For all their quirks, spaghetti westerns are uniquely relevant right now, as we watch the cruel and brutal American story crumble in real time, as we try to manifest a better destiny. Three movies in particular, directed by Italy’s holy trinity of Sergios: Leone, Corbucci, and Sollima.
On the blessing and curse of streaming family films over and over during a pandemic.
I can count, on one hand, the number of times I’ve cried since the beginning of March. On the same hand, I can count the number of times I’ve called home.
“It’s such a beautiful day,” my wife and I say each morning as we look out the sliding glass door onto the backyard, imbuing it with a weight and meaning we never have before, because it’s not the weather that matters so much as the freshness of the air. And, of course, we say it because there isn’t much else we can say now that isn’t tinged by either sorrow or fear.
There’s a type of story I’ve come to recognize as my favorite: the ones that seem in the moment to be about small, even insubstantial, personal concerns yet reveal themselves immediately upon finishing to have conveyed something like the full enormity of what it means to be alive.
I frequently took my mental temperature after this year’s Sundance screenings, searching for symptoms of that dreaded ailment, festival fever. I’ve fought mightily to maintain critical detachment, but it bears acknowledgement that the following assessments were made during one of the most emotionally tumultuous weeks I can remember.
There’s a question that has long been my personal riddle of the sphinx: what is “a Sundance movie”?