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by James Clark

We could call this film an enigma, with the mysteries of Japan. The world is so cosmopolitan that one could pretty much imagine everyone being much the same. But this film wants to maintain that the currents of Japanese sensibility (at a premium) might flourish.

Moreover, during the past two hundred years or so in Europe, there have been philosophers alerted about this same incursion. However, at this point of full-scale collapse, only desperate moments could avail. Here is one of the most recent filmic versions of this crisis.

Our saga plays out in a triad, the better to present the problematic. The first episode is called, “Magic, Or Something Less Assuring.” The protagonist, Mieko, has many names. But the name you must engage is “Millennial.” We find her, as always, assured, being lifted by a horde of intimates. Her work of a fashion model allows for much eulogizing. In action in a Tokyo park, where a rich, deep sweater and a rich deep scarf seem appropriate, the crew pauses to see if all is flawless, perfect. During the preceding poses, there was from the crew a steady cheer to her wonderfulness. Next stop, the retinue crowd around the laptop. “Really pretty!” someone sings. “Looking pretty… I like the eyelashes reflecting the light.” (Before that, though, she had totally ignored a dying tree.) “Good, yup, the best! And you click so well.”  (Along with this good time, though,  the princess only half attends to the motions of hands and fingers. Too bad.) One of the crew insists, “Every little move can explode…”

Later that evening, the darling of smarts connects with a woman of some balance. On a long taxi ride toward the home of the lost, things happen. Mieko begins with, “How’d you click so well?” / “Well, at some point, he started saying, ‘You’re not who I thought you were.’”   (Tzu/Mieko, having been  dumped for her crudeness and adultery toward that same man, she would imagine the obvious. But the click was about a bid to reach something better. The better [Kazuaki] was not aware that Mieko had been there.)    All along this journey, at the back seat, various lights play right behind the cab, as a mysterious firmament. For example, gusts of green lights call for a never-seen approach. These ignored beauties put to shame the overwhelming smallness of the women, in various states. We’re in for many twists and turns here, but the deficiencies will rule. However, by careful scrutiny, one may find what is needed. Continue Reading »

 

by Sam Juliano

As soon as August shows its scorched face, we know that September will be upon us before we can bat an eyelash.  For me this is a tricky week ahead, as I have cataract surgery on my left eye set for Friday morning.  I had the right one done a little over two years ago, and all went quite well.  I guess the worst part is the five day lead-in with all the different eye drops I must be sure to insert in the eye being treated.  Otherwise, the heat is upon us in force, and I have been working to complete my second novel.  As of today I am at 103,000 words, but still have considerable work to complete before turning over the manuscript to my first-stage editor.

With the Rest of Europe polling now tabulated, I want to announce that later in the day on Monday, (August 8th) I will be posting the Rest of Asia poll, which will include the films of South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Mongolia and if applicable, the Himalayan countries.  That upcoming balloting will run from the 8th until a date to be determined in the first week of September.  Anyway without further ado here are the results of the Rest of Europe polling:

“The Dead,” “Jeanne Dielman,” “La Promesse,” “Rosetta,” “The Vanishing,” “Landscape in the Mist” and “The Travelling Players” lead Top 136 “Rest of Europe” polling!!

1. The Dead (John Huston, 1987; Ireland) – 176
2. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975; Belgium) – 123.5
3. La Promesse / The Promise (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1996; Belgium) – 93.5
4. Rosetta (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 1999; Belgium) – 92
5. The Vanishing (George Sluizer, 1988; Netherlands) – 89
6. Landscape in the Mist (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1988; Greece) – 80
7. The Travelling Players (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1975; Greece) – 78
8. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012; Austria) – 75.5
9. L’Enfant / The Child (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2005; Belgium) – 75.5
10. Once (John Carney, 2007; Ireland) – 75
11. My Left Foot (Jim Sheridan, 1989; Ireland) – 74.5
12. Lourdes (Jessica Hausner, 2009; Austria) – 74
13. The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992; Ireland) – 66.5
14. The 4th Man (Paul Verhoeven, 1983; Netherlands) – 57
15. Faces of Children / Visages d’enfants / Mother (Jacques Feyder, 1925; Switzerland) – 57
16. Eternity and a Day (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1998; Greece) – 49
17. The Ogre of Athens / O Drakos (Nikos Koundouros, 1956; Greece) – 49
18. Black Book (Paul Verhoeven, 2006; Netherlands) – 46.5
19. Le fils / The Son (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2002; Belgium) – 46.5
20. Winter in Wartime (Martin Koolhoven, 2008; Netherlands) – 44.5
21. Stella (Michael Cacoyannis, 1955; Greece) – 44
22. Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (Alain Tanner, 1976; Switzerland) – 42
23. Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008; Ireland) – 40
24. The Butcher Boy (Neil Jordan, 1997; Ireland) – 39.5
25. Wolfwalkers (Tomm Moore, 2020; Ireland) – 39.5
26. Great Freedom (Sebastian Meise, 2021; Austria) – 38.5
27. Bloody Sunday (Paul Greengrass, 2002; Ireland) – 37
28. Masquerade in Vienna (Willi Forst, 1934; Austria) – 36
29. Dogtooth (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009; Greece) – 35.5
30. Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore, 2014; Ireland) – 35
31. Ulysses’ Gaze (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1995; Greece) – 35
32. The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2011; Belgium) – 34.5
33. The Weeping Meadow (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 2004; Greece) – 34
34. Two Days, One Night (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, 2014; Belgium) – 33.5
35. Father and Daughter (Michael Dudok de Wit, 2000; Netherlands) – 33
36. Ma Vie en Rose / My Life in Pink (Alain Berliner, 1997; Belgium) – 32
37. Funny Games (Michael Haneke, 1997; Austria) – 30
38. Goodbye to Language (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014; Switzerland) – 30
39. The Lacemaker (Claude Goretta, 1977; Switzerland) – 30
40. Revanche (Götz Spielmann, 2008; Austria) – 29.
41. Never on Sunday (Jules Dassin, 1960; Greece) – 28
42. Daughters of Darkness (Harry Kümel, 1971; Belgium) – 27
43. Toto the Hero /Toto le héros (Jaco Van Dormael, 1991; Belgium) – 27
44. News from Home (Chantal Akerman, 1976; Belgium) – 26
45. The Trojan Women (Michael Cacoyannis, 1971; Greece) – 26
46. The Boat Is Full (Markus Imhoof, 1981; Switzerland) – 23
47. Journey of Hope (Xavier Koller, 1990; Switzerland) – 23
48. Turkish Delight (Paul Verhoeven, 1973; Netherlands) – 23
49. Character (Mike van Diem, 1997; Netherlands) – 22
50. The Commitments (Alan Parker, 1991; Ireland) – 22
51. The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006; Ireland) – 22
52. Iphigenia (Michael Cacoyannis, 1977; Greece) – 21
53. Toute une nuit / A Whole Night (Chantal Akerman, 1982; Belgium) – 20
54. Waking Ned Devine (Kirk Jones, 1998; Ireland) – 18.5
55. The Assault (Fons Rademakers, 1986; Netherlands) – 18
56. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017; Ireland) – 18
57. Sing Street (John Carney, 2016; Ireland) – 17.5
58. Angst (Gerald Kargl, 1983; Austria) – 17
59. Calvary (John Michael McDonagh, 2014; Ireland) – 17
60. It Happened in Broad Daylight (Ladislao Vajda, 1958; Switzerland) – 17
61. Antonia’s Line (Marleen Gorris, 1995; Netherlands) – 16.5
62. The Counterfeiters (Stefan Ruzowitzky, 2007; Austria) – 16
63. Electra (Michael Cacoyannis, 1962; Greece) – 16
64. From the East (Chantal Akerman, 1993; Belgium) – 16
65. A Girl in Black (Michael Cacoyannis, 1956; Greece) – 16
66. No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman, 2015; Belgium) – 16
67. Zorba the Greek (Michael Cacoyannis, 1964; Greece) – 16
68. Alpine Fire (Fredi M. Murer, 1985; Switzerland) – 15
69. The Field (Jim Sheridan, 1990; Ireland) – 15
70. Homo Sapiens (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2016; Austria) – 15
71. It Happened Just Before (Anja Salomonowitz, 2006; Austria) – 14
72. Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015; Greece) – 13
73. My Life as a Zucchini (Claude Barras, 2016; Switzerland) – 13
74. The Secret of Kells (Tomm Moore, 2009; Ireland) – 13
75. Sissi (Ernst Marischka, 1955; Austria) – 13
76. Soldier of Orange (Paul Verhoeven, 1977; Netherlands) – 13
77. For a Lost Soldier (Roeland Kerbosch, 1992; Netherlands) – 12
78. Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan, 1986; Ireland) – 12
79. Outer Space (Peter Tscherkassky, 1999; Austria) – 12
80. Premiere (Géza von Bolváry, 1937; Austria) – 12
81. In the Name of the Father (Jim Sheridan, 1993; Ireland) – 11.5
82. 71 Fragments of a Chronicle of Chance (Michael Haneke, 1994; Austria) – 11
83. Amour Fou (Jessica Hausner, 2014; Austria) – 10
84. Dead in 3 Days 2 (Andreas Prochaska, 2008; Austria) – 10
85. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Felix van Groeningen, 2012; Belgium) – 9
86. Malpertuis / The Legend of Doom House (Harry Kümel, 1971; Belgium) – 9
87. Spetters (Paul Verhoeven, 1980; Netherlands) – 9
88. The Vain Housemaid (Johann Schwarzer, 1908; Austria) – 9
89. An Affair of Love / Une liaison pornographique (Frédéric Fonteyne, 1999; Belgium) – 8
90. Alexander the Great (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1980; Greece) – 8
91. Almayer’s Folly (Chantal Akerman, 2012; Belgium) – 8
92. Animal Heart (Séverine Cornamusaz, 2009; Switzerland) – 8
93. Appointment in Bray (André Delvaux, 1971; Belgium) – 8
94. The Beekeeper (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1986; Greece) – 8
95. The Brand New Testament (Jaco Van Dormael, 2015; Belgium) – 8
96. Brussels Transit (Samy Szlingerbaum, 1981; Belgium) – 8
97. Bullets Don’t Come Back (Nikos Foskolos, 1967; Greece) – 8
98. Charles, Dead or Alive (Alain Tanner, 1969; Switzerland) – 8
99. Circle of Friends (Pat O’Connor, 1995; Ireland) – 8
100. Daens (Stijn Coninx, 1992; Belgium) – 8
101. The Dark Valley (Andreas Prochaska, 2014; Austria) – 8
102. The Drunkard (Yorgos Tzavellas, 1950; Greece) – 8
103. Fanfare (Bert Haanstra, 1958; Netherlands) – 8
104. The Hunters (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1977; Greece) – 8
105. The Idlers of the Fertile Valley (Nikos Panayotopoulos, 1978; Greece) – 8
106. Import Export (Ulrich Seidl, 2007; Austria) – 8
107. In America (Jim Sheridan, 2002; Ireland) – 8
108. In the White City (Alain Tanner, 1983; Switzerland) – 8
109. Je Tu Il Elle (Chantal Akerman, 1974; Belgium) – 8
110. The Kidnapping (Dimitri Kirsanoff, 1934; Switzerland) – 8
111. The Last Chance (Leopold Lindtberg, 1945; Switzerland) – 8
112. Light Years Away (Alain Tanner, 1981; Switzerland) – 8
113. Little Joe (Jessica Hausner, 2019; Austria) – 8
114. The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (André Delvaux, 1965; Belgium) – 8
115. The Meetings of Anna (Chantal Akerman, 1978; Belgium) – 8
116. Messidor (Alain Tanner, 1979; Switzerland) – 8
117. Michael Collins (Neil Jordan, 1996; Ireland) – 8
118. My Name Is Yu Ming (Daniel O’Hara, 2003; Ireland) – 8
119. North Sea Texas (Bavo Defurne, 2011; Belgium) – 8
120. The Northerners (Alex van Warmerdam, 1992; Netherlands) – 8
121. The Polish Bride (Karim Traïdia, 1998; Netherlands) – 8
122. Rain / Regen (Mannus Franken & Joris Ivens, 1929; Netherlands) – 8
123. Ray of Sunshine (Pál Fejös, 1933; Austria) – 8
124. The Red Lanterns (Vasilis Georgiadis, 1963; Greece) – 8
125. Rembetiko (Costas Ferris, 1983; Greece) – 8
126. The Salamander (Alain Tanner, 1971; Switzerland) – 8
127. The Sea That Thinks (Gert de Graaff, 2000; Netherlands) – 8
128. A Sense of Loss (Marcel Ophüls, 1972; Ireland) – 8
129. The Seventh Continent (Michael Haneke, 1989; Austria) – 8
130. Sister (Ursula Meier, 2012; Switzerland) – 8
131. The Suspended Step of the Stork (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1991; Greece) – 8
132. Sweet Bunch (Nikos Nikolaidis, 1983; Greece) – 8
133. Unsere Afrikareise / Our Trip to Africa (Peter Kubelka, 1966; Austria) – 8
134. Voyage to Cythera (Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1984; Greece) – 8
135. The Wall / Die Wand (Julian Pölsler, 2012; Austria) – 8
136. War Is Hell (Alfred Machin, 1914; Belgium) – 8

Continue Reading »

 

by Sam Juliano

Yes, that’s right.  The Tuesday Morning Diary for this week.  It rarely happens but once in a blue moon when I am tied down, I am forced to regroup.  Yesterday was a very busy day up at the school, and I was unable to compose the weekly post that has helped define this place for so many years.  Next week we will return to Monday again, but for this week my hands were tied.  As some who follow the site know well, I often post early, on the preceding Sunday.

Work on Irish Jesus in Fairview continues, and over the past few days I have eclipsed 98,000 words.  Projecting some connecting chapters that must be completed, including the very last one, and a crucial one that precedes it, I am assuming 120,000 words will be the final total.  Bereft of an appendix, this sequel will finish substantially longer than the first book.

R.I.P. Tony Dow, the remarkable human being who played Wally Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver.

The “Rest of Europe” film polling ends at 5:00 P.M. on Friday.  Thanks to all who have cast ballots.  I believe the total number cast has now gone over 30.

Lucille and I saw an enchanting film titled Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, over the weekend in Montclair.  I hope to say more about it down the road, but it rates a 4.5 of 5.0 and joins the short list of my favorite films of 2022 so far. Continue Reading »

by Sam Juliano

The 2022 summer school program ends on Friday of this week, leaving Lucille and I the month of August to unwind and relax.  However, Yours Truly can do neither (Ha!), as my focus must continue to be on completing Irish Jesus in Fairview, which as of this morning is at 95,000 words.  I am speculating this “sequel” will need to reach 120,000 words for all the narrative gaps and strands to be properly negotiated.  But to accomplish this it will not take me much longer, as I know exactly to fill it all out.  The 120,000 word length is barely longer than Book #1 as a result of the lengthy appendix, which will not carry over to the sequel.  I have decided to copy two of the book’s earliest paragraphs from Chapter 1, to give potential readers a clue as to how the narrative will progress, but I won’t be adding more.  I thought this one time would whet potential readers’ appetites:

The downside to Adam’s seeming full recovery from the neurological trauma he sustained after he was thrown from the Wild Mouse at Palisades Amusement Park during a weekend visit in September of 1971, was that he had developed a serious stutter.  Prolongations and repetitions maligned virtually every phrase or sentence he launched.  Whenever he became nervous, or suffered from anxiety, it surfaced in full bloom.  A brain specialist was a bit surprised it took as long as it did to affect the boy, but he added that it was hardly unprecedented.  

Attributing it to the fall, the professional defined it as a neurogenic stutter and concluded the boy would likely have the condition for the rest of his life.  He recommended keeping stress at bay whenever possible.  He explained that with some accident victims the stutter kicks in immediately, but with others a trigger could initiate it.   In the meantime, Sarah, armed with Joseph Furano’s full insurance coverage for his son, made an appointment for Adam to begin speech therapy, hoping the stutter could be controlled or at least arrested from worsening.

The “Rest of Europe” polling has so far attracted over 20 ballots, but I have every reason to believe when all is said and done will will have reached 30.  Thanks to all who have participated.  The poll runs through August 5th, so we still have eleven days left to cast ballots.

I liked the new release Nope, by Jordan Peale a bit more after I left the theater than I do now.  Some dazzling set pieces were undermined by the oft-cryptic and convoluted narrative, but I  do plan to watch it again at some point.

Nope           *** 1/2 (Friday)          Ridgefield Park multiplex. Continue Reading »

by Sam Juliano

The Rest of Europe poll is attracting excellent support on the corresponding FB post, but with a few weeks still left to go, I’m sure the response will be even more impressive.  I think it is great that a number of people have been revisiting or introducing themselves to relevant films.  To those who have cast ballots or are planning to I want to express our enormous appreciation.

This past week essay writer extraordinaire Jim Clark published a fabulous piece on inde darling Jim Jarmusch’s late-career The Dead Don’t Die.  The comprehensive review includes wonderful capsules on other Jarmusch films, so fans of the director are in for a treat.

As of Sunday afternoon, July 17th, I have surpassed a whopping 92,000 words on my second novel, Irish Jesus in Fairview.  The first book only went to 96,000 (plus the appendix, which for the sequel I have decided to dispense with).  Nonetheless, though I have surprised myself with the unexpected major progress over the past three weeks, I do feel that to give this narrative what it needs I must continue to write.  It is not entirely unreasonable to speculate that 110,000 words will be the final figure.  My great second stage editor Bill Kamberger keeps telling me NOT to rush this book out, as he feels several months with the editing process should be employed.  He feels the soonest I should publish this book is March, 2022.  While I am considering all his suggestions, right now (for me) that date seems too long down the road for whatever intricacies the editing process portends.  Bill is a great guy and a great editor, but he did NOT tell me what I wanted to hear.  I do not see the actual writing of the book to go longer than three or four weeks at the very most.

I did not think very much of the poorly-reviewed Where the Crawdads Sing, which I attended as a favor to a few of my kids, two of whom read the novel.  Rating:  1.5 of 5.0 Continue Reading »

by James Clark 2022

Filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch, has, in a long career, reveled in disclosing what most folks ignore. Whereas the world seems, to most, about science and/or religion, Jarmusch’s muse is the arts. Arts in spades.
Arts in spades, could also be called philosophy. Jarmusch never uses the term, but he practices that skill, deeply. In all of the works, it was philosophical daring that made the difference. Daring to maintain that nearly all who have ever been alive have been seriously, horrifically blind. Moreover, his artistry could open a door of charm, wit, in the midst of trouble. Such sophistication would be hanging from a gossamer thread. One could say that the term, “indie,” –small revenue–had come to a crisis. In fact, our film today, would be his last feature, a film unlike any other of his endeavors. Film practice at this point has become a strictly quantitative business, with no serious focus upon matters that have to be managed. If not with that slush, or slack of looking for happily involved, one must invent another orientation.
For now, we have Jarmusch having turned his wit to extreme deadliness. Our film, The Dead Don’t Die, presents a cannon over everyone’s bow. Make no mistake, he is seen to be angry. He is addressing a planet of slackers, unable to die with dignity. Continue Reading »

by Sam Juliano

The “Rest of Europe” polling is underway and will continue into early August.  Each voter gets fifteen choices, and there are six countries being considered:  Greece, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.  Thank you Marilyn Ferdinand for mentioning Austrian director Jessica Hausner, since it alerted me to my tragic omission of LOURDES, which was my #1 film of its release year.  I was thinking it would count for a country already covered.  But I must revise my vote to include it now, and am still trying to work in two other films, one suggested by Tony d’Ambra – Michael Cacoyannis’s STELLA.

I have been focusing my attention this past week on Irish Jesus in Fairview, and am quite happy to report that as of TODAY – July 11th – I have eclipsed 85,000 words.  (Paradise ran 92,000). Obviously this means I am winding down to the finish line, though I still have a few crucial chapters to write including the very last, and numerous transitional passages and date revisions.  But I have made more progress over the past 12 days than I have for any time writing what will end up being a sequel longer than the first book.  I’d like to think the literary development of the characters and themes eclipses anything I did in the first book, but that is not for me to conclude.  As always, my friend and muse, Valerie Clark has been front and center with inquiries, support and the much needed push.

Sadly, many thespian passings over the week including the iconic Godfather star James Caan at 82 and F Troop stalwart Larry Storch at the amazing age of 99.  May they all R.I.P. Continue Reading »

“Rest of Europe” polling is hereby launched!
Six countries not previously considered will constitute the “Rest of Europe” poll in a month-long project that will run until August 5th. The six are: Ireland, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria.
Each voter gets fifteen (15) choices, to be entered chronologically, alphabetically, in ranked order or in arbitrary equal designation. As always the poll’s chief arbitrator and tabulator will be Bill Kamberger. My own ballot once again will be listed alphabetically:
Alpine Fire (Switzerland) 1985; Fredi M. Murer
The Assault (Netherlands) 1986; Fons Rademakers
The Butcher Boy (Ireland) 1997; Neil Jordan
Character (Netherlands/Belgium) 1997; Mike van Diem
Iphigenia (Greece) 1977; Michael Cacoyannis
The Dead (Ireland) 1987: John Huston
The Last Chance (Switzerland) 1945; Leopold Lindtberg
My Left Foot (Ireland) 1989; Jim Sheridan
Once (Ireland) 2007; John Carney
La Promesse (Belgium) 1996; Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Rosetta (Belgium) 1999; Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Toto the Hero (Belgium) 1991; Jaco van Dormael
Travelling Players (Greece) 1975; Theo Angelopoulos
Winter in Wartime (Netherlands) 2008; Martin Koolhoven
Wolfwalkers (Ireland) 2020; Tom Moore/Ross Stewart

Continue Reading »

 

by Sam Juliano

July 4th was once a time of incalculable joy in Fairview!
Baby boomers regularly immersed in the priceless memories that defined their coming of age in the Borough of Fairview will doubtless count July 4th as a premium recall that as much as any time of the year exemplified the town’s community spirit. The fireworks that were staged on the Little League Field either on the evening of July 3rd or during the nocturnal invasion of July 4th proper by fire department personnel brought together athletes, Scouts, grammar and high school students, service organization officers and members, church activists, and even those who for most of the year were cloistered and reluctant to engage in social activities. The July 4th fireworks for many was the crowning event after daytime activities on the field that including pillow and relay races, games and complimentary refreshments such as hot dogs, pretzels and soft drinks.. Winners received trophies and framed acknowledgements from Borough officials or service organization leaders. While fireworks are still engineered in the area, the time is long gone when residents can look forward to July 4th as a day of frantic activity from 10 A.M. till 10 P.M. Like those of us who counted the days till the Yuletide airing of “The Wizard of Oz” on CBS, many Fairview youngsters focused their expectations on our nation’s birthday, from the moment they received their report cards, pondering the competition among their friends, and the cherry on top of the sundae, the raucous, booming pyrotechnic display that lit up Fairview’s sky and dared anyone living on 6th, 7th or 8th streets to turn in early.
The grass spaces around the field of course, were overflowing with locals, a bevy of people armed with lawn chairs, some waving sparklers and a few with a mischievous bent discussing their plans to set off “cherry bombs” on the way home from the event. Everybody knew everybody else in those days, and even the ocean of humanity that permeated every nook and cranny of the tract of land brought into Borough domain by legendary Republican Mayor Louis Battaglia in the 1950’s, didn’t diminish the ability of the locals to say hello or greet almost everyone who crossed their paths, on the way to the refreshment stand, up and down the access hill aside Our Lady of Grace, in and around Pop’s Park, the little kids’ playground overlooking the main theater or the descending path from the basketball courts. Of course the immediate locals -those who hailed from 6th, 7th, Kamena and Walker Streets- faithfully attended, and prevalent families like the Montefortes, Blasos, Foglios, Andreazzas, Rutches, Mesiscas, Ballerinis, Picinics, Booths, Mirandas, Lauras, Andrettas, Sartors, Weises were on hand, seemingly ubiquitous no matter where you walked in this gloriously congested hamlet. But the aforementioned names represent only a microcosm of the population who descended on the grounds, and through year-long face-to-face involvement at a time when social media was non-existent Fairview, by way of community and civil organizations, sports and shopping locally was truly one big family.
At the height of the boomer era -and no small coincidence- the wildly popular film version of the Broadway musical “1776”- released in late 1972, debuting at Radio City Music Hall, and for Fairviewites attuned to “philately” the mid-70s was a time to lay down some coin at the box-sized post office next to the Greek Church on Anderson Avenue for all the celebratory issues commemorating our bicentennial.
Yes, the 4th of July is what you make it, and even today those with an adventurous spirit can re-live some scene–specific joys, but the camaraderie we experienced in the 60s and 70s was a singular phenomenon. Ah, the memories, and so many tears.

Continue Reading »

by Sam Juliano

I have now surpassed 75,000 words in the writing of Irish Jesus in Fairview, and have quickened my pace as new ideas have been coming to me, daily.  But a few crucial chapters still need to be written in their entirety.

The Africa and Middle Eastern polling concludes this coming Friday after one extension.

“Elvis” at Ridgefield Park multiplex

He was the quintessential icon of our generation, and he continues to transcend generations with his trend-setting, larger-than-life impact on music and culture. He was called the “King” for good reason! I saw the film last night and have mixed feelings. The lead performance -by Austin Butler- was spectacular and the musical numbers were juke-box-electrifying, but typical Luhrmann montage-like segments and weak narrative cohesion that didn’t serve a film of that exceeding length. I expected a deeper exploration of the King’s life, even if it was a pointed examination of his relationship with his terrible agent. Tom Hanks was fine, though his accent was dodgy. Still worth seeing, and always great to pay tribute to our generation’s central icon, one I adore as much as everyone else. For me: 3.5 of 5.0. (I agree with others on Butler. He deserves an Oscar nod). I am positive the film will do huge box office, though at MC the grade now is a wholly unimpressive 63%, for whatever that’s worth. Bottom line: See it. If not anything else, it was entertaining and Butler was sensational.
“The Black Phone” at Secaucus multiplex
I did not attend this supernatural thriller starring Ethan Hawke as a maniacal child killer expecting much more than a few jolts and menacing set pieces, and wasn’t especially impressed with the solid reviews the film garnered from critics and audiences. Alas, I must say the advance notices for the most part were spot on, and this genre hybrid (“Room,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” etc.) was against all odds for me, a taut, terrifying and gripping watch, that features a bevy of effective performances, especially by the aforementioned Hawke, and young newcomer Mason Thames. Claustrophobic terror is wed to a series of calculated but surprisingly effective shocks and the phone portal is successfully woven in to the story’s realist underpinnings. Directed by Scott Derrickson, the film was based on a short story by Stephen King’s son, Joe. The last thing I expected was to recommend it, but that is exactly what I am doing here. 4.0 of 5.0 seen last night with Lucille, Sammy IV and Jeremy. The positive consensus was unanimous).

Continue Reading »