Friday, February 2, 2024

Blood Of The Vines - Tortured Artists

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 examine three films dealing with the downside of being a fine artiste.

The 1986 biodrama, Caravaggio, is an interpretive account of the life, and death, of Italian artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. His name was shortened for the movie title likely because the original wouldn't fit on a marquee. 

Caravaggio was what one might call "ahead of his time," in that he ran through his 17th century life, and the art world, with little regard for how others viewed him. His childhood was tough, his adult years even tougher. Those years ended before they numbered forty, and his death is still a matter for speculation. The movie opts to believe the, ahem, lead poisoning theory, while fever and murder are still getting good odds. 

Murder wouldn't seem out of bounds, as this tortured artist led a violent life that included killing a man, an act for which he was given a death sentence. He managed to evade that fate while seeking a pardon from the Pope. 

Malta winery Marsovin has a Merlot called Caravaggio, presumably after the artist since one of his paintings is depicted on the label. It should have been the one featuring Bacchus, if I had been asked. But it's not, and no one did. If you can find it, Caravaggio the wine costs about ten bucks.

The Music Lovers, from 1971, is a Ken Russell film that concerns the life of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. His name was, again shortened for the movie title, because who the hell ever called him anything but Tchaikovsy? 

If you want a real tortured artist, this Tchaikovsky guy is the real McCoyvski. He sees his mother die a horrible death, marries a nymphomaniac who turns out to be just a plain old maniac, and hides his homosexual identity for his entire life. It's enough to drive a tortured artist to drink.

Fortunately, that's what we're here for. Vinoterra’s Saperavi is from Georgia, which is close enough for a Russian wine for me. You could also go with a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley, and no one will take points off your grade for the easy reach. Either way, plan to spend around $30. 

1972's Savage Messiah was about 20th century French sculptor and painter Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. The film was directed and produced by Ken Russell. Hey, didn't we just hear from him? Yes, he liked making movies about artists. 

This artist, Gaudier-Brzeska, did not get a lot of time to become tortured. He was killed at the age of 23 by the Germans in WWI as a member of the French army. That is a pretty big drag, but he did cram a lot into his short life. Gaudier-Brzeska left his native France for London while he was still a teenager and managed some (pre-war) studies in Germany. I would imagine that there aren't many people who died as young as he who are still remembered for their accomplishments. 

For any of these films about tortured artists, this is the wine to have. Tortured Artist Albariño is made by a Paso Robles outfit called League of Rogues. This refreshing white was made from grapes that were yanked from an Edna Valley vineyard and tortured until they became wine. They are okay with it now. 

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