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Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley in “The Fault in Our Stars”

Screen capture from British satire masterpiece “Kind Hearts and coronets” shown as part of Alec Guinness Festival at Film Forum

by Sam Juliano

In quick succession Father’s Day, the longest day of the year (June 21st) and the ending date of school signal the Dog Days of Summer are ahead.  Indeed weather forecasters are predicted number in the low 90’s for the coming week in the New York City area, and other friends living elsewhere are reporting much the same.  The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) will be staging their own annual film festival next week, and included on the itinerary is a new short film by our longtime friend Jason Giampietro, and our Film Forum pal Kyle Molzan who is making his debut with For the Plasma.  Richard Body in this past week’s The New Yorker has some very nice things to say about Kyle’s film.  Lucille and I (and probably Sammy and Danny) will be on hand for both screenings.  Our darling daughter Melanie graduates high school next week and we have a party set for the 28th. (more…)

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Lucille and Sam flank artist-illustrator Laura James at exhibition of three of her paintings in Harlem on Friday evening.

 

Sam between Florence and Wendell Minor (Jeremy to the right) at book signing of GALAPAGOS GEORGE at Connecticut bookshop on Saturday afternoon.

by Sam Juliano

We are nearly half way through June, and as expected air conditioners are working overtime. Schools are winding down, and vacation plays are moving forward.  Her at Wonders in the Dark, the romantic countdown continues in its fourth week.

Lucile and I saw only one film together in theaters this week, what with some other splendid activities planned and subsequently executed.  We watch William Friedkin’s late 70’s The Wages of Fear adaptation THE SORCERER, which was featured in a spectacular new restored print at the Film Forum.  We say it with young Sammy and two friends not seen in quite a while– Joel Bocko in from California, and Bob Clark.  We discussed the film and caught up with quite a bit of unfinished business afterwards at The Dish. (more…)

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Les-Enfants-Du-Paradis

By Tony d’Ambra

Garance, the older woman who has experience, wisdom, the patina of a mature mellow wine, and the allure of the courtesan.  Garance a red flower rhymes with France. A delicate symbol of freedom and of a simple yet ravishing elegance. Garance personifies liberty. Liberty as depicted by Delacroix, where again the colour red dominates: red for nationalistic passion and a vitality for revolutionary liberty. The metaphor is strong and simple.

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by Sam Juliano

June has arrived, and many are plotting their course for the summer.  Temperatures have reached the mid 80’s on the east coast, and more of the same seems a certainty.  Right now for some its about weekend visits to the shore, baseball games and barbecues,  and for teachers it is a matter of three more weeks before summer vacation commences.  This does not apply to yours truly, and some other colleagues, who must soldier on in the summer program, which begins June 26th and runs through August 8th.  Lucille and I are planning to drive up to Prince Edward Island Island for a five day trip in mid-August, but I know I am getting ahead of myself here.

The romantic countdown is moving along beautifully, with some fabulous essays and active comment sections to prove its success.  The venture will be running all the way until October 6th, with Monday to Friday postings.I want to take this opportunity to thank our very good friend John Grant over at NOIRISH for his regular updates on the progress of the countdown.  Some of John’s own superb essays for the countdown are literally right around the corner. (more…)

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Image

 

by Duane Porter

The life of Adele. Every morning Adele comes out the door, adjusts her pants, and hurries down the street to catch the bus that takes her to school. In class they are reading from La Vie de Marianne, “Ideas take hold of me. I am a woman. I tell my story.” The passage being discussed considers the possibility of ‘love at first sight’. Adele is enchanted, she loves this book and is immersed in the life of Marianne. Wide eyed, her mouth perpetually half-open, she has an insatiable desire to experience life, particularly the life of Adele.

Between classes, the girls like to talk about boys. They are all sure that one of the senior boys, Thomas, has eyes for Adele. She pooh-poohs the idea but she is obviously intrigued. Then, one morning, Thomas sits by her on the bus. They talk about the weather. They talk about the book Adele is reading, La Vie de Marianne. And they talk about what kind of music they like. She likes all kinds, she says, except hard rock with long hair and screaming. He is a musician, he teases her saying hard rock, heavy metal, is what he plays, but then he reassures her that he doesn’t and says he’d like to play for her sometime. That way they can meet again. (more…)

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Wings (1)

by Pedro Silva

“For the love song is never truly happy. It must first embrace the potential for pain. Those songs that speak of love without having within their lines an ache or a sigh are not love songs at all but rather Hate Songs disguised as love songs, and are not to be trusted.” in the words of Nick Cave on his lecture The Secret Life of the Love Song.

The romantic genre generally goes around a central love story and tends to come to an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending trying to ignore the dangerous path that waits the few souls that have courage enough to love truly and unconditionally, and most times fail to create trustfully love stories.

Nick knows all about Love Stories, and his performance of “From Her to Eternity” on the punk-cabaret club where Marion wonders alone couldn’t be more appropriate. The title resumes the film and the lyrics of the song even refer to a man that reads the diary of his lover as Damiel hears the thoughts of Marion. Again “The Carny” lyrics and darkness are perfect to emulate her feelings about this particular moment in her life. The contrast is evident between Jürgen Knieper’s celestial score on the library scenes against the gothic darkness of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. (more…)

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Now Voyager (1942)

By Tony d’Ambra

 

“THE untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”

-Walt Whitman, The Untold Want, Leaves of Grass (1900)

 

Novelist Olive Higgins Prouty chose the title for her popular novel ‘Now, Voyager’ from two lines of poetry by Walt Whitman. These words in the book and in the film are offered to a repressed spinster, Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis), the youngest daughter of a wealthy Boston matriarch (Gladys Cooper), by her psychiatrist Dr Jaquith (Claude Rains) as the key to freedom, to her making her own way in the world.  Away from the oppressive hold her tyrannical mother has over her.

Now, Voyager while absolutely a ‘woman’s picture’, significantly and importantly transcends melodrama. Yes, ugly duckling Charlotte finds love and purpose in two romantic hours of movie magic from Hollywood’s golden years. There is more than romance though. There is romantic love and passion, but also compassion. A compassion that sublimates romantic love to a familial love that from nurture finds fulfilment and a kind of freedom. (more…)

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Jillian Juliano after receiving Confirmation outside of Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church Thursday evening.

Jillian again outside OLG

by Sam Juliano

Memorial Day 2014.  Always the entrance point for the hot stuff and treks down to the beaches.  Today promises to be ideal for barbecues and outdoor family get-togethers.  I say “today promises” because I am posting on Sunday afternoon a day in advance to stay behind the scheduled Number 96 romantic countdown essay that will automatically appear sometime in the middle of the night as set by the author.  Speaking of the romantic countdown, we completed the first week of its multiple month run, and are settling in to the routine we well remember from the prior genre countdown, most recently the one that considered westerns.  We are very pleased at the number of comments and page views and are anticipating a steady spike.  Thanks to all who have taken the time to participate in one way or another.

I want to again thank our very dear and constant friend and guardian angel Dee Dee for navigating the sidebar and adorning it with lovely reminders of Memorial Day, and for keeping ahead of some of the terrific noir venues nationwide.

Our friend Pat Perry is back from her trip to Germany, and is posting photos on her Facebook page.  Both Tony d’Ambra and Terrill Welch are still in Europe with their spouses, engaged in priceless visits to many scenic locations in France, Germany and Italy.  I’ve heard from both and am thrilled at the expected wrap up report when they return.  Some of us can only dream of such a journey. (more…)

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Powerful Moroccan film “Horses of God”, about Islamic extremism showing at Film Forum

by Sam Juliano

May weather has taken hold, as some in our midst have been pondering vacation options.  Our good friend Laurie Buchanan has settled in her new Pacific northwest paradise in Idaho, while three of our other esteemed kindred spirits are presently in Europe immersing themselves in all the cultural and sensory locations that many of us see only in our dreams.  Pat Perry has been in Germany the past ten days or so, and even reported she saw the new Godzilla over the weekend.  Tony d’Ambra’s spectacular European trip has recently included a stop in Paris, where he and his wife have experienced the Lourve, the Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph as well as other renowned sites, while artist extraordinaire Terrill Welch and her husband David have been all over Italy, offering up magnificent photos of her forays into Florence, Venice and other beautiful places in one of the continent’s most favored cultural meccas.

The romantic countdown begins today with the posting of the Number 101 choice, and will continue every Monday through Friday until the Number 1 essay is unveiled on Monday, October 6.  As always it is hoped that the comment sections will add to the celebration, but even if comments are limited, the presentation will still provide a stellar reference archives for the future.  Thanks to all the writers who have worked so hard to get this project off the ground. (more…)

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