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Archive for March 25th, 2011

Murderous Ink speaks:

“It’s Friday already. I am sorry for checking in so late.

I really appreciate your concern on the situation here. Thank you, Thank you. Thank you all of you.

As you already know from various news and other sources, crisis in Japan is still not over. Nuclear disaster is not getting any better. Probably the level of fallout in Tokyo, Kanagawa and other Kanto areas are not as serious, but still people are scared. Report of tap water contamination and ban on vegetable markets is not helping at all. No, you can’t buy any bottled water anymore in Japan, because the government ordered all the stocks to be redirected to relief effort and supplies for infants in affected areas. We pray (literally) for the digits for isotope readings not to increase any more than it is now. (more…)

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Director: Nicholas Ray

Producer: John Houseman

Screenwriters: Nicholas Ray and Charles Schnee

Cinematographer: George E. Diskant

Music: Leigh Harline

Studio: RKO Pictures 1949

Main Acting: Farley Granger and Cathy O’ Donnell

This romantic film noir has an aching sentimental core. Nicholas Ray’s debut movie is an evocative beginning that showcases an emerging titan of cinema. As with most Ray pictures, he pits his protagonists as outsiders battling away the forces of a greater public that does not understand them. They are an insular couple on the run, not just from the law, but from society itself. Unlike Gun Crazy, the two young lovers in They Live By Night are hopelessly naive innocents that have been thrust into a circumstance from which they are unable to escape. Their relationship is not one of perverse sexuality and lust, but of adolescent affection trying to grow into adulthood. Like a gastrotrich or worker bee, their life span is doomed to be short and without the fulfillment of advanced maturity. Their time together has a predetermined shelf life, that like a flower’s bloom, will wilt by fall. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(France 1956 116m) DVD1

The Sins of the Fathers…and Mothers

p  Agnes Delahaye  d  René Clément  w  Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost  novel  “L’Assommoir” by Emile Zola  ph  René Juillard  ed  Henri Rust  m  Georges Auric  art  Paul Bertrand

Maria Schell (Gervaise Macquart), François Périer (Henri Coupeau), Suzy Delair (Virginie), Armand Mestral (Lantier), Mathilde Casadesus (Mme.Boche), Jany Holt (Mme. Lorilleaux), Odette Florelle (Maman Coupeau), Lucien Hubert (Poisson), Micheline Luccioni (Clémence), Jacques Harden (Goujet), Chantal Gozzi (Nana),

Despite winning several awards at the Venice Film Festival, there has always been something about René Clément’s Emile Zola film that has invited accusations of old-fashionedness and of miscasting of the central part.  Leaving the latter aside awhile, it’s true that it’s very much a traditional piece of film-making, but was the same not true of the masterworks of Raymond Bernard or of Claude Berri’s Pagnol films?

            Zola’s novel was the seventh in his Les Rougons-Macquart series detailing life in France in the 19th century.  In this case, Paris in the 1850s and 60s, and the fate of Gervaise, a crippled laundress married to a serial philanderer who is deserted by said husband and left to fend for herself and her two kids.  She marries again, to a seemingly nicer fellow, but he has an accident, withdraws into selfish bitterness and becomes and alcoholic with no thoughts but quenching his thirst.  Those who know Zola will think of how Gervaise’s children will go on to their own misery in turn, and it’s hard not to think of little Jacques growing up into Jean Gabin to drive his train in La Bête Humaine, of little Etienne taking up the miners’ cause in Germinal, and, of course, of little Nana.  And that is perhaps exactly what makes Gervaise still such a truly formidable achievement.  L’Argent and Humaine were updated into the present by l’Herbier and Renoir and, as such, though the dramatic intensity remained, the social concerns did not.  Gervaise shows us, like no other film before or since, the Paris of Zola’s world.  You can really feel you’re there, amongst the tall garrets and slum tenements often surrounded by wasteland following decades of revolution and counter-revolution.  It creates the world with absolute sincerity and detail, the world of a century earlier and, in so doing, justifies Leslie Halliwell’s calling it the French equivalent of David Lean’s Dickens films.  It might not quite be of their standing but they belong to the same school of prestige film-making. (more…)

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