New and Noteworthy: November 2023
The time change comes at the beginning of every November and yet I still struggle with it every year. As soon as it gets dark at 5:00pm, I find it so hard to work and be productive since it feels like 8:00pm. I also have a trip to Paris coming up so there is the excitement and planning that comes with it that distracts me from my work. But I’m trying to get back on track since I know it will be hard for me to post on the blog while I’m gone. Although, I will be posting non-stop on Instagram.
For anyone else struggling with the dark, there are a lot of new films and shows to watch while you stay cozy and depressed at home.
If you feel like venturing to Brooklyn, Comme Si has just opened a new store at 142 Plymouth Street. Right now, they sell chic loungewear, socks, and silk lined baseball caps but I’m sure they will have more offerings soon.
I’m glad one of my friends posted about Picasso in Fontainebleau at MoMA since I hadn’t heard about it anywhere else. The show that runs though 17 February, 2024, highlights the summer of 1921, when Picasso spent much of his time in a garage. “Inside this unlikely studio in a rented villa in Fontainebleau, France, he worked prolifically to create a startling body of work. Among his most astonishing creations were two radically different, six-foot-high canvases that he painted side-by-side within weeks of each other: Three Women at the Spring and Three Musicians. Picasso in Fontainebleau will reunite these two monumental paintings, along with other works from the artist’s pivotal three-month stay at the improvised studio, complemented by photographs and archival documents.
Picasso’s simultaneous pursuit of disparate styles had enveloped the art world in controversy for several years. Had Picasso progressed or regressed? Was he avant-garde or academic? Revolutionary or reactionary? Critics were divided. These questions speak to the ways in which Picasso’s Fontainebleau output defies categorization and disrupts expectations of how artists evolve.
The exhibition will present four monumental canvases—two versions of Three Women at the Spring and two of Three Musicians—along with other paintings, drawings, pastels, and etchings made during the artist’s brief stay in Fontainebleau. Rarely seen photographs of the studio and the Picasso family will further contextualize the artist’s day-to-day life and artistic practice. The exhibition will also explore new discoveries about the process and experimental spirit that mark Picasso’s work in Fontainebleau.”
I’m hoping I have time to see Mood of the Moment: Gaby Aghion and the house of Chloé at the Jewish Museum before I leave for Paris. If not, it will be one of the first places I visit when I get back but I will have time to visit until it closes on 18 February 2024. It is first museum exhibition honoring the visionary Jewish entrepreneur Gaby Aghion (1921-2014) and her legacy as the founder of the French fashion house Chloé.
“Mood of the moment: Gaby Aghion and the house of Chloé casts a new light on the label’s 70-year history with nearly 150 garments as well as never-before-exhibited sketches and documents from the Chloé Archive. Highlighting Aghion’s vision of effortless, luxurious fashion, and the work of iconic designers who began their careers with the brand, including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Phoebe Philo, the exhibition showcases Aghion as a leader whose work altered the course of the global fashion industry in liberating women’s bodies from the restrictive attitudes and styles of the time, as well as pioneering the emergence of luxury ready-to-wear. By capturing the mood of the moment, Aghion founded a fashion brand characterized by an easy elegance.
The exhibition will explore the ways in which each subsequent creative director after Aghion uniquely interpreted the Chloé ethos and echoed the needs of their time, from the development of ready-to-wear to embracing sustainable practices in fashion. This historical overview includes designs by Karl Lagerfeld (first hired by Aghion in 1964), Martine Sitbon, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, Hannah MacGibbon, Clare Waight Keller, Natacha Ramsay-Levi, and Gabriela Hearst.”
If you read the book, The Bettencourt Affair: The World’s Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris, you will love the three part series on Netflix, The Billionaire, the Butler, and the Boyfriend. They have the actual real life recordings that led to this scandal paired with recreations along with interviews with people involved. It’s fascinating.
Priscilla from Sofia Coppola is now in theaters now but probably won’t be streaming until next year. I saw it at the New York Film Festival and it was fun because the stars Jacob Elordi and Callee Spaeny were there to present the film and answer questions afterward. Sofia was supposed to be there but couldn’t attend. It’s beautifully done and even more amazing when you find out they only had 40 days to shoot the film and the Elvis estate wouldn’t give them permission to use any of Elvis’s music. But it was also a bit slow and boring at times. It’s based on the book by Priscilla Presley, Elvis and Me, but I wished there had been more of her life after Elvis and less on her life as a 14 year old girl in Germany.
One of the best, if not the best, film I saw during the New York Film Festival was The Taste of Things. In France, the title started out as Pot-au-Feu but is now The Passion of Dodin Bouffant. “Set in France in 1889, the film follows the life of Dodin Bouffant (Benoît Magimel) as a chef living with his personal cook and lover Eugénie (Juliette Binoche). They share a long history of gastronomy and love but Eugénie refuses to marry Dodin, so the food lover decides to do something he has never done before: cook for her. The film has been selected as France’s official entry for Best International Feature for the 2024 Academy Awards.” It’s probably the best film about food and cooking since Babette’s Feast.
The writer and director Anh Hung Tran was on hand to introduce the film and sit down for a talk afterward. He said he wanted to make a film about art but settled on cooking. He had to check the menu and dishes made in the film with an advisor and had to create choreography in the kitchen with the actors moving about. He had hired Juliette Binoche first and had Benoît Magimel in mind for the other lead but he wasn’t sure he’d accept because they had a relationship in the past. Perhaps that’s why it works so well in the film. The funniest story he told was when his wife came to him and said he had to finish the film in a week because Benoît was eating so much that he was gaining weight and there was no more room left to let out his costumes. The crew was able to eat the meals made in the film and I’m sure sat down for proper meal time instead of grabbing a snack from craft services like a US film set.
It’s been released in France so please look for it if you speak French. It won’t be available in the US until next year so I’ll keep you posted. I would also be on the look out for it at special screenings at art house cinemas or places that usually screen French films.
I watched the first three episodes of The Buccaneers on Apple TV last week and thought it was a fun adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel, The Buccaneers. It’s not as cheesy as Bridgerton but reminded me of the original Gossip Girl in corsets mixed with a little Jane Austen.
There’s nothing worse than a film that’s almost great but just falls short. That said, I did enjoy David Fincher’s latest film, The Killer, on Netflix but I feel like I would have benefited from a little humor. I don’t want to give anything away but there is a funny reference to some things if you pay attention but the voiceover is monotone and devoid of any feeling or fun. The first 20 minutes or so are set in Paris and strangely enough at the same square where Emily in Paris lives. The fact that they didn’t make any reference to it was a missed opportunity in my opinion. It stars Michael Fassbender and has a great cameo by Tilda Swinton.
Saltburn seems like it’s not for the easily offended so you’e been warned but I’ll take my chance for Jacob Elordi in this latest film by Emerald Fennell set an an English manor house. It’s in theaters now.
I saw Maestro which was co-written and directed by Bradley Cooper at the New York Film Festival too. He did such an amazing job channeling the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein and Cary Mulligan will no doubt win an Oscar for her portrayal of his long suffering wife Felicia Montealegre. The costumes and makeup will also probably win awards and they were able to film at the actual Bernstein house in Fairfield, Connecticut which is pretty amazing. So why didn’t I love it? I tried to think about this on the taxi ride home across the park. I think maybe it was hard to love a story about a narcissist and it wasn’t the film that I didn’t love. You should definitely see it in the theater where it’s playing now or on Netflix on December 20, 2023.
Ridley Scott returns with his behemoth of a film about the little caporal, Napoleon, on November 22, 2023 before it’s released later on AppleTV, but it’s already in theaters in NYC. It stars Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte and Vanessa Kirby as Empress Josephine.
Frederick Wiseman’s 44th documentary, Menus-Plaisirs — Les Troisgros, takes viewers to Central France and Troisgros — a Michelin 3-star restaurant owned and operated by the same family for four generations, and destination for gastronomes from around the world. Behind the scenes, we are privy to passionate debates among the head chefs (a father and his two sons) about texture, color, and depth of flavors; visits to a bounteous produce farm, a local vineyard, and a massive cheese cave (where “each cheese has its moment of truth”); and waitstaff meetings focused on individualized customer preferences and food plating at a performance-art level. In his trademark style, Wiseman patiently illuminates the restless creativity of this culinary family as they experiment with dishes, methods, and ingredients — keeping their haute cuisine anchored in tradition while brilliantly evolving. It opens Wednesday, November 22, 2023 at Film Forum.
If you’ve not been paying attention, I absolutely loved Slow Horses season one and two on Apple TV and I’m excited that season three will be back on November 29, 2023. It’s based on the book series Slow Horses by Mick Herron. It’s follows a group of misfit MI5 agents as they try to redeem themselves and make it back to headquarters from Slough House.
Karl Lagerfeld: A Life in Houses won’t be released until January 16, 2024 so pre-order it now or ask for it as a belated Christmas present because I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one. It will feature all of his houses and apartments in France, Italy, and Germany.
The Upside-Down World: Meetings with the Dutch Masters from Benjamin Moser who plunged into a strange land at twenty-five and began an obsessive, decades-long study of the Dutch Masters to set his world right again. Oh, and it won a Pulitzer Prize so that’s all the proof you need that it should be read this fall.
Have I mentioned that I hate retinol? I hate that awful flaky skin and can never get over it to reap the reward but every derm will tell you that you need to be using it. So I’m happy to hear that the cult favorite retinol Medik8 is now available in the US. You can start out with a low percentage and move up gradually. I was also thinking of using it on my chest and hands. Both will give away your age if you have only been focused on your face.