Saturday, March 1, 2014

the way the sun hits the buildings in the afternoon

Watching È già ieri (aka It's Already Yesterday, aka Stork Day), the Italian remake of Groundhog Day... again.

Filippo's nature show is ridiculous, filmed in front of a blue screen and using fake foreground scenery. But, it amuses me that he's filming a groundhog episode. His complaint when he sees the groundhog: the color is wrong to go with his outfit. Then he complains about the heat.

His assignment: to go do a field report about an anomalous migration of storks in the Canary Islands.

And, he has a fight with a girl at the station... I wonder if the version of the script they worked from for this remake was the second revision with Stephanie, except this girl doesn't curse Filippo.

Filippo doesn't want to go do the report because of the heat. Cameramen draw straws to see who gets stuck going with Filippo—Enrico loses.

Enrico asks why the storks made their nests on a volcano. Filippo's response: "Because they're assholes."*

*Note: any dialogue in today's entry is coming from the English subtitles on the Region 2 DVD of the movie. I don't claim to speak Italian... No, I will now claim that I speak Italian—

I speak Italian.

But, I can't keep up with the Italian and write this blog, so... subtitles.

Filippo assumes the biologist they will be working with will recognize him because his show is "on Satellite" (i.e. he's a celebrity).

Rita, the biologist is introduced working on her car. Gender expectations are already at play.

Filippo wonders why they didn't see a flock of storks from the boat—turns out there are only 8 storks.

Nice bit at the front desk of the hotel: after Filippo hits the service bell a few times, Rita removes the button. He hits it again and hurts his hand.

The "Loop Markers" come into play immediately on Day One: the radio, a lamp falling off the wall as Filippo closes his door, a leather-clad guy (Tom) coming out of the room (Marta's) across from Filippo's, a kid with powdered pastries of some sort bumping into Filippo on the stairs... Downstairs, Rosa (this film's Mrs. Lancaster) offers him a bun, then some jam, then pie. Outside, Carlos (the Old Man) asks for a cigarette. Rita is mad at Filippo because the truck—ten people—had to wait on him. Bob Cantini from "Fauna and Friends" is this film's Ned Ryerson, a guy who was a guest on Filippo's show one time in 1995. Filippo said he wanted him to be a guest again but he's still "thinking about it" (i.e. he never gave the guy another thought).

The last three kilometers are on foot, and then they reach the rather pathetic scene, 8 storks in a larger clearing. Along the way Filippo dabs his sweat with a handkerchief—later this will be his "pencil" to test the loop (though I'm getting ahead of this screening).

Filippo's show is called "Between Time and Nature." Candela, a woman who came along—she's a fan.

There's an underlying environmental theme here—though it remains subtext until Filippo's final report... Filippo doesn't care about nature really. He goes right up to a nest and lifts up the egg for his report, and a Stork circles and hits him in the head. I suppose that's his shovel.

A storm means no ferry to leave the island. Filippo wants to call for a helicopter but an old fisherman tells him that won't work in the storm either.

Enrico invites Filippo out for dinner with the rest of them. He says he'd says yes if jail was his other option.

The shower gag here is that the water turns off mid-shower. Filippo is left soapy. But then he finds Candela at his door—meanwhile, Enrico is now at Marta's door. Filippo invites Candela into his room and Enrico fails to get anywhere with Marta. The presumed sex between Filippo and Candela seems to last less than a minute (but I think that's just an editing thing). Filippo goes into his room again and finds a stork on his bed.

Day Two: Loop Markers again, radio, falling lamp, Tom, kid with pastries, Rosa... and the same deja-vu joke as the original.

Filippo: Do you ever have deja-vu?

Rosa: Maybe. I'll check with the kitchen.

Carlos asking for a cigarette, Rita complaining... Then something new: Enrico tells Filippo he won't need his suitcase on the volcano; Filippo has packed to leave.

Filippo assumes it's a prank, offers to split the money Enrico was paid to take part. Then, Bob walks up and cut to the truck ride. Bob's got a magazine, by the way—his annoying bit is that he says he keeps hammering away at it but it's failing, and he mimics a hammer, tapping Filippo in the chest.

Filippo quits his report early to catch a taxi back to beat the storm, fails. And, already, only Day Two, he times the water turning off in the shower. He's not in the shower this time. Candela comes again but Filippo refuses her. Meanwhile, Enrico fails again with Marta.

Then, Filippo's "pencil"—he tears up his handkerchief and leaves it on the table and alarm. Morning comes—Day Three—and his monogrammed handkerchief is intact and folded. He's also got a monogrammed bathrobe. He preempts Rosa, tells her he doesn't want a bun, then runs for the docks instead of the truck, gets on a ferry and the engine breaks down. Filippo refuses to get off the boat. He already knows specifics—he refers to the 4:10 storm that will make the afternoon ferry not happen.

This film's Tip Top: outside Bar La Marina.

New marker: Marta yells at Tom and storms off. And, the waiter drops a tray.

Neurologist scene—CAT Scan is only available in Tenerife—and Filippo explains: "There is no 'tomorrow.' Tomorrow will be today, which was yesterday. So tomorrow morning the ferry will break down again." After citing the 4:10 storm again, the doctor recommends his friend, not a psychiatrist. His card says he's in Tenerife also, so Filippo attacks the doctor. Doctor gives him drops to take to sleep but cut to hotel and the water is out, nothing to take with the drops. And Candela is there. Enrico's at Marta's door again. But, Filippo takes Enrico out for an "all-nighter." Sitting out all night, Enrico talks a lot... cut to early morning, Enrico is still talking, even repeating himself, and Filippo dozes off—

And, Day Four: Filippo stays in bed and Enrico shows up to wake him. That night, this film's version of the bowling alley scene. Filippo's day worth repeating:

When Italy won the World Cup, I partied in the streets too, it was a blast. Everyone was drunk. I met a beautiful Sicilian girl. We made love all night long. Why can't I keep reliving that day?"

The "Gus" (who we later learn is named Martin) and "Ralph" here overhear him from a nearby table. He explains to them: "The truth is, I'm stuck in a horrible place, the days are all alike, and try as I might, I can't change a thing." The response from "Ralph"? "Sounds like the story of my life."

Filippo suggests they go dance and cut to a dance, but Filippo and Martin come riding in on a scooter, crashing through tables and chairs. Police, arrest, and cut to:

Day Five: Filippo is excited, reciting the radio bit, enjoying the falling lamp, tripping the kid with the pastries the taking a bite out of one. He kisses Rosa and calls her "cupcake." Punches Bob. His table of food is all shellfish and wine (three bottles). Meanwhile, he's telling people off on the phone.

Filippo takes notice of Marta as she yells at her leather-clad guy. Cut to Day Six, he sets up a shot with Enrico right by the bar and stops the storming off Marta for some questions.

Filippo: What do you think about the stork migration?

Marta: I hope it doesn't bring more people to this island, because I like it untamed as it is.

Filippo: What's your ideal man like?

Marta: Someone who's not overly traditional, who doesn't send roses, and who doesn't say he loves me just to sleep with me. A man who wants to truly understand me, for example, I like rock, and no man's ever asked me what I think of Aznar.

She's wearing an Aznar shirt.

Filippo: Do you have a recurring dream?

Marta: When I'm happy, I dream I'm flying over the island, I pass over the coast, the volcano... It's beautiful.

Filippo tells Enrico to scout beautiful locations on the island. Enrico thinks Filippo did that for him, because he's interested in Marta. but cut to Day Seven and Filippo's got a rock shirt on himself, he tells Marta, "I saw you and thought: 'A gal who loves this untamed island!'" He also asks her: "What do you think of Aznar?" Montage of locations, Filippo and Marta together, he mentions imagining her flying over the island and cut to sex. Unlike Groundhog Day, we get some brief nudity here, but then Marta's crying. Turns out she doesn't like that he said (which we didn't see) he didn't love her just because they're sleeping together. She's "tired of men who ditch me in the morning and run for the back door." So, of course, Filippo offers to marry her.

Day Eight: the auction. Filippo bids against himself on a clock... while eating a plate of pastries. He pays 10,000 euros for the clock, hands over his credit card and smashes the clock because he "needed" the pendulum. He takes it with him and back at the hotel, he uses it to knock Candela down the stairs. Then he hands it off to Enrico, calling it a "bouquet of flowers."

Day Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, different women and one man, Filippo tells them "I Don't know. I've never felt this way before." Actually, he says nothing to the man, just starts unbuttoning the man's shirt." The last one he's sick of this and leaves.

This film's "Jeopardy" scene follow.

Montage of clocks and whatnot, Rita, Carlos, Candela, a stork, waiter dropping tray...

Day, well, I don't know, I didn't count. But, as Filippo walks down a street he knows what people will say around him. He spots Rita in a dress and... awesome bit I didn't notice yesterday. In the scene with the girl at the TV station, she said he was smiling when they were together and he said he was yawning. Now, he says Rita is beautiful when she smiles and she says she was yawning.

Next day: Rita orders ice cream. and Filippo bounds up behind her and orders cream and pistachio—her flavor (so maybe a day was skipped already). He wants to know what Rita's ideal man is like but the various dichotomies he presents as options don't work for her. She wants a guy who gets involved for real.

Cut to: Filippo playing futbol with some kids. Rita joins in but Filippo knocks a kid out of his way to win. She mentions poetry, so...

Cut to: truck ride and Filippo is working on poetry. But, Rita doesn't care for it. Instead, she's going to give Fernando her condolences. (Don't know who Fernando is, and I don't think the movie established anyone had died).

Next day, Phil gives Carlos a cigarette for the first time—actually it looks like three—and tells Rita how he recently lost his mom, and his father's dog, and his cousin. Rita forgives him for being late (and everyone else feels sorry for him for losing a dog)...

Next day: Filippo tells off Rita:

I'm sick to hell of you! A man who's this and that but you don't like anyone! What the heck do you want? I did things for you I never thought I'd do for any woman. Eight pages of poems you didn't want to read [I wonder how he managed that between waking up and getting to the truck 10 minutes later]. I don't want to see you anymore.

Outside Rita's house, Filippo sees she's got a kid. He watches and sees the kid's favorite toy is a big robot (which he didn't want to share with his friend Carlito, who is now crying). And, Rita spells out the theme of the movie talking to Manuel, her son.

Rita: Know what happens to selfish kids?

Manuel: They go to hell when they die.

Rita: You're in hell right now. I can buy you toys and games, but not friends, you have to earn those yourself. Selfish people, like that bald Italian [Filippo], have no friends. No one loves him, want to end up like him?

And, Manuel shares his robot.

Another day, Filippo talks to Rosa kindly, gives a wad of cash to Carlos, hugs Bob (so that Bob leaves to sit away from him on the ride)... stops the tray from spilling... At night, he talks to Rosa again. He tells her her breakfast buns are the highlight of his day. Rosa, by herself since she was widowed (31 years ago), goes to market every morning.

Filippo: Every day?

Rosa: I like going to the market. I'd never give it up, I love my daily routine.

Filippo: For you time passes without reason.

Rosa: But it passes, unfortunately [I wonder about the translation there], and quickly.

He helps her set tables. She used to set them with her husband. She mentions an "old sailor" who felt ill today; she hopes it's not serious and he was her husband's friend. (This is Carlos, but the connection won't be made until later.)

Filippo continues setting things while Rosa goes into the kitchen. Rita shows up, back from dinner with everyone else, sees him helping. When he tells her this time that she looks good in her blue dress, she thanks him genuinely. She even apologizes for being rude this morning. Filippo realizes, "You go to dinner like that every night, but I never come."

That night, in bed, Filippo prays:

It was a struggle to be nice, but I'm happy. If there's no water either, thanks. So I'll learn what sacrifice means. But if tomorrow's today, at least let her remember something,unconsciously, on the left side of her brain, in her feet... I pray for the storks, for all birds, may they fly high in the sky... All beaked birds. Amen.

Next day: Filippo takes Rita's complaint without saying anything. He tells himself to stay calm and cut to: "Fucking birds!" Filippo's got himself a sub-machine gun, and he's gunning down the storks. It makes for a weird transition from the night before. Unlike in Groundhog Day where the series of slaps lets us know that "date night" isn't working out, and we get some depression before we get to death, here, it goes from a night that actually ended pretty well to basically Filippo's worst day. Finally, faced with Enrico, Filippo turns the gun on himself.

And then it's morning again. Filippo cries sitting in his bed.

Then there's some stork flying footage, and Filippo walks around with them, watches them, reaches out to them, runs around with his arms out, and finally sleeps beside a nest. This sequence fits better with the prayer night, like the gun bit could be cut entirely. Enrico finds him because he was worried, but wonders why he cared as Filippo doesn't seem to care. Enrico falls and hurts his leg. Filippo helps him and together they walk back toward town. On the way, Enrico is frightened by a wolf howling. Filippo doesn't seem to mind.

They make a fire and talk. Filippo wants to help Enrico get Marta now. Cut to morning—well, it's light out, but they aren't back to town yet.

Another morning—no transition—Filippo yells out his door to Rosa to see when she's going to market. He goes with her to market. Rosa: "My husband never even did this." Filippo talks to the Martin who was driving for Rosa. He's got a thing for Tom, Marta's leather-clad guy....

Cut to, cards with Martin, "Ralph" and Bob. Filippo wins. Enrico invites him to dinner. This time he goes. He dances with Candela. Enrico dances with Marta. Filippo cuts in on Bob to dance with Rita. Filippo offers to walk Rita home but she's got a car. He says he wants to "try it out" and can walk back. At her place, she invites him in. Filippo notes that the housekeeper (or maybe it's Rita's mother) overcooked the pasta and that's why Manuel didn't eat it. Manuel's robot is "broken" and Filippo fixes it. He calls it "guy stuff." Rita says she's Manuel's "father and mother." More gender stuff.

Walking back to the hotel, Filippo comes upon Carlos having a heart attack and gets him to the hospital in time to die.

Next day, Filippo feeds Carlos—he was a sailor, had a boat he named after his wife, Carmen. He wants to see it again. But, Filippo takes him to the hospital for a checkup. An interesting exchange:

Carlos: You only die once.

Filippo: That's what you think.

Filippo yells at the doctor after Carlos dies again. He told them to check his heart. The doctor says: "The time will come for us all." Not for Filippo, though.

Filippo's final report comes:

Filippo: Man is impotent before natural phenomenons, that's why he must fight. A better environment betters us also. A hello to [Bob] Cantini of "Fauna and Friends" magazine.

[He waves Bob into frame.]

Bob: The next issue of "Fauna and Friends," with 80 pages and color photos, will speak of this majestic symbol of fertility. Thanks.

Rita chases after Filippo, tells him that was a "perfect report" and apologizes for being rude this morning. She invites him to stay for sandwiches, but he's got an "important appointment." She asks to come with him. His appointment is with Carlos, more food and wine and a cigarette. And, he pays Martin to take Carlos to his old house (where he left his boat). Filippo tells Rita that Carlos will die tonight and the "god day" scene gets going as Filippo knows about people and the spilled tray... I think this is when we find out Tom's and Martin's names. Rita asks if those two will get back together. Filippo's response: I only know what happens today.

Filippo explains the loop to Rita and she stays with him to see what happens. She asks how he occupies his time, and he asks if she wants to rob a bank or sink a ferry. She opts for "something less illegal" and they go to the auction. He suggests she bid against him because the auctioneer gets mad when he does. They bid on a herd of "30 pedigree pigs," staring bid 6000 euros. They bid up to 50,000 and Filippo asks for the pigs to be delivered to the hotel tomorrow.

He predicts Enrico saying, "When you travel for work, you can't enjoy the place." Something Enrico said way back on maybe Day Two. Filippo talks to Enrico and tells him a line to use on Marta, to ask about Aznar. But then, he suggests Enrico tell her the truth, he's a shy Boy Scout. He also mentions, "Marta adores organic jams." Rosa's jams have been mentioned a few times by now. Rita asks how Filippo knows about Marta and Enrico asks how he knows he was a Boy Scout. Filippo changes the subject, running off with Manuel.

Cut to Rita's place. She asks if he knows what dress she's wearing. He describes her blue dress but she's not wearing it. She cheated, changed her outfit. Filippo fixes the robot again, and saves the pasta from overcooking. "8 minutes, not 90 minutes," he says.

They go do dinner but don't go in. "You already know the menu and conversation," Rita says. She suggests, "Let's do something you never did." Filippo's response: "Make love to you?" She laughs and says, "Something else?"

He responds: "I went to jail, I got drunk, I committed suicide..." She interrupts with "Night swimming?" He never did that, but he doesn't want to because "it's unpleasant... There are currents, we might run into a shark, an ocean liner, anomalous oars..." Cut to, they are both wet, they've been swimming.

Back at the hotel, they eat some of Rosa's buns—Rita calls one of the powdered pastries a "cookie" but that might just be a translation thing. Rosa comes in and mentions that Carlos has died. Filippo says he'll take him fishing tomorrow and Rita kisses him.

Meanwhile, Enrico talks to Marta... it doesn't end well, but he knocks at her door and shows her a small jar of jam, tells her, "I'm really shy and I was a Boy Scout. It's organic." Marta laughs—she's going to invite him in but we cut to:

Filippo and Rita in bed. He calls himself "a man with no tomorrow." A bird is singing outside.

Filippo says, "It's almost dawn, we'll part soon."

Rita: "It is not yet near day, it was the nightingale, and not the lark that pierced thine ear.

They're doing a bit from Romeo and Juliet.

Morning and it seems the same. But Rita, offscreen, says, "They put on yesterday's tape." In this version of the story, Rita gets to know what's been going on, though I suppose Phil may have told the other Rita at some point. Filippo bumps a tray, a coffee pot and several cups. Rita didn't want to fall asleep so she drank 200 cups of coffee, she tells him. It's raining outside. They leave and we see Enrico coming out of Marta's room with Marta as well.

And a truck arrives with Filippo's pigs. Laughter and scene.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to recap every movie ever made and memorize them all.

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