Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday morning tunes: You see? It's almost unbearable.

By accident, several months ago, I stumbled across the BBC film for TV “Page Eight,” part spy adventure, part meditation on politics in the spirit of the post-Smiley John le Carré, starring Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz (first among equals in a pretty impressive cast that dips pretty heavily into the talent pool from the Harry Potter series). Nighy is an MI5 intelligence analyst and Weisz is -- is what? Good question: Woman wronged? Femme fatale? They have an edgy and uncertain relationship. “Why are you nervous?” she asks him she asks him at one point. “Because I find myself confiding in you,” he answers.

In an early scene (in fact, in the scene directly following), Nighy's character shows her this clip of Billie Holiday and Lester Young:

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“You see?” Nighy's character says to Weisz's as they watch. “It's almost unbearable. The way she looks -- she's so desperately in love with Lester Young that she can scarcely bear it when he plays. All the same, she doesn't forget when it's her turn.”

Here's the whole set:

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The Holliday/Young relationship was complicated, but this performance is truly an amazing thing to watch -- it almost makes me feel like a voyeur. The experience reminds me of watching Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa singing Tougher than the Rest to each other and figuring, yeah, the Boss's marriage to Julianne Phillips was over.

And Nighy's character shows this to Weisz -- what does that mean?

Hat tip to “Page Eight” writer/director David Hare for that lovely scene. Go watch the movie.

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