"I have a rosy sky and a green flowery Eden in my brain..." ~ Jane Eyre
*The Tribeca Film Festival began five years ago after the tragedy of 9/11 in an effort to bring life back to the small neighborhood just north of ground zero. Thankfully, each year the festival continues and grows bigger, bringing New Yorkers together with all kinds of directors and films. The festival's roots are still in Tribeca, but this year more and more movie theatres all over the city are participating. Cassie and I went to see EDEN Friday night at the Lincoln Square Theatre; a theatre that is participating in the festival. If you click on the above link, you can read the synopsis of the film.*
Who knew something as simple as dinner and a movie could be Eden?
I stepped out of my car at 75th and Amsterdam into the bright sun. The upper west side is one of the more quieter areas of the city where the streets are lined with quaint cafes and bakeries. Despite this, I still managed to find a very corporate Fourbucks for an iced skim latte before my stroll down to 68th. Shadows were just beginning to form on the sidewalks as early evening commenced, and there was a bustle outside the Lincoln Square Theatre as I approached. There was a small covered booth set up for information about the festival, and women were selling t-shirts and caps with the festival logo on it. There were so many volunteers, probably more than needed, but that is what made the experience so special. They greeted us with excitement, and of course that increased ours.
A few weeks ago Cassie and I perused the festival website for movies. Neither of us had participated in the festival before, so we were a little overwhelmed at the choices. Thankfully the movies were categorized. What category did I click on first? Food, of course.
The movie Eden was scheduled for its first screening at the festival at 6pm. Cassie and I chose mezzanine seats, and to our delight we learned that the director, Michael Hofmann, was here from Germany to answer our questions after the film.
The film Eden was paradise. It is a sweet, simple love story that centers around a chef who cooks meals that are a part of a cucina exotica, if you will. Eating his meals is an orgasmic experience, and eventually a young woman starts visiting him for the food but ends up staying for the friendship. He falls in love with her, but there are many complications, and the ending is sweet and made me teary. I would rather not give a synopsis of the movie. What I can give is a synopsis of what I felt during the movie, which was joy, empathy, and a warmth in my heart.
As the lights went up, Michael Hofmann's bashful figure started answering questions. He answered mine (I asked him what his favorite scene to direct was) and we learned that he wrote the script as well. There were all sorts of inspiration for this film, and that made me love it even more. The leading actor is one of the best stage actors in Germany, so Hofmann wanted to write a script just for him and had to figure out how his leading man could be center stage with an such a portly physique. We learned that there actually is a restaurant called Cucina Exotica in Southern Germany, and the chef from the restaurant made all of the food in the film. Apparently the food isn't an aphrodisiac that puts you in the mood for sex, but rather the eating of the food is an orgasmic experience in and of itself.
The Q & A session was fascinating, but Cassie and I had a major problem on our hands after the film: we were ravenous.
We had reservations at Sarabeth's West for dinner at 8:15pm. The theatre was 12 blocks away, but as Cassie and I agreed that the walk there felt like ten miles. We arrived and it was a quiet night there. We sat by the window with big smiles on our faces as we read the menu.
The bread at Sarabeth's is amazing, so we had two basketfulls. Cassie had a chardonnay and I had a pinot grigio. Our meals then paralleled one another. We both had this delicious spinach salad with toasted walnuts, goat cheese rolled in fresh parsley, and a walnut vinaigrette. Our main course was a mushroom risotto that was quite light and quite flavorful. Cassie had a blueberry crumble for dessert and I had some Sarabeth cookies to go with my coffee.
We chatted a great deal about the movie over dinner as well as about the festival itself. If the goal of the festival was to bring life and passion to the city after such a horrific event, than it has gone beyond succeeding. Many of the films at the festival are films that don't ever really make it to the summer blockbuster list. It is a shame, because in my heart I believe that people would rather see these films, such as Eden, which are true pieces of art. The festival also holds panel discussions, and one was titled Filming in New York City. I am sure any director who has had that experience feels quite fortunate!
It was a perfect evening in New York City. I was just telling Lewis last week how much the city feeds my soul. It was exciting to participate in an event unique to the city, but also to just enjoy Cassie's company over dinner and a movie. Dinner and a movie may be simple, but as Eden illustrates, it is the simple things in life that are the most special.
Reader, welcome to my life.
- Name: ThursdayNext
- Location: New York, United States