". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Weekend Is Coming: Their Finest and A Quiet Passion

     . . . . For the audience that is me, it's become seldom that a new film shows up for which I have the slightest inclination to watch, much less pay the $17* to see it in a theater, where I can't put it on pause to get a glass of wine, go back to be sure I saw what I thought I saw, or skip over the gratuitous violence, degradation and humiliation of female characters.

However, there are two films showing currently that are worth watching, and worth seeing in a theater. It may not be a coincidence that Their Finest and A Quiet Passion both are historic, costume dramas, and British productions.  After so many decades of BBC acting, directing and writing talent, warehouses of accumulated carriages, decor, etc., fabricators, designers and seamsters for costuming period dramas, the British have gotten the hang of these things.

     . . . .Seemingly, the British cannot give up their finest hour whether on screen or in print. In some ways, looking at this from the outside, it's as though for the English, history rather stopped as far as they are concerned with the end of WWII and the break-up of the empire upon which the sun never set.

Their Finest is concerned with the British film industry in WWII, during which women had to / got to take over the sorts of jobs that only men generally ever had the fortune to do,  including writing. A clue -- dialog for women in films was called 'slop.'  So, when a woman is 'requested' to write, it's for no pay or public credit, and it's for for the propaganda flix that were designed for the US market and viewer, to nudge the audience into wanting the USA to get into the war to help brave, isolated Britain standing by herself against the nazi war machine rapidly taking over the entire world.

Among the featured players is the wonderful Bill Nighy.

A Quiet Passion features Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson. I don't agree with certain presentations of the poet, but Nixon redeems all.

A Quiet Passion focuses on Dickinson's non-conformity during yet another of America's religious Great Awakenings.  This is worth focusing on, both biographically and historically when looking at this unique poet.  But I do wish it included her matter of factly drowning a litter of unwanted newborn kittens, which tells us other things equally important about Dickinson.  It's like talking about Emily Bronte and never mentioning that she was able and willing to beat a disobedient dog, no matter how much she cared for the animal.

     . . . . BTW, there is a film coming, in November, that I will want to see in a theater, unless more information between now and then persuades me otherwise.  I say this because me wanting to see this is weird, as it is a Comic / Marvel universe bloviator bluster bloat thing, all of which bore me silly.  I tried to watch Guardians of the Galaxy because so many were so crazy about when I could see it with no trouble on netflix.  But it was so loathsome I was literally nauseated, even when fast-forwarding, and shut it down.

Maybe the last comix flic I ever watched was the first Thor bombast -- and I did see it in a theater. There have been other Thor flix, I think. -- but I really enjoyed Chris Hemsworth, who plays the comic character, in Ghostbusters this last summer -- he was funny and he could dance really well. And -- this Thor -- well it's s Ragnarok Time!

Thor: Ragnarok looks thoroughly appropriately over the top in a finely entertaining way, including Led Zepplin's "The Immigrant Song" on the soundtrack -- you know, the thudbuster that starts with a howl down the fjord:

Ah, ah.
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land.
To fight the hordes and sing, and cry.
Valhalla, I am coming. 
Always sweep with, with threshing oar.
Our only goal will be the western shore.
Ah, ah. 
Ragnarok also features -- the Hulk. Omygosh. Ah, ah! Ah, ah!

Of course, if you wish to see it in 3-D the ticket price will be higher, also if one reserves ahead of time.


*  See a description of NYC movie ticket pricing from a couple of years ago here.

No comments: