Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Film Noir

The past few weekends have been very busy and I have only found time for a few movies - I decided to make those films noir to get the maximum out of the time spent. I love the genre - mainly for its terribly stylish heroes and the very twisted plots. I also love the dark shots of cities and vintage cars zooming around. Of course some may like the femme fatale best but I am not inclined that way. However, when it came to Laura, the mysterious Otto Preminger movie, it was difficult not to get drawn towards the 'dangerous' lead character. While the detective was definitely the coolest and unaffected detective ever, it was Laura's mysterious charms that were at the center of the story. By being the murdered character her enigma was no doubt heightened with the absence, but even in her presence, she seemed like an intriguing mix of helplessness and reserve.

The other noir movies watched lately - The Big Sleep and Kiss Me Deadly. Big Sleep is worth a watch simply for the crisp dialogues and the crispier manner in which Bogart delivers them. No wonder he has women falling all over him - from shop assistants to cab drivers. The mystery is never cleared, which is a little annoying and I am considering delving into the Raymond Chandler book to find out what really was happening.
Kiss me deadly - really, I think its not nearly stylish and intriguing as the other two - and the final secret is definitely over the top - no sorry, way over the top. Femme Fatales are missing, and though our detective is very good looking, his dialogues do not come close to those of Bogart, or Dana Andrews or even Clifton Webb. And if it was to be viewed as the depiction of nuclear paranoia - the fear didn't really present itself. It was more like having noir fun with the topic.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Favorite Book Cover of the year

Its the time of the year when yearly favorites come out. I like to indulge in this game once in a while, but most of the time it is hard to play favorites. However, this year a cover of one of the books I have been reading stands out above all the rest I have come across: The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz. I am afraid I could not find a better picture on the internet and will have to click my own copy once I get home.
The book attempts to explain why Eastern Intellectuals collaborated with the Russian/Stalinist regime and attempts to explain the thought process that went behind their cooperation. Written from an internal perspective, unlike Orwell's 1984, or even Koestler's Darkness at Noon which offered an external criticism of socialism, The captive mind is more an explanation than a critique.