Archive for March 13th, 2018

 © 2018 by James Clark

 The singularity of Michael Haneke’s latest film, Happy End (2017), does not so much inhere in charting a disaster (near and far), nor a wrinkle as to Haneke’s soul-mate, Abbas Kiarostami. What becomes most eerie and challenging here is this film’s being a kind of binary star (revolving around a common centre) along with Ruben Ostlund’s film—from the same year—namely, The Square!

Whereas the latter’s ferocity pertains to a cave-in apropos of widely beloved humanitarianism, Happy End, literally and metaphorically, has to do with a sink hole in the form of technology and its classical-science grounds being essentially groundless, despite being hugely productive and generating a vicious idolatry. The peculiar situation of Haneke’s preferences here elicits a fireworks factory conflagration of flashes recalled in previous films having meaningfully touched upon that conundrum of all conundrums.  Actress, Isabelle Huppert, occupies a special vantage point within this evocation of personal worst inasmuch as she brings to the current film a distinguished track record of frequenting the advent of living dead, in two other recent films. In the Haneke film, Amour (2012), she plays the part of the hapless daughter of a couple of brilliant musicians on the order of technique who, in their later days, detest music. In the film, Elle (2016), by Paul Verhoeven, she portrays the owner/ director of a booming games production concern, hard as nails and following a trajectory culminating in sit-com ordinariness. In Happy End, she is the general manager of a multi-tech construction firm Her aged father, whom she has supplanted in the board room, is played by actor, Jean-Louis Trintignant, who ran his technical skills into the ground as her father in Amour. Huppert’s Anne, in Happy End, has a dysfunctional son, Pierre. Huppert’s Michele, in Elle, also has a dysfunctional son, Vincent, never to be confused with the self-unsparing painter. Actress, Elizabeth Moss, is called Anne and she forms an unsteady alliance with a PR-first museum director, named Christian, in The Square. Both Christian and Anne-the builder run into intractable difficulties in the form of Muslim refugees. (more…)

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By Suzanne Campbell

Every broadcasting program is a reflection of the times, the era, unto which it is born. From basic cable town hall meetings to the rich tapestry of period fantasy on premium pay, all capture an aspect, moment, or flavor of the day, interpreted by creative minds. Whether commenting upon the political climate, popular culture, new cinematic movement, or the newest geographical entry in destination art, television serves as a mirror. The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (1987—1991; NBC/Lifetime) reflected all of these.

By the mid-1980s, women’s lib was celebrating its 20th anniversary. Shows such as Cagney and Lacey and Fame were setting the tone for drama. Tama Janowitz’s “Slaves of New York” was lighting up bookshelves (and movie screens a few years later). The films After HoursHannah and Her Sisters, and Desperately Seeking Susan were defining cinema—and careers—in twin cinemas nationwide. New York’s 1970s punk was dovetailing into 1980s new wave, disco had thankfully evolved into a new genre called Hip Hop and, for the first and only time in history, stand-up comedians became the new rock stars. While creating new genres and artistic avenues, New York never lost sight of its lineage. Danceteria housed the new dance movement but smoky blues and jazz were still found a few blocks away at the Blue Note. Manhattan wasn’t the concrete insane asylum it was in the previous decade. Tip to toe, art was pouring out in the five boroughs more voluminous than ever, setting the pace and tone for cultural touchstones across the country.

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