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America di notte (1961)
Hey, this was criticism of the immoral West!
The point was to show how decadent and morally loose the capitalist society is. Night-clubs! Strip-tease! The leftist French intellectuals would reveal to the world the last days of the falling capitalistic empire. Lots and lots of strip-tease! Communist Party members in Yugoslavia had an obligation to criticize the decadence of the west, from time to time. The immoral capitalism, whereas in the proletarian paradise the "dignity of our mothers and female workers" would never be endangered.
To be able to criticize properly, though, you had to study the matters deeply. So, some of the most illustrious Party members in Beograd (Belgrade), in preparation for an INTENSE criticism aimed at their class enemies, went to the "bioskop" (movie-theatre) to watch this film five, six times.
Red Dawn (1984)
wonderfully intelligent, and shunned for it; non-Hollywood
The Red Dawn is an honest and realistic movie, the true stuff. This is what things would have looked like, if we had invaded you in 1984. (I am from Serbia, South-Eastern Europe, and we were a communist land then. I recognize the procedures, the mentality, of the invaders, I can largely follow what they say.) This film should have received several Oscars, but no, it was shunned by Americans because it was not the usual Hollywood sugary water.
The Red Dawn is blood-and-truth film, but very far from the usual wish-fulfillment, formulaic production so practiced in Hollywood. It was not shown in Serbia, then, because it was politically undesirable: anticommunist. Then, years passed, communism fell, but now the movie was too old. But now in Serbia it receives some very positive reviews in the SF fandom. I should almost say: a small cult following.
The film is in science-fiction genre (because of the Third World War, and nuclear weapons used in it), although it has no visible science-fictional elements -- they are only verbally mentioned. But so it is in Lord of the Flies, too.
Two girls in the unit are true partisan girls. Respect them.
So, if one day, within the next 100 years, perhaps in a civil-religious war turned into international war, a part of the USA territory is occupied, this is largely what WILL be done to you. Be warned.
well along the lines of Gregory Benford's SF novel Timescape
This story sends information back through time, via radio waves but, presumably, assisted (just this once) by tachyons. In this, it walks the terrain of the justly famous, major science fiction novel "Timescape" (1980, got Nebula award) by Gregory Benford (physicist and writer). And, of course, the past is altered, and, of course, this has consequences for the logical consistency of the time from which the message was sent. But Benford split the universe into two universes, while here, in this movie, something quite other happens.
A solid SF movie, though much burdened by the sugary local American patriotism.
Andre Braugher plays exactly the same cop as in "Homicides" and "Hack" - - the same role, continued through several films and series. Is there a word for this type of continuity?
Intelligent, Truthful, Honest, and so German
The best German film I ever saw, and, frankly, one I never expected to see: a fair and true German look at that battle. This movie, and "The Enemy at the Gates", like one dark twin and one bright, show the battle of Stalingrad rather truthfully. Both stress the aristocratic social aspect of being a German officer then. I know for a fact that this aspect did exist. Some of the things you see and hear in this film, you never would, in a West made or Russian made film about the same event. Nor would they occur to you, at all, if you are not German and close to the living memories of that war. The way they received, or were denied, medals, for instance. O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum.
moral equation Croats - Serbs, in ER
The moral equation between two Balkan nations, Croats and Serbs, is crystallized here with bright, apothecary precision and care. It revolves around Dr. Luka Kovac. I could not see all 7 seasons, but, from what I saw, Hollywood meted out this justice: Serbs are the monsters who attacked Croatia and killed Luka's family, in Vukovar; Serbs are just bad, just evil, simply monsters, end of story. -- Croats are the good innocent sufferers, but, they are criticized for one thing, one thing only: in 1941, in the Second World War, they arrested and killed all the 45,000 Jews of Croatia, with the speed and efficacy that amazed even the Gestapo, and delighted Hitler personally. That's the only reproach for them. -- The murder of 750,000 Serbs of Croatia, in the death camp in Jasenovac, which was something like the Auschwitz of the Balkans? Never mentioned. The fact that Serbs never, ever in their entire history harmed or persecuted or ghetto-ed any Jews, in any way? Ignored. The arrest and murder of Serb families in Vukovar? Never mentioned. Oh the simplicity and surety of Hollywood justice, probably set and carved into granite forever.
Pretty Woman (1990)
Such a dream, just you DO NOT think
Obviously similar to Shaw's "Pygmalion", but updated, more modern.
A lovely dream, one very old: rescuing a prostitute from the street. (Not in Woody Allen's sickish-moody way.)
However, if you wish to dream this one, be sure you do NOT start to think very logically . . . She is healthy, not on drugs, not on alcohol, not even a smoker; no syphilis, no gonorrhea, no AIDS wounds on her legs, nothing, she is just perfectly absolutely healthy. Body and mind. She is not a criminal, not inclined to steal anything, she even values love and dignity more than money. Oh, she has no pimp, who would be the other man (other than Richard Gere) in her life; nobody to protect her from smart types who walk off without paying; the pimp would explode the whole romance instantly. (Instead, a girl friend.)
She has a golden soul, full of goodness, and loves art, and feels for art. High-society types around them appear silly, artificial, stuffy. (Different forks.) She is natural. She even was a good student (!) and . . . might be again? She loves to bathe, and half the time we see her happy in the bath tub (which is a powerful signal and symbol for CLEAN, CLEAN; she even sings so super-ultra-charmingly in the bath; she wants to wash off the foolishness of her previous few months of street. And she can do it.
But with all those qualities, WHY would she ever become a prostitute in the first place? Don't think, don't think. Just dream, it is lovely.
yellowed but not so bad as a basic in the sub-genre
The film is "yellowed" today, seen from 2005, definitely obsolete and naive, but, on the other hand, seen as part of the history of SF film, it is a kind of solid basic work in the "asteroid-collision" sub-genre.
Of course, we now know that the governments and astronomers of Europe and America are very seriously and really concerned about the danger of such collisions, and are doing something about that; but they were not, in 1979. This film, as a warning movie, did its job.
The tsunami warning (in the movie) maybe seemed funny to someone, then. We are not laughing now. So, THAT warning was right on the mark -- very true.
Neither is Russian-American friendly cooperation in trying to avert the asteroid so unlikely today, as it was in 1979, when communist dictatorship still stood in Moskva (Moscow).
Perhaps the most serious weakness of the entire sub-genre, the obviousness of the simple and clear imperative to launch nuclear missiles at the asteroid in the hope of diverting it, is clearly felt in this film: the characters have nothing else to do, except to travel by some path of their own to that basic conclusion. The sub-genre requires that the danger be seen, confronted, and done-something-about-if-possible. Hence, the plot line. Subsequent asteroid movies did not, could not, avoid this.
It is easy to ridicule "Meteor" as naïve. But, we must tell to all the environmentalists, social-problem-concerned people, etc, and tell them again and again, that if they want the flowers and birds and exotic fishes and good people and nice museums and ANYTHING to continue to exist on Earth, a strong and permanent, unblinking space defense against celestial-body collisions is urgently and very really needed, in our reality. Today. Or else, a very sudden and very hot crater the size of Europe might put a stop to us all.