from their hibernation and proudly displayed their fat buds, which were just about to explode in fragrant bloom.

The day itself was as fresh as a daisy, bright and colourful just as the market day before Palm Sunday. A splash of colour all around.

A colourful market stall before Palm Sunday

The air was dense and heavy with sea salt, a little bit hazy but quite warm: neither coat needed nor the gloves.

Early spring mist over the sunset

The hedgerows and garden trees have already been trimmed, all ready for the Easter time show-off. The land work must have already started too although the fields even now, in the first days of spring, looked abandoned and cast-aside. I guess the soil needs more sun and its warmth to be ready for a serious makeover.

The birds were happy to perform for whoever wanted to listen, a brisk vivace at one moment and a joyful allegro at the next. It was a good day, breaking out of the ordinary for a while. Can’t wait for spring to jump out of the closet!

The tree top in early spring full of chirping birds

An Ode to February

I don’t know when it happened that people started to plan their summer holiday as soon as the Christmas period was over. As much as I try to fight it and to find excuses why it’s almost immoral to do it, I do get caught off guard in the January calmness and I start to check the websites, magazine clips I saved, notes I made in the past months, and to discuss the dates.

It’s clear to me that the earlier you book the more choices you have to choose from. The longer you wait and procrastinate the more you have to be flexible. In the early days you have the luxury to be picky.

Suddenly, you find yourself immersed in the expectations of long hot days, full of desire to see new places and eat wonderful meals, and feel blessed by the promise of dolce vita, as limited as it is. You notice the expressions like cooling linen bedspreads, airy silk dresses, refreshing seaside breeze, soft golden sunsets, and they echo in your everyday.

At times, dreary February still outside your window, you open the drawer to reach something and there seats this glass candle with an overwhelming fig tree fragrance that transports you to laziness and seduces you to have another glass of limoncello just to let it linger with you for a tiny bit longer.

It’s easy to get carried away and lament over grey skies of now. But you know what? I did all the necessities it took to secure our holiday and let it go.

That day we made ourselves fondue for dinner and it was totally appropriate, you know. The champagne bottle was chilling on the terrace. The candles were lit. The table all set. Baguette, fresh from the oven, still warm. Celebration of winter of sorts.

In the end, eventually, as I looked out of the window I saw it was snowing and the trees were slowly gaining their winter coat. I felt the peace within me that all was right, that the Earth rotated its usual cycle and the universe spelled whatever it usually spells. It was wintertime and it was snowing. Bliss.

What the Hell Is Wrong with Leonardo di Caprio?

It’s been a couple of weeks since we saw The Revenant. I felt kind of doped afterwards. It lingered in my mind for a while, it somersaulted within the curves of my thoughts, I kept stumbling across the associations that reminded me of the film but I couldn’t come round to it. Let me explain.

View of the snow capped mountains that might reminisce of the ones in the film The Revenant

I’m no fan of Leonardo di Caprio, I’m not a movie freak for that matter, I just like to watch a good movie now and then. Preferably European but by all means a serious, driven by quality movie. That said, I don’t mind a Hollywood production as long as it doesn’t insult my intelligence.

When this year’s Golden Globe winners were announced I accidentally overheard Leonardo di Caprio’s thank-you speech being broadcast on the national TV. Some words on indigenous people and the respect for first nations came out of his mouth. I couldn’t make much of it because, well, as I mentioned before, I only overheard it. Come and gone. It was enough though to produce a mental note that this might be a movie to watch.

The small talk at work added up although it was mostly about Tom Hardy, not the leading-role guy. The big trigger for me was Alejandro G. Inarritu. I loved Biutiful and Birdman. I was hooked by the “subtitle” of the latter: Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. Magic. This director certainly knows a thing or two about titles. Among other things.

Luckily, The Revenant is on in our local cinema. Surprisingly so, as it is clearly THE movie and our local cinema is not as frequented. We both hate the gigantic cinema complex in the suburbs and have years ago decided to avoid it altogether. So early evening one Saturday we went.

It’s brutal, butchery, full of blood and slaughtering, it’s as vivid and intense as a movie can be. It was clear to me the first minute that it’s going to be about covering my eyes and ears. And so it was a couple of times during the two and a half hours. But let me tell you: it’s a wonderfully done movie and it goes by in a flash. The sound is fantastic, you hear every drop of melting snow falling off the branches of the trees, the angles and the colours and the rhythm of the sequences and the elements themselves are unforgettable. The countryside and the beauty of the landscape are overwhelming. The story? Here.

I was a fan of Davy Crockett, Robinson Crusoe and the likes when I was a child. I read the books like crazy and of course there came a time when reading was all about adventure in the glorious past times. I think I read Tom Sawyer in the same period. Angelika as well to be honest.

However, Hugh Glass, The Revenant, was not after adventures, I can tell you that. Nor were the Arikaras. Or other fur trappers. Or the armies. The adventures simply happened to them when they didn’t pay enough attention or they paid too much of it. Not sure about Fitzgerald though. He was kind of seeking trouble all the time. You know: asking for it. And here we go taking sides.

The actors are outstanding of course. The directing is superb. Well done. There’s not a second of boredom, none one too many detail. The rest is what you would expect in a Hollywood drama: a dramatic survival story, a constant underdog struggle, a wholesome manly power, to-be-anticipated turns of fate, and a flexible notion of justice.

So, let me ask again: what’s wrong with Leonardo di Caprio? Does anybody know? There must be something he’s done (or hasn’t done) to not get the Oscar continually. He’s an extremely good actor, excellent to be exact, so I guess he must be hard working and devoted and everything by the book. He gave numerous fantastic performances; he grew on me in Revolutionary Road and I found him very convincing in every role that followed. In fact, I can’t think of any disappointing performance by him. But should he get IT for The Revenant it just wouldn’t be just.