Friday, March 25, 2011

Gee, I'm so stylish!

Thank you, Monty! His reason for giving me this blog award was that my blog is "awesome!" - and I bet the awesomeness of my blog lies in the fact that I update just seldom enough to lose the interest of my blog readers. Or just that I am awesome. Anyway, thanks again, Monty! Check out his blog, if you have a fetish for classic films.

I'm supposed to list seven facts about me, and I'll try to pick a few that aren't too obvious. It may be some repetition since I've done this before, but it was such a long, long time ago that I won't bother to check my old answers.

Then I will pass along this award to seven other bloggers, and let is spread like chlamydia. So here goes:

  1. Some time between the age of 10, when I was deeply in love with Johnny Depp in Cry-Baby (who wasn't), and the age of 14 when I wanted to sexually assault Chico Marx every time he played the piano, I had a serious fling with $crooge McDuck. I can't find any word for that kind of infatuation, but I think I really was attracted to the idea of him being an older, wiser dude. With lots of money. Anyway, this little trivia brings the is-manga-pornography-debate to another level, I think.
  2. I'm married to the most cynical, intelligent, entertaining (not necessarily haha-funny), non-jealous man that I could find that doesn't want to have kids. Too bad he wasn't rich too, though. But I think that's about to change - he's studying to work at the hospital. My Manolo Blahnik shoes are just around the corner! (That was haha-funny.)
  3. My favorite stand-up comedians are Bill Hicks, Eddie Izzard, George Carlin, a couple of Swedish guys you won't care me to name and, recently, also Doug Stanhope. Apart from Izzard, I like my men bitter and broken. And of course, the occasional transvestite always liven things up.
  4. I have a thing for taking pictures of dead animals. I don't kill them myself, mind you! But if I run across a dead pigeon that's had its gut ripped apart by crows, I just have to pick up my camera. The whole beauty of death thing, I think. Anyway, my camera is broken now, so I guess Allah was trying to tell me something about my hobbies.
  5. I love Braindead (Peter Jackson, 1992), and in my humble opinion that was about the last good move Mr. Jackson did in his career. But money makes the world go 'round, and makes artistic souls cry blood.
  6. I'm currently blowing out my brain through my nose. There is nothing as horrible as a bad cold, as any man would say while his wife gives birth.
  7. I am a student and the Department of Cinema Studies at Stockholm University, and it makes me feel awesome.

Now to the nominations! Other stylish bloggers are:

Millie at classicforever

Darsh at Happyotter
Mykal at Radiation Cinema!
Avalon76 at Silent Stanzas
Jenny the Nipper at Cinema OCD
Matthew Coniam at The Marx Brothers Council of Britain
Kate Gabrielle at Discovering Dirk Bogarde

Keep up the good work!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

United We Rise - Chaplin and the Jasmin Revolution

Political art can be both beautiful and emotional, and this is a great example from the organization Peop1e.

Images that we recognize from the news the last couple of weeks are put together to the sound of Charlie Chaplin's final speech from The Great Dictator (1940), to an amazing effect.

Chaplin was then engaging the people to stand up against the Führer - now he is engaging them to stand up against all other dictators. This is beauty, and it proves that Chaplin knew what he was talking about. His speech is everlasting.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A contemporary view on The Birth of a Nation (1915)

I applaud all projects that involve digitalization of media, whether it be old newspapers or audiovisual. Everyone should have the right to study history, as I argued in my previous post. Do you want to know what Rev. Dr. Charles H. Pankhurst had to say about D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation in El Paso Herald (Texas) in 1916? Let's see!

[Do your own searching at Library of Congress. There you can find digitalized American newspapers from 1860 to 1922. Click on the "Search Pages" button, and write whatever you are looking for. I could sit there for hours.]

"A boy can learn more true history and get more of the atmosphere of the period by sitting down for three hours before the film which Mr. Griffith has produced with such artistic skill than by weeks and months of study in the classroom."

Well, about that... If I remember correctly, that film is not really historically correct? And wasn't it, if I'm not mistaken, kind of... racist? Dr. Pankhurst explains:

"The criticism that it exhibits the negro in an unfortunate light and that it is calculated to engender racial animosity is fully met by the consideration that it represents the negro, not as he is now at all, but as he was in the days when he had just had the chains broken from him and when he was rioting in the deliciousness of a liberty so new and untried that he had not yet learned to understand it and was as ignorant as a baby of the way to use it. It is in this respect exactly true to history, and if it reflects upon the negro as he was then it is a compliment to the black man of today."

Oh, I'm glad Dr. Pankhurst solved those misunderstandings! He has obviously also checked that all facts represented in the film corresponds with facts, since he claims that "[o]n Griffith's screen we see the real thing." Like he said before: schools should show this film when teaching about the Civil War!

And how did the audience react upon viewing this spectacle? Except for them being so excited that Dr. Pankhurst had "been crowded upon, pressed down and run over"?

"Every eye was dim with tears in the strangling hush that fell on the theater. What might not our country have been saved had the problem of reconstruction been left to the great heart - the one man who compassed within himself the resources of the intelligence, experience, breadth and sympathy of Abraham Lincoln!
'The Birth of a Nation' has my unqualified approval."

You can find Dr. Pankhurst's entire review here.