Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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Arts and Leisure

Granger at the Movies: ‘The Crown,’ ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

By Susan Granger
Special to WestportNow

Thank you for your e-mails asking where to read my Entertainment Reports in the future. I am joining the staff of www.westontoday.news, which is expanding to include more of Westport. I hope you will join me there and follow me @susangranger on Twitter.

Susan Granger at the Movies

As if Britain doesn’t have enough Brexit problems, Netflix’ Season 4 of “The Crown” reveals Charles, Prince of Wales (Josh O’Connor), as a total cad. In cahoots with his mistress, scheming Camilla Parker-Bowles (Emerald Fennell), he married virginal, vulnerable Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) to whom he had no intention of being faithful.

Pressured by his family to marry an “eligible” young noblewoman, Charles continued his adulterous affair with Camilla, who was married to another man ... as Diana said: “There were three of us in this marriage.”

Perhaps Charles is a throwback to his Hanoverian ancestors—George I and George II—assuming that, as heir to the throne, he’s entitled to have a mistress and his wife has no reason to complain.

Granger at the Movies: ‘The Life Ahead,’ ‘A Rainy Day in New York,’ ‘Rebecca’

By Susan Granger
Special to WestportNow

In Netflix’s “The Life Ahead,” 86 year-old Oscar-winner Sophia Loren returns to the screen as Madame Rosa, an Italian/Jewish Auschwitz survivor and former prostitute who shelters several streetwalkers’ children in her modest apartment.

When Madame Rosa’s doctor asks her to care for Mohammad (Ibrahima Gueye)—a.k.a.  Momo—she reluctantly agrees, even though, shortly before, the sullen 12-year-old Senegalese/Muslim orphan stole her purse containing two heirloom candlesticks which he attempted to pawn. Eventually, they become each other’s protectors, forming an unconventional family.

Susan Granger at the Movies

If the plot sounds familiar, French screenwriter/director Romain Gary, utilizing the pseudonym Emile Ajar, wrote the 1975 novel “La Vie Devant Soi” (“The Life Before Us”), for which he was awarded the Prix Goncourt (France’s Pulitzer Prize).

In 1977, writer/director Moshe Mizrahi filmed the allegory as “Madame Rosa,” changing the locale to the Parisian neighborhood of Pigalle, casting Simone Signoret as the elderly prostitute; it subsequently won an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film.

Granger at the Movies: ‘The Queen’s Gambit’, ‘On the Rocks’, ‘The Witches’

By Susan Granger
Special to WestportNow

Who would have thought that “The Queen’s Gambit,” a seven-episode Netflix series—built around an intellectual game like chess—could be so compelling?

It begins in Kentucky in 1958, as young Beth Harmon (Isla Johnston) is placed in a Dickensian orphanage after a car crash killed her mother. Tipped off by an older girl named Jolene (Moses Ingram), Beth discovers that they’re being force-fed habit-forming drugs to “tranquilize” them.

Susan Granger at the Movies

One day, when Beth wanders into the basement to clean erasers, she befriends the grumpy custodian, Mr. Shaibel (Bill Camp), who teaches her how to play chess. Beth becomes so adept so quickly that when she’s invited to compete with the local school’s chess team, she trounces every player.

Years pass and teenage Beth (Anya Taylor-Joy) is adopted by a suburban Lexington couple: alcoholic, piano-playing Alma (writer/director Marielle Heller) and Allston Wheatley (Patrick Kennedy), who often disappears on “business trips.”

Introducing: ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’

Ribbon-cutting, Rock, Paper, Scissors sculpture donation, Westport, CT Nov. 8, 2020
First Selectman Jim Marpe cuts the ribbon to officially introduce the sculpture “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” donated by Bill Scheffler and Ann Sheffer. Joining Marpe are (l-r) Bill Harmer, Westport Library executive director; Kathie Bennewitz, Westport public arts curator; Nancy Diamond, co-chair of the Westport Arts Advisory Committee; Bill Scheffler; and Ann Sheffer. The sculpture is located on the Westport Library lawn. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

WYWL’s Annual Craft Westport Goes Online

The Westport Young Woman’s League 45th Craft Westport Show goes online this weekend.

Westport Young Woman's League Craft Westport Online Marketplace, Nov. 6-8, 2020
Shop the online Craft Westport Marketplace this weekend. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Craft Westport is usually held the first weekend in November at Staples and one of two major fundraisers supporting the WYWL charitable grants programs, but the event was canceled due to COVID-19. The other event, Minute Man Road Race, was also canceled.

Customers can browse and buy from their favorite artists’ online shops by visiting the Craft Westport Marketplace.

There is no admission fee to shop online. The WYWL asks marketplace visitors to consider making a donation in lieu of the admission fee to support its program of grants to many local charities, which includes recipients like the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

Minimizing at Home Maximizes Library Book Donations

Mimi Greenlee of Westport (CT) Library sorts book donations with a volunteer, Nov. 5, 2020, by Dave Matlow
Mimi Greenlee (front), long-time library volunteer, joins other volunteers to sort book donations at the Westport Library annex. People are encouraged to donate books at the annex on Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Greenlee said, “We collect the books, store them, and then organize into them categories in preparation for upcoming yet-to-be-announced book sales.” She said donation levels are high and they have additional storage space off site. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Free Admission to MoCA if You Voted

Westport, CT Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker with daughter Nicole visiting MoCA Nov. 3, 2020, by Andrea Pouliot
Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker and daughter Nicole visited MoCA Westport today, taking advantage of complimentary admission for voters. The exhibition on view, “World Peace,” explores the divided and fractured political climate of America’s past and present. It contains photography, sculpture, video, site-specific installations, works on paper, and protest art and features several Westport-based artists including Tracey Sugarman, Richard Frank, and Spencer Platt. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Andrea Pouliot for WestportNow.com

Granger at the Movies: Best Movies About U.S. Politics & Elections

By Susan Granger
Special to WestportNow

While you’re waiting for ballots to be tabulated in all 50 states, here are some political movies to distract you from the polarizing pundits. Many are fact-based, some are inspirational, and others far more speculative and skeptical.

Let’s start with some classics:

“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939): Frank Capra captures America’s democratic ideal as James Stewart personifies a small-town patriot who battles self-serving politicians.

“Born Yesterday” (1950): Broderick Crawford visits Washington, D.C. to “buy” influence in Congress while his wife Billie Dawn (Judy Holliday) learns about democracy from an idealistic journalist (William Holden). (Forget about the tepid re-make with Melanie Griffith.)