Monday, December 24, 2012

Japanese Holdouts

Here are the results of a little research project on Japanese soldiers who hid on islands and in jungles after the end of World War II, not realizing or believing that the conflict was over. I collated information from a variety of of sources on the Web. Undoubtedly I could do better if I had access to Japanese sources and could read Japanese!


Confirmed Holdouts

1949                Two holdouts, Matsudo Linsoki and Yamakage Kufuku, discovered on Iwo Jima in January.

1950                Eight holdouts who survived for almost five years in the Papua-New Guinea jungle, with the help of a local village chief, returned to Japan in February 1950.

1950                In March 1950, Yuichi Akatsu surrenders on Lubang Island in the Philippines. He was part of the Hiroo Onoda holdout group (see below).

1951                A colony of holdouts existed on Anatahan Island in the Marianas north of Saipan from 1945 to 1951. There was only one woman among an initial group of more than 20 men, creating great sexual friction, and there were a number of violent deaths during the six-year period. The woman, Kazuko Higa, spotted an American ship offshore in July 1950 and took that opportunity to leave. The remaining men did not surrender and leave until one year later.

1953                Murata Susumu captured on Tinian.

1954                Shoichi Shimada killed by Philippine soldiers on Lubang in May 1954. Also part of the Onoda group.

1954                Four holdouts were discovered and brought out of the jungle on the Indonesian side of New Guinea. A fifth member of the group had died of malaria in 1947. 

1960                Tadashi Ito and Bunzo Minagawa were holdouts on Guam. Minagawa was captured in May 1960, and Ito surrendered that same month.

1972                Shoichi Yokoi captured on Guam in January 1972. He became a celebrity in Japan and died in 1997.

1972                Kinshichi Kozuka killed in shoot-out with Philippine police in October 1972. Part of the Onoda group.

1974                Kozuka’s fellow-hold-out Hiroo Onoda was relieved of his duty by his former commanding officer, who visited Lubang for that purpose in March 1974. Onoda returned to Japan but soon emigrated to Brazil to become a cattle rancher. He is still alive, and now splits his time between Brazil and Japan. It is known that he killed several people on Lubang during his time as a holdout.

1974                Teruo Nakamura (aka Attun Palalin) arrested on Morotai Island in Indonesia in December 1974. Although a private in the Japanese Army, he was a Taiwanese aboriginal, probably of the Amis tribe, and did not speak either Japanese or Chinese at the time of his capture. He chose to be repatriated directly to Taiwan and died there in 1979.

Phantom Holdouts, Not Really Holdouts, and Rumors

1965                Supposedly a holdout was located on the island of Vella Lavella in the Solomons, and he was persuaded to give up by the Japanese ambassador to the islands. Lack of a name and corroborating details make me suspicious of this one.

1970                There is an uncorroborated reference to the effect that a holdout was captured on Okinawa in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

1975                There was rumor of a holdout near the town of Rabaul on the island of New Britain off the east coast of Papua-New Guinea. A search was made but nothing was found.

1978                The Moon Travel South Pacific Handbook reports that a holdout was found on Vella Lavella in 1978 – this probably refers to the 1965 rumor and compounds it with a date error.

1980                It was reported that a hut possibly occupied by Fumio Nakahara had been discovered on Mount Halcon on Mindoro in the Philippines, by a search team that included his former comrade-in-arms Isao Mayazawa. The presence of a holdout had been confirmed by members of the local Mangyan tribe. Notes were left for him, but Nakahara never materialized.

1989                There were rumors of remaining holdouts on Vella Lavella. Possibly these were just publicity-seeking, since it was well-known by this point that there was an abiding fascination with holdouts among the Japanese.

1989                Kiyoaki Tanaka and Shigeyuki Hashimoto were discovered fighting with a Malaysian Communist Party unit. They were not hold-outs; they knew World War II had ended; they just never went home, and sought other adventures. There are undoubtedly a number of such cases.

1992                There were rumors of remaining holdouts on Kolombangara Island in the Solomons.

1997                A report that a holdout had been discovered on Mindoro among the Mangyan tribe proved to be false. It makes you wonder about the 1980 Fumio Nakahara possibility, since that was also related to the Mangyan tribe.

2001                As late as this date, there were rumors of holdouts on Mt. Makarakomburu on Guadalcanal Island in the Solomons.

2005                It was reported that Yoshio Yamakawa and Tsuzuki Nakauchi had been discovered on Mindanao in the Philippines. However, the “mediator” who was supposed to set up a meeting between them and Japanese officials went missing, leading most to suspect a hoax.

2006                Ishinosuke Uwano, thought dead after remaining on Russia’s Sakhalin Island after the war (where he was last seen in 1958), turned up married in the Ukraine, then returned to Japan for a visit. Not a holdout, but an interesting case. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4916294.stm


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Money, Money, Money...Money

How is it that money is never a constraint for when we went to war or when the banks needed bailout, BUT money is the BIG concern when we talk about unemployment, social security, healthcare etc, the thing that 99% of us need the most.

"netbacker"

Interesting to compare this to another Internet comment from "blowback":  

Zizek wonders why is it that in the realm of technology all is possible but in all else nothing is possible---higher education cannot be changed, capitalism cannot be changed, politics cannot be changed---- and so nothing changes.

One can easily multiply examples of what these two writers are getting at. For example, in schools, when we talk about sports, money is almost never a constraint, but when we talk about academics, money is almost always a constraint. It makes you wonder whether the human species really deserves anything better than it gets.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

David Hume

Yesterday, one of my just-finished philosophy students asked me who my favorite philosopher is, and I said although that's a hard question, I would have to say David Hume. He was such a provocative philosopher and such a good-hearted person; he had fun with ideas (and put forward some that are still difficult or impossible to answer). He is a very important figure in my course; the lecture on him comes at the dead center - everything before that flows into him, and everything after that flows out of him. (Kant's philosophical efforts, for example, largely begin as a response to Hume.) When I get to Rousseau a couple of classes later (the class on the Enlightenment in general comes in-between), I have great fun with the story of the friendship-turned-sour between Rousseau and Hume, which has been the subject of a whole book, The Philosophers' Quarrel:

 http://www.amazon.com/Philosophers-Quarrel-Rousseau-Limits-Understanding/dp/B005M4MTJE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354287884&sr=1-1&keywords=rousseau+hume

 Here are the two short videos about Hume that I use in class; the first one is pretty funny.





That first Hume video is a good example of the way I try to enliven the material with humor, anecdotes, and so on. My best group this semester, Bilingual Group 6, loved that approach and made that clear at the end of the course; they actually gave me a round of applause with shouts of "We love you, teacher," and a number of them wrote thank-you notes on their final exams as well. The other two philosophy groups this semester, not so much love. It's always hard to figure why one class "clicks" and another doesn't, when you're delivering the material pretty much the same way in each.

It's funny, I like teaching high school as long as I can teach it like college, which is ironic since these days, college classes are largely taught like high school! It is an unstated but universally held opinion at my campus that our prepa is FAR more rigorous than our university division. Night and day.

The creator of the second video, Massimo Pigliucci, is the chair of the philosophy department at the City University of New York; Hume is also his favorite philosopher. He recently published this interesting article about the philosophy of science, in which Hume again figures:

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/world-views/massimo-pigliucci-on-consilience/ 

Hume remains a key figure throughout the rest of my course; I refer to him a lot. One bit I particularly like is Maurice Merleau-Ponty's brilliant refutation of Hume's Bundle Theory (although he does not refer to Hume by name) in a 1948 radio lecture:



It's dazzling. Here is the pertinent section of my teaching notes:

3. VIDEO: Maurice Merleau-Ponty – Sensible Objects
a. This is part of a series of radio lectures that Merleau-Ponty gave in 1948
b. In it, he is replying to David Hume’s bundle theory (although he doesn’t mention Hume by name) - Hume’s idea that an object is nothing but its features, that there really is no underlying object
c. Merleau-Ponty disagrees, and points out that the objects he discusses here, lemons and honey, have a unity of being for us, in terms of both emotions and bodily reactions
i. It is clever to respond to Hume in this way, since he was one of the first philosophers to stress the importance of emotions over reason
ii. Merleau-Ponty uses the idea of synesthesia – perceiving or describing one type of idea or sense-data in terms of another type of idea or sense-data
1. For a synesthetic, a particular musical key might be co-perceived as a particular color (G major = blue, for example)
2. So Merleau-Ponty points out that honey is both sweetly sticky and stickily sweet – this brings together the senses of taste and touch – the sweetness and stickiness are not separate qualities, as Hume would have it, but interdependent ones
a. Each individual feature suggests and affirms the whole being of the object
b. He quotes his friend Jean-Paul Sartre: “It is the sourness of the lemon that is yellow; it is the yellow of the lemon that is sour.” (Notice how poetic this is – the French existentialist philosophers were great literary writers.) 3. The senses work together “in concert” – not separately, as Hume would have it
4. An object therefore is more than the sum (addition) of its properties
iii. The character of a man can be revealed in his attitudes towards objects, places, colors – as many have said, we are what we prefer (just as Fichte said that the type of philosophy you do depends on the type of person you are)
1. Merleau-Ponty: “Our relation with things is not a distant relation; each of them speaks to our body and our life…Man is invested in things, and things are invested in him.”
2. For example, objects can “hold” our memories for us a. In the great seven-volume French novel Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust (1871-1922), the narrator starts to remember his entire youth because of the taste, smell, and texture (mouth-feel) of a madeleine cookie dipped in tea
iv. Notice how in this lecture Merleau-Ponty mentions psychology and psychoanalysis several times
1. Psychoanalysis is the process pioneered by Freud of analyzing the contents of the mind in a phenomenological way, to shed light on human behavior
2. This includes analysis of the contents of the subconscious mind, which have to be “brought up to the surface”

Toby Jones, and Thoughts on Presidential Films

We've had some discussion of the actor Toby Jones at my private web-group. I had written:

So in 2006, Toby Jones plays Truman Capote in Infamous, to considerable acclaim, but, of course, Philip Seymour Hoffman had recently claimed that role and won an Oscar for it. Bad timing.

So now in 2012, Toby Jones is playing Alfred Hitchcock in The Girl, a film about the making of The Birds and Marnie - and wouldn't you know, goddamn Anthony Hopkins is playing the title role in Hitchcock, about the making of Psycho!

If Toby Jones walks past you and seems to be muttering darkly under his breath, don't take it at all amiss. It is understandable.

He came up again yesterday, and I wrote:

As it happens, I've recently seen Jones in two films about U.S. Presidents, but in both his role is rather small. In Frost/Nixon, he briefly appears as Nixon's agent Swifty Lazar. In Oliver Stone's W., he checks in as Karl Rove, but the part is not as developed as you might expect. He has one or two good scenes. and provokes Jeffrey Wright's Colin Powell to some barbs: "What is this guy doing in the room while we're discussing national security issues?"

W. is a rather strange film that mainly left me feeling, Why? What was the point of making it? Not enough time had passed (like, none) for anyone to have much perspective on the Bush years. Stone can't seem to decide whether he is being serious or satiric, which exposes a number of his performers, including Josh Brolin as Bush and Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice, to real difficulties in figuring out what their acting tone is supposed to be - you can practically see them puzzling over it.

Surprisingly, therefore, some of the actors come through strongly. James Cromwell does nicely by Bush Senior (although I feel that Ellen Burstyn is miscast as Barbara Bush, not the right type at all). Colin Hanks - you know, I really like Colin Hanks - makes a strong impression in just a few minutes as a staff speechwriter. Best of all are three wily, seasoned actors as Bush's main advisers - Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell, and Scott Glenn as the supremely spacey Donald Rumsfeld. It's worth watching just for them. Dreyfuss and Wright get to square off powerfully against each other, and when these two formidable characters/actors go at it, George W. Bush is reduced to a bit of insignificant chaff in the corner of the room.

Frost/Nixon, though, is an altogether superior picture. Crackling good fun that reminds me of a phrase that Louis Menand used in an essay about Pauline Kael, when he spoke about movies as "entertainment for smart people." Of course they can be more than that, too, but that is nothing to sneeze at. Ron Howard does not get enough credit for being a modern director in the dependable Howard Hawks mold - and as it happens, his next movie, Rush, is an auto racing drama, which is totally Hawksian. (One of Hawks's last movies is the personal and fascinating auto drama Red Line 7000, a real feast for auteurists.)

Howard is awfully good with actors. He had the good sense to keep Frank Langella and Michael Sheen as holdover leads from the stage version of Frost/Nixon, which they had played in London and New York, and they are predictably excellent. But he also surrounded them with a wonderful ensemble of Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Matthew Macfadyen, Kevin Bacon, and Rebecca Hall, who made me laugh out loud by saying in the making-of featurette that she tried to play her role "like a Bond girl for political geeks." (What a terrific young actress she is, the daughter of theatrical royalty in the persons of director Peter Hall and opera singer Maria Ewing. I like her in everything she does.)

There is a scene late in the film when Sheen's David Frost has sent Sam Rockwell's James Reston, Jr., on a research mission before the final Nixon taping. Rockwell arrives at Sheen's hotel suite and enters to Sheen's question "And...?" Just as the door is shutting between us and them we see Rockwell flash a small, split-second smile. It is an exquisitely timed moment (I can only guess how many takes it took to get right) and already one of my favorite visuals in any movie of the Oughties. The auteurist theory insisted that we look for those moments in the outputs of easily dismissed commercial directors, and we now apply that insight regularly to the past, but tend NOT to do so in the present. But in the best work of commercial directors like Howard, Spielberg, Peter Weir, and Ridley Scott - Gary Ross and Ben Affleck are good younger examples - the moments are there to be found.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holy "Miss Bala"!

The story linked to and excerpted below speaks for itself. It's of interest how often this sort of thing is happening, as the report details, but it is not exactly surprising. Criminals have always sought trophy girlfriends as one more evidence of their dominance, and the young women themselves use their "erotic capital" (to use sociologist Catherine Hakim's phrase) in order to gain status. This process has never been without risks, and it abounds in them today. Hakim has written a whole book about how she is actually in favor of young people using their erotic capital to get ahead, but although this is inevitable (one certainly sees it in the gay community, too), I'm not sure it's always wise. It's not just that taking this approach can bring one into conflict with the law, although there is that. It also frequently brings one into contact with, on the one hand, gangsters and sex traders, on the other, megalomaniac CEOs, professional athletes, media types, etc. (See Max Ophuls's 1949 film Caught for a great dramatization of this.) You're right, I'm not making much of a distinction between those two groups. In either case, if you use your erotic capital successfully, you become a possession - and as the article points out, possessions are disposable.

http://www.bradenton.com/2012/11/26/4293624/mexican-beauty-queen-killed-in.html

Mexican beauty queen killed in shootout

Published: November 26, 2012

By MARTIN DURAN — Associated Press

CULIACAN, MEXICO — A 20-year-old state beauty queen died in a gun battle between soldiers and the alleged gang of drug traffickers she was traveling with in a scene befitting the hit movie "Miss Bala," or "Miss Bullet," about Mexico's not uncommon ties between narcos and beautiful pageant contestants.

The body of Maria Susana Flores Gamez was found Saturday lying near an assault rifle on a rural road in a mountainous area of the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa, the chief state prosecutor said Monday. It was unclear if she had used the weapon.

"She was with the gang of criminals, but we cannot say whether she participated in the shootout," state prosecutor Marco Antonio Higuera said. "That's what we're going to have to investigate."

The slender, 5-foot-7-inch brunette was voted the 2012 Woman of Sinaloa in a beauty pageant in February... 



It was at least the third instance in which a beauty queen or pageant contestants have been linked to Mexico's violent drug gangs, a theme so common it was the subject of a critically acclaimed 2011 movie.

In "Miss Bala," Mexico's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of this year's Academy Awards, a young woman competing for Miss Baja California becomes an unwilling participant in a drug-running ring, finally getting arrested for deeds she was forced into performing.

In real life, former Miss Sinaloa Laura Zuniga was stripped of her 2008 crown in the Hispanoamerican Queen pageant after she was detained on suspicion of drug and weapons violations. She was later released without charges.

Zuniga was detained in western Mexico in late 2010 along with seven men, some of them suspected drug traffickers. Authorities found a large stash of weapons, ammunition and $53,300 with them inside a vehicle.

In 2011, a Colombian former model and pageant contestant was detained along with Jose Jorge Balderas, an accused drug trafficker and suspect in the 2010 bar shooting of Salvador Cabanas, a former star for Paraguay's national football team and Mexico's Club America. She was also later released...

Javier Valdez, the author of a 2009 book about narco ties to beauty pageants entitled "Miss Narco," said "this is a recurrent story."

"There is a relationship, sometimes pleasant and sometimes tragic, between organized crime and the beauty queens, the pageants, the beauty industry itself," Valdez said.

"It is a question of privilege, power, money, but also a question of need," said Valdez. "For a lot of these young women, it is easy to get involved with organized crime, in a country that doesn't offer many opportunities for young people."

Sometimes drug traffickers seek out beauty queens, but sometimes the models themselves look for narco boyfriends, Valdez said.

"I once wrote about a girl I knew of who was desperate to get a narco boyfriend," he said. "She practically took out a classified ad saying 'Looking for a Narco'."

The stories seldom end well. In the best of cases, a beautiful woman with a tear-stained face is marched before the press in handcuffs. In the worst of cases, they simply disappear.

"They are disposable objects, the lowest link in the chain of criminal organizations, the young men recruited as gunmen and the pretty young women who are tossed away in two or three years, or are turned into police or killed."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Jack Lord and Film Noir

Reading through the credits of director Gunnar Hellstrom (see the Larry Hagman post), I spotted an American theatrical feature from 1968, The Name of The Game Is Kill, which I had recently seen mentioned in another context, as only the second movie (after The Trip in 1967) to noticeably feature a Moog synthesizer on the soundtrack. It turns out that the movie is a desert noir shocker featuring an immediately pre-Hawaii Five-O Jack Lord as a Hungarian drifter in the American Southwest (!) who becomes involved with a strange clan of women who run a remote gas station. It was shot by the great cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (himself Hungarian; one wonders what he thought of the script).


It was one of Lord's last two theatrical features before he got caught up in Hawaii Five-O's long run. The other is The Counterfeit Killer, another thriller also directed by an expatriate who came to specialize in American episodic television, the Pole Joseph Lejtes. (Both Lejtes and Hellstrom directed episodes of Bonanza.) It was one of the first writing credits of the young Steven Bochco, and apparently has a good jazzy score by Quincy Jones. (Jones's first composing credit on a film was, wouldn't you know, a Swedish movie, Arne Sucksdorff's Pojken i tradet in 1961.)


Lord has some pretty darned obscure noir(-ish) films in his portfolio: Lewis Seiler's The True Story of Lynn Stuart (1958),


Richard Thorpe's Tip on a Dead Jockey (1957),

 
Jack Glenn's Cry Murder (1950),

 
and Edward J. Montagne's Project X (1949), described in the IMDB as follows:

The New York-filmed production opens with a discourse on Communist infiltration into American colleges, and moves on to a series of dialogue exchanges in a night club, an apartment, a barber shop and some offices. A young physicist is being blackmailed, by a friend, into stealing a secret atomic energy plan.


Montagne went on to direct the marginally better-known films The Tattooed Stranger (Lord is in that one, too, but uncredited)  and The Man with My Face.

POSTSCRIPT: Don Malcolm at The Blackboard regaled me with further "scuttlebutt over a beer" details about Gunnar Hellstrom's life in Hollywood, which he remembered from his own boyhood there.  Don described the young Hellstrom as a heartthrob type, and I looked up a picture of him as a youth - he was striking-looking.

 
His very first screen credit was a bit in a Swedish noir called While the City Sleeps (1950) from an Ingmar Bergman treatment. He later directed and starrred in a noir of his own, Nattbarn (Night Children) (1956), with Harriet Andersson.


As he aged into his 30s and 40s, Hellstrom's build became beefier and with his Nord-Euro look he was perfect for small parts as German army officers, that sort of thing. He played one in The Time Tunnel episode "The Ghost of Nero" - Hellstrom is on the right in the picture below.


Of particular interest to me, he acted for Robert Altman at least twice, in a first-season Combat! episode "I Swear By Apollo," and in an hour-long pilot called "Walk in the Sky" that aired on CBS in the summer of 1968. According to Patrick McGilligan's Altman biography, 

People always congregated at Altman's new offices in Westwood, in those days called either Red Carpet Productions or simply Westwood Productions. The Swedish director Gunnar Hellstrom might be there, and Ida Lupino and Howard Duff, who had encouraged Altman back in the 1950s, or actors like Robert Ridgeley or Michael Murphy who seemed to feed off Altman's energy. 

The offices led out to a little courtyard, with two rooms downstairs, one upstairs for screenings. At various times the office had a pool table and a barbershop chair and pinball machines, strange items for a production office in those days, though nowadays de rigeur. There were always people coming and going, cheese and crackers out on the table, with screenings of Altman's television episodes, his Calvin [industrial] films, and his other independent films at night. All very relaxed and informal, all very "family."


I love the way that McGilligan makes you feel the atmosphere of it. (He really ought to update his account, which as it stands, concludes in the early Nineties, to include Altman's miraculous "third act.") Altman was a partier, which would have been conducive to Hellstrom's own high spirits.

Hellstrom also acted under Richard C. Sarafian, who like Reza Badiyi was a sometimes-uneasy Altman protege, in the short-lived war series Jericho, and under Jack Webb in a two-part piece called "Code Name: Christopher" for G.E. True ("based on stories from True magazine") in 1962.  

Gig Young



Gig Young, murder-suicide, 1978. The victim was his fifth wife; Elizabeth Montgomery had been his third. She divorced him for his alcoholism, which also played havoc with his career; he got fired a lot.


Pauline Kael once described Young as "the most naked of actors - an actor with nowhere to hide" (I'm quoting from memory). It was that quality of Young's that helped make the exquisite "Walking Distance" one of the greatest of all Twilight Zone episodes,


and that won him his Oscar for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?.

 
Young was, apparently, really disappointed in his post-Oscar career, but it is hard to understand what he could have expected. He was 56 when he won the award in 1970. He had always been a supporting actor on the big screen – and an honored one; his Oscar nomination for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? was his third in the Supporting Actor category, after Come Fill the Cup (1951) and Teacher’s Pet (1958). His leads came in theater (There’s a Girl in My Soup was a Broadway hit in 1967-68) and on television; in fact, the year after his Oscar, he was Emmy-nominated as a lead actor in the television movie The Neon Ceiling, with Lee Grant. A lot of actors would have killed for his career, but he was not satisfied.


Like many alcoholics, Young had a nasty streak, that manifested itself long before his life’s shocking finale. One story will suffice. At his time of his divorce from Montgomery, his soon-to-be-fourth wife, Elaine Williams, was pregnant with what would be Young’s only child, Jennifer. Three years later, in the middle of Young’s and Williams’s predictable divorce, he denied paternity of his daughter in order to avoid having to pay child support. He eventually lost that case, but made sure to stick it to his child by leaving her a measly $10 in his will. Shades of Joan Crawford.

Some Young credits that might be worth investigating:

A television movie, Companions in Nightmare (1968), co-starring Anne Baxter and directed by Norman Lloyd. No IMDB comments.  

A Kraft Suspense Theatre episode from 1963, "The End of the World, Baby," directed by the talented Irvin Kershner and co-starring Nina Foch and Peter Lorre. No IMDB comments.

A TV remake of The Spiral Staircase starring Young, then-wife Liz Montgomery, and Lillian Gish, the opening production in NBC's Theatre '62 series (1961-1962). No IMDB comments.   

This Theatre '62 series also included live dramatizations of Intermezzo (Ingrid Thulin, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Teresa Wright - wow!), Notorious (Joseph Cotten, George Grizzard, Barbara Rush, Cathleen Nesbitt), The Farmer's Daughter (Lee Remick, Peter Lawford, Charles Bickford, Murray Hamilton), Spellbound (Hugh O'Brian, Maureen O'Hara, Oscar Homolka), The Paradine Case (Richard Basehart, Viveca Lindfors, Boris Karloff), and Rebecca (James Mason, Joan Hackett, Nina Foch, Lloyd Bochner). The Paley Center for Media has a black-and-white copy of the last one (the original broadcast was in color).

Saturday, November 24, 2012

RIP Larry Hagman

[Cross-posted from The Blackboard.]

Hagman was in the middle of filming the second season of the Dallas revival, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with that script-wise.

I quite liked Hagman as the President's diffident translator in Sidney Lumet's Fail-Safe.


Naturally, there are a few offbeat credits in Hagman's portfolio (because if anything is an iron law, it is this: Actors take work).

Edgar G. Ulmer's last film, the World War II drama The Cavern (12964), about a motley group trapped in a cave after a bomb raid; starring John Saxon


The swinging campus comedy, Up in the Cellar (1970), in which Hagman plays a college president targeted for revenge by a disgruntled student; also starring Wes Stern and Joan Collins (Dallas meets Dynasty!)


The cross-cultural comedy Antonio (1973), in which Hagman plays an American millionaire whose Mercedes-Benz winds up in the hands of a poor Chilean (Trini Lopez); it does not bring Lopez luck


With Bibi Andersson in the Swedish sex comedy I Am Blushing (1981), directed by Vilgot Sjoman of I Am Curious (Yellow) fame and controversy. The IMDB offers no reviews of this, but the cast list shows Hagman playing himself - hmm. So far I am frustrated in finding out anything much about this film - but I did locate the poster, and Hagman is on it. The movie is not even listed in the extensive filmography at Hagman's own website - a skeleton in the closet, perhaps? Significantly, Hagman's wife of 57 years (good going), Maj Axelsson, is Swedish, and the couple owns a house in her hometown of Sundsvall on the Gulf of Bothnia.


Hagman appeared on Broadway six times between 1951 and 1963. His most notable performance there was the last, in support of Bert Lahr in S.J. Perelman's The Beauty Part, which I have mentioned before. If I had ever met Hagman, that would have been the first subject I asked him about!


Hagman played a leading role in an unusual 1959 musical, The Nervous Set, about the Beat Generation, which did well in St. Louis but tanked after a few weeks on Broadway. There is a cast album. Also in the cast was the legendary comedian and improv specialist Del Close, who was a friend of mine when I lived in Chicago.


The Nervous Set was directed by Theodore J. Flicker, Hagman's later director on Up in the Cellar (above). Flicker's most famous film credit was as writer-director on the black comedy The President's Analyst (1967), with James Coburn and Godfrey Cambridge. He also wrote and directed a much less well known film in 1964, The Troublemaker:

A naive chicken farmer from New Jersey moves to Greenwich Village to open a coffee house. The obstacles he must overcome include the mob (who, in one of the movie's funniest scenes, surreptitiously follow him in a garbage truck) and corrupt officials--among them, an Irish fire chief, played by Godfrey Cambridge, black comic actor.

The chicken farmer is played by Tom Aldredge, who made his Broadway debut in The Nervous Set, of which this is almost a spin-off. Other interesting names in the cast: Buck Henry, Al Freeman Jr., Joan Darling, and James Frawley, who later directed two early Seventies cult films, The Christian Licorice Store with Beau Bridges and Kid Blue with Dennis Hopper, before settling into a prolific career as a television director.

Flicker co-created the television sitcom Barney Miller in the Seventies, but appears to have dropped out of the industry by 1981, when he was only 51. Not sure why, but he has continued to write and make art since then. A documentary about Flicker, Ted Flicker: A Life in Three Acts, played at the Santa Fe Film Festival in 2007.

Hagman appeared in three substantial straight plays on Broadway, none wildly successful:

Comes a Day (28 performances, 1958), with Judith Anderson, Brandon de Wilde, Arthur O'Connell, the apparently quite busy Michael J. Pollard, and George C. Scott; written by Speed Lamkin, directed by Robert Mulligan. Speed Lamkin (1928-2011), pictured below, was a precocious Louisianan who was unkindly called "the poor man's Truman Capote" by the acerbic composer Ned Rorem. He gained attention for his two early Fifties novels Tiger in the Garden and The Easter Egg Hunt. He took the failure of Comes a Day hard - the reviews were most unkind - and retreated to his hometown of Monroe, where he ruled the petite social realm in "Old South" style. He gave up publishing his writing and instead devoted himself to his art collecting; the New Orleans Museum of Art put on an exhibition of his holdings in 2008.(Film noir connection: In 1950 Lamkin was hired to write an American version of Roberto Gavaldon's 1946 Mexican noir La otra, which had been a hit for Dolores Del Rio. One of many twin-based melodramas, it was being developed as a property for Joan Crawford even though Warner Brothers had previously passed on it because of the resemblance to the Bette Davis vehicle A Stolen Life, which also came out in 1946, and which was itself a remake of a 1939 British film based on a 1935 Czech novel. Crawford never made the film, but Davis herself took up the material in 1964's Dead Ringer - Rian James (1899-1953) gets the story credit on both this film and La otra. Got all that?)


The Ireland-based God and Kate Murphy (12 performances, 1959), with Fay Compton, John McGiver, and Lois Nettleton; directed by Burgess Meredith

The Florida-based The Warm Peninsula (86 performances, 1959-1960), with June Havoc, Julie Harris, and Farley Granger


I always learn a lot from these little research projects. It seems to me that almost no one is working on the question of how connections made in the world of theater had an impact on the world of film, television, and radio, and how all those worlds along with those of literature, the comics, stand-up comedy, music, dance, and the visual arts came together in places like New York, London, and Paris (probably less so in Los Angeles, which was more mono-focused on screen entertainment). Pop cultural histories of film and television are turned inward when they need to be turned outward towards other media and intellectual currents.

POSTSCRIPT: One of my correspondents at The Blackboard, AT, kindly pointed me in the direction of additional information about the Larry Hagman mystery credit Jag Rodnar (aka I Am Blushing) at the New York Times website:


Director Vilgot Sjoman of I Am Curious - Yellow fame, has created this film of a director named Gunnar Sjoeman (Gunnar Hellstrom) making a movie in the Philippines that is based on Joseph Conrad's book "Victory." After arriving on location, the director finds that his leading man has shafted him and so he finds another (Larry Hagman playing himself), then his mistress (Bibi Andersson) gets involved with a movement to free a political prisoner, and the Philippine co-producer would like to transform the movie into a more commercial product. Amidst these developments, the director is still able to shoot some pretty bloody scenes of local color, and make broad jabs at the regional brand of foreign white dominance over underprivileged nationals. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

This is certainly more information about this movie than I have seen anywhere else. It sounds as if Vilgot Sjoman might have intended some satire of Francis Ford Coppola's infamous production of Apocalypse Now (also based on Conrad, of course) in the Philippines just a few years earlier.

Jag Rodnar could be an interesting (and certainly unheralded) addition to the surprisingly extensive genre of movies about the making of movies. (Fassbinder's Beware of a Holy Whore is perhaps my favorite.) Now to locate the film itself...that might take some doing.

Another interesting connection: Gunnar Hellstrom, who played Vilgot Sjoman's director alter ego "Gunnar Sjoman" in Jag Rodnar, directed six episodes of Dallas and acted in four (as the character "Rolf Brundin"). He had been active in American television as director and occasional actor since the early Sixties (directing 33 episodes of Gunsmoke, for example). I knew that name rang a bell!

I do believe that the Swedish connections here must have had something to do with Hagman's wife, Maj Axelsson.

My new mantra: Read the credits...read the credits. Listen to what the credits tell you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Social

All night they talked, secretly comforting their hearts that longed always for Spain and telling themselves that such a symposium was after the manner of the high Spanish soul.  They talked about ghosts and second-sight, and about the earth before man appeared upon it and about the possibility of the planets striking against one another; about whether the soul can be seen, like a dove, fluttering away at the moment of death; they wondered whether at the second coming of Christ to Jerusalem, Peru would be long in receiving the news.  They talked until the sun rose, about wars and kings, about poets and scholars, and about strange countries.  Each one poured into the conversation his store of wise sad anecdotes and his dry regret about the race of men.

Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The word "social" is becoming utterly debased - social networking, social marketing, social media, social websites. What Thornton Wilder describes in this passage is the social that is worth having and worth demanding. Absent the sort of exchange that, no matter how light or heavy on the surface, has a serious and refined core, why bother socializing at all? I'm reminded of Robert G. Kaiser's account of the bracing late-night conversations of the Russia intelligentsia in his excellent 1976 book, Russia: The People and the Power.  The talk could be drunken, funny, morose, erudite, eccentric, or angry, but there was always something at stake. How piddling most interaction that gets counted as social today seems in comparison. For sociability of substance you need people of substance, and contemporary Americans in particular are trained for insubstantiality, right from the get-go. Signs of depth are treated with alarm.

Apart from continuing profitable exchanges in my active web-groups and with a few of my work colleagues, I feel like I am in retirement from society. I'm a bit of a lone wolf at the best of times, but I would not wish for quite so barren a social landscape. I teach the Enlightenment, after all, and with great enthusiasm; I know that what comes out of social gatherings can change the world. We all deserve our personal versions of Enlightenment salons and Bloomsbury dinner parties, but where in 2012 are they to be found?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Suicide in Korea

[The subject of suicide in Japan came up in the H-JAPAN listserv.]

Korea is also pertinent in this connection, having had one of the highest suicide rates consistently for the past several decades. Although it is important to dispel stereotypes, it is not wrong (in my opinion) to put forward the notion that there are genuine differences in attitude between these key East Asian nations and the United States with respect to the issue of suicide. I taught in Korea for a year, and was frequently taken aback by by how "normal" an act suicide seemed to be considered. Many well-known Koreans have committed suicide, and these events are understandably widely reported. In recent years the casualties have included a former president, and a rash of young actors and pop-stars; the latter events have been noticed and discussed as a trend, a concerning one because the national suicide rate often spikes for a couple of months after the suicide of a youthful celebrity. During my year in Korea, a television presenter tweeted her jump from a ledge; another presenter, who was well-known for preaching a gospel of personal happiness, ironically departed with her husband in a meticulously planned murder-suicide; an elementary school teacher who failed her examination to become an assistant principal hung herself in her classroom (fortunately without students present); etc. If I am making it sound as if these suicides also function as a macabre form of public entertainment, you are reading me correctly. I can't speak to the situation in Japan, but suicide in Korea will now forever remain a subject of enduring fascination for me. 

An exchange with an adult student that I will never forget:

Me: What does a Korean salaryman do if he wants to escape the "rat race"?
Her: He kills himself.
Me (startled): He knows that there are less extreme options than that?
Her: Yes, he does, But that is what he would do.

POSTSCRIPT: My follow-up in the same conversation:

I believe that Korea's suicide rate has not always been as high as it is today. Others could comment on this from a stronger factual/statistical basis, but anecdotally, what I often heard people say in Korea is that suicide rates skyrocketed and then remained high after the economic "miracle" that is felt to have begun in the 1970s under President Park Chung-hee. Certainly it is fair to say that few nations have gone from Third World status to First World status more quickly than South Korea, which can be considered worthy of admiration (Koreans would like you to admire it, reasonably enough), but which also created enormous pressures within the society. It stands to reason that when the Korean government began to actively promote what is known as the "hurry hurry" culture, not everyone would be well-adapted to that.

It could be that in both Korea and Japan, suicide has been generally more available as a socially acceptable option than it has in the Christian West - but also that there are periods when that option is more extensively exercised, and periods when it is less so.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Commonplace Book: Artistic Appreciation

The public for which masterpieces are intended is not on this earth.

Thornton Wilder, The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Simon Bolivar's Quest for Glory"

Richard W. Slatta / Jane Lucas De Grummond, Simon Bolivar's Quest For Glory. Texas A&M University Press Military History Series, 2003.

This biography of Simon Bolivar was completed by Richard W. Slatta from a manuscript left unfinished by the late Jane Lucas De Grummond. It is sad to have to report that the two authors achieve zero style, but such is the case. Although the book is aimed at a general readership and eschews (wrongly, I think) the usual scholarly apparatus of end-notes, it is not in fact that readable. A biography of Bolivar is, perforce, essentially a piece of military history; and military history is difficult to write clearly. Although one does come away from this book with an impression of the Liberator himself, who was indeed on a “quest for glory,” the blizzard of other personae, general and leaders on both the Patriot and Royalist sides, do not emerge clearly from the text, and remain easily confused names only. They needed to be introduced carefully – pictures would have helped.

You do get the major message that the leadership of both sides was rent by intense rivalries and jealousies: “In his autobiography, [Jose Antonio] Paez recorded that…he acknowledged the need for a supreme chief. He declined, however, to recognize either [Santiago] Marino or Bolivar as filling that role, preferring to visualize himself as supreme chief.”

There is a delightfully apt typo at one point, when Marino re-swears his allegiance to Bolivar: “It is now, and from this moment, our most scared duty to become a model of submission and obedience to the supreme chief!” Yes, I imagine it was his “scared” as well as “sacred” duty.

Although the book contains a number of maps in the front material, they are inadequate to the needs of the story. Many, many locations mentioned in the text are unmarked on the maps; and of the maps of specific battles and military marches that the book cries out for, there are none. It is easy to become very geographically confused as the story makes its way through modern-day Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

It is highly regrettable that the book leans to the dull and tangled, because the material is rich. Bolivar’s multiple liaisons alone provide a lot of potential side-drama that the authors fail to make much of (“Make love AND war!”, apparently). Highly dramatic episodes such as the mass killing of 22 Capuchin friars by an over-zealous Patriot officer, or the tale of the general who tosses his baby into the air on a balcony, only to watch it crash to its death below, pass without any sense of occasion.

The Bibliography and “Guide to Further Reading” are good, and further reading will be necessary if you really want to understand fully what was going on. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Constantinople

At my Mexican prep school, I teach, among a number of other subjects, the year-long World History sequence for first-year students in the multicultural track (who are equivalent to American 10th graders). The course is serious and dense with information, but I try to keep a fun vein running through it as well.

The city that gets the most attention in the course, more than Paris or London even, is Constantinople/Istanbul - the gateway between East and West, Asia and Europe, Islam and Christianity. Because it features so prominently, I get a chance to use two delightful geography songs, the spelling song "C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-N-O-P-L-E" from Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra (1928) and "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" by the Four Lads (1953). When was the last time there was a pop geography song?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Commonplace Book: Cats

"You have a cat, ma'am, I see," said Mr. Bumble, glancing at one, who in the centre of her family was basking before the fire; "and kittens too, I declare!"

"I am so fond of them, Mr. Bumble, you can't think," replied the matron. "They're so happy, so frolicsome, and so cheerful, that they are quite companions for me." 

"Very nice animals, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble approvingly; "so very domestic."

"Oh, yes!" rejoined the matron with enthusiasm; "so fond of their home too, that it's quite a pleasure, I'm sure."

Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

George Cruikshank's illustration of this scene is a charmer:


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stylish 60s TV Commercial

Stanley Kubrick's enthusiasm for the technique of certain television commercials, such as the early 1970s "The Night Belongs to Michelob" series, is well-known. I wonder what he would have made of this stylish early 1960s spot for Tiparillos mini-cigars? The restless panning captures the swanky nightclub energy perfectly. We never really get a good look at anyone except the vending girl; it all just slides by. The footage would not be out of place in an American knock-off of La dolce vita or La notte. It also demonstrates decisively that the Mad Men stylistic is not merely a retro imposition, but is part of the way the era felt about itself.

 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Favorite Films by Director

In my web-group Confabulation, we had a challenge to come up with lists of our best/greatest/favorite films of all time (there was a lot of debate about the terminology!). I decided to restrict myself to one film per director, which meant that I had to figure out my current favorite for each significant director. The results are below, naturally offered with the proviso that my knowledge of every director's work is decidedly imperfect and incomplete. For approximately 185 directors, teams, and miscellaneous auteurs, I have listed my current top film, going in chronological order from the 1910s until today (and separating decades with spaces). All the selections are at a personal pantheon level of quality, although obviously for many directors, there would be more titles that met that standard. In cases like Hitchcock, Altman, Bergman, Ford, Fellini, Kurosawa, Ozu, it is especially difficult to hold to one title, but I did.

In 13 cases, I have allowed myself to select a set of films that go together strongly and seem to emanate from a single impulse. Those cases:

The 8 films that Preston Sturges made for Paramount between 1940 and 1944

The 9 films in the Val Lewton horror cycle, directed by Jacques Tourneur, Mark Robson, and Robert Wise between 1942 and 1946

The 3 astonishingly varied Westerns - Jubal, 3:10 to Yuma, and Cowboy - that Delmer Daves made with Glenn Ford between 1956 and 1958

Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy

Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy 

Francois Truffaut's Antoine Doinel series (5 films, 1959-1979)

Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss, shot back-to-back and released in successive years 

Guy Maddin's Archangel and Careful, same situation

Monte Hellman's Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting, which were shot together

Jackie Chan's Project A and Project A Part II

The 17 Superman cartoons made by the Fleischer/Famous Studios between 1941 and 1943

Alan J. Pakula's Paranoid Trilogy - Klute, The Parallax View, All the President's Men

Michael Apted's Up series (1963-2012)

(Budd Boetticher's series of 7 westerns with Randolph Scott, 1956-1960, would also qualify, but I haven't seen all of those.)

At the bottom of the list of films is an alphabetical list of about 95 directors or teams that I am currently "punting" on; that list could obviously be expanded, but these 95 seem to have a claim to consideration in assembling a best/greatest/favorite films list. I'm punting for a variety of reasons, but foremost among them is a lack of familiarity with enough of the director's work. In many cases, I suspect I haven't yet seen the film that will be my top choice; in other cases I'm conflicted, or it has been a very long time since I have seen some of the important titles.

Of course there are cases when I did pick films for the main list by directors I could be much more schooled in. But in those cases I felt strongly about the titles in question. It's all on a case-by-case basis.

I'll keep this list up-to-date here - of course, there will be future changes!

Intolerance (D.W. Griffith) - 1916

Safety Last! (Harold Lloyd) - 1923
Greed (Erich von Stroheim) - 1924
Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton) - 1924
Sunrise (F.W. Murnau) - 1927
Napoleon (Abel Gance) - 1927
The Crowd (King Vidor) - 1928
October (Sergei Eisenstein) - 1928

Earth (Alexander Dovzhenko) - 1930
City Lights (Charlie Chaplin) - 1931
M. (Fritz Lang) - 1931
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (Mervyn LeRoy) – 1932
Boudu Saved from Drowning (Jean Renoir) – 1932
Me and My Gal (Raoul Walsh) - 1932
Dinner at Eight (George Cukor) – 1933
Footlight Parade (Lloyd Bacon) – 1933
The Pearls of the Crown (Sacha Guitry) – 1937
Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks) - 1939

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles) – 1941
Bambi (Walt Disney) - 1942
The Ox-Bow Incident (William Wellman) – 1943
Superman Cartoons (17) (Dave Fleischer/Seymour Kneitel/Izzy Sparber/Dan Gordon) – 1941-1943
A Canterbury Tale (Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger) - 1944

The Great McGinty/Christmas in July/ The Lady Eve/Sullivan’s Travels/The Palm Beach Story/The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek/Hail the Conquering Hero/The Great Moment (Preston Sturges) – 1940-1944

Murder My Sweet (Edward Dmytrk) - 1944
Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli) - 1944
Arsenic and Old Lace (Frank Capra) - 1944
Children of Paradise (Marcel Carne) – 1945
A Walk in the Sun (Lewis Milestone) -1945
The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler) - 1946
Humoresque (Jean Negulesco) - 1946

Cat People/I Walked with a Zombie/The Leopard Man/The Seventh Victim/The Ghost Ship/The Curse of the Cat People/The Body Snatcher/Isle of the Dead/Bedlam (Val Lewton/Jacques Tourneur/Mark Robson/Robert Wise) – 1942-1946

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Joseph L. Mankiewicz) - 1947
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (John Huston) - 1948
Fort Apache (John Ford) – 1948
Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky) - 1948
Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls) - 1948
The Third Man (Carol Reed) - 1949
Passport to Pimlico (Henry Cornelius) - 1949

Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder) - 1950
Orpheus (Jean Cocteau) - 1950
Los olvidados (Luis Bunuel) – 1950
D.O.A. (Rudolph Mate) - 1950
The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot) - 1953
I vitelloni (Federico Fellini) - 1953
Duck Amuck (Chuck Jones) - 1953
Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi) - 1954
Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa) - 1954
Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich) - 1955
The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis) – 1955
Bad Day at Black Rock (John Sturges) – 1955
Love Me or Leave Me (Charles Vidor) – 1955
The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton) - 1955
Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk) - 1956
The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman) - 1957
The Incredible Shrinking Man (Jack Arnold) - 1957
Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick) – 1957
Abandon Ship (Richard Sale) – 1957
White Nights (Luchino Visconti) - 1957
Jubal/3:10 to Yuma/Cowboy (Delmer Daves) – 1956/1957/1958
Night Train (Jerzy Kawalerowicz) – 1959
Pather Panchali/Aparajito/The World of Apu (Satyajit Ray) – 1955/1956/1959

L’avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni) - 1960
The Housemaid (Kim Ki-young) - 1960
Late Autumn (Yasujiro Ozu) – 1960
Eyes without a Face (Georges Franju) - 1960
The Cloud-Capped Star (Ritwik Ghatak) - 1960
The Innocents (Jack Clayton) – 1961
Blast of Silence (Allen Baron) - 1961
Harakiri (Masako Kobayashi) – 1962
Advise & Consent (Otto Preminger) – 1962
Days of Wine and Roses (Blake Edwards) - 1962
Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey) - 1962
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock) - 1963
Hands over the City (Francesco Rosi) – 1963
Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard) – 1963
Lord of the Flies (Peter Brook) - 1963
Onibaba (Kaneto Shindo) - 1964
Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev) – 1964
I Am Cuba (Mikhail Kalatozov) - 1964
A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester) - 1964
Shock Corridor/The Naked Kiss (Samuel Fuller) - 1963/1964
Fists in the Pocket (Marco Bellocchio) - 1965
The Loved One (Tony Richardson) – 1965
Brainstorm (William Conrad) – 1965
Au hazard Balthazar (Robert Bresson) - 1966
Seconds (John Frankenheimer) - 1966
Ride in the Whirlwind/The Shooting (Monte Hellman) – 1965/1966
Secret Ceremony (Joseph Losey) - 1968
The Night of the Living Dead (George Romero) - 1968
Medium Cool (Haskell Wexler) - 1969
Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville) – 1969
The Honeymoon Killers (Leonard Kastle) - 1969

Ryan’s Daughter (David Lean) – 1970
Gimme Shelter (Albert and David Maysles) - 1970
A Touch of Zen (King Hu) - 1971
The Last Movie (Dennis Hopper) - 1971
The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich) - 1971
The Merchant of Four Seasons (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) - 1971
Aguirre, Wrath of God (Werner Herzog) – 1972
Deliverance (John Boorman) - 1972
The Exorcist (William Friedkin) – 1973
Ganja & Hess (Bill Gunn) - 1973
The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola) - 1974
Chinatown (Roman Polanski) – 1974
Klute/The Parallax View/All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula) – 1971/1974/1976
Night Moves (Arthur Penn) - 1975
Jaws (Steven Spielberg) - 1975
Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick) – 1975
Moses and Aaron (Jean-Marie Straub/Daniele Huillet) – 1975
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Jones/Terry Gilliam) - 1975
1900 (Bernardo Bertolucci) - 1976
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese) – 1976
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes) - 1976
Eraserhead (David Lynch) - 1977
Le crabe-tambour (Pierre Schoendoerffer) – 1977
Halloween (John Carpenter) - 1978
Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick) - 1978
Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky) – 1979

The 400 Blows/Antoine and Collette/Stolen Kisses/Bed & Board/Love on the Run (Francois Truffaut) – 1959/1962/1968/1970/1979

The Falls (Peter Greenaway) - 1980
Used Cars (Robert Zemeckis) - 1980
Bad Timing (Nicholas Roeg) - 1980
Stardust Memories (Woody Allen) - 1980
Atlantic City (Louis Malle) – 1980
Prince of the City (Sidney Lumet) - 1981
Les uns et les autres (Claude Lelouch) – 1981
Thief (Michael Mann) - 1981
Southern Comfort (Walter Hill) - 1981
Blade Runner (Ridley Scott) - 1982
Parsifal (Hans-Jurgen Syberberg) - 1983
Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone) - 1984
Choose Me (Alan Rudolph) - 1984
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Paul Schrader) – 1985
Vagabond (Agnes Varda) – 1985
The Fly (David Cronenberg) - 1986
Sid and Nancy (Alex Cox) - 1986
Project A/Project A Part II (Jackie Chan) – 1983/1987
Let’s Get Lost (Bruce Weber) – 1988
Eight Men Out (John Sayles) - 1988
The War of the Roses (Danny DeVito) - 1989

The Civil War (Ken Burns) - 1990
JFK (Oliver Stone) – 1991
Archangel/Careful (Guy Maddin) – 1991/1992
Actress (Stanley Kwan) - 1992
Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood) - 1992
Short Cuts (Robert Altman) – 1993
Six Degrees of Separation (Fred Schepisi) - 1993
Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis) – 1993
Quiz Show (Robert Redford) – 1994
Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson) – 1994
Ed Wood (Tim Burton) - 1994
Three Colors: Blue, White, Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski) – 1993-1994
The Confessional (Robert Lepage) - 1995
Apollo 13 (Ron Howard) - 1995
Gummo (Harmony Korine) – 1997
The Spanish Prisoner (David Mamet) - 1997
Cabaret Balkan (Goran Paskaljevic) - 1998
Beau travail (Claire Denis) – 1999
Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson) - 1999
American Beauty (Sam Mendes) - 1999

Requiem for a Dream (Darren Aronofsky) – 2000
Wonder Boys (Curtis Hanson) – 2000
Timecode (Mike Figgis) – 2000
Code Unknown (Michael Haneke) - 2000
Lagaan (Ashutosh Gowariker) – 2001
Time Out (Laurent Cantet) - 2001
Lantana (Ray Lawrence) – 2001
The Devil’s Backbone (Guillermo del Toro) – 2001
Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly) - 2001
Irreversible (Gaspar Noe) – 2002
Adaptation (Spike Jonze) - 2002
Memories of Murder (Bong Joon-ho) - 2003
Elephant (Gus van Sant) - 2003
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Peter Weir) - 2003
Dogville (Lars von Trier) - 2003
Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola) - 2003
Closer (Mike Nichols) - 2004
Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee) – 2005
Good Night, and Good Luck (George Clooney) - 2005
United 93 (Paul Greengrass) – 2006
The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach) - 2006
Zodiac (David Fincher) - 2007
I’m Not There (Todd Haynes) - 2007
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel) - 2007
The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow) – 2008
Man on Wire (James Marsh) - 2008
A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen) – 2009

Seven Up!/7 Plus Seven/21 Up/28 Up/35 Up/42 Up/49 Up/56 Up (Michael Apted/Paul Almond) – 1963/1970/1977/1984/1991/1998/2005/2012

Chantal Akerman
Pedro Almodovar
Lindsay Anderson
Theo Angelopoulos
Yevgeni Bauer
Mario Bava
Jacques Becker
Bertrand Blier
Budd Boetticher
Frank Borzage
Tod Browning
Leos Carax
Claude Chabrol
Souleymane Cisse
Rene Clair
Rene Clement
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Terence Davies
Jacques Demy
Vittorio De Sica
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Julien Duvivier
Jean Eustache
Louis Feuillade
Jacques Feyder
Robert Flaherty
Philippe Garrel
Jean Gremillon
Hou Hsiao-hsien
Kon Ichikawa
Im Kwon-taek
Shohei Imamura
Joris Ivens
Miklos Jancso
Derek Jarman
Abbas Kiarostami
Emir Kusturica
Spike Lee
Mike Leigh
Jerry Lewis
Marcel L’Herbier
Ernst Lubitsch
Dusan Makevejev
Rouben Mamoulian
Anthony Mann
Chris Marker
Leo McCarey
Hayao Miyazaki
Mario Monicelli
Errol Morris
Mikio Naruse
Manoel de Oliveira
Ermanno Olmi
G.W. Pabst
Sergei Paradjanov
Marcel Pagnol
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Sam Peckinpah
Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Maurice Pialat
Gillo Pontecorvo
Vsevolod Pudovkin
Nicholas Ray
Alain Resnais
Leni Riefenstahl
Jacques Rivette
Glauber Rocha
Eric Rohmer
Roberto Rossellini
Raul Ruiz
Ken Russell
Werner Schroeter
Ousmane Sembene
Robert Siodmak
Victor Sjostrom
Mauritz Stiller
Josef von Sternberg
Jan Svankmajer
Seijun Suzuki
Quentin Tarantino
Jacques Tati
Bertrand Tavernier
Andre Techine
Tsai Ming-liang
Dziga Vertov
Jean Vigo
Andrzej Wajda
Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Wim Wenders
Wong Kar-wai
Edward Yang
Valerio Zurlini