Archive for February 9th, 2010


The Lovely Bones

* 1/2

By Bob Clark

Though not quite the grand achievement its sensational reception would suggest, Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel The Lovely Bones marked the debut of a remarkable literary voice, at once epic and intimate in its visionary portrayal of the wake following a young teen’s brutal killing at the hands of a seemingly normal neighbor in the suburban landscape of 70’s Pennsylvania. It came with plenty of hooks ripe for readers and critics alike to respond to, and though few of them were quite as original as reviews kept insisting (the idea of a protagonist narrating a story following their own death, for example) Sebold was able to articulate and weave them about her story of everyday-tragedies in a way that resonated on both emotional and intellectual levels. Perhaps most impressive of all, she managed to plumb the depths of her own painful past and channel the personal trauma of her own rape as a college-student (an event she had already chronicled in the memoir Lucky) in her gripping, painfully realized account of her young protagonist’s sexual attack and murder in the book’s opening chapter. Right from the start, we not only know who Susie Salmon is or how old she was when she died, but also every single, sickening and agonizing detail of how her life was brutally snuffed out.


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by Allan Fish

(USSR 1929 97m) DVD2 (Germany only)

Aka. Novyi Vavilon

Vive la Commune!

d/w  Leonid Trauberg, Grigori Kozintsev  ph  Andrei Moskvin, Yevgeni Mikhailov  ed  Grigori Kozintsev  m  Dimitri Shostakovich  art  Yevgeni Enei

Yelena Kuzmina (Louise Poirier), Pyotr Sobelevsky (Jean), Sofiya Magarill (actress), Vsevelod I.Pudovkin (shop assistant), Sergei Gerasimov (Lutro the journalist), Andrei Kostrichkin (head shop assistant), David Gutman (owner of New Babylon), Lyudmila Semyonova (can can dancer), Yanina Zhejmo (Thérèse), Emil Gal (Bourgeois), Yevgeni Chervyakov, Oleg Zhakov, 

Here’s another one of those overlooked masterworks that goes against the grain; the grain that dictated amongst the critical masses that Russian silent cinema began and ended with Eisenstein, with Dovzhenko, Vertov and Pudovkin in between.  All very well, but what of Boris Barnet, Fedor Ozep, Evgenii Bauer, Lev Kuleshov and Abram Room, all of whom have been represented within this selection, not to mention those such Yakov Protazanov, Sergei and Georgi Vasiliev and Grigori Alexandrov, all of whom had films that came damned close.  Then we have Kozintsev, who never gets mentioned amongst the Soviet silent masters.  Perhaps because he’s better fêted for the epic adaptations of Shakespeare and Cervantes he produced in his autumnal years after the war.  His earlier radical work with Leonid Trauberg is of a much different ilk.  (more…)

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