Archive for Review
My short review:
The Fairy/La Fée
As Wallace Stevens has eloquently bemoaned, “reality is a cliché,” and The College of Pataphysics in France has for years attempted to remedy that particular form of cataclysm. Unbeknownst to most us, they have made very big decisions through such elaborate committees as the Sérénissime Sur-Commission des Provéditeurs Généraux .
Not to despair for movie-goers, a trio of Belgians has arrived at the scene and they seem to be handling the dire situation with much panache.
These directors/actors have triangulated an active zone of delirium around the flat roofs of the Northern French city of Le Havre.
Thanks to them and their escapades across police lines, mental institutions, and oil tanks everything may yet fall into place.
The price may be high for some: to lose control and emit strange vocal sounds while being confronted with Keaton and Tati’s heirs. –>A
at the Plaza Frontenac
(at least through the first TWO weeks of May!)
The Kid with the Bike. The Dardenne brothers’ many accomplishments continue! Again the struggle to be, to exist… again as it sometimes happens, the tremors of life moving us forward against all odds. And the children and the adults, two parallel universes yet so intermingled…
But above all, the brilliant trademark signature of those vulnerable bodies working out their inner reality – as if heads were of no use. Great performances by the classic Dardenne actors, Cécile de France and Jérémie Renier, and by the brilliant young newcomer, Thomas Doret. Cannes 2011 Grand Prix –> A+
At Webster University
Feb. 17, 18 & 19 – 7:30 p.m.
Highly celebrated by Jonathan Rosenbaum and Susan Sontag, cinema’s current Homo Hungaricus, Béla Tarr is famous for the rarely screened films “Sátántangó” and “Werckmeister Harmonies.”
Jancsó’s long takes and Olmi’s details, here with echoes of Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” and Bresson’s “Au Hasard Balthazar” – that legacy is quite present, but the punch and grit that Tarr delivers is all his own. Yet for all those so-called “difficult films,” including this one, mention must be made of his longstanding companion in crime, the famous Hungarian writer László Krasznahorkai, who knows his topic when he challenges all reviews with “You know, the problem is that anything that’s the least bit serious gets bad PR.”
This time again, in a tale that weaves a horse and the wind together as key characters, it is clear that there’s trouble. Is it Hungary, the earth, the land? Where to turn to? What causes insanity or Niezsche’s ten year silence? No answers… or at least nothing you can put in your pocket during the film or afterwards.
Survival must be madness…
2011 Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear Winner -> A-
“Civilization is what makes you sick.” – Paul Gauguin
Some people profess to teach the humanities, others purport to have become specialists in civility, teaching and publishing on the topic, and one could complain about that… but the monstrous behavior that hides behind our so-called “civilization” is something Polanski barely survived, first as a Jewish child in WWII and later around the massacre of his wife Sharon Tate.
The wisdom in outliving these events reaches beyond the scale contained in most books, and this film, like many of Polanski’s other films, provides a chance to taste some of it.
Here, a small incident discussed within the confines of a Brooklyn apartment ignites an implosion of hypocrisy to reveal what lurks behind middle-class decorum. One is reminded of Elihu Root’s characterization of civilization as a “superficial modification of barbarism.”
Like bomb defusing, the gradual unraveling of Yasmina Reza‘s celebrated witty play, “God of Carnage,” is handled with great skill and restraint. With Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet.
“You can’t say civilization don’t advance… in every war they kill you in a new way.” – Will Rogers –> A
A time to remember Whitney Harris’s work
Can we venture out of the most murderous century with 262 million dead without some solid advice?
Fortunately for us, between 1945 and 1948, a young 23 year old US Marine thought of us and our future. His film “Nuremberg: Its Lesson For Today,” until now unseen on US movie screens, constitutes a vital time-capsule.
Through the trial of that century, looking straight at both the atrocities and the blindness of WWII, Schulberg warns us that it is only without our blinders that we will move forward. Then and only then we will be able to enter into the community of nations like the International Criminal Court, something the US, Israel, China and Russia refuse to do.
This monument of a film has recently played in Iran (!) and in Argentina and Guatemala – pending further funding many other language versions are planned.
Addendum: I would follow this key film with Christian Delage’s “Nuremberg: The Nazis Facing Their Past” (which includes the testimonies of Abraham Sutzkever and Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier). The extras include the rarely seen “The Atrocities Committed by the German Fascists in the USSR.” The DVDs are available through many libraries. It may be time also to view again the classic “Judgment at Nuremberg” with Spencer Tracy, Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland, around one of the subsequent Nuremberg trials.
If you want to dig in deeper even, The Yale Archives are right here.
The original German poster
[I can’t go on, I will go on. – Samuel Beckett
After more than two years of existence (1740 posts and 37,500 views later), the PM_uoʇɹɐɯ_ɹǝıd blog had stood for what I had found worthy of notice, a sort of time-capsule, more efficient than any tombstone.
I had thought of stopping this, but I will continue]
Those who know me know why I have had to focus on “the stupid topic of stupidity,”
– Stupidity has a knack of getting its way. Albert Camus –
there is so much else in the world but…
- In politics stupidity is not a handicap. Napoleon Bonaparte
- Az emberi butaság végtelen/Human stupidity is infinite/La bêtise humaine est infinie. Hungarian Saying
- La bêtise humaine est la seule chose qui donne une idée de l’infini/Human stupidity is the only thing that gives an idea of the infinite. Ernest Renan
- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. Albert Einstein
I had thought of stopping this…
I had hoped to dislodge some of it (cf. Stephen Crane’s poem about pursuing the horizon)… but (criminal) stupidity exists in every corner – and will continue to do so – from the religious to the secular, from the streets to universities, and within every continent, nation, ethnicity, individual, in women and in men, including myself.
I had thought of stopping this…
Our only hope is kindness and to remain humane towards each other – and not just humans.
Let the so-called animals, the mountains, the trees, the plants, the sky, and everyone, teach us.
I do believe that this time here online IS NOT time passed elsewhere or more directly that:
Life is elsewhere/La vie est ailleurs… Arthur Rimbaud
Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it. Max Frisch
I remain available for speaking/writing/teaching and all sorts of creative activities to challenge “what is.”