I've been in Ann Arbor last week for corporate training. Its almost shocking to stay at a moderate business hotel (The Campus Inn) without high-speed internet connectivity. But at one place next to the window I could barely pick up a wireless network from a nearby student apartment. I appreciate it.
Ann Arbor is a great city. Great restaurants, shops, a very vibrant student atmosphere. There's something to be said about a city with that much off-campus student housing.
One of the best features are the two excellent independent movie theaters downtown, each with two screens. One night I saw "The Weather Underground", an excellent Oscar-nominated documentary about America's own 1970s left-wing terrorist movement. It was fascinating to see the passion and the conflicted emotions thirty years later. I can't help but think that in the next 20 years, some new political cause will create the passion to once again turn Americans to terrorism. And based on the success of Tim McVeigh (the anti-government movement he was on the fringes of was close), the consequences could be substantial. I'm not sure whether to be appalled or inspired that the leader of the Weather Underground is now a law professor at Northwestern.
I saw "The Dreamers" my last night there. I thought it was a wonderful movie, though a student in the group in front of me on the way out thought it the worst movie she had seen in a year and complained about the "flopping penises". The plot is admittedly weak, but to a large degree that's not the point. I think that film, like poetry, should occasionally receive a free pass on plot when other factors warrant. It is entirely about a relationship between three people which is interwoven with film and the French politics of the late 1960s. To a certain extent, I think it captures the combination of attraction and revulsion with which America views France and how we can never become truly part of the relationship between France and Europe. Eva Green as Isabelle is incredible. Her facial expressiveness is wonderful. Rarely do I see on film people saying one thing while saying the opposite through body language. Direction and cinematography are also excellent. It is highly sexual (NC-17) though not particularly erotic. The Dreamers is a challenging movie that continues to haunt nearly a week later.