I was talking to someone the other day who is at least somewhat interested in the libertarian/alternative media perspective on the economy and politics. We got to talking and it became clear that, while not necessarily being a devotee of conspiracies, he was very skeptical of the official story about 9-11 and other matters.
Then I found out, he'd never seen The Parallax View. A little too young to have seen it or heard about it, perhaps. I haven't heard back from him yet but if you're skeptical of what we get for official stories then you should see this 1974 film.
Well, when I was recommending it to him I felt, yeah I felt a little bit of intellectual pride a sort of mixed quality of feeling but I also felt a much better feeling like I was giving him a gift. Here. I think you'll enjoy this, a pleasure at a piece of art that you might not have otherwise encountered.
Quite often on the main page folks will suggest a book or a movie in the course of discussion, usually something directly bearing on the issue being debated. Well, I thought we might exchange these little gifts, tips or recommendations to try this or that book, movie or other art without it having to explicitly corroborate why the gold-silver ratio will revert to historical norms or reveal what China's real gold holdings are.
So, without further ado,
The Parallax View (1974)
It was directed by Alan J. Pakula and stars Warren Beatty. To many it's the greatest conspiratorial thriller ever and it appeared in a golden era of movies of such tone including Coppola's The Conversation, Polanski's Chinatown and Pakula's movies before and after it, Klute and All the President's Men which all appeared within a few years of it. It follows Beatty's character's initially reluctant and then anything but investigation into the assassination of a politician and the subsequent events that could seem like a cover up. And then, well, to quote one reviewer, ". . the first part of The Parallax View is about paranoia. The second part is paranoia." And he meant that in a good way. Even 40 years later there's a film within the film that still stands as an inscrutable object defying glib explanation. To explain how carefully crafted this film was, there are several scenes that begin with an object only slowly coming recognizably into view and this was no accident. Pakula said he wanted to put the audience in the frame of mind of trying to find something. At first it's just finding an approaching car in the middle of a large landscape or it's some other object but eventually the audience gets caught up in trying to find a way out.
Please give us the gifts of enjoying books, movies or art that might be a little out of the way that you think are worthwhile.
Staying with movies, I'll suggest four more that I think Turdites might not have seen and might find very worthwhile.
1) The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Directed by William Wyler. This movie about soldiers coming home after WWII won 8 oscars including best picture. There are moments in here where failure to get at least a bit watery eyed is nearly impossible. It has its faults in certain ways especially as seen 68 years later but those changes in values and cinematic techniques are also part of why it's an incredible time capsule and opportunity to see how we've changed and what we've lost.
2) A Man Escaped (1956) Directed by Robert Bresson. This is a FRENCH film. I repeat, this is a FRENCH film. But it doesn't matter that much this time. The director, Bresson, had a *very* distinctive style, very minimalist using an absolute minimum of dialog. It didn't fit some of his other films which came off as bizarre mismatches of story and style but it fits this story perfectly. This is a terrific film . . . . but only if you watch it without interruptions. With a few interruptions it becomes just a good film. With several interruptions it's no good at all. It's very much a cumulative experience where tension builds through very small events.
3) A Face in the Crowd (1957) Directed by Elia Kazan. This movie stars Andy Griffith but an Andy Griffith that you never saw ever again. This was *not* sheriff Andy Taylor. A Face in the Crowd was by the same writing and directing team, Budd Schulberg and Elia Kazan as On the Waterfront. It's one of the first great movies about the media and its impact, about how mass media uses and amplifies megalomania. Vitajex, whatcha doin to me?!
4) The Ipcress file (1965) Directed by Sidney Furie. This movie was the first great role of Michael Caine's career and to many still stands as the best spy movie ever. This isn't a James Bond cartoon. Michael Caine's wiseass character, Harry Palmer deals with bureaucracy, bickering higher ups and the small aggravations of everyday life. This movie also has a sensational, distinctive score.
Paths of Glory
Early Stanley Kubrick. Deals with the insanity of war (WWI France) and how the citizen/soldiers are just pawns.
The Americanization of Emily
Similar theme. WWII. James Garner and Julie Andrews.