Mulling over movies with a warm wine

By: Blogger

Winston Watusi
Music Plus

Music Plus is the name of the column so I tend to skip between a solid diet of music and a smorgasbord of related cultural food groups. This week we’re munching on movies...

It seems like good timing, since the New Zealand International Film Festival is shortly kicking off in Auckland,  on the eighteenth of this month to be precise, and there is a  host of goodies on offer, including a whole bunch of films that recently showed at the Cannes Film Festival.

Twenty-five films direct from Cannes have now been confirmed to screen at the NZIFF 2019.

Eight come from the Competition section of Cannes including the tied Jury Prize winners Les Misérables (France) and Bacurau (Brazil). The Cannes selections also features Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, the winner of both the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay, along with Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven, which received a Special Mention by the French jury.

There are also two films from Cannes – Deerskin and Vivarium – which are screening as part of the festival section that many of us look forward to most at the NZIFF, The Incredibly Strange Programme.

There are literally hundreds of films showing. The NZIFF has grown into something of a monster. Why I’m mentioning this now is that many of these films will not make it as far as Tauranga’s Rialto Cinema.

Auckland may be your only chance.

Staggering films

How it works is that the contingent festivals around the country are staggered so they start at weekly intervals. Wellington kicks off a week after Auckland, then Dunedin, then Christchurch and so on. By the time things hit Tauranga it’ll be August 22 and the selection will – if past experience is anything to go on – have been reduced to a core of the most popular mainstream titles.

Little of the Incredibly Strange section gets here.

On the bright side, a couple of films have already been announced for Tauranga so you can skip Auckland and see them here.

Most exciting is the long-delayed Sydney Pollock film of Aretha Franklin in performance, Amazing Grace. This miracle of gospel singing was thought lost for 45 years as the soundtrack and various elements went missing and there were bitter disputes, legal and otherwise, but some stories have happy endings and now we all get to see and hear Aretha as her considerable best. Advance clips are mesmerising.

We’ll also be getting the aforementioned Les Misérables – a modern crime drama not involving any singing on barricades – and Portrait of A Woman on Fire, as well as English director Ken Loach’s highly praised Sorry We Missed You.

He won at Cannes two years ago with I, Daniel Blake and this film is reputed to be every bit as good.

A recipe

And moving on from film, let’s have a recipe. I’ve been asked a lot recently about mulled wine. Fair enough too. It’s really cold out there and nothing uses up that leftover or cheap red wine better than throwing in a few spices and mulling it.

Everyone has their own take on this so I humbly offer you mine.

You’ll need two bottles of red wine. Here we go...

Peel an orange and a lemon avoiding the white stuff on the peel.

Add the peel to a big pot with the juice of the orange, 200g caster sugar, 6 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise and several grates from a nutmeg. The adventurous could also throw in a split vanilla pod, three fresh bay leaves and/or two bruised cardamom pods. Add just enough wine to cover. Bring to the boil for four or five minutes, dissolving the sugar and creating a syrup.

And that’s it really. Add the rest of the two bottles and bring it slowly up to temperature. Then drink happily. If you boil it or keep it too hot you will burn off the alcohol but it will still taste delicious.

OK. That’s how I do it. I know people who add all sorts of stuff, from port and brandy to ginger wine. Do you have a brilliant version? If so, please share...