main: October 2005 Archives
While in Washington recently, I saw a new film called "The War Within." After sitting though any number of movies where members of the audience laugh at inappropriate moments -- especially scenes of cruelty and violence -- it was refreshing to be among film-goers who seemed genuinely sobered and moved by what they were watching.
Why? This is the most powerful depiction I have seen of contemporary terrorism. It's the story of a young Pakistani studying in Paris who becomes a suicide bomber after being arrested by American agents and "rendered" to Pakistan for torture.
Now, my expert informants tell me that very few torture victims become terrorists, which makes sense in a way. But the proximate cause of the young man's decision is less important than the ambivalence he experiences upon arriving in New York and witnessing the life of an old boyhood friend and his family. Their happiness attracts and repels him in equal measure, and his inner conflict is exquisitely portrayed.
Maybe I'll write more about this, but in the meantime, go see this film if it is anywhere near you, because it won't be in the theaters long. It opened in New York, got a tepid and evasive review from the Times, then disappeared. If you know why, please write and tell me.
According to my students, most of whom are compulsive instant-messengers, I am a very bad person, because while neglecting to feed my blog I have also failed to post an "away" message.
Here are two links that may help to explain, if not justify, recent neglect. One is an article in the Washington Post about the role of popular culture, including the movies, in shaping America's image abroad. The other is an online discussion that I did for the Post the next day.
More catch-up soon...
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Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog