Mr. Arkadin, the film, may be regarded as a minor work in Orson Welles’s oeuvre, but his characterization of Mr. Arkadin provides a vehicle for some of his most subtle ruminations on the nature of evil. The film, released in various versions around the world starting in 1955 (and sometimes given the alias Confidential Report) is a convoluted potboiler, relatively unremarkable in the basic outline of the scenario, and steeped in the noir and crime fiction tradition. But through the distinctive editing, camera angles, and stylistic flourishes in the costuming and makeup, Welles gives us more than a first glance might afford. We find an exploration of sin, duplicity, and the grotesque that makes us question what makes a person a villain, and perhaps implicitly looks for a spiritual source for redemption.
In Which Participation in Upcoming Blogathons is Enumerated
Since I began this blog last summer, I discovered the wide world of blogathons, and have already participated in some great ones. A blogathon (goofy as the neologism may be) is a great opportunity for finding other like-minded folks who might be interested in reading what you have to write, and in turn for reading their work. I have enjoyed the chance to interact with some great writers and gracious readers, and to have some generous promotion of my own pieces by the hosts of the blogathons.
TRON – for The Blogathon from Another World
Steven Lisberger’s 1982 cult Science Fiction adventure, TRON, is a fun exercise in visual storytelling. It is the fantastic tale of a man who is beamed into the electronic world of the computer, where he is forced to survive against the villainous Master Control Program by playing video games against other enslaved programs. On the level of the computer world, the programs look like people with glowing circuit covered tracksuits and helmets. Lisberger was aiming to make a searching statement about the spiritual relationship between humans and the machines we create. By employing the most state of the art computer generated and hand-rotoscoped animation techniques of its day, TRON explored the theme of the interpenetration of the human spirit with our technology. Something of us is in each program we create, but conversely, our technology reaches out to transform and shape the society we live in, and the individuals who make it up.
Fahrenheit 451 – Beyond the Cover Blogathon
“It was a pleasure to burn.”
With those words, Ray Bradbury opens his 1953 novel, which still startles with the wisdom of its warnings over a half-century later.
François Truffaut adapted Bradbury’s novel into a film in 1966. The novel and film are centered around the story of Montag, in an unspecified future time where firemen are called to burn books, and their dangerous ideas, rather than put out fires.
Stephen Maturin, Natural Philosopher
One of the greatest fictional characters created in the 20th century is Doctor Stephen Maturin, half of the celebrated Aubrey-Maturin duo that are the subjects of a 20-volume series of novels by the late Patrick O’Brian. The series began with the 1970 novel Master and Commander, and was to be continued in a 21st volume which was in the draft stages at the time of O’Brian’s death in 2000. The books follow the career and life of “Lucky Jack” Aubrey, a Captain in His Majesty’s Royal Navy, and his close friend, Maturin, during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, from roughly 1800 – 1815.
12 for 2016
I’ve decided to participate in a year long event, the Blind Spot Series, where I watch one film a month and write a short post about it. The idea is to view classic films that are a “blind spot,” films I have yet to see.
Here’s the list of films I intend to watch and blog about.
- Intolerance (Griffith)
- Dial M for Murder (Hitchcock)
- Au hasard Balthazar (Bresson)
- Macbeth (Welles)
- The Seventh Seal (Bergman)
- The Human Condition (Kobayashi)
- The Bad Sleep Well (Kurosawa)
- The Music Room (Ray)
- The Thin Blue Line (Morris)
- Paris, Texas (Wenders)
- Day for Night (Truffaut)
- Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky)
Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive of all the films I hope to experience in the coming year, but I have to start with a plan. I reserve the right to revise the list, but this is a good and varied starting point.
Favorites from the Criterion Blogathon
My previous post, regarding Hitchcock’s Notorious, was my official entry into the #CriterionBlogathon. This has been a very fun event for me personally, and it has been gratifying to have interactions with new readers from literally all over the world.
I thought it would be fun to talk a little about what the Criterion Collection means to film lovers like me, and share a few of my favorite posts from the Blogathon. The full list of posts is found HERE.
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