Another milestone has been achieved at Wonders in the Dark this past week as the site has published its 3,000th blog post. A remarkable accomplishment to be sure, but even sweeter when one considers the general apathy online for blogs in general, what with the continuing prominence of Facebook and Twitter. Blogs are far from dead to be sure, but let’s just say they are less dominant than they once were. Ironically, the mid-week post- Aaron West’s review of “My Life as a Dog”, which gave cause for celebration – came to pass during the now running Greatest Childhood/Adolescent polling, which at least by way of comments is the least exceptional of the six genre polls we have staged so far. Still the page view for the project have remained solid and the quality of writing exhibited in the reviews themselves has been of the first rank.
Simultaneously, the site marks its seventh anniversary in two weeks. Launched in September of 2008, the speculative venture was planned by Allan and Fish and myself, and supported mightily by Tony d’Ambra and Dee Dee, before gaining steam by a fraternity of blogger friends. The site’s trademarks have been the weekly Monday Morning Diary, (instituted in 2010) a community forum where readers share their weekly viewings and activities, and the primary announcement board; the many decade and genre countdowns (populated not only by the site’s staff writers, but by fellow blogger friends from other sites, and an extensive archives of opera, book, and music reviews. Though the present time has been difficult for blog sites in general, the site is alive and well, and will no doubt thrive for some time to come.
Many thanks to all our friends for making this place so accommodating for so long. By any barometer of measurement this has been a remarkable run.
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by Allan Fish
(Iran 1995 85m) DVD1
Aka. Badkonake sefid
Dancing with their fins
p Kurosh Mazkouri d Jafar Panahi w Abbas Kiarostami ph Farzad Jahat ed Jafar Panahi
Aida Mohammadkhani (Razieh), Mohsen Kafili (Ali), Fereshteh Sadre Orafaiy (mother), Anna Borkowska (old lady), Mohammad Shahani (soldier), Mohammad Bakhtiar (tailor), Hamidreza Tahery (Reza), Aliasghar Smardi (balloon seller)
It’s time for an academic game, a theoretical test, and one that seems apt when discussing an Iranian film. Your subject is The White Balloon, but you have to pick one word to describe it and then write a small essay on why that word is appropriate. One might pick ‘balloon’, but then you wouldn’t have seen the movie. ‘White’ would be less controversial as it features prominently, but still one suspects it would be limited to discussion of the mise-en-scène. One might pick goldfish, but again one might find it limiting. So I go for neither. For me, only one word presents itself – continuity. Continue Reading »
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by David Schleicher
Malick’s sublime 2011 masterpiece, The Tree of Life, invites you to watch it as a child…and loudly, the producers remind us on the Blu-Ray – not just to hear all the philosophical whispering and pining that highlights the voice-overs, but to sit in aural awe of the classical music and natural sounds that paint with Lubezki’s fluid imagery a cacophony adjacent to dreaming.
Remember the first time you heard a piece from Beethoven as a child but didn’t know exactly what it was, only that it made you feel something you hadn’t before?
We never know exactly what happens in The Tree of Life. A middle child of three dies at some point, while an older one lives his adulthood in a sterile corporatized environment that couldn’t be further from the Texas Eden he experienced as a child – all of the family lives, loves, pines, mourns, remembers, but in transient states inter-spliced with meditations on the nature of nature, the meaning of life, religion, social mores, grief, motherhood, fatherhood, brotherhood and a cosmic tapestry that denotes the beginning and ending of time. All meaning what? We long for that meaning (just as a child – born in the natural state of a scientist – longs for answers to the questions they observe). But instead, we are summoned to a cinematic cathedral to experience some grand impressionism…where all was formed in childhood.
To claim The Tree of Life is not a film about childhood is akin to claiming one’s childhood experiences have no bearing on how they turn out as an adult. Childhood is paramount both in life and this film. Continue Reading »
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by Sam Juliano
One more week and September will be upon us. Some mourn the imminent end of the summer, while others among us are counting the days till the heat subsides and all the various scenic and cultural advantages of the autumn season kick in. All things considered it does seem like the eighth month has raced by, but whom among us doesn’t feel like time in general is a speedy proposition.
Here at Wonders in the Dark the Childhood/Adolescent Films Countdown is moving along with a seeming sense of purpose. As can be seen by the page view totals, people are looking in, though there isn’t any point in denying the comments have been rather too few and far in between. For all the readers of the countdown, we thank you for your support and interest. To the writers, your work has been exemplary. We are now in the 30’s, and will continue until October.
Our family worked in two long mileage day trips this past week, and they couldn’t have been any more different. On Thursday we traveled down to Cape May to walk through the outdoor mall and tour some historical town houses, but most of the day was spent at the ocean in Wildwood -just a few minutes away- and on the world-famous three pier boardwalk. We are all Wildwood veterans, having spent a week there every summer for eight consecutive year in the nineties, and then going down for a few days in succeeding years. The second trip on Sunday was far up the Hudson to Hyde Park, the estate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was born in the lovingly maintained mansion that is part of a fascinating tour that included the FDR museum, rose garden (where he and Eleanor are interred) and specious estate grounds. The guide imparted a splendid grasp of the history of the place and of Roosevelt’s life. This is a trip that is well worth the modest investment. Tickets for adults are $18, with kids 15 and under free. Continue Reading »
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