Paris

Recognitions
June 12, 2010

Mademoiselle Chambon Lorber Films The Father of My children IFC Films Some situations in film stories are so common that, when a film character enters one of those situations, he must be reminded of a similar moment in a picture he himself has seen. For prime instance, an extramarital affair. When such an affair looms in Mademoiselle Chambon, the viewer can’t help feeling that the two people sense they are beginning to repeat a film.

Beyond the Line
June 11, 2010

In early April, silly flags were already flapping all around Beirut. A non-resident would think that dignitaries from the entire United Nations were about to make an appearance, adding a touch of color to our city. According to numerous sources, the flags had sprouted much earlier. As early as January, my sister made sure to tell me. I don’t think any earlier than that, my mother said. People were too busy with Christmas and New Years, and in 2009, Ashura, the Shiite holiday fell at the same time—far too much going on for anyone to concentrate.

Pondering American Imperialism in Dubai, En Route to Johannesburg
June 10, 2010

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates— At JFK, waiting to board the Emirates flight to Dubai that the Times Square bomber guy was yanked from trying to flee the country, I sit next to a guy from San Diego wearing a blue USA jersey with the excellent Joe Gaetjens 1950 throwback sash. My unofficial lounge tally: more Mexico shirts (plus two sombreros) than American ones. Then there’s the dude with a rooster mohawk in an Argentina shirt with a “10” shaved above his left temple and—this is the beautiful part—a mirror image “01” above his right.

England vs. USA
June 08, 2010

As someone who, like Luke, grew up in England and now thinks of himself as an American, I can sympathize with his decision not to watch on Saturday, out of a feeling that there's just Too Much There.  I also strongly agree that America is awesome. People have an attitude of openness to possibilities, and to improving their lives, that you don't find anywhere else. There's less cynicism and poorly-disguised jealousy when good things happen to someone else. American girls are more interested than are English girls in English men—and some even play soccer.

The BACKLOT: ‘Breathless’ at 50
May 27, 2010

As Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless comes up for reissue (50 years after its debut), all too many film writers lapse into nostalgia for their own fondness. In The Huffington Post, Patty Zohn offers an enjoyable essay about how she went to Paris (in 1970) and found the film still playing, and how she saw herself in Jean Seberg’s Patricia—the student soaking up the New Wave and the old Paris. Well, I’ve met Ms.

The Wizard
May 22, 2010

Adam Mickiewicz: The Life of a Romantic By Roman Koropeckyj (Cornell University Press, 549 pp., $45) It was Poland’s peculiar luck to receive its literary matrix, its cultural subtext, the source of its national mythology, from the hands of a provincial genius, a Romantic poet and mystic, in the first half of the nineteenth century. Imagine the creative possibilities, and the inevitable perils, of such a provenance.

Trying Political Leaders
May 21, 2010

I. Trying political leaders: I do not mean trying them out, in advance, to see if we are likely to find their leadership disastrous, though that might be a good idea if we could find a way of doing it. In politics, judgment does not have to be, and often cannot be, after the fact. But it is post facto judgment that I wish to discuss: the morality and wisdom of putting political leaders on trial after we have endured their leadership and, perhaps, their crimes.

Trying Political Leaders
May 21, 2010

I. Trying political leaders: I do not mean trying them out, in advance, to see if we are likely to find their leadership disastrous, though that might be a good idea if we could find a way of doing it. In politics, judgment does not have to be, and often cannot be, after the fact. But it is post facto judgment that I wish to discuss: the morality and wisdom of putting political leaders on trial after we have endured their leadership and, perhaps, their crimes.

Changes
May 21, 2010

Two in the Wave Lorber Films Looking for Eric IFC Films No movement in any nation’s film history has had a greater effect, at home and abroad, than the French New Wave. Beginning in the late 1950s and cresting through the 1960s, it not only brought forth new and invaluable talents: it altered in some degree the expectations of audiences. Much has naturally been written about the New Wave.

What Do Immigrants Owe America? Apparently Nothing!
May 11, 2010

A dazzling essay by Fouad Ajami in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal made the point, apropos Faisal Shahzad, that the bestowal of citizenship “gave him the precious gift of an American passport but made no demands on him.” It also allowed him to travel 13 times to Pakistan and back over the last seven years—just one exemplar of the hundreds of thousands (more likely millions) of youngish men who have both domicile and liberties in the West but burn with fire for the perilous fevers of the Old Country.

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