Archive for November 21st, 2021


by Sam Juliano

We are wishing all our friends and readers stateside a Happy Thanksgiving!  After a pandemic-ravaged year, this will be the first time in two seasons many will be getting to see their families again.

Jim Clark published a fabulous essay on Antonioni’s Red Desert this past week at the site.  My novel Paradise Atop the Hudson inches closer to publication, but this past week I have had to remove some song lyrics from the narrative, since a writer must obtain written permission to include them.

The past week Lucille and I saw one new film in a theater (on Friday evening.)  First the caveats. Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast is NOT as great a film as Hope and Glory, nor The Long Day Closes. The former had stronger plot cohesion and the latter more overtly impressionist strokes that aren’t compromised by the clash between romanticism and realism we see in Belfast. The thick Irish brogue is often incomprehensible, and subtitles would have helped. This largely charming film makes fine use of Van Morrison songs, and boasts some splendid performances, led by the youthful protagonist, Buddy, played by Jude Hill. Incorporation of movies, and some wonderful scenes with the boy’s grandparents brings some added familial resonance in a film that combines the idyllic with the horror of Protestant and Catholic violence in a city where the former adherents are trying to purge their religious adversaries from the soil at every turn. Belfast is alluring and memorable for sure, but not the best film of the year as some have been touting it as. The use of monochrome was wise, methinks, and I count myself as a fan of the “Everlasting Love” segment. 4.5 of 5.0 (more…)

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