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by Sam Juliano

Case numbers in my region have been on a steady decline.  While I must reject the claim of a very well-respected local physician who feels the “pandemic is basically done in this area” and I continue to fear a second wave or resurgence, I will admit there is finally evidence to be cautiously optimistic.  Most of my family were given the antibody test this past week and we are waiting for results.  The above photo was taken outside the Fairview office of Dr. Luke Eyerman.  Wishing everyone continued safety!

The 4th Annual Allan Fish Online Film Festival will launch on Allan’s May 28th birthday, which is this coming Thursday.  The five post affair will include submissions from Roderick Heath, J.D. Lafrance, Sachin Gandhi, Jamie Uhler and Yours Truly.  The schedule is as follows:

Thursday, May 28  –  Jamie Uhler
Friday, May 29       –  Roderick Heath
Saturday, May 30   –  J. D. Lafrance
Sunday, May 31     –  Sachin Gandhi
Monday, June 1     –  Sam Juliano
We wish to thank all who have even considered a submission during this exceedingly difficult time, and likewise a salute to the e mail chain who have been respectful and supportive.  To the small group actively participating in the project there can’t be enough appreciation!

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by Sam Juliano

Here in the Garden State movement to open parks and some businesses is underway in view of dropping case numbers that are presently the lowest since the pandemic began.  With progress of course there is grief and in our local Hudson County Park, one of the largest in North Jersey we have had social distance violations and some park goers hurling insults at sheriff’s officers.  It seems incredible at this late stage that some people are still in denial and downgrading a deadly crisis that has taken almost 85,000 lives in the United States alone.  In any case there is clearly a light at the end of the tunnel now more than ever and many of us have embraced optimism like never before.  Wishing all our readers continued safety and well-being.

The Allan Fish Online Film Festival will begin on Allan’s birthday, May 28th, which this year falls on a Thursday.  We were hoping for at least 7 or 8 participants and still may have that number or more, but unfortunately at this time there are only four (4) rock solid commitments from Roderick Heath, J.D. Lafrance, project founder James Uhler and Yours Truly Sam Juliano.  Normally Jamie sets up the schedule but with the lower number of participants the order is really a no-brainer.  Hence, as usual Jamie will launch the fourth annual tribute to Allan Fish with his own submission on May 28th.  Roderick Heath will be second up on Friday, May 29th, J.D. Lafrance will post on Saturday, May 30th, and Sam Juliano on May 31st.  Robert Hornak is considering a post and a few others may yet respond in the affirmative.  In any event Jamie, Rod, J.D. and Sam now have their official days to move forward with.  Any possible additions will extend the calendar dates.  Thank you so much to all!

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by Sam Juliano

Things are looking more hopeful at present but we are still quite a distance from any true comfort or confidence what with other reports warning on future resurgences in several months.  It is difficult to believe anything these days.  I’d like to roundly condemn those right wing extremists who continue to regale those who are trying to keep things safe.  Their arrogant defiance and selfishness has set a new low in our society as they have geared up for a culture war, pitting our very continued existence against freedom. Yes we are all free to die, but I’ll have to take a pass on that proposition.  America needs to roundly reject this behavior at the ballot box and I know I speak for the site’s inner circle (and for most readers) in condemning the MAGA hat wearing, gun toting loons who are trying to lead the conscience of our nation into utter obliteration.

The Allan Fish Online Film Festival will be set to go later this month, though so far there are only four (4) writers who have committed to it:  Roderick Heath; J.D. Lafrance, Jamie Uhler and Yours Truly.  Though even that low number will still enable us to conduct the project, I am hoping when all is said and done we will have at least a few more. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

We continue to wish our dear friends and readers safety moving forward.  Repetition can be tiring but presently we are all trying to weather this storm and reach that light at the end of the tunnel.  The signs are mixed but at least there appears to be some measure of lowering numbers.  As always one day melts into the next with time so far less acute than it has every been.

The fourth annual Allan Fish Online Film Festival will again be staged at WONDERS IN THE DARK beginning on or around May 22nd. I will be sending out the group e mail to those in the chain who have previously participated sometime next week. Normally the festival includes 8 or 9 entries, hence running a bit over a week. The project’s chairperson and founder is Jamie Uhler of Chicago. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

As we near the end of April there are more than encouraging signs.  The fearful death number has actually dropped from 342 to 106 from Saturday to Sunday here in New Jersey.  That is by far the most drastic change over a two-day period since this horror began, and while even one death is terrible the numbers in the Garden State are going in the right direction in a big way.  Otherwise we are largely hunkered in as usual aside from the grocery and medicine runs.  Wishing everyone continued love and safety!

With schools nationwide shut down indefinitely, I thought I’d put together a list of my Top 25 favorite films primarily set in boarding schools, grade schools and Universities. Anyone wishing to put together their own lists of any number up to 25 is encouraged to do so in the comments. Of course some of you will list a good number of my own canonical choices but may opt to add others to conform with your own taste. My numerical list is for a drama and to denote a slight preference but basically I love all the films on this list comparably.

1. Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939; UK)
2. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975; Australia)
3. Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987; France)

4. Anne of Green Gables (1985; Canada)

5. Wild Reeds (1994; France)
6. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969; UK)
7. Zero for Conduct (1933; France)
8. A Separate Peace (1972; USA)
9. Indignation (2016; USA)
10. Les Diaboliques (1955; France)
11 Twenty-Four Eyes (Japan; 1954)
12. Young Torless (1966; Germany)
13. Election (1999; USA)
14. The Outcast (1962; Japan)
15. Child’s Play (1972; USA)
16. The Children’s Hour (1961; USA)
17. The History Boys (2006; UK)
18. If……(1968; UK)
19. Quand on a 17 ANS (France; 2016)
20. The Freshman (1925; USA)
21. Stolen Kisses (2016; France)
22. Dead Poets Society (1989; USA)
23. Tea and Sympathy (1956; USA)
24. Les Disparus de St. Agil (1938; France)
25. The Chocolate War (1988; USA)

Horse Feathers, Tom Brown’s School Days, If…….., Carrie (Di Palma), Elephant, The Chorus, To Sir With Love and The Browning Version barely missed the list.

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by Sam Juliano

And the beat goes on as we move into late April, hoping daily for some reprieve, for some glimmer of hope to deliver us all from the fear that continues to creep up on us whenever we seem to be in a better mind-set.  All is status quo at our home at 7 Spruce Street in Fairview, New Jersey, a town that is part of virus ravaged Bergen County.  Heading out for groceries remains a stressful times as it is invariable for so many others, but we try to keep safe.  In any case, we are in some measure encouraged by the leveling off of significant figures in both New York and New Jersey but it would seem we still have a way to go before we can breathe easily.

This week Jim Clark published a terrific essay on Ingmar Bergman’s early-career Summer with Monika.  Thank you to all who have engaged by leaving comments and/or likes and wishing all to stay safe!

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by Sam Juliano

For quite some time moving forward routines will be sustained and indoor living will only be abbreviated for those much concerned about trips for groceries and medicine  Between hearing the daily reports, watching movies and classic television and reading our lives we have settled into a new norm, one seemingly destined to persist for moths moving forward.  It seems so surreal, but this is all an unconscionable reality’ one measured and contingent upon a fair amount of sacrifice.  My apologies for my slow response to comments.  I greatly appreciate them and will get to them very soon.  Thanks to Jim Clark, J.D. Lafrance and Marco Tremble for keeping the site relevant with their excellent reviews and essays. (more…)

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