Feb 27, 2007

OK, two things:

1. The Lives of Others was amazing. I don't even know how to describe it. It's completely mesmerizing, you have no idea where the movie's going or what anyone will do at any moment, it's suspenseful and lovely and sweet and horribly, deeply sad. The three leads are astonishing, especially the main character, the Stasi officer who spies on the other two (a playwright and an actress). He goes from terrifying and clinical to just pure longing. You have to see. This movie broke my heart, totally wrecked me, which is of course what all great things should do! I'm so glad it beat Pan's Labyrinth, which was great but not great like this.

2. Also, Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway. It's a memoir about her two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, helping a midwife named Monique, who was just this stunning, fearless woman who saved so many people but was also playful and gentle and whipsmart. The book makes you fall madly in love with her, and feel real grief at her death (she died young in childbirth, you learn this up front), and you feel like you're right there for this entire incredible Peace Corps experience. I absolutely feel like I've been to Mali and eaten to (<- I can't do the accent!) and chicken sauce and planted peanuts and wrapped a pagne around myself and experienced oppressive heat and crazy, sudden rains and heard a clicking scorpion and seen babies being born and mothers laid out on tables in a room built of mud.. It's a totally visceral experience, really moving and inspiring. And just look at this woman on the cover, her face: http://www.moniquemangorains.com/?page=press_room_photos. It's a world-expanding kind of book that you should order this instant.