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Archive for March 7th, 2011

Of Gods and Men - Catholic

Catholic monks take a vote on whether to stay or leave in the transporting "Of Gods and Men"

by Sam Juliano

“Should it ever befall me, and it could happen today, to be a victim of the terrorism swallowing up all foreigners here, I would like my community, my church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country.

That the Unique Master of all life was no stranger to this brutal departure. And that my death is the same as so many other violent ones, consigned to the apathy of oblivion.

I’ve lived enough to know that I am complicit in the evil that, alas, prevails over the world and the evil that will smite me blindly. I could never desire such a death. I could never feel gladdened that these people I love be accused randomly of my murder.

I know the contempt felt for the people here, indiscriminately. And I know how Islam is distorted by a certain Islamism. This country, and Islam, for me are something different. They’re a body and a soul.

My death, of course, will quickly vindicate those who called me naive, or idealistic, but they must know that I will be freed of a burning curiosity and, God willing, will immerse my gaze in the Father’s and contemplate with him his children of Islam as he sees them.

This thank-you which encompasses my entire life includes you, of course, friends of yesterday and today, and you too, friend of the last minute, who knew not what you were doing.

Yes, to you as well I address this thank-you and this farewell which you envisaged. May we meet again, happy thieves in Paradise, if it pleases God, the Father of us both. Amen.”

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Director: Robert Rossen

Producer: Bob Roberts

Screenwriter: Abraham Polonsky

Cinematographer: James Wong Howe

Music: Hugo Friedhofer

Studio: United Artists 1947

Main Acting: John Garfield and Lilli Palmer

John Garfield stars in this boxing rags-to-riches film noir directed by Robert Rossen and written by Abraham Polonsky. Body And Soul chronicles the slow ascent of Jewish pugilist Charlie Davis. The film clearly spells out how the perils of success and wealth has the power to corrupt and ultimately change people. Since then, most sports movies have basically copied the plot mechanics presented in Body And Soul so much so, that now this movie can seem cliched and stale for some first-time viewers. It’s a cautionary tale that slowly shows the dismantling of one’s accomplishments as money and crooks sully the protagonist’s initial good deeds and positive actions. The noir aspects are explicit in Davis’ inability to escape the clutches of his mobster-controlled management. As his friendships and romantic relationship disintegrate, a desperate inability to control the outcome of his life and career are presented. The suspense of needing to conquer the evil forces of greed is the ultimate goal that must be achieved by the boxer. (more…)

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“Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives” the year’s third masterpiece

by Sam Juliano

At Wonders in the Dark Maurizio Roca’s film noir countdown continues with a surprise around every corner.  But the tenacious Brooklynite has inspired prolifically extensive and enriching comment threads for every entry thus far published in his top 50. Over the past week, Jim Clark has penned an exceptional review on Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express, while Bob Clark has authored a stellar review on the new Matt Damon part-science fiction flick.  Allan Fish’s lovely review of the Korean masterpiece Poetry also appeared over the weekend, and Jamie Uhler’s seminal “Getting Over the Beatles” series continued on Thursday with a wholly extraordinary essay installment.  Meanwhile, Tony d’Ambra has donated a brand new sealed copy of Samuel Fuller’s Pickup at South Street, for a correct answer to the screen cap heading up the FilmsNoir.net contest post.

Otherwise, with the Oscars a fading memory, movie goers can expect some frenzied multiplex activity over the coming months, while theatre fans will see some Tony Award possibilities begin to open in Manhattan. (more…)

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