“The Automat” “Dark Winds” “Irma Vep”

“The Automat” (Amazon, Apple) If, like me, you were lucky enough to experience the childhood thrill and the young adult pleasure of the Horn and Hardart Automat mac and cheese or chocolate cream pie, the film will bring back a flood of delicious memories. For my younger readers and for those who never lived in or near Philadelphia who sadly never experienced the the thrill of putting a few nickels in a slot and opening the glass door to get a dish of creamed spinach (a favorite–I can still taste it), the film will reveal a world not likely to be replicated. The tone is laudatory. I had to set aside my inner cynic, fully aware that the workers were probably not as happy as the film depicts. But for just under 1 1/2 hours I immersed myself in a nostalgia as comforting as a chicken pot pie.

“Dark Winds” (Amazon) In its consistently extortionary behavior, you get to the film via Amazon and then you have (“one week free trial”) with AMC. But, believe me, it’s worth it! Based on a series by Tony Hillerman it is set in Navajo Country, early 70’s. The series is gripping noir and political commentary with New Mexico and Arizona majestic backdrop. I’ve only seen the first two episodes so commentary from you as it progresses is greatly invited.

“Irma Vep” (HBO) I think I like this kind of weird series with its intellectual pretensions and non explicit homoerotic scenes. Lots is being written about it–New Yorker, Atlantic, etc. If you saw the 1990’s version this may feel repetitive but still worth a look. I used to use scenes from the original 1915 French version (Les Vampires) for my Women in Film Class. I will probably write a more detailed analysis after seeing the entire series. This one will be on the list for a zoom discussion at some point.

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