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  1. As to a couple of Brian's questions, I thought the title High and Low referred to stations in life of the characters, which was mirrored by the locations of where they lived. And I understood the character working in the hospital to be some sort of orderly, which wouldn't be someone who was on his way up in life. I'm used to Kurosawa films with Mifune being period pieces (I haven't seen Stray Dogs), so this was an interesting change. I liked the 60s fashions, not that they were striking in any particular way but just because it strikes a chord of nostalgia in me since the 60s is when I grew up. (I had the same reaction to A Serious Man.) Did anyone else think some the joking on the part of the detectives seemed out of place? It wasn't the usual sardonic police humor, but more of a sense of laughing a bit at Gondo's misfortune.
  2. I thought it was what you'd get if the Serbian director Emir Kusturica (Underground) had collaborated with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Thank you much for the selection.
  3. Also worth checking out after 49th Parallel is Powell and Pressburger's next film, One of Our Aircraft is Missing, another wartime propaganda film also about a group of military men caught behind enemy lines (this time a British bomber crew in Holland). It's on YouTube:
  4. Lieutenant Hirtth's speech to Hutterites brought to mind Chaplin's speech at the end of The Great Dictator, which came out the year before. Both speeches rate high up there as ill-conceived in terms of believably advancing the plot (although Hirth's was at least in character), but beyond that both invoked the sun that would come after the present storm. Compare the Jewish Barber's heavenly sun that provides the light of hope: "Wherever you are, look up, Hannah. The clouds are lifting. The sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world, a kindlier world, where men will rise above their hate, their greed and brutality. Look up, Hannah. The soul of man has been given wings, and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow -- into the light of hope, into the future, the glorious future that belongs to you, to me, and to all of us." with Hirth's earthly sun, Adolf Hitler, the symbol of racial superiority: "You who formed a little stronghold of our people here in Canada, you will have your share of the happiness and prosperity that is waiting for us all when the storm is over and the sun rises. that mighty sun which will give us everything we need in life." "What sun are you talking about, friend?" "I am talking of the greatest idea in history, the supremacy of the Nordic race, the German people. I am talking of the being whose name I am certain lives in every heart, whose name hangs on all our lips whether we can shout it to the world or only whisper it in one another's ears."
  5. With regard to the its treatment of Banff Indian Days, the film takes the further step of explicitly recognizing its phoniness, through the Leslie Howard character: "My specialty is Indians. This has been a hunting ground of theirs for generations." "Then I ... I suppose you were at Banff today." "For Indian Day? No, no, no. That's just for tourists."
  6. I'll agree with others in this thread that The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries are probably the best starting points. But why would Fanny and Alexander not be suitable for beginners? Other than possible concerns about its length, it seems a fine choice as an introduction to Bergman. The ones I would warn a first-timer away from are Scenes From a Marriage and Cries and Whispers (not for the faint of heart). Persona and The Silence might also be too much for those who prefer a more conventional plot.
  7. I don't want to get off on a long tangent on the Adams case, but I will point out that he won his case at a jury trial last month, and an order was entered earlier this month giving him the full professorship he sought, and $50,000 damages.
  8. My addition to the list is the scene in Hannah and Her Sisters where Woody Allen's character is watching Duck Soup.
  9. I thought there was a considerable amount of playing fast-and-loose with the facts in the early parts that tried to show that Marx (and Engels) made some Hitler-like statements. The statement regarding the German nation assimilating its "ancient eastern neighbors" is taken completely out of context, and is mischaracterized to boot. The assertion that Marx and Engels called some groups "racial trash" involves mistranslating something that Engels wrote, and I doubt that it was done innocently. Most important of all, the film has Marx and Engels advocating that it was the "chief mission" of certain races and peoples "to perish in the revolutionary holocaust." The whole statement (more than I quoted) is shown on the screen, in quote marks, but the words are not theirs. Instead it is from someone writing about Marx, putting his own spin on what Marx (actually, it's Engels again) wrote. Nothing tempers the impression that Marx and Engels explicitly advocated for a "revolutionary holocaust" nearly a century before Hitler put the idea into practice. Whether you call that facts or spin, that's low.
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