This post is a shameless excuse to tell you about an excellent movie by the name of Past Lives. I was lucky enough to see it at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre in September, and it was the perfect venue. That being said, the TIFF theatre is pretty much the perfect venue for anything. It’s a gorgeous, glamourous, multi-story affair that screens untold cinematic gems. The biggest difference between a theatre like the TIFF and your neighbourhood cinema is that the movies shown are curated by experts in the field. It’s not just the latest films to hit the big screen after distributors secure the rights to show them. The selection process is based on the quality and individual merits of every work. Equivalent to an art gallery or a museum, but in movie theatre format. If you’ve never been and you live in the GTA, you must rectify this immediately. If you’re under 25 and you haven’t been, you really need to rectify that because you can often get tickets for free. And so I went one Friday in September, making the long voyage on the subway downtown, because I was successfully targeted by Instagram’s algorithm and a well-made ad.
It did not disappoint. It’s a lengthy, meditative, tranquil time that, nevertheless, would not suit every personality type. If you’re not the type of person that can sit still for hours at a time and passively experience something, this is not the film for you. However, if you can get yourself in a mindful place (keeping in mind that the relentless pursuit of productivity is a losing cause), you may relish the opportunity to take a few deep breaths and settle in for a while.
The story follows Nora and Hae Sung, beginning with their childhood friendship. A transition point comes when Nora moves from Korea to the United States (by way of Canada). Their paths move in separate directions for a while, but the connection between them is never lessened or forgotten. As the years go on, and they become adults, they find each other online — as the internet has enabled us to do. The capacity for something like Facebook to reconnect friends on different sides of the planet is given an almost magical quality here. The rest of the film is devoted to their efforts to grapple with the strength of their connection, given the realities of both their lives. When we see friends we made when we very young, how does that inform our other relationships? And how do we reconcile everything that person meant to us as a child once our lives have changed in monumental ways?
So the Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom has been out for just over three months now, and at the time of writing this, I still haven’t beaten the thing. It’s a game of Gleeok1-sized proportions with so much to do and/or faff about with. I’m enjoying the heck out of it, and so is my fiancée, who doesn’t get that into games very often. I shouldn’t be surprised about that, though; we both got really into the game’s predecessor, Breath of the Wild. And I’ve been playing Zelda games since Ocarina of Time3, only skipping Spirit Tracks for mainline releases4. So, while I don’t know if I count as a super fan of the series, I’m at least at least a long-time player.
But this post is only partly about the games. What I want to discuss here is other media surrounding the series, which means I’m starting with a collection of manga. These mangas take the admittedly fairly basic stories of the Zelda games and imbue them and their characters with more personality, expand the lore behind the game, and, perhaps most importantly, give silent protagonist Link a personality and voice. So naturally, I’m going to start out of order and talk about The Four Swords, wherein Link gets split into four versions of himself by the titular sword, each with a different personality. This manga makes the story of one of the most remote Zelda games, Four Swords Adventures, accessible to more players. This game required every player to have their own Game Boy Advance and a link cable to connect it to the Gamecube, making the cost of entry pretty high, but it was an absolute blast if you had a group that met the requirements. It’s co-op but with a competitive aspect of who could collect the most force gems5. This aspect is explored in the manga, where Link’s clones aren’t necessarily always helpful in the quest to rescue Princess Zelda from the Sorcerer Vaati6. The villain alone makes this one worth checking out, as Vaati has only appeared in three Zelda games, and two of them required friends to play with7 while the other has only recently been released from Game Boy Advance prison to the Switch online expansion pass. Sadly, we can’t help you play the game, but we do have a good selection of games for newer consoles than the GBA.
As has already been discussed on this blog here and here, P.D. James is the best. What has previously been commented upon succinctly by my colleagues, will now be expanded upon heartily.
In my house, we have fallen in love with the television adaptation of James’ excellent mystery novels. The show is simply titled Dalgliesh, after the central Detective Chief Inspector figure. Each novel is covered by two episodes; therefore, each mystery is given an hour and a half of introduction, development, and resolution. The stories have that shimmer of reality because of the complex detail James devotes to them. More than that, our detective Dalgliesh feels real as well. Slowly, the audience is told that he is a somewhat famous poet, a widower, and a fully-fledged person with emotions and friendships.
I suppose it’s somewhat backwards to have started with the TV show and now gone back to the novels it’s based on, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. There are 14 Adam Dalgliesh murder mysteries to gorge yourself on. Woefully, there are only four print books and two audiobooks in our collection. But if you are intrigued, fill out a Suggest a Title form, and we will try to borrow a copy for you from another library system!