Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Der Verlorene

Der Verlorene
seen @ 92 Y Tribeca, New York, NY

I regret to inform you that I have no wacky earthquake story to share. I'm sorry; I wish I did. My experience amounted to little more than this: I was indoors, above ground level, when it happened, I was more confused than scared, and it ended as suddenly as it began. I admit, I've always been a little curious as to what a tremor would feel like, but not that curious! Most importantly, no one I know, either here in New York or in the Virginia/DC area, was hurt. Any day now, I fully expect to start seeing "I survived the East Coast Quake of '11" T-shirts being sold on the street. (I already saw one SoHo bar with a drink offer dubbed an "earthquake special.")

I wouldn't take the subway. I was paranoid enough to stick to the bus for as long as I could, until I had to take a train to get from Brooklyn into Manhattan. I only did it for one stop. Turned out I had nothing to worry about: the subways weren't affected at all by the quake, but I guess I didn't quite believe it. So that's all I have to say about the quake. No getting caught sitting on the toilet or anything like that.

Nick is a fella I worked with at the Avenue A video store years ago. We were friendly, but to be honest, I didn't know him all that well, so I can't tell you a great deal about him. I found him on Facebook recently through a mutual friend and I friended him, and that's how I found out about an event he was part of.

Most of the YMCA branches here in New York offer the usual stuff: workout space, living quarters, summer camp for kids, etc. The 92nd Street Y is different. They also hold a wide range of major events -"major" as in attracting well-known celebrities from TV, film, music, and elsewhere. They offer concerts, lectures, children's activities, and much more. In addition to the uptown location, there's a second one downtown, in Tribeca, and that's where Nick and his partner hosts a regular series of film screenings called the Overdue Film Series.

Last night, they presented a couple of old films directed by established actors. The second one, which I didn't stay for, was a Robert Montgomery film called Ride the Pink Horse. But the first one was a German film called Der Verlorene ("The Lost One" in English), the one and only film directed by Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon star Peter Lorre.

I'm afraid I can't say much about this film because the subtitles were difficult to read. They were white, and far too often they'd vanish when projected against a light area. Here's the one sentence that describes the movie's plot at IMDB: "German scientist murders his fiancée during World War II when he learns that she has been selling the results of his secret research to the enemy." That sounds about right, but like I said, the bright subtitles made it difficult to follow, and the film itself felt slow and tedious, and after awhile, I stopped caring (though the ending is a bit of a shock). From the way he talked about it in introducing the film, Nick seemed really interested in it, so if you're reading this, Nick, I'm sorry I don't have anything better to say. For what it's worth, the movie drew a fair-sized crowd for an obscure old foreign film. The small screening room at the 92 Y Tribeca must have held 30-35 people last night.

I certainly won't hold this one movie against Nick, though. He said that next month they'd show a couple of Charles Grodin comedies, so I'm sure they do their best to offer as diverse a selection as they can.

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