Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is specifically dedicated to remembering the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It's not to honor all veterans (there's a day for that).

Enjoy your picnic, but remember what the day is set aside for.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out is a hilarious black comedy mystery film with a star-studded cast, including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, and Christopher Plummer. I watched it on Amazon Prime and loved every minute.


Roger Ebert's site calls it "one of the most purely entertaining films in years." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 97%.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Madame Maigret's Own Case

Madame Maigret's Own Case is a 1950 mystery novel by Georges Simenon. I enjoy the books in this series. They can be read in any order.

from the back of the book:
Madame Maigret's trip to the dentist brings surprising insight to a baffling case.

When two human teeth are found in the furnace of a Flemish bookbinder, police quickly take him into custody. Blood stains are discovered on a suit in the suspect’s closet, but he denies ownership. Then, a strangely heavy suitcase found in his workshop disappears. A neighboring shoemaker is willing to talk but his story changes with successive trips to the local tavern and is discredited. Without a body, the case seems impossibly perplexing –until Madame Maigret offers her help.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Sleepless (1957)

Sleepless is a 1957 Egyptian melodrama film. It is considered a classic of Egyptian film, and is, to my knowledge, the first Egyptian film I've seen. Melodramas aren't my preferred genre, but this is an interesting movie. I found the Electra Complex plot unpleasant enough, though, that I didn't finish it.

The online video I watched is gone, and now I can't even find a trailer.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Without Remorse

Without Remorse is a 2021 action thriller inspired by the Tom Clancy novel. This film spent over 20 years in development hell, and I'm glad it finally made it to us. I watched it on Amazon Prime. Michael B. Jordan is the best thing about the movie. The end sets up for a sequel. We'll see.


Roger Ebert's site is unimpressed. Hollywood Reporter concludes, "Audiences weary of superhero franchises and craving something leaner and meaner could do worse." Variety praises Jordan's performance.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Henry lV, part 1

Henry IV, part 1 is one of Shakespeare's historical plays. You can read the play online here. It begins:
SCENE I. London. The palace.



So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commenced in strands afar remote.
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood;
Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields,
Nor bruise her flowerets with the armed hoofs
Of hostile paces: those opposed eyes,
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
All of one nature, of one substance bred,
Did lately meet in the intestine shock
And furious close of civil butchery
Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,
March all one way and be no more opposed
Against acquaintance, kindred and allies:
The edge of war, like an ill-sheathed knife,
No more shall cut his master. Therefore, friends,
As far as to the sepulchre of Christ,
Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
We are impressed and engaged to fight,
Forthwith a power of English shall we levy;
Whose arms were moulded in their mothers' womb
To chase these pagans in those holy fields
Over whose acres walk'd those blessed feet
Which fourteen hundred years ago were nail'd
For our advantage on the bitter cross.
But this our purpose now is twelve month old,
And bootless 'tis to tell you we will go:
Therefore we meet not now. Then let me hear
Of you, my gentle cousin Westmoreland,
What yesternight our council did decree
In forwarding this dear expedience.


My liege, this haste was hot in question,
And many limits of the charge set down
But yesternight: when all athwart there came
A post from Wales loaden with heavy news;
Whose worst was, that the noble Mortimer,
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
Against the irregular and wild Glendower,
Was by the rude hands of that Welshman taken,
A thousand of his people butchered;
Upon whose dead corpse there was such misuse,
Such beastly shameless transformation,
By those Welshwomen done as may not be
Without much shame retold or spoken of.


It seems then that the tidings of this broil
Brake off our business for the Holy Land.


This match'd with other did, my gracious lord;
For more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the north and thus it did import:
On Holy-rood day, the gallant Hotspur there,
Young Harry Percy and brave Archibald,
That ever-valiant and approved Scot,
At Holmedon met,
Where they did spend a sad and bloody hour,
As by discharge of their artillery,
And shape of likelihood, the news was told;
For he that brought them, in the very heat
And pride of their contention did take horse,
Uncertain of the issue any way.

This was recorded live:

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Dead Again in Tombstone

Dead Again in Tombstone is a 2017 action/horror/Western film, a direct sequel to Dead in Tombstone. If you liked the first one, which I did, this is more of the same. You need to have seen the first one to appreciate this one at all. I watched it on Netflix.


It was not well-reviewed by critics.

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Wages of Fear

The Wages of Fear is a 1953 French film starring Yves Montand. This is shown with commercials, but I'm just happy to find it online:

The Guardian includes it in their list of best action and war films of all time, saying it "has no superior in the field of action-suspense". Roger Ebert has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Love Songs from a Shallow Grave

Love Songs from a Shallow Grave is a 2010 mystery novel, 7th in the Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery series by Colin Cotterill. I was seriously disappointed in book six in this series, but this one restores my faith. My feminist side had some difficulty with the plot, but nothing's perfect. These books should be read in order, so don't start with this one.

from the back of the book:
When a Lao female security officer is discovered stabbed through the heart with a fencing sword, Dr. Siri, the reluctant national coroner for the People's Democratic Republic of Laos, is brought in to examine the body. Soon two other young women are found killed in the same unusual way. Siri learns that all three victims studied in Europe and that one of them was being pursued by a mysterious stalker. But before he can solve the case, he is whisked away to Cambodia on a diplomatic mission. Though on the surface the Khmer Rouge seem to be committed to the socialist cause, Siri soon learns the horrifying truth of the killing fields and finds himself thrown into prison. Can the seventy-four-year-old escape with his life?
Publishers Weekly closes with this: "This immensely satisfying mystery has it all—a heroic protagonist, a challenging puzzle, and an exotic setting." Eurocrime concludes, "the author appears to have found a new twist yet again, and this latest edition to the saga is a fascinating read." Mysterious Reviews says, "this outstanding series deserves a wider audience".

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Sherlock Holmes Baffled

In observance of Sherlock Holmes Day I watched Sherlock Holmes Baffled, a 1900 short, silent film. This is the first film adaptation of Holmes.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods is an award-winning 2020 war movie, a tragedy that tells the story of a group of men who go back to the site of their last mission in Vietnam. Spike Lee directs. It was the last Chadwick Boseman film released before his death from cancer at the age of 43 in August of that year. I watched it on Netflix.


The New Yorker closes a glowing review with this:
The transformative, prophetic power of “Da 5 Bloods” is rooted in its overarching sense of a never-ending war—not the Vietnam War, specifically, but the daily war at home that’s waged against black Americans, who are forced to fight for survival, equality, and justice.
Roger Ebert's site opens a 4-star review with this:
Spike Lee’s excellent “Da 5 Bloods” opens with Muhammad Ali and closes with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two legends who are inextricably tied to the Civil Rights movement and Black pride. Lee uses them to highlight another commonality: their strenuous opposition to the Vietnam War. For Ali, the objection cost him several productive years of his career and his heavyweight title; for Dr. King, this new focus was quite possibly the final straw that led to his assassination. The first words we hear are Ali’s famous explanation of why he refused to enlist. The last words we hear are from a speech King gave on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his murder, where he quotes poet Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again.”

Between these two bookends is a heist movie of sorts, albeit one with far more on its mind than its plot details would suggest.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 92%.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Devil's Daughter

The Devil's Daughter is a 1939 zombie horror film (or a romantic comedy/drama, depending on which site you believe), which takes place on a Jamaican banana plantation. It's under an hour long.

Black Horror Movies has screen shots and says, "The Devil’s Daughter is an all-black melodramatic semi-remake of Ouanga with no devil and with daughters so bland the devil wouldn’t want ’em anyway."


About the Interstate 40 Mississippi River "M" bridge closure...

A new photo has surfaced showing that same crack being there back in 2016. Makes me wonder exactly what those inspectors are doing out there.

There's some concern about whether or not the old 1949 bridge that carries Interstate 55 across the Mississippi River here in Memphis can hold up under all the increased traffic. Inspections are being made. Let's hope these inspections are more thorough than the ones that missed the current problem for at least 5 years, right? The next closest crossings would be 100 miles to the north at Dyersburg, TN, and 60 miles to the south between Helena, AR, and Lula, MS.

Here's a map from Google:

There's an interesting piece here that explains how the unusual design of the bridge contributes to the risk:
This bridge's structural system is defined as an arched truss bridge with a deck suspended from the truss. This system is not the ideal system for a bridge that long. For this type of bridge, it's far preferable that the truss extend below the deck of the bridge at the pier (the upright structure that goes into the river to hold the bridge up) to provide better force distribution.

But because of this bridge's unique "M" shape, the entire truss (the arch of the "M") is above the deck and the pier is in direct contact with the bridge deck (which holds the highway). Because the arched "M" shape also requires the cables connecting the truss to the bridge to be shorter in places, this imposes high stress concentrations at the beams near the pier, specifically where this fracture was located.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The House of Seven Gables

The House of Seven Gables is an 1851 Gothic novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, who died on this date in 1864 at the age of 59. This book was required reading in school. I thought it was the most boring thing I'd ever read at the time and never re-read it, but I'm giving it another try. You can read it online here or listen to it read to you at this link or at the bottom of this post. It begins,


The Old Pyncheon Family

Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst. The street is Pyncheon Street; the house is the old Pyncheon House; and an elm-tree, of wide circumference, rooted before the door, is familiar to every town-born child by the title of the Pyncheon Elm. On my occasional visits to the town aforesaid, I seldom failed to turn down Pyncheon Street, for the sake of passing through the shadow of these two antiquities,—the great elm-tree and the weather-beaten edifice.

The aspect of the venerable mansion has always affected me like a human countenance, bearing the traces not merely of outward storm and sunshine, but expressive also, of the long lapse of mortal life, and accompanying vicissitudes that have passed within. Were these to be worthily recounted, they would form a narrative of no small interest and instruction, and possessing, moreover, a certain remarkable unity, which might almost seem the result of artistic arrangement. But the story would include a chain of events extending over the better part of two centuries, and, written out with reasonable amplitude, would fill a bigger folio volume, or a longer series of duodecimos, than could prudently be appropriated to the annals of all New England during a similar period. It consequently becomes imperative to make short work with most of the traditionary lore of which the old Pyncheon House, otherwise known as the House of the Seven Gables, has been the theme. With a brief sketch, therefore, of the circumstances amid which the foundation of the house was laid, and a rapid glimpse at its quaint exterior, as it grew black in the prevalent east wind,—pointing, too, here and there, at some spot of more verdant mossiness on its roof and walls,—we shall commence the real action of our tale at an epoch not very remote from the present day. Still, there will be a connection with the long past—a reference to forgotten events and personages, and to manners, feelings, and opinions, almost or wholly obsolete—which, if adequately translated to the reader, would serve to illustrate how much of old material goes to make up the freshest novelty of human life. Hence, too, might be drawn a weighty lesson from the little-regarded truth, that the act of the passing generation is the germ which may and must produce good or evil fruit in a far-distant time; that, together with the seed of the merely temporary crop, which mortals term expediency, they inevitably sow the acorns of a more enduring growth, which may darkly overshadow their posterity.



About that Interstate 40 Memphis-Arkansas bridge:

Our own Governor Bill Lee met yesterday with the Arkansas governor here in Memphis to discuss the situation. Count on Lee to make this about national politics sigh:“We are making swift progress on repairs to the Hernando de Soto bridge to ensure safety and a return to uninterrupted commerce,” Lee said. “While Congress ponders the definition of infrastructure, we call upon the federal government to prioritize the safety of actual roads and bridges.”

TDOT has awarded the repair work contract, and work may begin as early as today. There's still no projection on how long the bridge will be closed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Faces in the Dark

Faces in the Dark is a 1960 psychological thriller film starring John Gregson, Mai Zetterling, and John Ireland.

There's an overview at TCM.

Screenshots for T Stands for Tuesday:


Our ongoing bridge issue (the bridge that carries I-40 across the Mississippi River at Memphis is closed to all traffic for the foreseeable future due to serious issues found during the annual inspection) will cause shipping delays and increased prices for consumer goods.

The inspection process continues. from our local news: "MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Hernando Desoto I-40 bridge remains closed due to a fracture in a support beam that Memphians are beginning to realize was there years ago."

Monday, May 17, 2021

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame is an award-winning 2010 Hong Kong action/adventure/mystery film that tells the story of one of the most celebrated officials of the Tang dynasty, who is tasked by the Empress to solve a series of inexplicable murders in which victims suddenly burst into flames. Who can resist spontaneous human combustion? The special effects are great, and this film is fun to watch. I watched it on Amazon Prime, but you can also watch it free on Pluto, Tubi, and Youtube:


Now, about the "M" bridge:

There's evidence there was damage to this bridge at least as long ago as 2019. Apparently the only reason the bridge was closed this time is that this time one of the inspectors called 911 and said the traffic needed to be cleared as soon as possible. This is making us wonder what the heck these inspections are for. To give us comfort and confidence? In spite of the present dangers? Do these inspection reports just get submitted, ignored, and filed without any serious consideration of the issues uncovered? Scary!

from the news:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One of the benefits of the M-bridge being so beloved and so photographed by Memphians is we have lots of pictures and videos of it. So, when transportation officials said they didn’t know when that bridge fracture happened, a couple of curious citizens started looking through their photo albums.

from WKNO: While reviewing their current investigation of the fracture, ADOT spokesperson Dave Parker says staff came across drone footage from a consulting firm’s inspection of the bridge’s cables in 2019. “That drone video happened to capture an image of what looks to be evidence of damage in May of 2019 that’s in the same area as this break,” he says, noting that the consulting firm was not hired to do a “full blown inspection,” just examine the cables. Now, the agency is looking into whether damage was identified during ADOT’s official inspection of the crossing in September of 2019.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Double Crossbones

Double Crossbones is a 1951 comedy/adventure/pirate movie starring Donald O'Connor, Helena Carter, and Will Geer. It's just an hour and 15 minutes long. I watched it during lunch one day and enjoyed it.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Murder, My Sweet (1944)

Murder, My Sweet is a 1944 film noir starring Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, and Anne Shirley. Priceless.

Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critics score of 94%. It's included in the book 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.


And speaking of infrastructure... were we speaking of infrastructure?

The Interstate 40 bridge across the Mississippi River at Memphis has been evaluated as safe for river traffic, so the river itself has been re-opened to all those barges waiting.

from CNBC:
The Mississippi River reopened to vessel traffic near Memphis on Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard said, ending a shutdown of a part of the waterway that disrupted shipments of oil and corn and caused a backlog of more than 1,000 barges.
The TDOT conducted three separate analyses of the bridge with nothing on it.

“They (TDOT) determined that the bridge was stable enough for vessels to transit underneath the bridge,” [U.S. Coast Guard Sector Commander] Captain Rhodes says.

The closure of a Mississippi River bridge on the Tennessee-Arkansas state line sent the grain markets nosediving Thursday.

On Tuesday, a bridge inspector discovered a “significant fracture” that has indefinitely closed the Hernando de Soto Bridge that carries Interstate 40 across the Mississippi River between Memphis, Tennessee, and West Memphis, Arkansas.
The bridge itself remains closed, with road traffic being detoured three miles sounth to the old Highway 55 bridge.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Shallows' 42

I haven't seen this film, but I've never seen Jaws, either. This one does have a 42.

trailer for The Shallows:


Speaking of infrastructure, were we speaking of infrastructure? ... the "M" Bridge across the Mississippi River at Memphis has been closed, including river traffic under the bridge, because a serious structural crack was found during a routine annual inspection. The bridge may be closed for months. There's another bridge, but it's a much narrower 2-lane bridge, and some of those big trucks won't even fit. I'm glad I don't make that commute every day.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Spectre Bridegroom

The Spectre Bridegroom is a gothic tale by Washington Irving. Published in 1819, it was inspired by a German legend. It's tagged "horror" because of the gothic atmosphere, but it's not "horror" as many would define that word. You can read it online here or have it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
On the summit of one of the heights of the Odenwald, a wild and romantic tract of Upper Germany that lies not far from the confluence of the Main and the Rhine, there stood many, many years since the castle of the Baron Von Landshort. It is now quite fallen to decay, and almost buried among beech trees and dark firs; above which, however, its old watch-tower may still be seen struggling, like the former possessor I have mentioned, to carry a high head and look down upon the neighboring country.

The baron was a dry branch of the great family of Katzenellenbogen, and inherited the relics of the property and all the pride, of his ancestors. Though the warlike disposition of his predecessors had much impaired the family possessions, yet the baron still endeavored to keep up some show of former state. The times were peaceable, and the German nobles in general had abandoned their inconvenient old castles, perched like eagles’ nests among the mountains, and had built more convenient residences in the valleys; still, the baron remained proudly drawn up in his little fortress, cherishing with hereditary inveteracy all the old family feuds, so that he was on ill terms with some of his nearest neighbors, on account of disputes that had happened between their great-great-grandfathers.

The baron had but one child, a daughter, but Nature, when she grants but one child, always compensates by making it a prodigy; and so it was with the daughter of the baron.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Please Murder Me

Please Murder Me is a 1951 film noir starring Raymond Burr and Angela Lansbury. That cast is worth watching!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Corner of the Table

The Corner of the Table:

by Paul Émile Chabas, who died on May 10, 1937, after a long illness. I offer this dinner setting as my "in" to the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering. Share a drink in your post and join us, won't you?

Better known for his nudes, when Chabas died September Morn (1911) was the only painting in his room:

Or rather his painting of the original from memory was in his room. The painting has a controversial history. The original was privately owned until it was donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1957. It is not on display.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Man Push Cart

Man Push Cart is a 2005 American independent film by Ramin Bahrani that tells the story of a former Pakistani rock star who sells coffee and bagels from his pushcart on the streets of Manhattan.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

The Man with the Iron Fists

The Man with the Iron Fists is a 2012 martial arts film. It stars Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, and David Bautista. Want some mindless fun? Here ya go! I watched it on HBO MAX.


Saturday, May 08, 2021

The House is Black

The House is Black is a 1963 Iranian short (20 minutes) film. from Wikipedia:
directed by Forough Farrokhzad, Iranian, modernist poet and film director. You can watch it online here. from Wikipedia: The film is a look at life and suffering in a leper colony and focuses on the human condition and the beauty of creation. It is spliced with Farrokhzad's narration of quotes from the Old Testament, the Koran and her own poetry. The film features footage from the Bababaghi Hospice leper colony. It was the only film she directed before her death in 1967. During shooting, she became attached to a child of two lepers, whom she later adopted.

Although the film attracted little attention outside Iran when released, it has since been recognised as a landmark in Iranian film.

This film is about leprosy and does not shy away from the subject.

Friday, May 07, 2021

Dune (1984)

Dune is a 1984 David Lynch adaptation of the Frank Herbert science fiction novel. Linda Hunt, Jose Ferrar, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Dean Stockwell, and Max von Sydow are in this one. I watched it on HBO MAX, having seen it before years ago. This is a deeply flawed adaptation, and I can't recommend it, but I watched it with a family member who liked the book but hadn't seen this film. 


Thursday, May 06, 2021

The End of April

The End of April is a 2017 South Korean psychological drama/horror film. This one is slow to go anywhere but has a twist at the end. I watched it free but can't find it free online now. I can't even find a trailer with English subtitles. That's a real shame.

Here's a promotional piece:

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Uniform Justice

Uniform Justice is the 12th book in the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series by Donna Leon. I'm enjoying this series, filling in as I get books in the series for birthday and Christmas presents. Though I guess it would be helpful to read these in order, it's not strictly speaking necessary with this series. I enjoy the characters, that their relationships are fully formed but not distracting from the plot, the food descriptions, the intriguing plots, and the atmosphere. It feels like you're in Venice.

from the back of the book:
In Uniform Justice, a Publishers Weekly Book of the Year, a young cadet in Venice's elite military academy has been found hanged, a presumed suicide. Commissario Guido Brunetti's sorrow for the boy, so close in age to his own son, is rivaled only by his contempt for a community that is more concerned with protecting the reputation of the school, and its privileged students, than with finding the truth. The young man's father is a doctor and former politician. He is a man of impeccable integrity, all too rare in Italian politics. Yet, although clearly devastated and convinced that the death of his son could not have been a suicide, he inexplicably avoids talking to the police. As Brunetti pursues his inquiry, he is faced with a wall of silence. Is the military protecting its own? And what is preventing the other witnesses from talking? Or has Brunetti uncovered a conspiracy far more sinister than that of a single death?
Grove Atlantic says,
Uniform Justice is a riveting, pitch-perfect murder mystery—the work of a truly masterful storyteller. Conjuring contemporary Venice in exquisite and alluring detail, Donna Leon offers what has been widely hailed as the finest installment yet of the Commissario Guido Brunetti series.
Kirkus Reviews closes with this:
A powerful indictment of an Italian society in which “scandal had the same shelf life as fresh fish: by the third day, both were worthless; one because it had begun to stink, the other because it no longer did.”
Reviewing the Evidence says, "The author has produced her usual impeccable work." Publishers Weekly concludes, "This is an outstanding book, deserving of the widest audience possible, a chance for American readers to again experience a master practitioner's art."

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a 2017 epic fantasy directed by Guy Ritchie. Jude Law plays the bad guy. I watched it on HBO Max. We'd like to cancel that service, and yet we continue to yield to the temptation to watch yet another movie. And then another. I'll watch any King Arthur story, and this is one. There are better ones, but this'll do 'til another comes along.


It was not well-reviewed, though there are some positive reviews out there.

Have a cup of coffee with me (or choose your favorite beverage)

and join me at the weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.


Warning, political comment ahead:

"Lies can have terrible consequences." If you're getting your news and commentary from FOX, please stop. Actually if you're getting your news from any one source, please stop. Look for sources of actual factual reporting. If you like their commentary, all the better. Fact-check even your favorite and trusted sources. Everybody makes mistakes, after all. Do your best not to be part of the problem. As the saying goes, "A lie can travel around the world while the truth is still lacing up its boots," so it behooves us all to let the lie stop with us and not repeat it and spread it further.

The following video from Jim Acosta (CNN) calls out FOX for its lies:

I found that video on The Mary Sue blog, where they say, "Jim Acosta took on Fox News in a searing indictment of their relentless lies and bad faith messaging." The Mary Sue is a fun source of commentary, describing themselves as "the geek girl’s guide to the universe."

Monday, May 03, 2021

Tale of Tales (1979)

Tale of Tales is a 1979 award-winning Soviet/Russian animated short (30-minute) film.

The Guardian says,
is a mysterious animated film, tough and delicate, that has won prizes at international festivals since it first appeared in 1980, culminating in prizes in both Los Angeles and Zagreb (in 2002) as the best animated film of all time. It was made in Soviet Russia by Yuri Norstein, who was not allowed to travel to receive any of his awards, and who was almost prevented from making, and then from showing, the film at all. It is a film that immediately changes the memory - mine at least - of all other films.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Stay in My Car

Stay in My Car:

by Memphis musician Sid Selvidge, who died on this date in 2013 of cancer.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Listen to Britain

Listen to Britain is a 1942 British propaganda short (10-minute) film. from Wikipedia:
In Listen to Britain, Jennings is selling a myth of national unity; that in spite of pre-war differences all classes were united in war socialism but it's a bottom up view that highlights individuality, the "unity within difference". Having learnt through Mass Observation that the British people were uncomfortable with detecting propaganda, Jennings used a poetic style to mask it. The use of sound was vital in this, allowing the montage of shots to imply hidden meaning, such as the sound of an unseen aircraft on a seemingly peaceful day. Edgar Anstey feared the "beauty" would detract from the message and when the film was released in America, an introduction was added because the art had made the message ambiguous. Only at the end was the film's ambiguity dropped as Rule, Britannia! plays out over a sequence that at last implies 'totalised' unity. "Propaganda finally wins out over poetry".

We have our own propaganda, of course, as all countries do.