Louise

Reviewing new French, Swedish, and Swiss films.

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Meet the Fokkens Mosquita y Mari Dreams of a Life Rob Schröder and Gabrielle Provaas, Dutch film-makers, are lucky. They have found what can only be called a knockout subject for a documentary—identical twin sisters, now in their seventies, who have spent their lives as prostitutes in Amsterdam. The sisters even have a name that, for Anglophone viewers, has a special edge: the picture is called Meet the Fokkens.

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Freedom Porn

Parallel Stories By Péter Nádas Translated by Imre Goldstein (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1,133 pp., $40)  Péter Nádas’s novel begins with the most formulaic kind of narrative device: the discovery of a corpse.

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A Place Called Hope

Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. As we enter health reform’s final lap, critical details remain uncertain. Blue dogs and progressives must both be appeased. Critical financing issues must be resolved. House and Senate bills must be reconciled. Lots could still go wrong, but it seems likely that a 2,000 page behemoth will be thwonked onto the President’s desk.

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AHIP Gets Punk'd!

Slipping their way past the tight security at the Capitol Hilton, liberal activists from a group called “Billionaires for Wealthcare” interrupted AHIP pollster Bill McInturff as he took the stage for the closing speech of the insurance lobby’s conference this morning. About five activists who had infiltrated the conference, wearing business suits and pearls, burst out into a rendition of “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie. “Just give me a pu-blic option! We can sniff out waste just like a dauschaund—costs come down!” they sang to the insurer-friendly audience. “The option, the option!

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Bank Shot

Congress's attempts to deal with the housing crisis this spring created surprising rifts within the financial industry, particularly between big banks and investors (at hedge funds and elsewhere).

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The Operator

The first time I remember speaking with Karen Ignagni was via a TV satellite, for a debate about health care policy on CNN. It was the summer of 2007, not long after the debut of Michael Moore's Sicko, and each of us was playing our usual role. Ignagni is the telegenic president of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and arguably Washington's most influential health-industry lobbyist.

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Race Man

After several weeks of swooning, news reports are finally being filed about the gap between Senator Barack Obama’s promises of a pure, soul-cleansing “new” politics and the calculated, deeply dishonest conduct of his actually-existing campaign.

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Sick

This week, after months of congressional wrangling, President Obama signed historic health care reform into law. For the last ten years, TNR’s resident health care expert Jonathan Cohn has been writing about the big structural problems in our health care system and what can be done to fix them. This week’s archive piece is a Cohn classic: a 2001 examination of why America’s best hospitals were suffering under the existing health care system.

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