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Archive for December 31st, 2012

by Sam Juliano

                             ‘Those who do not weep do not see’      -Victor Hugo

Art is manipulative.  Whether its creator’s intent is to spur humor or consternation, or move the work’s viewers to the depth of their being, there is always a conscious and overriding intent to embolden and exhilarate through a direct appeal to the emotions.  Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Mozart, Beethoven, Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Dickens and Dante succeeded as well as any others in the pantheon of Western culture.  Then there’s Victor Hugo, whose 1862 novel Les Miserables, written on wide canvas of suffering, injustice and loss, asserted that love and compassion are the most important gifts one can forward another in this life.  Hugo takes his case even further when he proposes that “To die for lack of love is terrible, the asphyxia of the soul” and “To love or have loved, that is enough.  There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.”  Hugo’s sprawling novel, with it’s emotional epiphanies and character-driven melodramatic narrative was meant to be a transformative work, one aimed to spur government reforms, especially within the justice system and the unjust class structure in nineteenth-century France, one that turns good people into beggars and criminals.   With it’s larger than life characters and lofty philosophical themes, Hugo’s novel was a perfect subject for the cinema, and tailor-made for some kind of operatic transcription.  To be sure there have been dozens of film adaptations of the epic work dating back to the silent era all the way up to a 1998 adaptation by Bille August with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey playing Valjan and Javert.  The number of times filmmakers worldwide have turned to Hugo’s novel may well in fact be within hailing distance of Stoker’s Dracula and Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.  The best of these versions was  Raymond Bernard’s four-hour plus epic of 1934, which is the most faithful to the source, and a 1935 Hollywood treatment with Fredric March and Charles Laughton in the leads that is well acted and mounted but substantially truncated. (more…)

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2013 fireworks new years New Year 2013 Wallpapers, Quotes

by Sam Juliano

2012 is on it’s last legs, and for many it’s a year better left to expire without looking back.  Sure there were high points, artistic accomplishment and personal goals met, but tragedy intruded one time too often.  We at Wonders in the Dark were deeply saddened to hear the news of Lori Moore’s passing over the holiday season.  Lori, who over the past few months collaborated with Dee Dee and Barbara LaMotta on the John Garfield petition was well-regarded by her peers and referred to as one of the loveliest of persons.  Our deepest condolences to Lori’s family, to Dee Dee, and to all those who were fortunate enough to be touched by Lori in their lives.  I never was lucky in my life to meet Lori, but was moved to hear the testament of others.

On Saturday morning I drove Lucille and the family up to Newtown, Connecticut to leave flowers at the site of the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dickinson Drive.  Set back on a slight hill, the road leading up was barricaded off, but visitors were permitted to walk up to the school building.  A wire fence now encircles the one-story structure, and many of the windows are now boarded.  After we stayed for about ten minutes, a police car came, and an officer politely asked that people leave as heavy snow began falling.  My kids will remember this as one of the saddest days they’ll ever experience, and though our intentions were of solidarity and grief, it was a very difficult trip to make.

It’s been a tough week too with physical maladies afflicting WitD staffers on both sides of the Atlantic.  In Kendal, in northwestern England Allan Fish has been felled by a nasty stomach viris, while hear just outside of NYC in Fairview, New Jersey, Your Truly has had some intermittant stomach nausea, bloating and acid reflux to deal with.  Still I did my best to function, and escorted the family to several films, including multiple viewings of the long-awaited Les Miserables.  (more…)

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