Friday, November 25, 2022

Blood Of The Vines - Auteurs In Action

Pairing‌‌‌ ‌‌‌wine‌‌‌ ‌‌‌with‌‌‌ ‌‌‌movies!‌‌‌  ‌‌‌See‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌hear‌‌‌ ‌‌‌the‌‌‌ ‌‌‌fascinating‌‌‌ ‌‌‌commentary‌‌‌ ‌‌‌for‌‌‌ ‌‌‌these‌‌‌ ‌‌‌‌‌movies‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌and‌‌‌ ‌‌‌many‌‌‌ ‌‌‌more‌,‌‌ ‌‌‌at‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Trailers‌‌‌ ‌‌‌From‌‌‌ ‌‌‌Hell.‌‌‌ This week, we look at a trio of arthouse favorites, with suggestions on what to drink with them.

I don't know about his cred as an auteur, but 1974's Sunday in the Country was directed by Canadian-born John Trent. He lived for less than a decade after he made this film. He was killed in a car crash by a police cruiser that was driving on the wrong side of the road. That's the sort of tale that might have been spun by my father, who told me, at a very early age, that his father was run over by an ambulance. That was my dad's dry wit. Too bad he didn't realize that sarcasm and irony didn't play all that well to a kindergarten audience. I believed the story well into my adult years.

The movie, by the way, was also known as Blood for Blood, but details about it are hard to come by under either title. Thanks to the movie poster, we know that Ernest Borgnine starred in it, as a nice old man with a double-barreled shotgun who liked to torture bank robbers. Get your kicks while you can, Ernie. The one-sheet also tells us that those kicks come at a high price.

On a tangent - and you know how I love to go off on those - John Trent also directed one of Red Skelton's last television appearances, Red Skelton's Christmas Dinner, from 1981. That show - no doubt spawned by Skelton's Freddie the Freeloader holiday segment from a couple of decades earlier - also featured Vincent Price in the cast as Freddie's friend. 

Was I just talking out loud? Man, I really have to try and focus on the task at hand. Let's do a wine pairing for whatever the hell the name of that movie was. 

Just about every winery has done an event or promotion that involved the words "Sunday" and "Country" somewhere in the name. Let's go down the country path for Arrington Vineyards. This Tennessee winery was partly founded by Kix Brooks, of the country duo Brooks and Dunn, giving additional emphasis to the phrase "wine country." Their Antebellum White was aged in whiskey barrels - Tennessee whiskey, no doubt.

The director of The 400 Blows needs no introduction, but he's going to get one anyway. This was the first film made by François Truffaut, unless he did some Super 8 reels at family pique niques, which have not seen the light of day. He directed and wrote the movie, which launched him as a high-level auteur.

This 1959 classic is something you may remember from a college film class, or from actual real life if you did not form an aversion to subtitles in college film class. It is a coming-of-age story, complete with juvenile trouble, some psychological brain-picking and a day at the beach.

The movie's title is a bad translation of a French idiomatic expression which has more to do with hell-raising and sowing wild oats than with… well, than with blowing. There is now nowhere to go but straight to the wine pairing.

For a French film about a youthful, spirited firebrand, how about a youthful, spirited Gamay from Beaujolais? Beaujolais Nouveau is here - le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé, as they say en Francais - since it is rushed out the winery door on the third Thursday of November each year. The one you'll see at nearly every checkout aisle for the next few weeks is from Georges Duboeuf, the king of Beaujolais Nouveau.

Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French horror film directed by Georges Franju, who also co-wrote it. If the script doesn't chill you to the bone, maybe the subtitles will, again, if you had a hard time in college film class. 

A plastic surgeon - ooh, it's getting creepy already - tries to alter his daughter's disfigurement after a car crash by performing a face transplant. Was he successful? Would there be a movie if he were? Let's just say she probably wished dad had stopped with a little liposuction.

The movie was probably the first French horror film, although Franju called it an "anguish" film rather than "horror." However you parse the translation, the script had to run a gauntlet of censors in three countries, each of which had problems with different aspects of it. 

Appolo Vineyards in New Hampshire has a Sauvignon Blanc wine which they call Blue Eyes - and the label has an eerie resemblance to the masked woman in the movie. By the way, in case spell-check wants to change the winery to Apollo for the fortieth time, vintner Mike Appolo would appreciate that someone, somewhere could spell his name correctly. 

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