In Dimitri Kirsanoff's Menilmontant a destitute waif, betrayed and abandoned by the man who seduced her, sits on a park bench with her newborn infant. Beside her is an old man eating a sandwich. This wordless exchange is one of the greatest moments ever committed to film. Nadia Sibirskaia’s face reveals all of life’s cruel mysteries as she gazes upon a crust of bread.
The persistence of hope is the dark angel that underlies despair, and here it taunts her mercilessly. A whole series of fluctuations of expression and movement in reaction to anguish, physical pain involving hesitation, dignity, ravenous hunger, survival, self-contempt, modesty, boundless gratitude. All articulated with absolute clarity without hitting notes (without touching the keys). Chaplin could have played either the old man on the bench (his mustache is a sensory device!) or Nadia. And it would have been masterful and deeply affecting,
I kicked off today with a documentary about which I knew zip: One Mile Away. It explores gang culture in Birmingham, and the long-standing feud between the Burger
1. “The first thing I need,” Jeffrey tells Sandy, “is to get into her apartment and open a window that I can crawl into later.” As it turns out, this plot line never develops, as Jeffrey spots a key to Dorothy’s apartment which he takes instead. It seems like a minor point, the window, (although in the apartment in his bug overalls Jeffrey does glance twice at the window above Dorothy’s sink) and we soon forget about it. It’s one of those moments in Blue Velvet that only obliquely and in the most obscure ways references Hollywood’s past, in this case Rear Window, itself a movie about vision, about watching, about discovering oneself by looking at others, and which also features a protagonist named Jeff. (“You look out the window. You see things you shouldn’t,” Stella tells Jeff, played by Jimmy Stewart.)
2. In his novel Suspicion,
Actress Sabrina LeBeauf will be 53 today. The actress is probably best known for her role as Sondra Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She beat out Whitney Houston for that role. She earned a BA in Theatre Arts from UCLA and an Mfa in acting from the Yale School of Drama where she was a classmate of John Turturro, Charles S. Dutton and Oscar-nominee Angela Bassett.
The character of Charlie Chan was created by Earl Derr Biggers in 1923 as a rebuttal to the “Yellow Peril” stereotypes so common in literature of the day, such as Fu Manchu. Biggers lived in Hawaii and resented the unflattering Asian clichés so he invented a benign Chinese Investigator working for the Honolulu Police Force. He wrote several Chan novels. The honorable Chinese Detective became so popular that he was soon adapted into film. There were many Chan films, starting in the silent film era. Early films actually starred Chinese actors but the Audience didn’t respond to Asian Leading men.
Yesterday, 3/20/10, Spike Lee turned 53 yesterday. Happy belated b-day Spike! You know we love ya around these parts, despite any criticisms we’ve previously leveled against you .
Today, 3/21/10:vDJ Premier is 44 years old today. The other half of rap duo Gang Starr (Guru being the other) has never acted, but you can find his music on the soundtracks of numerous films, including, most recently, Get Smart in 2008.
Al Freeman Jr is 76 years old today. The first African-American actor to be so honored with an Emmy award in the Best Lead Actor category, began his career in 1958, in an episode of a TV series titled Suspicion. The role he won the Emmy for is possibly his most recognized – as Police Captain Ed Hall on the ABC soap opera,
I'm focusing solely on the big one: Best Picture. If I included anything and everything,
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