Here are two kinds of political demonstrations.
First, the Iranian Republican Guards Corps test-firing a
ballistic missile with a range sufficient to hit Israel, Moscow, parts of Europe and US military targets
as a way to break the ice for an upcoming meeting in Geneva on Thursday with
U.N. Security council members to discuss its nuclear program.
A couple of days ago, as
reported in the "New York Times,"
Mahmoud Ahmadenijad proclaimed to the UN that the Iranian "people
entrusted me once more with a large majority" in a ballot he described as
"glorious and fully democratic." Wordlessly and
far more elequently earlier this month the great Iranian filmmaker Jafar
Panahi challenged that claim when he and the other members of the jury for the Montreal Film
Festival took the stage wearing green scarves -
green being the color of those opposing, Ahmadenijad's
Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist" now has a
local opening date - October 23 at the Kendall Square Theatre. Which reminds
that it's been a while since I did an Antichrist/Google check, in which I
insert the name of someone who is rumored to be the Antichrist onto Google and
see how many hits come up.
You might recall back in August 2008,
before the election, I Googled "Barack Obama" and "Antichrist" and came up with
Some years back, on March 25, 1994 to be exact, I had a story in
the Phoenix called "Jerk Chic" in which I discussed how many films were
coming out featuring heroes who were louts, boors, assholes, and so on. Fifteen
years later I'm happy to report that there aren't nearly as many jerks on screen any more and most of those -- in
Woody Allen's "Whatever Works, " "Bruno," "The Hangover," "Inglorious Basterds," in "The
Baader-Meinhof Complex," for example -- are mostly intended negatively or ironically.
For obvious reasons, most of the TV and other appreciations of
the late Patrick Swayze have been heavy on clips of his role as the title spook
in Jerry Zucker's "Ghost" (1990). Never
mind I cried like a baby when I first saw it (don't ask). But I think Swayze is
miscast: with his impish, faun-like features and the coiled, sensuous menace and grace
of his powerful body, he seemed the kind of shade who would be more at home
somewhere other than the celestial destination implied at the end of the film.
As the US convulses in the uncivil war over health care reform, up north across the border people just shake their heads in disbelief. The Montreal member of the Festival jury, Pierre Pageau, has assured me that the GOP's portrayal of their health care system is a tissue of distortions, hysteria and lies. I assured him that that's just the way we discuss issues here these days in our country.
If you have a loaded doctor in the first act he has to go off by the end of the movie. Anton Chekhov said that, or he would have had he been watching the same films as I have over the last couple of days.
Like "Morphine," mentioned previously, in which a doctor in a remote outpost clinic in Siberia becomes a drug addict and seeks the ultimate high.
When you come right down to it, serial killing is just another form of addiction. Like drugs or watching three or more movies a day. That's what I was thinking after seeing "Distance" and Alexey Balabanov's "Morphine" on the same evening.
In the latter film, based on a collection of short stories by the Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov, a young doctor takes up residence in a grim and frozen outpost in Siberia.
After the eloquent protest against Iranian repression by Jafar Panahi and his fellow jurors with the green scarves, the whirling acrobats in the stage show preceding the Montreal World Film Festival's opening nightscreening came as a bit of jolt. Also, the film itself, Ricardo Trogi's autobiographical comedy "1981" seemed a change of pace.