Rather than settle for your usual Odeon, we went to BAM – the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Fort Greene. The cinema is inside one of its three beautifully ornate buildings, which also host theatre, opera, music, art and dance shows. I’ve never been to an event here before, and tonight’s visit made me realise it’s a venue I’ve overlooked.
The old-fashioned cinema shows artsy films, including tonight’s choice, Blue Jasmine. The movie is based on A Streetcar Named Desire, with Cate Blanchett playing a modern Blanche DuBois and Sally Hawkins as the Stella figure. Bobby Cannavale tackled a more sensitive, less brooding version of Stanley, and there was also a bit of Alec Baldwin and Louis C.K. thrown in.
When we left, Marie said she didn’t understand why Streetcar had to be remade, and I definitely understood that. But at the same time, this was different – there were modern struggles and the tragedies were more self inflicted; instead of death sparking the grief, it was greed and affairs. And rather than being set among the streets of New Orleans, Blanchett’s broke, unstable socialite character landed in San Francisco to live with her sister, who bags groceries at a local store.
While mental health was still central to the plot, for some reason, somehow, here it was funny. I wasn’t too sure how comfortable I felt about that.
The film’s intentions were pretty old-fashioned – hailing the blue-collar characters as the most moral, looking down on the vodka-quaffing Manhattanites, suggesting that a modest life is the happiest – but I was won over by the poetry, the characters and the actors and was left laughing.