Italian unification & the subsequent Republic…

3 Oct

@ProfVFranco: Italy was actually a series of city-states until its unification as the Kingdom of Italy-1861. By June 2, 1946- the monarchy was out & a republic was formed.


Italian heritage month- brava!

2 Oct

@ProfVFranco: October- beer fest, Halloween & …Italian American heritage month ! Gotta love Cimabue & his gorgeous tho fading frescoes In Assisi #italy # italianheritage


Labor & management: somethings never change…

25 Sep

Labor vs management; safety vs profit; job security vs employee expendability… If you want a reminder as to how certain issues remain hot topics no matter the time or place you need to watch Ken Loach’s powerful 2001 comedy/drama about the privatization of the UK rail system, THE NAVIGATORS.

Shot in Loach’s signature realistic style, it is easy to forget that you are watching a scripted film. The deceptively fluid dialogue & acting feel like you are watching a documentary, eavesdropping on all the personal & public moments that shape the futures of 5 railway workers in Yorkshire. It’s no wonder that the script garnered Rob Dawber a BAFTA for best new writer.

Safety concerns, union busting, coitus interruptus, divorce, single parenthood, coerced early retirement, blackmail- it’s all here and you will never step onto a train again without thinking of the system that oversees the individuals responsible for your safety.

Art & war…chicken & egg…

11 Sep

American Impressionism – springing from the influence of its French counterpart & fueled by Civil War profit made by Northerners at war’s end.

1865 onwards saw a rise in American travel to Europe & the artistic education of both American art collectors & artists alike. The ashes of the American civil war led to an eventual appreciation of the French Impressionists & the appropriation of the movement to American soil -with American perspectives.

Brothers, fists & philharmonics…

27 Aug

Watching Cagney’s City for Conquest & thinking of it as inspiration for 2013 christian bale starrer “the furnace” & 2010 “the fighter”.

Great brave brothers bailing out their troublesome, tormented brothers using their fists. All the hallmarks of the complexities of the human psyche that i love to see in good film.

The 100 foot journey/project X double header

27 Aug

Somehow “project x” & “the 100 foot long journey” ended up being an interesting Franco double feature. Not as good as my Gravity & Nebraska mash-up during Oscar screening season but somehow a good study in contrasts. Crap vs quality ?

Pitch session for “project x”: so its “risky business” meets “ferris buehler’s day off” with a little “neighbors” thrown in.

“100 foot” -sweet film -easy to guess plot but still a nice little excursion. manish dayal has come a way since his Quality inn hotel chain commercial (ad is still running in the ny market by the way).

Am I ready to start curating double headers at the New Beverly yet, Mr. T?

It’s the little things: suddenly,last summer

3 Aug

In 1957 people didn’t talk much about family members who were gay. “suddenly, last summer” sets the action in 1937 & examines the implications that being closeted had on all members of a family. While extreme in its drama & use of expositional dialogue, the film has gripping performances by Katharine Hepburn, Liz Taylor & Montgomery Clift & this adaptation of the play of the same name by Tennessee Williams is worth seeing.

Quick note- really interesting production design by Oliver Messel makes me wonder how strong an influence this film was on production designer Bruce Ryan & his work creating Will’s apartment in the hit comedy “Will & Grace” back in 1998.
Beautiful sculpted male torsos, and sketches & paintings of lovely young men abound in deceased New Orleans poet Sebastian Venable’s room & are more subtly echoed in Will’s Manhattan living room. Incredible though, how media presentations have changed in the 4 decades between these 2 works.


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