Friday, July 22, 2011

Bagdad Cafe

This is a recommendation from my friend, Veneta, and somehow just what I needed last night. You know, sometimes I get lost (ha ha) in all the blood, meth, booze, and dysfunctional Irish firemen I watch so much of; this was just a nice, more tender change of pace (although there was profanity and some nudity).

Bagdad Cafe, 1987.
Written/directed by Percy Adlon.
starring: Marianne Sagebrecht, CCH Pounder, Jack Palance.

"A lonely German woman ends up in the most desolated motel on earth and decides to make it brighter." (IMDB).

This is unlike anything else I've ever written about on here (with the exception of maybe some random Fellini), but extremely worth watching. First off, I have always been a fan of CCH Pounder, mostly supporting roles (Sliver, Psycho 4, ER), but I like her. She has just always got this commanding authority about her, and she had that in this, too, but mostly just ran around her cafe yelling at people. German actress Marianne Sagebrecht was amazing as the mild mannered tourist, offset brilliantly by Jack Palance's eccentric artist character; they were all really fun to watch.

The film itself is sort of unique in that it's a foreign (German) production with a mostly American cast. You can't really escape that you're watching a foreign production---shots, reactions, interludes, and that tiny bit of nudity (of an older, heavier actress)---these things just don't really happen in American films, even in 1987, and that's why I felt justified in that earlier (obscure) Fellini reference. The film has fun with itself while still being an emotional story about two very different women.

Two moments I loved: "This is not coffee, it's brown water!" after the (American) coffee maker gets delivered. For someone who can't drink coffee out of anything but a French press, it was perfect. And you know I loved that little bald baby being passed around in his footy jammies; that'll be me, the old German broad in cafes, begging mothers to let me hold their babies someday, too.

Thanks, V.


Unknown said...

Great film to watch once a year. If you're ever near Barstow, CA, take I-40 east for a half hour and exit Route 66 - 2 miles down the road is the actual Cafe, still looks the same.